Going home had never felt so wrong.
When Derrick received the phone call informing him of his mother’s death, it felt like the bottom had dropped out of his entire world. Gone was every hope and ideal he’d left home with, replaced with the bitter realization that he’d run out of time, run out of plans, and was desperately close to running out of give-a-damn.
It doesn’t help to come face to face with his older brother, Ray, who’d spent much of his childhood either ignoring him, ditching him, or complaining about his very existence. It’s enough to send him right back on the road again, or at least, it would have been, were it not for a house, a cat named Slash, and Mason, his best friend-with-benefits, now the head librarian in town and hot as sin.
It was hard enough leaving Mace in the first place, but a second time? He didn’t think he had it in him to be so heartless. Twelve years ago he’d slipped away under the cover of darkness, without even a single goodbye. Now, standing on the edge of night, looking down at the tiny town he’d fled, Derrick is left with one burning question:
Can the door to the past ever be closed enough to allow space for the future?
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Coming Home, Death of Parent, Friends to Lovers, Hurt / Comfort, Second Chances
Word Count: 96,573
Setting: Small town in Smoky Mountains
Languages Available: English
Derrick placed the batteries and zip ties on the opposite side of the table from the food, folded the bag, rolled up his sleeves, and started hacking at an onion rather than respond.
“Helps to peel it first,” Mason muttered. Stilling his hand and retrieving what was left of the mangled onion. He peeled it before returning it and taking a step back, no doubt out of the way of flying onion bits.
“I guess I could walk, not like it’s much safer, but I see what you’re getting at,” Derrick said as he started massacring the onion a bit slower this time. “I hate driving that car, but I don’t want to risk wrecking the bike if someone skids into it.”
“How about not risking wrecking you ’cause that was the part I was worried about?” Mason grumbled as he moved around to the other side of the table and fiddled with the zip ties Derrick had left out. “Do I even want to know what you were planning to do with these?”READ MORE
“Huh?” Derrick glanced up to see Mason shaking the zip ties at him, before a sharp flash of pain made him drop the knife and shove his finger in his mouth. “Ow, fuck,” Derrick growled around the bleeding digit as he turned away from the cutting board to rummage around on the top of the fridge for the first aid kit his mother had always kept there when he was young. Sure enough, it was still there, shoved almost to the back.
“Let’s see what the damage is.”
Shivering at the low, rough voice in his ear, Derrick turned his head enough to see Mason watching him intently.
“It’s fine,” he muttered, shuffling away so he could run his finger under the tap. Before he could fish out an alcohol wipe to clean it, Mason tugged it over, so he could inspect it.
“A little deep, but nothing that needs stitching,” Mason remarked, reaching for the wipe himself and cleaning it. “You’re lucky you didn’t take half of it off, the way you were going to town on that onion. You don’t cook much, do you?”
Grimacing, Derrick turned toward Mason with a sigh. “Not particularly, but I found a recipe that looked easy enough to follow. Figured I couldn’t screw it up that much.”
He held still as Mason smeared a bit of antiseptic cream over the wound, then covered it with a band aid.
“So, what is this supposed to be?” Mason asked, gesturing toward the table.
“Pan fried potatoes and chicken wings.”
Derrick watched Mason scratch the space between his eyebrows, attention going from the table to Derrick and back again. “Okay, tell me you have recipes for both.”
“Yeah, umm, side of the fridge,” Derrick replied as he washed his hands. Scooting up beside him, Mason did the same, before they stepped up to the fridge to read over the recipes.
Mason was tapping a finger to his nose. It was an old tick, something he’d always done when he was thinking about something.
“How about I take over the chopping, if only to insure we don’t end up in the ER tonight with severed body parts, and you take the chicken? Not that I cook often, but I can at least cut things up without risking serious bodily harm.”
“Wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been waving the damn zip ties around,” Derrick grumbled. “And to answer your question, I was planning to use them to bundle up extension cords neatly, so I could hang them from pegs in the garage. It’s a pain in the ass to untangle them every time I need one. Noticed a couple broken shower curtain rings too, so I figured I could use a few of the smaller ones there as well, least until I can manage to go get a replacement set. Nearly lost the lid to the recycle bin, so I thought to secure it to the bin like I’d done the trash can lid. One morning of chasing it up the street was more than enough. Besides, it can’t hurt to keep them around, they make pretty good drain snakes in a pinch.”
