Pride weekend is over, but for Nathan Lucas, the summer is just heating up. He appears to have it all. He’s tall and blond, ripped and handsome, and half owner of Buchanan House, a successful gay retreat on Oregon’s beautiful central coast. But his joie de vivre hides a fear of abandonment. When he was twelve his mother had triplets, and instead of the cherished only child, Nathan became a scapegoat for his exhausted parents, and he has never truly dealt with that pain.
Portland chef Paulie Nesbitt is head over heels in love with Nathan. They’ve been drinking buddies with benefits for years, while Paulie has not-so-secretly yearned for more. Paulie’s extra pounds and self-doubt have kept him from acting on his feelings. Their friends know they would make the perfect couple, but Nathan and Paulie will have to let go of past insecurities if they want a future together.
Exclusive Excerpt (With Intro by Charley):
I’m so pleased to be here, celebrating the release of Tiny House with an exclusive excerpt for Molly Lolly and her lovely readers. This is taken from Chapter Five, the night of Paulie’s birthday party. Thank you for hosting me, Molly!
Nathan chatted a little more with whoever visited him on his stool, but mostly he watched Paulie and Ryan. By the time he decided to leave, he felt like throwing himself off a bridge from the cuteness overload. Instead, he almost landed on the floor at Paulie’s feet. Many hands grabbed for him as he stumbled, and Nathan giggled at the sensation. He hadn’t been grabbed much in the past two weeks.
A conversation about getting someone home went on near him, but he wasn’t interested. All Nathan could muster an interest in were Paulie’s soft brown eyes and the way damp curls stuck to his cheek and the back of his neck.
Nathan had just thought about sucking the skin on the back of Paulie’s neck when he realized he was outside. Paulie and Ryan were there, and then a cab pulled up and Ryan kissed Paulie. Right in front of Nathan, almost crushing him between them, in fact. That got his attention and woke him from his stupor. A little bit.
“Are you sure?” Ryan asked Paulie. He let go of Nathan, walked around to the other side of Paulie, pressed up against Paulie’s side, and spoke into his ear, even though it wasn’t noisy out on the sidewalk. “I can take him and then come back.”
“I’m sure. It’s fine, really. I’m wiped anyway. Thank you for the party.”
“Happy Birthday, Paul. I’ll see you soon.”
One more kiss and then Paulie was steering Nathan into the backseat of the cab. Sometime during the ride, it hit Nathan just how rotten a friend he was and how much Paulie deserved someone nice like Ryan. He didn’t realize he’d apologized out loud until Paulie told him he hadn’t done anything wrong.
“Yes, I done it all wrong. Did it all. Wrong.”
“We’re almost there. Try to relax.”
“Almost where? Buchaman House?”
“No.” Paulie turned away and chuckled softly. “I’m taking you back to my place. So you can sleep it off.”
“You’re a good friend, Paulie.”
“You’d do the same for me.”
“I would. I would do anything for you, Paulie. I would do all the things for you.”
Paulie seemed embarrassed, so Nathan decided to be quiet. He’d already ruined his birthday. The least he could do would be to shut up and stop bothering him.
The next thing he knew, Paulie was shaking him awake. They went up to Paulie’s apartment, and a wave of nostalgia—homesickness—made Nathan feel a little green. “Remember when I lived here and roommated with you?”
“Yes, I remember.” Paulie steered Nathan through the living area and into the first bedroom without slowing down. “This was your bedroom.”
“I remember. I loved this place….” Nathan fell onto one of the two double beds, maybe the one he’d slept in. “I loved very thing—everything—about this place.”
“It was fun. When you lived here.” Paulie pulled off Nathan’s shoes and grabbed a blanket from the other bed. When he turned back around, he looked sad… or something. Paulie pulled on Nathan’s shoulder until he lay on his side and then spread the blanket over him.
“I’m sorry. I messed up your birthday.”
Paulie sat on the floor beside the bed, near Nathan’s head, and sighed. “You didn’t. I’m glad you were there. I feel bad about leaving Buchanan House the way I did. Hardly even saying good-bye. It was…. I wanted to stay.”
“But you promised.”
“Yeah. I promised.”
“You’re a good guy, Paulie. You always keep your promises.”
“Never mind.” Paulie rose to his knees and turned to Nathan. “Will you be okay tonight?”
“No. I’m….” Nathan started trembling. He wanted to pull Paulie onto the bed with him, to hold him—just hold on. Just for one night. That didn’t seem like too much to ask from the universe.
“It’s okay.” Paulie stroked the side of Nathan’s face and brushed a few strands of hair off his forehead. He bent down, and it looked like he would kiss Nathan’s forehead. Instead, at the last minute, he changed course and pressed their lips together.
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879