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Promises by Marie Sexton

Description:

Part of the Coda Series

Jared Thomas has lived his whole life in the small mountain town of Coda, Colorado. He can't imagine living anywhere else. Unfortunately, the only other gay man in town is twice his age and used to be his teacher, so Jared is resigned to spending his life alone.

Until Matt Richards walks into his life, that is. Matt has just been hired by the Coda Police Department, and he and Jared immediately become friends. Matt claims he is straight, but for Jared, having a sexy friend like Matt is way too tempting. Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s co-workers, Jared fears they'll never find a way to be together—if he can even convince Matt to try.

ISBN-13978-1-61581-379-7
Pages228
Cover ArtistAnne Cain
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Promises by Marie Sexton eBook
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Read an Excerpt:

The whole thing started because of Lizzy’s Jeep. If it hadn’t been for that, I might not have met Matt. And maybe he wouldn’t have felt the need to prove himself. And maybe nobody would have been hurt.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Like I said, it started with Lizzy’s Jeep. Lizzy is the wife of my brother Brian, and they were expecting their first child in the fall. She decided that her old Wrangler, which she’d had since college, just wasn’t going to cut it as a family vehicle. So she parked it out front of our shop with a handwritten For Sale sign in the window.

The shop was started by my grandpa. Originally it was a hardware store, but at some point, auto parts had been added as well. When my grandpa died, my dad took over the store, and when he died, it passed to Brian, Lizzy, and me.

It was a gorgeous spring day in Colorado, and I was sitting with my feet up on the counter, wishing I was outside enjoying the sunshine, when he came in. He definitely caught my attention right away, simply because he wasn’t from around here. I’ve lived in Coda my whole life, not counting the five years I spent in Fort Collins, at the university, and I knew everybody in town. So he was either visiting somebody in the area or just passing through. We’re not a tourist town, but people do bump into us occasionally, either looking for four-wheel drive trails or on their way to one of the dude ranches that are farther up the road.

He certainly didn’t look like one of the middle-aged suckers who frequented the dude ranches. He was probably in his early thirties. He was taller than me by two or three inches, putting him just over six feet tall, with military-short black hair and a couple of days’ worth of dark stubble on his cheeks. He was wearing jeans and a plain black T-shirt and cowboy boots. Broad shoulders and big arms showed he worked out. He was gorgeous.

“That Jeep run?” His voice was deep with a little bit of a drawl. Not Deep South drawl, but the vowels were a little longer than a Coloradoan.

“You bet. It runs great.”

“Hmmm.” He was looking out the window at it. “Why you selling it?”

“Not me. My sister-in-law. She says it’ll be too hard to get a car seat in the back. She bought a Cherokee instead.”

He looked a little confused by that, which told me he didn’t have kids himself. “So it drives okay?”

“Perfect. Want to try it out? I’ve got the keys right here.”

His eyebrows went up. “Sure! You need collateral or something? I can leave my license.”

I think at that point, he could have talked me into about anything. My knees were feeling a little wobbly. I was trying to determine if I really was seeing a touch of green in those steel-gray eyes. I hoped I sounded casual when I said, “I’ll go with you. I know the roads around here. We can take it up one of the easy trails so you can see how it handles.”

“What about the store? Hate to leave you short-handed during rush hour.” He raised an eyebrow toward the empty store, one corner of his mouth barely twitching up. “Won’t your boss be mad if you leave?”

I laughed. “I’m one of the owners, so I can slack off if I want to.” I turned and called into the back room, “Ringo!”

Our one employee came warily out of the back. He was always skittish with me, and if Lizzy wasn’t around, he made a point of keeping his distance. I think he was expecting me to make a pass at him. He was seventeen, had stringy black hair, bad skin, and probably weighed a buck five soaking wet. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he wasn’t my type.

“Yeah?”

“Hold the fort. I’ll be back in an hour or so.” I turned back to my tall, dark stranger. “Let’s go!”

Once we were in the Jeep, he held his right hand out to me. “I’m Matt Richards.”

“Jared Thomas.” His grip was strong, but he wasn’t one of those guys who had to break your hand to prove how macho he is.

“Which way?”

“Turn left. We’ll just drive up to the Rock.”

“What’s that?”

“What it sounds like—a big fucking rock. It’s nothing spectacular. People go up there to picnic. And of course, the teenagers go there sometimes to park or to get high.”

