Please help us welcome author Santino Hassell to TNA today on the blog tour for his latest release from Riptide Publishing, Insight, book one in The Community series. We’ve got a character introduction to share with you, and there’s also a great giveaway for which you’ll find details below.
Meet the Characters of INSIGHT
INSIGHT is the first book in a new series, and my first foray into a new subgenre. I’ve written paranormal romance before with STYGIAN, but this is my first time writing paranormal meets romantic suspense.
Book 1 in The Community trilogy introduces the reader to Nate Black, an empath who has grown up hating the fact that he has a “gift” which gave him access to the negative feelings of those around him. Because of that, he’s socially awkward, shy, and defaults to defensiveness and evasiveness when people get too close.
Unfortunately (or maybe I should say fortunately) for him, he winds up road tripping with Trent—a smartass engineering student and void (non-psychic) doing a cross country drive who brings Nate along for the ride. Nate isn’t able to avoid conversation or close proximity with Trent, and at first that freaks him out. But then he realizes Trent is different from anyone else he’s ever met. They have a real and instant connection. One that leads to him wanting to reach out for the first time in his life.
Introduction to Trent in a single excerpt:
“Before I ask where you’re going,” the guy said with a narrow-eyed stare. He didn’t sound like he was from Houston or the South in general, and his accent was oddly familiar. “I’m going to ask you some stuff.”
“Well. I’m not a hooker. So if it’s about prices . . .” Nate shrugged.
The guy gave him an unimpressed stare and scowled. “Even if I was looking for a hooker, I wouldn’t pay for a raggedy-ass one. You look like you just crawled through a drainage ditch.”
“Hey, you’re the one with your thumb in the air just asking for some douche bag to pull over and murder you.”
“Well, thank you for this stunning exchange of insults, but I’m going to go now.”
The guy sighed and drummed his fingers against the steering wheel as he studied Nate through the barrier of the metal door. “Why are you hitching?”
“Do you normally play twenty questions before picking up hitchhikers?”
“I don’t normally pick up hitchhikers, so I guess so,” he retorted. “I’d just feel like shit if I turned on the news in whatever crappy motel I stay in later and saw that some blond guy got murdered on the side of the road. That possibility is causing me to play good Samaritan and offer your ass a ride. I even drove by you before, then felt bad and came back. We keep running into each other, so I told myself it was really shitty fate.”
Introduction to Nate in a single excerpt:
Trent left the radio on a generic rock station and guided the vehicle out of the parking lot. They filled up the tank, and as decided, Nate chipped in half. As soon as they were back on the interstate, the tension that had built during the night faded. It felt normal to be sitting next to Trent, looking at him sidelong and idly commenting on the music. But he still had trouble thinking of other things to say.
Considering they had similar taste in bands and Trent’s banter was effortless, it should have been easy to spark up a conversation, but Nate was terrible at small talk . . . or any kind of talk, really.
Working in retail had been horrible for an introvert. Even before Liquor World, when he’d worked with people nearer to his age, Nate hadn’t fit in. He always struggled with what to say to keep people interested in a conversation when no witty retorts automatically sprang to mind and when he genuinely had no interest in their lives. After a while people stopped trying to engage him about anything personal. He’d never been a work friend— he was always just a guy people worked with.
It hadn’t bothered him before, but as Trent hummed quietly along to a song, Nate knew he wanted to make a connection.
Introduction to Trent + Nate:
“It’s okay, you can stay with me.”
Nate looked at Trent more closely, wondering how drunk he was. “I’ll just wander and sleep in the car tomorrow.”
“No, it’s not. You don’t know me, and I don’t want things to be weird tomorrow because you’re making drunk-cisions now.”
“Drunk-cisions,” Trent repeated. He listed forward again, his chest bumping against Nate’s before he took a step back. “What are you all worried about? That we’re gonna have drunken sex?”
“Uh. No. You’re straight. I’m more worried that you’ll wake up tomorrow thinking I took the chance to score a free room.”
“Who says I’m straight?”
Sighing, Nate stepped away from the door and grabbed Trent’s forearm. A hot whip of lust sizzled Nate’s skin. He nearly lost his balance, but held on. Trent was just drunk. Drunk and maybe curious. It meant nothing. Clearly Trent needed distractions. Maybe one of the strip clubs that lined a patch of Bourbon.
“I just assumed you are,” Nate said.
“So maybe I’m not. Assuming usually causes people to make erroneous statements.”
“Good job using three-dollar words when smashed, Mr. Caltech. But I’m pretty sure you are. Have you ever been with a guy?”
“Yes. It was very engineers gone wild.”
Nate scoffed. “How wild?”
“I kissed this guy a few times when we were drunk.”
Trent shrugged. “He started dating some other dude, and it didn’t happen again. I wasn’t interested in any other guys until now.”
About the Book
Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.
Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.
Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.
Now available at Riptide
About the Author
Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.
Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
To celebrate the release of Insight, one lucky winner will receive $20 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 18, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!