Cultivating Love (1st Edition)

Book Cover

A Novella
120 pages (PDF)
33,800 words
Cost: $4.99

Cultivating Love – by Addison Albright

Published in eBook format on June 9, 2009 at Loose ID.

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NOTE: I am not renewing the current contract for Cultivating Love, and the first edition will no longer be available for purchase once its current year is up on June 9th. I have, however, given it a thorough facelift and an expansion from 33,800 words to approximately 40k words. The second edition will be available at JMS Books, LLC in ebook format on June 24th and in print format on June 30th.

Heat Rating: 4 flames – Explicit – Intimate scenes are described using more graphic terms.

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Now available in eBook formats at:

Loose ID – EPUB, PDF, HTML, PRC, LIT
Amazon Kindle – US – Kindle Format (AZW)
Amazon Kindle – UK – Kindle Format (AZW)
Barnes & Noble – Nook Format (EPUB)
Google Play – EPUB, PDF

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Rainbow Award Nominee - Contemporary Fiction
Cultivating Love was nominated in The Rainbow Awards in 2009.

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BLURB

A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.

It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would ever dream of acknowledging he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed makes an effort to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Will Joe be able to adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?

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REVIEWS

Click Links to Read the Full Reviews (if still available)

Excerpt from a Review by Nell of “Nell Iris”

Addison Albright has done a phenomenal job of showing the progression in their relationship. They take small, careful steps and they worry about what the other person is going to think, but I love that they both put themselves out there. I love seeing them taking a chance on each other, even if they aren’t always using so many words doing it.

I give Cultivating Love my warmest recommendations. Just skip the cover and immerse yourself in a quick, heartwarming read. You won’t regret it.

5 feel-good stars.

Excerpt from a Review by Gigi of “Gay Book Reviews”

Highly recommended! I just loved Joe and Ed!

PS: I have a shelf on GoodReads titled Fuck Yeah, 5+ Stars. Out of almost 2000 books I’ve read that are posted on GoodReads, only 43 of them are on that shelf, this is one of them. Cultivating Love is one of my all-time favorite books and I re-read it every few months or so, or when I’m in a particularly bad mood. It cheers me up every time. LOVE THIS BOOK!

Excerpt from a Review by J9 of “The Romance Reviews”

I love both Joe and Ed as characters. They’re mature men who want to build a life together but never had the impetus to do so. Their romance begins with them adhering to set relationship rules and the novel shows them progressing to grow their relationship to be one of life partners. The emotional intimacy parallels their sexual intimacy and both were rewarding to me as a reader. This isn’t a flashy romance with model leads but I enjoyed it for its homespun intensity.

Excerpt from a Review by Val Kovalin of “Obsidian Bookshelf”

Here at Obsidianbookshelf.com, I found Cultivating Love to be an absorbing read. It’s especially good with its character realism. Joe and Ed come across as regular guys. Even better, they are at that beginning stage in their relationship where each is still struggling with the uncertainty of not knowing exactly how much the other cares for him or whether they will be together for the rest of their lives.

Excerpt from a Review by Raine of “Joyfully Reviewed”

Addison Albright pens a wonderful conflict in Cultivating Love. It’s all about taking that step out of your comfort zone and laying it on the line and hoping your love and actions are not repelled. Joe and Ed are well-developed characters that I became emotionally attached to as I got to know them. Cultivating Love is a great read.

Excerpt from a Review by Lily of “I Love Books”

Ed and Joe go through quite a bit during the course of the book and the evolving relationship between the men as they deal with their new lives as well as their emotions was well written and interesting. Overall this was a really nice and easy to read story with a wonderful ending. I enjoyed reading Cultivating Love very much and highly recommend it.

Excerpt from a Review by Regina of “Coffee Time Romance & More”

I truly enjoyed reading Cultivating Love. Reading about Ed and Joe trying not to be “mushy” really cracked me up a time or two, and I liked how the author allowed the couple to sort of grow into it as the story progressed. The love scenes are well written, and erotic, as well as, tender making them my favorite sort to read. Ms. Albright has a real talent for giving the reader just enough clues to keep things interesting without overwhelming the reader with a ton of details. I’m a big fan of m/m romance and Ms. Albright just went to the top of my “to be read” list. I highly recommend this book!

