Read One Door Closes Online

Authors: G.B. Lindsey

One Door Closes

One Door Closes
By G.B.

Secrets of Neverwood
Book One

Years ago, Calvin Ware found a refuge in Neverwood, a home
for wayward boys. Now, following the death of his foster mother Audrey, he’s
returned to fulfill her request to restore the decrepit Victorian mansion to its
former purpose.

Under the threat of repossession, Cal clashes with his foster
brothers over restoration plans while fending off the unscrupulous developer who
is breathing down his neck. Audrey’s well-meaning presence in his dreams does
more harm than good as he struggles to cope with it all. What’s more, the
contractor he hires to get the building up to code turns out to be Will Cabot,
his high school flame.

As they begin working together, Cal finds he still has
feelings for his first love. But his mistakes of years ago threaten their
future, just as they ruined their past, and Cal knows he can’t withstand the
heartbreak a second time.

Three foster brothers are called home to Neverwood, the
stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. They have nothing in common
but a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother...

Secrets of Neverwood
is a
multi-author trilogy;
One Door Closes, The Growing
The Lost Year
can be enjoyed
either as a continuity or as standalones.

59,000 words

Dear Reader,

June seems to be a time of both magical beginnings and wishful thinking, as we combine the wedding season with the last month of school. Here at Carina, our jobs are filled with a combination of both magical beginnings and wishful thinking, as we work in the land of fiction and allow ourselves to drift through fantastic worlds, happily ever afters and action-filled stories. Okay, maybe our jobs are a lot more rooted in reality than that, but the books we publish do allow us a brief escape and I hope they’ll do the same for you this month.

Powerhouse erotic romance author Lynda Aicher is back with
Bonds of Courage
, in which an alpha professional hockey player finds himself the one bound and at her mercy. Joining Lynda in the erotic category is Samantha Ann King with another fantastic ménage,
Tempting Meredith
. One man is risky, but two might teach her to trust and love again.

June brings quite a lineup of male/male romances. Ava March always stands out for me because not only does she write a fantastic male/male erotic romance, but she sets it in historical times, when it was even harder for two men to be in love, lending even more delicious romantic tension. Don’t miss
Sharp Love
, followed by
The Viscount’s Wager
releasing in December 2014.

And speaking of magical beginnings, we have two debut authors in the male/male category. This month we’re pleased to introduce Tyler Flynn and
Chasing the Rebel.
One man is fleeing the French Revolution, the other sympathizes with the Revolution. How can they fall for each other when they can’t even trust each other?

Also debuting with Carina Press this month is G.B. Lindsey, who leads off a three-part anthology,
Secrets of Neverwood
, which includes novellas from returning Carina Press authors Diana Copland and Libby Drew. As three foster brothers renovate a stately mansion to reopen it as a home for troubled gay youth, their love lives are complicated by the whimsical ghost of their foster mother in
One Door Closes
The Growing Season
, and
The Lost Year

Rounding out our male/male selections for the month is returning author L.B. Gregg with her popular Men of Smithfield series. In
Men of Smithfield:
Sam and Aaron
, Sam’s in a rut and looking to break out of it, so he’s thrilled when a newcomer to town introduces more than an edge of naughty nights and risky days into his life.

There are so many more incredible books coming in June, it’s hard to know which world to lead you to next. How about some angels and demons in
The Fire Within
by Dana Marie Bell? Or why not take a trip on the high seas on a pirate ship—only this one captained by a woman in
Mutiny of the Heart
by Jennifer Bray-Weber. Danube Adele isn’t shy about taking new adult to a whole new level in her paranormal romance
Dark Summer Dreams
, in which Shandria is forced to rescue a sworn enemy of her people, only to find herself kidnapped by that same rugged warrior who promises retribution of his own. And who wouldn’t want to spend time with an outlaw witch, a society ice queen, and illicit magic that lights up the night in the tense futuristic world of the Magic Born in Sonya Clark’s

In another twist on the new adult genre, Anne Tibbets joins Carina Press and introduces
The Line Book One:
and her dystopian world. In a futuristic society, sex slave Naya is released and given a choice—find someone willing to take her place, or fight against the ruling corporation to save her unborn children.

