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Restless Shadows,
Waiting Roads

M/M, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
[40 Pages / 14,000 Words]

LT3 Press / Amazon / Apple / B&N / Kobo / Smashwords

As a child, Caleb was helplessly drawn to the woods behind his family's house—a deep forest that became a friend, a sharer of secrets, even a protector. On the night Caleb was stranded by a blizzard, a mysterious figure saved his life and kept him from harm.

But all too soon his family moved away, and Caleb set the mysterious stranger aside as a figment of his imagination. Now, more than fifteen years later, Caleb returns to the woods he left behind and encounters a familiar face...


The lot was even emptier than he'd expected. From a distance he couldn't tell exactly where the house had stood. The fence was gone, leaving nothing but scattered trees that set off faint memories in Caleb's head. There was still a reluctant stretch of driveway along the ground. The asphalt had cracked and crumbled, and plant life grew through it in patches. Caleb parked his car there anyway, pocketing his keys as he exited into jarring heat.

Humidity itched immediately at his skin, and he ran a hand over his close-cropped hair. The clouds above were tinted the sickly gray of an approaching storm, as Caleb crossed the yard towards the wall of trees.

He entered the forest despite a dry rumble of thunder.

Intuition guided him over thick undergrowth and uneven ground. It wasn't memory exactly; he didn't know where he was going. But he could sense this place beneath his skin, reassuring and familiar. He could feel the strange sensation that the forest itself was watching him, just like when he was a child. When he glanced back over his shoulder he couldn't see his car any longer. The woods were too thick behind him, the terrain hilly and uneven. Caleb wasn't concerned. He would find his way back soon enough.

Even without wildly drifting snow to set the scene, he recognized the clearing where he'd woken after the blizzard. The murky sky above was now visible only in patches, glimpsed through gaps in the heavy foliage. Here below, heavy shadows fell across the thick green of the forest floor. An enormous oak stood almost directly ahead. Its trunk was at least a meter wide, and it towered above the surrounding oaks and pines. The sight of its wrinkled bark and high branches knocked images loose in Caleb's mind, painting them so vividly that at first he thought he was imagining the figure approaching him.

Then the man stopped between Caleb and the oak, suddenly and undeniably real.

He was dressed as Caleb had first seen him, minus the heavy winter cloak. Dark eyes gave Caleb an assessing look, and it was several seconds before the man spoke.

"You've certainly grown."

"Eli." Disbelief tightened Caleb's voice, but the name still came out breathless.

Eli's expression shifted, the briefest flicker of a smile, and Caleb's heart stuttered painfully. Something hot and possessive twisted behind his ribs—a sensation to match his feelings about this forest, but far more powerful—and he moved so suddenly he surprised even himself. He strode forward, straight into Eli's space, backing him into the oak's enormous trunk. Eli's eyes widened, but he stood his ground as Caleb braced both palms against the rough bark on either side of Eli's body, bracketing him in. He offered no protest to the way Caleb loomed, a wall of helpless intensity and jumbled emotion.

Eli was shorter than Caleb now, by at least two inches. His slim frame was all but eclipsed by the imposing bulk of Caleb's body. Caleb knew he was staring. He knew 'rude' didn't even begin to cover his behavior. He still couldn't bring himself to retreat.

"You're real." He barely recognized his own voice.

"Of course I'm real." Eli's piercing gaze turned considering. His expression smoothed, but not before Caleb caught a glimpse of something sad in his eyes. Eli's hand was soft when he touched Caleb's face in a strangely tender gesture. "Did you doubt yourself, little one?"

A frantic bubble of laughter threatened in Caleb's chest, but he crushed it down. He leaned thoughtlessly closer, emphasizing their difference in height. "Not so little anymore."

"No," Eli murmured. "I suppose you're not." The cryptic facade fell away, offering a glimpse of wry humor beneath. Eli's hand at Caleb's jaw was steady and cool, and the moment stretched confusingly between them.

LT3 Press / Amazon / Apple / B&N / Kobo / Smashwords

Restless Shadows, Waiting Roads Cover
Less Than Three Press
Cover design by London Burden
ISBN 978-1-62004-606-7
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