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Sand-Man’s Family

Wild and Precious Series: Book Three

by CJane Elliott

It isn’t easy to leave a family that hurts. But what if it’s the start of finding a love that heals?

High-school senior Sandy's Catholic parents are furious to discover he's had sex before marriage. But when he blurts out he's bisexual, they go ballistic. To avoid conversion therapy, Sandy runs away from Rockford, Illinois to move in with his gay uncle in Portland and start a new life.

He leaves behind Jade, the fabulous out gay kid in their Catholic high school. They hooked up—once—to confirm Sandy’s bisexuality. Jade had never expected to get that far with star athlete and altar boy Sandy. But he was crushed when Sandy disappeared without even telling him.

A year later Jade and Sandy run into each other on the train going home to Rockford for Thanksgiving and form an alliance to help Sandy confront his parents. Will they keep building where they left off or will their spark turn to dust?

If you like coming of age stories, queer kids finding the courage to be themselves, and the comfort of found families, you’ll love Sand-Man’s Family.

2nd edition, revised.

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Independently Published
Cover Artists:

Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay

Tropes: Adopted Child, Bad Breakup, Coming of Age, Coming Home, Coming Out / Closeted, Everyone is Queer, Families/Raising Kids, First Time, Hurt / Comfort, Interracial Relationship, Lone Wolf, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Rescue, Reunited and it Feels So Good, Second Chances, Smartass Twinks, True Love, Wide-Eyed Innocence

Setting: Amtrak train Portland to Chicago, Rockford, IL, Portland, OR

Languages Available: English

Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters


Chapter One

Sandy followed Cody and Uncle Phinney down the aisle of the Amtrak train. Next stop—dining car for breakfast. He yawned. Their epic journey from Portland back to Rockford for Thanksgiving had started yesterday. Overnight in Spokane they’d met up with another train from Seattle, and by some railroad magic, the two had become one train heading for Chicago. Sandy planned to spend the day in the observation car watching America pass by. Traveling cross-country by rail rocked.

They were being escorted to their table when someone called, “Sandy? What the ever-loving fuck?”

Sandy whirled around. “Jade?”


Jade jumped up from a table. He looked amazing—like a very pretty gender-fluid goth knight. Clad in an all-black ensemble, with his jet-black hair sporting bright pink streaks, he wore the requisite eyeliner that made his dark eyes pop, and his nails sparkled with gold polish. Sandy drank him in—how could he have forgotten how gorgeous Jade was? So fierce and fabulous. Oops—and also mad as hell.

“Oh my God. Sandy Nixon. I am so pissed at you. You just disappeared, like, poof!”

“Jade, wow. What’re you doing on this train?” What a stupid thing to say. Seeing Jade again had him in a muddle—happiness and desire battled with guilt and confusion.

“What am I…? The same thing you are, obviously. Going back to Rockford for Thanksgiving. But the point is, where did you disappear to? Why didn’t you—oh, hello.” Jade nodded over Sandy’s head. “I’m Jade Byrne.”

Sandy felt a hand on his shoulder. Uncle Phinney said, “Hi there. I’m Phineas MacDonald, Sandy’s uncle, and this is my partner, Cody Bellstrom.”

Cody’s easygoing voice followed. “Hey there. Nice to meet you, Jade. Why don’t we all grab a table together so we’re not clogging up the aisle?”

“How come I didn’t see you in Seattle?” Jade demanded after they were seated. “Were you on the Portland train?”

“Yeah. I live in Portland now with Uncle Phinney.”

“You do? But we’re so close. I can’t believe this. Have you been in Portland all this time?”


Jade huffed, and Sandy braced himself for a tirade. He was glad when Cody spoke up instead.

“What are you doing in Seattle?”

“Going to a performing arts school, majoring in musical theater. I love it.”

“He’s really good too,” Sandy blurted. “He was the star of St. Ignatius High.”

Jade nodded with only a tinge of modesty. “What can I say? When you’ve got it, you’ve got it.” Then he frowned. “That was sweet to say, and it almost makes up for you leaving with no warning.”

Before Sandy could think of a reply, Uncle Phinney leaned forward. “I love the performing arts. I’m a drag queen, and Cody here is a great guitarist and all-around musician, so we feel you.”

“A drag queen?” Jade clasped his hands together with a look of sheer delight.

“And an amazing one,” Cody drawled, while Phinney blushed. “You’ll have to see him if you ever come to Portland. A Phanny Hill performance is not to be missed.”

