Sequel to SparkNorth Star: Book Two
How do you tell your friends and family you've fallen in love with a man when they've only ever known you as straight? How do you explain to your kids that you loved their mother very much, but your new partner is your best friend from high school?
Kevin Magnus must figure it out while trying to build a relationship with Hugo Thorson, whose bigger than life, out-and-proud drag queen persona is simply too big to be contained in a closet—even for the time it takes Kevin to come up with an explanation for his kids and Erin, his soon-to-be ex-wife.
But Erin faces an even bigger obstacle—one that shakes the entire family to the core. When she unexpectedly turns to Hugo, they form a connection that forces Hugo to grow up and offers Kevin the chance to become the kind of father he wants to be. Despite the coming complications, they'll all benefit from a fortunate side effect: it becomes clear that Hugo is very much a part of this unconventional family.
SOMETHING’S DIFFERENT. He smiles and laughs like never before—like he’s in love. It’s almost as if he’s found himself.
For weeks now, Erin Magnus had noticed how much Kevin had changed. His eyes sparked when he smiled, and he seemed so much more engaged in life. The kids were happier too, always talking about how much fun they’d had with their dad.
It was nice to see Kevin like this again. The last time Erin could recall him looking this happy was in college when they had first fallen in love.
That was a long time ago. Erin still missed that man who’d been changed over the years by so much pressure—both external and internal. She missed her best friend. If only their marriage could’ve worked.
Erin took a deep breath and shook her head. This was no time to get sentimental, weeks before their divorce. She was just missing her kids, which made her feel more emotional than usual.
She missed a lot of things.
Feeling a Ghost
HUGO COULDN’T help the gasp that seemed to be ripped from him as Kevin thrust deeper.
“Shhh. Do you really want them coming in here to discover this?” Kevin reprimanded, but his seriousness only made Hugo laugh. “Oh, for Christ’s sake.” He started pulling out.
“No, no, no. Shhh,” Hugo said as he palmed Kevin’s ass, stopping his retreat. “I’ll be quiet. Please don’t stop. Just maybe not so hard.”
Kevin nodded and started a slow dance with his hips instead of the intense pounding he’d begun with. Hugo was able to handle that better, burying any noises he made in the muscle of Kevin’s neck and chest.
It had been two weeks since they’d managed any time alone together. After Erin, Kevin’s very soon-to-be-official ex-wife, unexpectedly dropped their children off at the lake, Brooke and Finn had been staying with their dad. It had been a crazy few weeks because school had just begun. Brooke celebrated her eleventh birthday with a party full of tween girls at Kevin’s house, and new homework and bedtime routines had to be established. That was hard enough under the best of circumstances, Kevin had said, but best was not what had happened.
Erin was feeling quite ill, struggling with headaches that seemed to get little relief. Apparently she had a history of severe migraines, and some would last for days or even a few weeks at a time. She’d been to the emergency room but was sent home each time after being given an injection of medication, which only worked for the short term if at all. Kevin had done everything he could to help so she could simply rest and get better, and the kids living with him seemed like the simplest solution for now. But this arrangement was new, and it made it hard for Kevin and Hugo to connect as a couple when there were always little ears and eyes around to catch them together.
They had made it a rule early on in their relationship that Hugo wouldn’t spend the night when Kevin was being Dad. But after two weeks of not being able to do anything beyond sneak a kiss or manage a quick grope on the couch while the little ones were upstairs getting ready for bed, they were both going a little crazy.
After the kids had headed off to bed the night before, exhausted from a Saturday full of physical activity, Hugo was considering going home. He was still tired from his hard week, in no small part because he was spending most evenings over at Kevin’s house helping the kids with homework and making their lunches for the next day, and then heading home to finish up his own work before bed. It wasn’t something Hugo thought he’d be doing in his life, ever, but Kevin appreciated the help. This was a pretty new development for him too, considering Erin had managed nearly all things child-related prior to their separation.
When Hugo had tried to gather his things to leave, Kevin begged him to stay. It didn’t take much convincing. Which was what brought them to having nearly silent morning sex to avoid waking the kids, whose rooms were just down the hall.
