Today I am so pleased to welcome J.P. Barnaby to Joyfully Jay. J.P. has come with a special, original story set in the world of her Survivor Stories. I am a huge fan of this series so I was thrilled J.P. could join us today with a little peek into life with these guys. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Surviving Black Friday
This little story takes place between Anthony and the fifth and final Aaron book, coming in March 2017 – exclusively from Dreamspinner Press.
“Are you sure you boys can handle things until we get back?”
“Mrs. Downing,” Jordan said slowly, “one of those little monsters is mine. I’m a father, Spencer is a college graduate, and Aaron… Well, two out of three ain’t bad.”
Aaron flipped off his friend and flopped back on the couch.
“Aaron, that’s a nice thing to teach these children.” His mother scowled at him and Jordan’s wife Rachel, that still felt so weird to say, plopped their two-year-old daughter Anna into her husband’s lap.
“Mom, we’ll be fine. We’re bigger. And they can’t pop the lock on the basement door.”
“Don’t say that,” Aunt Nell said with a laugh. “Sophie hasn’t met a door she couldn’t open. I’ve even caught her pushing over her little chair to try and reach the screen door handle.”
“Industrious little thing,” Melanie said, struggling to wrangle her son Tony back into his shirt.
“Hey Melanie, how come Allen doesn’t have to hold down the fort with us while you guys go shopping?” Aaron asked, watching as his sister-in-law pushed Tony’s watermelon-sized head through the neck of his onesie thing. Elmo stretched grotesquely on the front, one eye bulging, threatening to burst.
“Not everyone has Black Friday off, Mr. Academia,” Jordan told him as Anna wiggled her way back to the floor. She and Sophie took off for the toys with a conspiratorial look.
“Okay, if we want to find anything we’re looking for, we should go,” Aaron’s mom told the other women and clutched her purse, ready for battle. Nell, Melanie, and Rachel said good-bye to their toddlers while his mother kissed him on the head like one.
“We’ll see you boys later. Call if you need anything,” Nell said with a smile. She followed her troop out the door, closing it, and leaving them in the relative quiet of kiddie babble.
Jordan put his feet up on the coffee table and grabbed the cable remote.
“Sweet, now we can watch the Iron Bowl.”
The TV roared to life causing all three toddlers to jump and turn at the sound. He flipped through the channels like a man searching for destiny.
“I. Did. Not. Know. You. Liked. Cooking. Shows,” Spencer said, and then added, “Any. One. Want. Pizza. Rolls.?”
Aaron raised his hand, then Jordan, and then little Tony who had no idea what covert act he may be voting for.
“The Iron Bowl? Really? A cooking show?” Jordan asked in disbelief like Spencer had crapped all over his favorite poodle.
“Okay, what is it then?” Aaron asked as Spencer headed into the kitchen, blissfully ignorant of Jordan’s indignation.
“The Iron Bowl is just one of the best college football matchups of the year. Alabama and Auburn? Hello? Don’t gay guys watch sports?”
“No, we watch cooking shows.”
“Dick.” Jordan said, going back to his channel flipping.
“Dick!” Tony chirped and then looked to Jordan for confirmation.
“Crap.” Jordan said, trying desperately not to laugh.
“Crap!” Anna added and then he lost of measure of self-control. The more he laughed, the more the kids laughed, repeating their expanded vocabulary.
“What. Is. So. Funny.?” Spencer asked as he walked back in to the living room with a can of pop in each hand.
“Jordan is teaching the kids new words. Ones their parents may not appreciate,” Aaron signed and took the Coke from Spencer’s outstretched hand.
Spencer sat on the couch next to Aaron and glanced at the television.
“Wait., I. Thought. We. Were. Watching. A. Cooking. Show.?” Spencer asked, genuine confusion in his tone.
“Jesus Chri—” Jordan started, but then jerked his gaze to the gaggle of little pitchers with big ears. He turned the sound up and shot Aaron a murderous look when he couldn’t stop the giggles from bubbling out.
“They. Kicked. The. Ball.. Does. That. Mean. It. Started.?”
“Why. Did. The. Catcher. Get. On. His. Knees.? What. Kind. Of. Game. Is. This.?”
“He’s a receiver, not a catcher, and it’s called a fair catch.”
“Is that like a fair ball?” Aaron asked.
“No. It means that they can’t tackle him.”
“So, he got in his knees in surrender?” Aaron raised an eyebrow at Jordan.
“Just one knee.”
“So, he half-surrendered?”
“Yes.” Jordan huffed.
“What about that guy in the middle? The one bent over with the ball between his legs? I think I saw that in a porn flick once.”
“Yeah, it was something about turning a tight end into a wide receiver.”
Jordan’s eyes got very wide. His mouth opened and then closed and then opened again. He didn’t say anything, not a word. He simply left the room. Aaron assumed he went into the kitchen for a soda of his own.
“I do not get this game,” Aaron signed to Spencer who shrugged and glanced toward the veritable mountain of toys in the corner of the living room.
“We. Are. Missing. One.,” Spencer said and stood up.
Aaron looked around the living room and didn’t see Sophie. Tony and Anna were slamming blocks together. He wondered if they thought the blocks would stick together if they banged hard enough.
“I’ll take the kitchen, you take the front room,” Aaron told Spencer and wandered over to the kitchen door.
Jordan stood next to the sink holding a ghost.
Then, Aaron noticed the open bag of flour lying on the floor at his feet.
“Crap!” Sophie chirped.’
Aaron turned and walked back into the living room.
The other two kids were gone.
Aaron Downing worshiped his mother. She saved his life. She did everything for him. But Anthony Downing has a different perspective. He sees the woman who tossed him into a basement for eight long years and forgot he existed. When Anthony decides he’s done being invisible, he packs up and heads for Detroit to stay with his Internet friend Jay, but fate intervenes.
Brendan Mears lost everything the day the man with a gun came into his father’s store. Now, he’s tethered to a business he can’t manage and a brother who resents him.
Different in all the ways that matter, Anthony and Brendan struggle to overcome their psychological obstacles, until a crushing betrayal sends them running for cover and each other.
JP Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over two dozen books, including Aaron and the Little Boy Lost Series. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance, but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not hanging out with hot guys in leather, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix. A physics geek, she likes the science side of Sci-Fi, and wants to grow up to be Reed Richards.