Happy Anniversary to JMS Books! Ten years is quite an accomplishment, and I feel honored to be one of the many authors whose works are published here. I’m in very good company if I do say so myself. With JMS Books, you know you’re always going to get great queer stories.
I got my start writing way back in fifth grade, but it wasn’t until I found M/M romance (back in 2009) that I finally found my niche. I’ve been published now for almost seven years, and a good chunk of those years have been here at JMS. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to try my work, I offer you this exclusive flash fic so you can try my style on for size. My entire backlist is published here, so you can jump in and pick up any of my titles right through the site, on sale today!. (And hey, if I’m not to your liking, there are plenty of other authors to choose from!)
I looked up from my laptop, where I’d been so absorbed in my work I hadn’t seen the man approach my table in the café. But the moment my gaze caught his, I sucked in a breath. He was beautiful. Breathtaking. His dark hair lay in a carefully styled swoop over his high forehead, and his deep brown eyes were rich enough to get lost in. He was perfect. But then again, he always was.
“I’m sorry,” he said, with a sheepish grin and it somehow made his features even more endearing. “I know this sounds like a pickup line, but have we met?”
I could only stare, because I hadn’t expected to see him here. Not like this. I’d been waiting, of course. I was always waiting. But it never failed to take me by surprise.
“Do you mind if I sit?” He pulled out the chair without waiting for my answer and lowered himself into it gently, then set his mug on the table between us. “I swear, I don’t usually do this. I’m never this forward when I see a good looking guy, I promise. But I caught sight of you when I came in, and I kept looking over while I was ordering my coffee. I just can’t shake the feeling we’ve met before, but I can’t remember. So have we?”
He was rambling, but he always did when he was nervous. Or unsure. Or when he was excited. I was pretty sure this moment was a mix of all three. It took me a few seconds to get my brain online again. When I spoke, my voice was low, gravely, full of emotion I tried to squash. “Yeah. You could say that.”
He squinted, confusion all over his face. He leaned in a little bit. “Would you say that?”
“Yeah.” I blew out a breath, and even though it was presumptuous, I took the chance. There were two ways this could go. Either he’d remember right away, or I’d have to spend the next however long chasing after him until he did. I took a slow breath, in and out, and then gently touched my fingers to the back of his hand.
A beat passed. And then another. I was holding my breath, waiting. He frowned, his brows drew together, and he started to pull away. But with from one heartbeat to the next, he gasped and realization dawned. When his eyes teared up, it was all I could do not to throw myself into his arms. But I waited, not so patiently, to see what he would do. It felt like an eternity, but was really only a minute or two, before he turned his hand over and clutched his fingers in mine.
“Oh gods.” His voice shook, and he squeezed my hand tightly. “How long as it been this time?”
Relief coursed through me, making me weak. I had to clear my throat. “Sixty-two years.”
“You always remember,” he murmured, mostly to himself. “I never do. Not until I see you again. Not until…” He squeezed again. “It was cancer, wasn’t it? That took me in the end?”
It had eaten at his body until he was a mere shell of the glorious man he’d once been. I’d been with him every second, hiding my own pain because I’d known how scared he was. I’d had to fight his family, because they believed we were just friends. Two bachelors sharing a home so we could save cost. My family had shunned me when they found out I was gay, but we’d hidden it from his, because he couldn’t bear to be parted from them. And we couldn’t stay away from each other. He’d been so sick at the end, I’d been the only real thing in his mind.
It wasn’t the worst death we’d faced in our many lives together, but it had been horrible nonetheless. I didn’t want to relive it now. Didn’t want to remember. So I simply nodded.
“Guess that means it’s my turn to loose you this time around.” His voice was so soft I almost didn’t hear it.
I scooted my chair closer to his. In this day and age, this time around, we could be open with our affection. We’d never had that before. I was going to take every opportunity to show him. Starting now. I touched his cheek, turning his face to mine so I could stare into those eyes I loved so much. Had loved for centuries.
“Hopefully that won’t be for a very long time this time.” I leaned in further still, wanting to kiss him but holding back. I knew nothing about his current life. What attachments he might have or what his upbringing had been. There was so much to learn. There always was. I loved the process of it all, but still, it was a process.
“You always remember. I never do,” he whispered. “Why is that?”
He always asked that too. And I gave him the same answer I always did. “I don’t know, baby. But we always find each other. And that’s what matters.”
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