Title: Trust with a Chaser
Series: Rainbow Cove, Book 1
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Annabeth Albert
Release Date: 08-01-2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Law Enforcement, Small Town, May/December
SynopsisOne hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks… Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.
Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for. When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?
Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.
Zipper Rippers Review 5 Stars
Mason Hanks has returned to his home town of Rainbow Cove with big plans for the old tavern he's bought with his two friends, Logan and Adam. They want to put Rainbow Cove on the map as a LGBTQ friendly destination, but they know it will be an uphill struggle. Both with the fact that Mason's family has a reputation of being one step outside the law, one of his brothers is already in prison and his other brother seems to be heading down that road too. With some bigoted locals and vandals painting homophobic slurs on their walls, they knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it still hurts that people can still think like that.
Nash Flint has been the Chief of Police in Rainbow Cove for many years, just his like his father before him. He feels the weight of his father's memory and the responsibility of keeping his town safe on his shoulders, but for him duty always comes first. When he meets Mason again after his years away, sparks fly, but Nash tries to keep away. How would it look? He doesn't want to be known as 'the gay cop', or the gay anything really. He's gay but so far in the closet he's come back out the other side and he feels Mason deserves better than someone who won't hold his hand in public, or give him a soft kiss where anyone can see.
But Mason is a grown man and he knows what he wants, and that is 'Sexy Sheriff' as Adam and Logan have taken to calling Nash. As a boy, Nash Flint's stern, authority made him uneasy, but now he finds it really sexy and is determined to get his man.
The characters were realistic, with flaws and goals that sometimes seemed not to sit well together, but it made them more believable and easy to relate to. They had other things going on in their lives than their relationship with each other.
Nash seemed to have an awful lot of angst about their age difference, though, which was really strange. There was barely ten years between them, about the same gap as me and my husband and we've never had angst about it at all. If it had been twenty years or more, maybe I could see the point of worrying over it.
An excellent romance.
ExcerptChapter One Mason When Adam stepped inside the glorified closet I was using as an office, eyes all twitchy and hands wringing a bar towel, I knew I wasn’t going to like what came out of his mouth. “Sheriff Sexy just walked in. He’s your problem.”
Fuck. I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath. “Please don’t call Police Chief Flint that. He might hear, and I’m pretty sure he’d find a citation for you. And I am not bailing your ass out.”
“You’re just worried that one of these days you’re going to slip up and call him that.” Adam grinned at me. This was an old argument—he’d been calling Flint that stupid nickname since we were in high school. The hard-nosed cop wasn’t one to cut teen drivers any slack—especially if they were in any way associated with the name “Hanks.”
“Anyway, you know he freaks me out. I’ve got no idea what he wants—all our permits are in order, right?”
“Of course.” Standing, I grabbed the folder with the permitting paperwork. I prided myself in the organization I was bringing to the bar and grill that I co-owned with Adam and our friend, Logan. Flint wouldn’t find anything to complain about, not with me in charge.
“I’ll go deal with him. You go back to the bar in case we get a rush.”
Adam snorted. Despite it being opening weekend, traffic had been embarrassingly light. We’d worked for weeks transforming the old tavern—a Rainbow Cove institution for decades—into the newly renamed Rainbow Tavern. The gay-friendly bar and grill was our vision for pulling our sleepy little coastal town into the twenty-first century. Logan had crafted a new menu of upscale bar food ready to go, and Adam had innovative drinks specials at the ready. All we needed were customers.
And to not run afoul of Nash Flint on our first day of operation. Flint was a Rainbow Cove institution himself—born and raised here, same as Adam and me, but unlike me, he’d never left, sliding into his father’s shoes as police chief and apparently fitting the role as easily as a pair of broken-in jeans. He’d been Officer Flint last time I’d seen him, almost ten years prior. Guess I could have seen him had I come down for Freddy’s trial, something I still felt niggles of guilt over, and I told myself that was why my stomach fluttered on my way out to the tavern’s dining room. Unlike Adam, I’d never found Flint particularly… Sexy.
All my thoughts fled as I took in the man sitting in front of the plate-glass window. He dwarfed the small wooden chair, one of dozens that Adam and I had painted bright colors. Broad shoulders stretched the confines of his uniform shirt, biceps bulging under the short sleeves. His cut-glass jaw was firm as ever, as were those hard hazel eyes. But what had been frankly terrifying to my teenaged self made my twenty-seven-year-old libido sit up and take serious notice. Flint blinked as I approached, head tilting to one side. I’d been getting a lot of that since I’d been back in town.
“The one and only.” I stuck out my hand.
“What can I do for you, Chief Flint?” He returned my handshake with a sure grip, only a moment’s hesitation. I guessed he wasn’t all that used to shaking hands with a Hanks. Oh well. I was out to prove to the whole damn town that I wasn’t like my father and brothers, and if I had to start with Flint, so be it.
“Nice place you’ve got here.” His eyes swept around the renovated room—restored antique bar on the far wall where Adam wasn’t bothering to conceal his nosiness, dance floor beyond that, colorful tables and chairs in the front of the bar, only a handful occupied despite the dinner hour.
“Thanks. Our permits are all in order.” I held out my folder. “Liquor license is on top.”
He waved the folder off. “Not worried about that.”
No? Then why the heck was Flint in my establishment?
“Good. We’re on the up-and-up. You won’t have trouble from us—”
“Glad to hear it,” he said levelly, eyes skeptical, reminding me that I was, after all, nothing more than a Hanks. “Cheeseburger?”
“That Ringer kid didn’t see fit to give me a menu, but I’m trusting you all offer something approximating a burger? Salad, no fries, and an iced tea.”
“You want to order?” I was still struggling to keep up with him.
“This is a food establishment, right?” He shook his head as if he hadn’t expected more from me, and that rankled.
“Of course.” I crossed the room in long strides, grabbed an order pad from the bar, ignoring Adam’s gaping.
As soon as I returned to Flint’s table, I added, “Anything you want. On the house.”
“None of that.” He sighed like my very existence was tiring. “Got my meals from the old tavern for years. They kept a tab open for me.”
“We can do the same—”
“Let’s see if you can cook first,” he said, voice drier than yesterday’s toast. “I thought I’d come by, check the place out.”
“Appreciated,” I said and meant it. Business, any business, was good, but people in Rainbow Cove trusted Flint. If he gave us the seal of approval, more locals might give us a try, make us less dependent on the tourist trade that we were going after.
Tourism took a while to build, and our grand plans of making Rainbow Cove an LGBTQ travel destination weren’t going to happen overnight. We needed every customer we could get, Flint included, even if he was the unlikeliest of allies.