Hi guys, we have debut author Eylse Springer stopping by with the tour for her new release White Out, we have a super guest post where we get a glimpse of Jason’s story, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Noah Landers wakes up one day with a headache and no memory of where—or who—he is. Jason, the man taking care of him, tries to fill in some of the blanks: they’re in a cabin in Colorado on vacation, and Noah slipped on ice and hit his head. But even with amnesia, Noah knows Jason is leaving out something important.
Jason O’Reilly is sexy as hell, treats Noah like he’s precious, and seems determined to make this the romantic getaway they’d apparently dreamed of together. But Noah’s more concerned that he’s trapped alone with Jason in the middle of a blizzard while his slowly returning memories bring hints of secrets and betrayal.
Noah’s not sure what’s the truth and what’s a lie. But as he learns who he is—and who Jason is to him—he’s forced to reevaluate everything he believes about himself, about loyalty . . . and about love.
Hello! I’m Elyse, and welcome to the blog tour for my new release, Whiteout! This is the first book in the Seasons of Love series, and I can’t wait to introduce you to Noah and Jason.
Because Whiteout is told from Noah’s point of view, we only learn about who Jason is through Noah’s eyes. And while I would have loved to tell Jason’s side of the story as well, it just didn’t work out with the book I was writing. But I still jotted down several pages of notes about what it was like for Jason growing up, his friends and interests, and the way he feels about Noah.
This is a piece of a scene that I wrote from Jason’s point of view, more as an exercise to figure him out than as anything intended to be in the book:
The first time Jason had suggested it, Noah had grimaced and said, “Not tonight, sorry. I’m not feeling well.” And he’d looked a little pale, so Jason had pulled a fleece blanket out of the closet and wrapped Noah up tight, curled against him on the couch with the game turned down low in the background.
The second time, Noah distracted him with a handjob that turned into a blowjob, and Jason didn’t realize it until several hours later, when he was wrapped around Noah in bed, sweaty and languid. It had been too late to bring it up again.
It wasn’t until the third time Jason mentioned it that he started to suspect something wasn’t right.
“I have to work tonight, sorry.” Noah was frowning apologetically, and he looked sincere… but Jason was pretty sure Noah had tonight off.
He’d grown up in a household where people’s words and expressions rarely matched what they were truly feeling. His parents had been masters at it, smiling politely and telling a guest how happy they were to see them, while biting back cold glares and cruel words.
Noah was nothing like his parents, though. They’d only been dating for three months, but Jason knew that much for certain. Jason had never felt so at ease with someone before, not even Steven; Noah was warm, open, sexy, and he fit into Jason’s life like he belonged there.
So it didn’t make sense for him to be acting so strangely.
The fourth time it came up, Jason pulled on every ounce of authority that he’d learned from his parents and from his job. “Let’s go,” he said. “The game is on at Louie’s down the road, and a few of the guys from work are going to be there.”
Noah opened his mouth, then closed it. “Why don’t we just stay here and watch it? I’ll order Thai and we can make out during the seventh inning stretch.”
Jason was used to pulling rank at work. He was a senior broker at the firm. Whether he was dealing with rookie hotshots who were fresh out of their MBA or certification program, or with rich clients who insisted they knew investments better than he did, Jason knew exactly how to get what he wanted.
But Noah wasn’t a cocky college grad or a stuck-up client. He was Jason’s boyfriend, his partner, and the thought of forcing him wasn’t remotely appealing. He wanted Noah to want to come with him.
“Okay, babe. Talk to me.” Jason perched on the edge of the couch, studying Noah. “Every time I suggest going out with some of my coworkers, you find a way to get out of it.”
He could practically see the gears in Noah’s head turning. And he could also see the moment where Noah changed his mind, evasion—or outright protest— turning into tired resignation.
“I don’t want to meet your coworkers.”
Jason exhaled. “Noah.” He studied the younger man for a minute, trying to figure out what he was thinking. “Is it because you think they won’t like you? Because I’ve told them all about you, about how amazing you are, and they’re excited to meet you.”
Something flashed across Noah’s face, there and gone too quickly for Jason to process, and then Noah nodded slowly. “Yeah. That’s why.” Noah looked up, pleading. “Can we just not tonight? Please? Some other time, I promise, I’ll come out with you to the bar, but can we just watch the game here tonight, the two of us alone?”