“I’m close,” Kevin warned, so Hugo wrapped his fingers around himself and stroked his cock in short bursts near the top.
Kevin bit down on his groan as his climax peaked and a strangled burble sounded deep in his throat instead. Hugo came silently but then immediately started to laugh because the sound Kevin made was so much worse than it would’ve been if he’d just let his natural instinct go.
“Shut up. It was intense. I did my best to hold back.” Kevin rolled off Hugo and lay back on his pillow with a look of deep, satisfied exhaustion on his face.
“Yeah. I know. But you have to admit it was a funny noise,” Hugo taunted between chuckles.
Suddenly the door handle rattled, and Hugo dove under the comforter, doing his best to make his body as flat as possible and to not breathe.
“Dad? Are you okay?” It was Finn, who had a tendency to climb into Kevin’s bed on weekend mornings, or so Hugo had been told. The shuffle of feet on carpet told Hugo that Finn was in the room and walking closer.
“Yeah. What’s up?” Kevin’s voice wavered with nervousness.
“I just heard a funny noise.”
Hugo barely contained the chuckle that made his stomach contract, but the movement, which could lead to the possibility of his discovery, naked in Kevin’s bed with come still cooling on his belly, suddenly sobered him.
“I was just stretching, Pickle. My shoulder’s a little achy after all the Frisbee and catch we played yesterday. Why don’t you get dressed, and I’ll make you waffles this morning?”
“Can’t I snuggle?”
Hugo’s eyes went wide, and he considered the best escape route. Maybe if he just slid out sideways and lay under the bed until Finn left, he’d remain undetected.
“Not this morning. I’m getting in the shower now anyway. Go on and get dressed.”
“Okay,” Finn groused as he climbed on the bed to get a kiss from Kevin.
“I’ll be down in about fifteen minutes. Go on now,” Kevin encouraged, and a few moments later, Hugo heard the door snick shut. “You can come out now.” His tone was droll.
“Do you think he noticed?” Hugo asked, emerging from the sheets.
“No. He was clueless, but how are we going to explain your sudden presence at breakfast?” One of Kevin’s eyebrows rose as if he were very serious, but his mouth turned into a smile.
“That’s not hard. Good thing I have extra clothes over here and a princess toothbrush.”
“Good thing,” Kevin quipped.
“By the way, did you buy princess toothbrushes in bulk when Brooke was younger?” Hugo asked as he made his way to the bathroom.
Kevin threw the tied-off condom at Hugo’s retreating back. He missed. Hugo stopped to pick up the condom and looked at Kevin with attitude.
“If you must know, she was a tad obsessed with not having red hair like her mom, so Ariel became someone she wanted to be. Toothbrushes, undies, jammies, plastic high heels, and dresses were about as good as we could do, aside from a wig.”
“Fair enough, now stop throwing nastified condoms at me.”
Twenty minutes later, Hugo was walking through the door to Kevin’s house as if he’d just arrived. Brooke was right there in the breezeway and was startled by his arrival.
“Hi, Hugo. I didn’t know you were coming over so early. Dad’s making waffles.”
“Oh yum. I love waffles,” Hugo said while rubbing his palms and smacking his lips together in what he belatedly realized was a bit of over-exaggeration. This wasn’t the stage. This was more like a movie, so he toned it down. He slipped his shoes off by the door and headed into the kitchen to see Kevin mixing the batter in a large bowl.
“Good morning,” Kevin greeted with a smile.
“So far, it’s been a great one.” Hugo couldn’t resist. Kevin ignored him completely, at least on the exterior, but Hugo knew he was pleased inside.
“Would you wash and cut up some fruit, please?”
“Sure. What do you guys want?” Hugo directed toward the kids as he started digging through the refrigerator. “Looks like you have strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and”—he turned his head to check the counter—“bananas as your choices.”
“Strawberries, banana, and kiwi,” Finn said, always so sure of himself.
Hugo looked over at Brooke for her opinion, but she just shrugged a shoulder.
“Okay, strawberries, bananas, and kiwi coming up.”
