Today I am so pleased to welcome our very own Kris T. Bethke back to Joyfully Jay. Kris has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her new release, Somebody to Die For. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Somebody to Die For is out now! The third book in the Requiem Inc. series. I’ve brought along an excerpt, just for Joyfully Jay readers.
Avery went willingly. He melted against Jameson, buried his face in Jameson’s chest for a moment, and then turned his head to the side and rested an ear against Jameson’s heart. Jameson squeezed Avery tighter still and then cupped a hand around the back of his head and pressed him against his chest.
The relief, the absolute rightness, of having Avery in his arms washed through him, and Jameson sighed with contentment.
They stood like that for a long time, but eventually the slam of a door jolted them, and Jameson pulled away only far enough to see Avery’s face. He couldn’t make himself let go completely, so he held Avery’s face in his hands and tilted it up so he could look into Avery’s eyes.
Avery grinned, and it lit up his entire face. “I couldn’t wait. I hope that’s okay.”
“I went upstairs first, but you weren’t there. So I came over here to try and catch you.”
“Consider me caught.” Jameson grinned. He wanted to lean down and kiss Avery’s full lips, but he managed to check himself in time. He traced a thumb along Avery’s jaw and reveled in the warmth and smoothness under his touch.
“Can we talk?”
Jameson nodded at Avery’s whispered question, but then his gaze shot to the building in front of him. His heart sank.
“I’m supposed to be….” He gestured vaguely toward the office but then put his hand back on Avery’s face. “So let me talk to Director Johnson. Okay?”
Avery cleared his throat, and his gaze dropped down. He took a breath and tried for a smile. “Uh… I hope you don’t mind, but I talked to Renata already. She inferred that I needed you for my, you know, lingering recovery, and I let her think that. You’ve been excused for the day.”
Jameson’s face broke out in a grin. “Mind? That’s awesome.”
Avery’s relief was palpable. He grabbed on to Jameson’s wrists and when he smiled, Jameson’s heart sped up. Avery was beautiful all the time, but when he smiled up at Jameson like that, it was a whole other level of amazing.
“Do you wanna….” Jameson cleared his throat, and tried to think if he left his room looking presentable. The bed wasn’t made, but he was fairly sure the dirty clothes were in the hamper and there were no wrappers or drink cans that hadn’t made it into the garbage. “Do you want to come in?”
Avery nodded and took a step back. “Yes, please.”
Jameson led the way. Once inside, he gestured toward the stairs and then took them two at a time in his hurry to get to his room on the fourth floor. Avery kept up, but he was panting a little by the time they made it.
Jameson’s room was the second from the stairs. The building was constructed just a few months earlier to house trainees. Each floor had ten rooms. None of them were very big, but there was enough space to hold a double bed, a built-in armoire, a desk, and a chair. It was serviceable but plain, and it had been sufficient for Jameson over the past eight weeks.
Holding his breath, Jameson opened his door, and was glad to see that he’d left it fairly tidy. He motioned Avery in first and then stepped in after him. Avery looked around, smiled, and then turned the chair around so he could sit in it while he faced the room. Jameson perched on the end of the bed.
“It smells like you in here,” Avery murmured.
Jameson couldn’t help the chuckle. “I hope that’s a good thing.”
“Yeah.” The reply was a whisper, and when he glanced at Avery, he thought he saw a bit of a blush stain his cheeks. But it was gone too quickly for Jameson to be sure.
They sat in awkward silence for a few minutes. Finally Jameson couldn’t take it anymore, and he cleared his throat. Avery startled and then grinned sheepishly.
“I guess I should probably explain some things.” Avery’s quiet voice lent gravity to the situation, and Jameson’s stomach did a weird sort of flip.
“Only what you want to share,” Jameson assured him. He wanted to reach out and touch Avery, but he thought better of it. Avery had purposefully positioned them so they had space between them, and Jameson didn’t want to infringe.
“There’s a lot I want….” Avery shook his head. “I don’t know how to say all of this, so I’m asking for your patience.”
Jameson nodded encouragingly.
“Luke was my everything for a long time. He was….” Avery sat up straight. “You know all that. You know what he was to me. So I don’t have to explain.”
“No,” Jameson agreed.
“For a long time, I didn’t think I’d ever stop hurting. I knew I’d never want to even look at another man, let alone do anything else.” That hint of blush was back, the faintest of pinks, but Avery plowed on. “But the years passed, and I started to live again. I’m not even sure exactly when it happened. I started to remember Luke with warmth and affection and less of the all-encompassing sadness. At first that made me angry. How could I stop hurting over him?”
“Sure.” Jameson felt the need to say something, and while he had never experienced it himself, he could empathize.
“Right. But I healed from that too, in a way. A part of me is always going to love him. And miss him and be sad. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find someone else to share the space in my heart.”
Jameson’s breath caught for a second. Did Avery mean what Jameson thought he did?
“So,” he began carefully. He thought he saw encouragement in Avery’s expression, so he kept going. “You mean me?”
Dying is easy. New love is terrifying.
Avery Wagner quit ghostwalking when he lost his beloved anchor to cancer. Now teaching others who have the ability, he’s beginning to live again—but he’s not looking for another lover, not now, maybe not ever.
But then he meets Jameson… younger, talented, dedicated, almost perfect, even though his mouth sometimes opens ahead of his brain. And Jameson wants Avery desperately, though he’ll settle for friendship if he can’t have more.
When an emergency demands they work together in the field, Avery discovers just how perfect Jameson is. But he had a perfect love once before, and he’s scared to even consider that he might have a chance at another. Can he trust Jameson with his newly healing heart?
Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.
Kris has brought a copy of either of the first two books in the Requiem series to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, September 10th at 11:59 pm ET.
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