COMING SOON: THE BAKER BY SERENA YATES

Blurb:

A Workplace Encounters Book

Ian Wallace works as a baker for his tyrannical father in their family owned Scottish Bakehouse in Casper, Wyoming. He wants to represent the bakery in the upcoming Tartan Day competition, but his father refuses to reveal the secret ingredients that make them so successful—unless Ian gets married and has a son, proving he is fit to continue the family line.

Just before New Year’s Eve, Cameron Lewis, a former Marine turned police detective, comes into the bakery for donuts for his department and some black buns for himself. Cameron is hooked, and as his visits become more frequent, they stir Ian’s father’s suspicions. But threats can’t stop Ian from donning his kilt and entering the competition anyway—to show his father what he can do on his own. Though he might not have the secret ingredients, Ian and Cameron might still discover a recipe for happiness.

Available for pre-order from Dreamspinner and ARe

NEW RELEASE: THE CARPENTER BY SERENA YATES

Blurb:

2nd Edition

A Workplace Encounters Book

Tom Halderson is a carpenter in desperate need of a big project to save the financially troubled construction company he inherited from his father. Tom is a better carpenter than a businessman, and worse yet, Tom’s estranged brother suddenly demands his share of the inheritance. When Matt Langford hires Tom to renovate his house, things begin to look up. A safari guide, Matt plans to restore and sell the home his grandfather left him and return to his exciting life in Africa. He is not about to let his sudden—and powerful—attraction to Tom persuade him to settle down—not after infidelity destroyed his own family. But adventurous Matt is exactly what Tom’s life is lacking, and Tom is determined to show Matt what could be between them.

Available now at Dreamspinner PressAmazon.com, .co.uk and ARe

NEW RELEASE: THE SHIP ENGINEER BY SERENA YATES

Blurb:

2nd Edition

A Workplace Encounters Book

Nathan Kappas, newly promoted to second engineer on the cruise ship Sapphire, has eyes only for the vessel he’s about to board. He literally runs into Harper Quade, a singer and dancer hired to entertain passengers. Harper has always wanted to travel, and working onboard the Sapphire keeps him away from his abusive ex-boyfriend. As they sail to Hawaii, Tahiti, and other exotic destinations, Nathan and Harper soon share a cabin and a deepening connection, which surprises Nathan, who generally prefers the predictability of machines to people. But an employee who feels jilted when Harper gets promoted harasses him, and Harper’s dangerous past refuses to let him escape. Harper might not be as safe on the Sapphire as he assumed, but Nathan will do anything to protect him.

Excerpt: (found at Dreamspinner website)

Chapter One

NATHAN KAPPAS marched along the corridor on deck zero, his newly acquired British pounds obtained for his upcoming excursion in Southampton safely stowed away in his pocket, only one goal in mind. He’d had to go to the purser’s office to get the foreign currency since this ship was too small to have a separate purser for crew members. Now he was intent on returning to the relative safety of the crew area as quickly as possible, since he hated the idea of having to interact with passengers. People weren’t his strong suit anyway, and, in his experience of four years on the Star Princess, the passengers on a cruise ship could be particularly—challenging.

The little boy came from nowhere. In a flash of movement, a tuft of spiky dark hair at just above knee level set over disheveled clothing caught Nathan’s attention. Following the boy’s gaze, Nathan discovered that he was pulling some sort of yellow wooden duck on bright red wheels behind him. The toy and the odd quacking noises it made as it was pulled along were clearly more interesting to the kid than checking to see where he was going.

“Ouch.” The boy fell on his ass, his gaze shot upward to Nathan’s scowling face, and after a second of stunned hesitation, tears sprang from his eyes as if from a fountain. “Mommmmie!”

“Can’t you watch where you’re going?” A young woman with a baby in her arms rushed up to them.

“Who, me?” Why was the woman staring at him?

The little boy had caused his own problems by looking behind him rather than in front of him. How was that suddenly Nathan’s fault?

“Yes, you!” The woman’s indignant look made it clear she blamed him somehow.

“But, madam—”

“Don’t madam me!” The woman shoved some blonde curly hair escaping her ponytail out of her face, shifting the baby up on her hip as she held out her free hand to the little boy. “We were told this was a family friendly ship, so I expect the crew to be careful and watch out for my children.”

