I’m delighted to hand over the blog to Joe today to talk about his Cozzi Cove series, his new book in particular, and to share some memories of his childhood summers spent along the New Jersey Shore.
Over to Joe!
Cozzi Cove: a place where nothing is what it seems, and anything is possible.
Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, the fourth novel in the Cozzi Cove series by Joe Cosentino, published by NineStar Press
Every culture and religion respects the cycle of life as old things end and new ones begin. That’s the message in the Cozzi Cove series. We watch characters we’ve grown to love as much as members of our own families deal with that reality in the magical, romantic place called Cozzi Cove.
Cozzi Cove is a special place to me. Though a product of my overactive imagination, Cozzi Cove is based on a spot at the New Jersey Shore that I visited every summer as a kid. My aunt and uncle had a bungalow near the beach, bay, and a private cove that formed when soft rocks were worn away by the sun and salty water faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. This created a gorgeous bay of turquoise water shielded by large rocks in the distance and smaller rocks near the water’s edge.
Every summer my sister and I as kids swam and made sandcastles at the beach, waded in the bay, played miniature golf, ate salt water taffy, and jumped up and down on trampolines until we (literally) saw green. All those places and experiences are in the novels set in a fictitious place I call Cozzi Cove, a gay resort of eight bungalows in a private cove on the Jersey Shore. The main beach and boardwalk are only a mile away. It’s a place I love to visit, and I know you will too.
After Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out released, readers and reviewers praised their romantic, humorous, dramatic, mysterious style, and interwoven captivating stories. Many readers begged for a return trip to Cozzi Cove, so I wrote Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. As with the first three books, romance is everywhere on Cozzi Cove, and nothing is what it seems. It was like visiting good old friends to further develop the characters in book four.
Handsome and sexy ex-football player Cal Cozzi is now thirty-three years old, and still enjoying his role as owner and manager of his family’s guest bungalows. In book four, Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise. Cal and his husband, Michael Rodgers, a recent college graduate in photojournalism, are expecting a baby.
Cal has a new houseboy, blond and muscular Billy Dean, a red letter Christian college student who signed a chastity pledge in his hometown Alabama. Obviously, that doesn’t last very long at Cozzi Cove.
Cal’s sister, Taylor, drops in from Europe as usual. As a type A personality and top one-percenter, the world revolves around her, which makes her hysterically funny. She is also incredibly devoted to her brother. Taylor’s wife, Carla, plays a pivotal role in book four as she is the surrogate for Cal and Michael’s baby. Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them away from Cozzi Cove.
A guest, Nijad, who is bisexual, can’t decide which sibling guest he prefers: Annabel or Andrew. And an occult enthusiast guest, Jonathan, encounters a sexy vampire, Vlad, at the cove. As usual, nothing is what it seems as secrets are revealed and romances blossom in the magical place called Cozzi Cove.
So grab your Speedos, suntan lotion, and shades and head back to Cozzi Cove. Or if it’s your visit, welcome. Cal Cozzi has a bungalow waiting just for you. I hope to see you there!
And I love hearing from readers! Please contact me at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
About The Book
COZZI COVE: NEW BEGINNINGS
The fourth novel in the Cozzi Cove series
by JOE COSENTINO, published by NineStar Press
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Length: 55,600 words, 174 pages
Release date: March 27, 2017
Welcome back to the romantic and magical place called Cozzi Cove, seven guest bungalows on the New Jersey Shore. This summer, Cal and his new husband Michael, along with sister, Taylor and her wife, Carla, prepare for the first in the next generation of Cozzis. To add to the action: Cal finds his great-grandfather’s diary, exposing a shocking surprise; Michael and Taylor weigh new job opportunities that could take them far away from Cozzi Cove; red-letter Christian and new houseboy, Billy Dean, gets his wish when meeting Jesus and John at the cove; summer guest, Nijad, can’t decide which sibling he prefers—Annabel or Andrew; and Jonathan, an occult enthusiast, encounters a sexy vampire. As usual, nothing is as it seems when romance blossoms once again at Cozzi Cove. What secrets, mysteries, and passions lie waiting to unfold? Find out in Book Four of the Cozzi Cove series.
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Excerpt from Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings
The sun rose like an erupting volcano filling the sky with shafts of violet, magenta, and gold, which ultimately turned to clear blue. Cal Cozzi stood on the white sand and gazed at the old lighthouse in the distance. At thirty-three, he was in the prime of his life, with thick auburn hair, clear green eyes, and a trim athletic build. Life was good, and as he smiled at the foamy waves teasing the craggy shore, Cal basked in the morning sun and in the beauty of his home.
