Author: Stevie Woods
Publisher: Torquere Press
Release Date: September 31, 2016
Heat Level: 5 – Erotica
Length: 15,600 Words
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotic-Romance, Gay Romance
Best friends since kindergarten, Ben and James are separated after college graduation by their different choices. Ben stays in their small hometown while James heads off to New York with dreams of money and success. Ben works to make his life follow the path he wants, and dreams of the day when James realizes he made a mistake and comes back home.
Each man promises to stay in touch, but this falls by the wayside as James’ life in the big city takes off, leaving Ben yearning for a dream that gradually fades as the years pass.
In New York, James finds that not all dreams are worth the cost of a wrong choice.
(Previously published by Amber Quill Press.)
When Ben had written to tell James of his success and pleasure in his new work, James had responded positively, but still wondered why Ben “didn’t really give it a go and study architecture” before going on to tell Ben about the lovely new end table he’d bought for his apartment.
“He still after you to take that architecture course?”
Ben jerked in surprise. He hadn’t heard Suzie come in, but shouldn’t have been surprised at her reading over his shoulder. Suzie was still very much a handful as always. It was no wonder he loved her so much.
“Don’t you know how rude that is?” He ought to try to teach her some manners.
“You should take it to your room if it’s private,” she said, grabbing some orange juice from the fridge. “Anyhow, did he?”
Ben sighed. “Yeah. He’s doing so well, he thinks I’m missing out.”
“Each to his own. You know how much I think of James, but he sure is blinkered about you.”
Ben glanced at his sister, wondering if he was just being too sensitive or if she really had guessed how he felt about James. He’d been thinking of telling his parents the truth about his leanings, but hadn’t managed it yet. It was with a sense of relief he heard Suzie add, “Thinks everyone wants to be just like him.”
“Go on; get busy with your homework.”
She stuck her tongue out at him, but left the kitchen, and after he heard her thump her way upstairs, Ben re-read the letter.
It went on that way for some time, and Ben allowed James to dominate their correspondence with news of his work and home life, the new friends he’d made and his varied social life. Gradually, however, James’ letters became less frequent, sliding to one every fortnight and then monthly, until finally they were sporadic and Ben received the last one from him about twenty months after James had left.
For about six months after that Ben continued to write about once a month with news of his family and information about Ben’s own version of success, but he finally accepted defeat when James never responded to any of them. Not even the last one where Ben had given James a kind of ultimatum: respond to tell me you want me to keep in touch or I’ll assume you wish me to stop writing to you.
Disappointment wasn’t a strong enough a word to describe how Ben felt about James’ abandonment of his past connections. He refused to consider that James had discarded him; that was just too hard to bear. He couldn’t help but think James’ new life must be everything he ever wanted, everything he dreamed of, and his hometown friends were a memory he preferred to leave behind. Sadly, Ben acknowledged the odds were that a person as wonderful as James had found that someone special and old friends—even best friends like him—were superfluous.
As much as he disliked it, Ben considered trying to email James, though if James had wanted to keep in touch he could easily have gone that route himself, but James hadn’t bothered. It seemed James wanted to let the contact fade.
For a moment, Ben considered going to New York and visiting James to see for himself just how his friend was faring in his new life, but he soon dismissed the idea. It was doubtful Ben’s unexpected arrival would be welcome. Ben would probably talk too much anyway, tell James more than he wanted to hear and more than Ben could afford to reveal. Though part of Ben thought that surely James knew how he really felt about him. Ben wasn’t too good at keeping his feelings under wraps. He’d believed, too, that James shared his attachment, but that James just wasn’t ready at the time. Perhaps one day…
The day James had left for New York, Ben had told him that he had his own dream to follow. Maybe it was time to stop living his life as an extension of James Lilley and concentrate on making more of himself. Then, when the day came that James finally did come home, he would find a new, improved Benjamin Short waiting for him.
Meet the Author
STEVIE WOODS is a Brit living in the Northwest of England who has left her day job behind – though it’s a quandary that there still doesn’t seem to be much more free time in her day!
A long time avid reader of romance with a dash of adventure, Stevie only stumbled over ‘slash’ pairings a few years ago and was an immediate convert. Having dabbled with writing on and off for years, it wasn’t long before Stevie was tapping away on the keyboard inventing stories around two hot guys, gaining her first publication in the summer of 2007.
Stevie likes reading stories with a good strong plot and believable characters and does her best to create them in her own work.
Stevie has a soft spot for Historical settings but also thoroughly enjoys SF and Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary, finding the similarities as intriguing as the differences. Stevie already has a variety of novels, novellas and short stories released by MLR Press, Phaze Books and Torquere Press.