Today I am so pleased to welcome DJ Jamison to Joyfully Jay. DJ has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, All I Want Is You. She has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving DJ a big welcome!
“Morning, Molly,” he called. “Do you guys have some salt to put down out there? I can shovel the drive before I—”
His words dried up in his mouth. Molly wasn’t alone. She turned from the sizzling pan with a wide smile.
“Turner, look who’s here!”
Turner was looking. He couldn’t stop looking.
Eli, dressed in boxer shorts and a tank top that was indecently tight for family breakfast, looked up from where he’d crouched down to rub Scout’s ears. His green eyes were just as bright as Turner remembered beneath his dark brown hair.
“Turner,” he said, his voice a warm tenor, “what are you doing here?”
Turner, still thrown by Eli’s sudden appearance, responded with an edge to his voice. “That’s a funny question coming from you.”
Turner wanted to call the words back as soon as they were out. Eight years apart — five with no contact at all — and that’s what he said? He had so many things he wanted to say, that he’d thought about over the years, but they piled up behind the emotion clogging his throat.
“Turner’s been helping us since your dad’s surgery,” Molly said. “He coaches at the school, just like Dad.”
Turner wouldn’t say just like Bill Harp. He’d say a damn sight differently, not that he’d contradict Molly. The Harps had been very good to his family, and he respected them both, even if he didn’t always agree with Coach’s tough love approach to his job. Or his son, for that matter. But Turner knew that he was at least partially to blame for Eli’s disappearing act. He hadn’t given Eli a reason to come home, had he? One kiss so brief it might not have happened, and Turner had decimated their friendship by rejecting Eli and turning to the first girl who showed an interest.
Eli gave Scout one last pat to the head and straightened up. He was still slim, but he’d grown into his body in the years since Turner had seen him. He’d lost the gangly, awkward limbs and transitioned into tawny. Svelte. One of those ridiculous adjectives that meant hot as hell.
“Well, I’m here now. I can take care of things.”
“I don’t mind helping out,” Turner said, dropping a hand to Scout’s head when he returned to his side, possibly sensing the tension growing in the room.
“Maybe I mind.”
“Oh, honey, don’t,” Molly said, casting an apologetic look Turner’s way. “Turner’s been so good to us.”
Eli didn’t look at her. He hadn’t looked away from Turner once since he’d walked in.
“Sorry,” Eli said, nibbling at his bottom lip. Turner only realized in that moment that Eli was nervous, not angry. “I didn’t mean to sound like a dick.”
“Eli, language,” his mother said.
Turner’s lips twitched as Eli corrected course. “A jerk. I only got in yesterday, and I’m cranky until at least my third cup of coffee.”
“It’s fine.” Turner had been the one to initiate hostility after all. He couldn’t blame Eli for responding in kind.
“I just meant that you probably have better things to do than run errands for my parents.”
Turner looked him square in the eye. “We’re all like family. We help each other. You’ve been gone a long time, so maybe you forgot that.”
Eli flushed, and goddamn he was pretty with his cheeks glowing pink. “Guess so.” He rebounded. “But I’m here now, so …”
Molly slid the last of the bacon onto a plate and set it on the table. “Are you staying for breakfast, Turner?”
Turner eyed the bacon, then Eli.
“Nah. I better get going,” he said. “I’m all sweaty from my run. I’ve got to shower and pick up Cassie.”
“You ran in this weather?” Molly asked, aghast.
Turner flashed a smile at Molly. “I run every day if I can, rain or shine—”
“Or snow,” Eli added.
“Some fool might have slid into you, and then where’d you be?” she said, looking concerned.
“In the hospital, I imagine,” Eli said.
Molly fluttered her hands. “Don’t even say it!”
“I’m always careful,” Turner said, glaring at Eli. What the hell was he thinking worrying his mother like that? And why was he suddenly back after all this time, walking around in his underwear like he lived here?
In the house he grew up in. His family home, not yours. Get a grip, Turner.
“Eli’s visiting for Christmas vacation. He’s here until New Year’s,” Molly said brightly. “Isn’t that great?”
“Yeah,” Turner echoed. “Great.”
Eli didn’t say anything, biting into a piece of bacon. Scout quickly became his best friend, butting his head up against Eli’s bare knee. “Can I give Hooch some of the bacon?”
“That’s not Hooch.”
Eli glanced down with a frown. “Oh.”
“This beggar is Scout. He’s been with me two years.”
“I’m sorry,” Eli said. “And about your father. Mom just told me this morning.”
Turner nodded sharply. “Things happen. Life goes on.”
Eli met his eyes. “Yeah, I guess it does.”
“But sure, give Scout a nibble if you want. Then I better be going.”
Eli broke off a piece of bacon, and Scout gulped it from his fingers, then licked them for good measure. Eli grinned, glancing up at Turner. “I think Scout and I are going to be very good friends.”
Eli was gorgeous with his morning stubble and tousled hair, and the sight of that smile made Turner’s breath catch. He felt his heart speed up, and internally cursed himself. Was he really that easy? Eli disappears for nearly a decade, and thirty seconds in his presence reduces Turner to mush?
Annoyed with himself, he turned on his heel. “Don’t forget to shovel the drive,” he said. “Come on, Scout. Time to go.”
One kiss under the mistletoe destroyed a friendship. Will another Christmas kiss remake it into something better?
Eli hasn’t been home since he left at eighteen with a heart aching from his best friend’s rejection and his father’s intolerance. But when his father reaches out, Eli figures it’s time to make peace with his family. He doesn’t expect to come face-to-face with Turner too — or to learn that the straight friend he’d foolishly loved is actually bisexual — but once the shock wears off, he knows exactly what he wants for Christmas.
Turner’s life isn’t everything he’d once planned, but he’s happy to be the shoulder his loved ones lean on. They keep him busy, which is just as well since none of his dates have really clicked. He hasn’t been able to connect with anyone the way he did with his former best friend. When Eli shows up for the holidays after years away, Turner doesn’t know what hit him. But he knows one thing: This time, he wants to give Eli a reason to stay.
All I Want Is You is a friends to lovers, second-chance romance with an HEA.
DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.
DJ has brought a $25 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her blog tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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