Author: Diana DeRicci
Cover Artist: Anastasia Rabiyah
Genre: Gay Erotic Romance/M/M
Length: Novel, 47,611 words, 133 pages PDF
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Heat Level: Erotic
Warnings: Gay Male/Male
What readers have been saying:
taken on [a] journey … woven a beautiful tapestry of love and commitment.
The snow hasn’t even attempted to thaw when Ian’s life is turned upside down. His only sister is murdered, leaving him as the sole family to his 14 year-old niece. As an uncle, he’d been there for them, but he is clueless when it comes to actually seeing to Terra’s wellbeing. Muddling through, they become closer, healing together through the trauma, and slowly begin to feel like family.
Ian has a deep secret though. Not even Terra’s mother knew, and when Caleb is the officer to deliver a freezing and terrified niece to his door, that secret is in jeopardy of being blown sky-high.
Ian topped off their mugs then led them out of the kitchen to the living room. Caleb guessed he’d been in that house for years, maybe it had even been left to him. It was reminiscent of the one-level shaker homes in the area, wide open with large windows and spacious rooms. He didn’t have a lot of furniture to fill it, so the wood flooring dominated the rooms.
“Ever get your heater replaced?”
Ian chuckled, motioning to a rocker. He claimed the stuffed recliner, making himself comfortable. “No, we made it through another winter. I’ll have to do something about it this summer. I doubt it’ll manage another.”
“How is she holding up? How are you?”
Ian’s rising hand slowed, but he slurped a bit to let it lower. “We’re managing. She’s talked to the counselor at school once or twice. Maria didn’t have anything left over after the debts were covered. The car is in the garage for Terra when she’s sixteen. That much was paid for.”
“Have you talked to anyone about it?” Caleb leaned with his elbows on his knees, asking gently. The movement brought him fairly close to Ian.
“No. Just waiting for the word that Striker has been caught. Will she have to ID him?”
Ian’s shoulders rolled. “That’s good. I don’t want to keep dragging her back to what happened to her if I don’t have to. I want her to heal.”
Caleb reached and settled a hand above Ian’s knee. “She’s a smart girl, Ian. Tough. She was scared the morning I found her and probably lost, being in pain.”
Almost instantly, Caleb realized what he’d done, felt the hard strength of Ian’s thigh as he flexed under Caleb’s braced palm. Soaked up the heat of jean covered skin through his palm. Ian had solid thighs, long legs. He knew the man owned a Harley. Caleb bet he made a sexy, imposing sight on it. If men gawked unashamedly at women in public, then he was just as guilty, though quietly, for doing it with men.
He removed his hand, though he fought not to yank it away. Not because he hadn’t wanted to do that, but because he’d been wanting to for a long time. Just touch him.
His pulse thudded thickly for a moment. He sat straight as if nothing but a moment of male comfort had occurred.
That was until he glimpsed a stolen look from Ian and caught him watching Caleb through heavy, midnight lashes. Not annoyed, or even ticked. They weren’t friends, hardly more than acquaintances, but there was definitely something in that look. If read the right way, it could mean a lot more than Caleb had expected or anticipated. He’d certainly not hoped for it, but that look had borne hope, and that meant it was time to vacate. Now.
By: Diana DeRicci
Published: Jan. 30, 2013
ISBN # 978612920634
Word Count: 47349
What Readers are saying:
…sweet love story! The main characters are made for each other, and the secondary characters are fun!
It is a story about two people falling in love and learning how to cope with the reality of that love. Romance story is what I wanted and romance story is what I got in this book.
I enjoyed this story, and it reads better than the short description would indicate. This is not a straight-to-gay story as is implied. More of a closeted-to-out conversion, and one that has enough early history to keep the story believable. The relationship develops reasonable well, and with acceptable angst.
Brice has a crush. Unfortunately it’s on a friend’s straight younger brother, Jake. Brice knows chances are between slim and none for anything more between them, but no one says he can’t fantasize about the hunky guy. When Jake’s teenage daughter, Rebecca, enlists Brice’s help for a final paper for school, Brice and Jake get the chance to really know one another, bonding over Brice’s garden into friendship.
Except their friendship gets tested and reshaped when Jake volunteers to come stay with Brice for a couple of days after he’s injured by a student. Jake has a history no one knows about. And Brice is the one man capable of reawakening dormant feelings in Jake.
Will Jake be able to embrace yearnings he hasn’t experienced in twenty years? Can Brice trust Jake’s changes to be real? It’s a challenge for the both of them, but no one said love would be easy.
Brice Reynolds leaned over a bent and braced knee on his chair as he gathered his teaching agenda and things to take home for the weekend. A stack of tests to grade, a thousand and one things to do. At least there were only six more weeks left. He stretched, scooping the last into a sort of acceptable pile in front of him.
The light clearing of a throat drew his attention to his open classroom doorway. He smiled seeing who it was. “Hi, Terra. How was your chemistry test?”
“A nightmare,” she groused. “But I know I passed.”
“That’s the important thing. Did you pass well?”
