We Still Live

WE STILL LIVE: This angsty MM romance will make you cry and sigh

“A very addictive read.”

“Make sure you have your box of tissues available.”

“So very emotional, yet so powerful.”

“Loved every freaking word.”

“This book just about killed me.”

“Stunning … Couldn’t put it down.”


To say I’ve been pleased with the We Still Live reviews would be a massive understatement. I knew this tragic story about the after-effects of a college shooting meant a lot to me; I had no idea it would mean so much to other people … and today, it’s available to all in both paperback and eBook.

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW:

About the book:

Running from a scandal that ruined his life, Isaac Twain accepts a teaching position at Hambden University where, three months prior, Professor John Conlon stopped a campus nightmare by stepping in front of an active shooter.

When John and Isaac become faculty advisors for the school’s literary magazine, their professional relationship evolves. Despite the strict code of conduct forbidding faculty fraternization, they delve into a secret affair—until Simon arrives.

Isaac’s violent ex threatens not only their careers, but also John’s life. His PTSD triggered, John must come to terms with that bloody day on College Green while Isaac must accept the heartbreak his secrets have wrought.

***WE STILL LIVE is a standalone M/M friends-to-lovers romance featuring detailed adult content, graphic violence, hurt/comfort, and mental illness.***


Some things of note:

  • If you’ve ever been to Athens, Ohio, the home of my alma mater, Ohio University, you’re going to recognize this setting.
  • If you’re familiar with young actor Timothee Chalamet, you’ll know the inspiration for John Conlon.
  • If you like music, you’re welcome to listen to the We Still Live theme song, “I Found” by Amber Run.
  • A lot of the mental health issues in this book are autobiographical, especially the anxiety. My symptoms increase with every new shooting in America. Despite this, like John, I’m doing my best to thrive with the help of the people I love.
  • There’s a lot of heavy stuff in this book, but there’s sexy-sex time between John and Isaac, too, so please do enjoy those scorching moments. I know I do (wink).

A quick excerpt!!

“You look like I feel.”

“And how do you feel?” Isaac asked.

“Like I want to bury my head in a hole. Or get messy drunk.” John lifted his glass in an unreciprocated toast and drank.

“This is going to sound really insensitive, but can I ask you a question?”

John shrugged.

“The shooting.”

John coughed once, quickly. A loud laugh from the hallway made him startle and look over his shoulder.

Isaac could have backpedaled—should have, based on the way his coworker now resembled a spooked deer—but in for a penny. “Do you mind me asking what happened?”

John stared at him for a long moment before his mouth curved into something like a smile. The intelligent scrutiny of his gaze disappeared in a haze of what Isaac assumed was memory. Then he said, “You don’t know,” with an abundance of relief.

“I know it’s very ignorant of me, and possibly callous, but no.”

John traced his pale finger along the edge of the bookcase. “It was on College Green last June. The College of Arts and Sciences award ceremony. One of our students started shooting, and he eventually shot himself.”

“You were there?”

John laughed, which seemed sorely out of place. “Yeah, I was there. All of us were there.” He leaned closer, so close Isaac smelled bourbon on his breath. “A word of advice: don’t ask anyone else about it unless you’re really good with tears.”

Isaac shifted from one foot to the other. “You’re not crying.”

“No.” He finished his glass and spun around. “I need more alcohol.” It felt like a brush-off, an escape.

“John. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You didn’t.” He tapped his palm on the doorframe and looked back. “You know, you don’t have to stay here hiding. It’s painful watching introverts try to acclimate in social situations.”

Isaac smirked. “How do you know I’m an introvert?”

“We recognize our own kind, man. Every day of my life, my mantra is ‘Don’t be awkward.’”

“How’s that working for you?”

“Not well.” John smiled, rows of white teeth on display, and Isaac felt like the sun shined on his face. “Nice meeting you, Isaac. Now, go the fuck home.”


ORDER YOUR PAPERBACK OR EBOOK COPY NOW:

Broken News

M/M mafia romance BROKEN NEWS: Now available on Amazon!

It’s been called “dark, delicious, and totally enthralling.” Broken News is a love story … but it’s also not. This one is twisted and violent, featuring two anti-heroes who may or may not deserve happiness.

About the book:

He was supposed to hurt him. Ruin him. Instead, he fell in love.

In the big, bad city, Eric West holds the reins. A mafia king, he is feared, ruthless, and obsessed with a man half his age. 

