It’s the 2nd bookversary of the expanded and reworked/reedited 2nd edition of Cultivating Love at JMS Books, and a few weeks past the 10th bookversary of the 1st edition at Loose ID.
To celebrate, I’m giving away a paperback copy of Cultivating Love (US only) ~or~ winner’s choice of my ebooks (US or International). I also wrote an alternate POV bonus scene. This is a scene from chapter 5. In the book it’s from Joe’s POV. Here it is rewritten from Ed’s POV:
Ed pressed his lips together and stared at a photo in the album. His dad’s happy, suntanned face beamed from the two-dimensional rectangle. He could almost imagine the laughter that might have accompanied the casual scene. While Ed’s dad had been the focus of this photo, others were present, with elbows and knees making it into the frame of the spontaneous snap.
A party, perhaps? The image was in a cruise ship’s album, taken poolside on deck. Had his dad—Fred—and the man he’d been arm-in-arm with on the album’s first page gone as part of a larger group of friends, or had they made friends onboard? If the other albums Joe had described were anything to go by, Fred hadn’t been lacking in friends. Ed’s shoulders shook. Why had this cheerful, friendly man abandoned him so completely?
He stiffened and fought off threatening tears. The last thing he wanted to do was to cry in front of Joe. Joe had been a champ so far dealing with Ed’s mixed emotions, but there was no need to push to see how much Joe could take before—
Ed’s whole body shuddered and he pushed the thought aside. He started at the page and swallowed, struggling to keep his breath steady.
Joe rocked on his feet, no doubt uncomfortable with Ed’s lack of control. Ed took a couple deeper breaths to calm his nerves, then Joe’s hand landed on his shoulder. Was he trying to…? Ed shook his head, and a tremor ran through his shoulders. What must Joe think?
But Joe didn’t stop at a mere shoulder pat. He curled that hand around Ed’s biceps and pulled him up. Up and into the warm circle of Joe’s arms. Ed took an erratic lungful of air and wound his arms around Joe’s waist.
Maybe that was a mistake, but Joe seemed to be offering it. Both comfort and a shoulder, which Ed laid his head on. And why should Joe’s consolation be unexpected anyway?
When Joe petted his hair, Ed closed his eyes and tightened his hug. Joe probably felt as fish-out-of-water in this unfamiliar role as he did, so it seemed like a good idea to offer a bit of reassurance that the soothing actions were appreciated.
Ed sniffed. “Why, Joe? Fuck. Why did he leave me all alone in the world? I was so fucking alone before you.”
Joe tightened his arms in turn and gently rocked them. “We’ve got each other now. That’s all that matters.”
Ed nodded against Joe’s neck. Another rap sounded at the front door, and Ed jumped back. Back to reality. His face heated as he scrubbed it and stared at the floor.
“Ed, you can stay here. I’ll get rid of ’em.”
Their front porch was turning into Grand Central Station. Ed pulled his shoulders back, wiped his face on a napkin, and blew his nose. After a few cleansing breaths, he peeked out through the living room to see who was at the door.
A man Ed hadn’t met before, but whom he recognized as the man who’d gone on that cruise with Fred, moved back a few paces as Joe opened the door and stepped outside. “Hello, What can I do for you?”
Ed straightened and craned his neck to hear. This was the man whom Joe had recognized as the one who’d taken care of the farm before they could get there. Fred’s best friend and apparent lover, and Ed’s best bet for getting a few answers.
The man’s face was stony. “I heard you got back to town today. Thought I’d stop by and pick up something that belongs to me. It was in Fred’s possession, but it belonged to both of us, and I’d like to have it.”
Yeah, it had to be him. The same man who’d been so rude to Joe when they’d come out to see the place before making the decision to move here.
“You must be on a weak branch of the Mayfield grapevine.” Joe wasn’t making any effort to be friendly, either, but at least his tone wasn’t outright cold. “I’ve been here every day since you first saw me. Ed just rolled back in today, though. He’s been closing up our place back in Omaha.”
The man’s brows came together, and he appeared genuinely surprised. “Thought you were him.”
“My name’s Joe. Joe Durham. What’s yours, and what is it you’re looking for?”
Ed puffed out a soft snort. Probably that cruise line photo album.
“Bill Golden.” He looked away and took a breath, as if working up the nerve to say what he wanted. “It’s personal…” He waffled. “I know where it is and would prefer to just remove it myself.”
Yep, the photo album.
Joe paused a few moments before replying. “Well, it’s been moved.”
Bill narrowed his eyes, but didn’t reply.
“Look.” Joe’s tone softened. “You certainly don’t have anything to worry about from me and Ed. Here’s the thing. Ed’s never seen a photo of his father before today, and he’s having an emotional time of it. There are a couple of family albums in there, too, so I imagine he’ll be willing to part with the one you’re after.”
Bill’s tension seemed to ease a bit, but the angle of his eyebrows still broadcasted his confusion. “I’d appreciate it.”
“I know Ed would really like to talk to you about his father, He has a lot of questions. This isn’t a good time, though.”
Bill whole body stiffened, and his face pinched. “Too bad he never thought to ask Fred himself when he was alive. Woulda meant the world to him to hear from the boy.”
Ed’s jaw dropped. What the hell was Bill talking about? Ed’s legs moved before he had the chance to second guess the action. He’d crossed the living room in seconds and shoved open the screen door. “What kind of bullshit comment is that?” The heat that had rushed to Ed’s face in the kitchen now spread down his neck. “The only word you got right is ‘boy.’ That’s all I was when my mother died, and I could have used a father, desperately. Where the hell was he my whole life?”
Bonus Scenes: https://authoraddisonalbright.com/free-stuff/bonus-scenes/bonus-scenes-cultivating-love/a Rafflecopter giveaway
8 thoughts on “Happy Bookversary to Cultivating Love – New Alt POV Bonus Scene – #Paperback #Giveaway”
Congrats! Was it difficult to return to this story after so much time elapsed?
Not really. I’d always loved the story and was thrilled with having the opportunity to improve and rerelease it. That was about the time JMS started using KU, and I liked the idea of giving it that wider audience. 💞
Happy Bookversary to you and one of my very favourite couples! I adore them ❤😍❤
Thank you so much! 🥰💞 I’ve always had a soft spot for Ed and Joe.
Happy Bookversary! I haven’t read this yet but I love the cover and scene excerpt! I’m looking forward to starting this series.
Thank you! 💞
Awwwww, I LOVE Ed and Joe, but you already know that!! 😍😍
Thank you! 💖