Hugo and Kevin often cooked together, and Hugo found he rather enjoyed the previously mundane task now that he had more people to cook for. Cooking for himself wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as cooking for others. Setting the table was more fun too, even if Kevin only had plates in one color at his house rather than Hugo’s own collection of vintage dishes from the forties and fifties that he’d picked up over the years from his favorite thrift shops while searching for props for the plays he directed.
As they finished eating their breakfast, Kevin and Hugo sipping at their second cups of coffee, Hugo brought up the day’s plans.
“Are you ready for the Renaissance Festival?”
Both kids smiled and agreed they were more than ready.
“Before we can leave, I want to check that your homework is done, and I’d like your backpacks ready to go for tomorrow. Clothes laid out too,” Kevin said.
“Oh come on. It’s not like we’re going to be there all day,” Brooke complained.
“Actually,” Hugo intervened, “we might be.”
“Hugo’s right,” Kevin added. “And you’ll be walking or on your feet almost all day. You’re going to be tired when you get home. I don’t think you want to be doing a page of long division when you’re exhausted.”
“Fine,” Brooke said with the ever-growing petulance of an eleven-year-old.
“I have books to read to a grown-up, and I have a number game I’m s’posed to play,” Finn shared.
“If your dad doesn’t mind you could read to me, and I might be able to figure out how to play the game.” Finn looked to Kevin, who nodded.
While the kids worked on homework, Kevin cleaned up breakfast. Hugo had the television on but muted, reading the ticker at the bottom of a news channel as Finn worked on reading his word-a-page book. He flipped to the weather channel and saw the temperatures were going to be fairly cool because of clouds, and then he turned off the TV.
Finn showed Hugo how to play his number game, which they played for several minutes, and then he ran upstairs to get his clothes and his backpack ready for school. Behind him, Hugo saw Brooke was just finishing up as well.
“Before we leave, I have a surprise for everyone,” Hugo said. “Hang on. I have to run to my car.”
He ran to the garage, where he now had a designated spot, complete with a garage-door opener attached to his sun visor. Upon returning through the breezeway with four hangers resting on his index finger, Hugo ceremoniously passed out the costumes. “For you, my lady. For you, my lord. For you, handsome squire.”
“When and how did this happen?” Kevin asked with shock on his face.
“Cool,” Finn said as he started tearing the clothes off the hanger.
“Where did you rent these?” Brooke asked in awe.
“Something tells me these aren’t rented, right Hugo?” Kevin asked.
“What did you expect? It’s the Renaissance Festival,” Hugo said with a cheesy grin.
“I think Hugo made these, maybe with a little help,” Kevin said.
“No help, actually. These are all bona fide Hugo Thorson originals.”
“You sewed these?” Brooke finally caught on and was beyond shocked.
“Of course.” Hugo smiled. “I’m a theater director. That means I have to know how to do all the jobs of people who work in a theater so I can take over if I need to. In college, I worked in the costume department for a solid year.”
“Thanks,” each of the kids shouted and ran excitedly upstairs to get changed.
“Seriously, Hugo. How did you do this?”
“Remember when I was figuring out their school clothes?” Kevin nodded. “Well, I took a few more measurements than I needed to judge pants and shirt sizes before I ordered their clothes online.”
“And my measurements?” Kevin smirked. “You didn’t measure me while I was asleep and naked or anything, did you?”
“No. I know your shirt and pants sizes. That was enough. I wasn’t tailoring a suit. This is all fairly easy fitting. Now, come on. Let’s get dressed.” Hugo tugged at Kevin.
Kevin wore a simple shirt with lacing at the neck, a gentleman’s vest, dark pants, and a replica sword, and Finn dressed in a fashion much like his father with an added cape so he could feel like a prince or a knight. Brooke looked radiant in an elaborate dress in a rich blue with bell sleeves and a lace-up bodice, while Hugo donned a costume he’d made years ago that had a leather jerkin over a muslin shirt. Hugo looked like he was playing the role of protector to the Magnus family.
ON THE drive over to Shakopee, the suburb where the Renaissance Festival had been held for ages, Hugo discovered Kevin’s kids had never been and Kevin had gone nearly a decade earlier but hadn’t been back since. Not surprising, Hugo went nearly every year with Summer, loving the theatrics of the event. He and Summer had already been the previous weekend. It was a good excuse to wear a costume and playact an entire day away, which was about as close to perfect as Hugo could imagine. Now he would get to share the experience with Kevin and the kids.
