About Tested in Fire
Six months ago, Stefan Cobbe was at rock bottom: grief-stricken, guilt ridden, debt laden, artistically blocked, and living on charity in an isolated mountain cabin. But after reconciling with his first love, Luke, and moving to Sarasota with him, Stefan is preparing for his first major show. Yes, he still has debts, and no, Luke doesn’t understand Stefan’s desire for independence. But compared to last year? No contest.
Luke Morganstern ought to be happy. After all, his art-investigation business has recovered and he’s got his boyfriend back. But Stefan stubbornly refuses to move in with him or accept Luke’s financial help, and it’s really starting to bug him. Who knew that the biggest test of their relationship wouldn’t be time or distance, but his own insecurities? After Luke’s next job—a trip to Italy to retrieve a mysterious artifact—he plans to convince Stefan that it’s time to totally commit.
But when Luke returns, he changes, and Stefan begins to suspect that the person in Luke’s skin isn’t Luke at all. He can hardly go to the police and claim his lover is the victim of a supernatural hijacking though. He needs alternative help to find Luke and get him back, because he refuses to let anyone—or anything—come between them again.
About the Art Medium Series
Artists use all manner of materials to express their vision, to interpret the world around them, to affect the hearts and minds of their audience.
But what if the artist himself were the medium? And what if artistic inspiration weren’t the only force at work?
If painter Stefan Cobbe and art investigator Luke Morganstern don’t answer those questions fast, they stand to lose their reputations, their relationship—and their lives.
About E.J. Russell
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
Anyone who’s read more than a couple of my books probably knows that I set them all in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, all but one (For a Good Time, Call…, part of the Bluewater Bay series, set on the Olympic peninsula in Washington) are set in Oregon, usually in and around Portland.
Then there’s Tested in Fire.
Tested in Fire is set in Sarasota, Florida—definitely the very odd one out. My Curmudgeonly Husband’s parents moved to Sarasota from Connecticut after my father-in-law retired. The first time we visited them, they were living in a high-rise condo building right on the Gulf (as in their balcony overlooked the water and the beach started right next to the pool). I think they imagined that CH and I would take one look and immediately want to move there.
Clearly, despite being acquainted with their son since birth, they still didn’t really know him! When we bought our house in rural Oregon (the same one we live in now, almost thirty years later), one of CH’s criteria for a perfect location was, “I don’t want to be able to see my neighbors from my windows.” We managed that in rural Oregon. In Sarasota? Not a chance.
My in-laws’ condo management groomed the beach in front of their building (real estate that the building owned) with a tractor every day so the sand was white and clean and free of detritus. You could still pick up shells, delivered by gentle waves at the tide line, something my daughter was quite fond of doing.
Sarasota is most definitely a sea level kind of place, which makes it perfect for Luke (who hates the mountains after his accident in the Alps). In fact, I modeled his condo after my in-laws’ first place, up to and including the black lacquer curio cabinet in the living room—although I shoehorned an office in there for Luke’s computer and business files.
Now in Oregon, the coastline is all public land. There are regular volunteer “beach clean-up” days, but the sand is not pristine, the jetties are made of rough stone blocks, and the surf can be wild and sneaky.
CH adores the Oregon coast. He clambers along the jetties, collects mussels from the rocks, and goes clamming in the tidewater flats.
My mother-in-law, on the other hand, calls it “that awful beach.”
To give you an idea, here’s a picture of CH and the kids back in the day, the Nehalem jetty at their backs, and wearing their matching shorty wetsuits.
Because that’s the other thing about the Oregon Coast: compared to the Gulf, it’s fricking cold!
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To celebrate the release of both books in the Art Medium series, E.J. is giving away a $25 Amazon credit and an ebook copy of both titles in the Legend Tripping series! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Contest closes at midnight, Eastern time, on April 7, 2017 and is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your contact info!