Tour: There’s Something About Ari (Bluewater Bay #2) by L.B. Gregg *Review, Q&A and Giveaway*

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BWB_SeriesCoverWelcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by ten award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield, Aleksandr Voinov, Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, and G.B. Gordon. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

L.B. Gregg kicks off the second half of the tour with There’s Something About Ari, the second book in the multi-author Bluewater Bay series.

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 16th, and winners will be announced on November 17th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

 

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There’s Something About Ari (Bluewater Bay #2)
by L.B. Gregg

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Buck Ellis’s future seems pretty damn bright. With a full college scholarship in hand, he’s going to ditch Bluewater Bay and pave the way for his kid brother Charlie to do the same. The only fly in Buck’s ointment is his ten-year addiction to his best friend since second grade, his true love, and his Achilles heel: Ari Valentine, Mr. Least Likely to Succeed.

But then Buck’s mother dies, changing everything, and five years later, his future is still on hold. It’s a struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and Charlie on the straight and narrow. Buck can’t afford any temptation, especially in the form of the newly returned, super hot, super confident, super successful television star Ari Valentine.

ADHD poster-child Ari Valentine left for Hollywood and lost everything, including his bad reputation. Then the breakthrough role of his skyrocketing career lands him back in Bluewater Bay, to the stunned disbelief of, well, everyone. But there’s only one person Ari longs to impress—the only person who ever really mattered to him, the person he left behind: Buck Ellis.

 

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Q&A with L.B. Gregg

Since you’re writing in the Bluewater Bay Universe how was your writing experience different for this story than others you’ve written?

I’ve always created my own characters and set those stories in real places, so finding my footing in Bluewater Bay was a challenge. Once I settled into Buck’s point of view, the story flowed and the town felt more like home. I had to keep checking our bible to remember where things were, or who the other characters in town and on the show are. We worked together to create a map—but these are stand alone stories. Love interest Ari Valentine plays a character on the show, but the POV is a Buck’s and he’s a barista. He’s not tuned in to Wolf’s Landing—the show. He doesn’t even watch it! He’s just a young guy, trying to figure things out.

Was this story something you already had planned to write or did you come up with it solely as an addition to the Bluewater Bay Universe?

A little of both, actually. I planned to write a New Adult this year and I really wanted to do another book with Riptide (because yay), so when they asked me to climb onboard I said yes.

I unearthed a scene I wrote years ago from a book that later became Mistletoe at Midnight—and that chunk was my jumping off point in creating both Buck and Ari. I boiled those pages down and extracted about two paragraphs. They became a turning point moment in Buck and Ari’s shared history and the last memory Buck had of Ari when they were teenagers.

How hard has it been for you, research-wise, to bring this series to life?

A lot of email flew back and forth! There’s now a map and a bible we can refer to, but the big kicker for me was never having been to the Pacific Northwest. It’s on my list of places I want to go. I researched, and asked lots of questions. In the long run I focused on my strengths—character building and dialog. Sharing an editor is a huge part of keeping the series vision cohesive, and Sarah is simply fantastic.

How would you describe this series to someone who has not read any of the books but is intrigued by the concept?

The most intriguing part of Bluewater Bay is that the series is set in one place, revolving around this amazing new TV show, but each author is free to create their own story, characters, places, and we build on that world together.

I love this concept. It reminds me a little of the Rhode Island School of Design bicycle requirement. Do you know it? Freshman applicants must submit a pencil drawing of a bicycle on plain white paper, measuring 16” x 20”. It’s amazing to see how each artist interprets a bike. You can see the results on google images.

I felt like we had that same opportunity in Bluewater Bay. Each of us has a unique point of view, voice, and style and we’re able to share our vision of Bluewater Bay with readers.

That’s pretty cool.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on a new Christmas story—for the Comfort and Joy anthology with my friends Josh Lanyon, Harper Fox, and Joanna Chambers. My contribution is Waiting for Winter. Set in Vermont, my two guys are ex lovers, stranded alone together on Christmas Eve. That’s coming out in early December.

 

Review

5-stars

Buck Ellis leads a simple life–taking care of his younger brother, going to work and merely going through the motions. His sole focus is making sure to keep his brother at his side, regardless of his dreams and aspirations. But his ordinary existence is about to get a bit complicated when his teenage crush and one time best friend, Ari, moves in next door.

Buck never forgot the young man he spent his youth with or the feelings he once felt towards him. But Buck hasn’t allowed himself to feel anything in years and having Ari popping in his life at every turn soon has him a complete mess.

The one thing I loved most about this story were the characters. At just a little over 90 pages of content, L.B. Gregg does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life. We get to know Buck and Ari’s history as young men, how their connection grew through the years and the pain their sudden separation caused in both of them.

I came to understand Buck’s hesitancy in letting Ari into his life once again, but it broke my heart to see him so conflicted. Especially since his feelings towards Ari ran so deep. I would have loved to experience Ari’s side of the story first hand since I believe that his turmoil over leaving and keeping his distance would have added a lot more to the story. However, the author managed to give me more than a glimpse into his personality and his feelings towards Buck, which quelled my curiosity.

Through the use of honest and often heated interactions, L.B. Gregg provided insight into the connection Buck and Ari shared and how deeply their feelings for one another truly were. I enjoyed Ari’s easy manner and charming personality but I loved it when he was direct and confronted Buck about his actions and feelings. I especially enjoyed it when they both just let go and gave in. It was hot and sweet and in my opinion, way too short of an encounter.

All in all, a sweet second chance story and a great addition to the Bluewater Bay universe.

*I received a copy of this title through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

About the Author

When not working from her home in the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut, author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama–sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny, stories about men who love men.

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 Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 16th, and winners will be announced on November 17th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Starstruck by L.A. Witt

There’s Something About Ari by L.B. Gregg

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