Book Title: Third Time Lucky
Author and Publisher: Aurora Crane
Cover Artist: Cormar Covers
Release Date: January 28, 2023
Genre: Contemporary MM romance
Tropes: Friends to lovers, bi-awakening
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 80 000 words
It is part of the Chain Reaction universe but can be read as a standalone. It is a HEA
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
Trust didn’t always go both ways, and Grady Donehue learned that the hard way. He hadn’t learned better after the first betrayal, but he wasn’t going to make the same mistake a third time. Striking up a strange friendship with the equally strange—and straight—soldier, Lake, who had sunshine in his eyes? Grady could do that. He could even handle helping Lake figure out he might not be so straight after all, in a very hands-on way. But falling in love? No, thanks.
“Is there a reason you don’t like your house?” Grady asked.
It was a fair question, since they hadn’t spent a lot of time in the last few months at Lake’s, even though they’d spent so many evenings together.
Lake didn’t answer at first, staring out at the dozens of people milling about like ants with a purpose. “It’s empty,” he said quietly. “I bought it when my grandpa died about ten years ago, from my half of the inheritance. There was a lot of space for a family, and a pool, and a big yard for a dog. I fixed it up using money I got from a really long deployment.” He stared down at his hands. “I guess I thought it would be filled by now.” He couldn’t quite smother the feeling of failure when he thought about all the personal accomplishments that he hadn’t ticked off yet. As though his life were nothing more than a checklist that he had to work his way down. He knew that wasn’t right, but it slithered in there, anyway.
“It’s okay to not have found the person you want to make a family with yet,” Grady said softly. “Sometimes it takes longer than we’d like, but when it’s right, you’ll know.”
“I would never have pegged you for such a romantic.”
“Don’t tell anyone. And stop trying to dodge.”
Lake sighed. He knew, logically, that Grady was right. And he had dated a few people over those years that he’d thought maybe, but nothing had ever panned out. “It just feels big when I’m there by myself. Even with the TV on the silence gets to me. I like your house.” He shrugged. “It’s small, and cosy, and it has you in it.” He didn’t know if that admission was allowed, or what it even meant, when it felt like so much more than he could find the words for.
“I know we haven’t known each other long, but friendships are like that sometimes, aren’t they? I like being around you.”
Grady didn’t respond and Lake awkwardly fiddled with the beaded and leather bracelets around his wrist.
“Do you have food at your house?” Grady asked, eventually. That hadn’t been what Lake had expected him to say. He’d been bracing himself for rejection. Lake had gotten too clingy, wanted to spend too much time with him, and it was time to part ways. Lake would have understood. He knew that he was a lot to handle and sometimes he figured the only reason Felix and Zach had stuck around so long was that they’d had so long to get used to it.
“I guess it depends on what you mean by food?” Lake replied. “Why?”
“Because I like your house, Lake,” Grady said patiently. “And you shouldn’t have to feel like you can’t be there.”
“I—what? You like my house?”
“Well, yeah. It’s big, and it’s inviting, and it has you in it.” He paused and then turned to Lake with a grin that had Lake’s mouth going dry. “And it has more than one bed. Just in case.”
“All of my spare beds are being fumigated,” Lake said, hoping he didn’t sound as desperate as he felt. He didn’t give a fuck if it was weird; he liked waking up next to Grady, liked how big Grady was and how much space he took up on the mattress, the heat that radiated off him in waves. There was no mistaking he wasn’t alone when Grady was with him.
About the Author
Aurora Crane is an Australian author with a particular love for books featuring poly relationships. You can always find a healthy serving of banter, snark and heat in her books, along with impossible men falling in love, even if sometimes it takes them a little while to get there! She has an appreciation for men in suits and frequently spreads that love in the Facebook group she shares with her muse, fellow Aussie, and co-writer Briar Kearney. When not in the writing cave—a rarity to see this author out of her natural habitat—she can be found playing video games, building Lego sets, or hanging out with her fiancé and their menagerie of animals.
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