Today I am so pleased to welcome Anyta Sunday to Joyfully Jay. Anyta has come to share an exclusive teaser for her upcoming release, Happy for You (Love & Family #3). Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Six months suspension.
I bang my forehead against The Groove’s hot metal roof. The wagon is jammed between Roch’s BMW and Mum’s permanently stationary Honda. Even if I could legally drive, there’d be no getting her out.
The metaphor for my life doesn’t escape me. Boxed in. Unable to do what I want—
No, wait. I need to be optimistic. Maybe the wagon represents safety. It’s my bubble, protecting me from messing up. Where I’m living life well. Where I’m . . . happy.
Right. Yes. That. Totally that.
A chorus of music and laughter sail from the backyard engagement barbecue.
Enough hiding. I push away from the car and lift my chin.
At the side of the house, I bump into the twins, sneaking away from the party.
May blurts, “We’re heading to the park.”
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Her and April’s eyes glitter brighter than the sequined bowties they donned for Roch and Lauren’s party. I know mischief when I see it, and these two petite, wild-haired, science-crazy girls are embodiments of it.
The park, riiiight. “Leave the glowworm cave alone.”
The girls share a look that says muahahaha. I roll my eyes, and when I refocus, they’ve zipped past me. Our gate needs a sign: Beware of Small Stealthy Scientists.
I circle picnic tables, pass Roch and Lauren waltzing under a canopy of roses, and head for Tiffany. She’s leaning on the bouquet-fringed bridge.
A pine-scented breeze makes her gold dress shiver.
“Does Mum know you’re wearing her clothes?”
Tiffany stares at the stream. “She would if she were out here.”
I rest my forearms against the rough wooden rail and watch our reflections on the surface. “She’ll come out soon.” I nudge her elbow. “Want to shove me around the dance floor?”
She peeks at me. “You need lessons. It’d make Roch and Lauren super happy if you managed a waltz at the wedding.”
It might make everyone happy to see me dance—for the rarity of it. If I could pull it off flawlessly, I might be their momentary hero. “Will you teach me?”
“If you find another pair of feet to trample.” She wiggles her toes in her sparkling slippers. “I need mine for competitions.”
I hitch a thumb at my chest. “Hooking a toe donor for this charity case? No sweat.”
“Will your toe donor also be your plus-one?”
I stiffen. These kinds of conversations sting.
I drum my fingers over the rail, and jerk them back at a splinter.
Admitting that I don’t have a plus-one—for the wedding or possibly life—gets me all kind of miserable.
The side gate snaps loudly in a lull between songs, and my focus slides to the arriving figure–
Electricity bolts through me, painful and aching until I’m so fried, I can’t feel. Can’t think.
The music and chatter sound distant, muted by the ringing in my ears.
I know that figure. That cool, casual gait. That cap. His image taunts me every time I close my eyes.
Mort Campbell. Staring at the grass-choked brick stones. Lavender shrubs snatch at his legs and tramping boots.
I blink, and blink again. I’m imagining him.
He’s a figment of my exhausted mind.
He must be.
In a haze, I hustle through foxtrotting dancers toward him. “Mort.”
He stops at my shout and lifts his head.
His face is exactly as I remember it: cleft chin, sharp nose, day-old stubble. Hazel eyes behold me, trained on my face, searching my expression.
I halt in front of him. “You’re here?”
He reaches out to hug me. Like he might have a year ago. “Hey, Felix.”
I swat his arms away. I don’t want a hug. I want proof this is really him. I run my index finger over the mole on his throat. His pulse hiccups under my fingers.
His low, rumbly voice is like a river lapping at a pebbly shore. It invades me, spiraling shivers from scalp to toes.
My fingers shake as I frantically pull at his neatly-ironed, safari-style shirt. One button pops off and drops into a lavender bush.
“Felix?” His breath fans over my nose and rolls to my cheekbone.
I drag my fingers across his wiry chest hairs to the flat freckle at his right pec. His nipple is warm. He certainly feels real.
I undo the metal button of his cotton-twill shorts.
His firm grip stays my hands, and a curious frown bores into me. “What are you doing?”
“You must be an apparition.”
A soft chuckle curls around me. My heart thumps.
“And opening my pants will prove I’m flesh and blood?”
I grind my teeth against the sting rising up my throat. “You must be an apparition, because Mort Campbell died a year ago. When we were in hospital. When he wasn’t with us.”
Mort’s eyes shutter closed and he swallows.
“You must be an apparition because Mort was smart. He’d never stroll back into our lives at Roch’s engagement party with a cavalier ‘Hey, Felix.’ I jut my chin toward his pants. “Open them.”
“Shit, Felix.” His expression teems with regret. His grip loosens on my wrists. “I’m sorry.”
I smile as I pinch the zipper and draw it down slowly. “Show me.”
“I’m definitely not the wisest man. But I’m fairly sure flashing you at your brother’s engagement party is a bad idea.”
I blink down at my hand resting on the zipper, knuckles pressed against a warm, bulging lump—
I jerk my hand back and focus my heated face toward the ink on his chest. “I meant, show me the scar on your thigh.”
Mort’s heavy sigh produces a familiar ache. “I’m sorry for springing that ‘Hey’ on you.”
“Felix!” My brother calls.
Mort buttons his shirt, eyes never straying from mine.
Roch squashes me against his side. “First to find Mort, as always.”
I can’t find my voice.
Roch drops his arm and gestures Mort to follow him. “Pineapple boxers, classy. Lauren spotted you and wants to chat.”
Mort zips up, looking at me apologetically. “I’ll be right back. We’ll talk.” He jostles after Roch.
The crowd swallows them as panic blasts through me.
I prop myself against the house and focus on the cool slats against my arm. The lavender tickling my shins. The Latin music combing over me on a breeze . . .
My breathing comes out in awkward chunks.
Mort is back in our lives.
It feels . . . too little, too late.
It feels . . . like all my wishes coming true.
A dozen memories assault me. Under simmering anger, I feel vulnerable and dizzy. I thought I was done with these feelings.
Mort engulfs Lauren in a full-bodied hug.
Maybe I’m not as done as I thought. As I should be.
Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .
Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .
Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.
Set in New Zealand, Happy For You (Love & Family #3) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys pitted together in a blue 1988 station wagon—and there’s no doubt about it, Mort is going to drive Felix crazy.
Can be read as a standalone.
I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love. Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries. I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of Fantasy. My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Thai.
Connect with Anyta:
- Author website:http://www.anytasunday.com/
- Author newsletter signup: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anytasundaybooks
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/anytasunday
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/anytasunday
- BookBub: https://bookbub.com/authors/anyta-sunday