#WhatToReadWednesday | Friends to Lovers

Did you know that May is Date Your Mate Month? Well, it is, so I figured we’d have a look at some friends to lovers books.

I have to say, it’s not a trope I seek out. I have nothing against it, and it’s not like I never read them, but I don’t set out to find friends to lovers books. It happens by mistake LOL

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Whenever I’m thinking about friends to lovers, I’m thinking about Charlie and Anthony. I love this story.

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace!First love – coming of age – family – acceptance

When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he’s known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now – finally – the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.

Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie’s science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.

But things are changing.

Families are important, and complex. Charlie’s mum hasn’t been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.

Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?

https://books2read.com/AnthonyPace

The One That Got Away by Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban

I just remembered this one! So many years since I read it and I haven’t spared it a thought in ages, but now I had an urge to reread it. I’m pretty sure it was among all the ebooks I lost way back when, though. I’ll have a look.

David is injured, and Trace takes care of him. It’s a GFY story, but I remembered liking it a lot.

The One That Got AwayWhen David Carmichael suffers a migraine and a broken shoulder, Trace Jackson, his best friend, simply moves in to take care of him. Their easy camaraderie is threatened when David discovers an undercurrent of heat and tension flowing between them. Despite knowing his best friend is straight, David is not-so-slowly falling in love. Trace has never desired another man. He’s a ladies’ man with quite the reputation, considered a top prize around town. But his close, treasured friendship with David is intensified by the emotion and arousal, and the lure of having David so close is irresistible. Soon Trace makes it clear to David that he wants to know if they can make it work between them. Because Trace is sure he won’t ever want anyone else—he already loves David. 

https://books2read.com/TheOneThatGotAway

Hot Head by Damon Suede

It’s been years since I read this. Best friends Griff and Dante are firefighters and when Dante gets into financial problems, he suggests Griff and him make some money on a gay porn site. Had this been now and not back in 2011 or 2012 or whenever I read it, I never would have picked it up. Pornstars and rentboys are something I avoid like the plague. The glorification of that kind of life turns my stomach, but to each their own and if you like firefighters getting it on, here’s a book for ya! 😉

Hot HeadWhere there’s smoke, there’s fire…

Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.

Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together. Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?

https://books2read.com/HotHead

Dangerous Ground by Josh Lanyon

Best friends who work together. It’s Josh Lanyon, not my favourite Lanyon, but you know what you get.

Dangerous GroundSpecial Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will. And when Taylor was shot a few hours later, Will felt his reluctance to get involved was vindicated. For Will, the team and the friendship have to come first–despite the fact that he hasn’t failed to notice just how…hot Taylor is.

Taylor has been in love with his partner and best friend since they were first partnered. There isn’t much he wouldn’t do for Will–but he doesn’t know how much longer they can stay teamed feeling the way he does. Still, he agreed to a camping trip in the High Sierras–despite the fact that he hates camping–because Will wanted a chance to save their partnership.

But the trip is a disaster from the first, and things rapidly go from bad to worse when they find a crashed plane and a couple of million dollars in stolen money. With a trio of murderous robbers trailing them, Will and Taylor are on dangerous ground, fighting for their partnership, their passion…and their lives.

https://books2read.com/DangerousGround

Waiting for Clark by Annabeth Albert

Cosplay and best friends. This is cute!

Waiting For ClarkWhen Bryce Weyland agrees to go to a comic convention dressed as a superhero, the last person he expects to see is his one-time best friend (and hopeless crush), Clark Kenmore. But Clark is impossible not to notice—he’s wearing spandex tights, a rainbow cape, and the same disarming smile that haunts Bryce’s dreams.

Five years ago, they shared an ill-advised kiss that torpedoed their friendship. But now Clark has returned to Portland, and he wants nothing more than to return to the easy friendship that defined their college years. But the glowering Bryce makes it clear Clark’s mission is going to require a super-human effort—and more than a little luck.

https://books2read.com/WaitingForClark

Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis

Ah, another old one. This is a case of not only one but two people completely blind to the relationship their having. There is a lot of frustration, but I liked it.

Take My PictureAaron has no idea what he’s walking into when he shows up to pose for a famous—and famously bad-tempered—photographer. He certainly doesn’t expect to end up working as Jake’s assistant for five frustrating, thrilling, and crazy years instead of in front of the camera.

