09 July 2013

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers - Book Tour, Review, Giveaway

The Story Guy
Author: Mary Ann Rivers

In this eBook original novella, Mary Ann Rivers introduces a soulful and sexy tale of courage, sacrifice, and love.

I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.

Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won't share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?

What is a story guy? 
A good guy with a bad story doing something stupid. Story guys are like life highlighters. Your life is all these big blocks of gray text, and then a story guy comes in with a big ol' paragraph of neon pink so that when you flip back through your life, you can stop and remember all the important and interesting places.
Do you want yours too?? Well, I think I would. When life gets a mundane turn - a little highlight wouldn't hurt, would it?

Yay. Now, next question, would you answer to this ad?
I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only. I won't touch you below the shoulders. You can touch me anywhere. No dating, no hookups. I will meet you for as long as you meet me, so if you miss a Wednesday we part as strangers. No picture necessary, we can settle details via IM. Reply back with "Wednesdays Only" in the subject line.
Perhaps when I get bored scanning my page, tired of updating my blog or stressed from working on crazy shifts - I probably would. My curiosity would get the better part of me. Perhaps, just once, or if he kissed the hell out of me, I'd go back the next Wednesday! :)

There's the thrill, the anticipation, the thought of kissing someone random - just for the heck of it.

So I really don't blame Carrie West for answering it. She almost have everything in her life. She has no childhood issues. She has a great job in the library, an apartment, can still go on dates but she feels that something is lacking.

And here comes her story guy...

Just a kiss, no touching below the shoulders (argh), no talking about personal stuffs, its plain make out session without any strings attached. But the moment they kissed - it was so epic that she wished theirs was more than just Wednesdays.

Now, why would someone who look like he didn't have problems finding a date would post that type of ad? Brian is a lawyer - that's basically what Carrie knew of him. No last name, no other details. There must be more in his life than he's willing to share.

Did you also come to a point that you ALMOST wanted to hate him? Well, I did. I mean, how could he not give what they have a chance? Clearly, they have chemistry and they love talking to each other? Why couldn't he be with her? What could possibly be the reason - because apparently, he gave no exact reason why he can't spend other days but Wednesdays with her.
I hope Wednesdays only will be what you're asking for. I hope on Wednesday, you'll come
Ah, yes. There is more to our story guy.

Once you get to know him and the reason why he can only offer his Wednesdays - your heart will break (mine did!) Despite the fact that Brian only welcomes no-attachment make out sessions in the park, he is responsible, hardworking, loving and selfless person who had sacrificed his life, his privacy for someone he cares deeply.

Is Brian worth it? Would Carrie be willing to wait until he's ready or will Wednesdays be enough for them both?

The story may start out slow with lots of narratives - but it picked up. I enjoyed reading it - The Story Guy is a sweet, sad, and nice read. It will make you realize that something good can start in the middle of the week (yes, on Wednesdays) and of course, GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT.  


Once, at the urging of friends, I spent a year managing my profile on a dating site that had achieved some kind of epic popularity among friends and co-workers for its edgy, personality quiz–laden approach. To build your profile you answered questions about music, sex, kinks, commercial jingles, underpants preferences, harmless phobias.

I was never asked to answer a single question about what I was actually looking for in a man, or anything more pressing about myself than my favorite breakfast cereal. The site sent me matches, presumably based on my answers to all of these quizzes.

My matches’ profiles were always so well considered and slick that it made me wonder if my entire generation worked in marketing. The beautiful men’s pictures looked professionally taken at candid events, and every white grin and eye crinkle was perfectly captured in SLR detail. Those less lovely had seductive written pitches accompanied by middle-distance action photography to illustrate their personalities, and I felt to date one of these men was to purchase a new and amazing lifestyle, as if from a catalog.

After days of charming emails and texts exchanged with one of my “matches,” we would meet for coffee, or if one of us had written something a little dirty to the other, drinks. Often, it was one coffee or one drink, less than an hour. Sometimes a few hours would float into a kiss I barely tasted. Always, I didn’t hear from them ever again.

MetroLink lists its posts under every category in real time, so your ad may fall off the end of the white page in an hour or two on a busy night. Everyone gets the same blank white space to write in, the same four-picture limit.

The men here speak in voices I don’t hear from men anywhere else. In my work as a librarian and its associated schooling, I’ve become familiar with men who carefully discuss their ideas and feelings from well-supported liberal positions. These are the same men from the singles website I tried, men who built pithy profiles with slide shows of slick pictures.

On the other end of the spectrum, my dad, his brothers, my cousins—they are all sort of expansive and rigidly masculine and sound like whoever it is they work with, other men who are electricians or firefighters or salesmen.

But MetroLink men have an entirely different accent, and it cuts into me. It’s what I imagine men might really be thinking and never say. They yell and cry and woo and break themselves open before their post slips off the page.

Tired of the lies, one of tonight’s reads, l@@king for honest woman H/W unimportant who doesnt care about looks or money. I wish I could stop smoking, but for now thats not possible, 2 much drama in my life, lol. So smokers OK. Age, race unimportant. Must know how to love imperfect men.
Another loves women who are fun. So many women dont let themselves have a good time. Dont spend hours getting ready to go out with me, just run out the door and well have adventures. I can be discreet. I understand.