He frowned a little at that. I was starting to think he didn’t smile much. I, on the other hand, knew I was grinning ear to ear. Getting out of the store for a few minutes, especially to head into the mountains, was enough to brighten my day considerably. Doing it in the company of the best-looking guy I had seen in a hell of a long time sure didn’t hurt either.

“So what brings you to our fine metropolis?” I asked him.

“I just moved here.”

“Really? Why in the world would you want to do that?”

“Why not?” His tone was bantering, although his face was still serious. “You live here, don’t you? Is it that bad?”

“Well, no. I love it here. That’s why I’ve never left. But, you know, the town is dying. More people moving out than moving in. Towns along the front range are booming, but nobody wants to live up here and commute.”

“I was just hired by the Coda PD.”

“You’re a cop?”

He raised an eyebrow at me and said with some amusement. “Is that a problem?”

“Well, no, but I wish I hadn’t told you about the kids coming up here to get high.”

He raised his eyebrow at me again and said lightly, “Don’t worry. I won’t tell them you’re the rat.” The good officer wasn’t completely without humor. “So, you’ve lived here your whole life?” He didn’t sound curious so much as like he was just trying to make casual conversation.

“Yep. Except for the years I spent in college.”

“And you own the store?”

“Me and my brother and his wife, yeah. It’s not a big money maker or anything, but we manage. Brian’s an accountant, and he has other clients, so he mostly just does the books. Lizzy and I run the shop.”

“But you went to college?” Now he sounded genuinely curious.

“Yeah, I went to Colorado State. I have a degree in physics and my teacher’s certificate.”

“Why aren’t you a teacher?”

“I didn’t want to let Brian and Lizzy down.” That wasn’t entirely true, but I didn’t want to tell him the real reason: that I didn’t want to deal with the fallout of being a gay high school teacher in a small town. “There isn’t really anyone else to cover the shop. We can’t afford a full-time employee. Well, we could if they didn’t want benefits, but they do. So instead, we just have Ringo, part time. We get half his salary back, ’cause he spends his paychecks on stuff for his car, so it works out okay.” I laughed. “Ringo! That can’t be his real name.” I realized I was babbling. “Sorry I’m talking so much. I’m sure I’m boring you.”

He looked right at me and said seriously, “Not at all.”

We had reached the end of the trail. “You’ll have to turn around here.”

He stopped the Jeep and looked around suspiciously. There were no other cars. “I don’t see any rock.”

“Just up the trail a bit. Want to walk up there?”

His face brightened a little at that. “You bet.”

So we walked down the trail, through Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs and aspens that were just starting to bud to one of the rocky abutments that must have helped give the Rockies their name. The Colorado mountains are full of these giant piles of stationary rock, rounded and covered with dry sage- and rust-colored lichen. This one was about twenty feet high on the downhill side. If you walked up the hill, you could practically walk right out onto it. But what’s the fun in that? Those rocks just beg to be climbed.

Once we reached the top, we sat down. The view isn’t really any different from there. We could see down the trail to the Jeep, but other than that, we were still just looking at more trees, more rocks, more mountains. I love Colorado, but this type of view can be found in hundreds of spots. I was surprised to hear a contented sigh from Matt. When I looked at him, his face showed amazement.

“Man, I love Colorado. I’m from Oklahoma. This is better, believe me.”

He turned to look at me, and I almost quit breathing. He was squinting a little against the sun. His skin was tan, and his eyes were shining. There was definitely a hint of green in them. “Thanks for bringing me up here.”

“Anytime.” And I meant it.

Write a review
Reviews and Ratings:

    Date Added: Friday 16 April, 2010
    by Ana @ The Romance Studio

    ...this is my first book by the author, but it won’t be my last and I would gladly recommend her to others. Read the full review.

    Rating: 4 of 5 Stars [4 of 5 Stars]
    Date Added: Wednesday 17 February, 2010
    by Helen @ Dark Divas

    ...in Promises Marie Sexton has delivered a wonderful story...Read the full review.

    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars [5 of 5 Stars]
    Date Added: Thursday 15 September, 2011
    by NeNe @ Fallen Angels Reviews

    Promises took over my senses and I found myself enveloped in Jared and Matt's world. There is a tiny bit of action and suspense, but the humorous one-liners still have me laughing. Who knew dirt could be so resourceful? For those who are new to this fantastic author you are in for a treat.

     

    A Fallen Angel Recommended Read!

