28 June 2017:
For this week’s edition of the MidWeekTease, http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/, I have an excerpt from This Time For Keeps, a contemporary m/m gay paranormal:
This Time For Keeps
by Christiane France
by Christiane France
Josh and Pete were always breaking up and getting back together. The last time it happened, they swore their ten-year affair was over for good. Although Pete moved out, and Josh took a job overseas, Josh figured it was simply a matter of waiting to see who gave in first--the same routine they’d gone through a dozen times before. Except Pete didn’t call, and when Josh tried to contact Pete, it turned out both of Pete’s numbers had been disconnected. He tried telling himself Pete had found someone new and moved on. But ten years is a long time--too long to just dismiss like it was nothing. If Pete no longer cares, then Josh needs to hear that from Pete in person. Determined to find out the reason for Pete’s silence, Josh returns home to the mind-numbing news that Pete is dead--he was killed two months earlier when he tried to stop thieves from stealing his car. Josh is devastated, but as he begins to pick up the threads of his life and move on, he gradually comes to the realization that death doesn't always break the bond between two people who were destined to be together forever.
Closing his eyes, he put down his bags and breathed in the well-remembered scent of home…except, for some reason, it didn’t quite smell the way he remembered or expected. His eyes snapped open and he looked first into the living room on his left, down the hallway to the kitchen, and then up the stairs to the floor above, half-expecting to see Pete sitting there on the top step, laughing at him.
But Pete was dead. Josh knew that as surely as he knew Mrs. Vincelli had given the place a thorough spring-cleaning after Pete moved out, and that she’d done her usual weekly cleaning right before he left for Europe. He’d also left a message on her phone a few days ago, said he was coming home, and asked if she’d air the place out and freshen it up a little.
There was plenty of evidence to show she’d been in because all the polished surfaces were dust free, and he could detect a faint odor of the cleaning product she used on the kitchen and bathroom floors—a product strong enough to remove any and all odors.
So why could he still smell Pete’s aftershave, and Pete’s cedarwood shower gel, and everything else Pete, including the god-awful stink of his filthy old running shoes after he’d been for his morning run along the edge of the lake? Especially as Pete had taken all those things with him when he left.
Feeling a little shaky and off balance, he sat down on the bottom step of the stairway and ran a hand through his sun-streaked, dark blond hair.
He knew what he thought he could smell could only be an illusion. Partly reaction from the shock of hearing about Pete’s untimely death, and partly from guilt because he’d been thousands of miles away in Europe while Pete was being sliced and diced by a couple of druggie thugs. He knew he had no real reason to feel guilty. He and Pete were adults who’d argued one too many times and made the rational decision to part on the grounds they’d had enough—that what they both wanted was a quiet and peaceful life, the one thing they hadn’t been able to find together no matter how hard they’d tried
Except, despite everything, you know damn well chances were good the two of you would eventually have gotten back together. You’d done it before—so many times you’ve lost count. You had too much history together to throw it all away— too many things you’d shared…the good times and the bad times, the thrill of success when you both got to the top of the heap in Milan, and again when the business finally began to turn around.
Then the awful pain of the final parting…the way you felt that morning when you awoke to find Pete had packed up and left in the night without a word of explanation—pain that had been only slightly alleviated by the fact you knew damn well all you had to do was pick up the phone and talk him around…
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