Will, his favorite whore, is young, beautiful, and the only person to ever bring him to his knees. 

Will is a man to kill for.
A man to change for.
But what if Will isn’t what he seems?

This novel does come with some warnings. Broken News is a standalone M/M mafia romance featuring age gap, detailed adult content, violence, hurt/comfort, and mentions of rape/dubious consent.

Buy it on Amazon today, and read a steamy excerpt below the cover image!

Excerpt from Broken News by Sara Dobie Bauer:

“How long have you been doing this?”

Will’s eyes popped open.

“No, don’t answer that.” Eric shook his head.

Will rolled onto his side and leaned up on one elbow. He reached his right hand out and ran his fingertips along the mass of scar tissue down the center of Eric’s right pectoral.

“Aren’t you going to ask how I got it?”

“No,” Will said. “I like mystery.” He licked his top lip.

Eric huffed out a breath of relieved air and pulled Will’s mouth down to his. He could spend hours, he could spend days, kissing that sweet mouth—not to mention the myriad other things Eric was sure it could do. The man might be quite young, but he already seemed a master in the art of seduction. He pressed his fingers into the backs of Will’s shoulders, coaxing him closer. When they parted, Will’s fingers strayed into Eric’s blond hair; this thumb tickled Eric’s forehead. He melted into the sensation and felt the ghosts of his business trip recede into shadowed corners, erased by Will’s skin and the sound of his moans.

“How long do I have you?” Eric whispered.

“You’re my only client tonight.”

Eric lifted his head. “Jesus, how much money did Rob spend?”

Will kissed along Eric’s collarbone.

“I’ll have to sleep sometime.” Eric sighed.

“You can sleep here,” Will said as he kissed his way down the center of Eric’s stomach. “Once you’re done with me.” He smiled while looking up through thick eyelashes.

Eric put his hand in Will’s hair to pause his ministrations. “You want me to stay the night?”

Backlit by fire, Will’s eyes glowed something devilish. His hair stood up in odd points from being tugged and glowed red around the edges. Shadows filled the pale space beneath his cheekbones. He looked impossibly young and debauched.

“I like your hands on me,” Will said.

Broken News

Broken News, M/M mafia romance cover reveal

My dark (dark) M/M mafia romance BROKEN NEWS will be released on Amazon in two weeks, so I thought I’d throw you a bone (that was not a dirty joke) and show you the glorious cover. Drum roll …

About the book:

He was supposed to hurt him. Ruin him. Instead, he fell in love.

In the big, bad city, Eric West holds the reins. A mafia king, he is feared, ruthless, and obsessed with a man half his age.

Will, his favorite whore, is young, beautiful, and the only person to ever bring him to his knees.

Will is a man to kill for.
A man to change for.
But what if Will isn’t what he seems?

*** Broken News is a standalone M/M romance featuring age gap, detailed adult content, violence, hurt/comfort, and mentions of rape/dubious consent.**


Available August 22 on Amazon!

For now, add it to your Goodreads list!

Broken News

BROKEN NEWS: dark M/M mafia romance coming August 22

I recently had an experience that turned me off this whole publishing thing. It was a seriously BAD experience. Off the cuff, I may have threatened to stop writing … which was when my dear friends and amazing author duo Quin&Perin shouted at me from Germany that quitting was not an option. Instead, they were going to help me self publish to see how I could do without the help of an agent or publisher.

The important question: “Do you have an old manuscript you’ve kept hidden?”

The answer: “Actually, yes, I do … but it’s, like, DARK.”

Broken News is an M/M mafia romance featuring age gap, detailed adult content, violence, hurt/comfort, and mentions of rape/dubious consent. In other words, this is a HEAVY READ … but an absolute necessity for fans of my Escape Trilogy.


About the book:

He was supposed to hurt him. Ruin him. Instead, he fell in love.

In the big, bad city, Eric West holds the reins. A mafia king, he is feared, ruthless, and obsessed with a man half his age.

Will, his favorite whore, is young, beautiful, and the only person to ever bring him to his knees.

Will is a man to kill for.
A man to change for.
But what if Will isn’t what he seems?


So far, early readers have been screaming. One Goodreads review said, “the twists and dynamics kept me on the edge of my seat, and I could. NOT. Put it down!”

Another reader definitely acknowledged the hard edge of this violent romance: “It’s common to refer to the main characters in a romance story as the heroes, but there are no heroes in this book. It’s a dark and twisted road full of lies, secrets from the past, violence, and murder.”

