A Shore Thing Novel (Book 3)
A stuntman with a love for fire.
A yoga teacher in search of zen.
A holiday season neither will forget.
Stunt performer and self-declared badass, Tate Astbury returns to his hometown to spend another dreaded Thanksgiving with his dad. But his father forgets and makes other plans, resigning Tate to a quiet and depressing holiday alone unless he can find someplace else to celebrate.
When Tate’s mischievous friend learns about the unfortunate twist, he dares Tate to enter a radio contest to become a fake boyfriend for a desperate caller’s holiday dinner, and Tate never turns down a dare.
Endre Michel is a mess. His yoga business is on the cusp of ruin, and his moms are visiting from out of state for the holiday, intent on meeting his boyfriend, a person Endre invented. Through the contest, he meets Tate, a crude, tattooed older man who plays the role of doting boyfriend so well, Endre suspects and hopes it’s not all for show.
Neither man can deny the unintended connection, and they struggle to overcome the distance between Tate’s put-together Hollywood career and the chaos surrounding Endre’s unsteady future—a situation that intensifies when an unthinkable tragedy uncovers a dark and painful truth.
Will Tate and Endre’s future together perish in flames, or can their love rise from the ashes?
Flirting with Fire is a standalone holiday romance with several cups of angst, questionable jokes, a bird with a wicked sense of humor, a bed with loud, squeaky springs, and an HFN/HEA ending.
CW: suicide, substance abuse disorder, grief, mental illness
- 1 To Be Read list
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay, Pansexual, Polyamorous
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Fake Relationship
Word Count: 77000
Setting: Boston, MA
Languages Available: English
Brown leaves crunched as Tate Astbury walked to the granite headstone symbolizing the division of his life into two parts: Before and After. Winter lingered in the air; that clean, cold scent seeped into his bones, bringing back childhood days in New England with family celebrations and weeks that carelessly slipped by into spring then summer.
That was Before. Before the guilt festered. Before he saw two people in the mirror instead of one. Before he took the one person who meant everything to him for granted.READ MORE
Tate approached the headstone with the name he learned to spell at the same time as his own, the date of birth he shared, and the date of death he didn’t. He plucked off the dried leaves and twigs that had fallen on the plaque and put a single white rose down.
“Never thought I’d make it past thirty, yet here I am, thirty-three years old. All the dumb shit I’ve done since you…since I last saw you, you would think I’d be the one interred.” He should’ve been. They had done everything together. Death shouldn’t have been any different.
Tate squinted, staring across the field of headstones to where a couple stood holding hands in front of a grave.
“It’s gotten easier. Like, some days, I don’t think about you or what happened right away.” Until he looked in the mirror. Then he saw the irreplaceable soul whose face he would never forget, a blessing and a curse. “You’d tell me to quit being so dramatic and get on with my life. But today it’s hard, so cut me some slack, aight?”
A cardinal perched in the tree above him and whistled, its song like someone calling for its dog. And then it shit, missing Tate’s head but landing on his shoe with a splat.
“Fucker.” Tate laughed, figuring he must look like a crazy person out there laughing alone. Well, not entirely alone. There was that bird with a wicked sense of humor.
“I get it. Enough with the pity party. I’m going to celebrate with the boys later. But this one’s for you.” He unscrewed the miniature Jack Daniel’s bottle, not his favorite but his twin brother liked the brand, and poured the entire contents on the grave.
“Happy birthday, Mazi.”COLLAPSE