Today I am so pleased to welcome Blake Allwood to Joyfully Jay. Blake has come to talk to us about his latest release, A Long Way Home. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Blake a big welcome!
“Mom, for the last time, no, I’m not making a mistake. Gib is sorry for how things were left.”
She looked at me skeptically, but didn’t push the issue any further. Mom wasn’t Gib’s greatest fan at the moment. Sure, she understood the stuff about his childhood and fear of losing people. She’d even become friends with his foster mom, Miss Margaret, but that wasn’t enough for her to let him off the hook.
“Are you going to be able to be nice to him tonight, or should I cancel things? Or, better yet, just go somewhere with him alone?”
“Do what you think is best, sweetheart. Just know that you can try to hide that boy from me all you want, Allen darling, but I will have my say one way or the other. If not tonight, I’ll go to his apartment myself. Or better yet, I’ll get Margaret to go with me.”
I sighed. She wasn’t kidding. She’d totally do that. At least, if I was with her, I could possibly block some of the tidal wave headed his way.
“Mom, at least promise you’ll let him explain, and not just lay into him for thirty minutes.”
She narrowed her eyes at me, which almost made me laugh. The woman was a born lecturer. Her employees quivered in their shoes when she was on a rant, and having been the target of more than one of them myself, I knew how intense they could be.
Despite that, she’d argue that she never lectured. “I will have my say and that will be that, but no, I won’t temper it to be nice. The boy hurt you, and since I know you probably didn’t hold him accountable, I will. You’ll thank me later, Allen.”
Yeah, if I was sleeping alone in my bed missing Gib again, I was sure I’d be thanking her.
Satisfied with having the last word, she went to her bedroom. All these months later, she was still living in my house. Her excuse was that Grandpa had followed her advice, and was slowly liquidating the company’s European assets. I was almost sure Mom’s moving in wasn’t really about business. She wanted to keep her eye on me to make sure I was okay. In her defense, I was a massive puddle of despair for several months after the breakup. I really had needed her.
However, now things were improving, I’d love her to find her own place again.
I sighed at that thought, then had to shake off my guilt. I knew Mom was up in the air. She’d sold her New York brownstone after I’d started medical school. She could move back into the apartment in the Manhattan hotel my grandparents lived in, but she said she hated living in the hotels the family owned. So, here she was, living with me.
Of course, I was rarely home, but since I had a boyfriend again, I would have preferred not to have to deal with my mom on the rare occasions I got to see him.
I’d told her we were back together the week after I’d gotten back from Martha’s Vineyard. She had been silent for so long, I thought it would just blow over. Well, not really. Mom wasn’t one to let things blow over. Instead, she’d waited until now to say she wanted me to invite him over for dinner.
I’d hesitantly done so, then when the date was set, she’d told me exactly what she intended to say to him. I’d begged her to back down, and she frankly refused. I would’ve prevented the meeting, but in the long run, I wanted Mom to like Gib the same way she had before the breakup. For that to ever happen, I’d have to let her have her say.
Gib arrived right on time, walked in, and sat across from Mom, while I grabbed a bottle of wine, opening it and letting it breathe before pouring us all a glass.
It was awkward for a moment, before Mom finally said, “Gib, I wanted to have my say, and I’m not one to mince words. You broke Allen’s heart. I know relationships can be tricky, but people deserve the chance to work through their problems together, not have someone run off when it gets hard.”
She stood up, went to the table where the wine sat, and poured herself a full glass. “I loved Allen’s father, more than I’ve loved any other man before or since, but when things got difficult, he ran off with another woman. Now, I know that’s not what you did, but it did look an awful lot like it.”
She looked over at me, and sighed as she sat back down. “I’m Allen’s mother, and of course, seeing your baby hurt, that’s like the worst pain for a parent. I don’t mind you knowing how miserable he was these past several months. In fact, I’ve never seen him so distraught.”
“Mom,” I said under my breath, frustrated that she was having to go there, but even more embarrassed that she was telling him how utterly destroyed I’d been.
