Title: Mai Tais and Murder
Series: Gabe Maxfield Mysteries, Book 1
Author: J.C. Long
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 12, 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, mystery, gay, romance, Hawaii
Gabe Maxfield never wanted to be a detective or a policeman or anything of the sort. The closest he wanted to come to the law was writing legal briefs and doing research for a big-shot law firm. Nice and safe, and without all the stress. No unanswered questions, just well-defined legal precedents.
When he moves to Hawaii in the wake of a disastrous breakup and betrayal by an ex, a murder investigation is the last thing he expects to get wrapped up in, but he can’t help himself when a dead body, a hunky cop, and his best friend get involved.
So much for sipping Mai Tais on the beach and admiring the well-tanned bodies around him.
Mai Tais and Murder
J.C. Long © 2017
All Rights Reserved
The sound of banging drew me from the nap I’d fallen into on the uncomfortable, lumpy couch I’d inherited in my new condo. I looked around, confused until I realized someone was knocking at my front door rather impatiently.
I hurried across the room, threw open the door, and was greeted with the sight of a burly Islander pulling a dolly loaded up with boxes. The movers were there, finally. I glanced at the watch I wore on my wrist. It was nearly noon, so only, oh, two hours late.
“Aloha, we’re with the movers,” the man said unnecessarily.
“I thought you were going to be here by ten,” I said, stepping out of the door and allowing the man to wheel the dolly inside.
“Yo, you got choke boxes, braddah.” It sounded like it was meant to be an explanation, but if it was, I didn’t understand it. I’d been in Hawaii for two weeks, and I had not come close to catching on to the local pidgin. I understood what was being said around me about seventy percent of the time, and then suddenly I had no idea. Perhaps he saw the confusion on my face, because he added, not unkindly, “You got a lot of boxes.”
I nodded my understanding, deciding not to press the issue of the lateness; I’d learned in my brief time living on the island of Oahu that things in Hawaii ran differently, as if time followed different rules there. Things that would be done at a quick pace back in Seattle just happened slower here—the whole aloha, relaxed island attitude to blame, I supposed. It definitely wasn’t a bad thing—in fact, I found the lifestyle here to be worlds better than what I experienced on the mainland. It was just an adjustment. Grace assured me I’d get there eventually, and I was mildly successful already, becoming way more relaxed than I had been in Seattle, but when it came to things like this, I couldn’t help but get a little irate.
Didn’t people in Hawaii want their packages on time, too? At least pizza delivery still ran on time.
I stood back and allowed the man and his companion to wheel in more boxes. They were about halfway through unloading when the second man stopped and pulled the door down on the back of the truck, leaving the rest of my boxes inside.
“Hey, what are you doing? Those are my boxes!”
“Nevah mine, braddah. Try wait, yeah? We come back bumbye. We gone go grind.” The bigger guy came out of the condo behind me, patting my shoulder with a beefy hand.
I ran a hand through my hair. “I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand…”
“He said they’ll come back in a bit. They’re going to get lunch.”
I looked over and saw a tall, dark-skinned Islander, bulging muscles all but ripping out of the tight maroon V-neck T-shirt he was wearing. He was about an inch over six feet, with dazzling white teeth and short-cut, dark hair. His eyes were a surprisingly light shade of hazel that contrasted his skin.
“Oh, uh, yeah, okay. Thanks.” God, I sounded like a stammering idiot.
If the hunk of an Islander noticed, he didn’t say anything. “You’ve been here a few weeks, right? Why are you just getting boxes? Not that I’m stalking you or anything,” he added quickly, eyes widening a bit as he probably processed what he said. Saying you weren’t stalking someone made it sound like you were stalking someone. I hadn’t taken it that way, but when I thought about it, I could see how it could sound stalker-like. “I live in the condo next to yours.” He pointed over my shoulder at the door to his place.
I had my suspicions that he was blushing, but with his face as tan as it was, it was hard to tell. It did look like the skin on the exposed, smooth expanse of his chest and neck had reddened a bit, but was likely just wishful thinking.
That’s when I realized I was staring at his chest. Goddamn it, here I was, a twenty-nine-year-old man acting like a fifteen-year-old. “I’m Gabe Maxfield.” I introduced myself to establish that I was not, in fact a bumbling idiot. “Nice to meet you.”
The guy took my hand and shook it firmly. His touch was surprisingly soft despite the few calluses I could feel, and a warmth spread through me that had nothing to do with the blazing sun. “I’m Maka Kekoa. Hauʻoli kēia hui ʻana o kāua. That’s nice to meet you in Ōlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language.”
I tried to repeat it, and he smiled at the way I stumbled over the words. “To answer your question,” I said quickly, trying to move past the embarrassment of butchering the language, “I wasn’t in a rush to get everything since this place came mostly furnished. I shipped them from Seattle at the cheapest—and slowest—rate.”
“Oh, you need these guys back here at a certain time?” he asked, gesturing toward the movers, who still hadn’t driven off, much to my surprise. They were standing close together, watching our interaction with quite a bit of interest.
“I’m supposed to meet a friend today at three, so they need to be here and finished before then.”
Maka nodded and walked to the passenger door of the truck, rapping on it with his knuckles. The door opened and some words were exchanged that I didn’t hear—not that I was paying attention. My eyes were too busy traveling over the nice muscles of Maka’s arms and the very pleasing shape of his ass.
This was, I realized, the first inkling of physical attraction toward another man I’d felt since things had gone so bad with Trevor two months before. Since then I’d been living in a bit of a fog on many levels, including my libido. I just didn’t feel the drive—I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d jacked off. Seeing Maka seemed to have poked the bear, so to speak, and I felt myself begin to harden.
