A LEARNING TO LOVE NOVELETTE
COVER DESIGN: Felice Stevens
COVER PHOTO: Stock Photo
Love is going pretty well for Gideon Marks. He’s living with his boyfriend, Jonah, and his business is thriving beyond his wildest dreams. So why is he still worried he’s not enough, and all he holds dear will slip through his fingers?
Jonah Fine has everything he wants; he’s head over heels in love with Gideon and has finally stepped out from under the shadow of his father. Aware of Gideon’s continuing struggle with dyslexia, Jonah tries to reassure him that they are equal partners in their relationship by making their first Valentine’s Day one to remember.
Ghosts from the past reappear, sending Gideon into a tailspin. He must make the decision to either hold on to the anger he grew up with or forgive the pain he’s carried with him all his life. It will take all of Gideon’s courage, Jonah’s love, and a special surprise for Gideon to finally realize the one person he must learn to love is himself.
“Do you think I do that? Live with regrets until they’ve made me afraid to accept happiness and accept you loving me?”
I knew to choose my words carefully. “I think you’ve been alone so long it’s colored your outlook on life. And considering you’re one of the most fearless men I’ve ever met, I think it’s made you afraid to move forward. Your mother’s death and your father’s treatment of you left emotional scars. You have a hard time letting people in to help you.”
Gideon stood up, and I missed him immediately; I sat up and watched him pace the floor, holding his wine as he formulated his thoughts. My heart broke for him as I watched his inner turmoil break him down until he collapsed in the chair opposite me.
“I love you, Jonah. Thinking about being without you scares the shit out of me. I don’t want to be alone; I can’t anymore. But it’s not the being alone part that scares me. I’ve been alone all my life. It’s the being without you. I don’t want to lose you. Today made me realize how I could easily hurt you and push you away.” He gulped his wine then wiped his mouth on his sleeve and shuddered.
“It won’t happen.” I swung my legs off the sofa to go sit on the coffee table and face him. “I won’t let it.”
“I’m telling you. I’m perfect at ruining a good thing.”
“I’m not a good thing. I’m the best damn thing to ever happen to you.”
“I know that. But I don’t ever want you feeling like you have to stay with me because you feel sorry for me.”
I plucked the glass out of his hand and placed it on the table then stood and pulled him into my arms. “I feel many, many things for you—desire, absolute lust, but most of all, love. I’m with you because I love you, Gideon, and that’s never going to change.”
The pain in his eyes slayed me. When would he realize he deserved to be loved?
A slight smile curved Gideon’s lips. “Absolute lust huh? I think I like the sound of that.”
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.
But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.
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