BOOKLOVER BY J.E. BIRK
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Jamie Morin’s college GPA drops every time a cow breaks through a fence, but he’s determined to get his degree and keep his parents’ Vermont dairy farm afloat. He’d rather be reading than milking, but he can’t let his family down…not the way his brother did. So the last thing he needs is distraction in the form of an irresistible bookseller with a mysterious backstory.
Briar Nord has a lifetime of experience proving that happily-ever-afters only happen in his favorite books. But his luck might be changing. He’s got a great job at a bookstore, and he lives in a city that puts maple syrup on everything. But Briar knows not to trust anything–or anyone–too closely, and that includes a gorgeous farm boy with soulful eyes and too many obligations.
When Jamie joins Briar’s romance novel book club, they both feel an instant connection and soon they’re turning pages long into the night. But Briar’s past was bound to catch up with him. Sometimes, though, it takes two heroes to write a new ending . . .
I start heading toward the circle of couches and chairs near the back where the inaugural meeting of The Booklover Club is supposed to take place. I make a quick stop at a shelf of new titles because the store’s got at least three that I’ve been meaning to read. I grab one of them, a nonfiction book about dairy farming, and I take a quick pause to wonder if my wallet can handle a bookstore binge. I’m still reading the inside of the jacket flap when I hear a voice behind me.
“Can I help you?”
I turn around and try not to do that thing Jeremy says I sometimes do, where I just stand there staring at someone or something without speaking. In my defense, I think the problem comes from spending most of my childhood surrounded by cows. Sometimes I just forget how to people.
Especially when incredibly hot human beings are standing in front of me. Which is happening right now.
This guy looks exactly like Porter, one of my other favorite book characters. He’s in Alyssa Samuel’s gay romance novel Lost Key, and right now I can’t help but wonder if he walked right off the pages of that book and into this store. The Porter look-alike in front of me has sharp, angular cheekbones sitting under hazel eyes and dirty blond hair and eyebrows. He’s got some scruffy I-wanna-be-a-beard-but-I’m-not-there-yet hair around his chin that’s straight out of the Vermont tourist brochures. His head is covered by a pilling green tuque, and his skin is this olive tone that should be next to impossible for any white guy to have in Vermont in March. He’s wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, which is pretty much the stereotypical Vermont uniform, but somehow on him it manages to look cool and unique.
And as if all that weren’t enough? He’s carrying a stack of books.
Some men dream of seeing their perfect lover strutting around in hot lingerie or tiny speedos. I dream of my perfect lover naked, with a stack of books strategically placed in front of them.