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Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward by Joe Cosentino

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On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey Shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are once again open for summer and love.

The vacationers include Rodney Maxwell and Dennis O’Halloran, a Tony Award winning actor and his estranged producer/husband with their two hired studs, Jarek and Zeus. Computer analyst Sam enlists his best friend Chase in a scheme to attract hunky Raul. Middle aged Gil Van Truren wants to end it all—until he sees a vision of his first love. Cal also has his hands full with college student Michael—his new young lover—Michael’s study buddy Carlo, man of mystery George Valis, and Connor, the houseboy packed with muscles and a wondering sponge. All the while Hunter, a female gay romance novel enthusiast, experiences gay life off the page. What secrets, humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions lie in the magical place called Cozzi Cove?

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Language: English

Cover Design: Arai Tan

Length: 60,000 words


ISBN-13: 978-1-911153-38-2


Release date: April 18, 2016

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An Interview with Cal Cozzi, the leading character in Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward

Hello Divine Magazine readers, I am interviewing Cal Cozzi, the leading character in my Cozzi Cove beach series, Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. Hi, Cal.

Ah, it’s nice to be out of your head for a while.

I’m happy to share you with the Divine Magazine readers, Cal. They’re the best. They voted my first Nicky and Noah mystery, Drama Queen, Best LGBT Mystery Novel, Best LGBT Humorous Novel, Best LGBT Contemporary Novel, and Best LGBT Crime Novel of 2015. And they voted my An Infatuation 2nd Place Best LGBT Romance Novel.

I wasn’t in either of those two books.

Right, I forgot you’re the jealous type.

You created me.

True. Cal, since the readers can’t see you, tell them what you look like.

My parents were Scottish and Italian. That’s me on the left of the book covers. Michael, my boyfriend, is next to me.

Tell the readers how you met Michael.

Since you’re a bit warped, Michael assaulted me in an alley in Cozzi behind Carla Mangione’s Seafood restaurant. It’s a great scene in Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back.

Thanks, Cal.

 Hey, you’re an amazing writer. After all, I tell you what to write.

And I appreciate it. Tell the readers about yourself.

After college, I dabbled as a professional football player then restaurant owner, but neither was a good fit. After my parents died in an automobile accident, I found my calling, managing Cozzi Cove.

What is Cozzi Cove?

You created it based on your childhood memories at the New Jersey Shore.

But they don’t know that.

Right. Cozzi is a New Jersey shore town named after my great-grandfather who built eight bungalows on a private cove called Cozzi Cove. He also made every stick of furniture in each bungalow by hand—each with a nautical theme. Each bungalow has an amazing view of the bay and lighthouse in the distance. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I loved as a kid and still love. It’s my home and it always will be.

I remember discovering my first cove and thinking it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. A cove is formed when softer rocks are worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This creates a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.

My eight bungalows are on a private stretch just like that, Cozzi Cove, a gay resort. We’re a mile away from the main beach. The town has Carla’s Seafood restaurant, Tommy’s Bar, a miniature golf center, a salt water taffy shop, a trampoline emporium, a diner, a supermarket, and a park with a statue of my great-grandfather.

Who are your guests in Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back?

Two brothers/college students who look alike, but couldn’t be more different. Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. A wealthy older couple, Josh and Greg, try to play matchmakers for their hunky son Christopher. Player Tim and shy Mark seem to be hitting it off. Oh, a famous porn star, Chuck Caliber, is staying with us, as is a famous romance novelist, Sean Guile, who happens to be a virgin. Computer game designer Arthur is in the end bungalow. He keeps saying he sees a merman in the cove. And we have an unexpected guest when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected. Like everybody else in Cozzi Cove, each guest has a secret. Hey, Joe, I’ve been meaning to ask you. How was Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back received by the readers?

After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back released, many readers and reviewers praised its romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. For example, TBR Pile wrote, “I loved this story. It carries you through the full range of emotions, from joy to sadness, from happiness to anger.  The characters are beautifully written.” “I look forward to a return visit to the Cove.”

They liked me. They really liked me.

Good one, Cal. So I wrote Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. As with the first book, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems. Tell everyone about the other characters in both books.