As Kevin steered the vehicle into a farmer’s-field-turned-parking-lot, the sheer number of cars, seemingly miles and miles of them, amazed the kids. Walking toward the entrance, they finally started noticing each other’s costume rather than their own and pointed out little details and tugged on drawstrings and cords, which inevitably turned into tattling.
“Come on guys, do we need to do that?” Kevin pleaded. “We’re here to have fun, not pick on each other.”
Predictably, they each got in one more jab before Finn moved to Kevin’s side and grabbed his hand and Brooke shifted toward Hugo. Kevin smiled and stepped in line to pay for admission.
As they passed the gates, Hugo took the lead, heading right and walking around, looking at the various items merchants and artisans had to offer. Finn stopped dead in his tracks and stared up ahead at a piece of machinery designed to crack open spherical rocks. Dragon Eggs, the sign read.
“Dad, what are they doing?” he asked, tugging Kevin to get closer.
“I don’t know. Let’s ask.”
Hugo and Brooke followed and listened to the man as he started telling Kevin and Finn about the geodes he cracked open with his machine.
“…and on the inside were gas bubbles, so it’s hollow inside. After years and years,” the man said, fingering the purple points inside the cavity, “these beautiful crystals form, and when you crack open the geode, you get to see something that hasn’t ever seen fresh air.”
“Cool!” Finn was sold. “Can I crack one open, Dad? Please?”
“Sure,” Kevin said, handing over his cash to the guy as Finn started to rummage through the stash of geodes in a wooden crate. Hugo knelt down and tried to see if he could figure out which would be best to choose.
“How do I know what one to pick?” Finn asked everyone present.
“I think maybe it’s just what feels right,” Hugo said, realizing there was probably no way to know. “Do you see one that talks to you?”
“Yeah. This one.” Finn held a geode that filled his palm, just a little smaller than a baseball. He handed it to Hugo who hefted it, expecting it to be heavier than it was.
“It’s light. I wonder if that means it had more gas bubbles inside.”
“Let’s find out!”
The man put the geode in his egg-cracking device, centered it between two blunt, notched blades, and covered it with what appeared to be a piece of suede. Then he gave instructions to Finn about how to pump a lever slowly several times.
Finn pushed on the metal handle, and Brooke shared her excitement. “I wonder what color it’ll be inside.”
“I don’t know, but this is starting to get hard to push,” Finn shared after several pumps. “Do you want to help me?” he directed at Brooke, who seemed glad to be a part of this, but soon they were both struggling. “I wonder if it’s gonna burp ’cause of the gas bubbles. Dad, Hugo, I think we might need more help,” Finn puffed out, making a big show of his effort.
Kevin gestured that Hugo should assist, so he stepped forward and pressed slowly, pumping a few more times, and then suddenly, they heard a loud crack, and all the tension on the handle was gone.
“Let’s see what you got,” the dragon egg guy said, reaching for the split pieces and presenting them to Finn like the treasure they were.
“Wow!” Finn was mesmerized, taking the halves and studying them as the man told him about the quartz and the amethyst crystals glinting in the sunlight. Finn then took a tentative sniff of the geode and recited the new rock names as if trying to make them stick in his brain. “Thank you,” he said as they started walking away, looking nowhere but inside his geode. Hugo put a hand on his shoulder to direct him and make sure he didn’t fall or run into anyone. “Look. See? And look at these lines that go all ’round and ’round.” Finn talked a mile a minute, and Hugo tried to engage him, asking questions that were never heard because Finn had already moved on to notice something new in his geode.
When Hugo looked up again, he saw Kevin and Brooke talking to a woman. “Let’s go catch up to your dad and sister, Pickle.”
It hadn’t taken much time at all for Hugo to start using the kids’ nicknames, in part because Kevin used them so often. They used them almost as often as their given names. Occasionally, he and Kevin would get odd looks in public when they called out Pickle and Olive a little louder than normal, especially if they said them together. Olive didn’t get a look at all if said by itself, but if you said Pickle alone, everyone looked, especially when the little strawberry-blond boy answered to the silly name. It was funny how even their nicknames garnered the attention that fit with each kid’s personality.
