Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Tour: Interview & Giveaway - Served Hot (Portland Heat #1) by Annabeth Albert

Served Hot
Portland Heat # 1

By: Annabeth Albert

Releasing March 3rd, 2015




In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations… 

Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but "the usual"—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?


From Chapter One of SERVED HOT:
My nooner was late. Well, technically, David was my 11:50. Without fail, ten minutes before twelve every work day, David P. Gregory bought a vanilla latte from my coffee cart in the Old Emerson building in Portland. I only knew his name because he used his debit card to pay, and I knew the time because of the old-fashioned, massive brass clock directly across the atrium from my cart.
I knew David banked at a local credit union, knew that he worked somewhere that required a tie, knew that he had a smile that made his mouth crinkle up at the edges when I handed him his coffee, and knew that he was an excellent tipper.
What I didn’t know was whether or not he was straight. We’d had this weird dance for months now—he’d arrive for his coffee, stilted and uncomfortable, relax into a bit of small talk while I made his drink, and then he’d take his coffee to one of the metal tables out in the atrium to have with the lunch he packed in a blue bag. I liked watching him eat because he gave it his entire focus—no smart phone or gadget, no newspaper or book, no folder of work. A few times I’d caught him looking back in my direction. But his gaze never lingered and either my flirting while I served him was more subtle than I’d thought or he was simply immune.
Today David was late. Unexpected disappointment uncurled in my stomach, souring my caffeine buzz. It was a good day—a steady stream of customers at my cart and bustling business for the pizza place and the vegan sandwich bar on the other side of the atrium. The hundred-year-old office building had been renovated to include a few small eateries in the newly added skylit atrium. Plenty for me to look at, but my eyes kept returning to the double brass doors that opened onto Ninth.
David pushed through the heavy doors at 12:45 just as I was finishing up a caramel soy latte for one of the Goth girls who worked at the jewelry place across the street. I hid my smile behind my espresso machine. Eager for it to be his turn, I tapped my toes against the linoleum.
“The usual?” I figured it would freak him out if I mentioned I’d noticed his lateness.
“Hmmm.” He studied my specials sign. I’d glued a chalkboard panel inside a silver frame from a secondhand place on Hawthorne and put the whole thing on a silver-painted easel. Classy on the cheap.
Today I had a half-price tuxedo mocha—white chocolate with dark chocolate swirls. David had never paid any attention to the sign before, but today he gave it a long stare, consideration tugging his mouth back and forth. God, I loved his mouth—full pink lips, a hint of stubble on his upper lip like he’d missed a spot shaving.
After a few seconds, he shrugged, broad shoulders rippling the fine cotton of his dress shirt. “Yeah. The usual.”
“Sure thing.” I grabbed the cup for his small vanilla latte.
“Wait.” He held up a hand as I started to ring him up. “Iced. It’s sweltering out.” He’d rolled up the sleeves of his crisp white shirt, revealing muscular forearms and a heavy silver, antique-looking watch.
“Meaning it’s eighty-five degrees in Portland and everyone is freaking out. You know . . . it’s good to try something different once in a while.”


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Let's learn a little about author Annabeth Albert!

What is your writing environment?
We remodeled our garage to be an office for me. It has coral walls and it’s easily my favorite room in the house. At the moment, it has train tracks on the floor and a doll beauty salon in the corner, but I do most of my writing when the kids are at school or later at night.  I also sneak in writing by hand late in bed and while waiting for things like kids’ swim lessons to finish up.  

Who is your perfect hero/heroine? Why?
I like my heroes imperfect.  I like ordinary men with extraordinary hearts who maybe aren’t aware of how deserving of love they are. I like men who need change in their life and need to grow to achieve the best version of themselves and lasting happiness. As an author, I like providing that catalyst for change and growth and watching flaws morph into strengths.  

Which authors have caught your interest lately? Why?
There are so many awesome authors , and my tastes are super diverse. Last week, I read Karen Stivali’s Moment of Impact, Amy Jo Cousin’s Off Campus (reading right now! Awesome!), Tessa Dare’s Say Yes to the Marquess, Victoria Dahl’s Looking for Trouble, and got a sneak peek of Edie Danford’s Uncovering Ray coming in April. I highly recommend all five!   

What type of book have you always wanted to write?
I’m lucky that I am totally writing the sorts of books I’ve always yearned to—quirky settings, complicated heroes, a little humor, some angst, and a ton of feels. I like writing diverse characters and different settings and making unique back story for my characters’ lives.

How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
I’d reached a wall in revising Treble Maker (a cappella m/m romance coming in August!), and I needed a distraction. At that precise moment, I saw a prompt on the Gay Romance Northwest group asking for shorts taking place in the Northwest. Immediately, Robby and his coffee cart and his favorite customer came to me, fully formed. What started as a 5,000 word short morphed over the next few months to the 30,000 word novella I eventually sold to Kensington. By the time it sold, the idea had spawned the two other books currently in the series, Baked Fresh and Delivered Fast.

What is your favorite scene in your newest release?
I loved writing the scene of David and Robby at Portland Pride. I loved trying to capture some of my favorite visuals of one of my favorite local events, and I loved seeing the event through David’s eyes as he experienced it for the first time.

What is the last movie you watched and loved?
We saw Into The Woods, and I loved the combination of music and humor and drama.

What would you consider a “perfect date”?
Thai food, a good movie that leads to great conversation afterwards, and a little chocolate dessert.

What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m working on the second book in my reality music show series, tentatively titled Love Me Tenor. It revolves around a boy band trying to win a contest. After that is turned in, I’ll be working on a fourth book in the Portland Heat universe, tentatively called Knit Tight and starring a barista and a male knitter.

Author Info:

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.

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 toddlers.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads


Rafflecopter Giveaway:
$25 Amazon eGift Card

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