Connor, the college student assisting me in running Cozzi Cove, is packed with muscles and hormones. He revels in Cozzi Cove, and in checking out each resident for a possible fling on the cove—which I know he engages in when I’m not around. Michael works for my old friend Tommy Malone, a bald, muscular, tattooed resident of Cozzi Cove who owns the local bar. Carla Mangione runs Carla’s Seafood Restaurant. She holds a torch for my sister Taylor who drops in from Rome, Paris, Wall Street, or Palm Springs in each book. As a tough as nails top one-percenter, the world revolves around Taylor, which makes her hysterically funny. I also admire her devotion to me. She’s almost as devoted to me as you, Joe. Anyway, Taylor is in for a huge surprise in this book.

Like in book one, book two is made up of interwoven stories about you and the guests in the seven bungalows.

Right. In Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward Rodney Maxwell and Dennis O’Halloran are a Tony Award winning actor and his estranged producer/husband with their two hired bodybuilder studs, Jarek and Zeus. Rodney and Dennis’ theatrical bantering makes me laugh. Jarek and Zeus are surprising sweet and touching. Not funny, sweet, or touching is Michael’s muscular study buddy from college, Carlo from Italy. Then there’s a new man of mystery, handsome George Valis? And computer analyst, Sam, enlists his best friend Chase in a scheme to attract Sam’s hunky, unsuspecting best friend, Raul.  Hunter, a female gay romance novel enthusiast, wants to experience gay life off the page. And finally Gil Van Truren tries to end it all—until he sees a vision of his studly first love from college.

What secrets, humor, tragedy, mysteries, and passions lie in the magical place called Cozzi Cove this summer?

They’ll have to read the book to find out.

True. What do you think is the moral of the series?

Take a chance on love. As Michael and I did. Joe, I have a question for you now.

Hey, who’s doing the interviewing?

I am right now. Did you pattern my character after you and Taylor after your sister?

You and I both have a strong work ethic and sense of loyalty, but we are very different physically and emotionally. I can wear my heart on my sleeve. My sister is opinionated like Taylor, but not as egocentric and wealthy.

I get pretty emotional in Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward when Michael and I go through a rough patch, and as I make a personal shocking discovery.

Yes. That’s Cozzi Cove, just when you think you’ve figured it out, there’s a game changer.  

Will there be more Cozzi Cove novels?

I’m writing the third one now, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out.

Good. I get tired of taking up space in your brain.

Do you see Cozzi Cove as a movie or television series?

I know. You want to play Sean in book one and Gil in book two.

Who do you see playing you and Michael?

I could see Corbin Bleu as Michael. I’m not sure about me.

Maybe the readers can help. There are also a number of love scenes in the books, including for you. How did that feel?

Amazing. But let’s get this interview out of my bedroom. Tell the readers about your other books.

Okay, you’ve twisted my arm. An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (In My Heart bittersweet dreams novellas) published by Dreamspinner Press are loosely based on my high school and college years respectively. They were so popular as individual e-books, Dreamspinner Press published them together in one paperback anthology. Mario, the first character who stays at Cozzi Cove in Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back is a minor and much loved character from An Infatuation. A Home for the Holidays is my popular holiday short novella from Dreamspinner Press about an American law student who, as I did, takes a trip to the romantic and gorgeous island of Capri, Italy, where he embarks on a relationship with his captivating third cousin. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland from Dreamspinner Press is my gay take on my favorite beloved fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen.

Joe also has two mystery series as well. Joe’s Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press are farcical, gay, cozy, who-dun-its. In Drama Queen theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detective more interested in getting into Nicky’s pants than solving the murders, it is up to well-endowed Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the case, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, gorgeous Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In Drama Cruise (releasing soon), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

In the Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, Jana Lane was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll (The Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll (The Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll (releasing late May from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

But Michael and I aren’t in any of those books.

But you are both in Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward. Besides reading the Cozzi Cove novels, how can readers connect with you?

Through your web site at: You’ll tell me what they said. You tell me everything. So everybody grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and over to Cozzi Cove. My welcome mat is out for you, and I hope to see you there!

