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When Fate Falls Short
Childhood sweethearts Nathan Maxwell and Sean Adams took ten years to realize they belonged together, followed by ten years of bliss. When it is snatched away, Sean is left alone with the aftermath. Lost and grieving in a world that doesn’t make sense without Nathan by his side, he struggles to keep himself afloat… until he meets Jesse Lawrence.
The shadow of a congenital heart defect has hung over Jesse like a dark cloud all his life. Nathan’s death saves Jesse’s life—providing the heart Jesse needs to survive—and a chance encounter between their best friends plants Jesse in Sean’s orbit. But how well can a love triangle between a dead man, his grieving lover, and the one with his heart beating in his chest possibly turn out? Real feelings and pure intentions might not be enough.
I’m so excited to be here, promoting my novella “When Fate Falls Short” with Dreamspinner Press! I’ve never been involved in the promotion side of things before so this has been just as nerve-wracking as it has been exciting. Rather than going into detail about the long, convoluted process that was writing “When Fate Falls Short” I will just say that it was an absolute labor of love. For such a comparatively short story, it took an incredibly long time to come together.
Instead of a plot, I started with the characters. Sean and Nathan’s story spilled out onto the page like someone was dictating it to me bit by bit. I didn’t know where it was going yet and when tragedy struck, I felt a little like I’d been hit by a speeding car as well. I had to put it aside for a few months after that because I was so stuck in Sean’s grief that I didn’t know where to take it from there. The idea of Jesse was only a vaguely-formed shadow somewhere in the back of my mind until I came back to the story after looking at the criteria for Bittersweet Dreams submissions. It became apparent as soon as I started writing again that Sean had some tough lessons to learn, as did Jesse, and that their ending wasn’t going to be a traditionally happy one.
I am so glad that Dreamspinner have a line like Bittersweet Dreams that acknowledges and even celebrates that there’s a painful kind of beauty in the endings that don’t fit in the HEA pigeonhole. For a writer like me, someone who thrives on pushing characters to the very brink to see what they’re really made of, it allows so much more freedom than the traditional romance genre. Don’t get me wrong, it can’t be all angst all the time and I’m a sucker for the fluffy happy endings too but the ones that leave you hanging, getting lost in all the possibilities and ways it could go – those are my favorites.
Regardless of how it ends, love is one of those things that people will never stop writing and reading about. Most people spend their whole lives searching for a love like the one Sean loses in this story and, even though most of those losses won’t be quite so tragic or compounded by a mess like the one he found himself in with Jesse, lost loves are one of those inescapable rites of passage. Whether it was a first love, a soul mate or anything in between, what love of yours pops into your head when you think about what might have been?
I’m offering a $5 DSP credit to a randomly selected winner from the comments, and as a sign-off, here’s an exclusive excerpt for you all!
Sean’s never felt jealousy like he does when Erin Cartwright materializes out of nowhere in the middle of the school year and hits it off with Nathan like no one’s business.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he says when Isaac calls him out on acting like a jerk. “I trust Nate absolutely. It’s her I don’t trust. She zeroed in on him the second she saw him, not a word of a lie.”
“She’s a transfer, idiot,” Isaac says and punches him in the shoulder lightly. “And everyone in our year except Nate comes off as a jerk on first impression. He literally introduced you to her as his boyfriend. Do you remember that?”
Sean bursts into the Maxwells’ entryway in late May, almost beside himself. By the time he reaches the living room, he can see Nathan sitting on the sofa with Tania perched beside him, wielding an ice pack and a wad of bloodied tissues like weapons. He can’t see Nathan’s face, but Tania looks disgruntled enough that it calms Sean down just a little.
Nathan’s decidedly swollen eye, split lip, and bloodied mouth have the opposite effect when he turns his head enough for Sean to see.
“Jesus Christ,” Sean hisses and stumbles around the back of the sofa until he’s crouched in front of Nathan. “What the hell happened to you?”
Nathan stares at him out of his one clear eye. “What do you think?” he asks, but his bottom lip is so swollen and cut up that it comes out more like a slurred wadyuthi that he immediately winces after.
“Nate,” Tania says firmly. She glances sideways at Sean. “He’ll be fine, sweetheart,” she assures him. “It’s just bumps and bruises. Not even concussed.” She flashes a halfhearted grin back at Nathan. “There’s something to be said for your hard head, after all.”
“Who was it?” Sean demands, and it takes a mammoth effort to keep his voice from cracking at the sight of the already faintly purple hint to the swelling around his eye. “Was it those guys from the game who tried to get into it with us?” A lump grows in his throat. “Nate, you can’t keep doing this—”
“Hey,” Nate says and reaches out to catch Sean’s shaking hand with one of his own. He shakes his head. “Nothin’ t’do w’you,” he says around a lopsided, painful smirk.
“I think you two have some talking to do.” Tania dumps the ice pack and wad of tissues next to Nathan as she stands up. She presses a kiss to each of their foreheads before leaving the room.
That night finds the two curled together on Nathan’s bed. Sean takes gentle appraisal of the damage with his fingertips. “I can’t deal with the thought of you getting hurt because people don’t think we should be together,” he says quietly. “Nate, I can’t do that to you.”
Nathan groans and flicks him on the nose before rolling over in protest. “Shuddup.”
Sean laughs, equal parts frustrated and adoring, and crowds up against Nathan’s back. He kisses the bare skin of his shoulder and sighs. “Love you.”
Nathan’s response is lost to his swollen lip, but Sean gets the gist.
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Meet the author:
Author, dreamer, fangirl and foodie - twenty-something Brooke Edwards will always call Australia home no matter where the wanderlust takes her. Her tertiary education bounced from history and linguistics to criminology and history and even went as far as nutrition and sports/exercise science. Making ends meet through a similarly wide variety of jobs from education, retail, fitness, hospitality and finance means she never has any shortage of inspiration for characters or their adventures. Writing, closely followed by the culinary arts, has been her longest-running and most consistent passion and her greatest dream would be to one day not have to do anything else but write. Until then, she can probably be found in a caffeine-induced haze either behind her computer or in the kitchen.
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