Oh, please!

Out of the corner of his eye he saw the guest relations manager approach from the passenger reception area he’d just left. She had clearly decided abandoning her post was the lesser of two evils. She was right. Leaving him to deal with an upset passenger was a major incident waiting to happen.

“May I be of assistance?” The manager—Judy, according to her name tag—looked apologetic and authoritative at the same time.

How the hell does she do that?

“This—this man ran into my little boy, making him fall and hurt himself. And he won’t even apologize!” The woman huffed as she lifted the still wailing boy to his feet, pulling him to her side as if to protect him from further injury.

“I am very sorry, madam.” Judy turned to Nathan, anger radiating from every pore in her body as soon as she faced him. “I’m sure he will correct this immediately.”

I will?

Judy widened her eyes in a clear gesture for him to get on with it.

“I’m very sorry your little boy fell and hurt himself, madam.” That was as good as it would get. He wouldn’t lie and take the blame for the child’s stupidity. Granted, the boy was young—well, as far as he could tell—but his age didn’t mean a basic inability to look where he was going was excusable.

Judy rolled her eyes before she turned back to the woman, her friendly passenger-only smile returning as if by magic.

“May I add our official apologies?” Judy pulled a card from her uniform pocket and held it out. “Please consider this a token of our sincerest regrets. I will organize a babysitter at our expense for any nights you require one. You’ll also have the opportunity to sit at the captain’s table whenever you want for the remainder of the cruise. Just show the Social Hostess my card, and she will set everything up for you.”

“Really?” The woman stroked the little boy’s head, quietly hushing him. Her smile was radiant, all anger clearly forgotten.

Thank God, another human relations disaster had been avoided.

As soon as the woman was gone, Judy turned around to him, looking reproachful.

“That was a really stupid mistake to make.” She shook her head. “You should know better than to run around the passenger area without being extremely careful.”

“I’m sorry, okay?” What else was he supposed to do? He couldn’t really turn back time and make the incident un-happen.

“Yeah, well, maybe you should think about transferring to a ship catering to older passengers? Without children? Might be a little less risky for you.” Judy smiled, but the friendly expression didn’t reach her eyes. “And them.”

“Maybe.” He’d been thinking about a transfer anyway. He’d done four years as third engineer after graduating from the US Merchant Marine Academy as a Marine Engineer. Now he was ready to move on, but there was no hope of doing it on this ship since the second engineer had transferred in only a year earlier and wasn’t about to leave.

He said good-bye to Judy and continued his walk to the crew elevators at the end of the corridor. Maybe it was time to consider a change. Shit, but he hated the idea of having to find his way all over again. The thought of a new ship and new crewmates to get used to made him uncomfortable as hell. But at least, being on a larger ship, he could make better use of his technical abilities and skills.

FOUR MONTHS later, at the end of this leg of their trip and the beginning of his two months off-duty, Nathan walked into the Imperial Excursion Corporation, or IEC, head office in Miami with more butterflies in his stomach than he wanted to admit. The luxurious look, including marble floors, miles of gleaming glass, and polished hardwood everywhere, wasn’t even his biggest problem. Having worked on the Star Princess, a small cruise ship of the magnificence class, he was used to lavish decorations. At least in the passenger areas, since crew quarters were notoriously less extravagant.

No, what had him rattled about this particular visit to the human resources department was his upcoming interview for the position of second engineer.

“May I help you?” The super friendly receptionist wore reading glasses and looked as though she was ready to kick him out if he had no business there.

“Yes. I have an appointment with a Ms. Feenan?” He checked the granite clock on the wall to his left. Yes, he was on time.

“And your name is….” The receptionist looked at him over her glasses.

“Nathan Kappas.” God, he felt like an idiot.

She ran her pen along a long list on a clipboard, frowning until she turned to the second page, which apparently contained his name.

“Ah, yes, here you are.” She ticked a box then looked up, suddenly all smiles again. “Nicely on time as well. Excellent.”

He nodded.

“Please have a seat. I’ll let Ms. Feenan know you’re here. Would you like a coffee while you’re waiting?”

“No, thank you.” He turned around and sat down on a very modern looking white leather sofa.

