Length: 17,809 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Sometimes love finds you even when you’re not looking for it.
At 47, Oren Walker isn’t looking for love. When he knocks on Pete Higgins’ door, all he wants is to thank him for helping his mom after she broke her femur. He never expected that one look at the man would make his knees weak and heart flutter.
Pete is happy—albeit a bit lonely—after divorcing his wife of 20 years and isn’t looking to replace her. But when Oren shows up, all grateful and handsome and in that fancy suit, the longing for the deep connection of a relationship flares up inside him.
As the leaves turn yellow, Oren and Pete spend a lot of time in honest conversations. Their attraction grows. Will the two men recognize the promise of new beginnings, and take the chance to find the happiness they both deserve?
It's been nearly three weeks since Mom's accident -- and the leaves are more yellow than green but the heat still refuses to let go -- when my phone rings just as I'm on my way back to my office after a long, infuriating meeting. I don't recognize the number but accept the call. "Oren Walker."
"Oren. Hi. It's Pete. Pete Higgins. Your mom's next-door neighbor."
"Oh, hey!" I would be lying if I said I haven't thought about him these last few weeks. In the shower, before bed, while having my morning coffee. He's hot enough to set fire to my pants, but that's only part of the appeal. Mom hasn't stopped talking about him since her accident; about how gentle he was when he helped her. How considerate and thoughtful and nice he was when she was hurt and scared, and in the days that have followed.
Of course, I noticed all his good sides myself, those few minutes we spent together, and he hasn't been far from my thoughts whenever I've had a free moment.
"I'm sorry to disturb you at work," Pete says.
"No problem. I just got out of a meeting with some very upset people and could use a friendly voice right now." I close my office door behind me and throw myself onto my chair. "What can I do for you, Pete?"
"Nothing urgent. I just needed to tell you something."
"Shoot." I lean back and close my eyes, rubbing my temples with my thumb and index finger, trying to fend off the threatening headache.
"I just wanted to let you know that I interfered with your mom earlier. She was on her way to the grocery store. On foot, with her crutches, and I managed to catch her when she hobbled past my house."
I groan. "Oh my God, her stubbornness is unprecedented."
"Yeah, I hear you, man. I had to sweet talk her forever before I managed to convince her to go back home. The thing that persuaded her was when I lied and told her I was on my way to the store myself so I could pick up whatever it was she needed."
"I don't understand. I bought everything on her list the day before yesterday."
"Nuh-uh. You forgot the chocolate chips. She couldn't bake cookies for the church bake sale on Sunday. It was a class one disaster and I'm surprised she didn't call 911."