Pastry chefs are my favorite kind–nah, scratch that. I like whoever gives me good food.
Carter (Twilight Falls #2) by A.M. Salinger released on Friday in the Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+ genre.
Carter’s carefree, movie star lifestyle comes to an abrupt end when he becomes the guardian to a little girl he has never met before. Will his hot new neighbor Elijah prove to be the one thing he and Maisie need to make their family whole?
Carter Wilson has it all. A dazzling career, fame, fortune, and women falling at his feet. All that changes the day he becomes the guardian to his newly orphaned niece. When he moves to his hometown of Twilight Falls to give Maisie the stable life she deserves, the last thing Carter expects is a hot neighbor who is soon making him wish for things he has never wanted before.
After abandoning a promising career in Europe to fulfill the vow he made to his grandmother, pastry chef Elijah Davis is determined to make his new bakery business a success. What he doesn’t need is a distraction in the shape of the hunky movie star next door and the little girl who is fast worming her way into his heart.
But when an old flame chases Elijah to Twilight Falls and a bitter movie producer threatens to expose Carter’s secret bisexuality, both Elijah and Carter realize they will have to fight dirty if they want their relationship to survive.
Discover Carter and Elijah’s story in the bewitching second novel in Twilight Falls, the new series by the author of the bestselling, contemporary romance series Nights.
“You look like hell,” Sam said bluntly.
“Thanks,” Elijah muttered. He finished folding the last puff pastry dough, wrapped the batch in cling film, and popped them in the chiller.
Sam handed him a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Elijah inhaled the smoky scent of roasted French beans and savored the first sip with a tired sigh.
“You make the best coffee.”
“You buy the best coffee beans.” Sam frowned. “So, what’s up? The opening was a success and we sold out within two hours. I know it’s only been three days, but I thought you’d still be on cloud nine. By the way, I think we’re gonna need another pair of hands out front if things stay as they are. Daisy is working herself ragged serving the tables and I’m too busy behind the counter to help her.”
Elijah rubbed the back of his neck and winced at his stiff muscles. “I’m not getting much sleep. And I agree. I thought we might have to hire a second waitress down the line. I didn’t expect it would be this soon.”
“What can I say? You make the best cakes on the West Coast and, according to most of the women who visited the shop today, you’re sex on legs.” Sam raised an eyebrow. “Why the lack of sleep? Too much fornicating?”
Elijah groaned. “I wish. Besides, I’ve been single since I moved here.”
“There are toys, Elijah,” Sam said bluntly.
“I worry about you.” Elijah paused and pursed his lips. “My new neighbors have a child who cries a lot at night.”
“Oh.” Sam raised an eyebrow. “Have you spoken to them about it?”
“Not yet,” Elijah murmured. “It looks like they’re struggling. Although, I’ve not really seen the mom.”
“You tried earplugs?” Sam said.
“I might have to resort to that soon,” Elijah admitted.
They closed shop a few hours later and headed their separate ways. Elijah considered dining out before belatedly remembering the steak he had marinating in his parents’ refrigerator.
God, I must really be tired.
He drove home, pulled up outside his parents’ house, and glanced at the lights blazing out of the property opposite the road. There was a car parked at an angle on the drive, as if its owner had come home in a hurry. It was a flashy, yellow Maserati.
Not exactly child friendly.
He went inside, had the steak with a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and plopped down on the couch in the living room to catch a late night replay of a baseball game. He must have fallen asleep as the next thing he knew, a loud shriek jolted him awake. He bolted upright and almost fell off the couch.
One of the windows facing out front was open. A faint breeze stirred the curtains. It brought with it the sound of crying.
Elijah stared through the glass at the house across the way.
The scream came again.
He jumped up, snatched his cell and house keys, and ran outside. He was across the road in seconds, took the porch stairs two steps at a time, and started pressing the doorbell and banging on the door.
“Hey! Is everything okay?!”
A child’s sobs rose above the sound of the chimes of the bell from somewhere inside the property.
Lights were coming on in the adjacent house. An elderly couple appeared at a window, faces pale, the woman’s hands clutching the top of her nightgown at her throat.
Elijah gave them a reassuring wave where he stood under the porch light and resumed knocking on the door.
The child’s crying suddenly stopped.
A chill filled his veins. Elijah wavered between calling the cops and kicking the damn door open. He’d just raised his fist to strike it for the final time when it opened unexpectedly.
Elijah stumbled and almost fell inside. He grabbed the frame and righted himself at the last second before staring at the man in the doorway.
The guy was six feet tall, had dirty blond hair, arresting hazel eyes that were currently glazed over with a mixture of exhaustion and frustration, and a body and a face to die for.
Elijah’s gaze dropped to the red blotches smeared across the man’s white T-shirt and the bread knife in his hand. His stomach clenched with fear.
Shit! Is that—blood?!
A low sob and a sniffle came from somewhere behind the guy. Anger overcame Elijah’s dread. He drew his arm back and punched the guy in the face.
“You bastard!” Elijah stormed inside the house, aware he was doing something stupidly crazy. “Where is she?!”
A hiccup came from down a hallway decorated in pale pastels. Elijah followed the sound to the back of the house, his knuckles throbbing. The man mumbled something incoherent and followed in his footsteps.
Elijah entered a modern kitchen-diner that overlooked the property’s rear garden and the evergreen forest that backed onto it, glanced around, and staggered to a stop, his eyes rounding.
The little girl with the blonde hair stood in the middle of the room, a teddy bear with tattered ears and limbs in one hand and an upended bottle of ketchup in the other. There was a petulant expression on her face.
Elijah’s gaze moved from the puddles of red sauce on the floor, to the remains of what looked like a butchered hot dog on a plate on the black marble island.
“What on earth is going on?”
Fresh tears gathered in the little girl’s blue eyes. She let out a loud bawl.
AUTHOR BIO: Ava Marie Salinger is the pen name of an Amazon bestselling author who has always wanted to write scorching hot contemporary romance. In 2018, she finally decided to venture to the steamy side. NIGHTS is the first of several sizzling series featuring sweet, sexy men with dark pasts and a whole lot of love to give to the ones brave enough to fight for their hearts. When she’s not dreaming up hotties to write about, you’ll find Ava creating kickass music playlists to write to, spying on the wildlife in her garden, drooling over gadgets, and eating Chinese.
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- $10 Amazon gift card + 2 ebook copies of Carter
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