Book Title: Abstract Love
Author: Sara Dobie Bauer
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: September 4, 2020
Genre/s: Contemporary MM romance
Trope/s: enemies-to-lovers, age gap, co-workers, office romance,
bisexuality, businessmen, artists, bondage, comedy
Themes: sexual awakening
Possible triggers: depression, suicidal ideations, biphobia
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 71 000 words
It is a standalone book.
Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited
I hate Sam Shelby. So why do I want to kiss him?
Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.
Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.
Well, shit happens.
After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.
After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.
Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.
Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?
Donovan sifted through a few hand-drawn logos on the desk and froze when he found a crudely drawn sketch of himself. Sam must have done it during a meeting at some point, capturing Donovan’s faux hawk, wide jaw, and severe expression.
Jesus, was this what other people saw when they looked at him? Did he really look so miserable?
“Make yourself at home?”
Donovan dropped the picture and stood straight at the sound of Sam’s voice.
He leaned against the doorframe, with one ankle crossed over the other.
“It’s really bullshit when people say that, you know?” Sam said. “Make yourself at home. No one actually wants their friends to take off their pants, drink all their beer, and binge The Great British Bake Off.” He paused. “What are you doing in my office?”
“I didn’t mean to snoop.”
The office door closed as he stepped inside. “Sure you did, or you wouldn’t be in here, so what’s up?”
Sam circled the desk, so Donovan circled the other way, although he noticed it was true what coworkers said: Sam did smell good—like clean laundry and cedar. “I think we started off on the wrong foot.”
Sam snort laughed and flipped through some files on his desk. “More like wrong continent, man.” When he found what he was looking for, he tapped the file’s corner against his palm. “I can handle guys like you, you know.”
Donovan shifted back on his heels. “Guys like me?”
“Hmm. Corporate assholes. All you see are dollar signs. You take no pleasure in your work. Advertising is money to you, not art, but without the artists, there wouldn’t be advertising, so…” He sucked his cheeks into his mouth, a momentary fish face.
Donovan wanted to tell him it wasn’t true. Donovan loved art.
He used to love art.
Sam continued, “I know I look like a six-foot-two Disney princess, but you’re not gonna rattle me.” To prove his point, Sam got right up in Donovan’s personal space until Donovan took a step back. Again, he was not used to dealing with someone his own height. “And I’m right about the Great Lakes ad campaign. If you’d pull your head out of your ass, maybe you’d notice.” He turned away abruptly.
“I’m sorry.” Ouch, that hurt coming out.
Sam’s rebuttal: “Prove it.”
He rested a hand on the desk and cocked his hip out—the very picture of young attitude. “Listen to me in meetings.”
“I was listening.”
“Nope.” He shook his head and ran a hand through his unkempt, unprofessional hair. “No, you were hearing. I need you to listen. There’s a difference. And I know I’m just some fucking kid to you, but I ruled the New York City advertising scene. I know what I’m doing, Donovan, so let me do it.”
“Fine.” He’d had enough. He’d apologized, okay, so he’d done his Monica-enforced duty. He didn’t owe Sam anything else.
He didn’t run for the door, but he definitely moved with speed.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Probably as a toddler. But for real, it was EARLY. Elementary school at the latest.
How many books have you written?
Uhhhh, yeah, I can’t answer that. Abstract Love will be my eighth published full-length, but I wrote my first novel in junior high. There are several never-to-be-seen manuscripts hidden in the depths of my closet. I’ve consumed too much whiskey in my life to remember all of them.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Between a month to three months. That’s definitely not including editing and rewrites! That amount of time represents a first, first, first draft.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
The characters in Abstract Love showed up and started shouting, thanks to an anthology call. Writer pals of mine Quin & Perin decided to put together a charity anthology benefiting The Trevor Project. Each story had to be based on a specific kink. I chose “gay-for-you,” although this ended up “age gap” and “enemies-to-lovers,” too. Abstract Love was a short story first that blossomed into a novel thanks to screaming fans and Donovan and Sam refusing to shut up.
Who are your favorite authors? Have they inspired your writing?
Rainbow Rowell comes to mind. Her comedic genius has always impressed me, and as I pen my own romantic comedies, I strive for her brilliance.
Neil Gaiman’s spook factor intrigues me, as does his world building. Oh, and I adore a fumbling protagonists like Richard in Neverwhere. I met Neil once. I was wearing a tiny black dress and a big feathery fascinator on my head. He looked up, grinned, and said, “Do you want a hug? Any woman who wears a fascinator deserves a hug.” If that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Negative feedback. It’s amazing how quickly my ego can be crushed, how easy it is for me to feel very small. I know it’s part of the process (and I’m certainly not new to this writer thing), but it still doesn’t take much to break me. I’m working on that …
Where is your favorite place to write?
My little office on the second floor of my century home in small town, Ohio. That said, I’ve written in several similar rooms across the country over the years. I need a space I’ve made my own with weird pictures on the walls and strange ceramic critters on the desk. And quiet. It must be quiet for me to write.
When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
I always do a full character bio prior to beginning a novel. I want to know everything from how he/she lost his/her virginity to his/her fave ice cream flavor. Does all this info come into play in every novel? No, but it does mean I know my characters as well as I know some of my best friends.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?
Naw. I just ride the writing wave until I want to stop. I’ve found that setting a word count/page number per day can make writing into a chore, when it should be fun. You’re also more likely to crank out some less-than-stellar prose when under pressure. Creating art should be relaxing, not another stressor in an already stressful world.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Bad reviews. Realizing that some people don’t like your work. In turn, it feels like they don’t like you, and sadly, nothing can change that.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Being by myself, creating, with no mind to readers, critics, the outside world, etc. Immersing myself in a fictional world of my creation with characters I love. Finding a bit of quiet inside my own mind.
About the Author
Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film.