Virtual Tour: Just The Way You Are by E E Montgomery ~ (Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: E E Montgomery
Book Name: Just The Way You Are Series: Just Life #4
Can be read as a standalone, but there are elements in the other stories that will add depth to this one
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Buy The Book:
After ten years in an abusive relationship and a near-fatal knife wound, Jonathan Watson is finally free. Unused to being able to make even the smallest decision and smothered by family and well-meaning neighbors, he’s floundering in the real world. Jonathan is afraid of falling into another relationship too quickly and realizes he needs time to rediscover who he is before he attaches himself to another man.
He never counted on meeting Ben Urquhart, though. Ben tempts Jonathan to forget everything and take a leap. For Ben, it's love at first sight, and he doesn't want to take it slow. He wants to build a life with Jonathan, free from harm and full of laughter. But before they can take the next step, they must protect Jonathan from his possessive, threatening ex. Jonathan must find the courage to confront him and break the chains of his past before he can be truly free to build a future with Ben.
Pages or Words: 70,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
JONATHAN SHIVERED in the early morning air but not from the chill. He wrapped his arms around himself and groaned as his wound tugged against the movement. He relaxed slowly as the pain eased. From where he stood, he could see between the two apartment blocks to where the sun glinted off the Brisbane River. Five years ago he used to watch the ferries puddle their way up and down the river, dropping passengers here at Hamilton and across the way at Bulimba. He’d missed that view for a long time. He wondered if he’d miss the house now that he was leaving it.
The house was gray—morning gray, Anthony had called it, but it had always looked like unwashed, neglected underwear to him. The lines of the house were precise and symmetrical, unlike the yard. The front lawn bore scars, just like his chest. They were from his Cruiser skidding to a stop the night Anthony had sent him to kill Mark. His eyes burned as he thought how close he’d come to doing what his boyfriend told him to.
At the time, he didn’t think he had any other choice. It was kill or be killed. Literally. By the end of that night, Mark had been the only one left uninjured. Liam’s leg had thankfully healed quickly where Anthony had stabbed him. Anthony was still in hospital with a self-inflicted knife wound to the stomach, and Jonathan… Jonathan was done with that life. Anthony’s knife in his chest—so close to his heart it was clearly intended to be fatal—had cured him of whatever delusions he’d held onto that let him believe he was in love with the man. Even Anthony’s assertions that Jonathan was responsible for him being in a wheelchair since the car accident two years before wouldn’t get him to stay.
He was out of it now, or at least he would be as soon as the removalists came and took his stuff away. Then he could begin to heal. The first step had been to learn to breathe again after his lung collapsed when Anthony stabbed him. The next step… he didn’t know what the next step after this was. He wasn’t going to admit it to anyone, but he was just as terrified now, starting a life of his own—on his own—as he was when he thought he was going to die.
The trembling began again. Dizzy. Couldn’t catch his breath. He leaned beside the front door and forced himself to bring his mind back to the here and now and looked around again. There was a new section of fence now, and the Cruiser had been repaired and sat at the curb, waiting for him. His cousin must have had the damage repaired while Jonathan was in the hospital—learning how to make his lung work again after his boyfriend had tried to kill him. He shook the thoughts from his head. He had to stop thinking like this or he’d go mad.
Sleep last night had been impossible. The house had been cleaned, but nothing was going to completely remove the blood splattered on the white carpet. His blood.
A low rumble burbled through the air, and a truck turned onto the street. Jonathan’s heart raced. “You can do this,” he whispered, although he wasn’t quite sure which part of “this” he was talking about. It could be dealing with strangers on his own, or it could be leaving Anthony—finally. He pressed the heel of his hand over the dressing on his chest. Staying with Anthony was no longer an option.
The truck stopped and turned to reverse into the driveway. The high-pitched beeping made Jonathan jump and, to calm himself, he focused on the two men sitting in the cab. The driver looked young and blond, the passenger older and shriveled, his hair sticking out in unkempt tangles.
