Thursday, March 12, 2020
Up Close and Personal by Jay Hogan - Release Blitz with Excerpt
Title: Up Close and Personal
Series: Auckland Med, Book 3
Author: Jay Hogan
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Southern Lights Publishing
Tropes: Enemies to friends to lovers, forced proximity, humour, suspense
DETECTIVE MARK KNIGHT has a serious problem—one that comes in the form of Auckland Med’s brand-new forensic pathologist. Six feet of delicious blond-haired, scary smart, stern and disapproving hotness—DR EDWARD R NEWTON.
The man is miles out of Mark’s league; completely opposite in almost every way, and shockingly immune to Mark’s flirtations. Mark should just let him go. But the alluring doctor has taken residence in Mark’s brain and is messing with his life’s plan—in particular Mark’s determination to skirt attachments and all the self-absorbed drama that goes with them.
Mark has spent two years watching his friends drop like flies to the white picket virus, only to suddenly find himself hankering for a hammer and some white paint. Edward, however, doesn’t want a bar of Mark’s roguish charm.
But it’s not like Mark can avoid the sexy pathologist—death brings them together on a regular basis. So when a string of murders threatens both their lives and sends them into hiding, something has to give.
Liam laughed. “So, tell me again why we didn’t come in the brand spanking new entrance?”
Mark ignored him, eyes flat as a lake.
Liam smiled sweetly. “Oh, that’s right. You wanted to grab a coffee for our new pathologist. Don’t remember you ever getting one for Tom Spencer...let me see…” He looked thoughtful. “Nope, never.”
“Tom Spencer was seven-hundred-years-old,” Mark fired back. “Besides, the coffee was for us, the doc was a mere afterthought.”
Liam gave him the side-eye. “Of course he was.”
“And parking’s easier up the top. It’s still raining, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“Would you like a bigger spade for that hole you’re digging?”
No. Mark was doing just fine with the one he had, thank you very much.
“Have to say I wouldn’t have pegged the man as your style. Just saying.”
They pressed themselves to the wall as a pair of orderlies pushed a steel body box past and Mark took the moment to study his partner. “We’ve been partners what, eight months?”
Liam nodded warily. “Seven months three weeks, to be precise.”
“Right. And I think we’ve talked about my sex life all of…hmm let me see…never in all that time. So, forgive me, but I wouldn’t have thought you’d have any idea, let alone an opinion, on my style, detective. So please, do enlighten me.”
Liam’s neck abruptly reddened. “Well, I haven’t, not really. But I’m not immune to the grapevine gossip either. And if you go through young gay dudes at the rate they say you do¾you call them twinks, right?” Liam’s eyes glittered with mischief. “Well, I just wanted to say that I’m seriously impressed. I honestly don’t know how you find the energy. By the time I get home and get the kids to bed, I can barely lift my toothbrush let alone any parts south of that. But on that note and in answer to your question, I just meant the doc is hardly in the same category as your usual pickings.”
No. No he wasn’t. And that was Mark’s problem in a nutshell. He let Liam chatter away about the sad state of his own married sex life with two kids under three, while Mark pondered the implications of Liam’s belief about Mark’s. It wasn’t like the office chatter about Mark was new, or even inaccurate. That people thought he was a flirt and a lightweight had never bothered him before. So, why then did it all of a sudden sting, just a little bit? It was a question he suspected he knew the answer to if only he was brave enough to stop running long enough to consider it¾which he wasn’t.
“I wouldn’t believe everything you hear,” he interrupted Liam’s inventory of sleep deprivation and its effects on the male refractory rate. “And why the hell are we even having this conversation?”
“Because I’m your partner?” Liam returned Mark’s playful punch.
“Hmmph. You never shown any interest before.”
Liam shrugged. “Maybe I should have. Besides, you know in intimate detail all the highs and lows of my own child rearing disasters, and the effects of new born baby cock-blocking syndrome.”
Mark checked his watch. Eight thirty. Shit. Should he have brought something? No. Not. A. Date., idiot. He rapped on the door and jumped at the booming bark that greeted him from the other side. A dog? And not just any dog by the muscle behind that bark¾ a big ‘keep your hands to yourself or lose your whole arm’ dog. And that was a surprise. In a million years, Mark would never have picked Edward for a dog guy, ever. Too much hair and dry cleaning for all those pristine suits for a start.
There were a few muffled words before the locks snapped and the door opened to reveal Edward…and wow. The man sported a light scowl, hand tousled hair, a cute as fuck dimple, those damn black rimmed glasses and a million points of contact for Mark’s lips. His tongue landed on the roof of his mouth and stuck there. It was marginally better than having it on the floor in full living colour but not by much because... holy shit…Mark had been in no way prepared for this.
The image of Edward R Newton in soft sweats, bare feet, a light dark scruff on his jaw and a slim fitting Rascal Flatts tee shirt that did nothing to hide a considerably tighter, fitter body than Mark had ever fantasised, damn near sucked the breath from his lungs. It was all he could do not to back the pathologist against that very expensive wall and sink into those succulent disapproving lips.