It all works until Jake realizes Aaron has become the focus of his life, a life that’s threatened when Aaron actually leaves him to start a relationship with someone else. Though it breaks his heart, Jake realizes he has to set his beloved muse free to have any chance of winning Aaron back.

https://books2read.com/TakeMyPicture

Finding Zach by Rowan Speedwell

This is a little darker than the rest. Zach was kidnapped, and it takes a lot of effort to build himself up again. It deals with PTSD and how to move on from major trauma.

Finding ZachFor five years, Zach Tyler, son of one of the world’s richest software moguls, was held hostage, tortured, and abused. When he is rescued at last from the Venezuelan jungle, he is physically and psychologically shattered, but he slowly begins to rebuild the life he should have had before an innocent kiss sent him into hell. His childhood best friend David has lived those years with overwhelming guilt and grief. Every relationship David has tried has fallen apart because of his feelings for a boy he thought dead. When Zach is rescued, David is overjoyed–and then crushed when Zach shuts him out. Two years later, David returns home, and he and Zach must come to terms with the rift between them, what they feel for each other, and what their future could hold. But Zach has secrets, and one of them might well destroy their fragile love.

https://books2read.com/FindingZach

Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Kaje Harper

We need a little paranormal representation too. I’ve listed this before, but it’s well worth the read.

Nor Iron Bars a CageFirst I was a sorcerer. Then I was a hermit. For so long—for years that seemed to go on forever—I couldn’t bear to be touched. I put up not just walls but whole stone bunkers to keep everyone out, emotionally, and physically as well. I was protected from people, from ghosts, from specters real and imagined. Sure, I was alone. But I felt safe. Only, after a while, I wasn’t sure any longer whether a totally “safe” empty life was really worth living.
Then Tobin came along. Out of the blue, out of my past, with a summons from the king that he wouldn’t let me ignore. I tried to cling to my isolation, but he wouldn’t give up on me. Tobin never believed in walls.

https://books2read.com/IronBars

Glitter by Ayla Starr

I reread this right before writing this post to see if I still thought it was as amazing as I did the first time I read it. It’s a Valentine’s letter, I’d forgotten that. I remembered it was a letter, but not for Valentine. Seriously, people, it’s a free 2.8k long story, and it leaves me blinking rapidly and with a lump in my throat. Read it.

GlitterI kept tripping over my feet, tripping over my words, and eventually gave up talking all together. You continued to smile anyway.

https://books2read.com/Glitter

All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes

Reminds me a little of Dangerous Grounds, best friends working in law enforcement. It’s not my favourite Calmes story, but I’ve been meaning to read book 2 for quite some time now. We’ll see if I’ll get around to it LOL

All Kinds of Tied DownDeputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they’ve gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.

As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn’t working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn’t work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn’t being tied down at all.
 

https://books2read.com/AllKindsofTiedDown

Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton

Again, a book I list way too often, but it’s one of my favourites.

Between Sinners and SaintsLevi Binder is a Miami bartender who cares about only two things: sex and surfing. Ostracized by his Mormon family for his homosexuality, Levi is determined to live his life his own way, but everything changes when he meets massage therapist Jaime Marshall.

Jaime is used to being alone. Haunted by the horrors of his past, his only friend is his faithful dog, Dolly. He has no idea how to handle somebody as gorgeous and vibrant as Levi.

Complete opposites on the surface, Levi and Jaime both long for something that they can only find together. Through love and the therapeutic power of touch, they’ll find a way to heal each other, and they’ll learn to live as sinners in a family of saints.

https://books2read.com/BetweenSinnersAndSaints

Eleven stories, that should last you for some time, right? If not, let’s move on to the:

Ego Wall

thewingman

A year ago, Cole Hudson got out of an abusive relationship. Since then, he’s been hiding in the kitchen of his bakery, avoiding people best he can. He prefers it there, but his best friend Gavin has other ideas.

Gavin is set on finding him a boyfriend, but Cole doesn’t like hanging around bars, and it’s precisely what Gavin has in mind. As Cole’s self-proclaimed wingman, Gavin is on the hunt for a worthy partner, but it isn’t an easy find.

Cole doesn’t want to date; he only wants to spend time with Gavin. Gavin only wants Cole to be happy. How many men flocking around Cole will he have to chase away before the right one shows up?

 books2read.com/TheWingman

kissesandcabins - small

Kace and Lukas have been best friends for over thirty years, but the last couple of years they haven’t talked much. Lukas’ girlfriend doesn’t like Kace, he doesn’t know why that is, but he’s dreading the wedding invitation or news about a baby on the way he suspects will reach him any day now.

One afternoon there’s a knock on Kace’s door. Lukas is standing outside, not to deliver a wedding invitation, but to ask if he could stay with Kace for a bit.