“Two people. Not Anthony. You’re outside, everything’s marked. You don’t need to go inside with them at all if you don’t want to. You can do this.” He counted his breaths in and out. The beeping stopped, the engine cut out, and the driver’s door opened.
Long, well-formed legs slipped from the cab, by-passing the step completely as a muscled body slid to the ground. Khaki cargo shorts bunched enticingly around a spectacular package before settling loosely around slim hips as the man’s boot-clad feet landed on the ground and he stood away from the truck. Jonathan moved his gaze up the body. The worn T-shirt did nothing to hide the trim stomach and prominent pecs and the sleeves framed the rounded deltoids perfectly. Jonathan sighed as he lifted his focus higher to see the man’s wide smile.
I slipped into this genre for a number of reasons. I’d been reading M/F romances and becoming more and more annoyed at them because the women were always submissive sexually. It didn’t matter how strong the woman was in the rest of her life, once she hit the bed the balance of power shifted away from her. I figured, with two men, they could just be men. There didn’t have to be a dominant or submissive personality. They could be equals. The reason I keep writing in the genre is that there’s an imbalance in available literature. Everyone needs to be able to find and read a book that shows them they’re normal. There was plenty of M/M porn out there but people are about so much more than porn. Just like anyone else, gay men need things to read that validate them.
The last book, Just in Time. My plotting is rather sporadic so a lot of what I write is a surprise to me. Jonathan was one of those surprises. My original outline was much simpler than the book ended up, and that was because Jonathan grabbed my attention. I was drawn to him from the beginning and almost immediately began wondering why he was in the relationship with Anthony and why he’d stayed there that long.
Not for me personally. I’m not even the type of person who experiences insta-lust. I’m drawn to people who smell a particular way but that doesn’t always translate in a desire to touch. If the brain doesn’t attract me, the smell doesn’t do it on its own. I know people who say they fell in love at first sight, but most of them have then spent months getting to know the person before deepening the relationship anyway. For me, that’s not love at first sight, that’s attraction and potential, but if other people believe what they felt was love at first sight, I’ll respect their claim. They’re the only ones who know how they feel at any given moment. Just because I don’t understand it or haven’t experienced it for myself, doesn’t invalidate their emotions.
I love the way Jonathan is uncertain and frightened but does it anyway. He has strength and bravery that don’t need to be shouted from the rooftops. I like the way he comes to accept his place in the world and the way he fights for his own bright spot in it.
Ben shows a different kind of strength. For the most part, Ben is completely laid back and accepting of anything, but if you know anything about outback Queensland, you know his peace was hard-won. He grew up in a place where there were clearly defined expectations of what made a man. He fits into that world, but it’s not his world. He’s strong enough to recognise that and confident enough to go after the world he wants for himself. It’s that strength and confidence that makes him the perfect partner for Jonathan.
That is such a difficult question. I have a new favourite book every week. I have several favourite authors whose work I’ll read without checking the blurb or cover. Among those are Denise Rossetti, Mary Calmes and Suzanne Brockman. As far as a favourite book goes though, I’m going to have to give the same answer I give when someone asks me what my favourite wine is: I’m still looking for it.
About the author:E E Montgomery wants the world to be a better place, with equality and acceptance for all. Her philosophy is: We can’t change the world but we can change our small part of it and, in that way, influence the whole. Writing stories that show people finding their own ‘better place’ is part of E E Montgomery’s own small contribution.
Thankfully, there’s never a shortage of inspiration for stories that show people growing in their acceptance and love of themselves and others. A dedicated people-watcher, E E finds stories everywhere. In a cafe, a cemetery, a book on space exploration or on the news, there’ll be a story of personal growth, love, and unconditional acceptance there somewhere.
Where to find the author:
You can contact E E Montgomery at email@example.com; Twitter: @EEMontgomery1
Tour Dates & Stops: April 20 – May 1, 2015
1-MayRafflecopter Prize: One copy of the each of the first three books in the series