So, yeah, um, things get dark … but really sexy, too. Explicitly sexy. You’ve been warned!

With Quin&Perin’s help, Broken News will be released on Amazon on August 22. (The cover reveal is August 8.) In the meantime, be sure to add Broken News to your Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf by clicking HERE. And feel free to spread the word to all lovers of gay romance, dark suspense, and Sara Dobie Bauer smexy time.

I’m seriously pumped for this self publishing experiment. I’ve had so much help already, and I’m very proud of this twisted tale. Initially, I was nervous that Eric and Will’s love story was a little too dark, but EMBRACE THE DARK. Broken News … coming August 22!

books

New erotic anthology raises money for LGBTQ charity!!!

Sexy short stories are super fun, especially when they’re for charity. Today, COME PLAY has been unleashed upon the world, and I am proud to be part of it. Here’s the gist … Oh, and some of the text in this blog post is definitely NSFW!! Adult words ahead! You’ve been warned!

Watch and Learn if the Coach’s Little Kitten can be Tamed. Follow the Doctor’s Orders and read all about Brotherly Love. Understand Abstract Love and then take a peek at A Kink Chronicles Short. It’s all about Pretty Boys, The Kiss, and Particular Tastes bundled up in this must-have erotic anthology.

Come, play with us.

Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer
A Kink Chronicles Short by Luna David
Brotherly Love by Lynn Van Dorn
Coach’s Little Kitten by Quin Perin
Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jaye
Particular Tastes by T.S. McKinney
Pretty Boy by E.M. Denning
Tamed by T.M. Chris
The Kiss by A.G. Carothers
Watch and Learn by K.C. Wells

All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to The Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. This charity means so much to me as both a mental health speaker and LGBTQ advocate AND person who has fought my own battles with depression and self-harm.

My short story, “Abstract Love” is a comical enemies-to-lovers, gay-for-you love story between a grumpy corporate exec and a snarky young graphic designer. You’ll find a teaser below, but be sure to buy your copy of COME PLAY today.

Support The Trevor Project, and read some damn fine smut!!!


“Abstract Love” Excerpt

by Sara Dobie Bauer

Sam threw his hands in the air. “Why do you hate me? You’ve hated me since I walked into this fucking office, and I have no idea why! Jesus Christ, you helped hire me!”

What with the envelope and people knowing and all the cruel cackles—and Sam in his office after-hours—it all piled up until, suddenly, Donovan stood right in front of Sam without any memory of moving. He did remember yelling, “You are a disrespectful, spoiled brat who knows nothing about real life because your nose is always stuffed in a sketchbook.”

Probably to get some distance, considering Donovan was practically up his nose, Sam shoved Donovan in the chest. “Well, you’re a miserable, grumpy son of a bitch who hates the world, and nobody fucking likes you!”

Donovan stood up straight and blinked just as Sam dug his hands into his chestnut curls.

“Oh, my God, shit, I’m so sorry. That was a terrible thing to say.”

Donovan felt the lump like vomit in his throat. Do not cry. Not here, not now, not in front of him. At least, those were his initial thoughts, which changed when he really thought about it because—if he was honest—he really … needed … Sam.

He reached out and grabbed Sam’s ugly yellow coat. In fact, he went one better. He pressed Sam against the closed office door and kissed him.

For Donovan, relief was instantaneous. He gripped Sam’s collar and kissed some more. Surprisingly, Sam moaned and kissed back, mouth open wide as his tongue came out to play. His hands clung to the back of Donovan’s head as he made the most delicious sighing noises, and Donovan noticed Sam’s lips were so fucking soft.

They kissed and kissed. Donovan would have kept kissing, a man flailing blindly away from heterosexuality, but Sam eventually tilted his head to the side and said, “Whoa, okay, pump the brakes, big chief.”

They ended up sitting side by side in Donovan’s guest chairs. Neither man spoke for a good five minutes. Donovan stared at the floor while Sam tapped his fingers on his knees.

Finally, he said, “Hello, I’m Sam Shelby. Who the fuck are you?”

Donovan chuckled so he wouldn’t cry.

“You don’t hate me, do you?”

“God, why do you have to smell so good?”

Sam leaned forward in his seat. “It’s Gain laundry detergent and some French cologne my sister bought.”

“I’m sorry I kissed you,” Donovan whispered.

“Don’t be. It was a good kiss.”

