Dating in Retrospect
Lila Leigh Hunter
Title: Dating in Retrospect (States of Love)
Author: Lila Leigh Hunter
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Sex Content: Explicit
Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.
Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.
A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.
Valentine’s Date Exclusive
Hi, everyone! Lila here. I’m glad to stop by today and let you know more about my States of Love novella, Dating in Retrospect. It is set in Iowa and one of the most important scenes occurs during Valentine’s day. Here’s an exclusive excerpt of the second part of Clay’s and Aaron’s date. And you don’t want to miss what happens afterward. <3
He was ready to have his hands all over his man and celebrate. They crossed the street, and the theater’s door opened as soon as they were close enough. A young man ushered them inside after greeting Clay by name. They left their coats and scarves with the usher before they were escorted to a small table for two set in front of the main stage.
“My name is Edward, and I’m going to be your waiter today. Could I get you something to drink?”
Edward wore an ill-fitted dark brown suit with a matching fedora hat.
His smile was bright and his eyes filled with mischief in the dimly lit room. “What about something warm? Coffee, hot cocoa?” Edward suggested.
“I’d do anything for a big cup of coffee to warm up my hands,” Aaron said, shivering.
“Black, with lots of sugar for him. I’ll take a hot cocoa, Edward,” Clay interjected.
“Not a problem, Mr. Keller. I’ll get those started. When you’re ready to order, just place the menu on this stand, and I’ll be happy to assist you,” Edward said before leaving them alone in the auditorium.
Aaron looked around the empty space, suspicious of Clay’s plans. His heart beat fast and his breathing caught when Clay held one of his hands between his. Clay massaged them, and the warmth from Clay’s body did the job to get him hot better than any cup of coffee could. He had missed Clay. They hadn’t seen each other since Christmas, both too busy to meet during January. Several times he’d thought about flying to California for the weekend, but Clay’s ever-changing schedule made it difficult to coordinate. He had been in Cali before, searching for Clay without luck, and he didn’t want to repeat the experience. Sitting outside the observatory, looking at the Hollywood sign alone, had left a scar on his heart.
“You keep that up and I’ll have you over this table, love,” Aaron said, trying to distract himself from the dark memories trying to ruin their date. He was a moody bastard.
“That would be a show, but not the one we are here to watch,” Clay said, pointing at the stage. “The theater’s troupe is in rehearsals for the upcoming season, but they agreed to perform for us today. We can be their first critics.”
“Yes. I reserved the theater just for us. Their show is going to be an interactive murder mystery dinner deal. We are also trying the menu they will be using. It’s a win-win situation.”
“Clay… you didn’t need to go to all this trouble. We could have stopped at a fast food place or even ordered room service. This is too much.” Aaron was being honest. Every date Clay had planned for them had been more detailed than its predecessor. The amount of money he had been spending on Aaron had to be exorbitant. And that was without counting all the trips he was making from the West Coast. Not that money was an issue for either of them, but he needed to start taking part in the decision-making and share the expenses with Clay if they wanted their relationship to move forward. He had no idea how much longer they could continue their long-distance relationship without rehashing the past.
“Hey, look at me,” Clay ordered, and Aaron complied. “It’s not like I rented Radio City Music Hall and got the Rockettes to perform exclusively for us. This is a small-town theater with a mix of college students and retired actors letting us watch one of their dress rehearsals. Just relax and enjoy the evening, sunshine.”
Clay was right. Aaron was overreacting as always, looking for the worst-case scenario. “Fine. I’ll let you pamper me. It’s Valentine’s, after all,” Aaron said, blowing a kiss to Clay. Edward took that moment to arrive with their drinks. They selected their food from the two options offered and settled, waiting for the show to start. The quiet room gave Aaron the opportunity to relax, now that they had warmed up. Anyone would believe he was the one living in California, but the cold winter days always bothered Aaron. At least he wasn’t outside dealing with the farm or shoveling snow. He was having a lovely date with his partner at a private performance. Aaron smiled before moving his chair closer to Clay’s and wrapping him in his arms. He tilted his head over Clay’s shoulder. His boyfriend turned, kissing the top of his head, and Aaron sighed, cuddling closer as the stage lights dimmed completely and the curtains opened. The first notes started, and before long, Aaron was captivated by the mystery.
Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.
She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.