On the cusp of launching his fashion line for transmen and butch women, Sid Marneaux receives a life-altering phone call. His father, who raised his family alone, is in failing health. As he returns home, he wonders if he could lose the business he has spent most of his adult life building.
What he could not have anticipated was meeting Eddie Garner, the city’s new fire chief. After a heroic rescue, their romance sparks hot, launching into a swift affair. But Eddie is harboring his own burdens: the painful death of his best friend and the responsibility of raising her young son—their son—Adrian.
Through the wisdom of a child and the connection of mothers-now-gone, Sid, Eddie and Adrian venture and fumble to define family, career, and most importantly, love.
This story. Oh my gosh y’all. This story is fabulous and you have to pick it up right now. The emotional journey from start to end will leave you happy, sad, hopeful, completely gutted, and excited in equal turns. You;ll get invested in the characters and want to see them succeed. You’ll cry with them when things go wrong. And you will feel everything they do because the emotions are so real as you read. I couldn’t put the book down and loved every moment of the story.
Sid hurt my heart through most of the story. He was trying so hard to do everything and make everyone happy, his own wants and happiness tended to get pushed to the side. He had a quiet sort of energy about him where he worked hard to be his best self and help others around him do the same. His emotions poured out of the page and had me feeling throughout the whole book. His love for Eddie was quick to start but needed time to work out if was worth the investment and how it was going to work logistically. I adored Sid’s business and how he worked to create beautiful things for everyone. I was fascinated by his treasure chest of fabric and wanted to play in it just like Aidrian did. By the end of the story you could tell Sid had finally found his happiness and was complete.
Eddie was a bit of a lost soul through most of the story. He was barely surviving. But his feelings for Sid are so powerful and obvious and quickly become important to Eddie. I love how Eddie is a father. The way he treats Aidrian and does everything in his power to take his grief away. You can see how he’s trying to give Aidrian the best life ever and is doing an amazing job at it despite his thoughts to the contrary. Eddie loves Sid with his whole heart and it’s wonderful to see.
Aidrian was precious. His addition to the story was wonderful. His fears and outlook on life made both Sid and Eddie grow as adults and helped bring them closer together. His imagination and zest for adventure made for some wonderful scenes. I loved the scene with him and Sid when they worked on creating Rimi Monster together and his subsequent attachment to it.
Sid and Eddie are extremely perfect for each other but they had to go through so much together so they could be ready for long term. The journey together for them to both heal and be able to see how it’ll work was beautiful to read. I loved the ending and how happy they are together. You can tell they’re going to conquer any obstacle in their path and will always come out ahead as long as they have each other.
I’m quite excited to have Eddie stop by today. He’s here to talk about his days off. Though like most people that have multiple responsibilities, days off can be few. But Eddie knows just how to have a day off. Read and enjoy!
Being chief of the fire department means that anything labeled “day off,” can become anything but in the blink of an eye. I’ve learned over the years to take days off by the horns and go at them full throttle—even if “full throttle” means staying in pjs and marathoning Spongebob Squarepants with my kid all day. And typically, that happens for at least a little while on almost every day off. No kid is raised right without a regular dose of Spongebob.
But when I’m not sprawled out on the couch with my kid climbing all over me sharing a bowl of Frosted Flakes and quoting a sea sponge, I can be found in any number of places. Late summer and early fall it’s next to Sid at the soccer field while Adrian and his 20 closest friends beat hell out of each other’s shins—otherwise known as little league soccer. We end up at the unnamed ice cream shop at the edge of the neighborhood fields where you eat milkshakes like a normal person—with a straw.
I miss having an old house to tinker around with, so if Sid’s working, I head over to a fellow Lieutenant’s house that he’s rehabbing and smash some cabinets. I think his front porch is next, and if it goes well, I’m going to talk to Sid again about knocking out that back wall of his kitchen to extend it into his sitting room a bit. When the three of us are in that space, it’s like being locked in the galley kitchen at Wylie. Granted, I’ll take being locked up with Sid and Adrian over those knuckleheads at Wylie any day.
My favorite days off, though, are with Sid and Adrian and zero obligations. I don’t even know what we do those days, but it feels like the family I never really had. Adrian draws and talks—all damned day. Sid might sew or draw alongside Ade, or he might plant himself next to me on the couch and read or do paperwork from Bastra. But we’re together. We laugh. We play. We make food and the joy of it fills all the empty holes in my heart that Maggie had left. Her joy in our joy rings in Adrian’s laughter and I know that she was right to have faith in me. I might not have been able to do this alone, but I’m thrilled to be able to do it with these two.
Sid walked around the center circle and spun around. “It’s smaller than I remember.”
“You’re bigger,” Eddie said, grabbing Sid’s hand. “Does it feel weird being here?”
They sat in the middle of the field. Its size seemed to stretch out, and perspective was restored. “It does. It’s been a long time.” Sid lay on his back and tugged Eddie to join him. “And in all the time I spent on this field,” he said, “I never did this.”
“Did you want to?”
“No offense to present company, but I dreamt it would have been after a winning game with Tyrone Lemmon. Built more for baseball than soccer. Lousy stamina on the field—great ass.”
Eddie laughed. “Jon Marcum. Lousy basketball player. Got cut our senior year. Thighs… for days.”
“Oh, what could have been.”
“Eh, I dated too many exactly like him. We didn’t miss anything.”
Sid looked away from the lights to find Eddie staring at him. “Maybe it wasn’t the right time.”
“Maybe it wasn’t the right guy.”
With a loud pop and a whoosh, the field lights shut off. After laughing at their mutual squeaks of surprise, Sid wiggled closer. They fell silent and refocused on the night sky.
“Is that the North Star?” Eddie asked.
“Yep, Polaris. See? It’s the tip of Little Dipper’s handle. Big Dipper—Ursa Major, my dad would correct—is to the west of it.”
Neither moved or spoke, letting the vastness of the sky rearrange perspective once again.
“I had a nice time tonight,” Sid said.
Eddie reached for Sid’s hand. “So did I.”
The quiet they shared was new for Sid. Everyone had something to say: plans to be organized, money to be made, successes to be touted, or worse, failures to be shamed. As they lay there, the ground cooled on his back; Eddie’s hand rested comfortably in his. Sometimes, silence sang the most beautiful of tunes.
“So,” Sid finally said. “My place isn’t much… but I have fresh peaches. Will you come?”
“I’d love to.” Eddie sat and pulled them up to stand. His cheeks were flushed, his hair was ruffled, but his attention remained on the sky.
“Hey,” Sid said, brushing his finger along Eddie’s cheek. When Eddie turned, Sid caught a sadness in Eddie’s eyes he’d not seen before. Sid knew the sky was for dreaming and melancholy, for longing and love. With his finger at the curve of Eddie’s chin, Sid kissed him, lingering when Eddie’s smile bent beneath his lips. “Thanks for being my first.”
Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates to her childhood where thoughts, dreams, frustrations, and joys poured onto the pages of journals and diaries.
She lives in Central Ohio with her husband and adult children where a blind dog and his guardian cat rule the roost. When she’s not writing, Lynn can be found planning a trip to New York or strolling its streets daydreaming about retirement. Her previous novels include Chef’s Table (2014) and Black Dust (2016).
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