I started writing 6 Days to Valentine just after the 2012 Gay Romance Literary Retreat in Albuquerque, NM. At the time, I wanted to write a simple short story for a Valentine anthology. While I couldn’t meet the deadline for the original Valentine’s Day anthology, in the fourteen months since I first wrote the story, a lot has changed both for me as a writer and as a result of that, for my story as well.
This is my favorite story to date and the characters I have the greatest affection for. It’s the story of a rather clueless bartender in his mid-twenties with a huge blind spot when it comes to the world and people outside his bar. He hides a romantic nature and badly used heart under his hatred of Valentine’s Day. For all of that I have deep affection for him—flaws and all—he has a huge heart. In fact, the people who know him are all rooting for him to grow-up, get a clue, and be happy.
I think that’s a fairly common state of being as we transition to adulthood, and it’s his inherently sweet nature that draws the notice of the bar bouncer—FatBoy.
FatBoy’s looking for a solution to his own problem, and he thinks he can kill two birds with one stone. He can keep an eye on Cameron, his cousin, and he can set Nick up with a guy who will be good for him.
What I found interesting about writing FatBoy is the unpredictability of his character. From the very start, I never intended him to be more than a side character—yet he muscled his way into the front of the action and took over the story similar to the way that he inserts himself into Nick’s life.
I’m actually working on the sequel to this story, and it’s a pleasure to pick up the thread as these characters change and evolve over time.
In Nick’s perfect world, Valentine’s Day would be struck from the calendar.
Nick’s dreams of a Happily Ever After were shredded long ago and the last thing he and his customers need is a bunch of happy loving couples rubbing it in their faces.
Bouncer Fat Boy Newman is willing to bet he knows Nick’s heart better than he does. He has just six days to change Nick’s mind about romance and the holiday and knows the perfect man to do it.
Too bad it’s not him.
Too bad Nick’s not going down without a fight.
Too bad he cheats.
Excerpt:THE DAY AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE
The man on the floor was hard to ignore. If I got up now, I’d be stepping on him—not that I planned on leaving anytime soon. It wasn’t every day a man fell at your feet, much less one of the pretty ones. I wasn’t complaining—I could use the distraction. February with its faux-holiday was always my own personal hell, and this week, with the tidal wave of red and pink already threatening to swamp me, things kept getting worse. Maybe my luck was finally changing. I hoped so.
I squinted in the dim light of the bar to get a better look. His strawberry blond hair was disheveled, uncovered now that the ball cap he’d worn into the bar was resting against the chrome leg of my barstool. He stared up at me with eyes like some cartoon character from a Looney Tunes classic. Comically huge saucers of Arctic blue overwhelmed a nose too pert for a man; his rosy lips forming a perfect O of shock and surprise completed the picture as he lay stunned.
I’d watched the cap spin merrily away as he landed face-first onto the industrial-grade carpet, and winced—not in sympathy for the blow to his face, per se. No, it was due to the knowledge that FatBoy Newman had thrown up on that exact spot the previous day. I groaned as unwelcome memories of FatBoy and the events of last night flooded my mind, distracting me from the blond.
6 Days to Valentine is available now from Wilde City Press: