Hi guys, we have Ava Hayden popping in today with her upcoming release The Valentine’s Day Resolution, we have a brilliant guest post and a great new excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
The Valentine’s Day Resolution
Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams. Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.
Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.
When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.
Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.
When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?
Release date: 2nd August 2017
Pre-order: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Kobo | Apple iTunes
Thank you MM Good Book Reviews for hosting me today to talk about my forthcoming title, The Valentine’s Day Resolution, a standalone novella with an HEA.
Huxley and Paul are both dealing with big problems. For Huxley, one of those is a phobia that not only impedes his ability to lead a normal life, but also threatens to destroy what is growing between him and Paul.
Huxley suffers from amaxophobia after being trapped in a wrecked automobile. Amaxophobia means a fear of riding in vehicles, but while some people can’t ride in vehicles at all, others may be able to drive but not ride as passengers. Some people can ride, but only in specific ways. Huxley can ride in the rear seat of an SUV or minivan (but not the front), and he can’t ride in a small vehicle at all. Driving is impossible.
I knew a little about amaxophobia before I started writing because a close friend had a bout with it after an accident. One day when she and two siblings were out shopping, a truck in front of them began backing up toward their parked vehicle. It carried a load of logs that extended out the back, and either the driver didn’t see my friend’s family car or misjudged the distance, because in spite of the older sister’s frantic honking and lots of teen screaming, a heavy log punched through the passenger side windshield to the back of the seat where normally my friend would have been sitting. For a year after that, she couldn’t ride in the front seat of a vehicle.
I don’t much care for spiders or heights, but as far as I can tell, my fear doesn’t rise to the level of phobia. I can carry on with my daily routine if I find a spider in the house, and I can cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge or go to the top of the CN Tower (okay, I won’t stand on the glass floor—sorry, just—no).
I’ve only come close to feeling anything like a panic attack once, and that happened at a castle I visited in Turkey. The remains of an old tower had a stone staircase that curved around it up to the top. I started climbing the steps and realized suddenly that a) I was high enough to die if I fell off, b) there were no handrails of any kind, and c) the steps were barely wide enough for two people to pass. A group started up the stairs, and my heart rate went through the roof. I broke into a cold sweat, and my legs felt like overcooked noodles. So I sat down.
The group passed by, apparently unconcerned at how high we all were on the narrow stairs. Meanwhile, my legs still wouldn’t support me. I couldn’t look at the ground below without feeling faint. In the end, I scooched my way down the steps one at a time on my behind, looking utterly ridiculous. When I got close to the bottom, I stood up, still sweating and shaky. At that moment, because apparently I hadn’t been sufficiently humiliated yet, a horde of children ran up the stairs past me as if they were mountain goats.
How about you? Have you ever discovered a phobia you didn’t know you had? Or suddenly found yourself facing your worst fear?
IT NEVER started the same way twice.
Huxley stepped away from the Lexus to meet his mother. “Mum, I’ll drive you home.”
In the dim glow of the streetlight, Candace Herrington shoved past him, tottering on stiletto pumps, purse handle clenched in a fist. She tripped and clung to the back of the sedan until she got her left foot back into its shoe and then stumbled toward the driver’s side.
Huxley followed her around the car and inserted himself in front of the door, blocking access. His mother tried to reach around him. The Lexus was smart enough to unlock the door when she touched the handle, but too dumb to know she was drunk and drugged.
“Mum, let me drive. Please.”
“Huxley. Augustine. Herrington.” His mother bit off the words. “Let me in my car.”
When Huxley didn’t budge, she stormed around the front and let herself in the passenger-side door.
“Mum, no.” A step behind, Huxley dove through the passenger door and slammed a hand over the Start button.
This was where it always got confusing.
“Move your hand.”
“If you drive, Dad will call 9-1-1 and report you.”
“Let the bastard.” His mother slammed a fist against his hand. He yelled and jerked away in reflex. His mother started the car, put it in gear, twisted the wheel, and stomped on the gas. He leaped for the Start button.
No, that wasn’t right.
“Move your hand.”
“Mum, please let me drive.”
His mother squeezed her eyes shut as tears overflowed and ran down her face, leaving black mascara and gold-shimmer highlighter snail trails in their wake.
“Everything’s going to be okay. Just let me drive you.”
“Fine. Just—fine.” She handed over the key and put a hand over her face as she wept.
No, that wasn’t right either.
“Move your hand.”
“Mum, come on. Let me drive.”
His mother stared at her lap, hands clenched. “I was just humiliated in front of your father’s new wife.” She pounded the steering wheel with a fist. “He bought her a diamond tennis bracelet for Valentine’s Day, and he couldn’t even be bothered to send me flowers the last year we were together.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
Candace wiped tears. “Look, I’ll just drive up to Whittaker Trail. Then you can drive.” She gave Huxley a pleading look. “Please, I don’t want that bitch to see.”
Huxley groaned. “All right. But just to Whittaker. Pull into the mall parking lot.”
This part was always the same.
He couldn’t move, his right side pressed against something hard, his face against a scratchy webbed surface that gave beneath him. Darkness. Bursts of light he could see through his lids. His eyes wouldn’t open. Why not?
Odd chemical smells. Liquid dripped into his hair. Voices. He tried to call out, but his lips weren’t working. He tasted iron.
“Hold on. We’re working to get you out.” Metal creaked and groaned. His body rocked inside its cocoon. Not a cocoon—a coffin. He had to move. He fought to move. He screamed.
Huxley jolted in the bed, heart pounding. He’d sweated through his sheets.
He threw off the covers and checked the time: 5:00 a.m. He wouldn’t go back to sleep. He knew that from experience. Might as well get ready for work.
The floor thermostat was still in overnight mode, so the bathroom tiles hadn’t yet warmed. Huxley walked like Indiana Jones avoiding booby traps to get to the shower without stepping off thick bath rugs. He waited until the cascade of hot water filled the glass enclosure with steam and warmed the shower floor before he stepped in and rinsed off the sweat.
The last time Huxley saw his mother was just before the hospital released her, straight into the nearest facility that could provide both physical therapy and addictions treatment. She cried about how much weight she’d gained, the write-off of her Lexus, the scars on her face, and the wheelchair she had to use until she could handle crutches. Most of her damage was visible. Most of his wasn’t.
Once dressed, Huxley made a K-Cup mocha, settled on his couch, and tuned the television to the CBC. Death, war, scandals, aggrieved people shouting. Same song, different verse. He muted the sound but left the program on for company and picked up his tablet. He would reread those reports he hadn’t comprehended yesterday.
Instead he found himself staring into space, thinking about the man he’d seen yesterday. Probably straight and married with three kids. Or gay and married because gay men who looked like that didn’t stay single. Good-looking, yes, but not jaw-droppingly handsome. Just—full of life. Maybe that was why Huxley couldn’t get the man out of his mind.
Ava Hayden lives and writes in Alberta, Canada. When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and gay romance, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face to face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting, and that’s fine by her.
Alexandria Corza’s LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn