Welcome to The Pick Up’s blog tour, presented by Allison Temple and Riptide Publishing! The Pick Up is Book 1 in the Up Red Creek series. This cozy small-town romance tells the story of single dad Kyle, who moves back to his hometown with his princess-obsessed six-year-old daughter Caroline. He doesn’t expect them to stay long, until he meets Adam, Caroline’s too-hot and too-serious teacher.
Kyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality.
Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.
Putting down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.
Single Parents and Romance
Never work with kids and animals. That’s how the saying goes, right? Sometimes, with pets in romances, the cute Shih-Tzu is used to introduce the main characters at the dog park, and then it’s as if it vanishes. We’re left wondering who is walking the dog, who is feeding it, while its owner is falling head over heels for someone new?
With kids, it’s harder. Maybe we can assume a kind neighbor is walking Fluffy, but that doesn’t fly with kids. They add a whole new level of complexity to a romance. I’m far from a parenting expert, but here’s what I learned while writing Kyle, the single dad in The Pick Up.
Kids are non-stop, and parenting on your own just makes that even truer.
Kyle is devoted to his daughter Caroline. They have their own shtick that includes owl brains for dinner and endless days of watching Princess Amazonia on DVD. They’re really sweet together, but the truth is that Caroline is six and while she has expert shoelace tying skills, she still needs Kyle to do pretty well everything else, from making dinner to braiding her hair like her favorite cartoon princess.
A single parent exploring a new romance is only sort of single.
Emphasis on parent; single is a secondary thing. The Pick Up is a slow burn romance, and that’s intentional. Figuring out how to be Caroline’s only caregiver and also how to be someone important to Adam takes Kyle a long time. There isn’t the same freedom to dive head first into love and infatuation that there is in a romance where one or both protagonists don’t have kids. If Caroline is too sick to go to school, guess who else can’t hang out with their favorite teacher?
Kids are great for breaking the ice.
When writing kids, there’s always the risk that they become plot moppets whose only job is to pop into a scene, throw out an adorable tagline, and pop back out again. I hope Caroline is more than that. I had an amazing beta reader who is a social worker specializing in children and families. She was vital in helping me build Caroline’s grief in a way that was believable.
But still, kids are handy for blurting out things at inappropriate times.
“And then Daddy said Mr. Hathaway was hot.”
Thanks for that, Caroline.
It’s hard to find the balance between altruism and selfishness.
Parents of young children often struggle with building an identity outside of their kids. Kyle is ‘Caroline’s dad’ and he’s committed to being that person, but it’s natural to want something for the other parts of his life. The trouble is knowing whether Adam is someone Kyle wants for himself, or just as an excuse to not be Caroline’s dad for a moment.
You’re never actually alone.
Late in The Pick Up, Kyle wonders when was the last time he’s truly been alone. There’s a misconception that since Kyle is now parenting by himself, that he’s alone, when that’s actually the opposite of reality. He has obligations and commitments all the time. When Caroline is at school, he has to work, when she’s home, he has to parent. This is something all parents struggle with, but he has no other parent to spell him off.
The Happy Ever After is a two-for-one bonus.
It should come as no surprise that Kyle and Caroline are a package deal. If Adam is in for Kyle, he’s in for Caroline too. And while we get to see the further adventures of Kyle, Adam and Princess Astronaut Caroline in later instalments of this series, falling in love with Kyle means falling in love with Caroline too. Fortunately, she’s awfully cute and knows how to negotiate bedtimes like a pro!
Who here has a favorite single parent romance? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win the tour-wide prize of a $25 Riptide gift card!
Allison Temple is a romance writer from Toronto, Ontario. She lives with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. Her debut, The Pick Up, will be published by Riptide Publishing in 2018.
Allison has been writing since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’d never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison’s fascination with the way characters speak and communicate with each other in novels has not diminished in the ensuing thirtyish years.
Despite living in Canada’s largest city for more than a decade, Allison’s fiction writing draws inspiration from her small-town roots. Originally from Brockville, Ontario, she knows what it’s like to live in a place where nothing is more than a ten-minute drive away, and you’ll see everyone you know on Saturday morning at the farmers’ market. Her first job was selling coffee and making sandwiches at a bakery that has been family owned for over a hundred years. She was once given an award for “most improved tomato slicer.”
Since that early professional start, Allison has been, at various times, an odor lab technician, environmental consultant, corporate proposal writer, and marketing manager. She fills her free time with writing, community theater stage management, and traveling to destinations with good wine.
Allison came late to reading and writing romance novels. She didn’t read her first one until she was twenty-six years old, but it has been a landslide since then. She loves LGBT romance for the stories it tells and the characters it brings to life. She is very excited to be joining the circle of passionate and talented authors in the genre, and credits Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton for introducing her to it.
To celebrate the release of The Pick Up, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 10, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Blog Tour Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Riptide Publishing Tag: Friends to Lovers Tag: Illness / Injury Tag: Part of a series Tag: Slow Burn Allison Temple The Pick Up Up Red Creek