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SEEKING REDEMPTION:
AIDAN & ETHAN
Liquid Silver
Male/Male
December 2008

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Redemption, Maine. Never had the name of a town been more apt or mocked a person more.

Aidan Morgan made many mistakes in his young life, but moving to Redemption gave him a chance to wash away his poor choices and repair his relationship with his siblings.

Ethan Ashworth had the blond good looks of a hometown football star, but the picture didn't match the heart and mind of the young man living inside.

The new kid in town with a history of getting into trouble and an unlikely geek don't often make a match, but a unique friendship forms. With one searing kiss on graduation day, promises of a future are made. One day later Aidan is gone, and Ethan's heart is left broken.

Redemption, Maine. Never had the name of a town been more apt or mocked a person more…twice.

Thirteen years ago Aidan disappeared in the dead of night, but he is home now. Aidan has come home to take the job of chief of the fire department and to reconnect with his brother and sister. He wants Ethan back too. Unable to forget their kiss, Aidan wants to explain why he went away, and he wants a second chance to win Ethan's heart.

Too bad for Aidan, Ethan isn't so quick to forgive and forget. He dealt with a life-changing crisis after Aidan went away. His hurt and anger at how Aidan left him alone has resurfaced, bringing the controlled man back to life. Ethan will listen to Aidan's reasons for

leaving when he's damn good and ready…and not a minute before.

Redemption, Maine. A place for second chances. Will the town -- and Ethan Ashworth -- give Aidan Morgan another shot to get it right?

 
 

“…Ms. Dane writes with such emotion, this is an emotional roller coaster from the very first page. Wow, is how I would describe this one. Ethan has suffered so much in his life but has remained strong. When his one true love, the one that broke his heart returns, his strength is truly put to the test. However, when he is faced with an even bigger loss, his soul knows where it belongs. I absolutely love Cameron Dane's stories, they are always written in a way that the reader's emotions travel the whole spectrum from over powering sorrow, to the ultimate love. Anyone who loves an emotional thrill ride with two sexy men, this is it. This is a definite keeper to be read again and again. Great job, Ms. Dane.”
--Sandra from The Romance Studio, a 5 heart review

 

“…The first book in the new Seeking Redemption series Aidan and Ethan is a rollercoaster ride of heartbreak and second chances. I’m usually not a big fan of books that rely heavily on flashbacks to tell the back-story but Cameron Dane, as is the norm with this talented author, manages to have the story flow from past to future and back with nary a hitch. I’ve been a fan of Ms. Dane and her work since reading her first book on the day it debuted. I become a bigger fan with each story that she writes and Aidan and Ethan is another jewel in her crown. Aidan and Ethan are both multifaceted characters. Neither is perfect, both are realistically flawed and that just adds to their appeal. Although mistakes have been made on both men’s parts you are left with the feeling that maybe the biggest mistake, the one made when they were young, in the end was the best that they could make. Both were young and now they are older and much more mature, the kind of mature where they can handle a relationship as all encompassing as theirs. I felt the love between the two men from the very first page and eagerly devoured their story. I love how even secondary characters written by Ms. Dane are more than just props in the story and can’t wait to see if the next book follows who I think it will.”
--Hayley, A 5 Angel *Recommended Read* from Fallen Angel Reviews

 

“…The Redemption series begins with Aidan & Ethan. Their story is simple and complicated at the same time…Both men had to live through the pain of losing the other. Both became capable and independent. More importantly, thanks to the love and support of family, they had anchors to support them through their reconnecting period…As always, Cameron Dane has written characters that remind you of friends and neighbors. I’m hoping Aidan’s brother is next on the agenda, but will be happy for any of the supporting cast to find love and happiness.”
-- Scandalous Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews Only

 

“…nice story…Aside from Ethan and Aidan there are a host of lovable characters in the town of Redemption, Maine that helped to make this story such a fun read…Aidan and Ethan was an enjoyable read and Cameron Dane fans will like it very much.”
--Ley from Joyfully Reviewed.com

 
 

Aidan & Ethan Excerpt 1: PG-13 for language

Aidan & Ethan Excerpt 2: R rated

 

Excerpt # 1: This is part of Aidan and Ethan's first face-to-face meeting after Aidan returns to Redemption.

 

Holy fuck. Aidan Morgan. At his front door. Ethan worked like the very devil to school his features and not show any emotion whatsoever. He also willed his legs to lock so that he didn't stumble like a fool.

But ... holy fuck. No longer that forever-eighteen boy of Ethan's dreams, Aidan stood before him all man. All steely ropes of muscle beneath the white shirt with the Redemption fire department logo over his heart, to the black pants that didn't stop Ethan from picturing thighs and calves honed to hard perfection; it all filled Ethan like a visual feast. He knew from the meeting with Chief Robbins that Aidan had been a firefighter in Arizona during the years he'd been away, and God, it showed in his stunning physique.

