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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Louisa Masters to Stories That Make You Smile! Louisa is here today celebrating the release of her fabulous new book, Out of the Office. She’s generously brought along both an excerpt and a giveaway. Pull up a chair and read on as Louisa talks with us on the topic of drama: “It’s all about the drama… isn’t it?” 🌟
Out of the Office by Louisa Masters
Meet the man who defines “stubborn.”
Cover Artist: Golden Czermak / FuriousFotog
Release Date: July 25, 2019
Length: Novella / 18k words / 84 pages
Pairing / Genre(s) / Keyword(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, Enemies to Lovers, office romance, Aussie romance, road trip
Whoever thought achieving career goals could be boring? Not Duncan Witten, but here he is at forty-one, in his dream job… and hating it. Throw it all away for a challenge? Yes, please!
If only Dunc had known his challenging new job came with Paul Hanks, a man who redefines “stubborn.” They need to work together to meet targets, but thanks to Dunc’s idiot predecessor, Paul won’t take his calls or reply to emails.
There’s only one solution: travel across the country and confront Paul face-to-face. It’s time to take things out of the office.
I deliberately loiter in a coffee shop across the street from the Perth office. I don’t want to arrive early and give Paul time to come up with an escape plan, but there was no way I was risking being late. I take the time to go over my plan again, checking it for any flaw that might have sneaked past my and Krista’s eagle eyes.
There aren’t any. But it’s a great opportunity to implant every detail in my brain while sucking back a coffee.
The shop is only moderately busy—we’re well past the I-just-arrived-at-work-and-desperately-need-a-coffee rush, and not quite at the midmorning coffee break rush. There are a few small groups efficiently combining coffee with a meeting at the tables, and a couple of other loners like me sitting in armchairs, hunched over laptops, but voices are low and there’s not a lot of ambient noise.
So the strident ring of the shop phone gets my attention, and I’m still only half-focused a minute later when one of the staff calls to another, “Paul’s on his way—make his usual, will you?”
There are a lot of Pauls in the world. In fact, there are probably a lot of Pauls currently within a one-block radius. But a guy who phones in his coffee order when he’s on his way is either superefficient or an asshole, and Paul Hanks has been described as both. Plus, this place is the closest to our Perth office, so it makes sense that he’d use it. And the timing is about right for a break before his meeting with me.
I slouch down a little in my seat. There’s no reason to think he knows what I look like, but it feels like the done thing. I mean, if you’re potentially spying on someone, you’re supposed to be all sneaky, right?
I’m just wondering if maybe I’ve been watching too many police procedural TV shows when the door to the street opens and a man walks in.
Remember, I’ve never actually met Paul Hanks before. I’ve seen a picture of him, though—it was from a company party a couple of years ago, in profile, and not terribly clear. But it’s enough for me to recognise him and to marvel at what the picture didn’t show.
He’s fucking huge.
Tall, yes—about six-three, although it’s hard to judge with me sitting down. But it’s more that he’s built like a brick shithouse. Broad across the shoulders, with a tank for a torso. He’s just solid. I can’t tell with how he’s dressed—chinos and a long-sleeved shirt—if that solid is muscle or fat, but whatever it is, it’s imposing. His face is average—attractive enough, although he’d never win any awards for his looks—and he has a ruddy complexion. His hair is dark blond, in an all-over messy style that makes me think he usually has it quite short and it’s just overgrown.
But the most important detail is his presence. Seriously. He walks in, and it’s like the room is full to bursting. I can’t stop staring. He has serious charisma, but not of the charming variety. It’s more like a force of nature, blasting through all that stands in its way.
In just a few strides, he’s at the counter and accepting the paper cup offered to him.
“Hey, Paul,” the young man behind the register says as he rings up the sale. “How’s the morning?”
“Not as bad as it could be,” he replies, handing over some cash. His voice is deep enough to stir something carnal in me—I’ve always been a sucker for a deep voice. I shift slightly, reminding myself that I’m not here for that, that I cannot jeopardise my one chance to get him on side by letting my sexual urges get in the way.