More caffeine wasn’t what he needed. Too bad the Valium he wanted wasn’t available. He stroked the soft leather, admiring its pristine cleanliness. Thank God he wasn’t wearing one of his occasionally oily coveralls. Not that the one suit he did own was very comfortable, but at least it was clean and it made him look as if he fit in here. It was a nice illusion that would last until he opened his mouth at the wrong moment or said the wrong thing. Why were people so complicated?

Available now at DreamspinnerAmazon.comAmazon.co.uk and ARe

 

COMING SOON: THE SHIP ENGINEER BY SERENA YATES

Blurb:

Nathan Kappas, newly promoted to second engineer on the cruise ship Sapphire, has eyes only for the vessel he’s about to board. He literally runs into Harper Quade, a singer and dancer hired to entertain passengers. Harper has always wanted to travel, and working onboard the Sapphire keeps him away from his abusive ex-boyfriend. As they sail to Hawaii, Tahiti, and other exotic destinations, Nathan and Harper soon share a cabin and a deepening connection, which surprises Nathan, who generally prefers the predictability of machines to people. But an employee who feels jilted when Harper gets promoted harasses him, and Harper’s dangerous past refuses to let him escape. Harper might not be as safe on the Sapphire as he assumed, but Nathan will do anything to protect him.

Available for Pre-order at Dreamspinner

NEW RELEASE: THE BRICKLAYER BY SERENA YATES

Blurb:

Mike Brown has been a bricklayer working for the same construction company since leaving high school at eighteen. While building a conservatory for a Victorian house northwest of downtown Baltimore, Mike meets Ash, the landscaper hired to restore the gardens, when Ash distractedly stumbles over some of Mike’s equipment. Mike offers to take Ash to dinner as an apology, Ash hesitantly agrees, and the two men start dating. Then Mike is pulled away from his next assignment of building fireplaces by a promotion he doesn’t want, only to be fired for incompetence two weeks later. With Ash’s support, Mike must figure out who sabotaged his work, and why, before he faces a lawsuit.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

“I’VE GOT to make sure to get it right this time.” Michael Brown, Mike to his friends and colleagues, rose to his feet and stretched his back before stepping away from the brick wall he’d been working on since early this morning. He carefully made his way between the tools and supplies spread around and behind him and squinted at the first couple of layers in critical appraisal. Mike had only completed one layer so far, but he’d had to go slowly. “These people did not pay for an amateur to build their conservatory.”

“Talking to yourself again?” Dale Gable, his friend since they’d been neighbors as kids and a work colleague at Robert M. Wilson Inc. for over nine years, stood near the driveway at the side of the house with his hands in his jeans pockets as if Mike and him didn’t have a lot to accomplish in a very short time. His brown eyes were twinkling with mischief, his tanned face lit by the bright sunlight.

“Don’t have much choice since you didn’t turn up until now.” Mike liked Dale, he really did, but the man had never been the most conscientious of workers; being an hour late might not be the norm for Dale, but it wasn’t all that unusual either. Then Mike grinned to take some of the sting out of his words—the guy was his friend, after all—and pointed at the beginnings of the foundation for the conservatory. “What do you think? I had to tear down most of what the idiot apprentices did so far. They’d used the wrong bricks, the foundation could be called wobbly at best, and the transition between the old Victorian wall and our new parts was faulty.”

“Wobbly?” Dale raised his eyebrows and grinned. “Is that a new technical term?”

“Oh, you know what I mean.” Mike sighed, but he was grateful for a bit of levity. The stress of finishing projects on time and under budget was getting to him, and he missed “the good old days” of using sound working practices and having the time to indulge his more artistic side. But ever since the economic downturn, even the wealthy, like their current clients in Reservoir Hill, had taken to reducing their expenses.

“Yeah, I do know.” Dale took a long look at the perfectly aged red bricks, walked up to the area where old and new walls connected, then stepped back to check the alignment of the strings that would enable them to stay on the straight and narrow, so to speak, as the wall grew in height. “Looks good to me. The footing was okay?”

“Yes, I measured it and made sure the concrete had dried, but it was fine.” Mike reached for a water bottle in the crate. He’d deposited it in the shade under one of the old oaks right next to where they worked. It was one of the few trees the clients had left standing, intending to have the whole garden landscaped once the conservatory on the southern wall of the old Victorian house had been completed. The rest of the backyard looked like a disaster area with everything dug up and some of the old bushes still lying around. “And thank God for that. We don’t have the time to pour a new one and wait for the concrete to dry.”

