Hi guys, we have Hudson Lin stopping by today with her upcoming release Three Months To Forever, we have a brilliant guest post from Hudson and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy the excerpt! ❤ ~Pixie~
Three Months To Forever
Ben is looking for an adventure when he accepts a temporary assignment in Hong Kong, but he never anticipated how his life might change when he meets a sophisticated older man named Sai. Their initial attraction is sizzling and soon grows into more as Sai takes Ben on a tour of the city’s famous landmarks and introduces him to the local cuisine. Sai stimulates Ben’s intellect and curiosity, and for jaded corporate lawyer Sai, Ben’s innocent eagerness is a breath of fresh air. It would be so easy to fall in love….
But nothing is that simple. Sai’s job forces him to do things that violate his morals, and his relationship with his family is a major obstacle to any lasting relationship with Ben. Back in Toronto, Ben’s father is ill, and can he really leave behind his home for a man he’s only known for a short time? With the clock ticking, they must decide whether to risk it all and turn three months into forever.
Traveler’s Guide to Three Months to Forever
Hi! I’m Hudson Lin and this is the blog tour for Three Months to Forever.
Three Months to Forever is set in Hong Kong, which plays a big role in the romance between the two main characters. I’d like to introduce you some of the Hong Kong landmarks featured in the story!
1. The Peak – The Peak is the tallest part of Hong Kong island and from there, visitors get a bird’s eye view of some of the busiest neighborhoods on the island with their tall shiny buildings. Beyond these is Victoria Harbour, which separates Hong Kong island from the Kowloon peninsula. The Kowloon side of the of Harbour is also filled with lots of tall shiny towers, and far in the distance are the mountains that make up most of Hong Kong. No visit to Hong Kong is complete with a trip up to the Peak.
2. Victoria Harbour – As I mentioned, Victoria Harbour is the main waterway separating Hong Kong island from the Kowloon peninsula. This is the life force of Hong Kong, providing access to shipping lanes and ferries to the outlying islands. Once the sun sets, lasers are shot out from both sides of the harbor, lighting up the night sky in a dazzling light show.
3. MacLehose Trail – Most people only associate Hong Kong with the bustling city; few know that there are plenty of trails winding through green mountains. The MacLehose Trail is just one of these, and is home to the famous annual 100km trail race that takes 48 hours to complete. Yes, that’s right, racers hike straight through the night!
4. Happy Valley – Horseracing is very popular in Hong Kong and Happy Valley is where it’s at! Racing typically happens on Wednesday evenings and the stands around the track are always filled with people, some serious gamblers, others merely spectators eager to soak in the excitement. Food and drinks are plenty, as are small stages with performances to entertain between the horseracing.
5. Tai Long Wan – Hong Kong is made up of dozens of small islands, many of them with coves where beautiful beaches have formed. Tai Long Wan is just one of these coves with clear blue waters and stretches of fine yellow sand. Some of these coves are quite remote and are the perfect getaway for some peace and quiet far from the hectic life in the city.
There are many other interesting and iconic landmarks in Hong Kong that I didn’t have space for in Three Months to Forever. I hope this has piqued your interest in this special place and that you get an opportunity to visit!
Three Months to Forever is available for preorder now and releases on July 20th!
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
“AND TO those who are new in town, welcome to Hong Kong! Your first drink is on the house!”
Ben Dutton leaned against the bar as the host with the heavy French accent stepped off the mini stage. The rooftop patio overlooked the city of Hong Kong, and all around him were people of varying ethnicities and accents, still dressed in business suits for the after-work networking event, sipping free alcohol and passing out business cards.
He stifled a yawn right as a bartender placed the beer he ordered in front of him on the bar.
“Thanks,” Ben mumbled. He was surprised he was still awake. Having just arrived in Hong Kong from Toronto the day before, jet lag was quickly setting in, and the only thing keeping him going was sheer determination.
Ben searched for the coworker he’d arrived with, but there was no sign of Mo on the dimly lit patio. Instead his gaze landed upon two men chatting animatedly down the bar from him. One was tall and slim, hair artfully spiked, sipping delicately from a martini glass. The other was shorter, with a plain but neat haircut, strong eyebrows, and a sharply tailored suit.
Ben’s gaydar pinged, but in his current stage of fatigue, it was more like a dull buzz. They’d make a cute couple, his half-asleep brain thought. The taller one threw his head back and laughed out loud while the shorter one glowered at his companion.
Ben blinked and then blinked again, much more slowly. His eyes shot open when his head started lolling forward, and the sight that greeted Ben was the shorter man staring at him with a crease between his brows.
Shit, he’d been caught falling asleep. He tried a hesitant smile and a nod but got no reaction. Then the taller man turned with a questioning expression that melted into a smile—with a wave of a martini glass and a tilt of his head, Ben guessed he’d been invited over.
“Hi, sorry,” Ben apologized, his default when at a loss for words.
“Why do you apologize?” The taller man spoke first with clearly articulated English, if heavy with a Chinese accent. “Don’t be sorry. We like it when handsome men notice us.”
A blush heated Ben’s ears at the sly compliment. “Uh, thanks?”
