Okay, so the groundhog doesn't really fit with Valentine's Day. (Though apparently he's predicting an early spring, which is never a bad thing in my opinion.) But Valentine's Day is a time for love, affection, and relationships.
It isn't usually a time for first dates, but that's what happens when Trey Damone and Jeremiah Crawford schedule their first date without looking at the calendar. Trey and Crawford (he prefers his last name) meet at Dunkin Donuts at the beginning of my February 15 release Chance Met, and feel an instant connection, helped along by Trey's six-year-old son Mikey. Mikey is psychic, like Crawford, and insists to his father that Crawford is "nice." Crawford wants to help the little boy learn to cope with his psychic abilities, but he also wants to become part of Trey's life because he's interested in Trey.
Chance Met will release February 15 from MLR Press.
Who would think that a child’s wish for hot chocolate would change lives? Jeremiah Crawford didn’t expect anything but coffee when he walked into Dunkin Donuts one morning. But a little boy catches his attention–along with the boy’s father. When he realizes the boy, Mikey, has psychic abilities like him, Crawford wants to learn more about him. And more than that, he wants to learn more about Trey Damone, Mikey’s father.
Trey has kept secrets of his own. Mikey’s mother’s family is looking for Mikey to make use of his abilities, which Trey has forbidden his son to speak about in public. And Trey himself is a werewolf, changed only a month earlier. But he’s tired of carrying the secrets alone. Can he trust Crawford enough to let the man into his life?
rey took a long drink of the soda he’d ordered. Crawford had expected him to ask for beer or a mixed drink, but Trey had said he didn’t like alcohol. He glanced down at the placemat for a moment, then at Crawford again with something approximating a smile. “It’s been a rough few years. Adjusting to being a father was hard, especially when Mikey’s mother decided not to be a full-time parent. She left him with me and showed up once in a while to visit.”
“At least she left him with someone who took care of him.” Crawford took a sip of his rum and cola. “And that was a stupid thing to say. I’m sorry.”
“It wasn’t stupid.” Trey’s smile became a bit more genuine. “With all the horror stories people hear, you’re right. I am glad she at least gave me a chance to try with him. We lived together off and on, when she wanted to be more a part of his life. She knew I was gay—well, bi, I guess, since I did have sex with her. I prefer men, though. It wasn’t a problem for her. I think it was for some of her family, but she never told them who I was, so they couldn’t track me down and try to take Mikey.”
“That’s good.” Crawford couldn’t even begin to comprehend the prejudice and hatred that would go into taking a child away from their parent solely because of the parent’s sexual orientation. He was glad Trey hadn’t had to cope with it.
“She, um, died. A while back.” Trey took another drink. “I wish I could have something stronger right now. I hate even thinking about this.”
“We don’t have to talk about it,” Crawford said quickly. The other man’s sadness had increased, and Crawford almost cried for him. He definitely didn’t want to cause Trey any pain.
“It’s all right.” Trey ran his hand over his face. “Mikey misses her. So do I. We would never have worked romantically. I can sleep with a woman, but I can’t have a relationship with one. I’ve tried, and it just doesn’t feel right. But she and I were friends, and obviously we shared a child. It was hard when I found out she’d passed.”
“I can imagine.”
“And then we had to move to Boston, and I left my boyfriend behind.” Trey picked up his napkin and fidgeted with it. “The relationship didn’t end well. I couldn’t tell him where we were going, so I just ended it, and he wasn’t happy.”
“Why couldn’t you tell him?” It was none of his business. If Trey wanted him to know, he would say something, but Crawford didn’t have the right to ask.
Except he wanted to find out everything Trey was willing to tell him. Trey had mentioned neighbors who watched Mikey, so he obviously knew some people in the area. Maybe even well enough to talk to about personal things. But Crawford had the sense Trey had been carrying some of those things alone for far too long, on top of raising his son and providing for him.
He wanted to help Trey carry whatever load he had.
“It sounds a little strange,” Trey said.
“You don’t have to tell me.” Crawford hesitated. “I’m starting to feel like I’m cross-examining you, and I’m sorry if it’s coming across that way. I may have mentioned how out of practice I am with this dating thing.”
Trey gave him a small smile. “Why are you asking so much? I’m not that fascinating.”
“You are to me.”
Crawford should have regretted saying it. It was one of the sappiest things to come out of his mouth yet. But he had no regrets about speaking the truth. He didn’t only want to help Trey. He wanted to be near him. To talk to him. To just look at him.
If he was falling for the guy, he would never hear the end of it from Joel. Hell, he would never let himself hear the end of it. And he was pretty sure that exactly what was happening. They could be friends as long as it was what Trey needed, but his feelings for Trey definitely went beyond friendship.
Trey’s smile grew. “I think you mean it. Good, because it’s going to be your turn next. I want to find out more about you, too.”
“Ask, then.” He wouldn’t hide anything about himself. He couldn’t imagine even trying.
“I’ll answer you first.” Trey took a deep breath. “No one else knows this. I don’t know why I’m telling you, except Mikey trusts you. And so do I.”
Trey nodded. “You asked why I couldn’t tell my ex where Mikey and I were going. I didn’t tell anyone, to be honest. We moved quite a distance from our old home. We had to. His mother didn’t die in an accident. She was killed because she was psychic. Her people, her family, wanted her to use those abilities for a purpose. She never told me what, but she refused. She died because of her refusal and because she wouldn’t tell them where Mikey was.”
He clenched his fist around his napkin. “I couldn’t let anyone know where we were going because they want my son. And I’ll die before I let them have him.”