By the time they reached Kevin and Brooke, she was seated on a stool and getting delicate white-and-lavender flowers braided into her long hair. It was a very elaborate braid that spiraled around the top of her head. Her dark hair was shiny, and having it all pulled back made her look even more like a combination of Kevin and Erin despite her brown locks to their blond and red.
Finn pulled his father down to his level and talked to him about all the cool things inside his geode while Hugo struck up a conversation about braiding with the ladies working at the stand. They were experts and showed Hugo photographs of some of the more elaborate braids they’d done that year so far. They assumed Hugo was Brooke’s dad because of her dark hair matching his so perfectly, but rather than correcting them, he just flipped through more pages in their portfolio and smiled to himself. Several minutes later, Brooke was presented with a hand mirror and stood in front of the large, full-length mirror, looking at her entire head in the reflection.
“It looks like a crown,” she said in awe. She delicately touched her hair and the flowers, and a shy but proud smile warmed her face.
“With your hair up, we can see more of that beautiful face of yours,” Hugo whispered as he kissed the top of her head. “Even those cute ears.” Brooke’s cheeks pinked, and she took one last second to look in the mirror, fingering the tiny blue stud in her earlobe that made the midnight blue that ringed her gray eyes stand out. Hugo had taken her to get her ears pierced for her birthday.
Hugo had just started becoming more affectionate with Kevin’s kids because they often initiated it and because they seemed to need it. Kevin gave them physical touch, but it was often quite playful—tickling and roughhousing. He seemed to reserve those gentler touches for when the children were going to bed or if they needed physical comfort from an injury or hurt feelings.
It had been Brooke who came to Hugo one afternoon and asked if she could just sit next to him while he watched a television show. She reached over and started tracing the veins on the back of his hand and nuzzled against his bicep, so he instinctually lifted his arm and let her burrow in. When Kevin had walked in, he raised a brow and pressed his lips together with a tiny smile, but then left them alone, undisturbed. It had felt surprisingly natural and not at all awkward. After that, Hugo just started reaching for the kids at various times, placing comforting hands on their backs when they did something well and more easily accepting their good-night kisses when he was there for bedtime.
The nights Hugo was with Kevin at the kids’ bedtime happened more often than not. It was a wonder they hadn’t officially at least broached the subject of moving in together yet, but there were still secrets. Brooke knew something was going on between Kevin and Hugo, had apparently seen them holding hands and kissing at the lake or at home, wherever they’d not been quite as discreet as they thought they’d been. They were doing their best to not show affection around her. Finn was fairly clueless but loved having Hugo around to read his homework to each night.
Although Kevin had talked about the stress of getting his kids used to a new routine for the school year, homework turned out to be the biggest hassle aside from the usual bedtime difficulties. Despite these challenges, September rambled on, and the daily grind became simpler and easier. By the end of the month, things would be managed like clockwork, Hugo predicted.
As they rounded a small tent, Hugo saw that the jousting tournament was about to begin. They found a good place to stand, and then watched in awe at the spectacle, wondering out loud how the jousters managed to stay on their horses and not get hurt. It was mind-boggling, and Finn was having a blast watching. Brooke grew bored rather quickly though, so they decided to move on.
They ate smoked turkey legs like a Renaissance cliché and shopped in various stores in the marketplace. They watched glassblowing and blacksmithing, and bought trinkets to remember the day, all having fun together doing something new.
It was getting late, so they started moving more quickly through the circling grounds to see everything before they needed to get home. They came across a fairy who played a double flute. She didn’t talk, however, just communicated with the children in song and gesture. They were enamored with the beautiful woman who looked a great deal like their own mother with red hair and pretty, pale skin.
Standing a safe distance away where they knew the kids couldn’t see them unless they looked back, Kevin reached for Hugo’s hand as they watched the kids and the fairy interact. Then Kevin leaned in and gently kissed Hugo on the lips after several people had gathered in front of them.
“What was that for?” Hugo asked, surprised by the affection with so many strangers close by, even if they weren’t aware of what had just happened.
