Hi guys, we have R.J. Scott & Meredith Russell stopping by today with the tour for their new release The Road to Frosty Hollow, we have post where R.J. & Meredith answers their readers questions, a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway so check out the post and click that giveaway link ❤ ~Pixie~
The Road to Frosty Hollow
R.J. Scott & Meredith Russell
Nick and Cameron face old demons, and find new love, on a Christmas road trip.
Former Marine Nick Sheridan is at a crossroads. With his entire life ahead of him he struggles to find direction and his place in the world. Car sharing to get home for his sister’s Christmas wedding seems like a good idea at first. Spending the time with the man he kissed and left years before, maybe not so much.
Cameron Bennett lost most of his teenage years to cancer and he now lives every day to the fullest. He decides to drive from Seattle to Vermont for his best friend’s wedding and capture moments of it on film. He hadn’t planned on car sharing with the man who kissed him ten years ago, but somehow he ends up with a brooding Nick by his side.
Along the way, the men learn that sometimes life plans mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Love can be found in the most unexpected of ways, and facing your demons head on is sometimes the only way to live.
R.J. & Meredith answer reader questions!
Thanks for having us today at MM Good Book Reviews, here we’ve answered a few questions from our readers 🙂
What inspired you to write a road trip story?
RJ: I love the concept of travelling from one place to another, visiting locations, and then moving on to the next place. But most of all for our two boys in this story I loved the idea of them being trapped in a car together for three weeks. I think you can learn a lot about people from sharing a small space. From the way they drive, to the music they listen to, to the places they want to stop and eat. Can our heroes sleep while the other is driving? Is there too much thinking time on a long journey… all kinds of questions can have answers.
Meredith: I too love the idea of a road trip. Never been on one, well not a proper one. But I like it when my husband and I are on holiday and will go on an adventure and have a driving day, moving on from one place to another so we get to see lots of different places and do different things. In terms of the story I like the idea of throwing two people together and them not really being able to escape one another when in the car and how that could go either way. Will they fall in love or just plain antagonise each other? A bit like me and RJ really 😀
RJ: You know you love me really.
This isn’t the first time you’ve used a Marine in your stories, what is your fascination with them?
RJ: Yes, our other Marine was Jamie in Under the Sun book 2 in our Sapphire Cay series. He actually popped up quite a few times in the series. I think he was Meredith’s favourite character to write.
Meredith: Whether he’s my favourite character I’m not sure. Could I pick a favourite? I don’t know. But he was certainly one half of my favourite pair to write about. He and Edward were always great to write for and loved they popped up in other books in the sapphire Cay series. Jamie a little on the stoic side and Edward a bit more out there I guess.
RJ: You know I love writing action men, Marines, SEALs, and bodyguards, but I love to show the softer sides of them as well.
Meredith: I do like writing about heroes. I like the tough stoic guy, the history and background jobs like the military and the police can give your characters. But yeah it’s nice to see them vulnerable sometimes, flawed, in need of a good man 🙂
The cover is beautiful – what inspired the design of it?
Meredith: The Road to Frosty Hollow cover started life as a pre-made cover I’d ended up making. I’m not sure whether I made it near last Christmas which might have been part of the wintry inspiration. But yeah, I found a pairing of men I liked, and then came the snowy road. I like to make up titles for my pre-mades where I can to show some different fonts and how titles can fit on the cover. I remember focussing on the road and ended up googling for winter sounding roads in the UK. Frosty Hollow was one of them and it just fit.
RJ: All I know is that I saw the cover and wanted it straight away. We even kept the title that Meredith came up with, and the story of two men going home for a Christmas wedding just slotted perfectly into place.
“Okay,” he said to his room. “This is really happening.”
When Kaitlin had suggested he join Cameron on his road trip from Seattle to Vermont, Nick’s first instinct had been to say no.
He remembered a lot about Cameron; his illness as a kid that kept him in his room a lot, his stupidly cute hair, his thoughtful expressions. And the kiss. He recalled the kiss and Cameron pushing him away in great detail.