“Look, I’m getting a divorce, which apparently the whole office knows about. I haven’t felt anything in months, not until you showed up.” He lifted his head but still didn’t make eye contact. He wasn’t sure he could handle Sam’s baby blues just yet. “You’re so talented. It’s disturbing how talented you are. I hated it at first. I hated you, or at least I thought I did.” He rubbed his hand over his face. “Who gave you the right to come into my life and be so talented and passionate? Who gave you the right to be a light in my dark?”

“Depression is easy, Donovan. It’s the other shit that’s hard.” He sighed and clapped his hands together once. “So. You wanna go fuck?”

Now, that got Donovan’s full attention. “What?”

“We live in the same building. The walk of shame would be really short.”

Donovan stood and backed away from the wily creature he’d erroneously allowed remain in his office. “Sam, I’ve never … well …”

“Fucked a work colleague?” He waggled his dark eyebrows.

“No. I mean, yes, I’ve never fucked a colleague, but I’m saying I’ve never …”

“Been with a brunette?”

“Been with a guy.”

“Oh,” Sam said. “Ohhhhh,” he said again. “Oh?” He leaned back in his chair. He half-chuckled, only part of his mouth curling up in amusement. “But we …” He waved at the office door. “I figured you must—”

“Just you,” he said and ground his teeth together.


Read the rest of Donovan and Sam’s amorous (and educational) adventures in “Abstract Love,” featured in COME PLAY. Go buy it! It’s kinky, and it’s for charity!

Escape Trilogy

The Escape Trilogy paperback is NOW AVAILABLE!

For those of you who have followed Andrew and Edmund’s incredible love story, the paperback edition of the Escape Trilogy is now available to order. (Trust me; these boys look beautiful on a bookshelf.)

About the series:

Andrew is an ancient immortal with dark history. Edmund is a human sailor with a thirst for both adventure and violence. Together, they build a love that could last centuries … if ghosts of the past don’t drive them apart.

Escaping Exile

Andrew is a vampire, exiled to an island as punishment for his bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from cannibals, Andrew becomes fascinated with his new companion, Edmund. Fascination turns to passion, but as cannibals creep closer—and as Andrew’s hunger threatens—can this vampire keep his human alive long enough to explore their newfound love?

Escaping Solitude

Recently returned from exile, vampire Andrew and his beloved human sailor Edmund move to New Orleans where they search for an Elder who can make Edmund immortal. A frantic letter from London propels them overseas, but an accident puts Edmund’s life in jeopardy. Only an Elder can save him, if they can find one in time.

Escaping Mortality

An Elder saves Edmund’s life at sea. Now a vampire, he can stand by Andrew’s side forever, but they must first visit Edmund’s ailing mother in England. The Elder shows an ominous liking to his new sire, while Edmund’s mother’s friend threatens them all. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.

It’s been an amazing journey with Andrew and Edmund. I love these guys, and I’ll miss spending time with them in their world. A toast to all the readers who’ve supported their love story and, in turn, supported me!

PS: If you do buy a copy, feel free to send me a picture of the boys’ happy home in your house! I’m thrilled to have the Escape Trilogy in paperback and thankful for the love you’ve given my beautiful bad boy love birds. Happy reading!

“Exploring fascinating settings like a tropical, cannibal-infested island, the bustling port city of turn-of-the-century New Orleans, and Victorian London, Sara Dobie Bauer propels her vampires through escapades and adventures while weaving a tale of love, dark magic, sensuality, and violence.” – author Elizabeth Lister

We Still Live

We Still Live: A book about much more than a shooting

I’m not sure what finally pushed me over the edge. Was it the 2015 mass shooting in Paris? Was it the Orlando nightclub shooting of 2016? Was it moving to Chardon, Ohio, where, in 2012, a high school student opened fire and killed three of his classmates?

I can’t be sure of the exact moment when my brain screamed, “Enough!” I do know that the first words of the first draft of We Still Live were penned August 16, 2016. I also know I signed a contract with NineStar Press yesterday that will finally bring this manuscript to life.


A rough “about the book:”

Running from a scandal that shattered his marriage and threatened to ruin his life, Isaac Twain accepts a teaching position at Hambden University where, three months prior, Professor John Conlon stopped a campus nightmare by stepping in front of an active shooter. John carries with him the gravity of the event as well as the last words the shooter spoke before taking his own life.

When John and Isaac become faculty advisors for Being Frank, the school’s contentious literary magazine focused on the shooting and its victims, their professional relationship evolves. Despite the strict code of conduct forbidding faculty fraternization, they delve into a secret affair, both men assuaging past pain through their present embrace—until Simon arrives.

