It’s release day! I’m writing those words a lot nowadays (a rather pleasant thing LOL). Today, Aiden and Tristan is released. It’s a collection of all the Aiden and Tristan stories – Once in a Snowstorm, The Empty Egg, Happy Endings and Just Words.
I feel like I’ve already talked about this book a lot here on the blog, so I think I’ll jump directly to an excerpt so I don’t bore you by repeating things. If you want more, you can read about the characters here and a bit about what to expect going in here.
Tristan placed the semiconscious man on one of the kitchen chairs. He seemed to wake up all right, but he still hadn’t said anything. Og was walking in circles, wagging his tail and sniffing the stranger’s shoes. The stupid dog would’ve done a happy dance if an axe murderer showed up in the middle of the night, although hopefully his barks were enough to scare away anyone with ill intent.
Tristan glanced around his cabin, trying to figure out how best to get the man warm and dry before sending him on his way. The wood-burning stove was in the middle of the room and worked as a divider between what Tristan liked to call his living room and his kitchen area—in all honesty it was one rather big room with a kitchenette in the far end. He had always thought his log cabin was big enough—at least for him and Og—but with a stranger sitting at the two-seat table, it seemed confined.
Keeping a watchful eye on his visitor, Tristan pushed the worn sofa closer to the stove. “You can start to undress while I go fetch something dry for you.”
For the first time, those green eyes seemed to realise Tristan was there. Some of the fog in them disappeared, and they widened as the man took in his surroundings.
No point waiting for a response, Tristan threw a few logs in the stove and went upstairs—in reality it was more a ladder than a staircase—to find some clothes for the man. The upper floor consisted of one tiny room, where he had to crawl over the bed to get to the other side. It was impossible to walk around it; the angled ceiling was so low, the only place he could stand without banging his head was in the middle, but it was enough for him. He didn’t need more than a place to sleep.
He ruffled through the pile of clean laundry he kept on a chair in the corner of the bedroom. He didn’t have a closet; he hadn’t seen the need since he moved in here, seven years ago. All his clothes fitted on a chair, so why bother building a wardrobe? It wouldn’t fit in this room anyway.
He found a pair of dark-blue sweatpants and a cotton jumper, a pair of cotton socks and a pair of boot socks to go over them—the guy could keep his own underwear on or freeball. Tristan would not be lending a pair to a complete stranger.
He returned downstairs to find Og with his head resting in the stranger’s lap, gazing into those emerald-green eyes. Tristan shook his head at the dog and addressed the man, who seemed more alert now, although he was still out of it.
“Why haven’t you undressed? You need to get out of those clothes.” If he sounded annoyed it was because he was. He’d been looking forward to a night in front of the TV, sprawled on the sofa with Og. Now he had to take care of an imbecile in designer clothes who thought a stroll in a snowstorm was a splendid idea.
Tristan clenched his jaw and watched the man slowly raise his hands and look around him in confusion. “Come on, get going.”
“Erm…” The man started coughing. “Who are you?”
Tristan wanted to roll his eyes, but he didn’t. “I’m the superhero who saved you from freezing to death in the snow.”
“Oh…” The man’s hands shook as he tried to grip the little metal tag on the zip of his jacket—his too-thin jacket.
Tristan sighed. He wasn’t normally a bastard, but something about this man infuriated him. Without another word, he placed the dry clothes on the kitchen table and started to undress the stranger. He could hear his teeth chattering even though he had his mouth shut. A pang of worry went through Tristan. He had to get him out of his wet clothes and onto the sofa in front of the stove.
Tristan worked quickly; he needed to get something warm inside the man to raise his core temperature. Soup, Tristan thought. He’d bought a three-pack of instant soup a while back—mushroom, if he remembered correctly. Why, he didn’t know. He hated instant soup. It tasted like flour. Perhaps he should cook some broth. He had some root vegetables and venison, but it would take too long. Later, maybe.
The skin on the guy’s hairless chest was so cold it almost hurt Tristan’s hands to touch. He didn’t touch more than necessary, but the buttons in the thin cotton shirt wouldn’t unbutton themselves. What the hell possessed someone to go walking in a blizzard without adequate clothing?
Tristan stretched his back and handed the dry jumper over. “Put that on and take off your jeans. They’re soaked.”
Tristan put the sweatpants on the kitchen table and turned to go find the soup. The stranger wasn’t moving, never mind putting on the jumper or sweatpants. His gaze was glued to his screaming-red hands.
“Hey!” Tristan snapped his fingers, and those green eyes met his. “Put the jumper on.”
The man nodded and raised his arms in an uncoordinated manner. Tristan held in a sigh—it wasn’t the man’s fault he was frozen to the bone…or wait a minute, yes it was! He reached for the jumper anyway and pulled it over the man’s head. The dark locks had dried somewhat, and a few of them bounced as his head slipped through the neck of the jumper.
Tristan tried not to notice the bouncing curls or the green eyes. He had tried not to notice things like that for the last seven years, and he would continue trying not to notice them in the future as well.
In one harsh movement, he yanked the man into a standing position. He unbuttoned the fly, not noticing how the few hairs on his lower abdomen caressed his knuckles as he tackled one button at a time. When the buttons were done, he grabbed the waistband and pulled. The wet fabric clung to the man’s slender hips, bringing the light-blue bikini briefs with them on the way down. Tristan looked away. He did not want to see shrivelled bits. One glance told him that shrivelled as they might be, they were still mighty fine dangling right in front of his eyes.
Daring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden Evans has ever done, but he can’t stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won’t look down on him. He might not find that at his mother’s place, but it’s better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.
Tristan Gardner is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man’s good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man’s good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.
Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan’s judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won’t have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden’s mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?
Contains the stories “Once in a Snowstorm,” “The Empty Egg,” “Happy Endings,” and “Just Words.”
Contemporary M/M Romance: 46,142 words