Aaron has escaped his past with scars and strength. But when he is targeted again for his looks and his talent, his belief in the goodness of the world and the power of love are challenged.
Jason knows there’s something wrong with his husband, but Aaron won’t talk about it. Will Aaron’s refusal tear them apart? Can Jason keep his temper or will his need to protect Aaron destroy their love?
Warning: Jason and Aaron’s story deals with issues of PTSD, M/M rape, hate crimes, stalking, kidnapping, and torture. Jason and Aaron’s stories may be triggers for some readers.
Available Now at Changeling Press
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Copyright ©2022 Emily Carrington
Aaron stirred the soup and hummed, aware he was a little off key but not caring. No one was home, and his husband, Jason, said he liked Aaron’s not-quite-on-pitch humming because, according to Jason, it was “resonant and heartfelt.”
He was humming a song from the musical they’d seen about three months ago. It had been Jason’s birthday present for Aaron, and even though his birthday was in December, this musical was the one they both wanted to see.
Aaron’s last five presents for Jason had all been paintings. The walls of their bedroom were almost full. The last painting had been of Jason’s entire family, from his oldest brother, Christopher, all the way down to his youngest sibling.
Anniversaries got paintings. Birthdays got paintings. Aaron would have felt guilty about not being able to give more than his art except Jason honestly seemed to love each one. His delight was infectious, and Aaron was already planning what to paint him for their ten-year anniversary, which was coming up at the end of this year.
The kitchen was full of the smell of baking bread and bean soup. Aaron’s mouth watered as he idly stirred the soup to keep the beans near the bottom of the pot from burning. Jason should be home in a few minutes and then they could eat.
The front door to their little apartment they shared with another couple burst open, and Jason literally waltzed in, turning and holding his hands out as if he was dancing with an invisible partner. He was singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” at close to full volume. Unlike Aaron’s humming, Jason was always perfectly on pitch.
Having Jason come in singing was slightly unusual, but dancing was another level of strange. Aaron found himself grinning in anticipation of something wonderful. He didn’t interrupt Jason’s song to ask and when Jason caught him by the waist and pulled him into the dance, he fell into easy step. They waltzed around the small kitchen, Jason leading.
When his husband stopped singing, they continued to dance. Aaron started to ask what had put such a spring in Jason’s step, but Jason kissed him, and Aaron went weak at the knees. He opened his mouth to Jason’s tongue, letting his lover explore. Jason tasted of coffee and something sweet, not quite chocolate.
There was a bubbling sound and Aaron turned toward the stove to stir the soup, having to let go of his lover to do so. He stirred and then tasted the concoction. It was excellent, if he did say so himself. He’d settled into cooking for the four of them: himself, Jason, and the couple they lived with. He’d been doing it for over nine years and his skills had improved.
Jason stepped up behind him and hugged him, resting his chin on Aaron’s shoulder. He smelled incredibly good, like summer heat and subtle cologne almost overshadowed by his shampoo. He smelled like Jason.
“So?” Aaron asked as he turned off the burner under the pot. “What’s happened?”
“I got offered a job.”
Aaron frowned in confusion. He twisted in the circle of Jason’s arms and lifted his head slightly so he could meet Jason’s hazel eyed gaze. “But you love your middle school students. That’s not something every teacher can say.”
“Don’t you even want to hear where the job is?”
Still frowning, Aaron nodded.
“I’ve been offered a job in Colton, Pennsylvania.”
Aaron’s heartbeat picked up. Colton was the college town nearest to Marisburg. But then his excitement died. “You can’t take a lower paying job just to make me happy.”
“Who said it’s a lower paying job? I’m being offered the position as head of the math department at Colton University.”
Aaron gaped. “When did you apply?”
“I didn’t. Nearest I can figure is someone here works in Pennsylvania, or vice versa. Someone I know, maybe, or someone who’s…” He shrugged and a little of his enthusiasm faded. “Does it matter?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
Fantasy creatures not your thing? Emily has also created a contemporary romance world, called Sticks and Stones, where she explores being “different” in a small town.