Emily’s Engagements

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Emily’s Engagements: O Christmas Tree

November 28, 2021
In This Issue:
Good Morning!
O Christmas Tree: Sneak Peek

Good Morning!
I’m so excited because O Christmas Tree is coming out and it’s the second book in my Marisburg Chronicles. This is the story of Jake Calhoun, who came out to Aidan in the middle of Thorn, the third Heartwood book. In that book, Jake was almost an antagonist, but like many of us who realize we’re in love for the first time, he acted rashly and definitely deserves a redemption story!
As for me today, I’m going to take an intense test. (Monday, November 22) I’ll let you know how it goes in the next issue! The test is five hours long. Ugh.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that the reason I’m presenting both Yew and Thorn together is that they’re two halves of one continuous story. Enjoy!

Buy Links:
Heartwood 2: Yew

Heartwood 3: Thorn

Heartwood 2: Yew

Heartwood 3: Thorn

Heartwood 2: Yew

Heartwood 3: Thorn

O Christmas Tree: Sneak Peek

O Christmas Tree: Sneak Peek

O Christmas Tree (Marisburg Chronicles 2) Pre-Order Links
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ckolMF
Changeling Press: https://bit.ly/3Hr2KAi

For Jake, losing his eyesight isn’t nearly as frightening as having to rely on someone else. Especially if he wants that other person to be his lover. He was taught from an early age that being gay is synonymous with being a sissy and he can’t see past that lesson to the one Tyler is trying to teach him.

Tyler has been attracted to Jake since they first met. When Jake comes to Tyler’s bed, it seems all of Tyler’s dreams are coming true. Except Jake doesn’t want more than friends with benefits. Can Tyler stand being Jake’s second

For Tyler Carter, there was no better pre-Christmas present than watching Jake swim. The lean-muscled, pale-skinned man was God’s gift to the world of gay men. With his Irish last name, Calhoun, he should have been freckled too, but Jake had been adopted. Tyler sometimes wondered how his mother could have possibly given him up as a baby. But maybe she’d had no choice.