Cal’s great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi I, had built the resort at Cozzi Cove and had had a big hand in the development of the town of Cozzi. It had always been home for Cal, and proved to be a solid oasis when as a young man his football and later restaurant careers failed, and nine years ago when his parents died in a car accident. He’d especially felt its comfort when he later lost his husband of five years to cancer. Like the bay water rejuvenated by the golden rays of each sunrise, Cal had put his life back together by managing Cozzi Cove and marrying Michael Rodgers.
Michael, clad in a T-shirt and shorts like Cal, appeared at the front doorway of the main bungalow. His stocky build, caramel-colored skin, exotic eyes, and warm smile still caused Cal’s heart to beat faster.
“Then you’d better make breakfast.” Cal enjoyed playing with Michael.
Michael liked it too. “If you make blueberry buckwheat pancakes, I’ll give you a massage.”
“You massaged something pretty well last night.”
They shared a knowing smile.
Michael said, “I know how to get you inside.”
“The guests will be arriving soon.”
At these words, Cal hurried inside the glass-enclosed porch, scooped the twenty-two-year-old into his arms, squeezed Michael’s bubble butt, and gave him a good morning kiss. Then Cal went through the living room, passing the doorway to their front bedroom, and into the kitchen, glancing through the entrances to the rear bedroom and bathroom on the way. Cal was glad his brother’s renovations of the bungalows had kept his great-grandfather’s layout while expanding the rooms, including cathedral ceilings lined with white pine beams. As he gazed at the white wicker and oak furniture laden with flower-print cushions, Cal was thankful his great-grandfather’s heavy nautical-themed furniture had found a home in a local museum. He smiled proudly at his own additions: the prints on the walls depicting lighthouses, seashells, and rocky beaches.
As usual, Michael leaned on the granite-topped island while Cal made breakfast. “Aren’t you going to put more blueberries in the batter?”
Cal raised the mixing spoon. “Do you want to make these yourself?”
“I prefer to critique.”
Cal mixed the buckwheat flour, buttermilk, egg, honey, coconut oil, and blueberries in a large bowl. “Your college degree is in photojournalism, not the culinary arts.”
“A lot of good it did me.”
Michael nodded and his soft chestnut bedhead fell into place. “Four years of college to be a bartender.”
“You’re only a bartender while Tommy is in New York City.”
“Yeah, and when Tommy comes back from visiting Blue, it’s bartender’s assistant time again for me.”
Cal poured the batter in circular mounds on the warm oiled skillet. “What about that gay magazine?”
“It was one freelance job!”
“Something else will turn up.”
“Tell that to my resume on the web. It’s beginning to feel like a wallflower at a party.”
“It takes time. Photojournalism is a specialty field.”
Michael pouted. That turned Cal on every time. He wrapped his arms around Michael and squeezed him into his chest. After a few wet kisses, Cal said, “You can always help me around Cozzi Cove.”
“I thought you hired a new houseboy when Connor and his husband opened their bed and breakfast in town.”
“I’m interviewing him this morning.” Cal smelled the pancakes starting to burn. He grabbed the spatula and quickly flipped them.
Michael licked his lips. “You flipped me over like that last night.”
“And you loved it.”
They kissed again.
Cal felt Michael’s erection pressing against his own. “I’d better concentrate on these pancakes.” He slapped Michael’s backside. “Instead of these cakes.”
“That’s not what you said last night.”
Cal giggled and served the pancakes. They sat at the white oak kitchen table, feeding each other and intermittently licking maple syrup off each other’s chins.
Just as they were finishing breakfast, Carla Mangione lumbered through the back kitchen door and announced, “If this watermelon doesn’t come out of the patch soon, I’m going to kill someone.”
“Hey, you’re talking about our watermelon!” Cal replied as he got up to help her to the table. He put pancakes on a plate as Michael went to pour juice and milk for her.
“It won’t be soon enough for me.” Carla rubbed her enormous stomach; she was only thirty-five, but these days looked more like fifty-five. “I never knew you could get varicose veins on your stomach.”
“And I’m sure yours are beautiful.” Cal served Carla breakfast, kissed the top of her dark hair, and took a seat across from her at the table.
Carla leaned forward to massage her lower back. “I must be the biggest pregnant woman ever.”
“That’s because you’re carrying our big, beautiful baby,” Michael said, joining them.
