I am having a ridiculous amount of fun writing the next book in the Daddy P.I. world, Max’s Bumble. This is Max and Cynnie’s story. They’ve been introduced in Daddy P.I. 2.0 and Missing Ink, but now they get to shine in their own story.
Max’s Bumble is the first story since Snowburn that I’ve tried to tell solely from the hero’s perspective. It’s both refreshing and challenging. I’ve already enlisted my long-suffering alpha reader (my husband) to help me bring Max to life and his feedback has ensured I’m on the right track, but I’m sure there will be obstacles ahead, particularly since Max was a bit of a closed door to me at first. I had difficulty pinning down Max’s motivations until he introduced me to his neighbor, a neglected teen named Tyrone. Ty turned out to be the key to Max’s longing for unconditional love and family. Thank you, Ty! I’m not sure I would have found my way into Max without you.
Here’s a little peak at Max and Ty:
There’s a kid sitting in front of my front door. He’s so skinny he could be just a bundle of sticks held together by a T-shirt and basketball shorts. His head’s on his knees with his thin arms wrapped around them, his sponge twists disarrayed like he’s been tugging on them. I can’t see his face, but I can see the still-oozing scrapes on his knees, knuckles, and elbows. He’s been in a fight. Again.
“My man,” I say as I walk up to him. I offered him a key months ago, but he gave it back to me after his mother found it, freaked out, and said I must be some kind of pedophile. She’s another of the few people I can honestly say I hate. “You have the best timing in the world. I was just about to order a pizza.”
I wasn’t. I usually save pizza for dinner and it’s not even late enough for brunch yet. But I’ve never known Tyrone to turn down pizza.
Tyrone lifts his face, cheeks still round with baby fat despite his skinny, adolescent body. Tears turn his cheeks charcoal. He hastily wipes them away with the collar of his shirt and pushes up my door to get out of my way.
“I’ll eat some if you don’t get those gross fish,” he says.
He always sounds a little belligerent when he first arrives on my doorstep. In an hour, when he’s cooled down from whatever fight landed him scraped and tearful on my door instead of at school, when he’s got a belly full of food and is playing on my gaming rig, he’ll be as light and funny and playful as Emily.
“Anchovies are the food of the gods, my man.”
He makes puking noises as he follows me into my apartment. After tapping in a pizza order—no anchovies but plenty of meat for us growing boys—I head up into the loft and grab a T-shirt and baller shorts for each of us, then duck into the bathroom and turn on the shower.
“You want the hot water, you better get in there first,” I tell him. “You got that kid stink onya again.”
He pulls a face at me but takes the spare clothes and heads into the bathroom. He does stink but it’s sweat and blood from the fight, not poor hygiene. One of the few things Ty’s mother does right is make him bathe every day.
When he’s finished, I duck in and wash off the sweat from my run. Ty’s left the toothbrush and hair pick I got for him on the edge of the sink. I tuck them away as I towel-dry my own hair, which is buzzed military-short on the sides with a longer fringe that I run wax through to slick it back so I don’t have it in my face for the rest of the day. I check my phone to see where the pizza is and when I see it’s still ten minutes away, trim up my short beard.
I hear gunfire as I click off my razor and have that old moment of panic. I grip the edge of the sink until it goes away. I’m in my apartment, in New York, a long fucking way from the Gulf of Aden or Syria. The guns are digital, not mechanical. They can’t hurt me. I blow out a long breath, fogging the bathroom mirror, and unclench my fingers from the counter to wipe it clear.
“Max, where’s the Coke?” Ty whines from the kitchen.
“No more soda for you, my man. Water or juice.”
I grin at the mirror. Tyrone stayed overnight a week ago, when his mother couldn’t be fucking bothered to come home. I watched him steadily chug soda all night, discovered that she doesn’t regulate his soda intake, and that he regularly doesn’t fall asleep until one or two in the morning as a result. I emptied my kitchen of anything carbonated the next day.Max’s Bumble (c) 2021 E. J. Frost
I haven’t put up a preorder for Max’s Bumble yet because I live in fear of Amazon’s upload deadlines, but I’m aiming for an October release. Add Max’s Bumble to your Goodreads TBR here to be notified of updates and the release date.