Oh, yeah, as if he didn’t already know how much trouble he was in. Yet he seemed completely unable to stop himself from walking straight into it, like a damn prisoner to the executioner’s block. Now why in the hell was that? Oh, right. Still no fucking answer.
“Detective Knight.” Edward motioned Mark inside with a sweep of his arm. “Straight down and to the left.” Business as usual.
For Mark it was anything but. He hitched a brow and did his damnedest not to drool…or pant, then turned and made a dramatic point of scanning the neighbourhood, giving himself some much needed time to get his shit together.
Finally he turned back to Edward and pulled up his most confused expression. “Excuse me, sir. Do I know you? This is 16 Holsworthy Drive, right?”
Edward bit back a smile. “Why? Is there something the matter, detective?”
“You know damn well there is.” He eyed Edward sideways. “You did this deliberately, didn’t you?”
“Did what?” Edward’s brow creased.
“This¾” Mark gestured with a sweep of his hand. “¾this mellow, breezy¾I’m not buttoned up tighter than a drag queen’s tuck¾look you’ve got going on here. Just a regular joe, relaxed, take me as I am kind of guy, in my obscenely revealing sweats and painted on fucking T-shirt¾just your everyday sexy piece of intelligent gorgeousness, right?”
Edward’s eyes popped. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. These are my home clothes. And… obscene?”
Mark’s gaze narrowed. “All of that and you focus on obscene? You know very well what I mean. You’re a tease Edward Newton. I can not only see you’re circumcised in those, at the right angle I could quite possibly read the date stamp of the procedure. Come close enough and I can probably scan the bloody QR code with my phone.”
Edward chuckled. “You’re an idiot.”
“No, I damn well am not. You don’t play fair. Who are you and what have you done with Edward? Where’s the suit? The exec shirt with its labyrinth of teeny tiny Alcatraz style buttons, and chastity level belted up trousers with their ubiquitous no trespassing sign plastered across the fly in neon lights. And for the love of God where the hell are your shoes? Look at those toes¾those feet are seriously sexy.” He threw up his hands. “You can’t fuck with me like this, Edward. I may need serious therapy.”
Edward gaped, his expression part amusement, part serious concern over whether Mark might have lost his freaking mind, which Mark suspected wasn’t far from the truth. And if a little bit of flirting had troubled the good pathologist, spewing crazy talk was never gonna be a winner. Mark figured he’d cooked his goose.
But then Edward laughed, loudly, and everything in Mark’s world got a little brighter with it. “Just the outcome I was looking for,” he said. “Total derision.”
“No, um, it’s not…” Edward took a few breaths in a seeming effort to calm down and waved Mark inside for the second time. “Just so you know, I’m not going to furnish any reply to that nonsense, mostly because I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m at home, in at-home clothes, Mark. It happens.”
“Nuh-uh.” Mark waggled his finger in Edward’s face as he stepped inside. “At-home-Edward-clothes have always, in my imagination¾and believe me when I say I’ve spent some considerable time imagining it¾have always been a pair of conservative relatively ugly¾sorry¾beige corduroys or chinos, belted of course, quite possibly padlocked even… with added chain. And maybe, just maybe, a loose button-down shirt, untucked if you were feeling particularly risqué. But nowhere, and it bears repeating, nowhere did you ever appear barefoot and tousle-haired. Never. Slippers, at the very least. Dealbreaker, Edward, dealbreaker. You cannot expect me not to flirt with all this on display. You have no one to blame but yourself.”
Edward shook his head disbelief. “Your imagination is a dangerous place Detective. Remind me never to visit. But it’s nice to know you fantasise about me. Now, head down the hall and to the right before you say something you’ll regret.”
Mark eyed him up and down. “Like that horse hadn’t already bolted from the stable a paragraph or two back.”
Edward grinned. “I promise not to hold it against you.”
“Such is my luck. Shoes off?”
Mark paused. “By the way, the scruff looks good on you.”
Edward’s hand immediately lifted to his jaw and Mark smiled to himself.
“You should keep it,” he said and the man’s cheeks tinged pink. At least Mark wasn’t the only one off-balance.
They stared at each other for a few more seconds before Edward cleared his throat. “After you, detective.”
I am a New Zealand author writing in m/m romance, and romantic suspense. I have traveled extensively and lived in the US, Canada, France, Australia and South Korea. In a past life I have been an Intensive Care Nurse, Counselor, and a Nursing Lecturer.
I'm a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). I love to cook, pretty damn good, love to sing, pretty damn average, and as for loving full-time writing, absolutely… depending of course on the day, the word count, the deadline, how obliging my characters are, the ambient temperature in the Western Sahara, whether Jupiter is rising, the size of the ozone hole over New Zealand and how much coffee I've had.
Welcome to my world.
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