Welcome to the Whirlwind blog tour with author J.V. Speyer! J.V. is sharing an exclusive excerpt with us today, and there’s also a giveaway so be sure to check out all the details below.
About the Book
Rock star Jo Avery didn’t have a choice about coming out, but ever since her ex outed her as bi she’s been a proud advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. Most of her family wants nothing to do with her, but her brother has always supported her. When he gets married, he wants her in the wedding party, and she has to accept.
The only problem? Her new sister in law is the daughter of conservative pundit and anti-LGBT warrior Sarah Tremblay. Sarah has another daughter, too, the beautiful and charming Valeria.
Valeria has been in the closet since she was fourteen. She’s always envied Jo’s strength and freedom, if not her path to living her authentic life. She soon finds herself falling for the fierce, pretty rocker, but coming out could cost her everything. How many risks can she take for someone she’ll only know for two weeks?
Can Jo and Valeria turn attraction into love, or will their whirlwind romance blow out before it gets off the ground?
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Valeria almost passed out when she saw Josiane in that black sheath dress, sitting in her hotel suite like she didn’t have a care in the world. She didn’t look like someone who’d just had to fight off some creeper, the way social media claimed. She looked like a damn model, all glamor and understated elegance. And Valeria got to ride down the elevator with her. She got to walk out to the waiting limo at her side, with that tall, handsome bodyguard of hers behind them acting as a chaperone of course. When the chaperone shot Valeria a wink, she suspected he might have had more to do with her car trouble than just helping her get to the restaurant on time.
She needed to remember to send him a fruit basket.
Izzy had chosen one of those hip places that pretended to be casual, this time in Larchmont. The only reason Valeria could afford to eat there was her trust fund, and even then she only chose to do so on Izzy’s dime. Josiane sat beside her, across from the bodyguard-chaperone, and glanced at them. “So, have either of you been to this place before?”
“Flatware?” Valeria satisfied herself with a snort. “The food is good, don’t get me wrong. I hope you’re not a vegetarian, though. It’s one of those hip places that pretends to be homelike, but you wouldn’t dare to show up in jeans or anything like that.”
“Ah.” Josiane smirked as their driver slipped onto Mamaroneck Ave. “I get it. I take it you’re not a vegetarian?”
“No. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but it’s just a personal preference.”
“Most of the ladies in Whirlwind tend to stay vegetarian when we’re on the road. It’s a matter of self-preservation. We wind up eating at the arena a lot of the time, or on the bus, and trust me. Some of these places have some questionable food storage standards. It’s so much safer just to say, ‘Hey, thanks, but I’m vegan,’ and live on humus and celery for a few months.” She made a face. “I’ll never eat an amphitheater burrito again. Never.”
Valeria couldn’t help but laugh. “Sounds like a fun story.”
“Sure, five years later. We were opening up for a certain well known British trio with a large following, and since we were still building up an audience we had to make sure we made a fantastic impression.” She launched into a story about wolfing down a burrito backstage about two hours before having to take the stage, getting horribly ill, and going on stage anyway. From most people, it wouldn’t have been funny. Josiane had Valeria’s sides aching with laughter by the time they got to the restaurant.
“You have got to let me use that in a book. I’ll change the name to protect the innocent, I promise.” Valeria put her hand on Josiane’s arm as they got out of the limo and walked into the minimalistic Flatware.
It took Valeria a moment to figure out why so many people had their cameras out, and then she remembered. Right. Rock star. Gorgeous rock star, whose love life became a public sideshow four or five years ago. She knew she’d hear about it from her mother later, but she left her hand where it was. It was bad enough that no one else from her family would speak to her. Josiane deserved to have someone not treat her like a pariah.
And, of course, Valeria knew she deserved to take at least as much flak as Josiane did.
The hostess led them to their table. Izzy—or probably Tom, because Tom was a smart guy and he did smart things—had reserved them a semi-private space near the back of the restaurant. Flatware charged extra for these half-enclosed rooms, which were up on an open mezzanine level. They would be able to see others, and to be seen if that was what floated their boat, but it would be easier to keep their meal private this way.
Tom rose when they arrived, and hugged both Valeria and Josiane. He hugged Josiane so tight and so close Simon frowned at him, but Valeria couldn’t fault him. “Jo,” Tom said, in a kind of relieved gasp. “It is so good to see you. It’s been too long.”
