Louisa Masters has a new MM contemporary romance out in the Joy Universe series: "I've Got This."
Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.
Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.
Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues laying bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.
Louisa is giving away a $20 gift certificate for Amazon, iBooks, B&N, or Kobo – enter via Rafflecopter:
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4787/?
He grins at me. “Can I use your number for more than just confirming dates?”
Heat climbs up my neck and floods my face, and I know I must be red. Christ, I’ve always blushed easily, but I spend more time red-faced around this guy than anyone else I can remember. “Maybe.” I meant it to sound flirtatious, but it comes out sounding more like a parent who means no, but doesn’t want to say it for fear of incurring a tantrum.
What the hell is wrong with me? I’m no Casanova, but I’m not a reclusive virgin, either. I usually have a pretty good dating life. I know how to flirt.
I pull out my phone. “What’s your number? I’ll text you.”
He rattles off the digits. I put them in my phone and then send him a text. The faint ding from his pocket tells me he got it.
The rest of the ride back to my resort is silent, and I’m pretty sure it’s my fault. Our conversation over dinner was so easy and fun—but my stupid failed attempt to be flirty seems to have killed the vibe. Is he regretting the whole thing? Wondering how he can get out of our date on Thursday?
He turns off the road onto the driveway of the resort, but instead of pulling up to the entrance, he takes the road that loops around the property to the four parking lots and the three other shuttle stops.
“Where—” I begin, but he interrupts me.
“Which is the closest parking lot to your room?”
Oh. He’s being thoughtful and saving me the seven-minute (no, I didn’t time it—the receptionist told me when I checked in) walk from the main building to the building that houses my room.
“The west one,” I tell him, and then we both fall silent again as he skilfully navigates along the deserted, mostly dark road. I rack my brain for something to say. How did this happen? Twenty minutes ago I was one half of an interesting, fun conversation. How did we go from that to awkward silence?
It has to be the idea of dating that’s turned us into mere acquaintances with little in common. Right? Until he confirmed that we were on a date, and I asked him on another one, everything was fine. After that, it all went downhill.
Wait… he knew all along that we were on a date. I was the one who wasn’t sure what he thought it was. Does that mean this is all me? Am I the reason for the awkwardness?
I’m saved from further introspection (although I suspect it’s going to keep me up most of the night) when Derek pulls into the west parking lot and finds a spot at the far end. The lot is pretty well-lit, but back in this corner there are more shadows.
I undo my seat belt. I’m almost desperate to get out of the car and away from this tension, but at the same time, I’m terrified that if I leave it like this, I’m going to get a text from Derek, canceling our date. What can I say to make it all better?
Derek’s hand on my face makes me jump.
“Whoa! Sorry, I didn’t mean….” He starts to pull away, but I grab his hand and hold it against my cheek. I like having him touch me.
Is this weird? Maybe he was just trying to get my attention and didn’t actually want to hold my face.
I drop my hand to my lap, giving him the opportunity to pull back. My face is hot, and I’m thankful for the dim light. He can probably still see that I’m blushing, but not exactly how red I am.
His fingers lightly stroke my cheek.
My breath stutters. I slowly turn to him. His face is closer than I expected, and there’s a soft smile on his lips. Even in the dimness of the car, I can see how warm the expression in his eyes is.
I swallow. His smile grows.
“I love when you blush,” he says. “It’s so—”
“Sweet?” I interrupt acidly. He shakes his head.
“Hot.” The word sits between us. Hot? Does he mean literally? Because, yeah, my skin gets hot when I—
Derek leans in and kisses me, and I get it. Hot. Derek thinks it’s hot when I blush. Really?
Also, man can he kiss.
I gotta be honest, the next few minutes kind of blur out. I’m too focused on Derek’s mouth on mine, his hands, his body—because my hands get busy too. The only words I can actually think are adjectives: warm, hard, wet, silky….
I’ve got my hands in his pants (and can I just say wow?) when it finally occurs to me that as cushy as Derek’s car is, it’s not roomy enough for us to fuck—well, not comfortably. I jerk back from his kiss. “Not here,” I pant. Crap, Kev’s likely to be back at our room by now. He was saying earlier that he was exhausted, not having had a day off, and wanted an early night. “Your place?” He’s gotta live in Joyville, right? That’s what, half an hour away?
Maybe we can get a room. We’re at a resort. I’m sure he gets an employee discount here too.
Derek sighs and pulls back, stroking my chest under my polo one last time before drawing his hand out. I miss it instantly.
The Inspiration behind I’ve Got This.
In 2017, I made the loooong trek across the Pacific Ocean and most of the continental US to Atlanta for the Romantic Times convention. It was a blast, but when I fly that far, I like to stretch the fun out for as long as possible, so I added another five days and went down to Orlando to hit Disney World.
I’d never been to Disney World before. I’d been to Disney Land, because LA is just that little bit closer to Australia, and I was really looking forward to the super-sized experience.
Nothing could have prepared me for it. Really. If you’ve ever been, you may know what I’m talking about. It’s like a complete little society in there. Orlando is right outside, but I never saw any of it. Disney runs like its own world, and you don’t ever need to leave.
One of the things that struck hardest was the superefficiency of the staff. No sooner did a problem arise than someone was swooping in to fix it. And if it couldn’t be fixed, their priority was minimizing guest inconvenience. After a while, it led me to wonder: what would happen if some of those amazing staff were suddenly not able to be there? How would they handle it if something bad really happened? And who is responsible for it all? Who has to make the decisions when things go wrong?
It would have to be someone with confidence and authority. An autocratic asshole, maybe, who manages through fear? But it’s a lot of work to make a person like that likeable. So… someone charming. Someone who knows what to do and can get the job done, but who people are naturally drawn to. A charismatic leader.
And Derek Bryer sprang into being.
As I wandered through the Magic Kingdom, I noted several things that could ultimately put limitations on my creativity. Did I really want Derek hooking up with a guest? Wouldn’t there be some sort of corporate policy about that? Come to think of it, setting an entire book as Disney World and making a main character a senior employee was a logistical nightmare. Far better, surely, to create my own theme park complex?
Sure, there are a lot—a LOT—of similarities between Disney World and Joy Universe. I like to think JU has the edge, though. Disney Springs just can’t compete with Joy Village, for starters. And putting JU in the middle of nowhere instead of attaching it to a major city creates lots of exciting opportunities.
I was watching the fireworks display one night when I decided that yeah, I needed to write a theme park romance. Something behind-the-scenes—not about tourists falling in love, but about the people who actually made the magic happen.
Didn’t they deserve a little magic of their own?
Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.
Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.
Author Website: http://www.louisamasters.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/louisa.masters.31
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/LouisaMastersAuthor
Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AuthorLouisaM
Author Instagram: @AuthorLouisaM
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5755521.Louisa_Masters
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/louisa-masters/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Louisa-Masters/e/B008YBZT0S