After taking a sip of juice, Carla gagged. “Why does everything taste like fish or liverwurst?”
“Maybe our baby is the antichrist,” Cal offered.
Carla took a bite of the pancakes. “What kind of huge genes do you two guys have?”
“Don’t blame us.” Cal put his arm around Michael. “It must have been the egg-donor.”
“She must have donated ostrich eggs.” Carla pushed her plate away.
Michael pushed it back in front of her. “Eat up, honey. You’re having breakfast for two.”
She looked down at her enormous stomach. “Really? Do you think?”
Cal finished his juice. “Whatever happened to, ‘As your dear old friend and sister-in-law, it would be my honor to help you and Michael bring a child into this world. I can’t think of anyone who’d make better parents’?”
“That was before I gained forty pounds and my back started aching constantly—before my breasts swelled up like helium balloons and my ankles expanded faster than a conservative politician’s pocket after meeting with a Super PAC.”
Cal fed her another piece of pancake. “But isn’t it all worth it to bring a new life into the world?”
Carla groaned. “I used to get offended when people said God was a man. Now I’m sure of it. No woman would put another woman through this.”
“Did you do your exercises this morning?” Michael asked.
Carla laughed. “I stopped being able to see my toes weeks ago.”
“Have you been meditating with your crystals?” Michael sounded like a teacher with a lazy student.
“I think I threw them at your pictures when the baby kicked me like a Radio City Rockette. Meanwhile, you two were no doubt going at it last night like a running back and a wide receiver.”
“A tight end, please,” Michael said as he handed Carla her glass of milk.
“If I get any more milk in me, my breasts will explode.” She took a sip and swallowed as if drinking fish oil laced with liquid soap.
Cal asked, “Have you been taking your prenatal vitamins?”
Carla nodded. “Maybe that’s why this kid has been jumping around inside me like a Mexican hat dancer. Do either of you have any Mexican blood?”
“African and Scandinavian,” Michael replied.
“Scottish and Italian,” Cal said.
“Well, maybe he was doing a tribal dance and the tarantella.” Carla flicked back her long dark hair. “While I was lying awake in bed, I did the baby’s astrology and numerology charts.”
Michael asked, “How can you do that without knowing his birthdate?”
Carla glared at him. “I decided if he doesn’t come out of me by the end of the week, I’m pulling my nephew out with tongs.”
“What did the charts show?” Cal didn’t believe in the occult, but he was thankful to get Carla’s mind off her discomfort.
Carla smiled. “He’s going to be kind, strong, fair, honest, and quite successful.”
“Of course he is. He’s our son.” Cal kissed Michael’s cheek.
“Let’s hope he’s kind enough to make an appearance soon.” Carla ate more of her breakfast.
Michael asked, “How is Dotty doing running the restaurant during your maternity leave?”
“Fine.” Carla sat back. “I should never go back.”
Cal grinned. “You wouldn’t leave Carla’s.”
“You’re right.” She winked at Cal. “That restaurant is as much a part of me as Cozzi Cove is a part of you.”
Michael seemed miles away.
“What’s wrong?” Cal asked.
Michael shrugged, his head hanging down.
Carla said, “Don’t be shy, Michael. You know I’m family now. I married Cal’s sister. Remember? You were there, marrying this guy.”
Since Michael wasn’t talking, Cal asked Carla, “When is my dear sister coming for a visit?”
Carla sighed. “Taylor said she’d be here after her business meetings in Paris and Rome, but before her meetings in Washington, DC and New York.”
“What does that mean?” Cal asked.
“It means Taylor and the conservative big-money boys are making sure the top one percent stay that way.” She turned to Michael. “You’re not off the hook so easily about your pouting. What’s up?”
“A lot, last night.” Michael patted Cal’s crotch.
Cal put his arm around his husband. “We know something’s wrong, Michael. Spill it.”
“And feel free to spill my milk while you’re at it,” Carla said, pushing away her glass.
Michael pushed it back in front of her. “I wasn’t going to say anything.”
“But?” Cal asked.
Michael rested his chin on his hand. “Cozzi Cove has been in your family for generations, like Carla’s Seafood Restaurant has been in Carla’s.”
“So?” Cal asked again.
“So you both belong here. I’m just a guy who fell in love with the man I tried to gay bash.”
Cal took his hand. “Michael, you’re my husband. Cozzi Cove is as much your home as it is mine.”
“It doesn’t feel that way.”
Carla groaned. “Did my wife say something obnoxious to you the last time she visited?”