He’s not even that good-looking. It’s a stupid, petty attempt to convince myself, even if it is true. I’ve met better-looking guys—hell, one of my exes was so fucking hot that people on the street would turn to watch him walk past. Just because Paul is built, has an amazing voice, and can’t stand me (we’ve talked about how I love a challenge, right?) doesn’t mean I should think of him that way.
And yes, he’s gay. I’m not engaging in pointless fantasy here. Well, I am, but not for that reason. Paul being gay is one of the worst-kept secrets in our incestuous, gossipy industry. He managed to keep it under wraps when he was a site engineer, but once he transitioned to mostly working in the office, it came out—no pun intended. He doesn’t advertise, but enough people know that it’s not a secret. He’s been in the industry long enough, and earned the respect of enough people, that it’s not an issue. From what I’ve heard, there’s occasionally some fuckwit on a site who tries to make something of it, but they get shouted down pretty quick.
Paul finishes his transaction and leaves, and I take my first real breath since he walked in.
Okay. It’s go time.
☆ Guest Post ☆
It’s all about the drama… isn’t it?
There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a book that rips out your heart and tears it to shreds. It’s astounding how much we’re drawn to books that make us ugly cry, how stories we rave about so much, remember so clearly—and fondly—are ones that made us feel as though we’d been hit by a truck. I’m an avid re-reader, but there are books I cite amongst the best I’ve ever read that I have not read—cannot read—again. Because they destroyed me.
When I first began to write, I despaired of the fact that my writing lacked “angst.” No matter how I tried, I could not inject into my stories that element that makes people want to throw a book against the wall and then scramble hastily to pick it up and keep reading. My writing is lighthearted, fun—fluffy. There is never any doubt while you’re reading that things are all going to be fine in the end. It was something that literally kept me up at night—how could I write a good book if there wasn’t going to be any conflict?
Then someone far wiser than I pointed out to me that conflict exists in many forms. Yes, there is heart-wrenching angst, dramatic betrayal, desperate fight for life—but there is also a conflict in quiet self-growth. In learning to trust yourself. In meeting someone and thinking there is a spark between you, but not being sure. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring—and loving—lighter books, authors who write fun, lighthearted stories. Books that leave you feeling relaxed and happy, that become go-to reads on bad days. It’s taught me that the heart of a good book is not necessarily gripping angst, but solid character development and conflict—no matter how subtle a form that conflict may take.
In my latest novella, Out of the Office—a fluffy read if ever one existed—the conflict in Duncan’s attraction to Paul is twofold: he can’t tell if Paul is attracted back, and they work together, so he worries that making a move will cause awkwardness. There is no big drama. There is no heartbreaking angst. And yet, there is a conflict that leaves the reader wondering not if things will work out, but what path will be taken to get there.
I’m trying to teach myself not to say “never,” because who knows what the future holds? So maybe one day I’ll write a book with a devastating plot. A book that makes me sob as I type and leaves readers gasping. But if I don’t, that’s okay. And if that’s not what you want to read, that’s okay too. I still love having my heart shattered by a book, but some days, all I want is to feel good, and a light, fun, fluffy book can give me that.
Meet the Author
Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.
Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.
Website | Facebook Profile | Facebook Page | Twitter (@authorLouisaM) | Instagram (@authorLouisaM) | Goodreads | QueeRomance Ink | Amazon
Also by Louisa Masters
Louisa is giving away a $20 gift certificate (your choice of Amazon, iBooks, B&N or Kobo). Enter via Rafflecopter:a Rafflecopter giveaway
5 thoughts on “BLOG TOUR – GUEST POST – Out of the Office by Louisa Masters – #Excerpt #Giveaway #GuestPost”
Thanks so much for hosting me! ❤️
You’re welcome! Best wishes on your tour! ❤️
Well, Ms. Masters, Addison did it again. I find most of my “new-to-me” authors through her site, and I just got back from AMZ buying your book. Looking forward to reading it.
Thank you so much! I hope you love it <3