Excerpts of Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward

Cal Cozzi sat on the white sandy beach like a king on his throne. The thirty-one-year-old thought about his great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi III, who had built the eight bungalows, seven of which Cal’s father, Calvin Cozzi II, had rented to guys like Cal when Cal was a boy. With both men long gone, Cozzi Cove was Cal’s heritage, lifeblood, and oasis. As he gazed out at the ancient lighthouse near the horizon, Cal filled his lungs with salty sea air. He was happy to be home.

A familiar yawn and warm breath on his neck caused Cal to turn around and throw his arms around the stocky young man who plopped down next to him. Over a decade younger than Cal, Michael Rodgers rubbed his fingers over dark eyes. Resting his head with its chestnut-colored locks on Cal’s chest, Michael said, “I missed waking up in your arms.”

They shared a long kiss and then rose and stood at the water’s edge, watching the seagulls fly across shades of amber, violet, and flame that were fading to reveal a bright-blue sky. With Cal’s Italian and Scottish heritage and Michael’s Swedish and African lineage, Cal thought their skin glistened in the sun like jewels.

Shorter than Cal, Michael licked Cal’s neck.

“Hey, stop licking. I don’t have any pets.”

“You do now.”

Cal took the boy in his arms and smothered his youthful face with kisses. Though Cal would never forget Lance, the soul mate he’d lost to cancer two years prior, he couldn’t escape the fact that he was growing more and more in love with Michael every day they lived together. Michael’s high-energy zest for life and brutal honesty in speaking his mind both infuriated and delighted Cal. And Cal was well aware that his straightforward, hardworking masculinity still made Michael weak at the knees after living together in the main bungalow for nearly a year.

“Let’s get some breakfast.” Cal ran his fingers through Michael’s curly hair.

Michael kneaded the muscles in Cal’s back. “What are we having?”

“I’m having the honey buckwheat pancakes I made. What are you having?” Cal slapped Michael’s firm buttocks playfully, and then ran away as Michael chased him, laughing.

As they headed for the main bungalow, Cal scanned the row of seven guest bungalows on the cove. Cozzi Cove itself was a quiet stretch of beach with waves tickling jagged rocks perched on white sand only a mile away from the open ocean. Though he was excited about the start of the summer rental season, Cal knew he’d miss the tranquility of having the cove to himself—with Michael.

Michael followed Cal into the kitchen. As Cal gazed at the lantern-shaped kitchen clock on the wall, he admired his grandfather’s taste in decorating all of the bungalows with wood-carved, nautical-themed furnishings.

Sitting at the table, Michael said, “When do the guests arrive?”

“Check-in starts at eleven a.m.”

Michael giggled. “Do I have to check in?”

Cal kissed the top of his head. “Yeah, into my bedroom.” He served the pancakes and orange juice before sitting next to Michael. “What time do you have to leave for school?”

Michael answered with his mouth full. “College! I’m taking a summer class at State, not going to morning kindergarten. I’m a junior.”

“Okay, Junior.”

“Very funny. In the fall I’ll be a senior, like you.” He kissed Cal’s wide nose.

“Hey, your lips are covered in honey.”

“So they tell me.” Michael continued eating.

“Does your study buddy tell you that?”

Michael raised his eyes to the mermaid-shaped lighting fixture as if gathering patience. “Carlo is my partner.”


“In my advanced photography class.”

“Is that what they call it at State?”

“Maybe in your day.” Michael’s eyes gleamed devilishly. “Hey, did they have college back then?”

“I’ll put you over my knee, young man.”

“Promises, promises.” Michael swallowed his last piece of pancake and then gulped down the rest of his orange juice. “Carlo is coming here before our class. We’re taking some shots of the cove.”

Cal felt his expression harden. “I thought you were going to mow the lawn, rake the pebbles, and hose down the sidewalk around the bungalows.”

“Done.” Michael put his plate, glass, and fork in the sink.


“Last night, when you were in the shower.”

“That’s why you didn’t come in with me.”

Michael wrapped his arms around Cal. “Can I take a rain check for tonight?”

“Maybe you should ask Carlo.”

