When author Christian Rivers meets Milestone County's Sheriff Philip Erickson, a spark of attraction flickers between them. The three stories in this collection fan the flames of that attraction, and the love Christian and Philip share blazes within these pages. Contains the stories:
A Light in the Dark: Author Christian Rivers has ended a five-year relationship with his boyfriend, Russ, but is suddenly propelled back into "the scene" when he phones Milestone County Sheriff Philip Erickson about an animal cruelty case. What follows for both men is surprisingly satisfying.
Winter's Light: A week before Christmas, Christian and Philip move in together. Balancing a relationship, a book tour, the approaching holiday, and the imminent arrival of in-laws, he also juggles the hassle of running into his ex-boyfriend and dealing with his sister, who shows up uninvited. Will new year start with an even deeper commitment to one another, or end up on the rocks after the holidays?
Heaven's Light: Christian receives the phone call he's been dreading for six months. His father has died. Flying home to Arizona with his husband Philip, Christian arrives in Glendale to a family in chaos. Fraught with his own demons, will Christian be strong enough to solider on and battle the challenges that await him when he arrives home to say a final goodbye to the man he called Dad?
EXCERPT FROM "A Light in the Dark"
Amused, I think back to when I interviewed the sheriff for a double homicide on the south side of town during my second year of living in Milestone County. It was a hectic week atThe Milestone Review and I was running around town questioning witnesses to the murders, trying to keep levelheaded.
Sheriff Philip Erickson and his young deputy were the official chiefs on the case and I had my hand on something more than a hot story during that busy afternoon. But I didn’t know it at the time.
Sheriff Erickson, a brooding, virile presence, put me at ease, answering my questions professionally and with straightforward candor. He treated me with respect. But it wasn’t until he asked me to join him for a cup of coffee down at the police station and thank me privately for my investigative reporting on the double homicide that I knew I felt differently about him. The way he winked at me and when he shook my hand after the interview, his handshake lingered for a tad longer than expected. But I squashed the silly idea because of my loyalty and love for my then boyfriend, Russ.
Philip’s voice jerks me out of my daze. “I lost you again,” he says taking a step over the threshold, back into my shut-in life.
I have to look up to meet his eyes. “Sorry. My mind is elsewhere tonight.”
The weight of his right hand on my shoulder reassures me. “Everything will be fine. You know where you can reach me, if need be.”
I nod and my movements feel stilted.What a dork I am.
“Even if you feel like just talking,” he says. “Call me.”
He removes his hand and I feel naked and alone. I watch him turn and stroll to his car at the foot of the driveway. His body sways lithely like he is dancing with himself in the dark.
When he reaches the end of the drive, he stops, turns, and says, “By the way, Chris, I enjoyed your book recommendation of Anne Perry’s new novel.”
His words transport me back to the time when he had waited in line for almost an hour at our local bookstore, The Book Nook, for a signed copy of one of my books. I had seen him staring at me from the back of the long line. And when he finally reached me at the table where my books were being displayed and autographed, our gazes locked. It felt like a familiar flicker of energy swelling through my body, as if we had known each other for a long time.We are not strangers. His smile was warm and pleasant. He was out of uniform, wearing a polo shirt and tight fitting jeans, worn-out at the knees and buttocks, and I noticed his hands were soft and clammy when he brushed my fingers as we passed the books.
Now, I cock my head to the side and stare at him in the dazzling light of my front porch. The burden I’ve been feeling lately suddenly lifts like fog. I recall the recommendation I made in the book column I write every month for our local newspaper,The Milestone Review, along with the occasional front-page feature story.
With that, I wave and thank Sheriff Erickson for his house call.
“Get some sleep,” he yells back.
And before I close the door and slip between the flannel sheets for a good night’s rest, I get the impression Philip wishes I had offered dessert with coffee.
He’ll never know, but our thoughts are one and the same.