I was surprised when the two movers hopped out of their truck, rolled up the back door, and once again started moving boxes. One of them shot a glare at Maka as he went by and muttered something under his breath, but Maka didn’t seem to notice.
“How did you do that?” I demanded when he rejoined me
Maka shrugged, once again flashing those pearly whites. “I have a way with people.”
“Clearly. I need to get you to teach me.”
“Maybe that can be arranged sometime.” Was he flirting with me? Or had I been out of commission so long that I was misreading a simple conversational reply? Why was interacting with a man so complicated? My mind had to go running off in three directions at once, and I didn’t even know if this guy played for my team, so to speak. “It was nice to meet you, Gabe. I’ve got to get going. Tell Pako and his boy that if they have any trouble with anything, they should give me a call, okay?”
“Will do,” I said with an awkward chuckle. “Nice to meet you, Maka.”
“Aloha.” I waved at him as he left. He’d rounded the corner into a second section of the parking lot when I heard sniggering behind me.
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Hello, and welcome to the Mai Tais and Murder blog tour! I'm author J. C. Long. This latest release from me is very firmly in the mystery department, and was really exciting to write. I love a good mystery, don’t you? Unraveling the clues, following the trail, trying to figure out the solution before the author presents it to you, what’s not to like?
In honor of my addition to the world of mystery, I’m presenting to you my top ten favorite mysteries. Ordering them in an actual order beyond top ten was difficult, so they’re in no particular order, except the final one, which is definitely my favorite!
First, we have The Complete Auguste Dupin Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is credited with being the father of the detective novel, these believed to be the first written. Poe does a wonderful job of building atmosphere—what I’d say he’s best at, honestly—and the stories are inventive and intriguing.
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, by Soji Shimada, is a Japanese mystery novel that is quite brilliant. The author invites you to solve the mystery along side his characters, and doesn’t present you with anything the characters don’t learn, nor them with hidden knowledge that only comes out in the reveal. It’s a well-told and brilliant story, and the English translation is well done, as well!
Perfidia by James Ellroy is one that surprised me making the list. I really enjoyed this book. Noir is a fun guilty pleasure of mine (who knows, maybe one day I’ll write a noir tale myself!) and honestly no one does it better than Ellroy.
Your Republic Is Calling You by Young-ha Kim comes to us from Korea, and admittedly it’s more of a spy novel than a mystery, but I think it still deserves a place on the board. It’s a gripping story that is uniquely Korean. It’s so refreshing to see the way another culture handles the mystery story. I highly recommend this.
Next we have Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. King is a phenomenal writer, and can bring success to pretty much anything he touches, and this gripping mystery/detective story is no different.
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas is a story that I have just absolutely loved. Seeing the Sherlock Holmes story told from this new perspective, with a Lady Sherlock, was exciting and Sherry Thomas presents a compelling mystery that I read in basically one sitting.
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino is a brilliant mystery from a powerhouse Japanese novelist. This author’s popular hero—a brilliant, Sherlock-esque man—has appeared in several Japanese dramas and continues to excite fans.
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen is one of my favorite mysteries. It introduced the Rizzoli and Isles series—which is an equally exciting television show that I adore. It’s brilliantly detailed, superbly realistic, and has strong female characters with a SUPPORTIVE RELATIONSHIP which is always great to see.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling) is the start of a great series that delivers on the thrills and wonderful details that we’re so familiar with coming from the author of Harry Potter. This is a stunning mystery and the series gets better with each new installment.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is my absolute favorite of her works and my absolute favorite mystery. It’s a brilliant whodunit with engaging characters and a wonderful twist. I highly recommend it.
There you go—my ten favorite mysteries! I hope that for some of you, Mai Tais and Murder will make its way to your favorite mystery list!
Paralegal Gabe Maxfield moves from Seattle to Hawaii after his ex, Trevor, drains their account and cleans out their apartment. He is immediately pulled into a murder investigation after he and his best friend Grace discover the body of Grace's business partner on the floor of their Private Investigation office. Grace is soon arrested and put in jail leaving Gabe to find out who really killed Carrie and get Grace released. Luckily, he has the help of his neighbor, Detective Maka Kekoa, a man he is quickly falling for.
I'm very happy I had the chance to read this book because, honestly, I loved it. I found it a great combination of murder mystery, romance and humor. Gabe is witty and entertaining as he puts his amateur sleuthing skills to the test while tracking down Carrie's murderer. I loved the way he used his knowledge of the law to help when it came to the investigation, proving his worth to not only Maka but me as a reader as well.
Maka was a fun character to read about, too. I wasn't sure if I was going to like him at first but I quickly realized he was perfect for Gabe. He can be very assertive and almost standoffish at times but he was also funny and sweet with Gabe, as well. I loved that he never hid his feelings for Gabe with anyone in the story. Between the banter and the great chemistry, these two made a great team.
This is my first J.C. Long book and really enjoyed it. I think the story flowed well and it was fun and easy to read. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about Gabe and Maka and hope this is just the start of a potentially great series. I definitely recommend Mai Tais and Murder.
***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***
Meet the AuthorJ.C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his life-long involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that. J. C. Long’s favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing and Korean food (not in that order…okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts and wishing he was writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.
6/12 Out Of My Head
6/14 Love Bytes Reviews
6/15 MM Book Escape
6/16 Bayou Book Junkie
6/16 Happily Ever Chapter