The third installment in my Opposites series is now available for pre-order. It releases officially on December 27th! Check out the blub and story excerpt below. A more spicy excerpt can be read on the Siren page. Note: Each release in this series can be read alone.
Blurb: Ben Charmer's life up to now hasn't gone the way he figured it would. After years of hiding in the closet married to a woman, he's now on his own after an amicable divorce.
Dave Heatherington once had it all, or so he'd initially thought. Caught up in a nasty past relationship that's ended, he's left scarred and bitter. Starting life anew in a small town, he's bought a large Victorian dilapidated inn that needs a lot of work.
Ben's great with his hands. Doing the work on the inn itself isn't too hard, but being in the company of the inn's hot new owner proves to be a bigger challenge than he'd initially thought.
Things quickly heat up as the two men confide in each other about their mutual pasts and hidden secrets. For one thing, Ben isn't out. But an upcoming event might change all that and their lives forever.
Story Excerpt: Being out of work couldn’t have come at a worst time. With his wife and kids gone, Ben was well aware that he had too much time to sit around and think. With a little savings tucked away he wasn’t worried about money yet. Something would come along, it always did. His ability to work well with his hands came in handy since it meant being able to work at many things. Sitting back staring mindlessly at the TV, he scanned the channels looking for something interesting to watch. He settled on Three’s Company. It was the episode about the big misunderstanding. Nobody could do physical comedy like the actors on that show. God, he loved Ritter!
Sitting in just his boxer shorts and a white T-shirt, he tried not to think about the stressors that had come into his life. He desperately needed to unwind, and when the phone rang, he debated whether or not he would answer it or let the machine take it. On the third ring he reached out and picked up the receiver. “Hello.”
“Hey,” said the other voice on the end of the line. “It’s Craig Lindsay.”
His cheeks turned red when he thought about the attraction he’d had for that guy. “Hey, what’s up?” He hadn’t the sweetest clue as to why Craig would be calling him. He was listed in the book and that’s how he guessed that Craig got his number.
“The usual hard work and slugging it out,” Craig replied with an added laugh. “But I do have a specific reason to call you. There’s a guy who’s new to town. His name is Dave Heatherington.”
“No thanks,” Ben said quickly, cutting him off. “I’m not interested and in no way ready to date or make my private life known.”
“Hold off, man. I’m not trying to set you up.”
Ben sucked in a deep breath and exhaled slowly feeling stupid. “Sorry, I’m a little on edge.”
“I guess you are. Maybe I should call back at another time?”
“No, I’m fine. Shoot.”
“He bought an inn right here in town and it’s in dire need of renovations. He came into the bakery this morning and we got to talking about it. He needs help and I immediately thought of you. So I suggested to him that I’d give you a call with his details.”
“Give me his number. I’ll give him a call.” He reached for a pen and piece of paper. He jotted down the name and number of the inn’s owner and thanked Craig for calling. He still felt like a douche, but figured that Craig would overlook it.
“Ben,” Craig said. “If you need to talk or anything you can come around. I’m here pretty much all of the time or up in the apartment. I know how things can be. Just sayin’.”
“The divorce came through. Rebecca’s gone off with her man and she took the kids. I knew it was going to happen, but it’s going to take me a bit to adjust.”
“I didn’t know. I’m sorry to hear that. Like I said, if you ever need to talk or just a listening ear.”
Craig sounded genuine and Ben knew he was a stand-up guy. Talking however, he wasn’t sure that he was at that point yet. “Thanks. Thanks for offering. I’ll keep that in mind.” He glanced down at the snippet of paper in his hand. It was potential work, and at this time what else did he have to keep his mind and body occupied. He picked up the phone. “Dave Heatherington,” he said to the air around him. “Definitely not from these parts.”
* * * *
“It isn’t so bad,” Dave said, standing in the middle of the rather outdated country-style kitchen with its red and white gingham curtains. He put the boxes from the bakery down on the island before sitting down himself. Binging on starchy carbs and high-quality coffee would help ease his suffering momentarily, but he had to face the fact that he’d bought a bitter lemon. Firing up the coffeemaker, he glanced at the yet-to-be-opened boxes wondering how fast he could eat two cupcakes. When his cell phone vibrated against his thigh, he nearly jumped out of his skin. “Hello, this is Dave,” he answered, doing his best to sound nice and pleasant.
“Hey,” said the male voice on the other end of the line. “Craig Lindsay gave me your name and number. He said that you were looking for someone to do renovations?”
“That was quick, but yes I am indeed. You are?”
“Ben Charmer. That was extremely rude of me. I should have introduced myself up front before saying anything else.”
If you could judge a man’s looks based on his voice alone, Dave guessed that the man speaking was gorgeous. Already his mind was taken away from his problems as he listened to Ben speak. “That’s okay. How much did Craig tell you?”
“Just that you bought an inn that needed work done with it.”
“You’re experienced?” He bit down on his bottom lip right after the words left his mouth. It had been far too long since he’d had a man in his bed. “I mean, you know what you’re doing.” He cleared his throat as he waited for Ben to respond. His mind had long gone far into the gutter making him feel desperate and pathetic in so many ways.
“I do good work. I work hard. I’m very good with my hands.”
“You can drop by on Monday to see what needs to be done for yourself. That’s the best thing to do.”
“Great,” Ben replied. There was a pause. “The address?”
Dave gave it to him before ending the call. When he placed the phone back in his pocket, he shook his head. “You’d think you never talked to a man before. Get your mind out of your pants, Heatherington. You’re starting to come across as being cheap!”