Island House release party—Bringing the scent of the ocean to you with another giveaway

November 11, 2013

Drum roll, please….(don’t you love my super-scientific method of choosing a winner?)…

Congratulations to Susie Ritzko, who picked up a free ebook copy of Island House in the last contest. I loved all the comments! Check out the end of this post for another chance to answer a question to win some swag.

If you’re just tuning in, I’m Bru Baker, author of Island House. I’m here on the Dreamspinner Press blog talking about my favorite parts of the book. This time we’ll take a closer look at the island of Tortola, which is where Niall and Ethan meet and start to fall for each other.

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. Image credit: WikiTravel

I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the British Virgin Islands, but I’ve been to several other Caribbean islands and I loved the beautiful scenery and the laid-back feel. I chose Tortola as the setting for Island House because it’s somewhere that has always sounded intriguing to me but that I haven’t had a chance to visit yet. Through the magic of Google I’m pretty familiar with the island’s layout now, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time daydreaming over the gorgeous views.

Frenchman's Lookout

The view from Frenchman's Lookout on Tortola. Photo credit: Inspirato

Niall moves to Tortola after his longtime partner Nolan is murdered in the UK. It isn’t a random choice; the two of them had vacationed on the island several times and Nolan owned a vacation home there. Living on Tortola is a sort of penance for Niall because he blames himself for Nolan’s death. The island is gorgeous, but to Niall it’s more like a prison.

Even though four years have passed, Niall is still in love with Nolan and grieving. When he meets Ethan Bettencourt and feels an instant, undeniable attraction, it’s a bit of a shock for him. And in typical Niall fashion, he manages to make a bit of an idiot out of himself in their first interaction. Here’s their first meeting:


“You’re Ahern?”

The voice belonged to a tall, dark-haired man who would have been handsome save for the stubble covering his face. The rugged two-day growth transformed his slightly sharp features into something dangerous, and paired with his slight tan and blue eyes, the end result was nothing short breathtakingly gorgeous. Were it not for the faded button-down and pair of tattered Dockers the man was wearing, Niall would have sworn he was an 18th century pirate somehow transported to the modern day.

Niall didn’t realize he’d been staring, until Jacks cleared his throat and stepped forward, hand outstretched to welcome the visitor. Niall swallowed, his already heat-flushed cheeks burning with the beginnings of a blush. He hadn’t reacted to a man like this since—well, since ever. Niall’s only serious relationship had been with a man he’d known since childhood, and it definitely hadn’t started with a spark of lust like this. He felt a familiar pang of guilt at the thought of finding a man other than Nolan attractive, though Nolan had been gone for years.

“Sorry?” Niall asked when it became clear the would-be pirate was talking to him again.

“I asked if you were Niall Ahern,” the man said, blue eyes narrowed slightly as he studied Niall. “He said he’d be here to pick me up—”

“Mr. Bettencourt!” Niall felt his stomach drop. Ethan Bettencourt was one of the world’s most sought-after software developers and technology consultants. He wore Armani suits and custom-made Italian shoes, not ancient Dockers and flip-flops. But as Niall stared at him, he could see the full lips and aquiline nose that had made Ethan fodder for gossip magazines across the world. It was definitely him.

“I’m so sorry, sir,” Niall said, rushing forward. He wasn’t sure if he should shake his hand or offer to take his luggage, and as a result he did neither, hand raised awkwardly in front of him as his mind tried to catch up and figure out what to do.

Bettencourt solved Niall’s dilemma by shifting his bag to his other hand and reaching out to take Niall’s half-raised hand. “Call me Ethan.”

The contact had Niall cringing inside, the cool skin of Ethan’s hand making him even more aware of his own sweaty palm.

“Of course,” Niall said, cursing himself for being so flustered. He’d never had this problem before when greeting important clients. Of course, he’d never had an important client who was as gorgeous as Ethan, nor one who could keep Niall’s business afloat for another year with a single transaction.

Island House

ebook paperback


Have you ever really botched a first impression? How did you fix it? One lucky commenter will win a small ceramic oil warmer with a vial of ocean breeze oil to bring a little bit of the island to them. (Since international shipping is a beast, non-US residents will receive a different prize if they win.) I’ll announce the winner at 3 p.m. EST (just in time to introduce the next contest!)

Order a copy of Island House

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9 Responses to “Island House release party—Bringing the scent of the ocean to you with another giveaway”

  1. Helen says:

    With my big mouth, often and painfully. Try to hang in there till victim figures out I mean well.

  2. Janice says:

    Always. When I was young, the first impression was it. If I botched it I was too timid to try and fix things. Just slink away. Now I find myself nattering away until I hit on the right thing to say, or finally give up and let nature take its course. It only really matters in a job interview. The rest? What will be will be.

  3. Jennifer F. says:

    I can’t really say that I have completely botched a first impression. At least I can’t think of any time that I did.

  4. Megan Linden says:

    I wish I haven’t! Unfortunately, it does happen to me sometimes, especially when I’m nervous. After the fact, I always cringe at what I said or did, but it is too late.

  5. Andrea M says:

    I’ve found that unsolicited honesty does it every time and I seem to be an expert at it.

    This book is sounding like it’s fantastic.

  6. Birte says:

    Knowing my big mouth and my talent to put my foot into it, I’m pretty sure that I’ve botched a first impression. I’ll probably never know though because I’m certain every sane person will have just run into the opposite direction as fast as possible O:-)

  7. bru_baker says:

    Thanks, Andrea! I’m having fun sharing my favorite parts with everyone. :)

  8. Cia Nordwell says:

    *coughs* Pre-apologize. Seriously. I mean, I can do the adult eye contact, firm handshake with ‘Hi, nice to meet you.’ routine in a social setting but then my mouth can get away with me afterward. So, usually once the introduction is out of the way I fully cop to the fact I’ll likely forget their name, and please feel free to kick me in the shin under the table because open mouth insert foot IS my middle name. It’s either that or not speak at all, and with the way my tongue is hinged in the middle… so not happening.

    Socially awkward people unite! LOL

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