Excerpt of Unexpected Guest

July 30, 2010

Welcome, everyone!

I’m posting the first excerpt from Unexpected Guest and will be posting a at least one more excerpt and a few contests in a little while. I’ll be popping in and out for the next six hours or so and will answer any questions if you have them and let you know the contest winners.


LOGGING off the computer in preparation for the weekend, Dan picked up the phone in his office and called Ethan’s cell. “Hey, what’s up?” He put a few files in his briefcase and looked forward to getting away from work.

“You gonna be home at your regular time? The last contractor just left.” Dan felt a thrill hearing Ethan refer to it as home.

“Yeah, I’m just finishing up here and I should be home in about twenty minutes. What’d you want to do for dinner?” It was no longer a question of if they‟d have dinner together, but what they’d eat. Ethan had essentially moved in and hadn’t been back to his own apartment in almost two weeks. “I could stop and pick something up, and we could eat it while we go over the estimates, if you wouldn’t mind. It’ll help to have a second opinion. You hungry for anything special?”

Ethan’s drawl came through the phone. “You know what I like. See you in a few.”

Dan smiled. He did know what Ethan liked. Not only was he now an expert on every kind of fast food that Harrisonburg offered, but he knew what Dan liked at every place. It seemed intimate, somehow, the kind of thing that his parents had done when his father was alive. He hadn’t liked it when his father ordered for his mother when they went out to eat, seeing it as one more way of controlling his family. God knew, he had control issues. More than once, though, he remembered his mother flitting across the restaurant to visit with a friend or to use the lady’s room and instructing him to order. She never told him what to order, he just seemed to know. He thought about the irony that he and Ethan had reached that point after less than two months when he and Pam had been together for ten years and he had never ordered for her.

Ethan was filling his life in a way that nobody, with the possible exception of Sean, ever had. When he thought of Ethan, there was not only intense desire but warmth and comfort as well. It had become so important that he couldn’t imagine his life without Ethan in it, and revealing his feelings for him risked that connection that he had grown to love.

They were finishing the last of the fries when Ethan said, “Jaden and Brendan wanted to know if we could do dinner tomorrow night.” Their young neighbors, knowing that they were without a functioning kitchen, had invited them over every couple of days so they could have something other than fast food.

“As much as I’d love to eat a meal off of a real plate instead of a paper bag, I can’t tomorrow night. I was supposed to have drinks with Sean a few weeks ago, and he bailed on me when his kids got sick and we rescheduled for tomorrow.” He grinned. “Is Jaden still head-over-heels in love with his puppy?”

Brendan had gotten him a Golden Retriever puppy for his birthday the week before, and Jaden was completely smitten with the little blonde ball of fluff.

“Yeah, you know it.” Ethan grinned. “I think I’ll go over while you go out.”

Their fast food dinner cleaned up, they spread the estimates out over the dining room table. Even though they had moved enough furniture down from the attic to set up an office for Ethan, they ended up working together on the dining room table during most of their evenings. There was room enough to spread sets of plans out, and now that Dan had the wireless network up and running, they could each work on their laptops and access the internet. Although it was neat enough, Dan thought that his father would have had a fit if he could have seen the dining room turned into a makeshift office and kitchen. He had lived by rules and order, and he wouldn’t have allowed it.

“Mom’s given us the green light for the whole job, plaster removal, drywall, everything. Now we just have to pick the contractors and see what their schedules are like.” Dan realized that he had automatically included Ethan and had never asked him if he wanted to continue with the project now that he didn’t need to wait for the contractors for estimates. He didn’t want to think about Ethan going back to his apartment.

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