“Taylor said lots of obnoxious things to me the last time she visited, but that’s not it.”
“Then what is it, Michael?” Cal asked.
Michael bit his lower lip. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. And I can’t think of a place I’d like living more than Cozzi Cove. But this is your land, your inheritance, and your soul. Sometimes I feel like an outsider.”
At that moment, there was a knock at the front door. “That must be my new houseboy,” Cal said, getting to his feet.
Carla leaned on the table and pushed herself off the chair. “I don’t want anyone seeing me like this. I’m going back to my bungalow.”
“Take this for the road,” Michael said, handing her the glass of milk.
She downed the milk in one gulp and cringed. “If I don’t come out of my bungalow in a week’s time, send in the bulldozer.” Carla left out the back kitchen door.
Cal paused at the kitchen entry, looking on as Michael cleared the table and started stacking the dishwasher. “We’ll talk about this later,” he said.
“It’s fine, really.”
Unconvinced, Cal left for the living room.
Praise for the Cozzie Cove series
COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT
“But it’s not just about the Cozzi’s and the webs they weave, it’s also about the Guests that check-in and check-out. But they never check out of our hearts. We as readers, remember every one of them – they are the real beauty of Cozzi Cove together with this author’s amazing talent – he makes these OTT characters stay with us, his characterization is just phenomenal and therefore great fun to read, I never chuckle as much as I do as when I’m reading a Cosentino.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“With love, romance and the big reveal of so many secrets, COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT is perhaps the most important novel in the series so far. With so many of the recurring characters getting a huge chunk of the storytelling time, I couldn’t have asked for a better exploration of the Cozzi family and their chaotic summers at Cozzi Cove. Thanks to the perfect ending, I really hadn’t expected there to be more…but, YES! There is an excerpt at the end for the next book. And I couldn’t be more thrilled!”
“Spending a week in the sun with the permanent and transitory residents of Cozzi Cove makes for a superb, unputdownable, read. There are laugh out loud moments, lots of chuckles, some very heartwarming as well as heart wrenching moments, lots of gorgeous men and women, love, lust and even some tears. Joe Cosentino has a brilliantly unique sense of humour, and a masterful way of writing stories containing farce, larger than life men and women, and often over the top characters you’ll fall in love with. For all that his characters come across as completely relatable and realistic. His books are one of a kind and utterly addictive. I have yet to read a Joe Cosentino book that was less than 5 stars, and this book is no exception. Do yourself a favour and grab this book with both hands. I guarantee you’ll be very glad you did.” Divine Magazine
“The surprise of the whole book though is Tommy finally finding who he has been looking for and the story behind the love found and lost and then found again definitely blew me away….a great read” Gay Book Reviews
“Tons of action, drama, love, and secrets to keep readers hooked….beautifully written and highly engaging….Humor, mystery, and romance…Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out is indeed a must read for all. I highly recommend it.” Urban Book Reviews
“I love this series and hope it continues, after all, every year comes with a summer and Cozzi Cove will always be open for business.” Books Laid Bare Boys
“Loved, loved, loved it! The Cozzi Cove stories have a great mix of drama, angst, romance, and sex. There is something for everyone.” TTC Books and More
“The stories of Cal and Michael, George and Aaron, and Taylor and Carla are brilliant and are cleverly described alongside those of the guests. I loved this book, and the wonderful feel good factor it evoked. For me, it’s the best of the series so far. The characters are, again, perfect for the stories that unwind slowly and are then wound up again into ideal conclusions. The ending ties up all the residents and guests’ stories but leaves enough open for more. Cozzi Cove, where dreams really do come true.” OptimuMM Book Reviews
COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD:
“Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward delivers a strong cast of characters and a few surprising denouements to individual story lines that will bring a smile to your face and perhaps even a heartfelt sigh.” GGR Reviews
“Who knew that 7 bungalows set surrounding a beautiful cove, could hold so many secrets, love and intrigue?” “The humour, whether subtle or not-so-subtle was superb, the timing delivered with perfection, Joe Cosentino is a natural comedian and another reason why I love reading his books. He is also very clever, he weaved moral messages throughout the entire storyline,” “Great fun entwined with the Cosentino romantic magic that brings his books alive, I loved it.” Three Books Over the Rainbow
“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. 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.” Divine Magazine
“Oh, Cozzi Cove, you are fast becoming a favorite vacation destination with your action and excitement! Joe Cosentino once again wins his way into your heart and soul with this fun, flirtatious romance. Love, laughter and smoldering intimacy await all who dare to venture to the clear blue waters of the Cove.” 3 Chicks After Dark
