Blog Tour ~ Lost And Found by Rick R. Reed (Guest Post, Exclusive Excerpt, Review + Giveaway)
TITLE: Lost And Found
AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
LENGTH: 200 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 5, 2016
BLURB: On a bright autumn day, Flynn Marlowe lost his best friend, a beagle named Barley, while out on a hike in Seattle’s Discovery Park.
On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.
Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park later that summer, there’s a problem: who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that’s just what Flynn experienced.
A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love.
Mac turned back, his hands up like the criminal he felt he was. “What do you want?” he whined. He wished they’d just go away. But he was resigned to the fact that they weren’t going anywhere and that he’d have to deal with this situation with Hamburger sooner or later, whether he liked it or not, for better or for worse. Even if dealing with it meant his own heart would be ripped in two.
Clara said, “We just want to take a look at the dog. That’s all. I can give a second opinion. I know Flynn’s dog Barley very well. And maybe he’s wrong. We’re prepared for that. But he’s missed his little guy so much, maybe there’s just some wishful thinking happening on Flynn’s part. That would be understandable. I assume you’re headed home?”
Mac nodded, feeling like he was backing up to a precipice. He didn’t know which footstep would send him hurtling over the edge. “Yeah,” he said, a little out of breath. “I rent a room in a house on Green Lake Way.” He closed his eyes. He felt as though the couple were staring at him. Well, of course they were staring, but staring with dislike, disgust, whatever. And maybe all that was just Mac himself, projecting his own feelings of self-loathing.
He looked to the guy, Flynn, he’d encountered the other day on the trail. Their eyes met, and Mac noticed how the guy had a little chip missing out of his front tooth. It was an odd time to take note of such a thing, but it made Mac feel better. The guy had seemed so perfect, all Irish black hair and blue eyes, the body of an Adonis, dimples, everything. The flaw humanized him and, in a way, made him sexier.
Why are you even thinking such a thing? Mac yelled at himself on the inside. The dude’s obviously here with his girlfriend. He felt bad all over again about deceiving him. Mac wasn’t ready to tell them the truth about Hamburger—he just couldn’t bear the thought of it, because surely that would be the end of his relationship with the dog, and sometimes Mac thought he loved that creature more than he loved himself—he could at least own up to some of his own truth.
“Your name’s Flynn, isn’t it?”
The guy nodded, and his eyebrows came together in obvious confusion. “Mike, right?”
Flynn peered at him suspiciously, and Mac realized he probably had never believed any of what he’d told him. Mac had always had a terrible face for lying. Every emotion was always cast there in sharp relief. It was both his blessing and his curse.
“No,” Mac mumbled. “My name’s Mac. Mac Bowersox.” He scraped the toe of his Converse on the sidewalk. “Maybe you misheard me. Mac, Mike, Max….”
“Sure,” Flynn said stiffly. “Are you gonna let us come and see the dog or not?’
Do I have a choice? Mac wondered. Of course he did. One always had a choice. He could be an asshole and simply refuse. Stand his ground. Try to be a baby and just run from them again. He shook his head. “The house is, uh, just around the corner down here.” He gestured toward Green Lake, which shimmered innocently in the summer sun just below them. Mac thought there should be storm clouds gathering above the water. He turned away from Flynn and Clara, trying to mentally prepare himself for what was to come.
My Passion(s) and Lost and Found
A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed
Every morning, I read a daily meditation from a book by Mark Nepo called THE BOOK OF AWAKENING. Today's quote, in particular, spoke to me as a writer and really helps me hold fast to my dreams...
"This is why finding what we love, though it may take years, is building a life of passion. For what makes you come alive can keep you alive, whether you are paid well for it or not. And beyond the fashion of the job market, a life of passion makes us a healthy cell in the body of the world."
That quote made me realize why I do what I do—not for money, not for reviews, not for awards, not for fame, but because when I’m lost in the world of my characters, I come alive. And that passion (along with a passion for the canine race) really came alive when I wrote Lost and Found.
Below is a little taste from the book (and I hope it ignites a little passion in you to read more):
“Maybe you detect a little ‘take me home, country roads’ in my voice, especially when I let my guard down?”
Flynn chuckled, getting the song reference. “You’re from West Virginia?”
Mac nodded. “Guilty. The northern panhandle, if you want to get technical, right where the state butts up against Ohio and Pennsylvania. It’s kind of a paradox back home—big gorgeous tree-covered hills that’re actually Appalachian foothills, the curving brown-green of the Ohio River, and some of the poorest people you’d ever want to meet. Used to be a lot of industry, but it all kind of died out. My grandma still lives there, though, in a trailer overlooking the Ohio River valley. I miss her—a lot. She taught me everything I know about loving dogs—and people.”
“Maybe that’s why you chose to live with Dee?”
Mac laughed. “You might be on to something there. Both of my parents were in a car accident when I was twelve. Killed instantly. It was a big pileup on the expressway going south. Bad snowstorm with whiteout conditions.” Mac slowed a little and paused to look up at the leaves blowing in a tree above. He drew in a big breath that quivered a little on his exhale.
“I’m so sorry.”
