Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Virtual Tour + #Giveaway: KING OF THE MOUNTAIN by Aiden Ainslie @AidenA36208349 @GoddessFish


by Aiden Ainslie

GENRE: M/M Romance



After years of hard work and training, I finally have the chance of fulfilling my lifelong dream of winning the Tour de France. Nothing can be allowed to distract me from this mission, especially not Gabe O’Reilly, the adorable art student from San Francisco.

But he looks so vulnerable – all alone in France.

I would be failing in my patriotic duty to a fellow American if I didn’t take care of him, wouldn’t I? And what possible harm could come from spending twenty-four hours with him on the shores of the Mediterranean? I deserve that little break, don’t I?


I have never seen a human specimen as perfect as Clifford Du Frey. During our fleeting encounter in Paris, I saw a man who was funny, caring, and tender – so very different from the way the media portray him. He is everything I could ever dream of in a boyfriend.

But in what universe will an international sports superstar pay any serious attention to me?

Do not get involved, my brain yells; you can only get hurt again. But my heart is thrumming to a different tune.

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In my line of work as a professional cyclist, me-time was rationed like the tiny, individually wrapped squares of chocolate my mother would give me as a reward for good school results. Of course, once I had found her secret stash, I used to help myself and haughtily decline her miserly tokens of approval.

But there was no secret stash of time. I had to live with the given rations to deal with my anxieties. I knew what none of the team even suspected – this was do-or-die, my last attempt at finally pulling off the big win that had eluded me throughout my ten-year professional career. I knew that I would not be able to muster the hunger for another Tour – to withstand the hundreds of hours of training rides in extreme heat and the Alps' arctic altitude. This was it. But if my cycling career was at an end – then what? It was all I had ever done. My grueling schedule had not allowed me to attend college. At twenty-eight, I stared into the chasm of obscurity, a has-been, yesterday’s hero discarded with yesterday’s trash.

I nursed a coffee and was about to spiral into a pit of self-doubt and anxiety when I noticed a young man at the restaurant entrance. His indecision was palpable. He had a camera on a strap around his neck. Who still used cameras? Didn’t everyone have a smartphone? And he held a copy of the Lonely Planet in one hand. He wore cargo shorts, a UC San Francisco T-shirt, and leather sandals. There was something so open, innocent, and vulnerable about him that it tugged at my jaded heart. He might as well have had “American student – rip me off” tattooed on his forehead. Physically he was gorgeous – average height with sun-tanned skin and the perfect proportions that come from working on a farm or construction site. The soft curls of his dark hair shone in the midday sun and fell in unruly waves over his forehead. I had the fleeting, insane urge to push my fingers through that hair so that I could get a good look at his eyes. A few well-heeled ladies in the bistro were giving him the once-over, but he was utterly oblivious.

The man bit his lower lip as he studied the menu, and it was as though I could read his mind. The hand in his pocket was no doubt assessing how many euros he had and whether he could afford the expensive bistro which the Lonely Planet recommended as a “must-do.” Again, his eyes scanned the packed restaurant, and the waiters were too busy to notice his dilemma.

To this day, I do not know what made me do it. I, who had wanted anonymity, to get away from the oppressive togetherness of a competitive sports team in a foreign country. I, who desperately needed time to straighten out my head. I, who definitely did not need any distractions in my life. I rose from my seat and beckoned for the stranger to join me at the intimate table with its white tablecloth, the vase with lavender, and the table-setting for two. 

Interview with Aiden Ainslie

    How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

    There are three books in the “Love at Lake Clyde” series. “King of the Mountain” is the earliest and, like a first-born child, will always have a special place in my heart. I have to say though that book 3, “Ruler of the Waves” is my favorite. The book has it all: romance, adventure, heartache and two adorable main characters. They are Tyler, the local doctor and Rickie, the broody black sheep of his family. The more Rickie tries to redeem himself, the deeper he gets into trouble. Readers seem to simply love this character in “Ruler of the Waves”.