But they weren’t friends like Cameron and Kaitlin were. Being two years older than them meant Nick had always been a step ahead in the checkpoints of life—graduating, going away to college, dropping out to embark on a career in the military.
Not anymore. Hell, you’re going backward. It was as though his life had been unraveling over the last five months. His relationship had ended, he wasn’t happy at work, and he had no direction, no damn idea what to do with himself.
At least being a Marine gave you stability and focus.
It had given him other things too. He glanced down at the palm of his hand, then curled his fingers, brushing the faded scars that stretched down to his wrist. The memory of gunfire made his shoulders tense, and just for a moment he was back there, his patrol under attack, and jagged rocks shredding his hand as he scrambled for cover.
The idea to re-enlist had been a brief one, some knee-jerk reaction to change in his life. But he soon changed his mind; he had done his time, served his country. He wasn’t a career soldier. He needed something else. If only he could figure out what that was….
Shaking off the old memories, Nick took the few minutes he had to check over his luggage and the apartment. There was a feeling of unease as he picked up the wedding invitation. In three weeks he would be back in Vermont, back in Frosty Hollow. He hadn’t been home since Christmas two years ago, and that had been a flying visit.
The sound of the intercom buzzer interrupted his thoughts. Too late to change your mind now.
He paused at the receiver, his hand hovering over the speak button. The buzzer rang again and Nick took a breath. “Okay,” he said to himself, then pressed the button and spoke into the intercom. “I’ll be right down.”
After gathering his things, he checked the apartment one last time before heading downstairs. He pushed open the building door with his shoulder and backed outside, turning around to maneuver his belongings through the door with him.
“You need a hand?”
He stopped. The door swung shut behind him. “What?” It took him a moment to link the voice to the man standing at the bottom of the short flight of steps leading up to the apartment building. Tall and wide across the chest, with stubble and sunglasses pushed back in his hair, Cameron Bennett looked like a cross between a biker and a model, and he was every bit as gorgeous in person as Nick remembered. He looked a bit pale, white against the dark of his jacket, but hell, he looked good.
Cameron removed his shades, folded down the arms, and nodded toward Nick’s suitcase. “Your things. Do you need any help with them?”
Lifting his pack higher on his shoulder, Nick shook his head. “I’m good. Thanks.”
When Nick didn’t move, Cameron raised one of his neat eyebrows. “What?” he asked with a smile, shifting his weight onto his other leg and looking up at Nick expectantly. “I got something on my face?” His smile widened. The way Cameron’s lips curled made dimples appear in his face. Yep, there they were, the Dimples of Doom.
“What? No, sorry.” Nick lowered his head. “I just….” He looked Cameron up and down. Cameron Bennett all grown up. “I was trying to remember how long it’s been.” He picked up his suitcase and headed down to the sidewalk, where he met Cameron’s hazel eyes and waited for an answer.
“Nine or ten years, I guess.” Cameron walked behind him. “Senior year, wasn’t it? My senior year, anyway. You’d come home from college for the weekend, and Kaitlin had that Valentine’s party.”
Nick didn’t have to try to remember the party, ever since he’d agreed to this road trip he’d had the damn party on his mind. He didn’t want to talk about it, not after making a fool of himself with Cameron, thinking the other man actually wanted to kiss him. But Cameron was looking at him expectantly; waiting for an answer.
“Alice in Wonderland,” he said, finally. Kaitlin had roped him into decorating the house with strings of hearts and playing cards.
And he and Cameron had kissed. Don’t think about the kiss.
“I’m impressed you even remember. You were pretty drunk.” Cameron grinned. It didn’t look like Cameron recalled the kiss, or the awkwardness that followed it.
“A house full of Mad Hatters is enough to drive anyone to drink.” Nick offered; anything to stop thinking on things that should never have happened. The party had been the night after he’d come out to his parents and told them he was dropping out of college to enlist all in one go. Turned out him being gay wasn’t a problem to his parents. Signing up, however, they hadn’t taken too well. Not at first, anyway.
