What do you do when the pure emotion of a picture grabs you, and you can’t do anything but write the story you get when you see it? Well, that’s what happened to me when I saw the image that spurred me to write the following scene below in this exclusive excerpt. There’s happiness and joy in the picture, but to me, I knew there was more beneath the surface going on… and that is just what happened when it came time to write this chapter.
“Why don’t we go out to eat? The three of us? And before we go to the restaurant, we could stop at the park. Micah would love the swings.”
“Why don’t we stay in?” Evin was on the floor next to Micah, who was sitting in just a diaper, his blocks and a ring stack in front of him. “He’s happy playing with his rings right now, and if we take him to the park, I’ll have to bundle him up, which he hates. And I thought I’d make stew.”
“Well, I need to head over to my house and get some clean clothes for tomorrow. You could come with me.”
“It would be faster if we stayed here. You’re coming back, right?”
“Yeah.” Ben hated the anxiety in Evin’s voice as he walked out the door. He was distracted the whole drive over to his house. He didn’t like the way this was going. He’d seen more and more signs of Evin’s unwillingness to leave the house. The last time he needed groceries, he did an online order. He said it was because Micah was running a low-grade fever and it was too wet and cold to take him out.
He might be primarily an emergency room physician, but Ben knew the signs of post-traumatic stress. Evin was restless but didn’t want to leave the house. Anytime it was brought up, his anxiety level went through the roof.
He was allowing his house to become a barrier between him and the big, bad world. Worse, he refused to admit to his fear or his coping mechanism of avoiding life. Maybe it was easy for him to slip into because he’d done it before when Micah was born, but Ben thought he’d made progress, that he’d decided to rejoin the world.
Now he was locked away from it again. Ben didn’t know what to do, what to say, to make this fear better. Sure, they lived in a liberal area. Nine times out of ten, hell, ninety-nine times out of one hundred, openly gay couples were safe. Violence wasn’t the norm, but Evin had been the victim of too much of it, and worse, he was afraid of it spilling over onto the people he loved.
So he was holding on tight to where he was comfortable, to his safe zone.
And Ben had no idea how to fix it.
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Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.
Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.
Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.
The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.
Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.
Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
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