Agoraphobe Jaden has barely left the house in years. Being dragged to a gay bar by his big brother to bid on a blind date is not his idea of a good time. But then the unthinkable happens: he wins. Sure, he was just about ready to push his boundaries–but on his own time. Not with a probably-gorgeous stranger watching his every move.
Henry hasn’t been on a date in the last year–ever since he finished with lower surgery. He works as a nature guide now in the great outdoors, and his new life suits him just fine. Just one thing’s missing: a man to share it with. Jaden is sweet, accepting, yet terrified by everything about the date that isn’t Henry. But he sees something in Jaden–in his courage for showing up, and his hope and vulnerability along the way.
Back home, when he’s in Denver in between guiding trips, Henry quickly becomes a staple in Jaden’s home. With Jaden’s understanding, Henry grows confident in his own skin. And with Henry’s support, the walls of Jaden’s sheltered life open up. But every step forward seems like it comes with two steps back. Can they take a deep breath and step into the wide open future–together?
This novel is based on “Denver” — a short story from the Heart2Heart 2 anthology. It has been revised and significantly expanded. It is now a standalone gay romance novel with a happily ever after ending and no cliffhanger.
F-Word Series, Book 5
As afternoon drew to a close, the first sign of evening creeping up on Henry and Jaden was the chill in the breeze. They’d each shrugged on extra layers as the scorching daytime heat faded.
The lamplit picnic area was perfectly serene and romantic, and nobody had interrupted them.
Watching Henry’s effortless confidence reading a map and compass to get them here on their bikes had been so hot. Jaden had always wanted the confidence to navigate, but he’d never gotten that far in his outdoor pursuits. Back in college, he’d gone on trail runs. That was as wild as it got.
But Henry did real wilderness shit. This must be nothing to him. Jaden found himself letting Henry lead the way, and he actually enjoyed it.
Their supper had been delicious—fried chicken, potato salad, a bottle of sparkling wine, all the classic picnic foods. Now Jaden and Henry were lying together, waiting for…
For what, Jaden wasn’t quite sure.
Their cabin was nearby, Henry said. They could bike to it in minutes, even at a gentle pace. For now, they were digesting supper, talking about anything and everything, and admiring the changing colors of the sky.
The breeze rustled through the trees, and being in these woods felt strangely home-like. This was freedom in a way Jaden wasn’t quite sure he was ready to handle, but had been craving for years.
“I’m so glad I did this,” he whispered.
Henry took his hand. “Me too. I wish we could stay out here and stargaze… but biking in the dark would be quite a life choice.”
“Yeah,” Jaden laughed. He didn’t want to leave the clearing just yet. He had one thing left to do first. “We’ve got a few more minutes?” he asked Henry.
Henry frowned, glancing at the fading light, but Jaden widened his eyes with his plea. Henry relented into a smile and laughed. “A few minutes,” he echoed.
“Thank you.” Jaden squeezed his hand. “I’m just… enjoying this.”
A rush of breath left Henry’s lungs, and he looked over. “Yeah?”
At the same moment, Jaden had looked at him. That brought their lips just inches apart as they gazed into each other’s eyes.
Henry was gorgeous: stubbly, gorgeous, rugged. The kind of guy who had tons of followers on Instagram. His jaw was square and handsome, and his lips were thin but very kissable. And best of all were his bright blue eyes, a shade that stood out even in the dimming light.
Jaden wanted a piece of that, more than he was willing to admit.
“Hm?” Henry prompted, but he was smiling slowly. There was wicked temptation in that smile.
Jaden gave up resisting and leaned in to press their lips together.
It was warm and comforting, slow and thick as molasses. Which was what Jaden’s mind felt like as he sank into the sweet kiss. It started as a gentle exploration, but more swelled between them quickly.
So to speak.
Since 2013, E. Davies has crafted feel-good stories of men in love–stories that are brimming with hope, found families, and realistic guys next door getting their modern fairytale endings. As for hobbies: rescuing bees, dancing badly, traipsing through meadows, and studying photos of cute guys for research totally count, right?
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate Release of Freedom, we are giving 2 lucky winners the chance to win an e-copy of Freedom, and the winner’s choice of any book from Ed’s published works!