There is only one thing that has always kept lonely Derek O'Reilly dreaming of better days: His neighbor, blue-eyed bad boy Nicolai Lund. Nick is everything Derek needs and fears ... As years go by and life unfolds, Derek and Nick will collide and divide many times, but nothing can tear them apart. The Red and Blue Chronicles box set contains five novels that combine to tell the story of their enduring love.
Contains the stories:
Split: Weeks before Derek O'Reilly's engagement party to Nathan, a chance meeting with his first love, bad boy Nick Lund, catapults Derek into the past. But Nick isn't that young rebel anymore. He's a man hardened by invisible scars, struggling with grief. As Derek reads through his childhood diary, he realizes what Nick was to him, still is today, and yet might be ...
Blue Awakenings: After a decade of bar tending in resorts, Nick checks on his best friend David in Vancouver, only to learn David is dying. He knows his place is at David's side until the end. When it's over, Nick promises himself he'll never love anyone. Until, five years later, Derek O'Reilly, that redheaded kid he used to know, walks into Nick's restaurant and ignites his passion once more.
Red Dreams: One thing Derek has always searched for, is perfection. But marriage is rarely perfect and Nick Lund isn't a myth, but a human being, faulted as anyone. Nick is ready to forsake his restaurant Split and the city life he loves to win Derek's trust again. Derek is convinced that a quiet existence in the burbs is the solution to all of their problems. Or will it be the biggest mistake of their lives?
A Purple Winter: A near-fatal motorcycle brings Derek O'Reilly's life to a grinding halt and as he sinks into a coma, his mind travels back to that long ago winter when he first met his husband Nicolai Lund, the bad boy next door with the arctic blue eyes ... But Derek must choose between remaining lost in his imagination or coming back to Nick, to love him in the here and now where forever truly exists.
Persimmon Kiss: A year has passed since Derek's accident, and he still battles with brain injury symptoms. When Nick is called abroad on business, their friend Myles agrees to step in and help. The two men want what's best for Derek, but soon, they discover that they're not rivals, and what's there between them is echoed in Derek's heart. Can they let go of their fear and allow this new love to unfold?
EXCERPT FROM "Split"
Finally today, Nick and I were together again. I decided to take the vacation time they owed me at work and use it to get my life in some kind of an order. Today was Monday and Split was closed. When Nick called, I threw my coat on and left the condo without even turning the lights and TV off.
This afternoon, we lay in bed together.
"Don't squirm so much."
In that parallel universe disguised as a loft on Du Port Street.
"It tickles." I twitched.
"No ... be still." Nick's mouth, softer than cashmere, moved across my stomach. His eyes, like two giant Ulysses butterflies fluttered above my skin, spying on me. "Feels nice, no?"
I closed my eyes. "Yes."
Nick believed that sexual desire was strongest at the edges of our erogenous zones, and he was demonstrating the power of his theory. When his lips skimmed my inner thigh, I let out a small groan.
Silence was key. Had to hear and feel every breath. "Sorry," I said.
Nick flashed a smile and tucked a loose strand of hair behind his ear. "It's okay." He stretched out next to me, nestling his face into the fold of my neck. "You're still too focused on what your cock wants."
I laughed. "Oh yeah?"
He kissed my ear. "Yeah ... I don't know, something feels tense in there." He'd gently pushed his finger into my stomach.
My body stiffened against my will. "Sorry," I said weakly. He was right. I was tense.
"Would you stop apologizing all the time?" He lifted his head and looked straight at me. "It's nasty for your health."
I tried to smile. "Sor --" I stopped. "I mean ... okay."
"Hey, look at me." Nick's blue stare leafed through the most hidden pages of my heart. "Why did you beat yourself up that day? Remember? You hit yourself."
I nibbled on my lip. What could I tell him without revealing everything?
"Why?" he insisted softly.
I shrugged. "Does -- doesn't ma -- matter."
"No, don't say that."
"Please, Nick." I was going to come apart. I was going to tell him that I was madly in love with him then and still was today. "I need to leave it alone. It feels so much better when I leave it alone."
Nick was watching me with tender eyes. He kissed my forehead. "I've been thinking about you lately. And all my fucking sauces have been splitting." He sighed. "O'Reilly, everything you don't say to me speaks to something good inside my heart. Something I thought I'd choked. Something I thought I'd lost forever."
"And was it that? What happened to you, Nick?" I wrapped myself around his beautiful chest and squeezed him almost desperately.
"I just --" but he stopped himself.
"Tell me." We faced each other, staring in each other's eyes. "Talk to me, Nick."
"I want to. I -- I really do." His face was so sad. "But every time I come close, something chokes me. I can't talk about it." He inhaled sharply and shook his head. "I can't, O'Reilly. Not right now."
I caressed his face. "Okay. Okay." I hesitated and then said, "Nathan wants me to go to Milan with him. I have to give him an answer."
"Of course." Nick curled his fingers around a strand of my hair, raising it to the pale light filtering through the room. "He'd be fucking crazy not to want you there with him. Every day. Every night." His voice shook. "He'd be a fool not to want to wake up to your wicked green eyes. Those eyes that probably make him feel like he's paid his dues. Like he's finally done with living off God's fucking redemption crumbs." He tensed. "Are you gonna go?"
My pulse flew into a rage. "No, Nick. I won't go. I won't marry him, because I love --"
"Don't, O'Reilly. Not now. Please. Don't say it now." Nick's eyes darkened with pain. "Not right now."
"But I --"
"Look, I need to take care of something. It's something important. I'm going to be out of town for a few days. I don't have a choice."
"Please just hold me."
I did. I held him all afternoon, and then I watched him sleep, making silent promises to him.
Whatever had happened him or whatever he'd done, I wouldn't leave him. Wouldn't forsake him.