GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 84,640 words
Bestselling author and erstwhile musician Harper Ellison started running from his troubled past before he graduated high school. When his sister tracks him down ten years later, Harper hesitantly agrees to visit the family and small North Carolina community that rejected him when he needed them most.
Life has taught Harper to avoid relationships, but he can’t seem to ignore his attraction to Lucas Rhodes, the buff, blond social worker living on his grandparents' farm. Lucas quickly becomes an anchor in the maelstrom created by Harper’s homecoming. Together they wade through the grief and loss Harper buried six-feet deep just a few miles from his childhood home.
Choosing to forgive is the only way Harper will ever find peace, but can he learn that lesson before it’s too late?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
Once the music started, Harper knew Lucas would ask him to dance and all he could do was smile. Scott wanted this for him and Harper could feel the warmth of Scott’s blessing in the deepest part of his soul. Other couples would have big fancy weddings, but Harper and Lucas would have this dance to mark their love and commitment to one another. Even if they had a more traditional ceremony one day, it could never mean as much to them as this one dance.
Before he and Lucas had to worry about any of that, they both had a list of dance partners waiting. Mama, Meg, Karen, Sydney, Betsy, and Little Scotty all wanted turns dancing with them. Between dances, Harper flirted with Lucas and teased his family like he had never been away from them. For the first time, probably in his life, Harper felt like he belonged.
Once he spotted Lucas talking with the DJ, Harper knew it was time. Everyone who read Scott’s letter would understand what this dance meant to them. To their family, it was another bit of healing so long in coming. Lucas returned to their table and stood next to Harper chatting with everyone until the current song ended.
At the first notes of Garth Brooks’s “Make You Feel My Love,” Lucas held his hand out to Harper and smiled. Harper gazed into Lucas’s hazel eyes sparkling with love for a few beats before he grasped his hand. They moved into a corner of the dance floor where they might be a little less conspicuous. The fairy lights tickled the shadows in the old barn, while Lucas held Harper and they danced in the slow gentle sway lovers always do. Harper felt safe in the shelter of Lucas’s strong arms. For a moment, he went back to the last dance that made him feel that way and he smiled up at Lucas, his eyes wet with tears that wouldn’t fall. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Lucas lifted his own misty eyes toward the ceiling and whispered, “Thank you, Scott. I promise I’ll do everything in my power to make him happy. You’ll see.”
Both men’s eyes remained filled with unshed tears as they danced. Harper smiled and pressed his cheek to Lucas’s shoulder reveling in just how far they’d come. They were so grateful for this chance to build a life and a future together. It wouldn’t be their only dance, but it was the one they would never forget. Harper couldn’t resist singing along in Lucas’s ear as they moved with the music in their own private universe.
As the song came to an end, Lucas kissed Harper’s temple and nodded towards their table. When Harper turned to look, everyone he loved stood at the edge of the dance floor watching them. They were all crowded together touching one another in that familial way reflecting the bonds between them. Charlotte, Meg, and Karen cried openly. Pete held Scotty in his arms and pointing at them. Harper never felt so loved. He stared into Lucas’s eyes again as they were once again overwhelmed by what they shared and the love surrounding them.