Whenever I come to the end of a year, I look back and contemplate the events of my life over the past twelve months. The great moments take center stage like actors battling for the spotlight. I settle in and watch the show, grateful for the experiences that have made the year so special.
I know, however, that the hard times of the year are waiting in the wings to chase the greater moments of the year offstage. They, too, want to be remembered, and like all actors in a play, they deserve their time in the spotlight.
When those moments finally play out in the stage of my mind, I don’t lament their existence or boo them till they finally give up and slink offstage in defeat. I embrace these moments and learn from them, and I promise to do better and to be better in the next year.
That’s why New Year’s Eve means more to me than just ringing in a new year at a grand party with fireworks and good alcohol. It’s about the potential for renewal. It’s a symbolic day in life, when we are reminded to cherish those we love and who love us and to look forward to the potential of the new year.
That’s one of the reasons I set New Year’s Eve as one of the major settings for the characters in my novel 3. For Justin, Spencer, and Dutch, the day holds special significance that is both romantic and bittersweet. For on that day, love magically brings a couple together, plucking them from a sea of horny partygoers and depositing them into each other’s loving arms. Ten years later, the events on New Year’s Eve profoundly rewrite the lives of three men, and Justin, Spencer, and Dutch must decide to either embrace or discard the universe’s plans for them.
The main characters in 3 have a lot of growing to do, and a lot of crap that they must clean up in their lives and with each other before they can ever hope to be happy, if that’s still even possible.
But on New Year’s Eve, anything is possible!
Justin Jimenez has loved his partner, Spencer Harrison, for ten years. He’ll do anything for him—including bury his feelings for a man he met while he and Spencer were separated last year. Justin never planned to fall in love, and he certainly never planned to tell Spencer about it—but when a phone call wakes them in the middle of the night to inform Justin that his former lover, Dutch Keller, has been in an accident, he doesn’t have a choice.
Justin’s revelation shatters the fragile relationship he and Spencer were trying to rebuild. The weight of his guilt—both for hurting Spencer and for leaving a heartbroken Dutch to find solace in a bottle—crushes him. But what Justin doesn't know is that Spencer and Dutch guard an explosive secret of their own. All three men are tangled in a communal web of lies, and unless they find the events in their lives that ultimately led them to friendship, passion, and betrayal, they won't see the love at the heart of the pain.
Justin scanned the crowd and saw him, leaning against the far wall with a pink Cape Cod in his hand. He was muscular and rugged, and way out of Justin’s league. Well-sculpted arms and shoulders framed the black shirt. Even at a relaxed stance, his biceps and triceps were clearly defined. Justin hated him for that. He had been working on his arms for months and had yet to develop such muscle tone.
The muscle shirt also clung to his body as if the fabric was wet, and it revealed an absence of love handles on his tightly packed form. Small, perky nipples poked out from the cloth, and the shirt’s fabric ended about an inch before the jeans began. A treasure trail of hair started at his navel and disappeared beneath the waistband of the jeans. Just below the waistband was a package ready to be delivered.
“Do you see Puka Shell Boy?” Xavier asked.
“Yup,” was all Justin could say.
“Then go get him.”
Justin swallowed hard. This wasn’t going to end well. The image of a B-52 going down in flames flashed before him.
Then he noticed Puka Shell Boy’s friend.
His friend was a few inches taller than both Puka Shell Boy and Justin. If he had to guess, he would put him at almost six feet tall. Sandy-blond hair lay perfectly manicured and parted to the left. Longer strands of hair curled inward at his cheekbones and lightly kissed the most unbelievable alabaster skin Justin had ever seen. His skin looked smoother than silk, as if a sculptor had spent hours chiseling the precious stone into perfection. Draping his skin was a green short-sleeve button-down, neatly tucked into his dark-blue denim jeans. The shirt was fitted but not painted on him like Puka Shell Boy. His lean body resembled a dedicated runner and was neither waifish nor frail.
Then Justin noticed his eyes. Dark-green tinted eyes decorated his features, magically cutting through the dimly lit bar and outshining the sparkling disco ball. They weren’t a green he had seen before. He had seen light green and even olive green eyes, but these eyes looked to be made of jade. They were a deeper, richer green hue than he had ever seen before in his life. They looked exotic and expensive, found only in jewelry from a faraway Asian country like China or Japan.
They were breathtaking. Justin didn’t understand how people were walking by him and not staring into those eyes. He could stare at them for the rest of the night.
“What’s the matter with you?” Xavier asked. “You’re standing there with your mouth open like a fucking retard.”
“He’s so beautiful.”
“No shit!” Xavier exclaimed. “Think of him as my New Year’s present to you. You just have to close the deal.” Xavier put his arm around Justin’s neck, Xavier’s sign of friendship and love. “By the end of the night, Puka Shell Boy will be on his back looking up at you, or you know, looking down at you on your back.” Xavier then pushed Justin forward. “Now, hurry up. It’s almost midnight.”
Justin didn’t know what came over him. All it took was a simple shove, and he was crossing the room toward the stranger with the perfect skin and the amazing green eyes. He felt drawn to him, as if he were caught in an unbreakable gravitational field.
Puka Shell Boy noticed Justin coming first. He elbowed his green-eyed friend and flashed a disinterested grin, most likely thinking Justin was coming to talk to him. He wasn’t. Puka Shell Boy no longer existed in his world.
As he approached, the crowds around him got louder. Apparently, the stroke of midnight was approaching. Someone was speaking on a microphone, most likely the drag queen hostess for the night’s festivities, but he couldn’t make out what she was saying. All he could see were the green eyes and the white skin pulling at him like the moon pulls on the ocean.
“Ten, nine, eight…”
Closer still he drew, passing by couples with their arms around each other, preparing for their New Year’s kiss.
“… seven, six, five, four…”
Six feet from the most beautiful man he had ever seen, Justin found he was holding his breath. He had to remind himself to breathe for fear that he would pass out only a few feet away from his intended. Up close, his eyes were more radiant than from across the room. Flecks of gold glinted within the green irises.
“… three, two…”
Then he was standing before him. Puka Shell Boy leaned next to his friend, amazed that he wasn’t the object of Justin’s attention. He whispered something in his friend’s ear, but his friend wasn’t paying attention. He, too, was staring straight at Justin.
“… one ….”
Justin reached up and put his left hand around the green-eyed beauty’s neck. Pulling his head toward him, Justin crossed the remainder of the distance.
Their lips met, and the world suddenly came crashing back to life. Noisemakers exploded throughout the club. People were yelling “Happy New Year,” and confetti and glitter were tossed about. The DJ began playing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Through the noise, the revelry, and the singing, the two never stopped kissing. Their tongues jostled in each other’s mouths as they each inhaled the other’s hot passionate breaths.
Never had Justin been more excited about a new year.
You can buy 3 at Dreamspinner Press
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