She crossed her eyes. “The jury is still out.”
He smiled for her. “What can I do for you?”
“Uncle Ian wanted me to see if you were still on for tomorrow.”
“Are you kidding? I’ll be there.” He let his foot drop to the floor. “Did he want me to bring anything?”
“Nope. I think Uncle Jake and Uncle Jessie have it covered. And you know when they come, there’s too much of everything.”
Brice smiled. Yeah, he was very familiar with the Drew family’s need to stuff everyone stupid at a barbecue. “Just have him call me if he needs anything last minute. I’ll be by around three otherwise.”
She nodded with a smile. “See you.” Clutching her backpack in her hand where it poised on her shoulder, she spun and vanished.
In the two years since moving to Jasper, he’d found the town very hospitable. He’d made several good friends, which helped life go by. One of them was Terra’s uncle, Ian. They’d met at Terra’s registration the fall of the previous school year. Quiet and hardworking, he owned one of the auto repair shops in town. He was also partnered with one of the local sheriffs, Caleb Drew. Well, now married. They’d done the deed over Christmas a year and a half ago. It had been a very enjoyable and intimate experience to share with them and he was thankful to call them friends.
His hands slowed closing his briefcase. Because of Ian, he’d had the chance to make new friends and meet Caleb’s family, who’d all taken him in as if he’d always been there. At home, in West Virginia, he’d suffered familial obligation to be included but there was no one who embraced diversity like Ian’s family did. He smirked then straightened, sliding the chair under his desk and checking that all the drawers were locked.
He couldn’t say his family had truly been understanding, but what did it matter? He didn’t live near them any longer. Jasper was small town America. It was friendly, and except for a few sour grapes, a pleasant community and area.
Brice had been invited to the guys’ wedding, several barbecues and even a holiday gathering this last season to celebrate their anniversary. He was one of the family. Ian’s, Caleb’s and Terra’s. It wasn’t a bad family to have.
Arriving at Ian and Caleb’s the following sun-filled afternoon, he was greeted by the scents of wood smoke. His mouth watered almost immediately. One thing he’d learned: Ian knew a mean trick or two with hot fire and beef. He stepped toward the back of the home, hearing conversation as he got closer.
A loud squeal was all the warning he got before a young brunette he recognized came tearing around the corner. He jumped out of the way. And waited. Flushed against the house, two more raced past him, laughing maniacally. Cautiously he put a foot out and when no one else appeared, he scooted around the corner, discovering several sets of eyes pinned in his direction.
He popped a thumb to gesture over his shoulder.
“Water guns,” Jessie explained.
“Let me guess. She wasn’t given one.”
“Not yet.” Jessie laughed. “Don’t worry. She will get even.” Jessie approached and offered a hand. “Good to see you, Brice.”
“Thanks for inviting me.”
A waved hand drew him deeper into the backyard. Hugs and handshakes welcomed him. Bethany, Jessie’s wife, handed him a beer then tossed a filled water gun to Becky. With a war cry that would have chilled the most hardened battle soul, she charged her male cousins, Terra at her side. The battle was on now that it was even. Brice quickly found himself caught up in conversation with Ian and Caleb, laughing at their antics.
They chased each other back and forth, around the house, squirting streams of water until damp turned into soaked. At least with the warming weather and bright sunlight, they’d never feel the water chill. Summer was coming. Every single one of those kids was ready for it.
Brice barely paid the sound of a car door closing any attention, assuming it was a neighbor. That assumption soon proved to be very erroneous.
Brice spotted Jake, Caleb’s youngest brother, clearing the corner of the house about three seconds before the shrillest scream of surprise silenced everyone. Maybe even those across town.
“Aaron!” Terra shoved her gun at Becky and launched for Aaron when he appeared behind Jake, jumping into him and clinging like a monkey. Luckily he caught her and held her as they kissed.
“All right you two!” Jessie scolded after about a minute, though without any real displeasure. Slowly, very slowly, Aaron let Terra reach her feet in front of him.
“So I guess that means they’re still going strong, even with him in college this year?” Brice nudged Ian with an elbow.
“Still going strong.” He hadn’t moved too far from the grill since he’d started cooking, keeping an eye on the food he was making, glancing up every few seconds to follow Aaron and Terra holding hands to talk while a ceasefire was called in their water war. “He’s a good kid, and she’s no one’s fool.”
“They have a very supportive family. It helps.”
Ian grinned and shrugged. “It doesn’t hurt that the last thing Aaron wants to do is piss off Uncle Caleb, because he will tell Jessie and the hammer will come down.”
Brice sniggered. He could absolutely believe that. “Did he drive?”
“Jake went to get him at the airport. It’s why he wasn’t here.”
Brice wasn’t going to confirm the fact that he’d noticed Jake hadn’t been there when he’d first arrived. It really wasn’t his business. He didn’t want anyone else to think he was interested in Jake for more than family. It really sucked having an entire family of good looking men, Ian included, but Brice wasn’t going to jeopardize his relationship with them by letting on that he thought Jake was gorgeous.
