After ten years in an abusive relationship and a near-fatal knife wound, Jonathan Watson is finally free. Unused to being able to make even the smallest decision and smothered by family and well-meaning neighbors, he’s floundering in the real world. Jonathan is afraid of falling into another relationship too quickly and realizes he needs time to rediscover who he is before he attaches himself to another man.
He never counted on meeting Ben Urquhart, though. Ben tempts Jonathan to forget everything and take a leap. For Ben, it’s love at first sight, and he doesn’t want to take it slow. He wants to build a life with Jonathan, free from harm and full of laughter. But before they can take the next step, they must protect Jonathan from his possessive, threatening ex. Jonathan must find the courage to confront him and break the chains of his past before he can be truly free to build a future with Ben.
This book was wonderful! Jonathan broke my heart with the abuse he suffered at the hands of his ex. However his strength was amazing. He didn’t realize his own strength until the end. But it was there all along. Ben was amazing. He was forceful when he needed to be, a little bit quirky/crazy, and gentle with Jonathan when he freaked out. Once he understood that he couldn’t just steamroll over Jonathan, he took things slow. Anthony was his own level of crazy. At the end I kind of felt bad for him in that “wow, you’re bat shit crazy” kind of way. He definitely got what he deserved in the end. I loved the happy ending between Ben and Jonathan. They talked about it and both want the same thing in life.
Four and a half
I asked Ben to tell us the biggest hurdle he and Jonathan have had to overcome that they didn’t expect to be something they had to deal with. Who knew something like this could be a problem? Read and enjoy!
Shit, it shouldn’t be a problem, right? I knew going in that Jonathan had money. Oh, sure, he said it wasn’t a lot, and I guess after living in that big house for ten years, it probably isn’t to him. And he only took part of it, just half of what was in one bank account. There was more—a lot more—that that bitch Rebecca took off with. And then there’s the house to be sold. But, hell, that much?
He said it was enough to get him through uni. He didn’t say it would be enough that he didn’t need to work for ten years if he didn’t want to. He just kept saying, if he was careful, he’d be okay.
It’s not like it bothers me that he has more than me. It’s not even that I don’t know what it’s like to have a bit of money, you know. Hell, we’re not rich or anything—my family—but we do alright. We’re townies. My dad’s in the mines so he earns enough. A lot of people would say it’s heaps, and they might be right. We’ve never been short a bob and my dad doesn’t drink or gamble as much as a lot of the other guys do. He’s put his money into property, so they’ve got a few rentals around town, and a block of units in Townsville near the uni. They do alright. My mum is from the land. Her folks owned Leichhardt Station, north of town. Her brother has it now and, yeah, he’s a millionaire a few times over, but it’s all in the land, you know. He doesn’t have squillions in cash lying around. He works damned hard for what he’s got. My mum too. She put the money her dad gave her into shares and makes enough now that she says Dad doesn’t need to pay her a housekeeping allowance anymore. They go to the pub for tea every week and have the neighbours over for a barbie on Sundays, but they’re not flash or anything. They’re normal folks.
I’m out on my own now. Sure, I know I’ll get a bit when my folks go, but that won’t be for donkeys’ years yet. What I’ve got, I got myself. I worked in the mines before coming down here and I work to keep myself at uni. I don’t need much, and it really doesn’t bother me that Jonathan has more.
But shit! That much?
He knows this is getting to me. He’s started slinking around and cringing when I get a bit agro about something. I can see the happiness in his eyes dimming, and I’ve gotta stop that. This thing I’ve got about his money is my deal, not his.
Fuck. I’m going to have to sit down and talk to him about it, aren’t I? Like a real true deep-and-meaningful fucking talk. I like it much better when he’s the one who has to talk things out. It’s easy to be all kind and understanding with him because he deserves all that and more. But this? Fuck.
*Sigh* I’d better go ask Neridah what I should cook for dinner with a bloody DnM on the menu for dessert.
JONATHAN SHIVERED in the early morning air but not from the chill. He wrapped his arms around himself and groaned as his wound tugged against the movement. He relaxed slowly as the pain eased. From where he stood, he could see between the two apartment blocks to where the sun glinted off the Brisbane River. Five years ago he used to watch the ferries puddle their way up and down the river, dropping passengers here at Hamilton and across the way at Bulimba. He’d missed that view for a long time. He wondered if he’d miss the house now that he was leaving it.