“Practical,” Mason replied with a slight chuckle as he cleaned the knife Derrick had nicked himself with and went back to cutting up the onions. “Not quite what I had in mind, though.”
Snorting, Derrick pulled out a large bowl and dumped in a cup of flour. “Yeah, and what did you think I was gonna do with them?”
“Well between them and the batteries, I figured you had one hell of a night in mind.”
“Huh?” Again, Derrick forgot to pay attention to what he was doing but at least the only result was shaking the garlic powder a few times before realizing he hadn’t opened it. “What that’s supposed to mean.”
“Take a moment, and think outside of the box, Derrick,” Mason remarked as he continued to chop.
Derrick tried as he added pepper, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper to the flour and stirred them together with a fork. “I still don’t get it.”
The only response from Mason was a laugh as he set about washing the two large red potatoes Derrick had purchased.
“I tell you what, after dinner I’ll show you what I mean.”
Derrick cocked an eyebrow at him, huffed and shook his head, before putting the bowl aside and moving to get out the wings. “Not sure I wanna know.”
“That’s up to you.”
The steady thunk, thunk, thunk of Mason cutting up the potatoes filled the room, as Derrick patted the wings dry and dumped them in the flour, turning them over and over to get them coated in the seasoning mix. Recipe said to set them aside in the fridge for twenty-minutes to and hour, so he shoved them in and went about lining two baking sheets with foil and preheating the oven.
“Seriously?” Mason remarked without even looking over. “What did you do to yourself now.”
“Nothing. Just can’t stop thinking about the damned zip ties now, thank you very much.”
“You’re welcome,” Mason remarked, snickering as he continued to chop.COLLAPSE
cinnamon on amazon wrote:
My first book by this author. I was absolutely blown away! The depth of emotions and relatable characters were astonishing.
Derrick has to rush back home to Tennessee after being away for years in the face of a tragic incident. He hightailed it right out of high school and he's been roaming ever since, never quite feeling at home anywhere else. When he gets back home, he buts heads with his older brother. Ray never seems to actually care for him as they were growing up,and that fed into the multiple inadequacies Derrick had growing up, that he just wasn't good enough. He then crosses path with Mason, his somewhat teenage sweetheart. They agree to renewing their friendship, (which segues into an actual romantic relationship) but not without some pitfalls along the way. Derrick says he's in this relationship and in tow for the long haul, but Mason's been burned before and is leery of trying again. Add recriminations and jealousy on both sides, and you have some pretty emotional scenes. Eventually they realize that they need to open up and communicate better because together they're everything each has been looking for.
HKS on Amazon wrote:
Wow. What a great read. Amazing writing, unique characters with intriguing backgrounds and a gripping plotline that never lets your attention go. I was hooked early on and couldn't stop reading.
Tripping Over the Edge is an extraordinary story. It is so different from your usual mm romance. This is more gay fiction with complex characters, fantastic family, and friendship ties and the wonders and great feels of living in a small town.
If you are looking for a something different, something with depth, something heartfelt and emotional, this one is a great choice for you. Highly recommended.
Joscelyn Smith on Amazon wrote:
My first book by this author, and I was pleasantly surprised about this one! You never know what to expect when you find a new author or whether or not you are going to vibe with their reading, but I really enjoyed the characters and overall plot of this story. I liked the set up and the trope being used here. I loved a good second chance trope and it is hard to find one that matches up to my expectations. Not to say I did not have some hang ups with the story, but not enough to take away that much enjoyment from it.
This was such a great second chance story. A second chance between friends, between brothers, a second chance to see memories from a different perspective. I absolutely loved Derrick and Mason, they were amazing characters and the secondary characters were just as amazing. I really enjoyed how everyone actually took the time to talk through their issues, even if they fought they still put in the work to communicate. All in all a great story about coming home.