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Winter Storm by April Kelley - FINAL PART & Giveaway

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Josh Ainsley is one of those teachers who goes above and beyond. When he agrees to deliver a day’s worth of homework to a student’s house, it’s not exactly out of character. So what if the student’s father is one of the hottest people Josh has ever seen? Operation homework drop turns into a rescue mission when he gets caught in a snowstorm and subsequently snowed in with one sexy dad. Who says good deeds go unrewarded?

Chapter Five

Max found Josh sitting at the kitchen table with his hands around his mostly empty cup of coffee. He sat down at the table in the chair next to Josh. As soon as their gazes met and Max smiled, a pretty blush covered Josh’s cheeks, but he returned the smile.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t intend for the drama. Asking you out should have been easy.” Max rubbed his finger along the back of Josh’s hand. Even in a small way, the need to connect with Josh had taken over until the touch came naturally, almost without thought.

“A lot of parents wouldn’t have had a conversation with their child. I appreciate the fact that you did.” Something had changed. Josh guarded his emotions for reasons Max didn’t understand.

Max planned on ferreting out the reason before going back into the living room. “Ari is my priority.”

Josh nodded, and for the first time since Max sat down, Josh smiled. “That’s a very good thing.”

“The winter storm seems to have made more than just driving difficult.” Max moved his hand away from Josh, stopping the touch.

Josh drew his eyebrows together. “What do you mean?”

“Just that being in the same space has complicated things.”

“It’s not the storm that’s complicated.” Josh sighed. “Look, I get that you’re perceptive enough to know I’ve been in here thinking.”

“Yes.” Max stood and grabbed the pot of coffee, holding it out, silently asking if Josh wanted more. When Josh nodded, he poured more into his cup before returning the carafe to the machine base. When he sat at the table again, he kept his hands under the table in his lap. “And you came to some sort of conclusion.”

“No. But I do have questions.” An assertive Josh was Max’s favorite.

Max leaned back in his chair, curious to know where Josh would take the conversation. “Fire away.”

“I don’t do casual, especially a man with a kid. Is that a problem?” Josh gave him a pointed look.

“I haven’t dated anyone since Lenn passed away. I know we only just met, and I’m not trying to take things further than they need to go, but I know I like you enough to want to go on more than one date. I can’t promise more than that right now, but since we’re stuck in the same space for at least one night, probably longer, we’ll get to know each other quicker than most.” Why did he suddenly feel as if they were negotiating terms? And why did he like it so much?

He expected Josh to fall into Max’s arms, saying he would love to go to dinner the first time Max asked. Maybe that made him arrogant, but he hadn’t meant it that way. He didn’t think he was so gorgeous or had such a winning personality that anyone, Josh included, would do whatever Max wanted. But Josh’s reaction toward him was unmistakable. The cute way he turned shy at times totally gave him away.

So no, he hadn’t expected such directness or the twenty questions that made a dinner date more complicated than it really should be.

“Am I in competition with Lenn?”

That got Max’s attention, and he didn’t like the implication. He took a couple of deep breaths before he answered, collecting himself. The more he thought about it, the more he realized Josh didn’t mean any disrespect. It also took guts for Josh to ask.

“You’re not the other man if that’s what you’re asking.”

Josh nodded. “It is.”

“I won’t lie and say I won’t always love him. He deserves more from me than to pretend otherwise. But I’m not so narrow minded as to think I can’t love someone else.” Max leaned forward with his elbows on the table. “I’m not making some weird, inappropriate declaration, either. What I am saying is you are someone I want to get to know better. And I’d like to do that in a more traditional way.”

For the first time since Max walked into the kitchen, Josh gave him a genuine smile. “Not stuck together because of a blizzard.”

Max took Josh’s hand. “I don’t mind being stuck with you.”

“I don’t either, although I would have liked enough foresight to grab my face cream this morning. My face will be all dry tomorrow morning.” Josh shook his head. His bottom lip poked out.

Max chuckled. “You’ll still be just as pretty without the lotion.”

Josh blushed, and he averted his gaze. “Thank you.”

“So, dinner on Saturday? If the weather clears.”

Josh leaned forward until they were inches apart. “Is Ari watching the movie?”

“It has his whole attention.” Max laced their fingers together.

“Good.” Josh closed the distance between them, pressing his lips to Max’s.

Max shut his eyes when his senses went into hyperfocus. Josh’s lips were soft, and he tasted like coffee. He smelled like vanilla as if he had just made cookies. It all added up to Max falling into Josh.

God, maybe he really had been arrogant in his own appeal because it wasn’t Josh who followed his lead but Max, eager as a puppy, panting after Josh. And that had been the truth of things from the first moment they met. Max just hadn’t wanted to admit it because doing so meant he had to think about emotions he had buried when Lenn died.

He had unpacked a few feelings already, but the kiss allowed him to spill it all out on the floor. He might not be ready to sort through it yet, but he would over time because he meant what he said. He wanted to get to know Josh better.

With the snow piling up outside and the wind creating blizzard conditions, Max was more grateful than ever that nature took them both on a journey together.

The End


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Thank you for reading Winter Storm, a MM small town romance novella. If you liked the book, please take the time to review it.

Don’t miss April Kelley’s next release, A Tarnished Strength. It’s the fourth book in the Pickleville Series.

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COPYRIGHT (c) 2020 by April Kelley

Cover Art by Once & Books

Cover content is for illustrative purposes only, and any person depicted on the cover is a model.

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the author’s written permission.

Published by Hard Rose Publishing

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

the author

April Kelley is an author of LGBTQ+ Romance. Her works include The Journey of Jimini Renn, a Rainbow Awards finalist, Whispers of Home, the Saint Lakes series, and over thirty more. She’s a main contributor at Once and Books. April has been an avid reader for several years. Ever since she wrote her first story at the age of ten, the characters in her head still won’t stop telling their stories. If April isn’t reading or writing, she can be found taking a long walk in the woods or going on her next adventure.

If you’d like to know more about her work, visit her website and sign up for her newsletter https://www.authoraprilkelley.com/.

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