Isaac’s violent ex threatens not only their careers, but also John’s life. His PTSD triggered by an attempted attack, John must come to terms with the truth of that bloody day on College Green and the irony of his nickname, “the Hambden hero.” Isaac intends to love John completely, but he can’t with John hiding so much of himself, frightened of revealing the severity of his mental illness and its true cause. For both Isaac and John, the misdeeds of their pasts might destroy what they could become.


We Still Live is about a college shooting, but the shooting isn’t the focus; the aftermath is. What happens to the survivors, including the hero who stopped the bloodshed? What happens to a small town racked with grief?

Told by way of a tragic love story, the novel also tackles mental illness (especially depression, anxiety, and PTSD), but it’s not all sad. There’s love, too, because we need love to heal—and understanding, especially as John plummets and Isaac realizes maybe he can’t save him.

I have spent years fighting my own demons. I recently started a blog, Successfully Mad, where I write openly about my mental health battle. Like John, I have trouble watching the news. I cry every time there’s another shooting.

We Still Live is an exorcism of many personal fears. Not only is the setting based on Athens, Ohio (location of my alma mater Ohio University), but also every character is a little bit of me. The meltdowns are me. The self-medicating is me. Maybe it’s a little bit of you, too.

We Still Live is funny, sad, sexy, and dark. It’s a mirror, reflecting back the things we fear and don’t want to face. Sometimes, everything isn’t going to be all right, but that’s okay, as long as we keep living.

Release details coming soon, but many thanks to NineStar Press for believing in me and in this book.

Sara Dobie Bauer · Writing

Marked by Scorn anthology: For the love of non-traditional relationships

So what’s a non-traditional relationship anyway? Let me give you some examples:
Lesbians, both open and hidden.
Gay couples in Southeast Asia.
Transgender and intersex people in the West.
Interracial relationships throughout the world.
Non-monogamy in its varying forms.
Or, in the case of my short story, a college professor and his soon-to-graduate male student.

scornEdited by Dominica Malcolm, I’m honored to be part of this ground-breaking, international anthology because it opens doors that are often left closed. Marked by Scorn sheds light on all sorts of different relationships, ones you don’t often hear about in mainstream culture. Told through a sampling of genres–including contemporary fiction, romance, speculative fiction, and memoir–readers delve into the narratives of people who have been part of non-traditional relationships and what living outside the norm has cost them, both good and bad.

Available today, Marked by Scorn from Solarwyrm Press includes an introspective, invigorating collection of writers from all over the world that will make you think twice about judgement and ridicule and make you think more about acceptance and love.

Now, meet my characters, Nate and his oddball student Henry, as they find their own way to embrace an icy Christmas Eve in southern Ohio.

“If It Ain’t Broke”
By Sara Dobie Bauer
An excerpt from the Marked by Scorn anthology

When the weatherman said they’d have an “icy Christmas,” he was not joking. Nate stood by his front window and watched the constant precipitation outside: a mixture of white and wet. His mistake? Not getting Henry Oliver’s phone number. He’d tried calling Ella to no avail, and despite creeping disappointment, Nate knew it was dangerous to be walking around out there. He needed to cancel with Henry to keep the young man safe. Maybe he just wouldn’t show, which would be the intelligent thing to do, considering there was a stage three weather emergency.

snow

But then, the doorbell rang at seven-fifteen, and Nate opened the door to someone he didn’t quite recognize. The tussled blond hair was there, dotted with as yet unmelted snowflakes, as were those wide-set blue eyes and pale skin. Henry didn’t wear the awkward-fitting coat, though; no, he wore something Nate himself might have donned: a black wool suit jacket over a perfectly fitted white button-down with dark jeans and shiny leather shoes. He looked older and almost handsome.

He walked inside without an invitation and kept his hands in his pockets.

“I can’t believe you made it here in this weather. I was going to tell you to stay home and stay warm,” Nate said as he shut the door.

“What weather?” Henry asked.

Nate walked toward the stereo against the sidewall of his small apartment to hide the amused roll of his eyes. Through the front windows, he saw the snow continue to fall on Main Street. He had a single candle lit, pine-scented, although it battled with the smell of garlic and pasta sauce in the kitchen. Nate wasn’t one for decorating, but he did have Nat King Cole prepped and ready to sing about the Christ child and Christmas trees. He started the music and turned around to find Henry in his face and the young man’s lips on his mouth.

