Series: Frozen Hearts #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: Sept. 23 (ebook/audio), Oct 1 (print)
Length (Print & Ebook): 89,000 words
Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance/ action adventure m/m romance, interracial romance
A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.
Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…
Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.
As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
This book is approximately 89,000 words
“Tea for everyone. Then a hot shower and lots of blankets,” Owen declared as they entered the building, bossy streak making a blessed reappearance right when Quill really needed to not be the one thinking. If Owen had a plan, so much the better because Quill wasn’t good for much besides stripping off his gear, stowing his piece, stomping upstairs, and flopping into a kitchen chair. Owen draped one of the blankets from the couch around his shoulders before doing the same for himself, wearing it like a cape as he made tea. “Bourbon in yours? I found a bottle in the cabinet the other week.”
“Yeah.” Quill didn’t often imbibe, but he needed the burn of the liquor even more than any warmth-giving properties. The bourbon was there exactly for nights like this one where Quill had done his best and it still hadn’t been enough. Fucking universe and its random acts of cruelty.
After adding a healthy glug of liquor to each of their mugs, Owen shoved a cup at Quill. He also put a plate of cookies from the batch that got baked on the table. “Here you go. Eat something so the alcohol doesn’t hit too hard.”
“Feels like I should be the one taking care of you,” Quill admitted after he’d had a few sips of tea, let the warmth and burn work past the tightness in his throat and chest.
“We can take care of each other,” Owen countered, pulling his chair close to Quill’s. “That’s what we’re here for, right?”
A few hours ago, Quill would have argued that being alone was the best way to cope with something like this—find a way to push through and on to the next day either with the aid of some strong drink or just a restless night spent replaying the events until sleep did its thing, softened the edges of the awfulness. But when Owen grabbed his hand, squeezed, and looked at him with such compassion in his eyes, Quill couldn’t find it in himself to pull away.
“Yeah,” he said, even as he knew that he shouldn’t let himself come to need Owen like this, to lean on him. He and Hattie had always tended to retreat to their own corners after a hard shift, and he prided himself on being a strong man. Sure, accidents like this affected him as they would anyone, but he’d always tried to handle those emotions on his own. Harsh memories of his father’s comments about men who showed their feelings didn’t help any, but lately all those memories, all the family drama, seemed more distant. Less sharp.
And funny how without that mantle of a painful past, his present seemed somehow more hopeful, old wounds and past fears no match for Owen. In fact, they’d been on the verge of another disagreement when Owen had dropped everything to come help. And now here he was, taking care of Quill yet again. Owen simply didn’t seem to have it in him to hold a grudge too long. Quill would be a fool to pull away now, even if he knew the next night like this, the inevitable one after Owen left, would hurt that much more. But that moment, all he wanted to do was hold Owen close, take every comfort he offered from Christmas lights to hot toddies to underdone gingerbread to that strong hand of his, holding on when Quill needed it most.
Blog Tour Exclusive Q&A:
Q: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
AA: Both characters, Quill and Owen, are special to me for different reasons. Quill, my grumpy park ranger, is special to me because he’s a more mature hero, but he’s also unaware of the extent of his own loneliness. Giving Quill the HEA he deserves was immensely satisfying. Owen, my optimistic new volunteer assigned to Quill, is special because he represents a character that I’ve wanted to do for a long time—one who survived a major medical scare and now has a second lease on life and is determined to make the most of each day.
Q: What was the inspiration for the story?
AA: My amazing critique partner and best friend, Wendy Qualls, came to me with the idea of how in remote areas, park rangers are often snowed in together for months at a time. I loved the idea immediately, and we started brainstorming. I brought in a lot of my favorite tropes—opposites attract, age gap, close proximity, building friendship, adventure, working together, and more as the plot started to take shape for me. Then later, I came up with the idea of making it series set in Alaska, and worked that plot bunny into the series. Book Three seemed to fit best for this one, so that’s where it landed, but initially it was the first plot bunny, and everything else sprang from that one.
Q: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?
AA: Love finds us where we least expect it, but most need it. Neither Owen nor Quill expects to find the love of their lives when they’re snowed in together for an Alaskan winter, but love has a way of finding people when they need it most and of healing old wounds and giving fresh courage. I really wanted to show how love can provide the best fresh start of all, even when we stay in the same place we’ve always been or when we venture thousands of miles out of our comfort zone—love finds those who need it most.
Q: What is the significance of the title?
AA: ARCTIC HEAT is actually the coldest book in the series—tons and tons of snow and snowed in fun. The heat totally comes from the chemistry between the main characters!
Q: If you had to describe the main characters in three words, what would those three words be?
AA: As the story opens, Quill is grumpy, lonely, and loyal. He’s grumpy about being assigned a new volunteer, lonely from long hours alone and with his BFF now assigned elsewhere, and he’s loyal to his job. Meanwhile, Owen is optimistic, fun, and adventure seeking. He’s an optimist who survived a health scare and now is seeking fun and adventure in Alaska.
Meet Annabeth Albert
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #FrozenHearts, #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.
To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
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