Ethan suddenly stood up straighter as the reality of that minuscule amount of information hit him. Ethan might know that one basic thing about Aidan, but he had nothing else.

Because Aidan had run.

What was it the jackass had said a minute ago? Something about not being able to leave his crew? Bastard.

"You wasted your money on gas driving up here, Chief." He met the man's sage-green gaze and absolutely didn't waver. "In case you didn't read the roster, I'm on the volunteer crew, so you don't have any say in whether I stay or leave. I didn't miss the meeting today. I told Chief Robbins that I'd helped out for as long as I could, but that it was time for me to let it go."

The stubbly square jaw before him ticked visibly. "I know. He told me." Aidan leaned in and braced his hand against doorjamb, forcing Ethan to take an automatic step back.

Fucker. Trying to intimidate me. Ethan arched a brow and prayed the pounding in his chest didn't show on the outside. "Well, then there's your answer."

Aidan's pale eyes darkened and burned hot enough to start a fire of his own. "Do you think for one second I believe it's just a coincidence that you're walking away from the department, now, when you've been doing it so successfully for five years?" Ethan paled at those words. "Oh yeah," Aidan didn't miss a beat, "I asked Roger how long you'd been volunteering, and he told me. I understand that you might still be a little angry with me--"

"Angry?" Ethan whispered the word with deathly softness. Any of his kids down at the high school would know they had just stepped over Mr. Ashworth's line, and were probably about two seconds away from getting a serious amount of detention, or getting kicked right off the volleyball team. Right now, Ethan just barely checked throwing a punch at the man getting much too close to invading his personal space. "No, Aidan, I was angry twelve years ago." No way did this guy get to think he wouldn't have to address the damage he had done by leaving. "That came after the year of crushing hurt and humiliation I felt when your little brother had to tell me--your best friend--that you'd disappeared in the middle of the night to start a new life. Angry was how I felt ... then. Now, I just think you were a liar and didn't deserve a second of the time I ever spent thinking about you." Ethan looked Aidan up and down and he didn't feel the slightest urge to fuck him. He wanted to throw a punch at his mouth. No, he's not worth the sore hand. "I think that's about all I need to say. Goodbye." Ethan moved to slam the door.

Aidan caught it with the flat of his palm before it closed. "Okay, so you're not willing to hear me out right now; I get that."

"That implies there will be a day when I'll want to listen to you."

"All right, fine." Aidan's hard jaw ticked some more, drawing Ethan's eye. Ethan didn't remember this man having such a dead giveaway for his emotions, as the clenching of his jaw line conveyed. He's pissed. Good. "Putting aside for the moment that things ended badly between us, as the new chief of the RCFD I need qualified people on my crew. You know how few guys I have on the paid staff." Ethan did know that. Aidan would have an assistant chief and seven full-time firefighters. The other ten people who staffed the house did so as part of the volunteer program. "I can't afford to lose you," Aidan said. "At least not until I recruit some more folks who are willing to go through the training and join the group. Give me some time, Ash."

"Don't call me that." Only Aidan ever called Ethan that name. It had been special, once upon a time.

"Ethan, then." Aidan let go of the door and pushed his fingers through his dark hair, leaving unruly tunnels in their wake. "Come back to the firehouse until I get someone through the training who looks like they're gonna stick."

"You know that could take a long time." In Maine, volunteer firefighters had to go through the exact same training program as the paid crew, and then had to participate in a predetermined number of hours in training seminars and meetings in order to remain qualified for the work. In Redemption, most of the volunteers also gave of their time and took overnight shifts at the station alongside one or two of the paid men, depending upon the schedule. "People drop out left and right when they realize the commitment involved."

"I know. Which is why I need you, man," Aidan said. "The station needs more people, even if you weren't choosing to leave. I can't afford to have you go before I have at least one person to replace you." Aidan took a few more steps back, allowing Ethan to breathe a little easier. Crossing his thick arms against his chest, Aidan scanned the length of Ethan's cabin. "Right now, no one knows you gave Roger your resignation. I told him to hold off and give me a chance to change your mind. It won't be a big deal for you to come back into the group for a while. You can start dropping hints that it's taking up too much of your time; that it's cutting into your time with a significant other..." His gaze came back to Ethan, the unspoken question in his eyes.

"You get nothing from me about my personal life, Aidan." Ethan's chest squeezed, and the words came out tight. "Not anymore."

"Fair enough." Aidan dipped his head. "That's your call. Have you made a decision about the volunteering? Can I count on you as part of my crew?"