The taller man smiled and held out his hand. “I’m Winston Chiu.”
“Oh. Ben Dutton.”
“And this is Kwok Sai Hei.” Winston introduced his friend, but the Chinese name was said so fast and sounded so foreign to Ben’s Canadian ears that he was too embarrassed to admit he hadn’t caught it.
The shorter man took pity on him with a small, knowing grin. “Just call me Sai.”
“Sai, okay. Sai, yeah, that’s a lot easier. Sorry, all these Chinese names are kind of hard to keep straight. Or wait, is it Cantonese? Or is Cantonese the same thing as Chinese? Oh God. I must sound like such an idiot. Sorry. I’m sorry. I’m really jet-lagged right now. That’s not an excuse or anything, just… I’m sorry.”
Ben rubbed his eyes. If only he could hit the rewind button on the past few minutes. When he dared to glance up again, Winston was barely holding in his laughter, but Sai didn’t look nearly as amused.
“It’s okay,” Winston said. “Did you arrive in Hong Kong recently?”
“Yeah.” Ben ran a hand over his face, noting the stubble scraping against his palm. “Yesterday. From Canada.”
Winston’s brows shot up. “You arrived yesterday, and you’re already hard at work networking.”
Ben chuckled and shook his head. “Not so much networking as making a fool of myself, apparently.” He snuck a glance at Sai, who gazed out at the mingling groups of people as if he wanted to bail on this conversation.
“So, Ben, how long are you in town for?” Winston asked.
“Three months.” Ben launched into the spiel he’d been giving to people since he first got approved for the temporary assignment. “I work for BMO Private Bank. We’ve been growing our client base in Asia quite rapidly over the past couple of years. They’ve decided to create a client on-boarding team in region to provide more timely support, so they’ve pulled some staff from Canada to help get the team up and running.”
Winston nodded with a polite, if uninterested smile. “I don’t know anything about banking.” He shrugged, then sipped his martini.
“Right.” Ben chuckled. “Sorry.” And he took a sip of his beer.
“What part of Canada are you from? Vancouver?”
The abrupt question from Sai took Ben a little by surprise, and it was a moment before he pulled his answer together. “Oh, um, no, I’m from Toronto.”
Sai nodded and turned back to gazing across the room, leaving Ben feeling like he had given the wrong answer. “But I’ve been to Vancouver before. It’s a beautiful city,” he said, trying to make up for it.
Sai gave another disinterested nod, and Ben smiled through the awkwardness.
If it was awkward for Winston, though, he didn’t show it. “Three months is not very much time to explore Hong Kong,” he noted.
“I know.” Ben chuckled. “I’ve been making a mental list of everything I want to see.”
“Sai could show you around.” Winston grinned at his friend and got back a skeptical glare.
“Really? That’d be so great. I’d love to see the city with someone who’s local and knows all the hidden gems. Oh, but of course I wouldn’t want to impose or anything. I mean, you probably have better things to do than show a random stranger around town, right?” Ben forced out a laugh and chased it with a long swig of his beer.
He really should leave and find his bed. The jet lag was making him dumb. Yes, that was it. It had nothing to do with the way Sai pinned him with an intense look, dark-brown eyes almost black in the dim lighting, lips pressed firmly together in a way that made Ben’s breath hitch.
“Oh, Ben, you’re very cute, you know.” Winston laughed.
Ben laughed along, except he wasn’t sure the joke wasn’t on him. Sai continued to stare, and Ben didn’t quite know what to do with himself under such protracted scrutiny. Only when Sai looked away, turning his gaze back out to the party behind them, could Ben breathe freely again.
“So, uh, how did you guys get connected to this event?” Ben asked, focusing on Winston, who felt like the safer option. “I thought this was primarily for expats.”
Winston nodded. “It is. But the host is my boyfriend.” He flicked his eyes to the French guy who had given the opening remarks at the beginning of the night. “Jacques!” he shouted above the din and waved his hand in the air.
It only took a minute for Jacques to join them. “Hello, gentlemen. I hope you are having a good evening.” He held out a hand to Ben. “I’m Jacques Renard. Are you new here? I do not think we’ve met before.”
“Yes, he’s new here,” Winston jumped in as Ben shook Jacques’s hand. “From Canada, here for three months, works in banking.”
Jacques nodded as if that was all he needed to know about Ben’s background. “Fantastic. Welcome to Hong Kong.” Then to Winston, “Darling, may I steal you away from your friends?”
Winston gave them a smile, not apologetic at all, and went off whispering in Jacques’s ear. An uncomfortable silence settled between Ben and Sai, and he scrambled for something to say.
“So do you know the best places to party?”
Mortification painted his ears red as his words registered in his brain. Best places to party? He sounded like some kid with a newly acquired taste for freedom. Ben knew he looked young for his twenty-nine years, no thanks to the baby fat he never really grew out of. But that was the last impression he wanted to give Sai.
Sai, with the faint lines across his forehead and the grays peppering his hair, exuded an air of command that did strange things to Ben’s body. Sai gave him a once-over with casual authority, his gaze like a heated laser, traveling over Ben’s face, down his neck, and then sweeping across his body. He burned under Sai’s examination, a fire that came from within and competed with the stifling heat of Hong Kong in September.