Jo’s smile was genuine, and it was pure joy when she looked back at him. “It has.
I sent you tickets when we played Madison Square Garden last September.”
“You did. And backstage passes, too. Unfortunately, one of my top paying clients chose that particular night to do something incredibly idiotic, so I wound up spending the night in the office looking for loopholes in the criminal code instead of enjoying a great night of great music in the city.” He pushed her chair in, and helped Valeria with hers.
The hostess took their drink orders before disappearing. Valeria ordered a Clover Club. If the way Izzy’s blue eyes burned holes into Jo was any indication, she was in for a long night.
When their drinks arrived—proving that everyone but Simon shared Valeria’s apprehension about the evening—Valeria proposed a toast. “To Tom and Izzy. May each day be sweeter than the last.”
Was it Valeria’s imagination, or did Jo’s eyes shine a little as she looked up at Valeria? That had to be wishful thinking.
They ordered their food, starting with appetizers, and settled in. Jo tried to start out with small talk, asking Tom about work and their parents, but Izzy just looked pissy about the whole thing. Finally, Izzy sniffed. “So Josiane,” she began, and the way she said it set Valeria’s teeth right on edge. “I understand you got into a little bit of trouble today, and you needed a knight in khaki armor to come and rescue you?” Her perfectly painted lip curled.
Simon frowned at Izzy, and even Tom glared at her. “I thought we agreed we weren’t going to bring that up.” His jaw tightened underneath its fine coating of stubble.
If Valeria hadn’t known Izzy, she would have bought the innocent look Izzy gave her future husband. As it was, she knew it was faked and exaggerated. “Oh, but Tom, honey, it just sounded so exciting! This guy just walked up and started talking to you in a public place? The cad! You’re so lucky you were able to have him thrown into the pool where he belonged.”
Valeria pinched the bridge of her nose. She couldn’t tell if Izzy was being obtuse or malicious, or both, but either way she was making Jo’s face light up like a Christmas tree. “Well, you know, I’d already turned him down twice, but you know. Details. Besides, anyone who tells you what a nice guy he is while grabbing you and demanding you drop your plans to hang around with him is definitely someone you should be obeying, right?” Jo tensed, just a little, and lifted her martini to her lips.
“Hm!” Izzy sniffed and tossed her hair.
Tom glared at his bride and changed the subject, quickly. “So what have you been doing with yourself besides that? Is it weird being back in Westchester?”
“It is kind of weird.” Jo ducked her head this time. “I haven’t been back since that whole thing with Darina, and for the most part it looks the same. I guess I expected it to be different, but it’s only been six years so I guess that’s kind of silly.”
Izzy rolled her eyes. “You can’t expect everyone else to change because you’ve decided to run off and be a lesbian.”
The words stabbed at Valeria’s heart. Izzy knew, of course. Izzy had known for a while. Valeria knew the words weren’t meant for her. Still, they were a confirmation that if she ever did come out she’d get no mercy at all. She grasped at her drink, unconsciously imitating Jo. “It’s interesting that your mind went there,” she told her sister, after her drink helped her to find her voice, “instead of, say, to how the time has passed differently for Jo since she’s been away.”
Jo shot her a thankful grin.
Izzy gaped at her. “What are you saying? Are you trying to imply that I’m, you
Jo’s grin turned into a lazy, Cheshire cat smile. “First of all, Isabelle, you’ll be thrilled to know I’m bisexual, not a lesbian. I’ve tried to make it clear before, but it’s a hard distinction for a lot of people to make so I don’t mind having to say it again. And again. And again.” Her eyes tightened a little, and Tom put a hand on her shoulder.
“Second, I don’t think Valeria was implying anything. You’re getting married, to my brother. Everyone knows how straight you are. It’s just… well, it’s interesting, isn’t it? Your mind went straight to sex, and to my sexuality. That’s a little weird.” She looked up at the waitress, who was bringing their appetizers over. “Oh, excellent. The oysters are here!”
Tom pretended to glare at Jo, but Valeria could see the smirk under the glower
and the twinkle in his eyes. He was loving this.
About the Author
J.V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house with more animals than people.
J.V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.
J.V. can be found on Twitter at @JVSpeyer, or on Facebook, on her Website, Goodreads, Queer Romance Ink and on Amazon
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