     

    Read the full review at http://fallenangelreviews.com

    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars [5 of 5 Stars]
    Date Added: Wednesday 3 March, 2010
    by Cassie @ Joyfully Reviewed

    I really enjoyed Promises.  Marie Sexton takes the friends-to-lovers and seemingly straight guy tropes and turns them into a story that’s emotional, dramatic, and has just the right amount of angst and conflict. At different points, Promises made me smile, laugh, frown, and even tear up a few times. Read the full review.

    Rating: 0 of 5 Stars [0 of 5 Stars]
    Date Added: Wednesday 17 February, 2010
    by jessewave

    This is a compelling story about themes gay authors don't often address: older men, the disabled, the negative effects of the cum-and-go culture... the writing is polished and accomplished, the characterisation capably executed, and the dialogue real and convincing. The few sex scenes are strongly erotic and profoundly humane. Read the full review.

    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars [5 of 5 Stars]
    Date Added: Thursday 31 January, 2013
    by Julie H.
    While being a gay man in the big city has its own trials and tribulations, it can be a lot worse for someone living in the less populated areas of the United States. Jared Thomas has lived his whole life in the small town of Coda, Colorado, where the only other self-proclaimed gay man is not only twice his age but a former teacher, so doubly not going to happen. Which makes the odds of finding Mr. Right slim to none in Jared's book. Jared does have a friend with benefits, Cole by name, who blows into town from time to time, but Jared realizes that their occasional casual encounters are no substitute for an actual relationship, and he longs for someone more permanent in his life. And then the winds of chance, in the form of Jared's sister-in-law Lizzy's not-child friendly Jeep Wrangler, blow Matt Richards - newly arrived member of the community/law enforcement officer - into Jared's life, and nothing will ever be the same again in Marie Sexton's Promises! Jared is attracted to Matt immediately, as he offers to go along on Matt's test drive of the Jeep - Lizzy being serendipitiously not there - and Matt immediately likes Jared as well, falling in easy conversation. But in a completely different way as Jared discovers, to his intense dismay, that Matt is rather straight. But that doesn't mean that they can't become friends, and they do, as they discover kindred spirits in one another, with very mutual interests. The two men find themselves spending a great deal of time together, and much as Jared would love to be with Matt on a deeper level, he knows that that can never be, especially when Matt begins to date Cherie, a waitress from a local diner, and even goes so far as to bring her along with him and Jared on their excursions. But even Cherie finds that she cannot compete with the attraction that these two have for one another, even if it's unacknowledged on Matt's part, as she finds herself taking a backseat to something that she doesn't care for. And of course the more time that Jared and Matt spend together, the more people in this small town notice, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. Matt's fellow officers razz him about being gay, saying that he and Jared are a couple, which makes him uncomfortable. And Jared - who should by rights have become a physics teacher, at least that is where his training was - finds himself tutoring the young clerk in the hardware store/auto parts shop he works in, as well as some of his classmates, he manages to attract the suspicious eye of the law, amid the suspicion of pedophilia! Can Matt overcome the smallmindedness of the town, as well as his own inhibitions, to allow nature to take its course with Jared? Or will he walk away from what could possibly be the love of his life because he can't bear to face who he really is? Will Jared have the nerve to do anything about his feelings for Matt, or will he stuff them in his closet forever, along with his dreams of doing something with his life? If you are a fan of romance novels, and of people in love - no matter what their gender or sexual orientation - than this book is a must read! Marie Sexton sucks you in with her characters, and makes you care about them and what happens to them, to the point where you'll find yourself laughing at the funny times and bawling at the sad times. It is a book about two people who love one another, but are afraid to admit it because of prejudices and stereotypes, and the fear that some people have of being themselves. Matt finds himself undeniably drawn to Jared, and spends as much time with him as possible. But he's afraid to admit that this friendship can be and is more than that, because he has this image of himself as a certain kind of a man, and having a homosexual relationship just doesn't fit with this image. Not to mention he is all too aware of how his family might and will react. Marie draws a true to life picture of this small Colorado town, and what it's like to feel the outsider in the place where you've always lived - to wonder if you can ever be comfortable in your own skin, with being who you are. At least in the big city you can lose yourself in the population, in Coda that is not an option. Everyone knows everyone else's business only too well. Set against a rugged mountain backdrop, Promises will grab your heart and hold on to it, until the very last page. And you'll be glad that it did! Look for a cameo appearance by Cole Fenton, who will be co-starring in his own story at a later date - he is here, and he is queer, and honey he is one hell of a man!
    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars [5 of 5 Stars]
All Reviews

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