Kevin barely shook his head and smiled. “Just because. No reason.”
Hugo moved closer so they pressed arm-to-arm. “No reason is a good reason,” he said, letting a happy sigh go as he looked at Kevin and back to Brooke and Finn.
They took some time in the Children’s Realm, allowing the kids to do some crafts and play with other kids so they could burn off some energy. Kevin and Hugo found an out-of-the-way place to sit where they could still see Brooke and Finn but could also have some privacy. Kevin slipped his arm around Hugo’s shoulder and kissed Hugo on the cheek.
“Hugo Thorson? Is that you?” a dark-haired woman with almond-shaped eyes said as she spied them from across the small clearing and headed closer. “Oh my God. Is that Kevin Magnus too? Tricia. Tricia Stevens,” she said with a bounce as she pointed to her own chest.
Within seconds, both Kevin and Hugo were on their feet and pulling away from each other so they could shake Tricia’s hand. She still looked so much like the girl Kevin dated in high school, the girl Hugo had to jealously watch Kevin kiss from time to time so Kevin could distract his father from the reality that Kevin was really and truly dating Hugo.
Kevin’s dad had been a tyrant, controlling almost every detail of his son’s life, and Kevin shared with Hugo that he still struggled with the dead man’s voice on occasion. He had even remained in an unhappy marriage the last several years so as to not disappoint the man, but only weeks after Kevin’s dad had died over a year ago, he’d asked Erin, his wife of over twelve years, for a divorce. Kevin still considered himself a coward for waiting for Peder Magnus’s death, but Hugo never thought Kevin was nearly as weak as he thought himself.
“Good to see you. How did you even recognize me?” Hugo finally asked, finding his voice and his manners.
“I’m not sure. I think it was your eyes. Except for the hair, you look the same. Not you, Kevin. You look so much more mature with short hair,” Tricia said, talking out of the side of her mouth on her last sentence as if she were telling a secret.
“Is that a nice way of saying I look old?” Kevin joked.
“Oh, pshhh,” she said dramatically with an eye roll and dismissive hand gesture. “You look amazing.” Her skin no longer had the glowing radiance it did in her youth, but she still had beautiful, dark hair and curves in all the right places. She looked no older than twenty-seven, tops. “So what are you up to nowadays?” she sang toward Kevin.
“Busy working, trying to raise two kids.”
“Oh, did you guys adopt?” she asked with syrupy sweetness drizzled on top of her Minnesotan accent. “That’s so neat.”
“No,” Hugo answered. “Kevin has kids.”
“But didn’t I just see you two kissing?”
“Uh….” Kevin hedged. “Yeah. You did. This is new though,” he gestured with a floppy hand between their bodies.
“But you were together in high school, right?”
Hugo and Kevin looked at each other and back toward Tricia a few times before Kevin let out a nervous laugh. “It was that obvious, huh?”
“Oh, no. Not at the time. I didn’t realize it until after I went to college and met a gay guy my sophomore year. My eyes were opened to all different sorts of people after I transferred from U of M-Morris to UW-Madison. I had no idea before that, but then I thought back to how anxious you were to help Hugo with his schoolwork after his dad died. It wasn’t much later you wanted to date but not date…. I just eventually put things together, and I’ve wondered about you guys for years. I wasn’t sure until I saw that kiss, though. I think it’s amazing!”
Kevin looked like he was going to say something, some distress evident in his eyes, when he was interrupted by a shout.
“Mama!” a little girl who looked to be East Indian said excitedly as she ran up to Tricia.
“Okay, sweetie. Go find Ravi and tell him we’ll leave soon to get something to eat. It’s nearly suppertime.” Sashi ran off to find a boy who looked nearly identical and seemed to be the same age—twins? She turned back toward Hugo and Kevin and smiled. “Those are mine.”
“Thanks. They take after my husband. He’s from Mumbai. We made our own little melting pot; Indian, German, Swedish, and Japanese.” Tricia laughed at her own joke, and Hugo couldn’t help but smile.
“Did you travel? How did you meet?” Kevin asked.
