At eighteen, Donnie Kagan's plans for graduation, and maybe even college, were derailed by a beer, a stoplight, and a fatal crash. Now he's twenty-four, out of prison, and bitterly determined to start over. But with the holidays approaching, he can't resist a quick trip home to Tallbridge, North Dakota, and the man he left behind. Just a fast look, to make sure Adam's doing all right, before Donnie starts his new life. He doesn't plan to stay.
Adam Lindberg's been waiting six years to get closure with Donnie. He missed that chance after the accident, fighting for his life in a hospital bed as Donnie pled guilty and disappeared into the justice system. Without so much as a letter back from Donnie in all this time, Adam's tried to move on. And yet, he never found another guy he cared about the same way. So when Donnie shows up in Tallbridge, Adam's ready to fight for more than three words of goodbye. Of course, Adam's brother and dad don't want Donnie to stick around, but it's the busy Christmas season at the family store. If Adam asks for Donnie's help, maybe he'll stay long enough to finally talk about the future, and the past.
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- Jul 1 - Jul 31: Free in all formats at Smashwords
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Coming Home, Hurt / Comfort, Pets Are 'Portant, Second Chances
Word Count: 47000
Languages Available: English
A voice behind me said, “Can I help you?”
I didn't turn. I didn't even breathe.
“Is there something you're looking for?” Adam said patiently.
Without letting him see my face, I said as gruffly as I could, “No.” Then I added, “Thanks,” because I was back in the real world, and it wouldn't kill me to be polite.
I'd changed in six years, too. A lot. My voice was deeper, and I didn't look the same or stand the same as when I was the hot, bad boy on the block. Back before I got a lot of the attitude beat out of me. But all it took was two little words from me, for Adam to whisper, “Donnie?”
I wanted to walk away, but my feet were glued to the floor right there beside the damned teddy-bear-ornament tree. My vision sparkled. I think my fingers went numb.READ MORE
Adam eased around me, moving like someone stalking a deer. When his face came into view, his eyes were huge. Maybe he was the Bambi. “Donnie? Is that you?”
I took a deep breath, then snapped, “Well, I ain't fucking Marie, right?”
“Not unless you've changed teams.”
When our eyes met, it was almost like six years didn't happen. It was me and Adam, together, me supplying the attitude and the straight lines, and Adam doling out the punch lines and the smiles. For a moment I almost grinned at him, but then the little kid laughed behind me and I remembered that time didn't really stand still. I looked down. Adam still had feet the size of canoes in his work-boots. “I was just going.”COLLAPSE