As much as Jason wanted to introduce Noah to his friends—to watch the game together in a boisterous, large group of people he loved—he wasn’t going to deny Noah this. Not tonight. “Sure, babe.”
Noah relaxed almost immediately, and Jason hadn’t even realized how tense his lover was. “Thank you.”
Jason leaned forward, wrapping his arms around Noah’s shoulders and kissing him slow and sweet. “Of course.” Another kiss, and then he pulled away. “But next time just tell me, all right? I never want you to feel uncomfortable or afraid because of me.”
He woke up to gentle fingers carding through his hair, and a raging headache.
The fingers stopped their soothing movement as he groaned, and then there was a hand on his face and a shadow blocking out the light. He blinked once, twice, forcing his eyes to slowly open.
A man was looking down at him, his gaze filled with relief and tenderness. “Good, you’re awake.” The hand moved down his face and neck, feather-light touches, and then the man twined their fingers together. “I’ve been so worried. How are you feeling?”
He shifted, wincing as the movement caused the pain in his head to spike. “I don’t . . .” His voice was rusty, and he had to swallow a few times before continuing. “Head hurts,” he finally managed. “Where am I?”
“We’re in the cabin in Colorado. Do you remember what happened, baby?”
Baby? The word made no sense, meant nothing to him. His head ached fiercely as he struggled to find something to explain what was going on, but he couldn’t think past the stabbing in his head. The man was waiting for an answer, eyebrows furrowed with worry.
He tried to connect a name to the face staring down at him, but there was only static—and more excruciating agony. “Who are you?” he whispered.
The fingers around his tightened. “Babe? What’d you say?” The words were still soothing, but now there was panic laced in that soothing tone.
“Don’t know,” he tried again, voice tight through the pain, “who you are. Or where I am.”
“Noah, it’s me. Jason. Do you remember me?”
Nope, nothing. The names ran through his head, but there was no memory to attach them to. Nothing to connect Jason to, with his brown eyes and comforting voice. And he was Noah? The words were meaningless. He closed his eyes as his head pounded. Why didn’t he recognize his own name?
“Noah, baby, keep your eyes open. I called the doctor in town; he said you probably have a concussion and I’m supposed to keep you awake if I can.” The calm was all but gone now, replaced with something stronger.
“Don’t remember.” He sucked in a shallow breath, then another. Why couldn’t he remember? His heart hammered like it was going to beat out of his chest. He clenched his eyes tighter, until bursts of red bloomed against his eyelids. Everything hurt, and the harder he tried to think, the more his head felt like it was being torn in two.
The other man—Jason, why can’t I remember that?—climbed carefully onto the bed next to him. He slid one arm underneath his shoulders, made soft noises against his neck. “Deep breaths. Shhh. Inhale, exhale. You’re okay. It’s going to be okay. Breathe with me, Noah.”
“Why do you keep calling me that?”
“Noah? It’s your name, baby. Noah Landers.”
If that was true, then why didn’t he know it? It felt weird, not quite right, like putting on clothes that didn’t fit well. “And you’re Jason?”
“Yeah, I’m Jason.” He paused, then added, “Jason O’Reilly.”
But that wasn’t right either. The words made his stomach ache, but he didn’t know why.
“C’mon, Noah, open your eyes for me.” Jason squeezed his hand again. “I’m going to call the doctor again in a few minutes, but first I need you to open your eyes back up. Come on, let me get you some water and Tylenol. I bet you have an awful headache, and I know how grumpy you get when you’re in pain.”
Slowly, Noah blinked his eyes back open.
Jason gifted him with a smile, and a small part of Noah must have recognized it—his body responded, relaxing at the sight. The sick feeling in his stomach didn’t vanish, but it lessened.
“Let me grab those painkillers for you. I’ll be back soon, okay?”
Before Noah could answer, Jason brushed a gentle kiss over his forehead, then slid off the bed.
Noah took the chance to study him as he walked away, and to take in the room through his pain-soaked haze. Nothing was familiar. The room, filled with dark wood and white linens, was cozy and quaint, but the size, combined with the quality of the furnishings, implied a subtle wealth. A window showed that it was evening, only a hint of gray light making it through the glass, and white snow blew past, obscuring any possible view.
And Jason himself . . . Noah couldn’t take his eyes off him as he walked back into the room with a glass of water and bottle of medicine. He was tall, easily six foot, and there was a clear definition of muscles beneath the henley and jeans he wore. His dark hair was flecked with gray at the temples, and it was standing straight up, as though Jason had run his hands through it over and over.
