Monday, December 17, 2018

Holiday Home Hotel Tour and Giveaway


The Holiday Home Hotel
by Lou Sylvre
Genre: M/M Supernatural Romance

Daren Novak and Gunny Schuler have known each other since freshmen days at the University of Washington, where they'd started a romance Daren assumed would last. But at the start of winter break, Gunny bowed to the dictates of his lifelong religion and his overbearing father and left UW never to return.


After a failed marriage, Gunny built a quiet life embracing his gay identity, and left his North Dakota home, his marriage, and his father's business for a forestry and teaching career in Oregon. Meanwhile, Daren has built up his own life around managing a unique holiday venue, the Holiday Home Hotel, and performing for the guests in drag as "Dare."

A decade has passed since they last saw each other, but now winter’s harsh weather brings them face to face—helped along by a minor goddess and powerful forest spirit. Too much hurt might lie between them now to fix things, but interfering supernatural beings are determined to force them to try.






Being a wild man but keeping it secret was like walking a tightrope without a balance bar. The danger filled Gunny with quiet but insistent exhilaration.
By the time Halloween rolled around, conservative, respectable, reserved Gunner Schiller from North Dakota had gained a reputation as a partier. He’d even had sex with women on two occasions at parties. He didn’t really remember much about that. The memory lapse might have been about booze, but truthfully he hadn’t been all that drunk either time, so he thought it was mostly because the act itself hadn’t been as memorable as he’d expected. The idea of sex excited him, but honestly, the women’s bodies and efforts just didn’t. Oh well, he’d thought after the second try, you live and learn.

Halloween night was to be one big mobile party. Gunny had bowed to popular opinion and decided he wouldn’t be any more damned to hell than he already was if he dressed up, so he decided to go all out and be Satan for an evening. Tall, lithe, Daren would go as Cher, wearing a close copy of one of her signature racy outfits. Gunny was all for that idea, and he told himself that was because he’d heard music-major Daren sing Cher songs at Karaoke, and he did it beautifully—the costume just made sense.

They were joined by a pair of their more raucous acquaintances—Johnny Langdon dressed as the Lord of the Hunt, and his brother Benny, who refused to dress up at all with the exception of donning suspenders and pretending to smoke a stogie all night. Together they started the evening at a Karaoke bar within walking distance from their home base. They ordered drinks with their fake ID and maybe the costumes helped them get away with it. But it was early in the evening, and Daren’s first turn at the mike came up before he or Gunny—who still tried to pace himself in an effort to reduce guilt over the sin of drunkenness—hadn’t had more than a sip. Oddly, Daren seemed more self-conscious singing “Love is the Groove” than Gunny remembered him being the last time he’d done the Karaoke thing. Looking like Cher—and Gunny had to admit Daren, in many ways, pulled that off quite well—evidently made him self-conscious about singing like her. Although, honestly, Daren didn’t sing like Cher. He sang like Daren, his voice tenor but enriched with overtones from all the registers, his style strong like Cher’s but, to Gunny’s inexpert but attentive ear, perhaps differently nuanced.

Gunny hadn’t really known a lot about Cher until he’d started rooming with Daren, who called the pop goddess his patron saint. In his new, wild-with-reservations life, Cher’s music seemed to fit right in with the parties and booze and pot, all of which swirled around a central core of Daren. Gunny knew Daren was at the heart of his changes, the centrifuge that had sent everything whirling, and that was okay. He figured he’d give himself a year to spin to the outside, and then settle back down—no doubt without Daren in his life. Meanwhile he gave himself over.

That Halloween night, when Daren came off the Karaoke stage after “Love is the Groove” looking down and maybe even embarrassed, Gunny had been mystified by his own need to comfort him. He’d been schooled all his life to think a man’s emotions were his own problem, and he had no reason to believe—or sense—that Daren wouldn’t be just fine once he manned-up. But he’d finished a hard drink by then, and that might have been why he even noticed Daren might need comfort. Not knowing the best way to go about such a not-so-macho thing, he ordered shots all around and challenged Daren to keep up with him.

Daren didn’t try to do that, but he did drink, and he did loosen up, and by the time his second turn for Karaoke came up, he was a lot more relaxed. Relaxed enough—or drunk enough—to trip on the top step of the stage. He recovered with a giggle, though and stood at the mic, gazing out at the audience with sultry eyes before launching into “Taxi Taxi.” Daren’s performance seemed loose and tight in all the right places and it mesmerized Gunny.


Lou Sylvre loves romance with all its ups and downs, and she likes to conjure it into books. The sweethearts on her pages are men who end up loving each other, and sometimes saving each other from unspeakable danger. It’s all pretty crazy and very sexy. As if you'd want to know more, she’ll happily tell you that she is a proudly bisexual woman, a mother, grandmother, lover of languages, and cat-herder. She works closely with lead cat and writing assistant, the (male) Queen of Budapest, Boudreau St. Clair. She is the author of the six well-loved books of the Vasquez and James Series and holiday favorites, Falling Snow on Snow and The Holiday Home Hotel. She teamed up with Kiwi author Anne Barwell to write Sunset at Pencarrow, an adventurous tale of New Zealand romance.





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