Mac shrugged. “It’s okay. Sort of. I had my grandma. Grandma Grace. She moved me in with her after my parents passed, and I couldn’t have asked for better. Grace is more than just her name, you know? It’s her. She’s the sweetest, gentlest soul you’d ever want to meet. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say a bad word about anyone. We never had much, but I always had enough, so I don’t complain.”
Flynn couldn’t believe it. Not only was Mac sexy as hell, he seemed like a hell of a good guy to boot. He loved dogs. Old women. He seemed to have a healthy outlook on life. Flynn thought he could fall in love with someone like Mac. If only he was gay….
Not to say that Mac wasn’t gay. Flynn couldn’t totally rule out the possibility. There was hope. Sure, Mac wasn’t stereotypically gay, throwing around terms or cultural references that might give Flynn a clue to which way he was oriented, but he’d also never mentioned a girlfriend or even any interest in women.
Of course, Flynn reminded himself, they hardly knew one another. But that was about to change, wasn’t it?
“So have you worked at the Crumpet Strumpet long?”
“Since it opened. Not my life’s dream, in case you were wondering.”
Flynn wasn’t wondering, not exactly. He was too busy pondering which side Mac’s bread was buttered on. But to be polite, he asked, “What is your life’s dream, Mac?”
They wandered over to the beach area behind the lake’s old boathouse, now converted into a small theater space, and took a break sitting on a bench, looking out at the swimming dock. There were a bunch of teenage boys shoving each other off its concrete surface and competing over who could do the fanciest dive from the diving board. Flynn thought it hadn’t taken them long to come out once the rain stopped.
“My life’s dream?” Mac sighed. “Well, I don’t think I’ll ever achieve it, so part of me doesn’t even like to think about it.”
Flynn felt his eyebrows moving toward one another—confused. “You’re giving up on your life’s dream? Already? What are you? Twenty-two? Twenty-three?”
Mac laughed and bumped his shoulder against Flynn’s. The simple, brotherly touch still managed to send waves of electricity through Flynn, culminating in his groin. He couldn’t imagine what an erotic touch from Mac would do to him. Well, he could, actually, but he needed to keep his mind in the present, lest he find himself needing to visit the men’s room behind them to clean up.
“I like you,” Mac said when he’d reined in his laughter. “Actually, I just had a milestone in December. I turned thirty.”
Flynn looked at him, jaw dropped, playing up the surprise. “Seriously? I never would have guessed.”
“You flatter me, man.”
They were quiet for several moments, and then Flynn returned to his earlier line of questioning. “But really, what would you do if you could do anything other than wait tables? And if it’s not being too nosy, why aren’t you?”
Mac laughed, but Flynn could see a little sadness in his eyes.
“Dude, did you hear me before? I’m an orphan, raised by Grandma in her trailer. I was and am pretty poor. I wasn’t a star athlete in high school. I wasn’t a brain, although I think I’m smart. So I really never had the means for any kind of higher education. And I know I don’t have to tell you, a high school diploma doesn’t get you very far these days… not at all.” Mac snickered. “You know Val? The girl with the rainbow hair who waited on you and your girlfriend the other day?”
Flynn nodded, resisting the impulse to correct Mac for calling Clara his girlfriend. He supposed she was, just not in the sense most people took the term.
“Val has a master’s degree in English from the University of Washington.”
*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement. *
One day when Flynn was out enjoying the day in the park with Barley, Barley took off after a squirrel. Flynn tried his hardest to find his best friend but couldn't, until a year later when he sees another man walking his dog. When Barley sees Flynn, he recognizes him. Flynn attempts to talk to the man walking Barley to find out if it's his dog. Mac is taken by surprise when the hot guy starts to talk to him, and when he realizes what Flynn's talking about, he does what he feels is necessary to protect his best friend, Hamburger. He lies to Flynn about how he got Hamburger, how long he's had him and even about his name. Dejected, Flynn leaves the man and his dog. Once he gets to his car, he realizes that the answers given him were not the same throughout the story and tries to find his dog again, only they've disappeared. Mac takes Hamburger and runs as fast as they can go away from Flynn, back to their home where the guilt sets in. After explaining what happened to his landlady, he agrees to do the right thing and find Flynn. Only when given the opportunity the next day to do the right thing, he again issues denials about Hamburger belonging to anyone else. After many different encounters, the men decide to listen to Mac's landlord and have a shared parenting situation with the dog.
Flynn and Mac are complete opposites in everything but they each find themselves attracted to the other the more time they spend together. Flynn has a good job, has his own home, his own car and came from wealthy, non-involved parents; Mac is a waiter, rents an attic room, walks and rides a subway wherever he needs to go and grew up in a trailer with his grandmother. They both used Barley to fill missing voids in their life and neither wants to give him up, and both are devastated without him. Honestly, I can't say I loved either of these characters but by the end of the story I liked them and was happy that they were able to get their act together. Both men had baggage that they brought into their friendship, and then relationship, that they had to work through.
Rick R. Reed is a new to me author, and I enjoyed being introduced to him through this book. For some reason, I felt disconnected to the characters throughout the book. But, it's a story about two men, dogs and a happily ever after, everyone needs some of that in their reading material!
Rating: 4 stars
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint."
Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."
You can also email Rick at - firstname.lastname@example.org
Winner’s Prize: Legally Wed ebook.
Runner Up Prize: Husband Hunters eBook.
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