Since Ian and Caleb’s wedding and meeting Caleb’s brother who had dressed in a sharp suit for the event, Brice had harbored a bit of a crush for the other man. More than a crush since he’d allowed himself to dream. Yet a crush was all it would ever be. The man was a divorced single father, and had never once made any type of hint that he could be into men. Sometimes it happened. A man discovering he was either gay or bi after a lifetime of disappointment, or worse—failure, but among the testosterone of the Drew brothers?
Ian had already nabbed the Drew brother that played on his team. And Caleb was so completely Ian’s, there was no contest.
Brice did know Jake had been single for several years, the ex having taken up with someone else and then moved out, leaving him with his daughter, a house, and a mess to clean up. He hadn’t ever seen it, but he was sure the man dated. Jake might even have a girlfriend. Just because there wasn’t someone there with them now meant very little.
He wasn’t as broad as either Caleb or Jessie. Jessie was built like a football linebacker, and Caleb was thick. Brice didn’t know for sure, but he thought there were a few years between Jake and Caleb, which put him about five years older than Brice. Not a big deal for him there, either. Brownish/black hair with the amazing blue eyes all three of the brothers had been blessed with, and a smile that could melt glaciers. He swallowed the sigh.
Yeah, Brice was totally crushing on the youngest Drew.
The third and latest installment of the Mark and Jimmy saga…
Jimmy’s career is rolling full steam ahead and the challenges of dating a celebrity are beginning to encroach on Mark’s stable world. When Jimmy is nominated for an award, even Mark’s co-workers question his intentions. Will he stay at a job he enjoys, or will he find the strength and courage to be what Jimmy needs most?
Mark rolled over in bed and nuzzled the strong shoulder beside him. A shoulder linked to a body whose head was all but buried under the pillow. When Jimmy was on his stomach, it was a common way of finding Jimmy and always gave Mark a warm smile. Like a four year-old kid, he dove under his pillow and stayed there.
There were still mornings when he woke and just stared at the man beside him. Yes, he was guilty of that, and honestly expected—given the chance—he’d be doing it well into old age. Jimmy was simply perfection to Mark. An abstract person he’d admired from afar for years who, nearly against the odds, became a friend until Mark had no choice but to fall like a loon head over heels for the man. Thankfully, Jimmy fell right with him. It hadn’t been an easy landing either, but Mark had never been happier. It wasn’t always easy dismissing the fact that Jimmy was in truth adored and desired by probably millions, from two different yet very high-profile careers. Jimmy wasn’t just Mark’s. But when they were in this bed, in their apartment, Mark was all Jimmy’s and that seemed to be the perfect balance for them.
Good thing I’m not psycho-possessive. He tipped into the bedding to hide his growing grin. It wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t impossible. Learning to know the real Jimmy Saldana, not the one on glossy pages with a sinful body and a devil’s grin, proved the difference between infatuation and real emotion. Not many got to know the insides of Jimmy. Family, friends, Jimmy’s mother and Mark. Mark guarded that soft center with all of his soul.
The muted trill of his cell phone in the other room pulled his attention away from the sleeping hunk in the bed.
Easing away, he quietly walked out of the bedroom to answer the phone. A glance at the screen and he knew who it was. “Hi, Mom.”
“Hi, honey. How are you?”
Mark sat on a kitchen chair. “Going good. How’s everything up north?”
“The usual. Your dad is tearing apart the boat motor again.”
He could hear his mother’s exasperation, and pictured the likely accompanied eye roll that would go with it. “A usual Saturday.”
Mark covered his mouth to stifle the chuckle. “Eh. It keeps him out of trouble.”
“True,” she agreed. “I called to invite you and Jimmy to dinner next weekend. Is he still in town?”
“For another two weeks, then he’s back on location.”
“I don’t know how you can do that. Are you holding up all right?”
“For the most part, yeah. He calls a couple times a day to stay in touch.” Or he would send texts or pictures. He wasn’t talkative, but he was a texting maniac when he had lulls on set.
“Well, see if you have time. Your old bedroom is yours if you need to stay over.”
“Thanks, Mom. I’ll see if he’s able and let you know.”
They chatted for a few more minutes, and then he hung up. Warm arms circled his shoulders from behind as he did.
“Morning,” Jimmy murmured, brushing a tender kiss to Mark’s neck. “Who was on the phone?”
“Mom. She wants us to come up next weekend.”
“You know, she’s already got us married.”
Jimmy laughed roughly, still sounding sleepy and sexy. “So does half the world. Do you see me complaining?”
Mark arched his head backward, caressing temple to temple. “Nope. Me neither.”
Maybe someday. Wasn’t a rushing emergency in Mark’s book. Things were good the way they were. No need to fix what wasn’t broken.
“Come back to bed. It’s Saturday and I’m not ready to get up yet.”
“Only if you promise to run with me later.”
“Deal,” Jimmy breathed before he started sucking on Mark’s earlobe.
“You’re so easy.” Mark reached behind his shoulders, clasping at Jimmy’s body and hair with seeking fingers.
“Saturdays are five mile runs.”