Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.
Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.
In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.
Hi! I’m Kim Fielding and I’m very excited to announce the release of my newest novel, The Little Library! Set in California’s Central Valley, this story stars a guy with a slight obsession with books. What’s not love about that, right?
The day went by more or less as usual. Two people used the library—a teenage girl and a middle-aged woman. Neither of them noticed Elliott in the window, and he didn’t bother to see which books they took and what they deposited.
Then Simon showed up.
He came from the greenbelt. Today his hair was down, the locks glossy in the sun, and he wore jeans and a rust-colored long-sleeved T-shirt. Although Elliott knew better, he sat by the window, watching as Simon browsed the library. Until the inevitable happened—Simon glanced over and saw him.
To Elliott’s credit, he didn’t freeze this time. Instead he waved, fervently hoping he looked casual and friendly. Simon waved back. Good. But then instead of choosing a book, Simon walked toward the front door, and Elliott’s stomach did its best to tie itself into a knot.
“I am an idiot,” Elliott growled. Despite his nerves, he forced his feet to walk him to the door, forced his hand to undo the lock, forced his mouth into what he prayed was more a smile than a grimace.
“Hi,” Simon said.
Wow. An entire word.
Simon squinted and rubbed his ear. “I, um, just wanted to thank you. For the . . .” He waved at the library.
Miraculously not swallowing his tongue, Elliott nodded. “Have you been using it?”
“Yeah. Quite a bit. I might be one of your most frequent borrowers, actually. It’s a really cool idea.”
“Well, I didn’t invent it myself.”
“Still.” Now Simon rubbed his beard. “Um, I wanted to ask you . . . Are you the one who picks out the books to include? Or does your boyfriend?”
Confused, Elliott blurted, “My boyfriend’s in prison.”
Simon actually moved back a step. “Prison? Shit! I mean, I’m sorry. He seemed like a good guy. Not that I really knew him or anything, but I’m usually a pretty good judge of people’s character.”
“He’s a complete asshole.” Elliott’s sluggish brain struggled to keep up. “But . . . wait. When did you meet him?”
“When you guys were digging the hole?” Simon pointed at the library.
Comprehension dawned, and a slightly hysterical laugh escaped Elliott’s throat. “That was my brother.”
“Oh! Jesus, I’m sorry. I just assumed . . .”
Simon looked mortified, an emotion Elliott could empathize with. Somehow that calmed him down and cleared his head. “It’s fine,” he said. “I can understand. We don’t look much alike, and I am literally flying the rainbow flag.”
“And your brother’s not in prison, right?”
“No, that would be my boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend, more accurately.”
His embarrassment apparently receding, Simon grinned. “And he’s a complete asshole.”
“He truly is.”
Simon nodded and moved his gaze to the side. “Look, I didn’t actually come here to be nosy about your personal life, believe it or not. I really just wanted to say thanks for the books.”
Maybe it was something in Simon’s expression, which was hesitant—perhaps even shy. Or maybe it was that Elliott was lonely and Simon was, well, incredibly hot. Maybe it was just gratifying to have a neighbor who wasn’t a jerk like Mike Burgess. Whatever the cause, Elliott deviated from his usual careful script. “Want to come in? I’ve got beer in the fridge.”
Simon replied without hesitation. “Thanks! Sounds great.”
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.
A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/