Hi guys, we have M.A. Church stopping by today with her upcoming release A Country Boy at Heart, we have a brilliant guest post where M.A. chats a bit about the book and we have a great excerpt, so check out the post guys and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
A Country Boy at Heart
Hot damn, what more could a country boy want? Bass Pro Shop is finally opening in Tennessee. Nick plans to check out all twelve indoor acres chock-full of hunting, fishing, and boating in the Memphis Pyramid on the Mississippi River.
City boy Sandy wonders yet again how he let himself get talked into attending a grand opening for a hick hunting store. His geeky heart prefers the energy of the city. Little does he know all that is going to change due to a freakishly tall glass elevator—and Nick, the high-school crush who’s suddenly taking a second look at him.
A moment of panic while trapped in the elevator leads to a spark neither expected. Getting out is the least of the challenges they’ll face if they want to try to put their differences aside and find out if love is possible between a city boy and a country boy.
Hey everyone! My name is M.A. Church, and I’ve dropped by MM Good Book Reviews to talk about my release, A Country Boy at Heart. These contemporary novellas are part of Dreamspinner’s State of Love Collection and are focused on a state in the USA.
I picked Tennessee, which happens not to be my home state, but I live twenty minutes from the border. We also lived in Memphis for ten years before moving to Mississippi, although the hubby still works there.
The city of Memphis was a fun and busy place to live, but our children were getting close to school age, so we moved in order to have a better school district. The city has a wonderful nightlife, which we were active part of in our younger years. I really missed that in the beginning. I also attended Memphis State University, which is now known as the University of Memphis.
One reason I picked Tennessee, outside of the fact I had lived in Memphis, is because recently Bass Pro set up a store in the Memphis Pyramid. We were living in Memphis when the pyramid was first built, and I remember the controversy surrounding such a uniquely-structured building. Then it sat vacant for several years… which also stirred up a stink.
But the main reason I picked Tennessee for my state is because we’ve visited Bass Pro often. I live in a rural town in Mississippi that has a rather large pond in the backyard. We have an abundance of wildlife, which is actually mentioned in my bio LOL. The ducks are very demanding.
My husband, son, and daughter all love to hunt… and many of my stories—regardless of whether they are contemporary, paranormal, or scifi—are set in the country. It’s what I know best, LOL.
Nick, one of the main characters in A Country Boy at Heart, is my country boy. He works on a farm and often can be found arguing with the hardheaded peacock that likes to run the show… and Nick. Nick keeps telling everybody that one day that damn peacock is going to take over the world. Unfortunately, no one is listening. *grin*
Nick lives in a little country home he’s slowly but surely remodeling, has a mischievous Lab puppy named Rosco that he can’t seem to keep in the backyard, and a burning desire to settle down. He’s a good ol’ country boy who’d give someone the shirt off his back if they needed it. He’s warm, loving, and easygoing.
And being gay in the South isn’t easy—not that it’s easy anywhere—but down here in the Bible Belt it can be deadly. Nick isn’t shouting his gayness from the rooftops, but he doesn’t hide it either.
Sandy, the other main character, loves the city—the energy and hustle and bustle is what he thrives on. He’s out and proud and doesn’t give a damn what people think. He doesn’t know the difference between a crossbow and a crosswind, has no interest in killing Bambi (meaning deer hunting), and the only fish he’s interested in is the kind served up on a plate in a restaurant.
There’s a history between Nick and Sandy dating back to high school, but the timing wasn’t right then. Little did they know that, years later, the opening of Bass Pro would toss the two of them together in a situation neither could’ve dreamed up. Sometimes Fate simply isn’t done with people, and when Fate steps in, she really steps in LOL.
A glass freestanding elevator and a panic attack starts Nick and Sandy down the road to romance, a road they were afraid to take when they were younger. But there are a few obstacles they need to cross first like previous hurt feelings that need to be discussed before they can move on.
Then there’s the difference between the two: Nick is a country boy and Sandy is a city boy. Can Sandy give up the energy of the city to live the quiet country live? Can he be a country boy at heart?
He wouldn’t be getting lucky tonight—not where they were going—but the jeans were comfortable. The Rack was actually called Mack’s Racks and was a bar with several pool tables and big-screen TVs. They served appetizers too.
Houston’s name was Edward Houston, but he went by his last name. They’d been best friends since middle school. In some ways Houston reminded him of his dog, Rosco: all arms and legs, black hair, and big brown puppy dog eyes. He also had more energy than he knew what to do with. Sometimes Nick envied Houston.
After spending all day working at the farm and then dealing with weddings since it was spring, the last thing he felt like doing was going out. But it was hard to say no to Houston once he got something in his head.
Houston would get this ridiculously sad look in his eyes, pout, and then do this drooping shoulder thing and… yeah. Rosco did that too, and he fell for it every time, just like he did with Houston. Maybe he should just put Houston in the backyard too. Now there was a thought.