“No, Robert is upset enough as it is.” Dale shrugged. “Shouldn’t have let the apprentices work on their own, even if they do have two years’ experience.”

“Hell no. They’ve not even had any formal schooling.” Mike shook his head. Not that schooling was everything, but he’d never regretted his two years at the International Masonry Institute in Bowie, just half an hour south of Baltimore. Funded by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, also known as BAC, and the signatory contractors who employ union members, their combined apprenticeship/work program had given him a good start in his career. Dale had done the same thing, and his father had been the one who’d gotten them the part-time jobs at Wilson Inc., where Mr. Gable had worked as a stonemason for most of his life. They’d still had a heck of a lot to learn when they joined Wilson Inc. full-time at age twenty, but at least they hadn’t been complete newbies.

“I know, right? But I guess they were cheaper, so the boss thought….” Dale shrugged again. “Anyway, let me just change into my coverall—I’ve got it in the truck—and I’ll join you in a minute.”

Mike nodded, grateful he’d have help and company. They only had three days to finish the conservatory’s brick foundation, a wall thirty feet long: ten feet for each side and three feet high, minus the spaces for doors on each side, as indicated by the blueprints Mike’s boss had handed over. But once the wall was finished, they’d need to lay some more bricks for the steps leading down to garden level, as well as the brick pavement making up the terrace surrounding the conservatory. If they wanted to achieve the kind of quality the client’s specifications—and Mike’s perfectionism—demanded, they had better get started. The guys who’d been hired to add the glass walls on top of the bricks, as well as the roof of the new conservatory, were already scheduled to start work on Thursday.

“So you finished your other job, the one over on Belair Road?” Dale now wore his light blue coveralls, short black hair sticking up from changing clothes, and pulled on his gray work gloves.

“Yeah, it was just a brick fireplace they wanted, nothing difficult.” Or even vaguely satisfying, but Mike kept that thought to himself. A lot of Wilson Inc.’s money these days came from working small but relatively lucrative projects like that, so who was he to complain? The designer got most of the fee, but it was all money, so Mike was happy. “The new guy they gave me to work with, Ricky, is actually a pretty cool kid. At least he seems to want to work and he knew his trowel from his bullhorn jointer.”

“I guess there’s hope for the future after all.” Dale grinned and rubbed his gloved hands. “Where do you want me to start?”

“What about you work on the other side and we meet in the middle?” Mike pointed at the other end of the three-walled enclosure that would become the lower part of the conservatory, where the new wall connected to the house. With a surface area of around a hundred square feet, it was not the biggest they had ever built, but it wasn’t exactly small either. He hoped the client had planned for double glazing for the upper part, or it would be a bitch to heat in winter, even facing south the way it did. Baltimore was not exactly in the tropics.

“No problem.” Dale busied himself with finding a bucket, pouring the lime cement mix, and adding water in just the right quantity. “At least the boss is letting us work with lime instead of the cheaper Portland cement we normally use.”

“Well, yes, not that he has much choice.” Mike snorted as he walked back to his segment of the wall and got to his knees. “This is a historic building, and using anything other than original-type materials would run the risk of losing the owners their registration on the National Register of Historic Places. From what I hear, it was hard enough for them to get the permit from the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, and the designer had to make a couple of changes to ‘make it look more Victorian’ before they got approval.”

“And how do you know all that?” Dale frowned as he looked up from stirring the lime putty in his bucket until it became usable.

“I may have spent part of Saturday talking to the designer.” Mike liked to be well briefed on his projects, especially the ones affected by some sort of restriction—like the need for historical accuracy.

Dale shook his head as he stopped stirring and carried the bucket to where he’d be working. The bricks already sat on a pallet close by. Mike had directed the deliverymen to put one on each of the three sides of the conservatory-to-be so he wouldn’t waste time walking back and forth.

“What?” Mike raised his eyebrows. So he was a bit of a history nerd. Stone and brick restoration were his thing, and they brought his perfectionist inclinations to the fore. It made for better quality in his work and happier clients.

“You and your love for historical stuff.” Dale set down his cement-filled bucket, looked around himself to check his supplies and tools, then knelt. “I keep telling you that you should be making it a career.”

