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Second Chances in New Port Stephen

A Novel

About The Book

A trans man returns to his Florida hometown for Christmas after his career goes up in flames, only to cross paths with his high school ex in this charming rom-com about family and second chances from the author of the “delectable” (Time) Chef’s Kiss.

Eli Ward hasn’t been back to his suffocating hometown of New Port Stephen, Florida, in ages. Post-transition and sober, he’s a completely different person from the one who left years ago. But when a scandal threatens his career as a TV writer and comedian, he has no choice but to return home for the holidays. He can only hope he’ll survive his boisterous, loving, but often misguided family and hide the fact that his dream of comedy success has become a nightmare.

Just when he thinks this trip couldn’t get any worse, Eli bumps into his high school ex, Nick Wu, who’s somehow hotter than ever. Divorced and in his forties, Nick’s world revolves around his father, his daughter, and his job. But even a busy life can’t keep him from being intrigued by the reappearance of Eli.

Against the backdrop of one weird Floridian Christmas, the two must decide whether to leave the past in the past…or move on together.

About The Author

Photograph by Demi Y. Guo

TJ Alexander, the critically acclaimed author of Second Chances in New Port Stephen, Chef’s Kiss, and Chef’s Choice, writes about queer love. Originally from Florida, they received their MA in writing and publishing from Emerson College in Boston. They live in New York City with their wife and various houseplants.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (December 5, 2023)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668021972

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Raves and Reviews

"For pure comfort vibes I highly recommend TJ Alexander’s SECOND CHANCES IN NEW PORT STEPHEN, which stares at everything going wrong in the world and dares to say happiness matters anyway."

– New York Times Book Review

"In a world that feels increasingly dark, this book is a light. SECOND CHANCES IN NEW PORT STEPHEN is sexy, hilarious, heartwarming, and gloriously queer."

– Camille Kellogg, author of JUST AS YOU ARE

"From start to finish, this hilarious and tender rom-com stole our hearts! It’s joyfully queer, laugh-out-loud funny, and scratches every small town and holiday romance itch possible. (And did we mention the hot single dad???) Five second chance stars!"

– Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone, authors of A MERRY LITTLE MEET CUTE

"A super-steamy queer holiday romance that deals with serious topics, such as substance addiction, identity exploration, and family strife, while still managing to be uproariously funny and incredibly romantic."

– Library Journal (starred review)

"A small-town romance with a great big heart. You’ll rooting for Nick and Eli as they find the courage to change, to seize second chances, and to love each other."

– Jenny Holiday, USA Today bestselling author of SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS

"A uniquely charming and unapologetically queer holiday romance. It trades kissing-in-the-snow for an exquisite, sun-drenched slow burn that will leave you smitten over Eli and Nick. With an authentic voice and a dash of steam, Alexander captures the timely complexities of returning to a home you've outgrown while also rediscovering a love you've never let go of. An absolute gift to readers!"

– Timothy Janovsky, author of YOU'RE A MEAN ONE, MATTHEW PRINCE

"Utterly incandescent . . . This is one of those books that you finish and immediately hand off to someone else, hoping you’ll be able to talk about your favorite scene."

– Bookreporter

"TJ Alexander's newest rom com brings holiday cheer and second chances for not just Nick and Eli, but the people nearest and dearest to them. An amazing read that will pull at your heartstrings!"

– Codi Hall author of ALONG CAME HOLLY

"SECOND CHANCES IN NEW PORT STEPHEN absolutely blew me away; Eli and Nick are the perfect pair and I rooted for them every step of the way. Nick's father, Mr. Wu is my hero, for not only accepting Nick just the way he is, but for fishing without ever catching a fish."

– Lyn Liao Butler, bestselling author of SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE and CRAZY BAO YOU

"In SECOND CHANCES IN NEW PORT STEPHEN, TJ Alexander offers tender characters who bring wit and resilience to each obstacle in their way, including the mishaps and miscommunications of their own making. Eli and Nick are the best type of Florida men—all heart, super hot, at home with baby manatees and maybe even with each other—and I adored every page of their story."

– Deb Rogers, author of FLORIDA WOMAN

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