For today’s author chat, I’m welcoming Bree Cariad, the inspirational and sweet romance “persona” of author Thianna Durston. I’m in awe of any author managing multiple pen names with all the attendant mailing lists, promotional avenues and social media accounts, but this isn’t what Bree and I will be talking about. Not today, at any rate, because Bree has a newlove story, Light in the Dark Night, to shout about. And here’s Bree…
Lord, help me. I think I’m falling for a straight guy.
One genre that doesn’t get used much in M/M Romance is Inspirational. In most M/M Romance, religion is painted with a black brush. A little over a year ago, I was bit by a plot bunny for a short story for Dreamspinner Press’s One Pulse Anthology. That plot bunny led to a novel – this novel: Light in the Dark Night. I’ll admit, releasing this book is more nerve-wracking than any other book I’ve ever written. But it’s also one I love more each time I read it.
This is a novel about hope, about belonging, and about coming to terms with who you are. One of the two heroes – Reverend Jonathon Neiland – spends every day fighting for the LGBT teenagers in his charge. As a gay man, he knows what they are up against and is doing his best. Sometimes his best is good enough. Other times, he feels he’s failed them. He has a strong, unbreakable belief in his god—you could say that is his pillar. Everyone needs something to hang onto… especially when a wonderful straight man is thrown into his path. He doesn’t want to lose Brecker’s friendship, but he also wishes for more.
Light in the Dark Night is the 1st novel in the Love Conquers All series. I classify the LCA series as Love Stories instead of romances as they don’t necessarily follow romance tropes.
Light in the Dark Night
Reverend Jonathon Neiland gets his wish a decade in the making and finally the Paul D. Regelo Center for LGBT Youth is up and running. He knows things will never be easy, but then he never expects them to be. All he asks is that the Lord be on his side while he takes care of his kids.
Court Brecker has been through his own brand of hell and strives every day to be the best he can be, but he never expects to find a runaway on the streets, nor to take him to Jonathon’s center. Never one to get in too deep with anyone or anything, to his surprise he finds himself enjoying his time both with Aiden and Jonathon. They develop a deep friendship and for the first time in his life, he has someone to rely on who also relies on him.
While Brecker tries to understand the new feelings he’s battling, Jonathon runs into more and more stress, especially when Aiden is removed from the shelter forcefully. He’s never doubted that the Lord has a plan for them and when they are attacked from without and everything seems dark, He opens the door to show them the light.
Excerpt from Light in the Dark Night by Bree Cariad
(Jonathon is at Brecker’s apartment watching a game on television)
Brecker looked over and smiled. Jonathon’s heart sped up as he looked at him. He’d never felt anything like this. Ever. What he’d felt for Paul had been passionate and fun and all the emotions of a young man. The reactions he had to Brecker were much more intense. Fuller, with more depth than he imagined existed. Mature emotions that hit him at a level he’d never realized were there. Brecker was handsome and stunning physically, but it was the inner man that pulled at Jonathon like a magnet. He had lived and experienced and rose above much of his youth. And yet he never denied it. Instead, he embraced that as part of who he was.
Aiden was right. The man was a hero.
A hero Jonathon wanted to kiss.
“Want some more lemonade?” Brecker asked, breaking him out of his reverie.
“Water would be good.”
“One water coming up.”
After Brecker disappeared into the kitchen, Jonathon sent out a quick prayer.
Lord, help me. I think I’m falling for a straight guy. He’s wonderful and you used him to help make the shelter the success it is. But he’s coming to mean more to me. I think it’s probably just from years of abstaining from dating, but I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t pull away from the friendship as explaining it would make things worse. And the fact is, I don’t want to pull away. But I can’t keep this up. Someday I’m going to lose control and kiss him out of the blue and that’s going to make it worse. So much worse.
Before he could continue, Brecker walked back in, two tall glasses of ice water in his hands. Once he sat back down and tuned into the game, Jonathon finished his prayer.
I don’t want to lose his friendship, Lord. It’s as good as the one I have with Rolf. Please help me figure out how to beat the attraction. Amen.
Brecker hollered something and Jonathon looked at the television. His mouth dropped open. “Did that player just run off the field?”
“Yep. His coach is going to ream him a new one. Nobody was even close to tackling him.”
A buzz from his pocket jarred him out of starting to laugh. He’d never seen the likes in such a big game. High school, yes. College, no. The caller ID was Rolf’s and worried something had happened, he answered quickly. “What’s wrong?”
Rolf grunted. “Have you looked out of a window lately?”
“Uh….” Jonathon looked over at the wall of windows, but they were frosted a bit. “No. Should I?”
“I would. I’ll wait.”
Jonathon rolled his eyes and walked over to the windows. He used his sleeve to wipe away some of the condensation. “Whoa.” The snow had definitely continued. He couldn’t see the cars. They were white lumps.
“Yeah. The weather service says we’ve received three inches in the last hour and could receive up to ten more overnight.”
“I’ll head out now.”
“No,” Rolf said firmly. “The police have asked for people to stay off the roads. Find a motel to stay at and come home tomorrow after the roads have been cleared.”
“Are you all right?”
“We’re fine. Everyone’s accounted for, though keeping them out of the sheer amount of snow has been fun. Driving home now would put you in danger. So stay safe and call me before you head out tomorrow.”
“Will do. Thanks for calling.”
He hung up and leaned his forehead against the icy glass. It helped to wake him up fully. Jonathon turned around to find Brecker watching him.
“The snow fell more than expected. Rolf says the police want us to stay off the roads. I need to find a motel for the night.”
Brecker grabbed his remote and clicked over to a local news station which was all about the weather. It looked far worse than Jonathon expected. The images on screen showed dozens of cars off the road. “So far,” a female voice said, “there have been two dangerous accidents. The state police have asked that everyone stay where they are. Yes, road crews will be out plowing the roads, but they need them clear just in case emergency vehicles have to get through. So again, stay where you are and buckle down. The local YMCA and YWCA announce they have set up shelters to house anyone in need….”
“Geez,” Brecker murmured. “There’s no way you can head out now. But there’s no reason for you to find a motel. The sofa turns out into a bed and it’s not bad. I’ve slept here a couple times when I was tired and the bed seemed worlds away.”
Jonathon wasn’t sure how to respond to that. This was not the answer to his prayer he’d been looking for. Trapped with Brecker in his apartment overnight? He gulped.
About Bree Cariad
Bree Cariad is a best-selling inspirational & sweet romance author. Xe identifies as non-normative, multi-gender and believes in love in all forms and that happily ever afters come in many ways. Whether in a romance or a non-romance, in xys stories, love conquers all.
While xe enjoys the xe, xys, xem, xemself pronouns, xe isn’t sussed about it. Call Bree she, he, or xe. As xys gender identity is fluid, odds are you’ll get it right some of the time 😉