“True.” Mike nodded and sighted along the line spanning the distance between him and the brick pillar in the southwest corner. Satisfied the wall remained as straight as it had been the last time he checked, he looked up at Dale. “But then you also remind me of the risk of changing jobs in an uncertain market. And you’re right. With less money floating around, fewer people can afford to pay for expensive restorations. And it isn’t as if the government or other official bodies have lots of funds to play with either.”

“Unfortunately.” After checking his lines, Dale picked up the level, put it on top of the wall in a few places to ensure it was smooth, then placed it along the side to check if the bricks were plumb. “So what else did you do on Saturday?”

“I made sure we’d have the right bricks and arranged for the guys to deliver them this morning. They didn’t like the fact they’d have to start work this early on a Monday, but that’s their problem.” Mike grinned. If he had to get up early to make it here from where he lived just southeast of downtown, then so could the delivery guys.

“These are special bricks? I should have known.” Dale eyed the one he’d picked up with something approaching appreciation.

“Of course they are. They need to fit the rest of the house in look at least, ideally in age. With projects like these, you can’t just use any old bricks. That was part of the problem with letting the apprentices be in charge. They had no idea of the shit that would have hit the fan once the building inspector got his hands on the finished conservatory for approval.” Mike could spend hours talking about the different types and colors of bricks available at the few suppliers in town who specialized in providing bricks reclaimed from torn-down historical buildings.

“Makes sense.” Dale smiled as he laid down some mortar with his trowel, then pressed the first new brick into place on top of it. “Glad to have you around to avoid another catastrophe.”

“What do you mean ‘another’ catastrophe? We haven’t had any in a while, right?” Mike looked up from where he’d been about to add another brick to his part of the wall. Maybe he should spend more time in the office, make more of an effort to keep up with the gossip. But he enjoyed being out at the various construction sites and working with his colleagues way more than the stuffy atmosphere in headquarters.

“Nobody really knows yet how it happened. It happened on Saturday afternoon.” Dale frowned. “Greg and Paul had just finished setting up the scaffolding for the exterior work on the single-family residence on Bolton Street. You know, the one that’s going to be divided into rental apartments?”

Mike nodded, fearing he knew where this was going.

“Well, as soon as they were done, a van delivering building supplies backed into one of the supporting poles at the base of it, and the whole thing collapsed.” Dale shuddered. “Greg and Paul managed to hold on to the part that remained standing, but they’ve both got some heavy bruising. Nobody knows what that van was doing there instead of staying on the road, and the boss isn’t happy.”

“Not their fault though, is it?” Mike had put down all his tools, too engrossed in the story to continue working.

“No, but there’ll be an investigation now and the work has been delayed.” Dale picked up the next brick. “And you know what the boss is like when timings slip.”

“Yep, time is money and all that.” Mike could even relate to that, in an abstract sort of way. “They’re both really okay though?”

“The doctor told them to take a couple days off to rest, but yes, they’re fine.” Dale nodded and returned to work.

With a sigh of relief, Mike did the same. He’d seen his share of mishaps over the years, but each one still got to him. Construction was a potentially dangerous career, and he was conscious of the need to be careful and make sure health and safety rules and regulations were observed at all times.

A few hours later, they had made some good progress and finished almost half the wall, but the ache in his back and his increasing hunger made him call for a lunch break. They knocked on the door so they could use the guest bathroom to do their business and wash their hands before eating. Two ham and cheese sandwiches, two chocolate bars, and two bottles of water later, they returned to work in the now sweltering June heat.

Many bricks later the conservatory outline was clearly visible. There’d be only two more layers to do, and they had made good time. Mike looked up, stretched, and drank some water. As he was about to return to work, a dark green van pulled up to the side of the house, just visible around the corner from where Mike was working. He didn’t expect anyone from head office or any of his colleagues, but they might have changed their minds or something unexpected could have come up. He rose to check it out, and the logo on its side quickly made clear what was going on.

“Clark’s Tree Farm” sat in the middle in bold yellow letters, a group of various trees painted above it and “Trees, Plants, and Landscaping” in slightly smaller font underneath. The gardener had arrived, and since he was clearly on his own, he probably had an appointment to discuss his plans. Fixing the current mess would take more than one man.

