Winter Storm by April Kelley - PART 2 & 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?
During the school day, the snow had fallen hard and heavy and the air grew colder. By the time Josh walked across the parking lot, a few inches had fallen. Someone had plowed the lot, moving around the cars as best as they could but it left deep snow to drive through still. The road commission had the plow down as he drove by, clearing the road, probably not for the first time, and they would make a couple of more passes before the evening.
Josh pressed the button on his key fob to unlock the door once he was close enough, trying to hurry across the lot. The wind blew snow and ice around, stinging his face, which was the only exposed skin. Everything else was covered and while he wasn’t toasty warm underneath his clothing, they would do long enough for the car’s heater to kick in. The problem wasn’t exposure while walking. No, his biggest challenge would come when he drove out of here.
The whiteout conditions wouldn’t make it easy and he feared it would cost him more time than normal. His stress level would go through the roof, too. He had driven in similar conditions before. A person didn’t live in the Midwest their whole lives without doing so at least a few times, but no one wanted to risk life and limb. They did so because they had no choice. Or limited choices. For Josh, it was live in the school for the next two days, possibly longer, depending on how long the storm lasted, or drive home while the roads were still marginally passable.
When Josh pulled open his car door, he nearly fell inside in his haste. He practically threw his book bag in the passenger’s seat. Shaking from the cold, he put the key in the ignition, turning it. Then waited a few minutes, letting the car warm enough for him to turn on the heater. If he turned it on too soon, it would blow cold air inside the cab and cause Josh’s blood to freeze even more.
While he waited, he thought about calling Ari Weaver’s dad and cancelling. He knew their house was on the way, but the storm might make the detour more challenging then it ordinarily would have been. Some of those side roads could be very snow covered and hard to get down. But was he projecting? Maybe he would see how the main road was up to the Weavers’ road and call if he thought he couldn’t make it.
He would rather not cancel if he didn’t have to because Ari needed the work. If the weather woman was right then they would have at least a couple of snow days and then the weekend. Ari would be able to finish his work without getting behind in that amount of time.
And maybe Josh wanted to see Mr. Weaver, aka Max. The attraction was there on his side, but was it just him? It was something he would like to find out and to do that, he needed to have another conversation with Max. It wasn’t exactly a hardship to see him again. He just didn’t want to risk his life doing so.
With his gloved fingers crossed that the plow guys were keeping up and the wind wouldn’t blow snow around until he couldn’t see the road, he turned on the heat full blast, put on his seatbelt, and put the car in gear.
The main road through Winterport wasn’t terrible, although there was a moment when he passed the grocery store that he had to slow to a crawl because a blanket of snow obscured his path and he wasn’t sure how close the car was in front of him. He thought he was far enough behind, but defensive driving meant he had to expect everything and what if the driver had stopped completely?
But no. It was a nonissue. Josh drove out of it and didn’t have any major trouble all the way through town. It wasn’t until he started out of town where houses had turned to open fields and there wasn’t anything blocking the drifting snow that Josh had issues. He had to drive around the bigger drifts and at one point he couldn’t tell where the road even was because the wind blew the snow until it covered a large section. Nothing anyone could do about it until the storm cleared, including the road commission. Josh thought for sure he would get stuck, but he turned the wheel in the right direction, and didn’t slow down.
He managed to make it past the veterinarian clinic and the horse stables. The tricky part would be the fields on either side just beyond that. Josh scanned as much of what was behind him as he could see in the rearview mirror. When he didn’t see another car, he slowed down, giving himself time to plan a path through, anticipating having to dodge and weave snowdrifts.
He knew he had made a mistake slowing down as soon as a big gust of snow-filled wind slammed into his car, obscuring the road. With the thick snow already in place and not being able to see anything in front of him, there was no way to avoid the deep snow.
As soon as he thought to stop, he hit something solid.
He sat with the car still in drive but not moving. He’d never really had a panic attack before, but he was pretty sure that’s why his heart beat so hard, until all he could hear was it and his own breathing. He gripped the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles were white.
He couldn’t see anything but white outside the window, which made him think perhaps he hit a big drift.
His hand hurt when he peeled it off to move the gear shift into reverse and pressed on the gas. He sent a prayer in the universe that his car would move but it went unanswered. Or if it was answered, it wasn’t one he liked because his car didn’t move.
He sighed and put the car into park.
Now what did you do?
The way he saw it, he had two choices. He could call emergency services for help or he could call a tow truck to pull him out. Either way, he would probably have a long wait, which meant he needed to call Max Weaver and let him know he wouldn’t make it. He should have called from the school.
He would call a tow truck first and then call the Weavers.
With that in mind he fished around in his bag for his phone. His whole body shook, and he fumbled around inside his bag. He had to take off one glove before he found the phone. He looked up a tow company first and called. Thankfully, he wasn’t in one of those no service zones so it was a quick phone call, even if they couldn’t promise him a time when they would get to him. It seems he wasn’t the only one in need of help and, with the weather so difficult to get around, everything would take longer.
At least help was on the way.
As soon as he ended the call, he reached into his bag’s front pocket and pulled out the paper where Max had written his number. He dialed and waited.
“Hello.” That definitely wasn’t Max, but he recognized Ari’s voice well enough.
“Hello, Ari. This is Mr. Ainsley. How are you feeling?”
“A little better. Dad said you were bringing my homework.”
“I intended to, but I won’t be able to make it.”
Josh heard Max Weaver’s deep voice in the background right before he spoke into the phone. “Josh. Are you alright?”
“Yes. Yes, I’m not hurt or anything. But I am stuck pretty good. It looks like I won’t be able to make it.” Josh’s voice shook as the last of the panic left him. Something about Max’s voice made him feel as if he weren’t as alone.
“Where are you?” The take charge tone must have been why he felt a little bit of calm during his time of stress.
“Just past the stables. I’m not sure if I’m on the road or not. The wind is fierce. Can’t see a thing.”
“I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
Before Josh could tell him that he already called for help, Ari came back on the phone. “Dad told me to stay on the phone with you.”
“I appreciate it, Ari. But can you tell your dad that I called for a tow truck, please.”
Ari must have been close to where Max stood because when he spoke his voice sounded as clear as if he were talking to Josh. “Mr. Ainsley said to tell you he called for a tow truck already.”
“What are the rules of being in the house without an adult, Ari?”
“Keep the doors locked. Don’t go outside unless the house is on fire or whatever. Don’t open the door for anyone. Microwave only. Emily can’t come over.”
“I’ll be back in less than an hour. Keep Josh on the phone until he tells you I’m there.”
“That’s Mr. Ainsley’s first name, Ari.”
“Mr. Ainsley has a first name?”
Max chuckled. “Everyone has a first name.”
It was a couple of minutes before Ari spoke to him again. “You still there, Mr. Ainsley?”
“Dad will save you.”
Josh closed his eyes and sighed. “I appreciate it.”
To Be Continued… on the 11th of December
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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.
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.
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