“Friend of a friend. He’s been in the United States for years. He came here for medical school, but we’ve only been married for about five years. He’s husband number three,” she said, holding up three fingers and rolling her eyes as if embarrassed, but not. “This one’s going to stick, though,” she said with a grin and crossed fingers.
Hugo found he had little to say once they started talking about kids and marriage, so he basically sat back and watched their conversation volley back and forth.
“I’m less than two weeks away from being divorced from my college sweetheart,” Kevin admitted.
“Divorce sucks,” Tricia said with a knowing nod. “At least I never had to do it with kids. These are my only ones, and like I said, I hope this one works. Raj is good to me. Anyway, I should let you go so I can get these kids fed, but I didn’t want to let you guys get away if that was really you.”
“It was good to see you. Thanks for stopping us,” Kevin said with a smile as he held out his hand.
“Good seeing you, Tricia,” Hugo said, managing a tight smile and a wave as she held her toddlers’ hands and headed down the hill to the rest of the fair. Kevin wrapped his arm around Hugo again, squeezing his shoulder after he gave the kids a two-minute warning.
“Come on, let’s get these munchkins home. I’m exhausted,” Kevin finally said after they’d allowed themselves a few minutes to touch.
ONCE THE kids had eaten and were in bed, Hugo rested his back against Kevin’s chest on the espresso-colored velvet couch in the living room. Kevin lazily trailed his fingers through Hugo’s hair, releasing warm puffs of air across his neck.
“That was so weird. Seeing Tricia,” Kevin clarified.
Hugo nodded but didn’t say anything.
“She knew. I know it wasn’t until later, but she knew about us. I wonder how many other people knew or suspected?”
Hugo shrugged and added, “Does it matter now?”
“No. No, I suppose not. Just curious.”
Long moments of silence spread throughout the room, and Hugo considered leaving for home to get to his apartment and his own bed.
“You’re jealous, aren’t you?” Kevin asked.
“You’re still jealous of her.”
Hugo tilted his head, not agreeing or disagreeing.
“Why, Hugh?” Kevin pushed on Hugo’s shoulder, urging him to turn, so Hugo did, even if all he wanted to do was hide his face from Kevin’s knowing scrutiny. “Tell me why you’re still jealous after all these years?”
Hugo rolled his eyes and shrugged again, feeling helpless to explain his feelings. “I don’t know,” he sighed. “She just brings up all those feelings I had back then. She even looked the same. And when you guys started talking, I felt like you were old friends, and I was just this outsider.”
“I’m sorry if I made you feel that way.”
“You didn’t. It’s stupid, but I just can’t help the gut reaction I had to seeing her again. That’s all.”
“You have nothing to be jealous of, okay?” Kevin said as he tenderly kissed Hugo’s mouth. “I just want you and no one else.”
“I know,” Hugo said, allowing his smile to break through his insecurity. “Anyway, I’d better get home if I’m going to be up early for that audition.”
“Do you have to leave? Can’t you sleep here again?”
Hugo shook his head and stood, stretching and feeling the fatigue from spending the entire day walking around outside. A huge yawn overtook him and Kevin laughed.
“Better go now so you get there safely. You’re sure you’re okay?”
“I’m positive. Seriously, just ignore me. It’s like ghost memories, that’s all. Nothing important,” he said with a smile, and he meant it.
Hugo drove home to sleep alone in his own bed. He liked his apartment, its warm, eclectic feel, its proximity to everything he needed, and its closeness to Lake Calhoun.
The only thing it wasn’t close enough to was the warmth of Kevin.
In Fusion, Posey Roberts weaves a beautiful, deeply moving tale...
Read the full review at
I enjoyed this story right from the beginning.
I enjoy the way the author gives voice to her characters, allows us to travel along with them as their lives change
I loved this!!! For a second installment, despite the heavy topic and the pain and the drama that ensued, this book was as close to perfection for me as possible. Loved how their relationship grew, loved how they weren't perfect but worked through their struggles, loved how they found common ground and compromise.
It’s honest and I have the feeling, written from an experienced perspective. A surprising, yet bolstering turn of events from book one. I’m eager for the next book!
This is the second part of the North Star Trilogy and this book ROCKS!!
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