The man behind the wheel shut off the engine, took a moment as if to collect himself, then got out of the vehicle. Mike didn’t think the gardener had noticed him, half hidden by the corner of the house, so he took a good look. The man was about Mike’s height of six feet, maybe an inch or two less, and had a lean but well-muscled body with broad shoulders covered by a tight dark green T-shirt. He wore black slacks that hugged his thighs and narrow hips, and leather shoes. When he bent and stretched across the driver’s seat to reach for something in the passenger seat, the pants stretched nicely around his more than delectable ass.

As soon as he’d closed the van’s door, he turned around and stared straight at Mike. His green eyes widened as a slight blush colored his high cheekbones. His face was framed by medium-long blond hair, and he was clean-shaven. But all Mike noticed were those green eyes, almost as dark as the T-shirt the guy wore.

“Hello.” The landscaper’s voice was deep and melodious. A friendly smile made his lips curve up, and a dimple appeared in one cheek.

“Hello.” Mike tentatively smiled back, the polite thing to do, but he had no idea what to say to the most fascinating male specimen he’d seen in quite a while. The attraction had hit him right between the eyes—okay, maybe a bit lower than that if he were honest—and his brain seemed to have switched itself off. A damned dimple! How cute was that? And Mike had never thought he was into “cute” men, not since he realized he was gay around the time he turned sixteen. Apparently, he still had a lot to learn, even at his ripe old age of twenty-seven.

“Is this the Radinsky residence?” The landscaper looked a little confused as he checked his clipboard, then looked up at the house.

“Yes, it is.” Mike had rarely felt this tongue-tied since puberty. He lifted his arm and pointed. “The, um, the front entrance is around that way.”

“Oh, okay.” The landscaper shook his head as if to clear it and took a step away from his van and toward the front of the house, never looking away from Mike. “I better let them know I’m here, right?”

“Right.” Mike could have kicked himself. He sounded like a total idiot.

“Okay.” The landscaper nodded, turned around, and vanished around the northeast corner of the house.

Mike remained where he stood for a few seconds, then shook himself and walked back to the wall he’d been working on. Dayum, that was an amazing guy.

“What was that all about?” Dale looked up from placing the final brick in their current layer.

“Oh, just the landscaper.” Mike picked up his trowel and a brick, ready to finish for the day. “Guess they decided not to wait too long to get this mess of a backyard fixed.”

Available now at Dreamspinner, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and ARe

REVIEW: THE CHAUFFEUR BY SERENA YATES

Blurb:

A Workplace Encounters Book

Scarred former model Kyle Anderson leads a double life. By day, he works as a chauffeur for his uncle’s limousine rental company. Since his wages are too low for him to become financially independent, he works nights as an exotic dancer, donning a mask to hide his identity and the facial scars that got him rejected by his parents. Kyle catches the attention of Nick Giddings, a forklift driver who visits the club to let off steam. Nick is stuck in a low-skilled dead-end job after being kicked out of school for a prank he didn’t commit. The two men immediately connect, but when Nick is laid off and Kyle’s uncle pushes him to date a woman, everything comes crashing down.

Lisa’s Review: Serena immediately draws you into the story of Kyle, who has been abandoned by everyone but his uncle, and Nick, who only wants to work hard and better himself. When they meet they are instantly drawn to each other. This was a sweet story with a couple of twists and turns – which I won’t diivulge – about looking past the exterior to find the heart within and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

4 SPARKLY STARS!!!

Available now at Dreamspinner, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and ARe

 

COMING SOON: THE BRICKLAYER BY SERENA YATES

Blurb:

Mike Brown has been a bricklayer working for the same construction company since leaving high school at eighteen. While building a conservatory for a Victorian house northwest of downtown Baltimore, Mike meets Ash, the landscaper hired to restore the gardens, when Ash distractedly stumbles over some of Mike’s equipment. Mike offers to take Ash to dinner as an apology, Ash hesitantly agrees, and the two men start dating. Then Mike is pulled away from his next assignment of building fireplaces by a promotion he doesn’t want, only to be fired for incompetence two weeks later. With Ash’s support, Mike must figure out who sabotaged his work, and why, before he faces a lawsuit.

Available for pre-order now at Dreamspinner