Betting on Forever
Published ~ 17 November 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
A weekend fling in Atlantic City couldn’t be more out of socially shy Zach Cohen’s comfort zone, but a bet with his best friends forces him to put aside the humiliation he’s hidden for years and step away from behind his computer screens and online world. When he meets Sam Stein, despite their spark, Zach expects nothing more than a night of passion and a kiss good-bye. Yet weeks later, he can’t keep the man out of his head.
After a split-second decision with tragic results ends his twenty-year police career at the same time as his relationship falls apart, Sam Stein is drifting through life. At his best friend’s urging, he agrees to a trip to Atlantic City to clear his head. What Sam doesn’t plan on is meeting Zach Cohen, whose sweet nature and honesty has him thinking maybe he could move forward, until Zach leaves him without explanation, reinforcing Sam’s belief that people can’t be trusted.
Well-meaning friends refuse to let Zach and Sam hide from each other, forcing them to realize their weekend was much more than a one-night stand. Before that can happen, Zach must come to terms with his past and stand up for his own independence, while Sam has to learn to take a chance and believe in himself and people again. All bets are off when dreams become reality, and forever doesn’t seem to be long enough.
::: REVIEW :::
I could be a totally new Zach. Someone who wasn’t afraid to take risks; someone willing to have fun and be daring.” He looked down at his lap. “Someone people would notice.”
None of this made sense to Sam. “But why? You’re a young, incredibly rich, good-looking guy. Why do you think you need to pretend? Any guy would be lucky to be with you.”
The compliment didn’t bring a smile of thanks or even a blush of self-awareness. Zach’s expression grew gloomier, and he stood, then walked to the windows.
“Perceptions rarely mirror truths. What you see isn’t how I see it, and it isn’t how most people have seen me all my life. I’ve never been confident about anything, except my abilities in school. And when you’re ten and never picked for sports or thirteen and never invited to any parties, a pattern is set for the adult you’ll be. The one on the sidelines; always there but never seen. When you’re an invisible kid, you tend to grow up to be an invisible adult.”
How wrong he’d been about Zach from the beginning. And knowing how sweet and kind a soul he was, Sam hurt for the young boy Zach had been and the sad and lonely man who stood before him.
“Is that how you see yourself—invisible?” Sam followed him to the window and placed a hand on his shoulder but made no other move.
“It’s how I’ve always been. Marcus always tried to include me, but—”
“You know what?” Sam slid his arm around Zach, turning him so that they faced each other. “You think too much about Marcus.” Sam took Zach’s glasses off and placed them carefully on the table. “You talk too much about him too. Want to know what I see?”
Zach blinked and nodded.
“I see a guy who’s kind, smart, and tenacious. A man who isn’t afraid to search out what he wants and go after it.” Sam leaned down and brushed Zach’s lips with his own, smiling at the sigh of pleasure from Zach. He pulled off his tee shirt and unbuttoned Zach’s shirt so their bare chests pressed against each other. Sam pushed Zach’s shirt off his shoulders so it fell to the floor, then slid his hand up Zach’s back, as warm and soft as he remembered. His fingers splayed out against skin, muscles, and bones, and he held Zach close. It was as if his hands were made to touch Zach. The feel of his skin was everything right and perfect.
“Don’t ever pretend with me; there’s no reason to. I’m not interested in someone who hangs out at the clubs and parties all night.” He buried his lips in Zach’s hair, his hands smoothing down the curvature of Zach’s spine until he dipped his fingers to gently touch below the waistband of Zach’s jeans.
Meet Felice Stevens
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.
But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.
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