He is separating.

When Lukas kisses him, Kace doesn’t know what to do. He wants to kiss Lukas, but Lukas is straight, isn’t he? And even if he wasn’t, Kace doesn’t know if he can risk ruining their friendship. Lukas is the most important person in his life. He can’t lose him.

https://books2read.com/KissesandCabins

justtobreathe

Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

books2read.com/JustToBreathe

Guest Post | Perfect Rows by Holly Day

Guest-Post

I’m here as Holly today! Two days ago, you could read a quick announcement about the World Naked Gardening stories we’ve been working on this year. Yesterday, the lovely Nell Iris was on a visit to tell us all about Strike a Pose. Today, I thought I’d talk a little about Perfect Rows.

It’s all Nell and Ally’s fault we’ve written these stories. Nell thought I should write a story for World Naked Gardening Day since I write stories for strange days, and then Ally thought we all should. And here we are, five Naked Gardening stories with various amounts of gardening but all with some nudity in the garden LOL

In Perfect Rows, there is a fair deal of gardening. Grayson has ambitions. He wants to grow enough vegetables not to have to buy any during the summer. Given they have a big garden, it should be doable. 

The problem is Camden.

Cam lives in the house across from Grayson, and they share the garden. Camden is a bit of an arse – quite frankly, he’s a dick – and he has a clear idea of what the garden should look like, and vegetables don’t fit his vision. He wants pretty flowers in perfect rows.

I had a great time writing this one, but I might have allowed Cam to become a bit more of a dick than he needed to be LOL

He grabbed a lemon, cut it in half, and opened his window. If Ca

Blurb: 

Everything would’ve been perfect if Grayson Dawe hadn’t been forced to share his garden with Camden Hensley. Grayson has everything he needs in life – a job, friends, a house he loves, and a garden. He wants to grow enough vegetables to cover his needs over the summer, and he has a plan for how to achieve it. 

 Camden Hensley loves his garden. He loves beautiful flowers in perfect rows, sweet scents and buzzing bees, but his neighbor, Grayson, messes everything up. He mixes vegetables with flowers in the growing beds and is incapable of placing plants in straight lines. And when Cam pulls out the plants growing in the wrong place, Grayson snarls at him. 

 Grayson doesn’t want to fight with Camden, but he’s completely unreasonable. Cam only wants Grayson to stop creating chaos and to grow flowers instead of vegetables. Neither of them is willing to back down, and days in the garden usually end in shouting matches, at least until Grayson realizes he can shut Cam up by kissing him. But will they ever be able to agree about what plants should grow where? 

Buy links: 

Contemporary Gay Romance: 16,427 words 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/PerfectRows 

perfectrows

Excerpt:

