Please welcome Annabeth Albert to the blog today! She has another book in the fantastic Frozen Hearts series releasing today!
Hi! I’m so excited to be here today with an exclusive excerpt (see below) from ARCTIC HEAT, my newest release in the Frozen Hearts series set in Alaska. As with the other two books in the series, this one stands alone fine—there’s only the briefest of mentions of the prior books’ couples and no spoilers. This is my opposites-attract, odd couple roommates, snowbound romance as a seasoned ranger finds himself paired with a newbie volunteer for the winter season where they’ll be snowed in together at a remote Alaska state park. I loved writing the slow evolution of a friendship between the cranky ranger, Quill, and the more optimistic volunteer, Owen. I brought you a look at where the tension between wanting to be friends and wanting to be more is starting to grow!
Title: Arctic Heat (Frozen Hearts #3)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: September 23, 2019
Genre(s): m/m contemporary romance/ action adventure m/m romance, interracial romance
Page Count: 368 pages
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty,
Kirstin A. and Kristin F.
A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.
Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…
Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.
As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
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Silent for several long moments, Quill finally shuddered, shoulders relaxing into Owen’s touch. “You’re too damn good at this.”
“Is that a ‘yes, please keep going’?” Owen couldn’t resist teasing.
“It’s not a no.” Quill groaned like the admission cost him a mortgage payment, so Owen rewarded him with more purposeful movements, rubbing the broad expanse of his upper back, not simply focusing on his neck and upper shoulders. He was far from a pro, but he’d done this enough to be pretty confident in his abilities. Shoulder blades tended to hold a tremendous amount of stress, so as Quill slumped more forward, he worked there, digging in and finding hidden pressure points. Quill’s breathing deepened, a sexy little hitch to each inhale, barest hint of a moan on the exhale.
“So…middle name?” Owen grasped at the nearest random topic to distract himself from the blood rushing to his cock over Quill’s reactions. His subtle noises were pure sex, and it was only too easy to imagine Quill in bed, truly letting go.
“What?” Quill sounded like he’d pounded back a shot, and it was sexy as hell.
“Your middle name. It can’t be that bad.”
“Tell me.” Owen traced the column of Quill’s strong spine with his thumbs.
“Nope.” A quick peek revealed that Quill’s eyes had fluttered shut. Since Owen didn’t want to ruin his relaxation, he dropped the topic. For now. One more thing about Quill to be curious about, to obsess over until spring. He’d get Quill to fess up at some point, one way or another.
“I bet your arms are sore too.” He started rubbing Quill’s biceps, intent on working his way toward his meaty forearms and strong hands.
“That part of the back rub deal?” Quill didn’t pull away, so Owen kept going, working on spots he knew from experience felt good like the upper arms and mid forearms.
“Sure it is. Repetitive stress injuries were rampant in grad school. I had a flare-up of ulnar nerve pain, and massage helped me a ton. And later I had a boyfriend who was always massaging my hands.” He picked up one of Quill’s meaty paws to demonstrate, a surprisingly intimate gesture, practically holding hands. Where Quill’s sounds had gone right to his groin, this intimacy hit him square in the chest, made him want Quill on a deeper, more personal level. It wasn’t so much that his hand was a little larger as much as how it radiated capability, as if this was a guy who could carry considerable weight, and not simply physically burdens.
“Can’t say as I’ve ever tried it.” Quill’s eyes were still squished shut, his breathing more audible than the faint whisper of his words.
“That’s too bad. I mean, I know you and Hattie were isolated up here, but don’t you miss touch?”
“Not sure.” Quill exhaled hard, chin falling to his chest as his arm lost all traces of resistance. Fuck. He was so hot when he gave himself over to this, let Owen do his thing the way he wanted. That sort of supplication made his brain fizz like champagne, made his head swim to the point that he almost missed Quill’s next words. “Been so long… And even then, not like I came from a touchy-feely family.”
Something about the longing in Quill’s voice spoke to tender parts of himself that Owen didn’t often connect with. He couldn’t imagine denying himself touch for years on end. Everyone needed human contact, especially people like Quill, who gave so much to others.
“And your…friends?” he asked, tone cautious as he moved back to the other hand. “No touch there either?”
Quill was silent for several breaths before muttering, “Complicated.”
“I see.” And he did—a guy who was closeted or close enough to it, living in a remote area, was probably low on both friends and opportunities. But it still made his jaw clench, thinking of all Quill was missing out on.
Quill’s muscles were undoubtedly loose enough now that Owen could stop, but an almost primal urge to give Quill more touching drove him to return to Quill’s neck, fluttering his fingers softer now, relishing the feel of warm skin. Maybe Quill could live without pleasures like this, but Owen sure as hell couldn’t.
Mouth dry, his lips ached to join his hands. He could almost hear Quill’s surprised gasp, taste his skin, feel the heat of his back if he pressed close…
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.
To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.