Friday, April 24, 2015


Happy Friday, Everyone!

I have another wonderful guest taking over my blog today. I hope you all will give a big Texan welcome to Irene Preston. You met Irene just a few weeks ago. She has a wonderful U story to share with you as well as a wonderful new multi-author anthology called Romancing Austin.



Irene Preston ...

When Nancy offered letters of the alphabet for guest-bloggers I wanted W. W is for Weird.  I could do all kinds of stuff with weird! (Some of the weirdness would even be related to living in Austin, where our motto is Keep it Weird, and not specifically to me.)

But someone had already taken W. Can you believe it?  So I wound up with U instead. Which is a good thing, because U is for U-Turn.

My latest little story will be out in a few days. It’s set in Austin during the SXSW music festival.  While Keeping it Weird would have been a great introduction to Austin, U-Turn is better because “Tall Order” is a second-chance story. Sometimes you need to turn around to get where you’re going.

We all make U-Turns occasionally. Sometimes it’s because we missed our exit. Sometimes it’s because we’ve taken a wrong turn and are driving down the wrong road completely. Sometimes the highway department didn’t see fit to put an exit exactly where we  need one and the best option is to drive on by and circle back rather than try to 4-wheel the family truckster across the median.

When I first met my husband, Bones, he says he knew right away I was The One. Well, I didn’t know. For REASONS, I was particularly relationship-averse at the time. We were both in college, and when summer break rolled around I high-tailed it out of state for the summer and broke up with him long-distance. I know. I’m horrible. How did I ever become a romance writer with a story like that?

Fortunately, Bones didn’t give up. When I flew back at the end of the summer, he was waiting for me at the airport. We’ve been together ever since.  You might say I was foolish to take that summer apart, but I’ve never regretted it. I was not in the right place to accept our relationship before then. I needed that summer in New York to make the rest of our life work.

Sometimes, passing your destination and coming back is the best way to get where you need to be.

Tall Order” is about Dylan, who has to make a major U-Turn, and Aston, who watched him drive away and didn’t give up.  This story is part of the Romancing Austin anthology – which is basically me and my local writer-buds having a really good time and inviting you along for the ride.  (Seriously, we had way too much fun.)

Here’s a little peek!

“Tall Order” (Romancing Austin)

Chef Dylan Travino is back from New York with his tail between his legs. A year ago, when he left Austin, his job, and his boyfriend behind, his only thought was making it big. Now he’s reduced to taking any job to pay the rent.

Aston Winkler’s steampunk guitar mods are all the rage with rockers and he’s got invites to every hot party in town.  From his 6’7” vantage point, Aston has no problem spotting Dylan in the SXSW crowd. Getting his boyfriend back? That’s a tall order.

Excerpt from Tall Order

“I’m not in the mood to go to Houston, Dylan, so you better tell me where I need to exit.”

“You can just drop me at the Hilton.”

“You don’t have a car and you were working for Joe Bob’s last night. You’re not staying at the Hilton.”

“It’s close enough.”

“Or maybe Houston is nice this time of year.”

Dylan shot him a look that could have felled a longhorn. “We need to U back around right after the airport, I’m on the other side of the highway.”

Five minutes later they were not at the Hilton. They were not at the Holiday Inn Express or the Comfort Suites. Aston stared at the rundown two-story building and tried not to shudder. It wasn’t condemned? The sign at the entrance had proclaimed they offered hourly, nightly, and weekly rates. This place was actually occupied? By humans?

Dylan opened the door. “Thanks for the ride. Bye.” He turned and headed toward the building. Aston sat in the car, too stunned to move until Dylan started up the stairs.

No. Absolutely not.

He jumped out of the car and followed, pausing a little at the stairs. Jesus, the metal was rusty and the concrete steps were cracked. He took a deep breath and rushed up, not entirely convinced they would hold his weight.

Dylan was jiggling his key in the door of the last room at the end of the landing. He got it open and stepped inside just as Aston caught up to him. Aston caught the door before it swung shut in his face.

Dylan turned around, blocking his entrance. “What?”

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?”


“I need to pee. Let me in.”

Dylan sighed and stepped aside.

Aston wouldn’t have thought the interior could be worse than the exterior of this place, but he was wrong. There was water damage on the ceiling, patched plaster on the walls, the carpet…he didn’t want to examine the carpet closely at all. A burst of canned laughter erupted, and he looked around for the television, only to realize the sound was coming, plain as day, from the room next door.

“Thought you needed to pee.”

“I lied.”

“So, you see where I live. Happy?”

Aston stared at Dylan. “No. I am not happy. I understand why you wouldn’t call me when you got back in town, but this?”

“It’s cheap and close to work.”

“Work? What work? You were in Austin last night.”

“Joe Bob’s was a side gig, not regular work. I’ve got three nights a week at the diner across the street. I can walk there from here.”

Aston paced around the room, trying not to breathe too deeply. What was that smell?

“You’re working at a chain breakfast place by the airport?” His voice was rising and he couldn’t stop it. “You were head chef at Ophelia’s when you left. You were head chef in New York. Why don’t you get a job someplace decent in town?”

“Well I plan on it, don’t I? But meanwhile I have to eat and pay the rent.”

“No. No Dylan, you do not have to pay the rent in this crappy place. Why didn’t you just move back in with your aunt and uncle until you got back on your feet?”

Dylan hunched his shoulders. “I’m not mooching off of them any more. They’ve got enough people to feed over there and the boys finally have their own rooms.”

Dylan had worked steady food service jobs since he was a teenager. Aston doubted his aunt considered him a moocher, but Dylan’s tense stance indicated the subject was closed.

“Then why didn’t you call me? Even if you didn’t want—“ He stopped, not willing to go there. “Why didn’t you call me?”

Why didn’t you call me? God, how pathetic was he? Why don’t you love me anymore? Did you ever love me?

“I can’t pay rent. Even the taxes and utilities on your place are more than this room costs me.”

Aston hoped a meal at the diner was more than this room, because you couldn’t pay him enough to stay here. He’d be damned if he left Dylan here, either.


Note: Order now and get all 7 stories for the $0.99 introductory price!

About Irene Preston:

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

Visit Irene Online:

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  1. Sounds great, Irene. Sorry for scoffing the letter W on you, but I'd say U worked well for you!

  2. I love you wonderful ladies fighting over my letters. Susanne, I'll see you in a couple days! Irene, thanks again for doing such a great job on the letter U. By the way, have I told you have awesome and sexy your cover is? Hot, seriously smok'n!

  3. Thanks, Nancy - we're all a little in love with it!

  4. Visiting you during the #Challenge. Always happy to find another writer. Love the clarity of your blog, easy to read, uncluttered. (The black backgrounds make me crazy.) A lot of work, which I appreciate. Congrats. If you have a moment, come and see me. I may be in the garden. I'm having a break from writing after getting ready for April!

  5. Love your U Turn post, Irene...very clever! The book sounds great and I could imagine that stinky room from your great descriptions.

  6. Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. I hope you are all registering for the giveaway.