It's Release Day for: ★★ Learning to Love by Felice Stevens + a Special Guest Post
TITLE: Learning To Love
AUTHOR: Felice Stevens
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
LENGTH: 150 Pages
RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2016
With Felice Stevens
My Writing Family
Writing is one of the most solitary jobs there is. You sit in front of a screen and type away, hoping to pick through the words swirling in your head and put them in a coherent, cohesive manner so that they make an interesting story.
But sometimes you need people, if for nothing else than to hear the sound of a voice that isn’t your own, or get in touch with other ideas. That’s when it’s so important to have a small group of trusted friends to talk to. These are the people you reach out to when you maybe have a block and need to work something through. Or when you get a bad review and need to vent. Or maybe you’ve simply had a really crappy day. That’s when your group of writer friends become so important-like a life line.
It makes me happy to help my friends, give advice and take it as well. Lord knows this is a difficult business to survive in under the best of circumstances; the process of writing and publishing a book now, in an atmosphere of uncertainty over sales and ranks and all that other messy stuff, is harder than ever. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have people who understand what I’m going through.
My at home family might not get it, but they don’t have to. I keep my writing life separate because I need to. I don’t discuss my books with my family and they don’t read them. I don’t care about though, they don’t need to. I never discussed my legal cases with my husband because honestly, it would take to long to explain things. My husband is a wonderful cheerleader though; he talks me up to his patients (he’s a dentist) and is always telling them to buy my books.
If I wanted to, I could talk to my husband and children as much as I want to about the writing process, but they don’t really understand. They can’t know what I mean when I talk about the annoyance of Facebook ad rejections. I don’t want to explain again, why as an author you never respond to reviews. All these reasons are why having friends to talk to is, next to writing my book, the most important thing for me, and I consider myself lucky I found them.
In Learning to Love, Gideon had no one to turn to except Rico. But even Rico, as much as Gideon loved him, couldn’t give him the peace he needed. Gideon didn’t understand even then that Jonah would be his anchor and the one he could always turn to without judgment.
After ten years away from home, bad boy caterer Gideon Marks has a lot to prove. Getting the holiday catering job at his childhood synagogue is the first step in demonstrating to everyone he didn’t turn out to be the failure they predicted. What he doesn’t count on is Rabbi Jonah Fine, his high school nemesis and secret crush, stirring up old feelings Gideon thought long gone and secrets he’s buried deep for years.
An unexpectedly passionate encounter shocks Gideon, but he pushes Jonah away, convinced he isn’t good enough to be in a relationship and would never be accepted by Jonah’s father. But Jonah hangs tough—he won’t allow Gideon to hide or run away from life again. And when it comes to love, Gideon learns the most important lessons aren’t always taught in school.
“You realize we always talk about me, but I know nothing about you and what you’ve done for the past ten years.” I stood at my kitchen counter and after debating a moment, grabbed the flour. Not that I wanted to show off, but having Jonah here to cook for was an unexpected treat, and I might as well make him some biscuits to go along with the omelet. “What happened when you went to law school? Why did you really leave?” I turned on the oven to preheat it for the biscuits.
I poured the flour into a bowl, mixed in baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then crumbled the shortening mixture with my fingers, all the while waiting to hear about Jonah’s life. He lay stretched out on my sofa, as supremely comfortable as a cat in a patch of sunlight, and with a pang I wished this could be any normal Saturday for us—me making breakfast in the kitchen while chatting with Jonah.
He turned over on his stomach as I finished the dough and floured the marble slab I’d splurged on. I’d done this for so many years it was all second nature now and I could concentrate on Jonah.
“Like I said before, I hated it. I’m not a competitive person by nature; I never needed to be the best or number one.” He laid his cheek on his hands and stared off into space. “But I’d been dating someone, and we started getting into silly arguments about summer jobs and where we’d like to apply.”
I’d never imagined myself the jealous type, and realistically I understood Jonah was no virgin, but if the painful twist in my stomach at the thought of anyone else touching or kissing Jonah was any indication, I was in deep shit.
“Oh?” My voice remained neutral, but I was busy kneading the life out of the poor dough. Since it had never done anything personally to me, I willed myself to calm the hell down and set about rolling it out for the biscuits. “Were you two that serious?”
“Ben and I? Not really. He thought so and wanted more, but I made it clear from the beginning I wasn’t going to fall in love with him. I cared for him deeply and felt badly I couldn’t give him what he wanted.”
“What was that?” I jammed the biscuit cutter into the dough with sharp angry jabs.
My hand stilled on the biscuit cutter, and I looked over at him. He met my gaze unflinchingly, and I could feel the heat rise in my face.
“Why not?” I had to ask.
Jonah stood and joined me in the kitchen, hemming me in against the counter. I admit to not putting up too much resistance, but it still took me by surprise.
“I was keeping it for when I met you again.” He cupped my cheek in his hand. “No matter what I would’ve ended up doing with my life, Gideon, finding you was always part of my plan.”
What could I say to that? Jonah’s words rolled around in my head like brilliantly colored marbles, setting off a kaleidoscope of emotions that scared the hell out of me.
I sidestepped out of his embrace, muttering, “I have to get these biscuits in the oven,” and grabbed the cookie sheet. My back was to Jonah, shielding my badly shaking hands gripping the pan. I placed the biscuit dough on the sheet and slid it into the oven. The familiarity of being in my kitchen and cooking balanced me, and I was grateful that Jonah, most likely having sensed my unease, had returned to the living room and his place on the sofa. Once he left the kitchen I found it easier to breathe.
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, My character have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.
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