Cover Art by Angela Knight
Mike and Aidan have raised a daughter together and are looking to foster a second child. But fear and prejudice are even more dangerous enemies than the memory of Rick Hanlon, who molested Mike when he was a teenager.
When Hanlon is paroled, Mike and Aidan must rely on their allies, or their love will not survive.
Publisher’s Note: Mike and Aidan’s story begins in the White Oak/Black Mahogany Duet (Heartwood 1) and continues in Thorn (Heartwood 3)
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Copyright ©2020 Emily Carrington
Mike closed the door to their bedroom and locked it. Candice was out with her friends on their graduation afternoon, but it was habit. And when Aidan turned on some music, a relatively chill heavy metal band, Mike knew his husband was doing the same. He crossed to Aidan and hugged him from behind, laying his cheek against the softness of the suit jacket that covered his muscular shoulders. “You knew she was valedictorian.”
Aidan was reading his phone, or rather, it was reading to him at a speed so quick most people couldn’t understand it. But then he set his cell on the night table and turned to Mike. “Guilty as charged. Are you mad at me?” He sounded amused rather than worried.
Mike loved him for that confidence. They’d been married over eight years. Having that kind of trust was the bedrock of their relationship. “Nope. How long did you keep it a secret?”
“Since the end of April, when the final tallies were counted.” Aidan turned and pulled Mike even tighter against him. “I’m so proud of you.”
“You taught her everything she knows about schoolwork coming first.”
“And you taught her everything about being committed to her work.”
Aidan laughed, his white teeth flashing in the light from the window. “You’ll never take a compliment without spreading it around, will you?”
“Probably not,” Mike admitted.
“Well, that’s okay. It would be boring being married to a perfect man.” Aidan kissed him.
Mike stood on his tiptoes so it was easier to plunder Aidan’s mouth and have his claimed in return. He ran his fingers through Aidan’s shoulder length auburn hair and smiled when Aidan took off his sunglasses. His husband’s eyes didn’t see but they were a beautiful cornflower blue, just like all the other Kellys that made up Aidan’s Irish family.
Not that Aidan was a Kelly anymore. He’d taken Mike’s last name, claiming that one, there were plenty of male Kellys to keep the family name going, and two, that it only seemed fair since Mike took him in bed. Mike had never quite gotten to the bottom of the truth about why Aidan was so insistent about taking his last name, but every time he thought about it, about Aidan being called “Mr. Delaney” at his job or as a member of the Town Council, he glowed. “You’re the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen,” he told his husband as Aidan drew back.
Something, a flickering shadow maybe, crossed Aidan’s face. For a moment, he looked thoroughly distracted. Then he said, “Ditto.”
Mike laughed, stepped back, and punched Aidan’s arm lightly.
“Hey, I’m allowed to say that.”
“Considering you can’t see anyone…”
“Okay, fine, Mr. Technicality. Would it make you feel better if I said ‘I have no idea what you look like, you could be one ugly motherfu-’”
Mike laughed. “Okay, so maybe I was being Mr. Technicality.”
About Emily Carrington
Emily Carrington is a multipublished author of male/male and transgender erotica. Seeking a world made of equality, she created SearchLight to live out her dreams. But even SearchLight has its problems, and Emily is looking forward to working all of these out with a host of characters from dragons and genies to psychic vampires.
Emily at Changeling Press | Facebook