Here Without You (Cooper’s Ridge series Book 2)
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♥♥ HERE WITHOUT YOU ♥ ♥
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♥♥ COVER REVEAL ♥ ♥
#Gayromance #ménage #Comingsoon
Archer Hawkins and Mallory Halston literally run into each other and a true love story is born. Archer pursues Mallory with absolute determination making him fall hook, line, and sinker.
“I really would like to get to know you, Mallory.” His voice husky in my ear. “I don’t think it’s a good idea, I’m sorry.” I’m already kicking myself for turning him down. “That’s okay, I’ll ask again tomorrow, and the day after, I’ll get you to say yes in the end.”
But just when they’re about to get everything they ever hoped tragedy strikes leaving Mal alone and adrift. Putting his past behind him Mal stumbles upon Cooper’s Ridge. Changing his name to Carter, he takes a chance, becoming a bartender at The Last Drop Inn, and embarking on a new life.
Local attorney, Dan Mortimer, has finally found and captured the heart of Cooper’s Ridge’s newest resident, Carter.
“I was coming in to see you, and maybe get you to agree to dinner with me. C’mon Carter it’s only dinner, I’m a nice guy I promise.”
But when Dan’s college friend comes to town to recuperate after a horrible car accident, it seems the most important men in his life may have something to answer for. And just how far will an evil, conniving, homophobic mother with a vendetta go to bring them all down?
Here Without You is a gay ménage story with plenty of hot sex and strong language and is therefore suitable for readers aged 18 and over.
“I would have thought an important guy like you would have minions to fetch your coffee for you.” I laugh as hot coffee guy, as I now call him, comes up to the counter.
“I could, but then I wouldn’t get to speak to you, now would I?” He winks. “I didn’t see you here yesterday? I didn’t get anywhere nearly as much foam on my cappuccino from the sullen girl.”
“I don’t work here every day. I’m in college so it just fits around my schoolwork.” I blush, I didn’t expect him to notice whether I was here or not.
“What time do you finish today?” he asks.
“Why?” I carry on making his order, knowing he won’t move off until it’s finished.
“I wondered if you’d like to grab a drink or maybe something to eat with me,” he asks. I just stare at him; my mouth drops in surprise. “You’re old enough to drink?” he queries and smiles, but it’s not in condescension.
“Um, yeah, I am. But why do you want to have a drink with me? You don’t even know me.” Admittedly I’ve seen him every day I’ve been here, and he does wait for me to serve him. Letting others past until I get to him.
He laughs, and it sends shivers over my body. “I guess that’s why I would like to have a drink, to get to know you. So, what do you say?” His tongue darts out and dampens his bottom lip, and I follow the motion, unable to tear my eyes away.
“I can’t tonight. I have a study group. I go straight from here.” I hand him his drinks.
“Tomorrow then?” He leans forward and whispers, “I really would like to get to know you, Mallory.” His voice is husky in my ear.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea, I’m sorry.” I’m already kicking myself for turning him down.
“That’s okay. I’ll ask again tomorrow, and the day after. I’ll get you to say yes in the end.” With that, he winks and moves off to pay.
And he does just that, the next day, and the one after that. Then I have two days off and when I get back to work, I look forward to seeing him again, but he doesn’t show up. The day seems to drag on and on. Plus, summer has arrived, and the temperatures have rocketed, making every customer be in a bad mood. Hell, we’re all in a bad mood. I finally look up at the clock and realize I can leave. I can’t get out of there fast enough.
I rush out the kitchen door and straight into the furnace as the heat hits me in the face. Dragging my t-shirt over my head and tucking it into my back pocket, I walk away, then hear someone whistle and call out my name. Turning to the sound, I see hot coffee guy standing outside the shop front.
“Mallory.” He sounds breathless as his eyes roam over my bare chest. “What a pleasant surprise. I was just thinking about you.”
“Really? It can hardly be a surprise considering I work here.” I tip my head and look him over. He’s not all dressed up in one of his fancy suits today. He’s dressed in a cute pair of pale-blue shorts and a white polo shirt; his sunglasses are on the top of his head, pushing his blond hair away from his forehead. Giving him a much more approachable look, and a younger one too.
As I wander up the high street, I can feel a good vibe about this place. It’s quiet enough to keep my head straight, not full of the pain and sadness that have been wrenching my heart and soul. Maybe have a new start. Standing outside a bar, I notice it’s got a vacancy for a bartender hanging in the window. I wonder if they would be interested in a new face in the town. Would they trust someone that looks like me?
It’s closed so I look to see if there’s an opening hours’ notice.
I see an incredibly good-looking man walking towards me “Hey, you okay?” he asks but has a smile on his face.
“Um, er yeah, I guess. I was just looking for the owner,” I stammer, embarrassed to be questioned so suddenly.
“I’m the owner, I’m Kes. What can I do for you?” Kes smiles at me, then turns and looks over his shoulder. “I was just driving past and saw you. Are you interested in the position here?”
“Yeah, I am. I’ve not done bar work before, but I worked as a barista,” I say, thinking that working in a coffee shop can’t be that different from bar work. I try to stand straight. Losing Archer has made me shrink inside myself but for him, I need to try to straighten myself out.
“Okay, are you local? I don’t think I’ve seen you around.” Kes sounds kind but I still flinch at his question.
“No, I’ve just moved here. I’m Mal… I mean my name is Carter.” I really need to stop stuttering.
“Okay, Carter. We open at twelve, but I won’t be here till three. Can you come back then?” He looks at me and seems to be taking me seriously.
“Yeah, sure. Thanks, Kes. I’ll see you then.” I smile then he turns and walks back to the very smart, new pickup truck. I watch him drive away and wonder what to do with my time. I spy a coffee shop further down the street.
I sit quietly in the window of the cozy coffee shop. My first thought as always is to call Archer and tell him. The pain in my heart wrenches again, making my stomach twist in knots and my breath hitch in my throat. Will I ever feel any better?
I think back to over the last four weeks, the pain and emptiness inside me. Maybe here’s the chance to start again now, to be a different me. That’s why I gave the bar owner my middle name. I can be alone with my grief. Leaving the man I was with Archer behind me won’t be easy but what choice do I have? I need to start over.
Not knowing where to go or what to do, I just rode, putting miles and miles behind me, stopping only to crash out in a cheap motel. The first time I stopped, I stayed for four or five days, consumed with pain and loss. Even in sleep, I grieve for him, calling out, searching for him. I race down corridors and through doors, never reaching him. I can see him always just out of my grasp.
ღ 🌹░ ░J ░J ░ ░H░ A░R░P░ E░ R░ ░ 🌹ღ
JJ Harper likes nothing more than to lose herself in books, either reading or writing them. She spends her days dreaming about hot men and love stories, letting her imagination run away with her.
Living quietly in the South Lincolnshire countryside with her very patient husband and her uber-lazy dog she hides behind a sweet smile but really is a coffee-addicted, wine drinking, potty-mouthed girl with no intention of every growing up or growing old gracefully.
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