Hiring a boyfriend for Christmas; what can go wrong?
Derek is facing yet another Christmas where his life feels out of control. He has a new career that doesn’t feel like his, and parents who would just love to see him settled down. All he needs is a temporary buffer for the parties he has to attend, and for his parents to leave him alone. Enter, Luke.
Luke is twenty-thousand dollars short for the renovations on Halligans; his family’s bar in New York’s Financial District. A favor for a buddy has him agreeing to play the part of boyfriend to a guy with more money than sense.
But when the spirit of Christmas works its magic on the two men, and they begin to fall for each other, Derek runs scared, and Luke needs space.
It doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in the way of love, or how much you run in the other direction, because, when you’re least expecting it, whether you want it or not, love happens anyway.
Buy Links – eBook
Reviews – eBook
The Novel Approach – This short novel is the pinnacle of what a love story can be—sweet and sentimental, heartwarming and uplifting, with a touch of internal conflict for the couple to overcome without things tipping over into hysterics and melodrama. Add fake boyfriends to that—one of my favorite tropes—as well as an opposites attract element, and you have the heart and soul of romance in a smile inducing tale of two men who accidentally fall in love right in the midst of a business transaction.Family and friendship each play their roles in this book as well, and they do so effectively, adding depth and layers to both the narrative and the characters. Love Happens Anyway is a blatant play on the heartstrings, and makes no apologies for it. I loved it, believed in Derek and Luke’s happily-ever-after, and appreciated the emotional resonance woven throughout the story. This one’s an absolute keeper for future holiday re-reading.
My Fiction Nook – Love Happens Anyway’ is an enchanting holiday story and while a lot of the issues stem from miscommunication it’s not intentional or surrounded by any over the top angst or drama and the icing on the Christmas cake for me in all of this was the ending…I loved the ending. It was sweet and filled with the joy of the holidays…definitely recommended for anyone wanting a sweet holiday story filled with fun, cheer and two sexy men who make the holiday just that much brighter.
The Way She Reads – This is a wonderful, funny, touching, and uplifting story you won’t be able to read without either smiling or laughing. Luke and Derek were perfect together. In fact, you might say, Luke was exactly what Derek had been dreaming about.
A happy story, with a happy (and very appropriate) cover, perfect for very happy Christmas reading.
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words – …what starts off as a familiar romantic storyline, RJ Scott deepens it, adding touch of poignancy and reality to a lovely heartwarming romance. I loved the couple and the family and friends that surrounded them.The holidays are a wonderful time to curl up in your favorite spot and read some wonderful holiday romances. Be sure to put Love Happens Anyway by RJ Scott on your list to read this holiday season.
Chapter 1 – Derek
“There’s an urgent call for you on line one, sir.”
Please. How many times do I have to ask you to call me Derek?
Why did everyone in this place keep calling me sir? And what was urgent about my mom or dad calling me? Because it wouldn’t be a client. Client calls went to team leaders, or people who actually knew what they were doing. All I got were calls from my parents, both wanting to comment on various parts of my life. Why they didn’t leave that for when I was at home I don’t know, although part of me thought they enjoyed embarrassing me at work. Why my PA called them urgent I have no idea, but I knew it would be one of them.
Why aren’t you married?
When will you take the agency over altogether? You’ve got the office now, and all you have to do is implement the ideas I gave you.
I have this nice boy I want you to meet.
You know you’re good enough Derek; you just have to learn the process. Trust the process.
Edith has a son…he’s a doctor you know…
“We’ll pick this up after lunch.” I ushered my ad execs out of the door, closing it after them and leaning there for a moment. Just a few seconds, because I couldn’t leave my mom hanging, but enough time to get my head around the fact that I needed to corral my lies and make sure I got my story right. I pulled my notebook from the top drawer and opened it at the right page.
“Mom,” I said as soon as I connected the call.
“Derek, darling, how is work?” She was using her breezy ‘I have something to tell you that you won’t like’ voice.
I looked at my empty office, at the sterile desk, and the garish pink snowman in the white blizzard resting on an easel and shook my head. “Work is good,” I lied. Work was never good, it was just work. The ideas I had about what I wanted to do, how it had been when I had interned here had flown out the window.
I used to be one of the guys. I used to go out for beers with some of the younger ones. Not anymore. As soon as I had taken over this office, the camaraderie had just fallen away.
Loneliness in a company that employed over two hundred people was a very real thing.
“I’m so pleased you’re enjoying it. I know your dad is so pleased, he’s even dusted off his golf clubs. It’s so lovely to have him at home.”
The noose tightens.
