He fell from his ivory tower and landed in the gutter.
But Sebastian would rather be homeless and hungry than clueless.
On his way to the food pantry, a guy on his cell phone runs into him and triggers his prickly side. As a sign of goodwill, Louis offers to cook for him. But all Sebastian sees is the privilege he used to have.
This isn’t a fairytale. Louis isn’t Prince Charming. And Sebastian can make it on his own.
But it’s been days since he’s had a hot meal. And a blizzard is coming.
Will Sebastian’s pride be his appetizer?
[Sebastian & Lewis chat at the food pantry, where Lewis is dropping off a donation and Sebastian is trying to find food to get him through a blizzard. Sebastian is prickly, defensive, and not at all making this easy for the kind, generous Louis.]
Louis peered into the meager supplies stashed in Sebastian’s cart. Sebastian wanted to hurl his body over it so Louis couldn’t see what he’d subsist on for the next few days. He nearly did.
Damn pride was one of those things that was still held over from his Upper East Side days.
But he resisted, even if Louis may have witnessed the slight flinch.
Louis smiled, warm, in a way that made Sebastian really look at him for the first time. He was graying at the temples, just a bit, but he looked young. Like he’d just walked out of a spa. Everywhere but around his eyes, that was. There he looked older. He’d lived through some shit, and it had changed him. He’d earned those crow’s feet and that crease between his brow.
“Look, I clearly fucked up with you. I’m on my own this Christmas. It’s the first holiday I’ve spent alone since . . .”
“I’m spending Christmas trying not to freeze to death in this hellish storm that’s coming through,” Sebastian admitted, much to his chagrin. Deflect. Make a joke. Do something so you don’t seem pathetic! “But the cold is bound to make sleeping outside a workout. Hence the protein in my cart. I’m protein loading. It’s the new diet. I might gain five pounds of muscle if I’m lucky.” He finished with a chuckle, a little nervous but genuine.
This time when Louis smiled, it was with his whole face, like he thought Sebastian was adorable or funny. Maybe this interaction would end up on Louis’s Instagram, a photo of canned food lined up on the pantry shelf, a gritty black-and-white filter with a smoky vignette, and he’d get a thousand likes for sharing his story about his encounter with a homeless kid. Maybe that’s all this was to him. A game.
“You’re funny,” Louis said. “I like your dark humor. It’s necessary when times are shit, but few understand that. But it gets us through, lets us know we’re not going fucking crazy.” He licked his lips, and Sebastian couldn’t help but track the movement. He even mirrored it.
What the hell is happening?
“And you’re cute,” Louis continued. “Really cute. You remind me of one of my first kisses, actually. I’ve never forgotten his face.”
Not at all what Sebastian expected. Louis was pinging straight, straight, straight, but apparently that wasn’t right.
“And if I didn’t know your answer would be an absolutely not, I’d invite you home with me where I’d cook my dad’s famous blue crab recipe for you. And no, I’ve never offered this to anyone in my entire life.” Louis shrugged. “But alas, I bid you adieu, Bash. Eat up.”
Sebastian was speechless. And when Louis took his thick, warm, made-for-cold-winters coat off and wrapped it around Sebastian’s shoulders, the world blinked out for a second.
It even had a hood.
And in the blink of an eye, Louis was out the door, leaving only frozen wind in his place.
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
⇒ $20 Amazon gift card
⇒ 2x ebooks (winner’s choice) from Posy’s backlist
Posy Roberts started reading romance when she was young, sneaking peeks at adult books long before she should’ve. Textbooks eventually replaced the novels, and she somehow existed without reading for fun. When she finally picked up a romance years later, it was like slipping on a soft hoodie . . . that didn’t quite fit right. She wanted something more.
She wanted to read about men falling in love with each other. She wanted to explore beyond the happily ever after and watch characters navigate the unpredictability of life and create a happy home. So Posy sat down at her keyboard to write the books she wanted to read.
Her stories have been USA Today’s “Happily Ever After” Must-Reads and Rainbow Award finalists. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s spending time with loved ones and doing anything possible to get out of grocery shopping and cooking.