“Yes,” Sai said, and Ben almost forgot what his original question was. Sai looked away, a slight crease in his brow. “Many of the gay bars are in the Sheung Wan area. Not too far from here. Do you know where that is?”
That was the longest string of words Sai had spoken to him all evening. And Sai’s voice was a fascinating mix of accents, mostly North American, just a hint of Chinese, much lighter than Winston’s, and a noticeable dash of British. It added to that dark allure that had Ben’s mouth growing dry.
Ben tugged at the tie already hanging loose around his neck and undid an extra button on his shirt. The way Sai watched his every move was not helping Ben’s state of overheating or his ability to think.
“Um….” Ben blinked. He could have sworn Sai had asked him a question. Oh, right, Sheung Wan. “Yes, I know that area. In fact, that’s where I’m staying.”
Sai nodded. “In a serviced apartment?”
“Yes, exactly. It’s really nice. Everything’s furnished, and there’s daily housekeeping. They even provide laundry service if I don’t feel like doing it myself. I mean, I usually do my own laundry at home. It’s not like I don’t know how to do laundry. It’s just now there’s a choice.” Ben trailed off in an awkward laugh and sipped his beer to fill the silence. “Um, your English is very good.” It was the first thing that popped into his head.
Sai frowned and pressed his lips firmly into a thin line. Oh God, what a stupid thing to say. This guy spent time around foreigners; of course his English was good.
“Thank you,” Sai deadpanned. “I’m glad it passes muster for a native speaker.”
Shit, Sai was offended. But there was a slight twitch of his lips, and the corners of his eyes crinkled. So maybe not offended? Oh God, Ben didn’t know. None of the social signs were the same here, and he couldn’t read the intention behind the words like he could back home.
“Did you study abroad?” He managed not to cringe at his own question.
Except this time Sai gave a short chuckle and broke out in a reserved smile. “Yes, I studied at Cornell for undergraduate studies and then Columbia for law school. Before that I did my schooling at an international school here.”
“Oh.” At least his guess hadn’t been completely off base. “So you’re a lawyer? What kind of law?”
“Oh, that’s cool.” Ben took a long swig of his beer, conscious of the way Sai’s eyes lingered on his throat. He was so distracted that he forgot to swallow and then sputtered when the alcohol overflowed in his mouth. He coughed while wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Sai dropped his gaze to the floor, thank God, though he looked like he could barely contain his laughter.
“Are you okay?” Sai asked after Ben finally got his windpipe working again.
“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Sorry about that.”
Sai shook his head, dismissing the apology. “Wouldn’t want you choking on your beer on your second day in Hong Kong. What kind of first impression would that be for us?”
“Oh, no, there’s no danger of that, believe me. This city is really cool. I mean, I haven’t seen much of it yet. But what I have seen, I really love.” Ben couldn’t read what Sai’s grin meant, or why Sai’s dark eyes looked like they were laughing at him. But there was no ignoring the fluttering in his stomach that only grew with each passing moment in Sai’s presence.
Sai narrowed his eyes and tilted his head up to meet Ben’s taller height. The slight movement was the only indication to Ben he had been swaying unconsciously toward Sai. He caught himself but couldn’t quite move back; it was as if he’d been caught by some invisible net Sai had cast, held in place solely by the look in Sai’s eyes.
Sai flicked his gaze away at the sound of his name, and the net was let loose. Ben stepped back and took a couple of breaths to steady his racing heart before looking for the source of the voice. Mo waved him over to talk to a group of people who looked a lot less interesting than Sai.
“Uh, that’s my friend, Mo. He also works at BMO. He’s from Vancouver.” That was probably too much irrelevant information, but Ben was so far down the embarrassment hole by that point it didn’t make much of a difference.
Sai nodded with that slight crinkle around the edge of his eyes and the little upturn of his lips.
“I, uh, should probably go see what he wants.” Which was the last thing Ben wanted to do, so he made no move to leave.
“Ben!” Mo shouted again. “I want to introduce you to some people!”
Still Ben hesitated, hoping Sai would offer up something to continue their conversation, to maintain this strange connection, whatever it was. As curious as the feeling in his gut was, Ben liked it and wanted more of it.
But Sai didn’t give him an out. Instead he smiled, polite and formal. “It was nice meeting you, Ben Dutton.”
“Yeah, you too. I’ll, uh, just say hi to them and be right back.” Maybe he was too desperate, but so be it.
Sai gave him a short nod that held no promises, and Ben relented to Mo’s summons. He went and introduced himself to the random people Mo wanted him to meet, made some small talk, and then turned back to the spot where he and Sai had had their moment. He didn’t know what he expected: maybe Sai still standing there, waiting for him with those smoldering dark eyes and teasing grin? But there was no sign of him.
Ben sighed. Well, shit.
Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with ofttimes conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.
Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Hudson likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters.
When not engrossed in a story, Hudson knits, drinks tea, and works the 9 to 5 in the beautiful city of Toronto, Canada.