“I absolutely love this series and loved all of the romance that happens at Cozzi Cove. You don’t just have one romance you have seven (really eight when you count Cal & Michael).” “I love an author that can inject humor in just the right places. Joe Cosentino is fast becoming a must read author for me.” “I can’t wait to read more from Cozzi Cove.” Inked Rainbow Reads
“Imagine a beautiful getaway where the hot, sexy, and wealthy gay men go…it’s a place where there’s never a dull moment. Every page of this new title brings readers nothing but excitement, intrigue, and an intensity that will burn away the night’s quiet. Most novels offer readers one journey in which readers travel upon, however, readers are brought not one but several journeys that will leave them breathless and hooked. As with all of Joe Cosentino’s novels, humor comes in abundance and fits in perfectly with all of this stunning characters.” “Joe sweeps his readers into his characters’ lives by creating realistic characters with real issues. It’s easy to get lost in it all. The book automatically captures your heart from page one and forever holds it. After reading the story, readers will be begging for the next grand adventure. Funny, heart melting, and swoon worthy, readers will finish reading this in one sitting. I loved reading this riveting tale, and I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.” Urban Book Reviews
“The beautiful scenery and all around magical quality of Cozzi Cove is hard to resist….This is a fun, often lighthearted story, whose sweet sexy vibe makes for a great escape.” Coffeetime Romance
Yet again the author entices you in with a fantastic storyline and well-rounded characters.
You could almost feel the sea breeze and smell the salt in the air. This is definitely where you need to be if you want to find love…..” Books Laid Bare Boys
“As with book one, book two contains an interwoven set of awesome, emotional and often funny tales about the guests and residents of Cozzi Cove. All the characters need the magic that Cozzi Cove weaves around people’s lives and its healing touch, but will they all get what they need? By the time the guests are ready to check out at the end of the week, everything will have changed for them and for some of the residents too. As with book one, I became deeply immersed in these stories and didn’t want the book to end so thank goodness there’s a book three” OptimuMM Book Reviews
COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK
Book of the Month at The TBR Pile, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention, 3rd Place Best Fiction Book of 2016 on Urban Book Reviews
“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
“In true Joe Cosentino style, this book is packed full of drama! This cast of characters will have you laughing out loud one minute before ripping your heart out the next.” Joyfully Jay
“If you like a lot of angst, some humor, love, sadness (be sure to have a couple of boxes of tissue handy), and some hot sensual man-sex, I highly, highly recommend this book. I loved all of the Joe Cosentino’s books, but I think this is my favorite to date! I am ready for book 2!” Cathy Brockman Romance & MM Good Book Reviews
“Joe Cosentino has the amazing ability to combine heartwarming, feel good moments with droll, sometimes biting humor, along with insights into the frailties and peccadillos of being human.” “Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back is the very finest in literary fiction with a romance theme, yet it’s more than just that—it’s about human connections and empathy and finding a way out of the fear and inertia faced by so many. It’s also about courage and strength, about respect and coming to terms with all that life has to offer, and it’s about letting go. I loved this book and look forward to the next in the series. This is a highly recommended read, well-deserving of Five Stars.” GGR Reviews
“readers will meet a variety of characters that creates a soap opera intrigue, unlike any other novel read. This story will definitely keep readers guessing with every page. Only when readers reach the last page does everything become known. It’s addictive. Cozzi Cove is a brand new series that will keep Joe Cosentino’s readers on their toes and begging for more. I laughed, cried, and fell in love with this latest novel.” Urban Book Reviews
“This book is extremely well written and all the stories are equally compelling and cleverly crafted. There are moments when, just as you think you know what’s going on, the truth emerges and turns out to be something quite different….Cal’s guests are an amusing and heart wrenching mixed bag of people, all of whom I found irresistible in their own way….So many wonderful, poignant and often funny stories are told here….It’s a real roller coaster of a ride that’s finished off perfectly as the guests spend their last day at Cozzi Cove then check out to move on with their lives.” OptimuMM Book Reviews
“Another brilliantly written book by this author. He makes you want to take your own vacation in Cozzi Cove. You could feel all the emotion and love flowing from the pages.” Books Laid Bare Boys
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s Readers Poll of 2015 for Best LGBT Mystery Novel, Best LGBT Humorous Novel, and Best LGBT Contemporary Novel of the Year. He wrote the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Favorite), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards!
Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com