Grayson avoided Cam for the rest of the week. He spotted him a couple of times in the garden, not working but wandering around. As long as he didn’t touch Grayson’s beds, he could wander as much as he wanted.
When Friday afternoon came to an end, Ryan suggested they’d go out for a beer. Grayson was going stir-crazy peeking out his windows all the time to see if he could spot Camden, so a beer and to be away from home for some time sounded like a good plan.
He wondered if Camden avoided him since he never wandered while Grayson was outside. He’d spent time in the garden, made plans, written down notes about what should go where, and started new seeds to have plants to fill the gaps as he harvested. A lot was going on, and while he wished he wouldn’t have to eat turnips again in a long, long time he was damn proud of what he’d accomplished. He hadn’t bought one single vegetable for several weeks, and while it irked him Cam had gotten both his carrots and his garlic, he’d make do. He’d sown new carrots, but he’d have to live without garlic, at least until September when he was allowed to buy veggies again.
Life without garlic was no fun, but a challenge was a challenge.
“Are we hitting the pub directly or are we going for the respectable look?”
Grayson grinned at Ryan. Sometimes they stopped for a beer before they headed home for the day, but today he wanted out of his work clothes. “How about a shower and clean clothes, and I’ll buy you dinner.”
“Oh, are you taking me out on a date?” Ryan fluttered his eyelashes.
“Sure, and I expect you to put out.”
Ryan scrunched his nose. “I’m saving myself for marriage.”
Grayson snorted. There had been plenty of women warming Ryan’s bed throughout the years. “I’ll ask your father for your hand then.”
“Ha! That would be the day.” Ryan grinned. “I can almost picture the look on his face.”
Grayson could too. He’d known Ryan’s dad since they were kids, and while he had no problems with Grayson being queer, he wouldn’t want Ryan to be.
“Are you coming by my place when you’re ready?”
Grayson nodded and headed to his car.
Forty-five minutes later, he was ready to go. He’d had a quick shower, had put on his best jeans and a shirt showing off his physique—though, he didn’t expect to meet anyone who’d care—and a black leather jacket. He’d gone as far as to style his hair.
Stepping out through the front door, he came to an abrupt stop. Camden was sitting on the edge of the raised bed with a bucket and a hand rake.
“You can put the weeds in the compost.”
Cam jumped and turned to look at him, then he looked some more. “Wow, you clean up nice, Grayson. Big date?”
He refused to acknowledge the compliment if it was one. “Yeah, I’m taking Ryan out to dinner.”
“Ryan?”
“Yes, Ryan. Problem with that?”
Camden looked stunned but shook his head. “I… eh… didn’t know you were gay. Or is Ryan a woman? Women can be named Ryan too, right?” A flush climbed Cam’s cheeks, and Grayson watched in fascination. Camden was flustered.
He grinned. “You know Ryan Becker. He is a man.”
“Ryan Becker. I had no idea he was… Ah, well… have fun then.” Cam looked away only to frown at the garden bed. “These.” He pointed at the spring onions. “Are they weeds?”
“No, spring onions.”
“Oh. I pulled some up.” He looked into the bucket, and Grayson tried not to growl. They were still a bit too small, but if he didn’t want them in the bed, he could at least eat them.
“It’s your bed.”
Camden frowned at him. “Yeah, but you spent money on seeds, it would be a waste to throw them.”
Grayson agreed.
“I mean I wouldn’t have placed them so irregularly, it’s too easy to mistake them for weeds, but now they’re there.” He shrugged.
“Do you ever see nature grow in perfect rows?”
“If I plant in perfect rows, it’ll grow in perfect rows.”
Grayson pulled in a deep breath and stepped away. Better to leave than fight with Cam.
“Have fun!” Camden smiled at him.
“Don’t wait up.”
“Oh, it’s like that, is it?”
Grayson grinned and shook his head. It wasn’t like that at all.

About Holly Day 

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.  

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.  

Connect with Holly on social media: 

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Newsletter 

Guest Post | Strike a Pose by Nell Iris

Guest-Post

Nell Iris is back! Today, she’s talking about Strike a Pose, and for the record, I don’t mind marble penises on covers, in rants or in blog posts LOL. Welcome, Nell!

Hi everyone and a huge thank you to Ofelia for once again letting me come for a visit and talk about my latest book, Strike a Pose. You’re most kind! 😘

Strike a Pose is written for World Naked Gardening Day which occurs on the first Saturday in May annually. I stumbled upon it somehow last year and told my lovely hostess’s alter ego Holly Day that she should write a story about it since she writes stories for all the weird and wonderful holidays out there as you know. Then A.L. Lester said we should all write stories with naked gardeners, and I promptly said yes. We enlisted a couple more people, the awesome K.L. Noone and Amy Spector, and started writing. So on May 7th, five stories with a Naked Gardening theme were released. The stories are all standalone and not related in any other way than the theme.

“Can you put marble penises on a book cover?” I asked Ofelia in the morning office one day, and I’m sure she almost choked on her coffee at my question but she’s too kind to complain. But I had a valid reason for my question. MC Didrik in Strike a Pose is a photographer, and he’s doing a photoshoot of his best friend’s father, Johan, for World Naked Gardening Day, and the theme for the shoot is statues. Didrik has Johan posing as famous (naked!) statues in his garden, so I wanted to put a picture of a statue on the cover. And for accuracy’s sake, and to connect it to the theme, I wanted it to be naked.

Hence my question.

As a Swede, I’m not bothered by pictures of genitalia (unless we’re talking dick pics: don’t send me one of those!!) like people can be, but when I browsed books about Michelangelo’s David on Amazon, he was conspicuously cropped so his marble junk wasn’t showing. It made me suspicious, which is why I asked Ofelia. She, as a fellow Swede, was on the same page as I (it’s marble, what’s the big deal?), but by then Ally Lester had joined us, and since she’s a sensible Brit she said, “you can probably not put marble penises on book covers.”

That made me sad. I had found some awesome stock photos I wanted to use. This glorious marble ass for example, but most of all I wanted this lovely, full-frontal, discus thrower. But even though Ally was adamant, I decided to ask my publisher JMS Books anyway. They promptly told me that no, you cannot put marble penises on book covers. Amazon does not approve…and they knew this from experience! 😁

But, despite not being allowed to put the full-frontal discus thrower on my cover, I’m very happy with the results. JMS Books’ cover artist, strategically put the title over the unacceptable marble body part (that was already covered, btw, here’s the original) so no one at Amazon would be offended. Everyone is happy!