    If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

    I am working on book 4, “Lord of the Skies”. It features two strong characters. Tom, Clydesdale’s deputy sheriff, has been pining for years for Zach, a helicopter pilot who left the town in disgrace many years earlier after being held accountable for an accident. Zach was a camp counselor and one of the children in his care nearly drowned. The boy’s parents hound Zach out of town. When Zach finally returns, the simmering coals of love and desire ignite, but are Tom and Zach a match against the whole town?

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    The books are stand-alone. Each one has its own pair of main characters, but readers would enjoy them more if they read them in sequence. That is because supporting characters appear from one book to the other and it is fun for readers to see how they evolve across the series. Over time, readers get the added bonus (beyond the HEA romances) of getting to know the well-meaning, meddling, match-making characters so typical of small towns.

    How did you come up with the title for your book?

    I had a strong concept as to who the main character was going to be: a superstar cyclist. Then I started to think about things associated with the Tour de France. “Yellow Jersey” didn’t sound like a good title. Hence, I was pleased when I hit upon “King of the Mountain.”

    How long did it take you to write this book?

    I like to take my time to develop the story and the characters, so it took a year from start to publication of the book. Because it was my first book, I was on a steep learning curve with things like getting the cover design, ARCs, etc. My latest book only took about nine months.

    What does the title mean?

    In the Tour de France, there are various categories that riders compete in. There is the overall leader, the best sprinter, the best young rider, etc. The “King of the Mountain” is the title bestowed on the leader of the mountain stages. Whoever is King of the Mountain wears a distinctive white jersey with red polka dots.

    The title also has a double meaning in that Clifford, the first MC, has made his home in the Sierra Mountains of California and loves his mountain retreat.

    What did you learn when writing the book?

    To let the story flow. When I started, I was inclined to write a few thousand words and then go over them again and again to edit and wordsmith. This was time-consuming and futile because frequently I dreamed up plot twists that necessitated going back and changing things. Hence, it is much better to let the story flow and then go back to rewrite and edit from top to bottom.

    What surprised you the most?

    I am a planner by nature, and I had spent some time laying out the storyline. But when I started to write, the characters took on a life of their own and it was as though they dictated deviations from my carefully crafted plot line. For example, I had never meant for Gabe to choose stained glass as his favorite art form. It just happened and then it got woven into the plot. It was wondrous when I had this sense of writing the story not just about the characters but with them.

    Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?

    No, I wouldn’t do that to my readers.

    What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

    I love writing dialogue. Just about every how-to-write book urges authors to read their writing out loud. I used to feel silly doing that, but no more. When you read the story (especially the dialogue) out loud, then you get to hear the true voice of the characters. And you quickly realize when something sounds “off”.

    Other than that, there’s no substitute for personal experience. I’ve spent enough hours on my bicycle to have a sense of the fatigue, determination, frustration and ultimate elation my “King of the Mountain” feels.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Aiden Ainslie lives in the Diablo foothills, east of San Francisco. He grew up in various small towns and loves to draw on that small-town feel for his romances: the sense of community but also the petty grievances, intrigue and rivalries. “An author has to draw on personal experience to create authentic stories.”

According to Aiden, setting and mood are critical parts of a romantic story, hence he is always taking pictures of romantic settings to be used in future novels. Check them out on his website www.aidenainslie.com

When Aiden is not writing or listening to audiobooks, he likes to cycle and hike. During those solitary pursuits, he dreams up the characters and plots for his MM Romance novels. He also enjoys zipping around town on his motor scooter, drinking coffee at the local coffee shops, and watching people to get inspiration for his writing.

Connect with Aiden Ainslie

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter



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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Marcy Meyer said...

I enjoyed the post. The blurb sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Sherry said...

This sounds like a good book.

Aiden Ainslie said...

Thank you for hosting me. I very much enjoyed doing the interview and I hope your followers enjoy the book.

traciem said...

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Elaine G said...

Sounds like a good book. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

Debbie P said...

This sounds like a very good read.