I knew she’d heard me, but she fixed her attention on Gib, and took a long drink of wine. “Gib, I like you. I don’t want to right now, but damn, I still do. But, the next time you have some kind of emotional breakdown, you need to get a therapist or something. You don’t run off breaking everyone’s heart as you go.”
She stood back up, clearly about to head into the kitchen. As uncomfortable as she’d made me, I was proud of her. She was letting it go a lot faster than she usually did when things upset her.
“Miss Catherine,” Gib said, and I almost moaned. Please, Gib, let her go, let her go. To my utter horror, though, he didn’t. “You’re right on all accounts. I know how much I hurt Allen, and I know how much I hurt myself. To be honest, if he was smart, he’d toss me out and never let me back in.” He looked at me with regret then, and sighed. “But, I love Allen. I love him with every fiber of my being.”
He turned back toward Mom, who stood frozen while he spoke. “The fact that I do love him is why I ran. I’ve explained all this to Allen. I’ve tossed aside everyone who’s ever mattered to me at some point in my life. The fear inside me that the people I love will get rid of me, it’s all-consuming, and it’s also difficult to know that’s what I’m doing when I’m doing it. I can’t promise I won’t screw up again, and I may well freak out again, but if it helps, my siblings are onto me, Allen and Miss Margaret are too, and it seems so are you. And I’ve already arranged to talk to a therapist, one who works with my sister, Olivia, and specializes in kids who’ve grown up in foster care. I know I still have a lot to work through, and this isn’t the perfect fairy-tale kind of love story you’d want for your son, but with the past I have, it’s all I’ve got to offer.”
I leaned over and kissed his cheek then, my love for him greater than ever. He really was trying, and that’s all anyone could ask of him. Mom plopped back on the chair, and said, “I still want to be mad at you, but either you’re as amazing as you sound, or you’re the best con artist in the world. Gib, honey, I’m sorry about the people you lost when you were little, but I know Margaret. She’s told me about her sister, Ruby, and I’ve met and adore your siblings. At some point, I think you have to let the past go, and embrace the people who love you unconditionally.”
She gave me a meaningful look, acknowledging I was one of those people. Gib smiled over at me and winked. “I’m incredibly lucky, and I think the therapist is gonna help. But, yeah, you’re right. I’m very blessed to have these people in my life.” He put his arm around me then, and let me snuggle into him.
Mom quickly turned and headed into the kitchen, and I could tell she was wiping at her own eyes. Damn, my boyfriend undid the mom of steel. Talk about impressive.
“Lasagna’s done. I’ll put it on plates and bring it to the table, if that’s okay,” she called out from the kitchen.
“Thanks, Mom,” I said, then leaned over to whisper in my boyfriend’s ear. “You’re truly amazing, Gibbon Ridley.”
Coming Home Series, Book 1
With the odds stacked against them, will they be able to overcome, or will their pasts push them apart, forever?
Gib clings to family, while being afraid to trust them. As a former foster child, he clings to security denied to him in early childhood. When he begins having feelings for one of his best friends and fellow medical school student, all his issues are expanded.
Allan has everything a kid from a wealthy New York family could have. When he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Harvard trained doctor, he didn’t anticipate meeting and falling for the enigmatic Gibson Ridley.
With Allan’s daddy issues, and Gib’s fear of intimacy, the stakes couldn’t have greater risks. Can these two men work through their issues and give love a chance, or will they lose it forever?
NOTE: A Long Road Home is a low-heat, sweet, high drama romance.
Triggers: Death, loss of family members, orphaned children, trauma, fear of loss, recovery, homophobia…
Blake Allwood was born in west TN, then moved to Kansas City MO after attending college in Lamoni, Iowa. He met his husband in 1995 and they officially married in 2015, once gay marriage was legalized. In 2017, he and his husband sold their home, purchased an RV and began traveling the country with their two dogs. Their travels provide the inspiration and settings for many of his novels.
Typically, Blake can be found relaxing in the RV or by the fire with his laptop and their Jack Russell Terrier, Buddy, curled up between his legs demanding attention. Denver, their Siberian Husky mix is often asleep at his feet or playing tug of war with Blake’s husband.
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To celebrate the release of A Long Way Home, Blake is giving away a paperback or e-copy of the release! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
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