He watched Jake knifing his way through the water at Colton University’s pool and his cock rolled over in its winter hibernation. It took very little time in Jake’s presence to waken Tyler’s body even though they’d never even kissed. Hell, they’d never even held hands.
Jake knew nothing of Tyler’s longing, although Tyler was hoping the vacation they were taking together would change that.
Shoulder-length chestnut brown hair was plastered to Jake’s head like a helmet and Tyler’s fingers itched to touch the slightly curly locks. Jake’s tattoo, on the right side of his back and over that shoulder, was of a dolphin and ocean waves. The twenty-seven-year-old certainly swam like a dolphin.
Tyler knew he should call to Jake, get his attention. They were due at an appointment in less than an hour and who knew how long it would take Jake to get dressed? But Tyler couldn’t quite bring himself to raise his voice or even to speak. Jake was so beautiful while swimming.
If Tyler watched much longer, he’d have to hide in a bathroom and take care of his little problem before the appointment.
He approached the edge of the pool, not close enough to get accidentally splashed. He thought, All the angels in heaven would sing your praise if they were allowed.
Jake was in the second lane from the edge and when he reached the deep end’s side, he finally came up for air. He shook his bangs out of his eyes and turned his head. Maybe he’d somehow sensed Tyler’s nearness, or he was looking for him. Their gazes met and locked. Jake’s grin lit up his whole face, from stretching lips that were slightly pinker than the rest of his skin to crinkling the corners of absolutely stunning hazel eyes.
He swam over to Tyler, gestured for him to step back a bit, and then, with what looked like very little effort, hoisted himself out of the deep end.
Tyler wanted to turn away and adjust his jeans so his boner wouldn’t be so obvious, but he knew doing anything like that would draw more rather than less attention to his reaction. So, feeling his cheeks heat up, he grinned back at Jake.
“Are you early or did I lose track of time?” Jake glanced over his shoulder at the cock hanging on the wall.
The clock, Tyler thought. Not the cock, the clock. Get your mind out of the gutter.
The past six months knowing Jake had been a pleasure. Learning, about six weeks ago, that Jake was gay had just been icing on the cake.
Jake said, “I guess time got away from me.” He walked over to his shower shoes and put them on. “I’ll meet you out front? I need to towel off and get dressed.”
Can I come with you? Tyler swallowed the words. Jake had been walking a very fine line since coming out to Tyler, never being suggestive in his speech or actions. But he was too friendly to tell Tyler he didn’t want him. Or maybe that was just Tyler’s impression. Maybe Jake was one of those weird people who believed it was okay to be gay but wrong to act on it.
Tyler was Christian. Jake wasn’t. At least Tyler didn’t think he was because he didn’t go to Tyler’s church, and he didn’t seem to attend any of the others in Marisburg or Colton.
“I’ll meet you out in the main lobby,” he told Jake now. “We’ve got a little over forty minutes to get there, so there’s not too much of a rush.”
“I’ll probably shower if I have time. There’s nothing more offensive to some people than smelling like chlorine.” Jake flashed him another killer smile, complete with a dimple. “I’ll be out soon.”
Tyler watched him walk away, glorying in the beauty of his muscular back and his small, firm ass only partially hidden by his not-too-loose red swim trunks.
He briefly considered taking himself off to a bathroom to masturbate but he didn’t have any condoms and he didn’t want to accidentally make a mess.
One thing was certain. He needed to bring condoms with him on vacation. It might be difficult to find time to masturbate when Jake wasn’t in the room they were going to share, but Tyler would manage. He was the oldest of four and had perfected his alone time skills.
* * *
After putting his bike in the truck’s bed, where it kept company with a couple of sandbags, Jake slid into the passenger seat of Tyler’s four-wheel-drive vehicle. It was a high-seated affair that perfectly fit Tyler’s football player build but was just high enough that Jake had to scramble into it. The truck was newer than Jake’s Prius, which was a secondhand car in the first place. He’d bought it for two reasons. First, because riding his bike through the snowy streets of a Western Pennsylvania town for months at a time was dangerous, and second, because he’d thought at the time that he might have someone to drive around. That had been back when he was crushing, hard, on a man nine years his senior. A blind man who had turned him down flat. Because the man was married.
Even though Aidan had been married, Jake had assumed other causes for his distance at the time, mostly because he’d wanted to belong somewhere so badly he hadn’t been able to see the truth. He’d worried instead about being too young or too whiny or too something, like too queeny or effeminate.
“Are you okay?” Tyler asked as he backed out of the parking spot.
Jake nodded.
“You’re not,” Tyler said, glancing briefly at him before turning his attention to the snow-dusted parking lot. It was snowing steadily if not too heavily and Jake knew from experience that there could be ice hidden under that powdery stuff. “What’s wrong?”
And because he had absolutely no intention of telling Tyler where his thoughts had been, Jake said, “I’m nervous about my ophthalmologist’s appointment.” It was even true. About a week ago, he’d started seeing spots in front of his central vision. When he’d stumbled over reading something to his boss, Aidan Delaney, at work, he’d been forced to admit to the spots. He hadn’t admitted he’d been having trouble driving and even sometimes walking in unfamiliar places.
Aidan had all but ordered him to go to the ophthalmologist in town.
So, here it was, the day before he was going on vacation with Tyler, Tyler’s younger brother Al, and Al’s best friend, Candace Delaney. Yup. She was Aidan’s daughter, and she was only a few years younger than Jake. And he had a damned doctor’s appointment because his boss had practically threatened him.
Aidan was nothing if not intense.
Six years ago, when Jake was twenty-one, Aidan’s intensity had been a turn-on. Now Jake was willing to admit that he’d been looking for an authoritative father figure and had found that in his boss.
“Jake?” Tyler rested his right hand lightly on Jake’s knee and squeezed.
Automatically, Jake covered the other man’s dark hand with his light one. He stared down at the contrast in their skin color for a moment, amazed at how beautiful and right they looked together like that. Then he stiffened, remembering that he was never going to hit on anyone as perfect as Tyler.
Not when he, Jake, was so fucked up.
“Sorry,” Tyler muttered, and he looked silly with embarrassment as he retrieved his hand and fisted it in his lap.
“I don’t mind,” Jake blurted.
But Tyler was speaking too and didn’t seem to hear him. “I was just trying to get your attention. What’s wrong?”
Jake swallowed. “I started seeing dark spots in front of my eyes about three months ago. I…” He decided on the spur of the moment that he didn’t want to confess how he’d been commanded to go to the ophthalmologist. “I need to get this checked out.”
“Three months,” Tyler marveled.
If he’d shouted, Jake would have felt defensive. Instead, he was touched. “Well, I’m a little stubborn, I guess. I didn’t want to believe it was more than fatigue.”
“Do you have good enough insurance?”
Jake had to smile at that. Tyler was halfway through his master’s degree studying to be a social worker. And he understood the system. “I work for the government, remember? I’ve got great insurance.”
“Do you have any idea what could be causing the spots?”
Jake shook his head. “But Aidan…” He swallowed again. Damn it, somehow he felt like a jerk saying that name in front of Tyler. “He told me to go. Get it checked out. He wouldn’t have even known except the spots interfered with my work one day.”
“Is that why you’re riding your bike around instead of driving?”
Jake nodded. Then he sighed. “It’s probably nothing. I’m most likely being an alarmist.”
“Your health is nothing to screw around with. I’m glad you’re going.”
Jake swallowed for a third time, now trying to get rid of the anxiety-induced lump in his throat. “You’re more than just a set of wheels, just so you know. I don’t…” He didn’t have anyone he could turn to, but he absolutely wouldn’t admit that here and now. “I wanted someone I trust with me.”
Tyler reached out as if to touch his knee again but stopped himself. “I’ll stick with you.”
Damn, but he’s so perfect. So wonderful. He could never —
Jake broke that thought off cleanly. He liked Tyler too much to drag him into his own personal hell. “Thank you.”

Thank you for coming to check out O Christmas Tree! Have a great week. Happy Thanksgiving! 😊

Emily Carrington

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Twitter: @EmilyCarringtonAuthor

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