Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he’s again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Craig Zhao, was the only thing filling his empty heart and standing between him and ghosts of the past. It will take the power of love—from his family, from Craig, and from himself—for Jacob to see that his life truly is filled with the promise of what can be.
I was almost back to my truck, having gone into the convenience store attached to the gas station for water and caffeine, when I heard my name. And not Jacob or Jake, not the one I’d been using since I was seventeen, when they changed it, but the real one, the old one. I heard the one she gave me when I was born, the one I left home with when I was fifteen. On instinct, I turned. Had I given it even a second of thought, I might not have stopped. But it was done, the charade over, the second I looked over my shoulder.
Surveying the parking lot, I searched for a sign that would lead me to the voice. It only took a second to see the guy jogging toward me fast, and so I stood there, frozen, unable to move. Even after thirteen years, I would have recognized my brother anywhere. Watching him close in on me was surreal, and even though this had been my plan when I crossed the country, faced with the reality of the moment, I was ill prepared. He stopped five feet from me, his eyes huge, staring.
“Chase,” I finally said, and he exhaled sharply, moving until there was less than a foot between us.
He was mute.
“You look good,” I said, taking a step back.
My movement, the reflexive retreat, had not registered in his brain at all. He moved forward instantly until he was back in my personal space. “Eli,” he breathed, looking me up and down before he exhaled sharply and lunged.
I braced myself and he grabbed me tight, hugging me hard, his arms around my neck, holding me close. After several minutes, I hugged him back, the wave of panic…