That thought was followed by another. What do I look like? Noah’s panic attack threatened to return again. How can I not know what I look like? It was a terrifying disconnect, trying to picture his own face and drawing a complete blank. He examined his arms, thin and pale. Sparse blond hair and dark freckles patterned the skin.
Jason set the water down quickly and moved back to the bed. He shifted Noah to a sitting position, wrapping his arms around Noah’s shoulders to support him. “You’re all right. Deep breaths, babe.” The concern that had been present on his face since Noah had woken hadn’t faded, but there was another emotion present there now. Noah wasn’t sure what to call it, but it made the awful feeling in his gut rise back up.
“I’m trying to remember.” He took a deep breath, felt his body steady, and then took another one. His hands were trembling, heart racing.
“Let’s start with the pain medicine,” Jason said. “Then we’ll work on helping you remember, okay?” He retrieved the water and passed over two white pills, but had to help Noah drink from the cup. A few drops spilled down his chin anyway, and Jason used his thumb to wipe them up gently.
Noah swallowed the medicine gratefully, then relaxed back against the pillows.
“So you don’t remember anything?” Jason asked.
“None of this is familiar. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know who I am, or what I look like.”
“I can fix one of those things right now.” Jason moved over to the wall, where a large rectangular mirror hung, and lifted it off its hook. His arms flexed under the strain, and Noah had to pull his attention away from the bulging biceps in order to investigate the image before him.
Blond hair curled around his ears. Blue eyes appeared dull with pain, and a purple bruise bloomed along the edge of his temple, disappearing up into a white bandage that was spotted with blood.
Hesitantly, he touched the injury, watching in fascination as his reflection did the same. The face in the mirror wasn’t familiar, and his brain struggled to connect the thin, pale figure with the concept of self.
“The bleeding stopped,” Jason said, motioning to the bandage. “But it bled a lot at first. The doctor gave me a list of food to help you recover from the blood loss, so you should be . . .” He paused and ran a hand through his hair. “That was the scariest part, finding you lying on the ground, blood everywhere.”
The face staring back at him was essentially a stranger, and Noah had to look away.
Jason propped the mirror against the wall and then sat down on the bed again, carefully drawing Noah in to curl against him. “We’re on vacation,” he said. “In Colorado. I have a small cabin here, and we decided to come up for Christmas. I had . . .” he hesitated. “I’d asked you to go shovel the path to the wood shed, because it was starting to snow and the weather report had said a blizzard was going to be rolling through. I guess you slipped, hit your head pretty bad.”
“Yeah,” Jason laughed, “of course that’s what you’d latch on to. You warned me, said sane people go to the beach for Christmas, not to a house in the middle of the mountains, because who picks avalanches and blizzards over sun and sand? But I wanted to spend Christmas with you, relaxing in front of the fire. You said you’d never had a true white Christmas before, just gray slushy snow in the city.”
Noah frowned. The more Jason spoke, the more he knew that something wasn’t right. “Why no hospital?”
“Emergency vehicles can’t get up here until the storm dies down,” Jason said. “Maybe two days if we’re lucky, three or four if not. I called the doctor in Aspen, and he’s been walking me through how to take care of you step-by-step.”
Carefully, Noah brushed his fingers over the bandage around his head again. The Tylenol was beginning to work, but there was still a sharp pain and throbbing ache in his skull, and there was a large bump just over his ear.
“It’s late now, but I’m going to call the hospital back, see if I can talk to a doctor. A little memory loss is normal, from what they told me, but I just want to check in with them about your amnesia.” Jason leaned forward, and Noah expected another kiss on his forehead. Instead, Jason carefully brushed their lips together, fingers resting against Noah’s jaw. “You’re going to be okay, baby,” he said. “I’m so sorry, but I’ll do everything I can to make sure you’re better soon.”
Then he left Noah alone in the room with his thoughts.
The wind howling outside combined with the faint murmur of Jason on the phone in another room, creating a soothing white noise as Noah stared at the ceiling and tried to remember.
Read more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/whiteout (Just click the excerpt tab)
Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, El spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.
She’s always happy to chat with other readers, and you can find her online at:
- Website: http://elspringer.com
- Twitter: @ElyseSpringer
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elysespringerwrites