“Phanny Hill? Oh my God, that’s fantastic.” Jade turned dancing eyes to Sandy. “Sandy, you have such cool relatives. I would’ve never guessed… I mean, given your parents.”

“Yeah. I lucked out with Uncle Phinney.”

Phinney’s face got even pinker. “Aw, Sand-Man. I’m so happy you came to live with me. I feel like the lucky one.”

Sandy squirmed under his praise, and Cody defused his embarrassment by jumping in. “Hey, what about me? I’m the luckiest one in the bunch.”

Sandy turned to Jade. “Cody came out West to be in a funk band. He and I were on the same train when I ran away, and that’s how everyone met.”

Jade’s eyes grew round. “No. That’s so epic. So when you ran away, you met the very guy who Fate had destined for your uncle to be with.” He sighed as the rest of them laughed.

“Sounds like you’re a romantic, Jade.” Uncle Phinney placed his hand over Cody’s. “But you’re right. It is epic. I call Cody my miracle.”

“I love it.” Jade gave a wistful smile when Cody and Phinney kissed.

Sandy clapped a hand over his face. “Jeez, I’m surrounded by romantics.”

“Oh, stop,” Uncle Phinney said. “You’re a romantic too. You—” He cut himself off, casting a glance at Jade.

Cody leaned forward. “Tell us about your studies, Jade.”

As Jade chattered away with Cody and Phinney, Sandy kept stealing glances at him. He was so charismatic and striking, waving his gold-tipped fingers around to emphasize a point. Dare was charismatic in his own way, Sandy reminded himself, but no one held a candle to Jade and the way he sparkled. He hadn’t even realized how much he’d missed the Jade Show, as he and his high school friends had named the phenomenon that was Jade.

Cody got Jade talking about his theater work, and he riveted them with his reenactments. He even broke into song a few times. As he gazed at Jade’s smiling mouth, Sandy found himself remembering their one searing sexual encounter. God. Even nine months later, the memory of their hookup in the dressing room was as vivid as ever. Jade caught him staring a few times and raised one well-groomed eyebrow, but other than some meaningful glances, Jade all but ignored him through the meal while entertaining Cody and Phinney, who clearly thought he was the cat’s meow.

“Where are you on the train?” Uncle Phinney asked Jade after taking his last sip of coffee and throwing his napkin on the table.

“In Car 6. It’s the upper level in coach. I couldn’t afford one of the cabins, or whatever you call them.”

“Oh, you should stay with us. We have two cabins, and I’m sure Sandy won’t mind, will you?”

Sandy shifted in his seat. Uncle Phinney, who had money to burn, had reserved two deluxe sleeper cabins—one for him and Cody, and a smaller one for Sandy—so he and Cody had privacy to fuck like bunnies, or whatever it was they did that kept Uncle Phinney so flushed and happy.

“No, I don’t mind.”

For the first time, Jade looked somewhat shy. “Really?”

“Unless you’re still mad at me.”

Jade frowned at Sandy. “I am.”

“Give me a chance to explain.”

Jade’s face cleared, and he gave Sandy a dazzling grin. “You got it, pumpkin.”

Pumpkin? As he and Jade followed Cody and Phinney out of the dining car, Sandy found himself anticipating being alone with Jade and telling him the whole story.


Reviews:Meredith on Diverse Reader wrote:

This is novella number three is CJane Elliott’s Wild & Precious series. Now, I didn’t read the first 2 books and I was told this was a standalone and I want to let everyone know that it is in fact a standalone. There are mention of characters from the other books and you see them but at no time are you lost. The author fills in gaps where you might wonder.

Something I found cute was the title of this novella. Sand Man’s family. I didn’t really get it off the bat but then I met the MC Sandy. And it all came together. He has horrific parents. They are the worst of the worst. Bigots, uncaring, unloving. Waste of space if you ask me. But Sandy doesn’t need them. He has built such and amazing support system.

This support system is the ensemble to this novella. There’s his boyfriend, partner Cody, his Uncle, the band… I go on and on. There’s a strength behind him and it makes up for all his parents lack… and it’s a lot.

Sandy is an adorable character. Genuine and lovely. I can’t imagine not loving him.

This ensemble in the story really brought so much to Sandy’s tale. I loved them. An ensemble can make or break a book and this one was golden!

While a little angsty, it’s romantic, sweet, sometimes sexy, and a lot of fun.

About the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, award-winning author CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane writes sexy, passionate LGBTQ romances that explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is bisexual and an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her family supports her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards. Her contemporary novel All the Way to Shore was Runner Up for Best Bisexual Book in the 2017 Rainbow Awards.