Book title: The Boyfriend Trap
Author: JB Buell
Genre: Gay Contemporary Romance
Length: 23,965 words
Heat rating: Moderate
Male stripper Jamie has been seeing his boss, club owner Luke, for a while now. Jamie wants a more committed relationship, but Luke is dragging his heels about getting more serious with Jamie or introducing Jamie to his daughter, Sofia.
But Sofia has had enough waiting around to meet her dad's not-so-secret boyfriend, and devises a plan to get them together.
In this sweet rom-com, two grown men find themselves outwitted by a precocious eight-year-old.
Before we have any more about this story, I asked him a few questions:
Q: What's your inspiration for the story?
A: I wanted to feature a workplace relationship! I really love the dynamics of 'should we/shouldn't we?' for working relationships.
This story is about a workplace relationship that just happened naturally, even though there's a bit of an age difference and the relationship is between employer and employee.
Also, the workplace just happens to be a strip club! So that allowed for moments where the employer, club manager Luke, is trying to work, and his employee, stripper Jamie, is trying his hardest to flirt and win Luke over.
(Spoiler alert, Jamie's flirtations pay off!)
Q: Which part was the hardest to write?
A: There's quite a few scenes around New York City, so researching that was probably the trickiest part, as I only visited once a long time ago.
Also all those little English/American differences where we do things completely differently! For instance, making Jell-O. Over here our Jell-O comes in blocks, not powder. So all the domestic family scenes had a lot of checking involved!
Q:To what extent do you think you have consistent themes across your stories?
A: I do have a love for male strippers, so that's consistent with me! But no matter who the characters are or what they do, I enjoy showing them in love stories and cute, domestic settings.
Well, that sounds fabulous. And now for a little excerpt.
"Who's Jamie?" Sofia asked.
Luke coughed into his glass, trying not to choke on the orange juice he'd been drinking. He looked around to where Sofia was sitting at the table, homework all spread out. His cell phone was there too, screen up on the table, and Luke cursed his own stupidity.
"What?" he said, acting nonchalant as he wiped OJ off his chin.
Sofia gestured at the phone with her pencil. "It's lit up three times with the name Jamie. Who's Jamie?"
"He's someone daddy works with." Luke swooped in and grabbed his phone. "You finish your homework and I'll get started on dinner in a minute."
Sofia was quiet, watching him closely. Luke felt his flush intensify under her gaze, then thankfully she changed the subject.
"Can we have pasta?" she asked.
"Sure," he agreed with relief.
When Sofia turned back to her homework, wriggling excitedly at the prospect of food, Luke opened his phone's lock screen to read his messages.
4:13 Jamie: Hey
4:25 Jamie: I miss you. Can we talk?
Luke sighed inwardly. He'd better try get this straightened out.
* * * *
Sofia was feeling nosey.
Her dad was great, but he could be so secretive and squirrely about things.
She quietly left the table and tip-toed through the apartment, right up to her dad's bedroom door. She put her ear close, and listened.
"Yeah, of course I want to see you," her dad was in the middle of saying. "Well, no... You gotta give me a chance here, Jamie ..."
It sounded like he was placating the other person, using his patient and quiet tone of voice.
Sofia frowned, trying to place the tone. It almost reminded her of a mommy and daddy talk, when they'd tried to keep quiet and talk about something in another room so Sofia wouldn't overhear.
But her parents were divorced now, and her mom had a boyfriend who was very nice.
It was kind of sad that her dad always seemed to be on his own. He needed someone nice too.
Sofia listened, heard him say, "I promise I'll talk to her. Of course I want you to be involved, Jamie, but you gotta give me a chance to tell her. There hasn't been anyone since her mom, okay? This is a big deal..."
Sofia's breath caught as her eyes widened. Was he talking about her? He had to be. So, did that mean...?
Sofia grinned to herself.
Her dad had found someone. Finally.
* * * *
This book will be published on Saturday 28 September with JMS Books
Buy link: http://www.jms-books.com/jb-buell-c-224_405/the-boyfriend-trap-p-2905.html
Author bio: JB Buell is a non binary writer (they/them, or he/him) of m/m romance and gay rom com stories. They are a cat person, and can’t decide if they’re more of a coffee or tea person but is quite happy to drink both.