“Great,” I said, because mom had paused for me to acknowledge her excitement at her husband of forty years retiring.
“Now, the reason for the call is that, did you ask Marcus for dinner on Sunday as I asked you to?”
My stomach sank. Why couldn’t she ask me how I was feeling, at least more than just the generic, how is work? Why did she launch straight into the topic of my boyfriend and the fact she hadn’t met him yet? Mom wasn’t gently meddling in my love life, as much as acting like a drill sergeant wanting names and numbers and potential life match status, all listed for her to assess.
“I did but I’m not sure his shifts will allow him to,” I said, pushing the appropriate amount of regret into my tone. Too much and it sounded phony, too little and it was as if I didn’t care.
“But you did ask him, sweetheart?”
“Yes,” I lied.
I could imagine my mom’s face. She’d be biting her tongue, desperate to say something about how she and Dad had never met Marcus and how did I know what kind of man he was? Also, wouldn’t it be better if I married Leo, the son of her friend who was a doctor or Johnny, because even though he was in a rock band he was still quite rich and from a good family.
That was all Mom wanted for me. There’s no angst in my coming out story. I’d told my parents when I was eighteen, when the pressure inside had become too much. I expected to be disinherited, or some other wildly dramatic response, but all they did was change their plans.
They didn’t care I was gay; Mom switched her matchmaking to finding me the perfect guy and that was it, the fun hadn’t stopped since. Twenty-nine, running the family company, and not married yet? That horrified my mom.
Anyway, they didn’t need to know what kind of man Marcus was.
Because I knew exactly.
I knew Marcus was six-two, just a little taller than me. I knew he had blue eyes, and dark hair with red tones in certain light. He had a brother, but they didn’t see each other much, being that his brother was in the Navy. His parents were retired in Florida, but they’d had Marcus and his brother Adam late in life. Marcus was twenty-nine, same as me with only a few months separating our birthdays, and he was a firefighter. Oh, and he was a good, kind man who was thoughtful all the time and treated me like a prince.
“That’s such a shame. Anyway, how are Marcus’ kittens?” Mom asked. I pulled myself back to what she was saying. It was never good to not pay full attention to anything Mom said, otherwise you’d end up agreeing to all kinds of things she’d throw at you when your defenses are down. I loved her dearly but she was sneaky like that.
Which is how I got myself into this mess with Marcus in the first place.
“Did he find good homes for them?”
“Absolutely, the last of them went to a widowed grandmother in his apartment block.”
“Socks? The dark one?”
I glanced at my notes. “No, you remember Socks went to his uncle; Spider went to the old lady.”
“Oh yes, of course, although why someone would name a kitten Spider I don’t know.”
“There were spiders in the house where Marcus found the kittens.”
“I still don’t understand how there could be spiders in a burned-out house.”
Shit. “Spiders are hardy.”
“You said the house was razed to the ground, dear.”
Now I was losing the will to live. “Well, maybe the spider was outside. Mom, I need to go, Moira is at the door and she needs me to sign off on the new AbbaLister raisins account.”
“Of course dear, just, please tell Marcus he is welcome at any time. We so want to meet him and thought it’d be better at the house.”
“I will, I know he’s keen to meet you.”
“Oh good,” she said, and I knew I’d fucked up and somehow given her an opening. I’d never mentioned once that Marcus wanted to meet them, because that would just give them the impetus to take matters into their own hands. My worst fears were confirmed. “Oh, I’ve had the most wonderful idea.”
Oh God, what?
“Your dad and I are coming into the city on Monday; book us dinner on any night, or lunch, breakfast, anything. I want to meet this young man of yours and if it has to be in a restaurant then so be it.”
“I’m not sure—”
“Derek, he can’t be busy every night next week, and every lunchtime, goodness me, we’ll even take a quick coffee if that is all he can manage.”
Shit. Shit. And double shit.
“I’ll see what I can organize.” I kept my tone regretful, to at least give the impression I would try to organize them meeting Marcus, but that it would be unlikely.
We finished the call, and I replaced the handset in the cradle, fighting the urge to throw it against the wall, sit and cry at my desk, or maybe, less drastically, move to Montana and become a cowboy.
So many lies.
There was no Moira standing at my door. It was still closed and I’d lied to my mom.
There were no kittens, I made those up, and the spider story. The word spider came about because when I’d been talking to my mom about Marcus and the kittens, a tiny spider had crawled over my notes.
I closed the notebook in which I had the names of five kittens with their various characteristics listed.
Mom wanted to meet Marcus, any night, any lunch, anytime.
Which sucked big hairy balls.
Because that was another thing I had made up.
There was no Marcus either.