Today I am so excited to welcome Tere Michaels to Joyfully Jay. Tere has come to talk to us about her upcoming release, Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories from her Faith, Love, & Devotion series. She is also doing an exclusive cover reveal! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thank you so much for having me at Joyfully Jay! It’s a pleasure to share the cover and official title of the holiday book in the Faith, Love & Devotion series.
“Forever & Ever, A Collection of Stories” is a love note to my readers, and to celebrate the ten years since Faith & Fidelity was published. A Happy Holidays present to end the year with a smile. It’s not a book per se, but a collection of stories, big and small, that walks into the future of Matt and Evan, their friends and family. Holidays, weddings, babies (and more babies!), success and life decisions challenge them but can’t stop the wise-crack or the love!
This is my final foray into the world (yes, really!) of Faith, Love & Devotion. The past ten years have been amazing, and I love going out with a big hug and kiss to these characters, leaving them in a place of bliss. I want us all to remember them smiling and happy, a found family of snappy dialogue and absolute loyalty.
Please enjoy the beautiful cover, and a little tease of story one, which you might recognize as something people have been wanting for years…
See you in December!
“Stop freaking out, please,” Matt said cheerfully. A lesser man—a man who had not recently seen his life pass across his eyes on a highway on Long Island—might panic, but Matt knew Evan, and if he was honest with himself, he had seen this coming. “If you want to take it back, I think you’re fine. Unless you got me a ring, in which case you owe me double the shower sex for my broken heart.”
The door opened so quickly, Matt almost fell on the floor.
Evan’s face registered “pissed.” “You’re an asshole.”
“True, but you’re hiding and that’s usually because you’ve gone all…” He made a wild flailing motion with both hands over his head and an expression to match. Sticking out his tongue like a winded bulldog was an artistic flourish. “…Evan.”
“I wasn’t freaking out, and I have never, in my life, made that face.” He exhaled. “I’m just thinking.”
“Lucky for us the fire alarms didn’t go off.”
With a little shove to the middle of Matt’s chest, Evan stalked out of the bathroom.
“I just had this moment of thinking about engagements and weddings and telling people,” Evan said, doing his traditional pacing circuit around the bed and toward the door. “And—before you think this is about shame or anything else, shut up.”
Matt leaned on the doorjamb. “I said nothing.”
“You thought it.”
“Briefly. A blip,” Matt said lightly, crossing his arms. “Listen, I understand if the proposal was a reaction to the whole Tripp debacle and feeling scared. I get it. I won’t hold you to anything because at the end of the day, I’m not going anywhere. Broken engagement or not.”
Evan squinted as if trying to read his mind to see if he was telling the truth.
“What? Have I, at any point, made you think it was something I needed? I hate weddings—tight shoes, tiny slivers of cake, no seconds on whatever weird chicken-in-sauce dinner they serve. They give you like three potatoes—who only eats three tiny potatoes? And oh Jesus, the music….” Just the thought of enduring it made Matt shiver in horror. “You know I’m buying an industrial-size flask just to survive Jim and Griffin’s wedding, and I love them!”
“I don’t want a wedding,” Evan said, stopping in midpace. “I mean, I want to be married, but I don’t want the… spectacle. That’s for other people.”
“Okay.” Matt shrugged. “You want to do something here, with just the family?” They could fix up the backyard. Maybe get a tent.
Evan started pacing again.
Matt’s good nature began to slip a bit. “You think the kids won’t go for that? Or… for any of it?” Katie’s reaction, he knew, would be 100 percent supportive. Elizabeth and Danny, he had a good relationship with them. No reason to suspect anything other than a couple of woo-hoos, and Elizabeth might get weepy. Which led them to Miranda.
“Miranda and me are on good terms now,” he offered, shifting uncomfortably. The game murmured low in the silences. Matt thought about turning it off or lowering the AC or doing anything, but he felt rooted in his spot. “When we were having our—difficulties—recently, she was totally on my side,” he said jokingly. “I could talk to her, if you’re worried. Maybe a bribe is in order.”
“No, no.” Evan stopped again, looking across the room to lock gazes with Matt. “This isn’t about Miranda. I know she’s come to terms with us being together. But even if I thought she’d react badly, this”—he made a motion between them—“this is it. I meant what I said when I asked you to marry me.”
The tension knotting Matt’s stomach unclenched slightly.
“Well, okay.” His body unfroze; he pushed off the wall, approaching Evan slowly. “Okay. No regrets, the kids’ll be all right. I don’t want a wedding either. So why are you at full freak-out?”
“This is barely a normal freak-out. I’ve been worse,” Evan muttered. He let Matt put his arms around him, resting their foreheads together.
Matt snickered, rubbing Evan’s back in comforting circles, trying not to seem sarcastic when he said, “Yes, dear.”
“Jerk.” Evan tilted his head back. “Can we just… let’s do this for us. Alone.”
“Elope?” Matt rubbed his hands up and down Evan’s back. “I’ll get Bennett to send us to the Keys.”
“Then Bennett would know.”
Evan’s words—and the ultimate meaning—finally sunk into Matt’s brain. He cycled through a multitude of emotions: confusion, concern, and then delight. “So when you say just us….”
“I mean….” Evan pushed against Matt’s body in a way that signaled the end of the conversation rapidly approached. “You, me, a judge. This isn’t for anyone else.”
Tere Michaels unofficially began her writing career at the age of four when she learned people got paid to write stories. It seemed the most perfect and logical job in the world, and her path was never in question. She writes happily ever afters in the big city – with heaps of snark, angst and humor. Her focus is on characters and all the ridiculous ways they trip through life and love. She has written fifteen books including her popular Faith, Love & Devotion series and the superhero saga, The Vigilante.