“Henry,” Nate murmured and gently pushed Henry back with a hand on his shoulder.

For the first time in their relationship as teacher-student, Henry Oliver looked confused. “Did you want me to take off my clothes first?”

“What? No.” Nate shook his head.

Still confused: “Didn’t you invite me here for sex?”

“No, Henry, I invited you here for dinner.”

“Oh.” He cleared his throat and stared at the floor. Seemingly unsure of what to do with his hands, he put them back in his pockets.

“Have other professors …”

Henry shrugged. “We usually just have sex, and I go home. Older men have always liked me, and since I’m not your student anymore, I figured …”

Nate ran his hand through his brown hair and clenched his fist at his side. He felt an unwelcome pressure in his chest: rage.

“Do you want me to go?”

“No.” Nate took a deep breath. “Can I get you some wine?”

Henry stared at him and then smiled: a massive, unfamiliar grin that made his eyes crinkle. “Yeah.”

Nate took heavy steps toward the kitchen, trying to calm himself and erase the picture of other men like him—his coworkers, for Christ’s sake—using Henry as a pretty little f*** toy. His hands shook as he poured two glasses of red, but when he returned to the living room, he found it empty.

“Henry?”

“Mm?” The sound came from Nate’s office.

He walked in to find Henry in his stocking feet, standing on an ottoman, inspecting the top shelves of Nate’s private bookcase. “What are you doing?”

“Nothing more telling than a man’s bookshelf.”

boysNate handed a wine glass to his student and watched Henry study each book. Occasionally, he plucked one from the shelf, only to put it back a moment later.

“You’re a romantic,” Henry said.

“How do you know that?”

“Byron. Shelley. A practically destroyed copy of Fahrenheit 451.”

Nate sipped his wine and took a slow, calm breath. “There’s nothing romantic about Fahrenheit 451.”

Henry stepped down from the ottoman and sat. “Of course there is. How much would you give up for the love of books?” He drank the wine like beer and emptied his glass.

“Why aren’t you with your family at Christmas?”

“Why aren’t you?”

Nate smiled and sat down in his reading chair: a faded recliner that no longer reclined. The piece of furniture was close to breaking apart, but it fit Nate’s body perfectly. Most nights, he fell asleep in that chair reading.

“I like Christmas,” Henry whispered. “But I don’t need all the trappings. I like the quiet and the cold. It’s so loud most of the time. Makes it hard to read.” He sipped from his empty cup, which made Nate stand and return with the bottle, happy he’d decided to buy two.

“What do you plan to do now that you’re graduating?”

Henry took another gulp of wine and smiled.

“What’s so funny?”

“No one’s asked me that except you and Ella.”

“You two are close?”

Henry shrugged with one shoulder. “She doesn’t judge. Or use me.”

“Do you feel like I’m using you?”

“Maybe a little.” He paused. “Ella says you like to fix people.”

“I’m not trying to fix you, Henry.”

The young man bit his bottom lip. “She says you like puzzles and projects. You like to save people.”

“I just like to make sure people are all right.”

“What does that mean? To be all right?”

Nate considered the question and thought back over all the troubled men he’d loved in the past, the work he’d done to make things all right when they never were.

Henry must have construed his silence as an end to the conversation. “Did you know they’re playing The Christmas Story on repeat for twenty-four hours?”

Instead of eating at the carefully set dinner table in Nate’s small kitchen, they loaded their plates with spaghetti and meatballs and kale salad, sprinkled with oil and vinegar, and headed for the living room. Henry sought the film and soon found it, mid-way through. They sat down to the stuck tongue scene, and Henry laughed quietly as Ralphie and his friends escaped punishment from poor Flick. Nate had never heard Henry laugh before.

Henry only finished half his plate before setting the remainder on the coffee table between the couch and TV. He sipped from his wine glass. Once Nate was done eating, his plate joined Henry’s. He was surprised when Henry slouched down on the couch and rested the side of his head against Nate’s shoulder. He wound his long fingers around Nate’s hand, and they watched the rest of the movie that way, over the sound of ice tink-tinking against the front window.

When the credits rolled before a backdrop of Ohio snowflakes outside, Henry said, “I’d better go home.”

Yes, you’d better, Nate thought. He liked the feel of Henry’s hand too much, and he would not be one of those professors. No, he would not …

(If you want to read “If It Ain’t Broke” in its entirety and the rest of this amazing anthology, get your copy of Marked by Scorn today HERE.)

holding hands