HEART OF A MOUNTAIN
Cade Creek 12
available August 11th
John Aldrin Flores came to Cade Creek hoping to build a new life
outside of the city. After landing a job at the Cade Creek Diner, Aldrin has a
chance to meet many of the townspeople, but the one that interests him the most
is the one that doesn't say anything. Determined to bring the gorgeous man out
of his shell, Aldrin sets about showing Jonah Cade that there is life off his
Jonah Cade's family founded Cade Creek. There is a legacy there he's
not sure he can fulfill. After losing every member of his family in a horrific
accident the same week he suffers the horrors of war at its worst, Jonah
cracks. Moving to the top of his mountain and becoming a recluse is an act of
At the behest of his therapist, he goes into town once a week for
church, supplies, and to have the Sunday special at the Cade Creek Diner. When
his dinner comes with a kind word and a smile, Jonah starts to look outside his
self imposed exile, but will the danger stalking them tear them apart before
Aldrin's smile wins Jonah over? And can Jonah learn to trust in people again
before he loses Aldrin forever?
"Oh, who's that?" John
Aldrin Flores whispered as he watched a mountain of a man amble into the Cade
Creek Diner. The man was rough looking, his chestnut hair, shaggy and unkempt,
as if it hadn't been cut in ages. The bushy beard on his face hid most of his
features...except the eyes.
Aldrin saw the way those smoky
gray eyes scanned the diner when the tall man walked into the place. Aldrin's
skin prickled when they passed over him, then came back just as fast, pinning
him where he stood.
Those intense smoky gray eyes
widened slightly when Aldrin smiled, and then darted away again as the man made
his way to a booth in the back of the diner. Beneath the scraggily beard,
Aldrin thought he detected a little flushed skin, but it was gone before he
could be sure.
"Honey, you don't want none
Aldrin couldn't tear his gaze
away from the massive man even to give his new boss, Trudy, a heavy eye roll.
"People don't mess with
This time, Trudy got his
attention. "Jonah Cade?" he asked. "As in Cade Creek? That
Trudy nodded. "His
great-granddaddy founded Cade Creek back in the early 1800's. The Cade family
has been here ever since."
"Okay, and?" The man
being the descendent of the guy that had founded the town didn't mean Aldrin wasn't
interested, because he was. Jonah was a whole lot yummier than anything he had
seen since he arrived in Cade Creek a few weeks before, and the town was full
of gorgeous men...Maybe too gorgeous.
Aldrin liked a little character
to his guys, and Jonah Cade had more character than anyone he had ever seen
before. Between the glorious chestnut colored hair, and the beard that hid what
Aldrin was almost certain was a set of plush lips that begged to be kissed, the
man had all of Aldrin's interest.
That didn't even begin to take
into account how tall the man was. The guy had to duck his head just to get
inside the building, and there was no way anyone could have sat beside him in
the booth, not unless they wanted to get squished. He took a large portion of the
entire thing. He wasn't overweight exactly, just thick. He was what Aldrin's
mama would have called solid.
He was what Aldrin called yummy.
"Honey," Trudy laid a
hand on Aldrin's arm. "Jonah Cade isn't the friendly sort."
Aldrin frowned as he glanced back
at the man sitting in the back booth. "Homophobic?"
He had never hidden his sexual
orientation from his new boss, and had in fact moved to Cade Creek after a
friend suggested it was a place that was open to the life he wanted to live,
one that was open and honest with who he was. It had taken him less than a week
to decide that Cade Creek was a dream come true for an openly gay man.
"People phobic," Trudy
replied. "That man don't like anybody."
Aldrin snorted. He had never met
anyone he couldn't make smile. It was an integral part of his bubbly
personality. Aldrin loved life. He loved to smile and laugh and sing and dance.
And he loved to share that joy of life with everyone he met.
"I'll be fine," Aldrin
said as he grabbed a menu and started for the booth in the back of the diner.
He put on his biggest, most welcoming smile as he reached the booth and set the
menu down. "Welcome to Cade Creek Diner, sir. My name is Aldrin. I'll be
your waiter today."
"Coffee, black," the
man said without even looking at the menu, or Aldrin. "The Sunday Special,
green beans, no carrots, milk with my meal."
Aldrin blinked at the crispness
of the man's words. There was an unfriendly vibe to them that he was sure to
put most people off. The guy might as well have worn a sign that said
"back off" or "keep fifty feet away" or even "leave me
the hell alone".
Luckily, Aldrin wasn't most
people. "Right away, sir."
Aldrin sent the man a thousand
watt smile before grabbing the menu and walking back behind the counter. He
clipped the order slip into place and spun the round metal holder around so the
cook could see it and then placed the menu back where it went.
"Told you," Trudy said
without looking away from the coffee machine she was refilling. "Jonah
Cade doesn't like anyone."
"Maybe he's just
lonely," Aldrin mused as he leaned back against the counter and looked
toward the back of the diner. As soon as he did, Jonah turned his head away as
if he had been watching Aldrin, but didn't want Aldrin to know he had been
watching, and went back to reading the book in front of him.
Aldrin turned to wipe the counter
down to hide his grin. Five minutes and he was already getting to the man. His
plan for world domination was coming along just fine.
"Better get him his coffee,
Aldrin." Trudy nodded to the fresh pot of coffee. "Jonah can get
mighty grouchy if he doesn't get his meal on time."
The man looked like a big, gruff
bear and no doubt growled at everyone. Aldrin wondered if he could get Jonah to
growl for him, or at the very least, rouse a smile out of the man.
"On it." Aldrin grabbed
the fresh pot of coffee Trudy had just prepared and carried it over to the last
table. He turned the cup over and carefully poured the black stuff almost to
the brim. "Can I get you anything else while you wait for you meal, Mr.
Gray eyes flickered up to Aldrin
before lowering back to his book. "Solitude."
As much as it galled him to do
so, Aldrin plastered a beaming smile on his face. He would see a smile on this
guy's face if it was the last thing he did. "Of course, Mr. Cade. I'll
have your meal to you as soon as it's done cooking."
Aldrin's smile stayed on his face
even when he wanted to growl. He hated rude people. Of course, Jonah Cade
didn't realize he had just sealed his fate. Aldrin was going to make it his
mission to see Jonah smile, even if he had to stretch the man's lips himself.