“So many sexy Cheshire Cats and slutty Alice’s,” Cameron mused.
Nick prodded Cameron in the back. “Hey, my sister was Alice. She wasn’t slutty.” He couldn’t help the defensiveness that stiffened his spine.
“Nicky, I’m kidding.”
Nicky. The name surprised him. He hadn’t been called that in years. Even his sister had dropped the cutesy version of his name.
If Cameron noticed Nick’s faltering steps, he didn’t make it evident. Instead he continued. “Seriously, I’m the last person to judge anyone for what they wear.” Cameron spun around, walking backward a few steps as he tugged at the front of the V-necked T-shirt he wore under a leather jacket. The action exposed more of his chest.
Nick noted the faint dusting of hair across the pale skin of Cameron’s chest and what looked like the edge of a tattoo.
“My name is Nick, not Nicky.”
Cameron nodded his understanding, and with a smile, he slid his shades back on and stepped out into the street.
They stopped by a functional black SUV with snow tires and Nick blinked to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. “Thought you were a muscle car fan? This isn’t quite what I imagined for your grand cross-country adventure.”
Cameron pulled open the driver side door and rested his arms on top of the frame. He shrugged as he looked over the roof of the black SUV, meeting Nick’s eyes. “Well, I had considered renting a Mustang, maybe. But then I remembered it’s December and we have snow.”
“Anyway, I know you like working with cars, but I didn’t want you having a busman’s holiday every time we broke down.”
“Thoughtful of you.” Nick was aiming for jokey, but he sounded more sarcastic than joking.
Cameron looked confused at the tone and he worried at his lip for a moment. “You can still change your mind, you know. I won’t be offended.”
“The road trip, three weeks with me. I know Kaitlin can be very persuasive when she wants to be.”
Shaking his head, Nick said, “She can be, but I want to do this.” He might have been quick to blame Kaitlin for the road trip, but he was really doing it for himself. “I promise you this is my decision.”
Cameron seemed to consider Nick’s words as he tapped the fingers of one hand on the back of the other. “Okay.” He pulled the door open a little farther. “Put your things in the back and we’ll get out of here.”
After loading his bags in the trunk, Nick slipped into the car and strapped himself in beside Cameron. “So, what’s the plan?”
“Sorry?” He raised an eyebrow.
“That’s where we’re headed, or at least we are, according to Kaitlin. It’s just over five hours from here.” Cameron reached behind the passenger seat and pulled out a map. “Figured we could drive a couple of hours, stop for something to eat at the halfway point, and then do the rest.”
“What the hell’s in Spokane?” Nick asked. “Kaitlin picked the place?”
Cameron looked sheepish. “She may have planned the whole trip. Well, I mean, I helped and all, but she was the one who came up with the itinerary.”
“Right. Okay.” Nick scratched behind his ear.
“Here.” Cameron opened the glove compartment and pulled out a notebook. Loose, folded sheets of paper stuck out from between the pages. “I printed off what we decided on.”
Nick folded back the corner of the little book, allowing the paper to flick across his thumb as he slowly released the pages. He rested it on top of the map across his thighs. “I know you asked me about wanting to do this, but are you okay with me being here?”
It seemed Kaitlin had a much bigger role in the trip than Nick first thought, but he wasn’t entirely sure about Cameron’s reasons for taking the cross-country trip. Apparently, it was some mix of a personal work project and self-evaluation of his life.
Cameron curled his hands around the steering wheel. “Trust me. You’d know if I didn’t want you here.” He briefly turned to look at Nick. “And you never know—we might actually have some fun.”
With a nod, Nick agreed, “Yeah, we might.”
“So,” Cameron said. “Ready?”
As I’ll ever be. “Sure. Let’s do it.”
After all, how bad could three weeks on the road with Cameron be?
About R.J. & Meredith
RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.
As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.
With over seventy titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.
Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.
Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.