Title: Winter Chill
Authors: Aria Grace & J.J Hunter
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Page: 120 pages
Release Date: December 20, 2013
Rating: 4.4 Stars (103 reviews on Amazon)
Story of First Time Love
Indie Walker started college with a basketball scholarship and a plan to stay focused on his studies. His roommate and best friend, Daniel, is one of the most popular guys on the wrestling team. When a power outage during a winter storm forces them to get closer than ever before just to survive the night, their relationship changes forever. Neither are gay but the physical chemistry they have is undeniable. Unfortunately, Daniel’s issues at home might be too severe for them to overcome.
The high-pitched beep of an incoming text woke me with a jolt. My mind instantly wondered if someone was hurt. Becs? Pawing at the table above my head, I located my phone and checked the message.
EAST COAST AIRPORTS CLOSED DUE TO INCOMING STORM.
It wasn’t a family emergency but the feeling of sadness was almost as intense.
“No, no, no.” I pulled up to the sill of the plate glass window next to my bed and peeked outside, squinting against the glare of blinding sun reflecting off the completely white landscape. Other than looking like some kind of Kinkade painting of a winter wonderland, the weather was perfectly clear. Not a cloud in the sky.
Snow used to make me excited for days on the slopes and nights watching movies and sipping hot cocoa. Now it just makes me cold. When the flakes first started to fall in November, it didn’t bother me much. Sloshing along the salted sidewalks was kinda fun when everyone was doing it. And walking into a warm, dry classroom made the shitty weather a novelty of living in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Three weeks and four white-outs later, I was completely over it.
In less than twenty-four hours, I was supposed to be stepping off the plane in Fort Lauderdale to spend a glorious month in the warm embrace of sunshine with nothing but my little sister between me and blessed relaxation.
“You okay,” Daniel asked from his side of the room. He tucked his face under his pillow to hide from the obnoxious light that poured in. His wide biceps appeared to be flexed over his head but they were just so sculpted that they never flattened out, even when he slept.
“I don’t know. I got a text that the airports are closed because of a storm or something. I hope it’s a mistake. I don’t want to be stuck here another day.” I grabbed my laptop from the nightstand and pulled up the weather site.
“Un-fucking-believable.” I pounded my palm against the wall, shaking the glass hard enough that I thought it might crack. Luckily, the glass didn’t budge but a few flakes of ancient weather stripping dropped from the frame onto my pillow. Perfect. Now it’ll be even fucking colder in this room.
“Well?” Daniel sat up on one elbow, watching me. He hadn’t given me a firm answer about meeting me in Florida over the break or staying at his dad’s house in New Hampshire so I didn’t know if he’d be disappointed. Hanging out in the elderly mecca of Boca Raton wasn’t exactly a party but it was quiet and having a friend with me would save me from having my fourteen-year-old sister, Becca, follow me around the entire time. I was banking on Daniel’s presence to keep me busy…and probably distract her. She would definitely go for his shortly cropped dark hair that looked fashionably messy. The girls on campus always sighed and stared as he walked by. Becs wouldn’t be any different.
“Some kind of super-storm has the shore in a tissy. We should be out of god damn hurricane season by now. This is bull shit. They might not open the airports for two days and then who knows how long it’ll take to get a flight out.” I flung my back down on my bed and stared at the ceiling. The peaks and valleys of the popcorn texture reminded me of the snowy terrain just outside my window. I wanted to punch the wall again. “Well, you might as well go to your dad’s so you can start your vacation. No sense in both of us being stuck in this frozen hell hole for longer than necessary.”
“Dude, relax.” He laughed. “You’ll get home in a few days. I’m gonna hang here for a while so we can catch a movie or something. If Sof goes home tomorrow, we can head into the city and find a club. It’ll be fine.” Daniel had been hooking up with Sofia for a few weeks but she was already getting clingy. I didn’t expect her to be coming around much longer if she didn’t back off. He wasn’t the type to want a girlfriend in his first, or probably even second, year of college. He was definitely playing the field. I must admit, I admired him.
Some guys have the confidence to walk into a room full of beautiful girls and just take their pick. I wasn’t one of those guys. I could have hooked up with some of the team’s fans if I wanted to; but I’d been focusing so much on classes and practice that I couldn’t afford to add girls into the mix. But, with no practice or classes for a while, I was ready. That was another reason I wanted him to come to Florida with me. I hoped that if we went out, I might be able to get some of his scraps. Yeah, pathetic, but as a 19-year-old virgin, I wasn’t choosy. I was horny.
After sulking for another twenty minutes, I called my parents at the bakery to let them know I’d be a few days late. Apparently, the threat was real because they had already boarded up the shop and stocked the attic apartment in case they needed to hole up for a few days. Being far away from them during these kind of situations was the worst part of living 1500 miles from home. Just one more reason to feel sorry for myself.
I must have fallen asleep because when I looked at the clock again it was eleven thirty and I was alone. Without classes or packing for my trip home to worry about, I had absolutely nothing to do. I didn’t want to stay in the room but it was too cold to hang around outside so I got dressed and headed to the pool.
The air in the aquatic center was heavy with steam and chlorine. The burn in my sinuses as I inhaled made me feel better instantly. I grew up swimming competitively but after a major growth spurt in tenth grade, my dad pushed me out of the pool and onto a court. Fortunately, my lanky 6’ 3” body seemed to be made for basketball. The changing room was deserted so I threw my bag in a locker and started my laps.
My arms were heavy and my lungs burned by the time I was ready to get out. I felt shaky as I went into the shower to wash away the chlorine. The echo of the running water in the long, tiled shower was eerie. The silence made me think I was in the Bates Motel when I closed my eyes to let the hot water cover my face. I would have stayed like that for an hour until I realized that my eyelids weren’t red anymore. They were black. I opened my eyes and found myself in total darkness. Power outage.
That happened occasionally but only lasted a few minutes before generators kicked in. Feeling around for the water handle, I turned it off. I shuffled across the tile, hands stretched out in front of my chest. The last thing I wanted to do was run into a support beam. I almost made it to the concrete when the generator kicked in and the lights flickered on. They were dim but at least I could get dressed without putting everything on inside out or backwards.
The cafeteria was partially closed for the holiday break so my options were cold pizza, pre-made sandwiches or microwavable soup. I grabbed a few slices of pizza and a ham sandwich to take back to the room. I didn’t want to have to go back for dinner later so I ate the pizza while I walked and shoved the sandwich in my bag.