House Hunt, the third installment of Jack and Gareth’s story, is due for release in just under two weeks and I feel a bit like this kitten right at the moment. Why? Because pre-orders are coming in already and I’ve started to worry. About disappointing people, mostly. And doesn’t that make me sound like a complete fruit loop?
House Hunt is my third book, but I still think it’s beyond amazing that Jack and Gareth have found fans, that people wait for the next story to come out. By the time that release day rolls around, though, I’m already working on the sequel, and going back to write promo posts and blog posts does something to my head. It’s as if I suddenly realise that there’s a finished product THAT I CAN’T CHANGE ANYMORE! For a fiddler like me, that’s a scary thought.
The Muse usually hides in fiction when I’m scared, so over the long term, that works out well. Today, though… today she decided to home in on New Year’s resolutions. Maybe because it’s almost Easter and many people will have given up by now. Or maybe because I’m in need of some sweet Jack and Gareth to calm me down.
So for everyone who is scared, and everyone who’s waiting for release day, here’s a little something that doesn’t actually happen in Ghosts… but I could imagine this taking place between House Hunt and Swings and Roundabouts.
Thank you for your company. Thank you for cheering me on and up… Enjoy!
New Year’s Resolutions – A Jack and Gareth Ficlet
“Don’t these people have lives?” There was a faint slur in Jack’s diction and Gareth was inordinately proud to hear it. Getting Jack to let his guard down enough to get drunk when they had company was an achievement. Tonight, it seemed they’d finally manged it.
“What are you looking at?” Alex asked from the other end of the couch. She was curled like a contented cat with Aidan’s head in her lap, their disagreement put aside for the moment. The barrister was fast asleep… even though it was still an hour to go until midnight. Raf and Skylar’s voices drifted in from the garden, over and around Nico and Daniel’s. Sometimes soft, sometimes laughing and arguing lightly as they’d done for the last hour. The four of them had never gotten out of the hot tub when everyone else had done so. They had to resemble prunes by now.
“New Year’s Resolutions,” Jack said a moment too late, as if he had to remind himself first.
Gareth popped his head over the edge of the couch and realised that he’d left his Facebook page open on Jack’s laptop and that Jack had stopped on the way back from the kitchen and was browsing his newsfeed. Apart from using it as a source for personal information and blackmail material, Jack had no use for social media. That made his alcohol-fuelled fascination so much fun to watch.
“Is the world really better off knowing how drunk someone is or how they hate peanut butter? Or how they will not eat marshmallows in the new year?”
“You’ve never made New Year’s resolutions?”
“I’ve never done New Year,” Jack commented absently, not realising that there was anything wrong with his remark. Usually he censored his pronouncements more carefully when he was in company. “Should I make some, d’you think? So I’m like everybody else?” he scrolled through the feed and started to read out random comments. “Stop smoking.”
“You don’t smoke.”
“Work out three days a week.”
“You mean you’re going to cut down?”
“You do not need to lose weight, believe me!”
“No Junk Food January. What the fuck?”
“It means no pizza, no chips, no burgers,” Alex explained helpfully.
“I know what junk food is. But why would you even…? Why not just stop eating crap if it bothers you? Why do you need this .. This is stupid.” He suddenly turned to Gareth, almost glaring. “Do you make New Year’s resolutions?”
“I set goals.”
“The difference being?”
“A linear plan.”
Jack’s frown cleared and his temper smoothed, placated by hearing something that finally made sense to him even when mildly sloshed. He shut the FB page down with a disgusted curl to his lip and muttered something derogatory under his breath while Gareth and Alex watched, just smiling.
“Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution like that?” Jack asked later, when everyone else had gone to bed and only Jack and Gareth were left lounging in front of the fire. As usual, Jack had toppled over sideways and rested his head on Gareth’s thigh. #
Jack went boneless and almost purred when Gareth carded fingers through his hair. It was adorable, and so addictive that Gareth could rarely resist the pull of the silky strands.
“Have you?” Jack queried again, eyes still on the fire, but clearly intent on getting an answer.
“Yeah? One as stupid as those I read out?”
“Nothing like,” Gareth explained. “It was three years ago when I left the Army. I made a New Year’s resolution to find you. I had no plan back then and barely any idea of where to start. I just… wanted to find out what had happened to you.”
“You’re a sap.”
Jack shifted on the couch so he could turn his head up. The silver-green of his eyes had darkened to something that made the breath catch in Gareth’s throat. Jack’s smile, soft and just this side of sultry, poured heat into his veins. Gareth leaned down until he could bring their lips together. It was barely a touch, a soft slide with a hint of promise, but it said more than a devouring kiss.