Excerpt from a Review by Aunt Lynn of “Reviews by Jessewave”

Cultivating Love is the first story by Addison Albright I’ve read, and I found it to be a well-written, wonderful tale of taking chances and owning up to feelings. It’s gentle in that all of the little conflict and drama there is is external, and it isn’t terribly angst-ridden. Nor is it jam-packed with smexxin, making it more of a love story than erotica, something I appreciate from time to time. I smiled and shed a tear or two.

Excerpt from a Review by Teagan of “BookWenches” (scroll down to 6/27/09)

Cultivating Love is a sweet, meaningful romance that addresses important issues that effect the gay community. Ed and Joe’s feelings for each other are deep and caring, yet both men have a hard time voicing how they feel. They both know how they feel for each other, and the author does a wonderful job of showing the reader the torment they feel inside as they worry how the other will react should they show their emotional vulnerability. This vulnerability is what takes this story from good to great. The depth of emotion is strong throughout. Addison Albright also addresses other issues that gay men face; from prejudice that stems from stupidity to familial acceptance, she brings them to forefront. At the same time, she intersperses truly loving people that accept what life shows them. I enjoyed this heart-warming love story.

Excerpt from a Review by Carole of “Rainbow Reviews”

I loved this book. Addison Albright’s stories never disappoint, but with Cultivating Love, she’s kicked it up a notch. This book caught and held my attention, I laughed and cried with Ed and Joe, and I was really sorry when the book was over. I think a five-star book is one that you keep thinking about the next day, running through special moments again, till you have to go back and just read it again just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. I highly recommend this book. 

Excerpt from a Review by Chocolate Minx of “Literary Nymphs”

Addison Albright’s Cultivating Love is a beautiful story of two honest hardworking men committed to each other in an equal relationship. Ed and Joe are an openly gay couple in every aspect of their relationship, except for both being too macho to show and state their emotions. They share a deep unspoken love for each other, which is very well illustrated in the story. The plot is an interesting analysis of small town culture. The characters are heartwarming with a touch of humor. This is an impressive saga that I enjoyed immensely.

Excerpt from a Review by Elisa on her Livejournal, “Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings”

Joe and Ed are young and living together. To the equation misses only love. It’s not that Joe and Ed are not in love, it’s probably that no one taught them “how” to be in love, and “what” being in love means.

GLBT Bookshelf Wiki Reviews: Teagan

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EXCERPT

“Ed?” Joe’s voice wasn’t much more than a whisper, close to his ear.

Ed groaned. “What”

“Hey, I’m leaving. Sorry, I didn’t want to go without saying good-bye.”

Ed’s eyes flashed open. “Shit.” He sat up. “What time is it?”

“Uh, three o’clock. Sorry, I want to get there pretty early. Got a lot to do.”

Ed stood up. Jesus. No wonder it was so pitch dark. “Okay.” His brain was still foggy. He couldn’t think of the right words he knew he wanted to say. Damn, it would be days before he’d see Joe again. Shit, maybe a week. Or more.

He felt Joe’s hands on his shoulders, then Joe’s lips on his own. The kiss was tender and full of longing. Not wanting to let him go, Ed put his arms around Joe’s waist. The kiss broke way too soon. “Don’t go,” Ed whispered before his sluggish brain could catch up with his mouth. Shit.

Joe didn’t laugh, though, or even grin. Instead, he brought one hand up to cup Ed’s face before giving him a soft kiss. “I have to. Follow soon, Ed.”

“I will.”

“Promise?” Joe’s voice was husky.

Ed nodded. With his heart heavy, he knew he’d choke on any words he tried to speak.

Joe pulled back, and Ed let him go. Ed walked with him to the door. “Call me.”

Joe stared into his eyes before giving him one last quick kiss. “Every day.”

Ed worked up a little smile. Joe winked and turned to walk out to Ed’s little Escort. That was classic Joe — practical and hardworking, with barely a hint of sentiment. And Ed missed him already. In less than a minute, Joe was out of sight. Ed slowly shut the door and leaned his forehead against the smooth wood. He felt empty. Cold and empty, and suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. He shuddered, fighting a tear that threatened to break free.

To hell with it. There were no witnesses, so he gave in and let go. Wet trails streamed down his face. Wondering how or when it had come to this, he bit his lip, salty with tears, and snuffled. What were they getting themselves into? This was way past the level where either of them could just walk away at the drop of a hat if they had a big argument. But that was good, wasn’t it? Joe had agreed they were partners and had been over-the-moon happy looking over the farm. If nothing else, he had Joe hooked with the farm.

