J.R., thank you so much for letting me take over your blog today. Before I get started, though, I wanted to bring up that I’ll be doing a giveaway at the end of the tour. Every comment that is made on each of the posts will be put into a hat and two winners will be drawn at random to win e-copies of the book. I’ll announce the winners on my website on April 10th.
Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about the setting of Keeping Sweets.
I was filling out some forms for DSP, when I came to the question about setting: “Does the setting play a major role in the story other than location?”
I really had to think about that. Keeping Sweets is set on the Oregon Coast, and theoretically, you could probably pick up the house the guys are staying in, plop it somewhere on the coast of California or Washington, and the story would still make sense, but would it be the same story?
For me, I don’t think it would. I have had a twenty-year love affair with the coast of Oregon, and I don’t think it’s ending anytime soon. Every year for as long as I can remember, my family packed up my sister and I, and we made the ten-hour drive to Lincoln City. We stayed in a hotel that has definitely seen better days, but still feels like home. When my husband was still my boyfriend, I learned that his family vacationed on the Oregon coast every year as well. It was where we took our first trip together. Three years later, right in front of Haystack Rock (the haystack shaped monolith in the upper right corner of the cover) is where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and in September 2012, right in front of that same massive rock, I did.
There is something about that place that feels magical, and I don’t know if it is because of my history there, of if that long stretch of beach instills the same feeling in everyone, but when I think of Oregon, I want to channel my inner Disney princess and break out in song.
In Keeping Sweets, Bran and Evan stay in a house just outside of Newport. There are so many places I wanted to have them visit while they were there, but if I had included them all, the novel would have been a thousand pages long. They stay near Newport, but travel north up the coast towards Astoria. They visit Tillamook for ice-cream, and Ecola State Park (where the photo on the cover was taken from), then to the arcade in Seaside, but the best place they visit is the ocean.
Just thinking about it makes me want to go back.
Here is the official blurb for Keeping Sweets:
Days away from high school graduation, with hardly a penny to his name, Evan Lowry needs to earn money for college. When he comes across an ad for modeling, he thinks his luck has changed—until he learns he’s interviewing for an adult film and will be expected to have sex. On camera. With other men.
For gay porn star Brandon Court, the shine has worn off of regular shoots. He and his producer, Les, decide to try something new: a reality-show porno set at a beach house. When he meets wide-eyed and naïve Evan for the first time, Brandon isn’t sure if he wants the kid to get lost or get naked.
On set, Brandon takes Evan under his wing, and over the next month, they are thrown together in every intimate way conceivable—except emotionally. Both Brandon and Evan are terrified of trying for anything deeper, and insecurities and doubts wear on their hopes, but the chemistry between them won’t let them slow things down.
And here is a little excerpt from the first time Bran and Evan meet. This is Evan’s casting couch interview and Bran is not so sure hiring him is a good idea.
Evan raised his eyebrows, which made him look tempting as sin. Bran absolutely wanted to attack him, show him how good it can be when two people want it, and Bran definitely wanted it.
Evan’s breathing was already becoming ragged as he dragged his fist up and down. Bran flushed with desire. He needed to remember the rules. He wouldn’t get attached. He would keep this compartmentalized.
Get yourself under control, Bran, he mentally castigated himself.
He pulled off his own T-shirt, trying to lower his temperature and get his body back under control. His cock was pressing insistently against his zipper, begging to come out. He was used to coming multiple times per day and he hadn’t gotten off at all today. It was borderline painful.
Evan had increased his speed, his breathing quickening along with the rhythm of his strokes. His eyes fell closed as his head bobbed back, mouth open slightly. He was far too tempting not to touch.
Bran reached over and ran his hand from Evan’s knee to hip, feeling the soft skin, the light dusting of pale hair, and the tensing of muscles beneath his palm. Watching Evan’s expression carefully for any signs of discomfort, he allowed himself to continue lightly trailing his fingertips farther north over his left nipple.
Evan let out a small moan of pleasure. So, he had sensitive nipples. Bran could work with that. He leaned over and placed his lips on the side of Evan’s neck. He sucked gently, eliciting more moans from Evan, who was now so far gone in his pleasure that all he could do was feel.
That was exactly what Bran wanted him to do. Feel good. He pressed gentle kisses down his neck and over his shoulder before dropping lower to lave and suckle at his nipple. Evan lost it then, increasing his pace and thrusting up into each counter movement of his hand.
The sound of Les’s voice shook them both from the erotic spell that enveloped them.
“Noah, pull Jackson into your lap. Touch him.”
Bran lifted his head and looked at Evan, raising his eyebrows in question. Evan’s pupils were blown and his gaze glassy with need, but he managed to give a slight nod. That was all the permission Bran needed.
He reached over, hooked Evan under the armpits, and pulled him into his lap. The few inches difference in height made for a perfect fit. Bran reached beside the couch for the bottle of lube they kept there. He poured a healthy amount into his palm and pulled Evan’s hand away to replace it with his own. Gripping tightly, he ran his fingers over Evan for the first time. Evan hissed and arched against him, bucking up into his hand.
“Oh my God, Noah. So good. So, so good,” he whimpered.
The friction of Evan’s ass against Bran’s raging erection was torturous. It felt good, but wasn’t enough to give him the relief he craved. He used his other hand to push Evan’s hips back down, holding him close against his body. He could feel the heat rising off the boy, driving his passion to a fever pitch.
He once again tried desperately to get his own body under control. This wasn’t about him. This was Evan’s first time, and he wanted to make it as good as possible. He leaned forward and brushed soft kisses against Evan’s temple.
“Shhhh, it’s okay, just relax and let me take care of you.”
Evan let his head fall back against Bran’s shoulder, surrendering his body to him to do with what he pleased. Bran wanted desperately to bury himself inside the younger man’s body.
He could feel Evan trembling with the need for release. He was close. Bran could feel it. He snaked his hand down and pressed his fingers firmly against the sensitive skin behind Evan’s balls. Evan cried out as he came. Thick ropes of come splashed over his stomach and coated his abs and Bran’s fingers.
Bran slowed his strokes to bring Evan down slowly. He laid kisses along his neck and shoulders as Evan relaxed back against him.
That was so hot Bran had almost come in his pants. He needed to get a grip before he lost it entirely. Maybe one too many years of denying any sort of connection with the guys he worked with had come back to bite him in the ass. He was going to have a hard time denying the attraction he felt for this one.
Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.
Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.
Cate loves to hear from readers. You can find her here: