NEW RELEASE! - Galaxies and Oceans
Galaxies and Oceans
By N.R. Walker
Publication date: June 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance
Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.
Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.
Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.
Aubrey never expected to be happy.
Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.
I stopped, looked toward the lonely figure still watching the ocean below, and with a deep breath and nothing to lose, I crossed the street and walked toward him.
“Hi,” I said, still a few metres away so as not to scare him.
He spun regardless, his eyes wide. He had dark eyes, pale skin, and I could see short brown hair poking out from under his hood. He looked three days unshaven, and the bump on the bridge of his nose gave his handsome face a rugged edge. “Oh, hi.”
“Didn’t mean to scare ya.” I nodded toward the tumultuous, tumbling ocean. “She’s upset today.”
He looked back out to the rough seas and gave me a quick smile. “It’s actually kinda pretty.”
I scratched at my beard. “I’ve heard it been called cruel, cold, rugged, hellish. The only people who call it pretty are the ones who end up staying.”
He looked back out to sea and smiled. The wind caught his hood and tousled his hair. His cheeks were pink from the cold as was the tip of his nose. He was handsome, no two ways about it. And possibly fifteen years younger than me.
I made myself look away. “What brings you here?”
“Looking,” he answered without turning to me.
“For?” I stared out across the stormy waves with him. “Work? A new beginning?”
He shot me a look. “Something like that.”
I sipped my coffee. “There’s not much work here. Well, that’s not true. There’s a tonne of work; this whole town is weather-beaten and old. Just not much work that pays.”
His lips twitched.
“But you can try the caravan park.” I didn’t let on that I knew that was where he was staying. “Old Frank Hill who runs the place would never say no to help. Maintenance, that kind of thing.”
He turned back to the water, to the wind. “I’ve asked him already.”
“Frank’s just a grumpy old man who thinks anyone under thirty’s a hooligan. I’ll have a word with him if you like.”
“Why would you do that?”
I smiled and gave pause. Why was I offering to help this guy? I didn’t know him from Adam. Sure, he was good-looking, but there was something in his eyes. Something deep, hidden, and burning. Something horrendously painful. Something I recognised.
I faced the angry sea alongside him. “Because you called this ocean pretty.”
Neither of us spoke for a while. I drank my coffee and he turned his empty cup in his hands.
“Anyway,” I said, realising I couldn’t stand around all day. “My name’s Patrick. I live at the lighthouse.”
That made him look at me. “In the lighthouse?”
“No. Not in it. In the residence.”
“Well, it’s almost two hundred years old, made from sandstone, and it’s tiny. But yes, it’s cool.” I smiled as the wind whipped around us. “I should go. I have work to do, but I’ll call around and see Frank after lunch.” I pulled the newspaper out from under my arm, and his eyes darted to the front page.
He stared so long I turned it around so he could read it, but he shot me a look that I couldn’t place, and it was gone so fast I’d wondered if I’d seen it. He stepped back. “Yeah, um, thanks. That’d be great.”
It wasn’t until I got home that I realised what the look on his face was. It was fear. And I realised I didn’t know his name.
What the hell was I doing?
Why was I offering him parts of myself that weren’t mine to give?
And what the hell was it about this Aubrey Hobbs that upended my comfortably numb life?
I wasn’t prepared to feel anything again. I wasn’t supposed to. When hearts are broken so utterly beyond repair, they’re not supposed to beat again, right?
So why did my chest get all tight when I saw him? Why did I want to pull him against
me to bear the weight of his troubles? Why did I want to protect him, hold him… kiss him? God, I wanted to kiss him.
And that scared the hell out of me.
I dropped him home, and there was a moment before he opened the door, that will-he, won’t-he say something or do something moment. And I didn’t know if I was more grateful or disappointed that he did neither. He simply held my gaze for a long moment before thanking me and getting out of the car.
I don’t think I breathed until I got home.
I finished cleaning the kitchen, fixed the fire, and found Tabby on the sofa. “Well, you were a surprise,” I said to her, giving her a pat. “What are you trying to tell me, huh?”
Of course, she didn’t answer. She just purred a little louder and closed her eyes. Maybe that was my answer. But I couldn’t believe it when she’d jumped up on him. Tabby had been Scott’s cat. She’d adored him, followed him everywhere, and had—without one iota of shame or care—made her preference for him over me very well known.
After Scott… well, she wouldn’t come near me for the longest time. She only tolerated me because I fed her. She’d sit across the room, or under the table, or in the hall, and look at me as though she blamed me because her Scott was gone.
Well, my Scott was gone too.
I walked over to the photo of him, and my heart squeezed again. This time for a whole slew of other reasons. Loss, grief, and now guilt.
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” I said to him.
I could almost hear him laugh and say, “You’re navigating unchartered waters, Patrick.”
I blinked back tears. “I don’t know how,” I replied.
And the answer was as clear as a bell.
By following the stars.
I gasped back a breath. “Oh God. Aubrey.”
Scott’s eternally-smiling face smiled now as if I’d finally clued in to what he’d known all along. I could just imagine him shaking his head at me, laughing. Trust the waters, Patrick. The ocean was mapped out from the stars.
Patrick had put out two bowls of minestrone-style soup and what looked like home-baked bread. “Do you make your own bread?” I asked.
Patrick sat down quietly opposite me. “Only when I make soup.”
“Well, this looks incredible.” It really did. Being cold and hungry, it didn’t get any better than homemade soup and bread. I tasted a small spoonful of the soup. “Okay, wow.”
He finally smiled and relaxed. “Thanks.”
“You’re a really good cook.”
“Just for the homely stuff. I’m not much good at that fancy kind of cooking.”
“This,” I gestured to the food he’d put on the table, “is better than any of that fine dining crap I’ve ever had.”
He had some soup and a mouthful of bread and pretended like it was no big deal when he asked, “Eat a lot of fine dining food?”
Oh crap. “Uh, yeah. A lifetime ago.”
He nodded thoughtfully and tucked that little sliver of information away before he changed the subject. “So, about old Frank’s garden, need a hand with it tomorrow? I have a mattock you could borrow. That soil’s going to be like concrete.”
“Nah, the soil’s okay, but I could use a hand lifting one of the old washing machines. It’s one of those real old types, and it weighs a tonne.”
“Sure thing. After lunch okay?”
“Perfect. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. He just said it hasn’t worked in years.”
“Like most things there, I suppose.” He smiled. “Frank’s a funny old guy.”
“He is. I think he pretends to be cranky so people leave him alone, but he’s not really.” I bit into the homemade bread and proceeded to moan like a bad porno. “Oh my God, this is so good.”
Patrick stared at me with darkened eyes before he looked at his bowl and shifted in his seat. “It’s been a long time since I’ve cooked for anyone.”
I tucked that little bit of information away, tit for tat. I could have asked why or how long, but we had some kind of agreement not to push for information. “Well, they don’t know what they’re missing out on,” I said, instead. Then, for reasons I’ll never know, I followed up with, “Because this is better than sex.”
His gaze shot to mine, heated and all too brief. He swallowed thickly, and his tongue
swept across his bottom lip. “I don’t think it’s quite that good.”
I took another spoonful of soup, surprised my hand didn’t shake. “Well, it’s been a long time in that regard too.”
His voice was husky and barely above a whisper. “Or maybe you just weren’t doing it right.”
And like a bolt of lightning that earths too close to home, memories of Anton doing unwanted things to me flashed through my mind. My stomach squeezed and I swallowed down the urge to vomit. Hoping Patrick couldn’t see the change in me, I picked up the bread. “So maybe my memory’s a little fuzzy, but this bread is delicious.”
He put his spoon down and frowned, and I knew that whatever emotions flittered across my face didn’t go unnoticed. “You don’t have to tell me anything, but I assume whatever happened to you wasn’t good.”
I put my spoon down as quietly as I could and put my hands in my lap. I couldn’t bring myself to speak, so I gave him a small nod of my head. This game of tit for tat had swayed in his favour, I’d given him more information than I’d meant to, and I felt off-kilter because of it. There was something about Patrick that made me want to tell him everything. I wanted to crawl into his lap where he’d keep me safe, he’d rock me back and forth with my head on his chest, and I’d tell him all my secrets, then he’d say magical words that would fix the mess my life had become.
“I don’t know what brought you to Hadley or why you chose to come here,” he said. “But I have a feeling you’ve come to the right place.” I looked into his eyes then, not sure what to say to that, and found his eyes were glassy. “The knots we get ourselves tied into,” he murmured, “seem to unravel here.”
“Did it work for you?” I asked.
He stared right back at me like he wasn’t sure if he should tell me the truth, if this game of tit for tat was worth the heartache. “Two weeks ago, I would’ve said no. But now, I’m not so sure.”
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn't have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don't let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things...but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She's been writing ever since...
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.