His head ached, and he didn’t want to think about it anymore. He scrubbed his face with the palm of his hands and padded back to his lonely bed.

* * * *

All was quiet and peaceful on the farm when Joe pulled to a stop behind the house. He wanted to think about anything but Ed and the look on Ed’s face when he’d left home. Worse yet, he didn’t want to confront his own feelings as he’d pulled out of the driveway and fully grasped the knowledge that it would be days before he’d see Ed again.

He missed Ed acutely. Hell, he’d rather bottom for Ed every day for a week than live apart for a week. Joe smiled ruefully to himself. That was a thought he’d take to the grave with him. That and the fact he’d actually had to fight back tears as each minute had taken him farther away from Ed.

He tossed his bags in the house, grabbed a sandwich and some Gatorade, and headed out to the barn. He needed to take care of the horses and let them out to exercise in the pen. The dogs greeted him as he approached. He put out some food and fresh water for them before turning to the horses. He let them loose in the pen, filled their water trough, and gave them their morning ration of hay and oats. In the machine shed, he hooked the swather up behind the large tractor and headed out to the alfalfa field.

* * * *

Ed taped the box shut and looked at the stack with satisfaction. The cell phone in his pocket vibrated moments before it started to ring. He reached for it quickly and smiled when he saw it was Joe. The activity of the day had helped his mood tremendously. He still missed Joe, but damn, it was embarrassing to think about how he’d cried that morning after Joe left. He chalked it up to three-a.m. exhaustion and thanked goodness Joe hadn’t forgotten anything and returned unexpectedly to bust him sniveling like a baby.

“Hey, Joe.”

“Hey yourself.” Joe sounded cheerful.

Ed laughed. “Everything’s moving along great here. Any issues in Mayfield?” He glanced at his watch. Six o’clock already.

“No issues. I pretty much got what I wanted done today. Got about half the hay cut.”

“Oh yeah? Great. Will you be ready for me the day after tomorrow?”

“Are you kidding? That’s great! That’ll be a good day for you to arrive. I’ll finish the hay cutting tomorrow, and today’s cutting will need to dry another day so I’ll have time to get the house ready for you that morning.”

“Great.”

Joe didn’t say anything for a moment. Ed was beginning to wonder if the connection had died when Joe spoke again. “I miss you, Ed.”

Wow. He’d been biting back the words himself and was surprised to hear Joe actually say them. “I miss you too, Joe.” He smiled to himself. “Staying busy helps.”

Joe snorted. “Yeah, no problem with that here.”

Ed laughed. “I know. I’ll be there to help soon.”

“I know. I’m looking forward to, ah, training you.” There was laughter in Joe’s voice.

Silence followed, and Ed could hear Joe clear his throat before continuing. “Well, I’ll call you again tomorrow night.”

“Okay.” He didn’t want to say good-bye and hang up, but there was no good reason to drag out the call. It helped, knowing that Joe was reluctant to end the call too. “Good night, Joe.”

“Good night, Ed.”

Ed waited for Joe to disconnect first, but it didn’t happen. Shit, they were standing there holding the line like a couple of fools, listening to each other breathe. Ed gave a nervous little laugh. “So when did we turn into a couple of sap-asses?”

Joe laughed too. “I’ve been trying to figure that out. I need someone to smack me upside the head and tell me to just get over it.”

“I can take care of the smack upside your head for you, but somehow, I’m not sure I want you to get over it. I kinda like knowing that side of you exists, even if it is buried most of the time.”

“Yeah, well don’t pass that intel around, okay? I wouldn’t want to have to hurt you.”

Ed smiled to himself. That sounded more like Joe. “Ditto.”

“By the way, it’s my turn again when you get here.”

Ed barked a short laugh. “By that time I’ll almost be willing to paint a target on my ass for you.”

“Only almost?”

“Don’t hold your breath.”

Joe chuckled. “Good night, Ed. Thanks for the image.”

“Good night Joe. I aim to please.” This time, he pressed the END button quickly.

Jesus, what was with him? His strong need for Joe was absurd. They often went several days without sex. He shook his head and put it down to a combination of not seeing each other at all for days and the emotional turmoil of having his entire life turned upside down.

© 2009 Addison Albright