My favorite tonight, this morning, is a post in list form, a rage against his life in all its top-ten sources of misery. He is tired, so tired of his 3) bills I have no hope of paying and 5) children who get everything they ask for and still hate me. He wants a woman who doesn’t like to talk. A woman who will hold hands with him on the couch, watching the news without comment at the end of every day. A woman he can share a pizza with and then go to bed with. A woman, he writes, who is exactly like my ex-wife but wondivorce me just because the economy sucks.

Some of them have pictures, but most often they tell me your picture gets mine. They use their four-picture limit to post images of women from porn so that I will know their “type.” Pictures of themselves always seem blurry, or are taken in a mirror splattered with toothpaste with the flash still on so that their faces are obscured by a glowing constellation.

I’m so tired, my thumb and my heart sore and bothered by their slivers, but I can’t stop compulsively scrutinizing ads for—what? A reason to answer? I clear my throat, my heart, because I refuse to cry again. My peripheral vision catches the flutter of the moth as it suddenly reveals itself and finds a breeze to follow out the window, into the wee morning light.

As I scroll through the post titles from the last hour, one catches my eye—Wednesdays. When I click on it, I’m surprised to find a clear and high-definition picture. It’s a candid of a man with very short dark hair, sitting in three-quarters view at a conference table. His dress shirt is pushed up at the elbows, his legs are crossed at the knee. He’s holding an elbow with an opposite hand, his body language completely closed, but he’s so long-limbed he almost seems loose. He’s grinning at someone off-camera, and it’s his grin, the dimple it sinks into his cheek, that arrests me after reading so many lamenting personals.

The photo doesn’t hide anything about what he looks like, but it tells the viewer almost nothing about him. If he weren’t hugging himself so tightly, I would think he was modeling menswear in a Sunday circular. Blandly handsome.

Except the knuckles of his long fingers are white from the grip on his elbow. The stubble on his sharp jaw is a little too dark and long for a business meeting.
I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only. I won’t touch you below the shoulders. You can touch me anywhere. No dating, no hookups. I will meet with you for as long as you meet me, so if you miss a Wednesday we part as strangers. No picture necessary, we can settle details via IM. Reply back with “Wednesdays Only” in the subject line.
I read the ad multiple times and the flush doesn’t go away from my cheeks. I look at his picture for so long, I hear my neighbor’s shower squeal to life. Kissing only. Celebration Park is right behind my library’s campus. When the weather is nice, like it has been, I take my lunch there to eat.

You can touch me anywhere. I shudder, and goose bumps break over my hot neck. I click on the picture and my browser opens it in its own window, nearly as big as my screen. He’s in his thirties, likely near my age. With the picture so large, I can see that he has glasses hooked over his pocket and that his ring finger doesn’t seem to have a trace of a wedding band. His forearms are beautiful, the hair very dark against his pale skin.
I move back over to the ad.

He must have dozens of replies.

My Wednesdays are long; they start an hour early for a meeting with my staff in Teen Collections and end an hour late to accommodate a tutoring program. What if right in the middle of that long Wednesday I sat with this man in the park, kissing and touching him like a living fantasy?

If I didn’t like it, if I didn’t like him, if he turned out to be crazy, or awful, or a bad kisser, or a creep, I would just miss a single Wednesday and he would be gone. Part as strangers.Celebration Park is bustling at lunch hour with downtown traffic, particularly during this mild, dry fall. We wouldn’t really be alone.

I flip back over to his picture. I wish he were looking into the camera so I could see his eyes. Was he uncomfortable with the person he was grinning at, was that why he held himself so close? Or was it this meeting he was at? Why kissing? Maybe he was with someone and that part of his relationship had fallen away—I have a friend who complains that her husband never really makes out with her anymore and she misses it.

I don’t realize I’ve clicked the email link until the box pops up. MetroLink assigns each post an anonymous email address that forwards to the poster’s actual email, but posters can see the sender’s real email address. I hesitate. My address is librariansdeweyitbetter@villagemail. It’s clich├ęd, in addition to being immature, but setting up another account is not conducive to the impulsive nature of this email.

The idea that his in-box is likely clotted with replies actually helps. What’s one more he won’t answer? As I start typing the subject line, I suddenly realize I could always just sort of stalk Celebration Park some Wednesday until I saw him in person, get a better sense of the man who wants to spend a lunch hour every week kissing a stranger.

Mary Ann Rivers has been wearing a groove in her library card since she was old enough for story time. She’s been writing almost as long—her first publication credit was in Highlights magazine. She started writing and reading romance in the fifth grade once she stumbled on the rainbow of romance novel book spines in the library’s fiction stacks.

She was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals, and leading creative writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a Nurse Practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients.

Mary Ann lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son. She writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line.

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  1. Thanks for the excerpt. I've read a couple of good reviews on this book.

  2. Thank you so much for hosting THE STORY GUY! I love the park bench graphic with the quote-- so beautiful! I'm honored to be here, and I hope visitors won't hesitate to say hello on twitter @maryann_rivers or visit my website maryannrivers.com. Thank you! Love, Mary Ann Rivers