Guilt over the town his family had called home for four generations nagged Ethan's conscience, and it shouted above the hurt still twisting, not so deeply buried anymore, for this one man. "All right, fine. I'll be there. I'll stay until you get a new recruit."

"One who sticks."

"Yes, one who lasts more than a month," Ethan conceded. "But that's all you get."

"That's all I need." Aidan unhooked a pair of sunglasses from his belt loop, and then loped down the stairs. With the space now free, Ethan finally moved onto the porch and leaned his hip against the post at the top of the steps.

Pausing by his truck, Aidan turned, a small smile lifting the edge of his lips. Ethan closed his eyes for a moment as the feel of those lips clinging to his washed over him, spiking a desire to explore again and see how they had changed.

"All right then." Aidan broke the small silence, and Ethan opened his eyes, finding Aidan's stare. "Let me get going. I have a ton of things that need doing before the job takes me over next week." He climbed in behind the wheel and started the engine. Through the rolled down window, he leaned his head out and connected to Ethan again. "If you ever want to talk ... when, if, you're ever ready to listen to why I left... Well, you know where to find me."

"Why did you come back here anyway?" The question, the need to know, escaped Ethan before he could hide it. "Why, after all this time?"

"Oh, I thought you would have figured that out by now." From across the twenty feet that separated them, Ethan felt stripped bare with one thorough look from his teenage crush. "I came back for you." …

 

Excerpt # 2: A little farther along. Ethan starting to unleash some of his anger at Aidan.

 

Aidan banged on the cabin door, cursing himself for violating Ethan's request to keep their new relationship strictly business. Aidan argued that extenuating circumstances were involved. He'd stayed away for twenty-four hours; he couldn't take any more than that. The man's mother was sick, for Christ's sake. That changed everything.

"Open the damn door, Ethan!" Aidan banged again, uncaring about how loud he got. Ethan didn't have any neighbors close by, and Aidan knew Kara wasn't here. She had been quick to sit down with Aidan and go over her shift schedule at the hospital where she worked as an ER nurse, in an effort to point out the nights when she absolutely could not take an overnight shift at the firehouse.

Thursday was one of those nights.

"You always were a stubborn jackass," Aidan muttered into the darkness. Frustration, worry, and years of his own neglect in regard to this man hit him hard in the gut. "I can stand here all night if that's what it takes." His voice softened, and he caressed the smooth wood of the door, wishing it were Ethan. "I just want to talk to you for a few minutes. That's all I ask."

Dejected after another long silence, he took a step away from the door. Then it hit Aidan that Ethan's dog wasn't barking up a storm. He redoubled his efforts, this time adding the doorbell to the mix. "Ethan! Are you okay? Why isn't your dog barking? Damn you, I'm about two seconds away from breaking this door down and you fucking know I can do it!"

Within seconds, lights blazed from inside the cabin, setting the porch in a soft glow through the tall windows on either side of the door. Aidan backed off his hammering just as Ethan yanked open the door.

Bare-chested and his blond hair mussed, Ethan looked sexier than Aidan had ever seen him. He wore navy blue sweats and nothing else. "Oz is not here," Ethan informed him. "Otherwise, he'd be doing more than barking; he'd damn well have your ass chewed off by now for harassing his master." Ethan scratched his flat, ripped stomach, and Aidan's mouth went drier than an Arizona summer. "Now, what the hell do you want? You woke me up."

Aidan snapped his focus back up and narrowed his gaze on Ethan. "Liar. You never could fall asleep before midnight." He pushed up the cuff of his long sleeve shirt and glanced at his watch. "It's barely eleven."

"You don't know me anymore, Morgan." Everything seemed to pull straight and tight along the length of Ethan's body. The protective motion tore Aidan apart. "A lot has changed since you left."

All of the righteous air went right out of Aidan. "I know." He pushed through the tightness closing his throat and said, "And I swear I want to explain myself and try to make it up to you, when you're ready to listen."

"I don't care." Ethan's lips thinned to a pursed line. "Not anymore."

Fuck. Aidan moved closer anyway. "I heard about your mom. Why didn't you tell me she was sick?"

Ethan just stood there and somehow achieved the impossible. He grew stiffer and even more still.

"Ethan."

A hint of life suddenly sparked in Ethan's eyes, flaring the blue for just a split second. "Oh, and when should I have shared my troubles with you, Aidan?" he said, his voice edged with ice. "During one of the many times you invited me out to visit you, or when you came home? Or maybe during one of the lengthy phone calls, or letters, or emails we shared where we made sure to keep up to date with each other lives. Which one of those scenarios should I have taken the time to tell you that my mom was ravaged by cervical cancer a year after you left, so fucking bad that my big, strong dad left us, leaving me and Wyn to take care of her and fend for ourselves, with only his guilt money to get us through it. Should I have tracked you down to tell you how goddamned elated we were when she fought her way through it to remission, only to have it attack her again last year? You tell me, Aidan. When should I have shared all this information with my best," he threw his hands up and made air quotes with his fingers, "friend?"

