Picked Fresh is days away from release and now up for preorder. I’m nervouscited, as my kid would say. I think this is one of my favorite books that I’ve written, but that’s what makes me nervous. My previous favorite was Fusion, and it didn’t sell as well as Spark. I know readership goes down after the first in a series, especially those that rely on the previous book to tell the entire story. But I guess I don’t do things small.
A list of what I like about Picked Fresh:
- Road trip! I love long trips and being able to go off the beaten path on a whim, so when this story demanded a drive across America, I was excited. You never know what to expect and who you’ll meet along the way.
- Jude and Hudson’s mode of transportation is a vintage VW camper, aka a Kombi (in the UK and AUS), a Splittie (because of the windshield style), a Microbus (in the U.S.), or a camper-bus, to name a few. There are a lot of names for this quintessential vehicle of yesteryear and a heck of a lot of nostalgia. Talk to anyone who’s ever had a vintage VW, and they smile, their eyes light up, and then they remember all the trouble they encountered on the road. How fun!
- Jude and Hudson both have a chance to face people who have wronged them, and they each handle the situations very differently.
- Despite Jude and Hudson temporarily leaving the commune, Leo and Charlie still keep us grounded in the goings on of Kaleidoscope Gardens. I couldn’t leave Leo and Charlie behind because they are so interconnected with Jude and Hudson.
- Hudson. 😀 I have a very soft spot for Hudson. I know readers connected with Jude and Charlie, in particular, but Hudson, despite his surliness in Farm Fresh, is my favorite character. He has major abandonment issues, so he’s fiercely independent and tends to push people away when he’s feeling most vulnerable. It’s easier to reject affection than it is to have love freely given and then ripped away. So I’m hoping by the end of the book, people will love Hudson as much as I have from the start.
- I kept a lot of Hudson’s backstory hidden so I could show it in this book. This release feels very much like I’m finally presenting a gift I’ve been hiding in a closet for months. That’s where my excitement comes in.
- Last but not least, Jude and Hudson get the time and opportunity to be together, to get to know each other deeper than they ever could’ve while on the commune, and they have the opportunities in this book to discover new things about themselves, their relationship, and how well they fit together.
Picked Fresh is the second book in the Naked Organics series. I hope you’ll give it a chance. If you want to fully experience the world of Kaleidoscope Gardens and the men who live in the yellow house, I would suggest starting with Farm Fresh. And then you’ll be ready for Picked Fresh on Thursday, June 23rd.
Is five thousand miles far enough to say I love you?
Hudson Oliva loves stability. He was a throwaway teen before finding Kaleidoscope Gardens but has since thrived at the commune. When Jude Garrity moves in, life gets even better, but Hudson still craves more. He knows he has to be satisfied with their exclusive status being temporary and that Jude will eventually navigate his full sexual awakening with their other housemates.
Hudson has a journey of his own to make. It might only require going home to settle his grandmother’s estate, but he plans to use his time away to figure out how to temper his feelings for Jude and bury his jealousy once and for all. But when Jude joins him on his trip, Hudson falls even deeper in love, especially after Jude stands by his side when he finally confronts his mother for rejecting him.
However, it’s not all hearts and flowers while they travel. They’re over two thousand miles from home when Hudson learns a ruthless corporate farm threatens the commune they both love. In order to save their way of life, Hudson must ask his mother for help. And if he wants a chance at a stable future with Jude, he has to tell him the truth about his feelings, no matter if it ruins the harmony he’s tried so hard to preserve.
Hudson did his best to stay quiet as he walked toward the hens’ nesting boxes, where he knew Jude was working. Last night’s rain helped silence his steps, as did the fog now rolling along the ground. It gave the communal land a muted feel, soft and wispy. Romantic, though a tad chilly. It also allowed him to watch, unnoticed, as Jude worked with efficiency. His movements were practiced and natural as he reached in to gather the morning’s eggs.
An ache swirled in Hudson’s chest. He was going to miss out on this for the next week. He was going to miss Jude pressing his near-naked skin against his back each morning as he impatiently waited for Hudson to brew him a café Cubano. And the way he smiled across the kitchen table as they ate. The way Jude instinctively reached for Hudson’s fingers. It didn’t seem to matter how far they walked, five feet or five miles, they were hand in hand. He was going to miss all that. He needed to drink in every last second he had left with Jude before he hopped in the VW Microbus and drove across the country, away from all this. His home. The only place he’d ever belonged.