Instead he pulled on a tight black knit polo and his fancy black cowboy boots. Since his hair was cut short, it had dried already. After brushing his teeth, he ran his fingers over his jaw. He needed to shave, but he liked the scruffy look, so he decided to leave it. He stopped by the kitchen and chugged an energy drink. Hopefully that would help him keep his eyes open for the next several hours. Once he got to the Rack, he’d eat.
He put Rosco outside. “You know, if I actually found you in the backyard when I get home tonight that would make me really happy. I’m pretty sure that could result in a treat, even. So how about you be a good boy and stay where I put you for once?”
Rosco barked, wagged his tail furiously, and dashed off across the backyard.
“I’m going to take that as agreement!” Nick yelled after the puppy.
All he got in return was another bark.
He grinned as he went back inside and picked his keys up from the kitchen table. Even though the sun had set and it had cooled off, he didn’t need a jacket. A quick check of the time as he walked to his truck showed it was only eight thirty. Perfect. He should get to the Rack with plenty of time to spare.
He started his truck and just sat for a moment listening to the deep purr of his pipes. That always gave him a little thrill. He’d bought it used last year and was proud of it. It was a jacked-up black 2008 Chevy Silverado with KCs mounted on a roll cage bar in the back of the truck. The interior was tan leather, but he’d put camo seat covers on so the leather would last.
He needed to wash it, but that was kind of pointless. The road to the farm was gravel. Some parts of the farm had nothing more than dirt roads, so keeping the truck clean was impossible.
He turned the radio on as he left the house, and a commercial touting all the benefits of having a wedding at Lake View Farms played. That got him to thinking about the wedding he’d just left, which of course made him think of the wedding planner’s helper, Art, again. He knew why the guy kept coming to mind. He reminded him of Sandy.
Lord, Sandy had had a huge crush on Nick all through high school. Oh, he was very subtle about it, but Nick had known. It was hard to miss those big, adorable brown eyes that followed him relentlessly.
Then, in the tenth grade, Sandy had been assigned by the English teacher to help tutor Nick. Sandy was one of the cutest, sweetest geeks Nick had ever seen. Sandy flipped every switch he had, but he buried those feelings. At the time he’d been terrified to examine what he felt, so he ignored it.
They didn’t hang out, since he was a jock and Sandy was a geek, but Nick made it a point to speak to Sandy in the hallways and other places. His actions made it clear Sandy was off limits. Word spread quickly that if anyone messed with Sandy, they answered to Nick.
It was because of Sandy that Nick finally ended up coming out. They were seniors, football season was over, and they were celebrating their last day of school. One of his jock buddies had slammed Sandy into a row of metal rockers, and Nick saw the whole thing.
Nick snapped when he heard Sandy cry out in pain. He confronted Keith, words turned into slurs, and things blew up when Keith demanded to know why Nick was defending the fag. Somehow Nick went from defending the fag to admitting he was gay too.
He and Keith ended up in a brawl in the school parking lot by the field house with half the senior class watching. Fortunately Coach broke it up. Sandy tried to thank Nick right after the fight ended, but Nick was still furious, hurting from a couple of hard right hooks, and quite frankly horrified by what he had just done.
He’d snapped at Sandy, and the hurt on Sandy’s face only added to the brew of unpleasantness that was boiling in Nick. Sandy stiffly turned away and never spoke to Nick again—and it was all his fault. But to be fair, he had just turned his life upside down and wasn’t dealing well with the fact. The principal had threatened not to let them walk at graduation, but nothing came of it.
That had been five years ago. Since then he’d worked like a dog until he was the second most important person at Lake View Farms. Robert depended on him to pretty much run the place. Nick enjoyed the responsibility and had absolutely no trouble telling people older than him what to do.
Over the years he’d learned so many things, like how to build a deck, how to care for horses, how to deal with distributors for whatever they needed at the farm, how to oversee and operate special events. He was kept busy, so much so he didn’t have much of a social life. Living in a small rural town didn’t help.
If he wanted to hook up, he had to go to Memphis, which he hated. There was too much traffic, nothing but concrete everywhere, and a crime rate that made him glad he lived in a small town. Give him acres of woodlands to the concrete jungle any day. He got in, and he got out—kind of like his hookups.
Occasionally he saw Sandy around town when Sandy came home to visit his parents, but it was always at a distance. From what he heard, Sandy had moved to Memphis and was a manager at one of the major electronic chain stores. He shuddered. That was the very definition of hell to him. He couldn’t imagine having to dress up and work inside all day.
Rumor was Sandy worked on computers on the side and was actually quite good at repairing them. That didn’t surprise Nick. Even in high school, Sandy had earned the reputation of being magic with computers.
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.