The house was gray—morning gray, Anthony had called it, but it had always looked like unwashed, neglected underwear to him. The lines of the house were precise and symmetrical, unlike the yard. The front lawn bore scars, just like his chest. They were from his Cruiser skidding to a stop the night Anthony had sent him to kill Mark. His eyes burned as he thought how close he’d come to doing what his boyfriend told him to.
At the time, he didn’t think he had any other choice. It was kill or be killed. Literally. By the end of that night, Mark had been the only one left uninjured. Liam’s leg had thankfully healed quickly where Anthony had stabbed him. Anthony was still in hospital with a self-inflicted knife wound to the stomach, and Jonathan… Jonathan was done with that life. Anthony’s knife in his chest—so close to his heart it was clearly intended to be fatal—had cured him of whatever delusions he’d held onto that let him believe he was in love with the man. Even Anthony’s assertions that Jonathan was responsible for him being in a wheelchair since the car accident two years before wouldn’t get him to stay.
He was out of it now, or at least he would be as soon as the removalists came and took his stuff away. Then he could begin to heal. The first step had been to learn to breathe again after his lung collapsed when Anthony stabbed him. The next step… he didn’t know what the next step after this was. He wasn’t going to admit it to anyone, but he was just as terrified now, starting a life of his own—on his own—as he was when he thought he was going to die.
The trembling began again. Dizzy. Couldn’t catch his breath. He leaned beside the front door and forced himself to bring his mind back to the here and now and looked around again. There was a new section of fence now, and the Cruiser had been repaired and sat at the curb, waiting for him. His cousin must have had the damage repaired while Jonathan was in the hospital—learning how to make his lung work again after his boyfriend had tried to kill him. He shook the thoughts from his head. He had to stop thinking like this or he’d go mad.
Sleep last night had been impossible. The house had been cleaned, but nothing was going to completely remove the blood splattered on the white carpet. His blood.
A low rumble burbled through the air, and a truck turned onto the street. Jonathan’s heart raced. “You can do this,” he whispered, although he wasn’t quite sure which part of “this” he was talking about. It could be dealing with strangers on his own, or it could be leaving Anthony—finally. He pressed the heel of his hand over the dressing on his chest. Staying with Anthony was no longer an option.
The truck stopped and turned to reverse into the driveway. The high-pitched beeping made Jonathan jump and, to calm himself, he focused on the two men sitting in the cab. The driver looked young and blond, the passenger older and shriveled, his hair sticking out in unkempt tangles.
“Two people. Not Anthony. You’re outside, everything’s marked. You don’t need to go inside with them at all if you don’t want to. You can do this.” He counted his breaths in and out. The beeping stopped, the engine cut out, and the driver’s door opened.
Long, well-formed legs slipped from the cab, by-passing the step completely as a muscled body slid to the ground. Khaki cargo shorts bunched enticingly around a spectacular package before settling loosely around slim hips as the man’s boot-clad feet landed on the ground and he stood away from the truck. Jonathan moved his gaze up the body. The worn T-shirt did nothing to hide the trim stomach and prominent pecs and the sleeves framed the rounded deltoids perfectly. Jonathan sighed as he lifted his focus higher to see the man’s wide smile.
E E Montgomery wants the world to be a better place, with equality and acceptance for all. Her philosophy is: We can’t change the world but we can change our small part of it and, in that way, influence the whole. Writing stories that show people finding their own ‘better place’ is part of E E Montgomery’s own small contribution.
Thankfully, there’s never a shortage of inspiration for stories that show people growing in their acceptance and love of themselves and others. A dedicated people-watcher, E E finds stories everywhere. In a cafe, a cemetery, a book on space exploration or on the news, there’ll be a story of personal growth, love, and unconditional acceptance there somewhere.
You can contact E E Montgomery at email@example.com; on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ewynelaine.montgomery; on Twitter: @EEMontgomery1; or at her web site: http://www.eemontgomery.com/ and blog: http://www.eemontgomery.com/blog.
Where To Buy:
Dreamspinner Press eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6274
Dreamspinner Press Print: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6275
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