Excerpt: Sapphire Dawn - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

Under his pen name, C. Travis Rice, New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice offers tales of passion, intrigue, and steamy romance between men. The fourth novel, SAPPHIRE DAWN, once again transports you to a beautiful luxury resort on the sparkling Southern California coast where strong-willed heroes release the shame that blocks their hearts’ desires.

Donnie Bascombe has made a lot of people’s fantasies come true in his life, first in the bedroom, then on the set of his adult entertainment studio. But his best friend Logan Murdoch has just presented him with his tallest order yet—help plan the wedding of his dreams. Desire has always been Donnie’s forte. But lavish nuptials at one of Southern California’s premier oceanfront resorts? For that job, he’ll need a partner. And a mentor.

Richard Merriweather has devoted his life to planning fairy tale weddings for celebrities and royalty—only to have his own husband shatter his heart into a million pieces. Remaking the special events office at Sapphire Cove is just the distraction he needs to get his fancy and luxurious life back on track. But the groom’s brash and undeniably sexy best friend has a powerful attraction to Richard Merriweather he can’t keep secret. Problem is, Richard doesn’t do hookups, and Donnie doesn’t do relationships. The closer Donnie gets to Richard, the more he wants something different, something he’s never had before. Something that will force both men to confront the heartbreak in their pasts as they plan Sapphire Cove’s wedding of the decade and find an unexpected future for themselves.

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Excerpt: Sapphire Dawn
By C. Travis Rice

Excerpt: Sapphire Dawn

Coming this week is SAPPHIRE DAWN by Christopher Rice, writing as C. Travis Rice. This is the fourth novel in the Sapphire Cove series, and I’m so excited to share a sneak peek below!

“You okay?” Ethan finally asked, jerking him back to the present.

Donnie looked up, and the open, patient expression in his good friend’s eyes melted something in him.

He’d been a nightmare on the subject of Zach back then. Ethan had put up with all of it. Indeed, it seemed like the only way their friendship had survived was that eventually, once it was clear the man was gone for good, they’d basically stopped talking about Zach altogether. But what other choice did Ethan have? Donnie would turn red faced and start to cry whenever Ethan even suggested a possible explanation Donnie didn’t like. Namely that Zach was alive and well and didn’t want to be found. Living under his actual name, all ties to his sex worker life effectively cut forever. Back then, it had been too hard for Donnie to hear himself described as a tie.

But now, he knew how busy Ethan was with preparations for the bakery, knew how much it had taken for him to carve time out of his day to deliver this shock in person, and it made the torrent of memories a single paper had unleashed easier to deal with.

“You think it’s really him?” Donnie asked.

“Anyone in the world can open up a Hotmail account. I take it you haven’t gotten anything?”

Donnie shook his head. “I’ll check my spam folders later. Did you send your number?”

“Not a chance. Could be some reporter trying to hack my phone. Roman and I are still getting hit with interview requests. Or maybe it’s some crank stirred up by the scandal who thinks they can swindle me for some cash. I’ve written back asking for him to verify details, but I haven’t heard anything yet. It’s odd.”

“How would anyone today know to use Zach to try to get in? It was forever ago, and it wasn’t like he was ever in the papers for anything.”

“Like I said…odd. But to be honest, the most telling detail is that after I refused to give my phone number I heard nothing back. Maybe that means it isn’t him. I can’t be sure. But I thought you needed to know right away in case whoever this is makes a run at you too.”

“Thank you. Seriously. I know how busy you are and telling me in person is a big deal, so thank you.”

“I appreciate that. Now back to my original question. Donnie, are you going to be okay?”

“Of course I’ll be okay. It was fifteen years ago.”

“True, but it was another five before you gave away his clothes.”

“I know I put you through hell.”

“You didn’t put me through hell. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It was a difficult situation.”

“I did and I’m sorry. I would yell and scream whenever you said he didn’t want to be found.”

“Well, it was my penance.”

“Penance? What did you do? You were right there with me the whole time. You were a better friend to me than he ever was.”

“Penance for not taking you aside the first time I ever saw you look at him with love in your eyes and telling you what I already knew about Zach. That he could never love anyone. Except himself.”

“Sweet, but not your job.”

“I taught you how to stock your kitchen and open a bank account. I could have at least taught you how to protect your heart.”

“Some lessons are harder to learn. Besides, I was too far down that road by the time you moved in.”

Ethan shrugged. “I don’t know. Perhaps if I hadn’t let things go the way they went that first night.”

“Oh, whatever, dude. I started the damn thing. You think I put my head on your shoulder because the movie was scary? It was Jaws 3. It’s, like, the dumbest movie ever.”

“The tunnels. Dennis Quaid. I remember.”

“It would have happened eventually, Blake. It was what Zach wanted. Two tops in the house to service him on call and keep each other occupied when he was out with a client. In the end, it was always about what Zach wanted.”

“I can’t argue with that,” Ethan said quietly.

The server brought their drinks. Ethan sipped his iced tea.

Donnie studied the paper again, saw the date on the email for the first time.

“This was three weeks ago?” he asked.

“It got sent to a general address at Sapphire Cove, and they forwarded it to me a few days ago. I wrote back immediately, and I still haven’t gotten a response. I figured it was time to tell you in case you got one too.”

Donnie read the words again.

It wasn’t Zach. It couldn’t be Zach. The tone was all wrong. Jokey and friendly wasn’t Zach’s style. Or at least it hadn’t been. Back then it had been Zach’s MO to adopt the style of whoever he was talking to. And if he was writing to Ethan, he would have written like Ethan talked. Like the pages out of some old novel Donnie could only manage a chapter of.

“I appreciate you looking out from me,” Donnie finally said.


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