Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Thousand Word Thursday Story from Eden Winters

How often had Howard fantasized this moment, the man of his dreams sleeping next to him? For four long, lonely years he'd watched Tucker from afar, too timid to approach a man constantly surrounded by attractive twenty-somethings. How could an overweight, balding man hope to compete, even if he did possess more hair than the object of his desires?

Now, however, it seemed that Howard did have something to offer his handsome boss – a shoulder when he needed it.

His proudest moment had occurred last year when he overheard Tucker telling a secretary, "I can say one thing for Howard, he's steady as a rock, always there when you need him." Since that day Howard had worked doubly hard to be worthy of those words of praise.

When the boss needed assistance to work late on a project, Howard volunteered. Saturdays? Seeing the boss in jeans and T-shirts far outweighed staying home with Mr. Tabbyfeet. And then, at last year's Christmas party a drunken Tucker slurred, "Howard, if you didn't work for me I'd marry you!" then kissed him, full on the lips! Could he possibly mean that? Sadly, he made no further mention of the incident after the holidays. Those words rang through Howard's head, singing him to sleep each night.

He placed his fingers to his mouth, still imagining the soft caress of Tucker's beard and wondering what it would be like to run his fingers over the man's bald pate. A soft snore sounded beside him and he reached up, softly stroking Tucker's smooth head. Lost in slumber, the man snuggled into the touch.

For two hours Howard fought sleep, determined to watch over his obsession for as long as he could, for he knew in his heart that this might be his only opportunity for such intimate closeness. Did this big, burly biker like cats? Would he like Howard's small suburban home? Howard would gladly leave his Subaru in the rain to make room for Tucker's monster bike in the garage. What would it be like to kiss him goodbye every morning, then meet back up at work, exchanging only the most professional of looks all day lest anyone learn their secret?

Tucker wouldn't need to walk into the office with a fast food bag in hand ever again. If he were Howard's, for breakfast he'd have bacon and eggs and Howard's famous buttermilk biscuits, baked from scratch with love and served with Grandma's boysenberry jam. Yes, Howard would definitely take good care of his man.

Did it mean anything that, out of sixteen employees, Howard alone had been invited on this trip? Did he dare to hope? Recalling the handsome gym rat that showed up at the office regularly, disappearing behind the boss' closed door, he knew better. The grunts and moans he'd heard often enough stated clearly who the man was.

Tucker snorted, head lolling to the side. Howard glanced around, making sure no one was watching, and then pressed his cheek to the top of Tucker's head for support. In thirty minutes they'd land and it'd all be over. And when Tucker awoke, Howard would go back to being steady as a rock Howard, always there, always dependable. Maybe one day Tucker would realize that's just what was missing in his personal life.

"Whatever you need, Tucker," he murmured, bestowing a gentle kiss on his love's brow.
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Aw, I just want to pinch Howard's cheek and set him up with a guy who'll appreciate him. Or maybe shake Tucker.  Give Eden a high five for this little story.

Eden's been collecting a lot of things by fives lately -- five Marbles, five Ravens, and Five Stars all over, all for her new novel, Settling the Score, and five Divas for Duet!

Closeted mechanic Joey Nichols' life is good. His boyfriend landed a major Hollywood role, and is well on the way to superstardom. Joey's bags are packed and soon he'll leave small town Georgia and join the man of his dreams in California, to live out, proud, and together. Days before his planned departure, his lover outs Joey during a televised interview and announces that they've broken up, leaving Joey to face the bigotry of the locals alone.

Bestselling author Troy Steele knows all about having life turned upside down by the media. Now a recluse, Troy shuns all the trappings that come with writing books made into blockbuster movies. He spends his time exacting revenge on a former flame via his novels and hiding out in rural South Carolina, watching celebrity gossip shows. Joey's fifteen minutes of fame bear an eerie similarity to the plot of Troy's latest work in progress. What if Joey could be transformed into everything the fickle ex wanted, as Troy is writing for his fictional hero, and secretly wishes for himself? Once polished, could a diamond-in-the-rough good ole boy confront his ex, then walk away, pride intact? These are Troy's questions, and he's counting on Joey for answers.

Buy here.

The English are an evil not to be tolerated, or so Aillil Callaghan believes, and Malcolm Byerly, the Kentish tutor his father brings to the Highlands to teach his younger brothers, is no exception. Their affection for the boys and a shared passion for the violin brings the two men together, and scarlet fever tears them apart. When a Druid priestess offers her aid, grief-stricken Aillil vanishes into legend, to be handed down from one generation to the next.

Over two centuries later, violinist Billy Byerly’s arrival at Callaghan Castle for a concert feels like coming home. An old man presents him with a strangely familiar violin, and from its strings he draws melodies he doesn't remember learning. Billy doesn’t believe in ghosts, but if the tales of the Lost Laird aren’t true, then why does he dream of a dark-haired, kilted Highlander? And why is he haunted by the strains of a phantom violin?

Two violins, one love. How many lifetimes?

Buy here.


8 comments:

  1. That picture was just too good to pass up!

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  2. Sweetly sad. Amazing how differently minds react -- I saw something completely opposite, and may have to actually write it.

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  3. I found this via your Goodreads blog link. Awesome story, Eden!

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  4. Awwwwww! I want to pinch Howard's cheeks. No, he probably needs a hug. I don't know whether to snog you for the sweetness or thwap you for the unrequited... ness. Either way, very nicely affecting.

    Really well done, Eden.

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  5. Poor Howard! This is very sweet.

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  6. I just love sicking plot bunnies at authors. {g}

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  7. Thanks, ya'll! I'm feeling guilty about being so mean to poor Howard.

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