“Carlo doesn’t shower. He takes baths.”

Cal did a double take. “And you know this how?”

“He told me.” Michael ran into the back bedroom, the home of his computer and photography equipment.

Cal felt his blood boil. Taking in some deep breaths, he told himself to calm down.

Michael came back holding a number of prints and placed them on the kitchen table. “What do you think?”

Cal looked down at photographs. “Nice composition, proportions, and shading.”


He pointed at the dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-skinned, very muscular young man with a stoic Roman nose, dimples like craters, and a cleft chin like the San Andreas Fault. “Your professor brought in an Italian porn star?”

“Watch many Italian porn films, do you, Cal?”

“Obviously you don’t have to.”

“That’s Carlo. I took them in class.”

Cal offered a weak smile, trying hard not to let the anger and jealously he was feeling show on his face.

Michael ran his finger over the photographs. “Our professor complimented me on the line and shape.”

“I can see why.”

“And the contour and shading.”


“I’m really proud of them. Tommy loved them too.”

Cal rose and put his breakfast things in the sink. “When did you show these to Tommy?”

“Yesterday afternoon when I was working at Tommy’s bar. The pictures of Cozzi Cove are for our next assignment.”

“‘Hot Italian guy on the beach’?”

“‘Summer magic.’ ” He hugged Cal’s neck. “And there’s no place more magical or more romantic than Cozzi Cove in the summer.”

After Michael headed into the bathroom, Cal heard Connor’s jeep pull up into the parking lot.

A minute later, Connor’s voice rang out. “Hi, boss. Private Connor O’Riley reporting for duty.”

Cal met Connor in the living room. “Hi, Connor. Good job cleaning the bungalows yesterday. I aired them out last night. Do me a favor. Get some fresh towels from the bin outside and put them in the bungalows.”

In his usual skintight white T-shirt and short-shorts, the freckled twenty-year-old saluted. “Aye, aye, Capitán.” Connor licked his red lips, which matched his frizzy hair. “Where’s Michael?”

“In the shower.”

“Does he need more towels?” Connor headed toward the bathroom.

Cal grabbed his muscular arm. “Down, boy. And keep it in your pants when the guests get here.”

Connor feigned shock. “Me? Make a play for a guest? Never! Cal, you wound me to the heart.”

“You must have studied dramatics at the college this year.”

Connor batted the long lashes over his sky-blue eyes. “How else could I have dated all the gay dudes?”

Cal laughed. “I’m sure you dated them.”

“I did.” Connor revealed his pearly-white teeth. “It was the football team last year who went straight, pardon the pun, for the touchdown.”

Cal put his arm around the boy’s wide shoulders and walked him to the front porch. “Please get straight to work so everything is ready when the guests arrive.”

Connor said with the eagerness of a child at Christmas, “I can’t wait to see our pick of the litter.”

“Look, don’t touch.”

Connor opened the front door and bumped into Carlo, whose crimson dress shirt had enough buttons open to reveal impressive pectoral muscles. “Welcome to Cozzi Cove!”

As he entered the front porch, his dark eyes glistened in the morning sun. “I’m Carlo. I’m looking for Michael Rodgers.”

Cal shut the door behind him and shook Carlo’s hand, noticing the bulge in Carlo’s black slacks. “Please come in.”

Review by Elaine White

Book – Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Cozzi Cove #2)

Author – Joe Cosentino

Star rating – ★★★★★

Movie Potential – ★★★★★

Ease of reading – very easy to read

Would I read it again – In a heartbeat


Themes that may be triggers – suicidal thoughts, cheating, Parkinson’s disease


*SIGH* Cozzi Cove is my first foray into Joe Cosentino’s writing and you can now call me a firm fan.

As I’ve just come straight from reading book 1, visiting Cozzi Cove is like coming home or revisiting a beloved holiday destination. I know everyone, by now, who is a permanent fixture and I sincerely hope that Cosentino continues this series forever. You could never run out of ideas for it.

As before, the characters are a hoot. They’re a mixture of funny, quirky, sad, lonely individuals who come together to make a riotously brilliant cast.