Except for maybe poor Ofelia, who’s not only had to listen to me rant about marble penises on several occasions, but now I also write about them on her blog. 😁

Flaccid

Blurb: 

Didrik would do anything for his best friend, Filip, including taking pictures of Filip’s dad, Johan, for a charity calendar. Naked pictures, of beautiful, irresistible, wonderful Johan, who was single-handedly responsible for Didrik’s gay awakening. He was also happily married and unavailable…until he wasn’t.

After losing his husband five years ago, Johan finally seems ready to move on, and as they start the charity project, everything changes. With every meeting, every conversation, every pose for the camera, the attraction between them swells and grows, until it burns hot and threatens to consume them.

Their interactions, their relationship is surprisingly easy, but it’s not without its challenges. The age difference for one thing. Telling Filip for another. Is their connection enough to last? Can they overcome the hurdles to get the happily ever after they deserve?

M/M Contemporary / 17545 words

Buy links: 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Books2Read

strikeapose

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Find Nell on social media:

Newsletter :: Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub

Excerpt: 

His gaze is immediately drawn to my drawings. “I’ve been curious since last night, please tell me what you’ve got.”

I nod and launch into an explanation of how I couldn’t make any of the actual gardening themes work, how they all felt wrong. “I promised you art,” I explain, “and that wasn’t it. It felt more like something the local gardening association would do. Not that it’s anything wrong with that, but it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t right.”

He nods along with my explanation, his attention fixed on me. “So you came up with something else?”

I bob my head. “Statues!” 

“Statues?”

“Yes! I took a break from sketching because I was stuck and ended up watching a documentary about Michelangelo. The idea is that you pose as famous statues. It was David that sparked the idea—” I thumb through my sketchbook to find the drawing I’m talking about and turn it to him when I find what I’m looking for, “—like this. And then I started researching more classical statues. I found a bunch of them we could recreate. Hang on, I downloaded pictures.” 

I hand him my phone when I’ve found the folder with all the statues and watch him as he swipes through them. “There are more than twelve,” I say, “because not everyone might work. And you can pick which ones you like, and the ones you think CM would’ve liked. And of course, the ones you’re comfortable with. Or we can shoot them all and choose what pictures to include when we know how they turned out. And if you know of any statues I haven’t included, I’m open to suggestions.”

He gives me back my phone. “Show me more of your sketches.”

“I haven’t sketched them all out, but here, let me show you what I’ve got.” 

We go through all the drawings, and I explain my thought process, and he nods and hums in all the right places. He even offers some input, tapping his finger on the discus thrower. “I know a better spot for this one.” 

“Show me.” 

He stands and jumps off the porch, and I grab the sketchbook and my phone before I follow him. He takes me to a part of the garden I hadn’t paid attention to, a portion of the lawn that’s relatively free of other vegetation, and I see what he means. It’s easy to frame it like a sports field, with no trees or bushes that would catch the discus when thrown. 

“You’re right,” I mumble, and open the sketchbook to a blank page, but mutter when I realize I haven’t brought a pencil. “Let’s try it.”

“Now?”

“Mhm. I can use my phone for a test shoot.”

“Oh, okay. So what do you want me to do.” 

I grab his wrist and tug him gently until he follows me. “Stand here.” I fiddle with my phone until I find the image of the discus thrower. “Can I help you into the pose?”

“Yes.”

I proceed to mold and shape him like the statue; back arched, knees bent, his left hand resting against his right knee, and his right hand pulled back as though he’s about to hurl a discus across a field. His empty hand disturbs the vision, so I tuck my sketchbook into his hand. “Pretend this is a discus.”

He nods and I step back, crouching on the ground to see his pose from a different angle, opening my camera app to snap a few pictures to keep as a memory. I move to my left. “Look up at the discus,” I say. “You’re an athlete. A champion. You’re going to hurl that thing with all your strength and beat all the other champions.” 

He twists his head until his steady gaze is locked on the sketchbook, his eyebrows knitted together as though he’s concentrating on his mission. As though he’s mentally preparing himself for the throw of his life, and I start snapping some pictures. 

The light isn’t optimal, my camera phone is pretty crappy, he’s wearing modern clothes instead of being naked, and he’s not holding an actual discus, but none of those things matter. I can see it before me. The end result is going to be fabulous. “Yes,” I mumble. “Yes.” 

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