Aidan rubbed his face, and swore to God he could already feel new lines etched into his flesh. "Look," he tried again, "can I at least come inside so we can talk? While we stand here shouting at each other, we're also issuing an open invitation to every bug in the neighborhood to take up residence in your home. I don't think you want an infestation just so you can stand your ground."

"Sure. Why the hell not?" Ethan threw the door open wide. "Come on in." He made a sweeping gesture with his arm, but it could not have been less welcoming. "Say what's on your mind so that you can get right the hell back out."

Aidan stepped over the threshold and took in the cabin, and he instantly traveled right back in time. He whistled, low and long, as he put his head on a swivel. "It's just like you always wanted." His voice went hushed, almost in reverence of the open space. The entire floor was one big, open room, with a kitchen to the right, and an area to sit and relax to the left. Toward the back of the cabin sat a big bed and dresser, and another pair of comfortable chairs with a small table in between them. An opening in the wall on the left would lead to a bathroom and a mud/washroom; Aidan didn't have to peek down it to know. Ethan had talked about this cabin often during their friendship.

But the focal point of the entire place--the most important part of Ethan's childhood vision--left Aidan breathless. The back wall was no wall at all, but instead a full picture window, with just a low runner of cushions along a long window seat that went from one wall to the other. Holy mother, it was like living outside, with all of the comforts of indoors.

Everything Ethan had ever wanted in the cabin of his dreams. One that when hearing about it, made Aidan ache to live in it too.

Ethan brushed past Aidan and threw himself on a mocha-colored suede couch.

With his mouth still hanging open, Aidan followed the man into the living area. "Holy shit, Ash. I can't believe you built our house."

"I didn't build our house." Ethan shot right back up and stalked Aidan, getting right in his face. "I built my cabin, with a friend. I wanted this long before I ever met you, and there wasn't any way I was letting the fact that I let you share it for five minutes kill my dream. You don't have a damn thing to do with this place, so don't go getting any ideas about moving in."

"Oh?" Aidan's blood quickly came to a boil, and his breathing grew more erratic with every second Ethan invaded his personal space. Christ, all the musky male smells went right to Aidan's head. Standing in the home of their teenage dreams didn't do a damn thing to put a damper on his ever-present need for this man. Years and years of going without the only person he had ever wanted spilled over, with no way for Aidan to stop the flood. "I might not have ever lived here with you, but it's a damn sight more my place than it'll ever be Kara's, I'll tell you that right now. I don't have to have shared this space with you to know that you've never laid your body down on that bed," he reached back and pointed with his arm without ever looking away from Ethan, "and had wet dreams about fucking her. You don't want her sexually, and whatever the hell you and I ever are or aren't to each other in the future doesn't change that. You don't dream about fucking pussy, Ash. You dream about sinking your cock into a tight, male ass, and it's wrong to let Kara think anything different."

"You don't know anything about me anymore, Aidan, and you certainly don't know anything about me and Kara, so don't assume that you do. You haven't been around to know what I desire anymore, one way or the other." Ethan poked at Aidan's chest with each word he spoke, pushing Aidan in a backward walk with each spearing touch. "And I already fucking told you," the back of Aidan's thighs hit the kitchen table, bowing him backward, "don't," he growled the word, "call me Ash."

Aidan burned with life under his skin, and his entire body hummed in a way it hadn't done in thirteen years. Ethan rode his front with less than half a dozen inches between them, and pure passion, even if it was mixed with something more volatile, charged the air around them. Their chests heaved and sharp puffs of warm breath came out of each man in tango, mingling in the air. Ethan had his fists planted on either side of Aidan's hips, and a decidedly hard ridge grazed the inside of Aidan's thigh. Goddamn, he feels so fucking right against me. Aidan had never wanted anything more in his life.

His focus drifted to Ethan's lips, and he studied the fullness of the lower one. His cock twitched as he thought about the many places he had put that mouth in all of his fantasies, and when he brought his eyes back up to Ethan's, he knew they all showed in his stare.

He licked the edge of his lip and imagined it was Ethan's. "When you get into a shouting match with Kara," he looked down to Ethan's crotch, and then came back up, "does she make you hard, like you are now?"

"I'm not--"

"Yes," Aidan leaned in, their lips so unbearably close he trembled with it, "you are."

Ethan opened his mouth, and Aidan stole whatever he wanted to say with a searing kiss. …

 

Copyright Protected Work.
Cameron Dane, Author. Liquid Silver Books, Publisher.

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