Potential couples are:

Cal and Michael – As the owner of Cozzi Cove, Cal has all the same responsibility of the previous book. Only, this time, with a one-year romance blossoming between him and Michael, things begin to fall apart. Cal feels a connection with guest George, which causes jealousy from Michael. Who, in turn, feels a pull towards his Photography partner Carlo, thus building another bridge of jealousy and insecurity from Cal.

Gil and Bruce – Gil is the only guest of these two, at Cozzi Cove. There because of an illness and having lost a lot in his life, Gil is prepared to end it all at the beautiful location of Cozzi Cove. Until he spots a vision from the past – a ‘vision’ of his college love, Bruce. When he finally meets the man he saw at the cove, everything begins to change.

Bruce Jr and Colby – Bruce Jr is the son of Gil’s college love and knows nothing of Gil’s past relationship with his father. Thankfully, Gil is rejuvenated by Bruce Jr’s presence and helps him face the two families who don’t accept his relationship with Colby.

Dennis and Zeus – Dennis is the high-profile Broadway producer, recently split from an eighteen year relationship with Rodney, his biggest star. To try to patch things up – and make Rodney jealous – he brings escort Zeus with him to Cozzi Cove, with only a week to mend fences.

Rodney and Jarek – Rodney is much more highly strung than any other character, as well as being very melodramatic. Bringing along his personal trainer and new partner, Jarek, he’s there to rest up after two years in a Broadway show that he’d lost interest in.

Sam and Chase – Sam and Chase are the best of friends and have been their whole lives. With Sam infatuated with their friend Raul, Chase is there playing the ‘lover’, to make him jealous.

Raul – As the best friend of two gay guys, with a gay brother, no one believes that Raul is straight. Especially when he works out at a gay gym, is surrounded by gay men and agrees to go on holiday to a gay resort, with his two gay best friends. Yet, Sam’s instincts are that Raul will fall in love at Cozzi Cove. And Sam has never been wrong before.

Hunter – As a straight woman, in love with gay romance novels, Hunter stays at Cozzi Cove to finally meet gay men ‘off page’. Sparking an unlikely friendship with the ever wonderful and flirty Connor, she finally builds her confidence enough to go out and find herself a Will to her Grace.

George – Another singleton, George is one of the few Cozzi Cove guest not interested in falling in love. Despite feeling a spark with Cal, which proves confusing and sparks jealousy for all involved, George is actually at Cozzi Cove for one reason – to reveal a secret that will have far reaching consequences.

Overall, the story and world building was as fantastic as the previous story. I can’t wait for what comes next and to see how Cal changes and improves the facilities of Cozzi Cove. Without revealing anything that will spoil the story for you, I’ll say this:

The whole thing with Michael and Cal had my emotions in turmoil, screaming at the book and praying that things would work out properly.

I was worried Gil’s fate would be so similar to Mark’s that I was on edge for most of the book.

Again, the story deals with some serious issues, in a way that isn’t preachy or pushy – suicidal thoughts, illness, homophobia, threesomes, cheating, escorts and inter-racial romances. Each theme is explored in a light, accepting way that never makes the reader feel uncomfortable or like we’re being lectured to.


Favourite Quote:

“He kissed Cal’s wide nose.

“Hey, your lips are covered in honey.”

“So they tell me.” Michael continued eating.

“Does your study buddy tell you that?”

Michael raised his eyes to the mermaid-shaped lighting fixture as if gathering patience. “Carlo is my partner.”


“In my advanced photography class.”

“Is that what they call it at State?”

“Maybe in your day.” Michael’s eyes gleamed devilishly. “Hey, did they have college back then?”

“I’ll put you over my knee, young man.”

“Promises, promises.””


““You must have studied dramatics at the college this year.”

Connor batted the long lashes over his sky-blue eyes. “How else could I have dated all the gay dudes?”

Cal laughed. “I’m sure you dated them.”

“I did.” Connor revealed his pearly-white teeth. “It was the football team last year who went straight, pardon the pun, for the touchdown.”

Cal put his arm around the boy’s wide shoulders and walked him to the front porch. “Please get straight to work so everything is ready when the guests arrive.”

