If you woo, win, and walk away, a second chance is going to cost you.
Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.
Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. When Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben, even as Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and farther out of reach.
Everyday History, a romance told with Alice Archer’s unique style and lush prose, was named a Top Book of 2016 in the HEA USA Today column Rainbow Trends.
Originally published in 2106 by Dreamspinner Press.
First the sounds, small and new. Rain and wind beating against a wall of windows. The soft tic of the radiator. The distant click-whoosh of the gas oven cycling on. The turn of a page.
Then the smells. Baked apple. The indefinable scent of Henry, learned over the course of a year of internship at the museum, during heady seconds of devised nearness before Henry stepped away. A complex, natural smell, intensified in Henry’s apartment.
And then touch. The heavy warmth of the blanket covering him. Dampness at the front of his pants. Tightness absent from his shoulders. Solid thigh against his feet.
The sound of another page turning.
The combined sensations of joy and sadness rising in Ruben’s chest make him open his eyes and sit up.
“What’s this?” he says. “Did I sleep through to our tenth anniversary? Who drugged me and turned me into a guy who naps after a first go?”
Henry laughs and says, “Good morning.” A little joke, as it’s pitch black outside. Henry stands up to check on whatever’s in the oven.
“What did I miss?” asks Ruben. “Wait…. God, I’m starving. Damn it. I missed dinner, didn’t I?” He sheds the blanket onto the couch and walks to the dining table, which is set for dinner.
“It kept,” says Henry. “Here. Take this.” They pass the warm dishes to the table—soup, rice, stir-fried chicken curry and vegetables. Henry points to a beer bottle and Ruben nods.
As he sits down, Ruben notices the kitchen clock. Ten minutes after ten. Of course he’s hungry. Ruben chats them through their nervousness as they eat. Wanting Henry to put his nap in context, Ruben makes sure to mention how much partying he’s been doing in the few days since he returned home from his summer away.
He needs Henry to know how grown-up he is.
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Alice Archer has questions. Lots of questions. Scheming to put fictional characters through the muck so they can get to a better place helps her heal and find answers. She shares her stories with the hope that others might find some healing too. For decades, Alice has messed about with words professionally, as an editor and writing coach. She also travels a bunch. Her home base is Eugene, Oregon.