Each Friday night, a mysterious man enters Blackjack’s Bar, orders the same drink, and sits in the same seat in the furthest corner. His presence is a welcome sight for Isaac Anderson, a regular bartender at Blackjack’s. There’s just something mysterious and intriguing about Caleb Miller that Isaac can’t ignore. Perhaps it’s his pale and sickly appearance, or the smart way in which he dresses. Isaac just can’t put his finger on what makes this man so different. Another thing he can’t do is stop staring at this fascinating, special person. Encouraged to take a gamble and to get to know this quiet stranger, Isaac invites Caleb to watch a rock band with him. All seems to be well, until Caleb suddenly makes a mad dash for the door.
Caleb doesn’t know what to think when Isaac Anderson pursues him that night. A lifetime of rejection has taught him to expect the worst, but the attractive and warm bartender’s response to him confuses him. Isaac sees him at his worst, and Caleb is prepared to protect himself from judgment and heartache. He is shocked when he is instead given kindness and compassion. As Isaac continues to reach out to him, Caleb struggles with the choice to trust the new man in his life. Even if Isaac wants to build a relationship with Caleb, there are other people in their lives who would be happier if they stayed apart. And even if he follows Isaac into his heart, it still may not be enough for Caleb to learn to accept himself.
Anger, judgment, distrust, and violence all threaten Isaac and Caleb’s newfound love. Their relationship faces too many challenges for either man to overcome on his own. Will taking a gamble pay off, or do they both stand to lose everything?
As part of the Take a Gamble blog tour, I have asked N. Wood to take part in a guest post. Here’s what she had to say:
How much research do you put into the subject matter of your books, or do you follow the ‘write what you know’ rule?
I tend to do a bit of both. I like to set my stories in places that I know because that makes it much easier for me to picture them in my mind while I write and to help me to describe them more clearly so that the reader can see the locations too.
My stories are mostly set in Cornwall, UK. I moved here in 2005, and it’s a truly wonderful place to live. You can drive from one coast of Cornwall to the other in 40 minutes, and there are so many beautiful beaches to explore.
(There was a gorgeous picture of a beach sunset taken by the author here, but no matter what I do, I can’t get it to post Apologies to N. Wood)
When it comes to the contents of my books, it’s always a mix and match of both what I know and what needs to be researched. With Take A Gamble for example: Isaac is a bartender in a pub in Truro. When I moved to Cornwall, the first job I got was working the bar at a rugby club, so I know how to pull pints and how to clean behind a bar. That made Isaac and his profession fairly easy to write. Whereas with Caleb, he is a music teacher at a college. I can’t play an instrument to save my life, so his career took a little research to get it right.
(SPOILER) There’s a chapter in Take A Gamble where Isaac takes Caleb to the aquarium in Newquay for a date. That chapter is based on my birthday when my boyfriend took me there for the first time. My birthday is in January, so the aquarium was rather quiet, almost like a ghost town. Like Caleb and Isaac, we just wandered from tank to tank to see what was inside. While we were in the main shark tunnel, a staff member came out of his way to find us to say that he was about to feed one of the exhibits if we’d like to go with him to watch. The exhibit was the mantis shrimp which I described in the chapter, and we witnessed its feeding habits just as the characters did in my book.