Connor said with the eagerness of a child at Christmas, I can’t wait to see our pick of the litter.


On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are open for summer and love. Mario and Harold are brothers and college students who happen to look alike, but couldn’t be more different: Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. Josh and Greg, a wealthy older couple, are matchmakers for their son, Christopher. When it comes to Connor, the maid, packed with muscles and a roving sponge, anything can happen. Opposites attract as wild Tim with the secret past meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist. And what will happen when computer-game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman? Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected. What secrets and passions lie in magical Cozzi Cove?

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Release Date: March 21, 2016

Language: English

Cover Design: Arai Tan


ISBN-13: 978-1-911153-35-1


Length: 60,000 words


“I loved this story. It carries you through the full range of emotions, from joy to sadness, from happiness to anger.  The characters are beautifully written.” “I look forward to a return visit to the Cove.” TBR Pile

“Heartbreaking and heartwarming, sweet beginnings for some, sour endings for others, emotions jumping off the page as you turn eagerly to read more, welcome to Cozzi Cove. The author measured his scales to perfection in delivering the perfect balance of love, laughter and tears in this sexy, fun filled holiday romance entwined with some sadness. Summer magic waved it’s wand at all who visited and stayed at Cozzi Cove and I was one of those who wanted to stay.” Three Books Over the Rainbow



Alone together in the parking lot, the two young men smiled at one another.

Suddenly Chris’s throat tightened. “I’m Julie. I mean, I’m Chris Tyler-Hampton.” He extended a clammy hand.

“Nice to meet you, Chris. I’m Mario Ginnetti.”

“I’m gay.” Chris replayed in his head what he’d just said. “I mean, I’m on college break.” Chris noticed Mario’s bulging pectoral muscles in his polo shirt. Mario returned the favor by openly checking Chris out. Looking into Mario’s dreamy dark eyes, Chris asked, “Are you on college break too?”

Mario nodded. “I go to Princeton. I’m a psych major, and I play football.”

Chris admired Mario’s strapping body. “I’m in engineering at Yale. I know, the whole Asian stereotype thing.” He tried to focus on not sounding like a lunatic as his heart raced like a Saturday-night driver. “Are you staying here with your parents too?”

“I’m parentless in Bungalow One.” Mario unleashed luscious dimples and a row of straight white teeth. In an obvious attempt at seduction, he posed on his car, but slipped on its smooth finish and fell to the ground.

Chris helped him to his feet.

With his face as red as a ripe strawberry, Mario said, “My father’s dead and my mom ran off with a mobster.”

Chris gasped. “I’m sorry.”

“You asked if my parents were here. They’re gone. My mother paid my college tuition first. It happened a while ago.”

Chris understood. “I’m sorry about your folks. I complain about mine, but they’ve always been there for me. We generally spend the summers in Europe, but Dad read about this place. Since I have one week off before my summer internship, they booked us in here for a week before they leave for Switzerland.” Chris hoped he didn’t sound snobby. “Well, I better get back inside and make sure Julie is using her best manners.”

Clutching his grocery bag to his chest, Mario said, “And I should refrigerate this stuff.”

Chris took a step away and then stopped and turned back to face Mario. With a throat drier than the Sahara Desert, he said, “Would you like to visit the main bitch with me tomorrow?”

Mario did a double take.

“I mean, would you like to go to the ocean beach … with me … tomorrow?”

Mario ran a shaky hand through his jet-black hair. “Is tomorrow supposed to be a good beach day?”

Chris replied, “I’m not sure. If there’s a hurricane or something, we can go inside.” Chris wiped the sweat off his neck with his handkerchief. “And if a shark comes along, we can always swim to shore.” Chris made a desperate attempt at swallowing and said, “I’ll knock on your bungalow door at ten a.m. If that’s indeed okay.” He had never said the word indeed before.

Mario nodded. “Ten a.m. is good.”

“I look forward to seeing you then.” Chris couldn’t stop himself from looking back at Mario and smiling as he walked toward his fathers’ bungalow. When he banged into the trash can, he barely felt the pain in his knee or the gash in his calf.


Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (NineStar Press), Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press), Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015!

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