Sequel to A Light in the Dark
During the past year, author Christian Rivers has sold his house and moved in with the love of his life, Milestone County’s chief of police, Sheriff Philip Erickson. Things couldn't be better for them and their dog, Darth Vader.
The week before Christmas is a busy one for Christian, who is on the road for a book tour to promote his newest novel. Also, both of their families are arriving soon to visit for the holiday. This will be the first time since Philip and Christian announced their relationship that the two sets of parents will meet each other.
Whatever Christian expects Christmas to be like, he doesn’t anticipate to run into his ex-boyfriend Russ. He also doesn’t expect his sister Paula to arrive with his parents. And he most certainly doesn’t expect to hear that his beloved father is very ill.
With so many curve balls thrown at them all at once, can Christian and Philip manage to have a joyful Christmas after all? Will they start the new year with an even deeper commitment to one another, or end up on the rocks after the holidays? Where so much love abounds, anything is possible.
“I’m getting too old for sex,” Philip says to me ten minutes later when we are propped up in bed, listening to the wind thrashing the holly bushes outside the bedside window.
He sips his whiskey.
I turn to him, grinning. “Too old?”
“As old as time,” he whispers, leaning into my mouth with his boozy breath and kissing me.
I place my hands on his cheek. “Age is just a number. You’ll always be my silver fox.”
He slides a hand over mine, grinning. “I’m the luckiest fellow in the world to have someone as special as you.” He takes the last gulp of booze, swallows back noisily, and sets the glass down on the bedside coaster.
I curl up next to him. “I think you have that backwards.” I stare over at my handsome man.
“I just never thought --” The words trail off and then he says, “So, how was your day?”
I turn to him. “What were you going to say?”
He closes his eyes and his head falls in front of him, as if the alcohol has already taken affect. A few minutes later, he looks up at me and manages a weak smile. “I just don’t know what I would do without you. You make me happy to come home every night.”
I slip my fingers through his thick mane of greying hair. “I am the lucky one.”
His head falls across my shoulder, and his warm body curled up against mine is comforting.
“Life is good,” he says, pulling the comforter around us.
The buttery glow of the lamplight spills across the room and envelops us in its homey warmth. The rich cherry wood walls enclose us. I hear the wind pick up and rattle chimes on the back porch.
“Thanks again for lunch today,” Philip says. “It hit the spot.”
After a long pause, Philip says, “I apologize for what happened this afternoon with Deputy Samson. It won’t happen again.”
“I’ve known Mark for years. Growing up in a narrow-minded family is never easy. I think we can both relate to some degree.”
“It doesn’t excuse his behavior on the job. He was out of control. He stepped over a line he should not have crossed.”
I cannot help but smile at Philip’s compassion. “Mark had a rough childhood.”
“It’s inexcusable in the workplace. We all need to take responsibility for our own actions. Deputy Samson chose not to exercise those rights today.”
“You’re sexy when you get riled.”
He gazes at me. “Does it really turn you on?”
I nod. “Very much.”
Our lively laughter jolts Darth awake at the foot of the bed. Sleepy-eyed, he pops his head up at us.
In the next ten minutes, we settle down. We listen to each other’s deep breathing. I think Philip is asleep when he doesn’t answer me. “Philip, hon, is something the matter?”
He shifts under the comforter. “Huh? I’m sorry. I’m just tired. Long day.”
Sucking in a breath, he groans, pulling me under his arm. “I don’t know what’s happening to our nice little town.”
Tucking my face in the crook of his arm, I rake my fingers through his chest hair. “What happened?”
“In the last few days I can’t tell you how many traffic stops have netted a handful of heroin and cocaine arrests. These are twenty-something year old kids, mostly boys, who are dealing drugs. Really potent stuff.” He pauses. “The drugs are being smuggled in through the Canadian border.” He shakes his head. “It’s a shame that these young people will be spending their lives behind bars.”
“I didn’t realize things were so dismal.”
“There’s no silver lining. I don’t see it getting better.”
I say, “Not to change the subject, but --”
“Please do. I don’t want to talk about work anymore.”
“I’m afraid my news is just as grim.”
There is a hint of amusement in his voice. “Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.”