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A New Normal

A New NormalUnconventional At BestUNCONVENTIONAL AT BEST anthology
including Carol’s short story “A New Normal”
Pride Publishing
ISBN-10: 1781845247
ISBN-13: 978-1781845240
Genre: Gay MM/ Contemporary
Release Date ebook: August 6, 2012
Release Date print: September 10, 2012
Release Date single title: December 31, 2012

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A NEW NORMAL is available as single title on December 31, 2012.
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“A NEW NORMAL” by Carol Lynne

You never forget your first love, but what if your first love never forgot you…and orchestrated an unconventional reunion?

Less than a year after the death of his wife, musician Charlie Foster agreed to perform at a convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He thought getting away from New York for a few days would be good for him, but he didn’t expect to see the first person he’d ever fallen in love with.

Jake Pierson gave his heart to Charlie when he was barely fifteen years old. As best friends, Jake believed he and Charlie would be together forever, but when Charlie took the easier path in life, Jake was left to deal with a future without the man he loved.

Jake knew tricking Charlie into performing at a conference he’d helped organise was low-handed, but he had a promise to keep and a future to build.

Excerpt

Charlie Foster loosened his tie as the plane took off. He hated flying almost as much as he hated being shoved into a seat made for a small child. Why didn’t airlines understand that grown men were also forced to fly on occasion?

With a sigh of resignation, he closed his eyes in an effort to escape pleasant banter with the older woman seated next to him. It had been a mistake to take the piano gig. What the hell had he been thinking? Travelling across the country less than a year after Jen’s death just to play at some convention was stupid, even if he was doing it as a favour to his manager.

He often wondered how different his life would’ve turned out if he hadn’t met Jen in college. It had been a confusing time, and falling in love with Jen had brought a sense of peace to his life—so much so he hadn’t regretted a moment of their time together.

“Can I get you something to drink?”

Charlie opened his eyes and stared up at the attendant. “I’m fine, thanks.” The conversation over, Charlie went back to feigning sleep, only to be nudged by the bony elbow of the woman next to him.

“I’ve been admiring your wedding ring. Is that a thistle?”

Charlie stared at the ring he couldn’t bring himself to take off. “Yeah. My wife was obsessed with that Outlander series. It was her idea.”

The woman’s face lit up. “Oh, Jamie and Claire,” the woman practically swooned, clutching her hands over her heart. “How sweet of you to indulge your wife like that.”

“I would’ve done anything for her,” he mumbled. Shame threatened to consume him as it did every time he thought of the woman he’d lost. He’d spent eight years with Jen, six of them married, but one drunken night with his best friend had destroyed the husband he’d thought himself to be.

“Excuse me.” Charlie unbuckled his seatbelt and walked to the front restroom. He closed and locked the door before turning to lean against the sink. Jen’s mom had been in town to help during the second round of chemotherapy, and, for some reason, Charlie had let them convince him to get out of the house for a few hours. Jen had been the one to call Jake and had set up the outing, just one more thing for Charlie to feel guilty about.

It had started innocently enough, a Mets game followed by a trip to the bar where they’d done most of their drinking in college. It was easy to fall back into the camaraderie he’d once shared with his childhood friend. As the evening and the number of drinks progressed, Charlie had asked Jake the one question that had been on his mind since the day he’d announced his engagement to Jen. “Why didn’t you fight for me?”