Amylynn Bright also joins Carina Press, bringing contemporary romance
Cooking Up Love
to our virtual shelves. When anonymous food critic and lousy chef Holly signed up for cooking classes, she didn’t realize that she and her yummy instructor would be whipping up more than dinner in the kitchen—or that he’d blame her bad review for closing his restaurant and killing his career.

We have two additional debut authors to introduce this month, both writing contemporary new adult romance, but in two freshly original and very different stories. In
Hate to Love You
by Elise Alden, hatred and guilt battle love and desire as Paisley and James confront the past, each other, and the unwanted attraction that sparked between them the night she ruined his wedding. This is one book that will have people firmly on either side of a line: hate Paisley, or love her?

And we welcome Sybil Bartel and her new adult romance,
No Apologies.
No heart, questionable morals, one hundred percent attitude, Graham Allen is the perfect rocker; nothing can break him—except her.

Last, this month we introduce a new trilogy, Shore Secrets, from Carina Press author Christi Barth. A hard-nosed businessman with contempt for small-town America is forever changed by the love of a sexy hotel owner and a quirky but tight-knit community famous for its anonymous journal by the lakeshore. Don’t miss
Up to Me
, the first of this trilogy featuring three strong heroes, fighting for the love and trust of three even stronger heroines on the shores of Seneca Lake.

I hope your month of June is as wonderful as ours, spending it among our reader friends at different conventions and getting to gab about the books we love. Maybe we’ll see you at one of them! And if you do, we hope you’ll stop us and tell us your favorite Carina Press book. There just might be some Carina swag in it for you if we have any on us!

Coming in July:
Falling for Max
by Shannon Stacey; a debut author, Caroline Kimberly, brings us a historical romance pitched as “Regency
Romancing the Stone
”; and Jeffe Kennedy offers up a hot new BDSM novel.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful month of books you love, remember and recommend.

Happy reading!

~Angela James
Editorial Director, Carina Press


To my parents De and Steve, and my sister Berit. Your support has been both steadfast and immeasurable.


Many thanks go to many people: To my family, for always having my back as I work toward my writing dream. To my agent Saritza, for teaching me so much about the process and for all your support in getting this story in shape. To the team at Carina for your thoughtful advice and flexibility. To Lyric, for guiding me through the world of internet platform-building, and to Darcy, Betsy, Melanie and Tip for being wonderful first readers with insightful commentary. Last but definitely not least, thank you so much to my co-writers Diana and Libby. Without you, I never could have written so richly about these guys.

Audrey Elizabeth Rasmussen, 64, of Elk Ridge died Thursday, January 16, 2014.

She was born in Spokane, Washington May 4, 1949 to David and Virginia Rasmussen. Audrey graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Education.

She taught English at Elk Ridge Middle School until 1979, when she became a guidance counselor. In 1990 she left public education and turned her ancestral home, known as Neverwood, into a residential facility for displaced boys.

In addition to her work as a foster parent, Audrey was a Master Gardener and past President of the Elk Ridge Garden Club and the Eastern Washington Rose Society.

She is survived by three foster sons: Devon McCade, Calvin Ware and Daniel Redmond.

Audrey chose to be cremated and interred privately in the Rasmussen Family vault at Elk Ridge Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, she requested donations be made to AMFAR and the Trevor Project.

my dear
perceptive boy

You’re probably sitting in a chair in your kitchen as I write this
drinking tea too fast
wondering whether you’ll get that vacation you requested
what you’ve forgotten to pack for work today
if your bike’s tires are losing air and
if that’s the case
whether the bus will get you in on time instead.
The funny thing is that in the end
no matter how many problems there are
know you’ll figure them all out.
You will be perfectly prepared without realizing you’ve done it.
Despite the daily concerns
or perhaps because of them
you’ve transformed your life into a form of art.
The cogs turn steadily because of your self-awareness
your attention to the world around you.
It makes me smile so widely.
You have always
always had that ability
to make me smile like this.

don’t know what to say to you here except that I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I’ll be leaving you.
It’s the last thing I wanted to do.
Mostly I’m sorry for myself because I will miss you so
so much
and the thought of us not being on the same plane anymore makes something huge seize up inside me that has nothing to do with this illness.

think it’s fear.

I’m equally sorry I’ll be leaving you so much to deal with.
But I have to admit
I’m relieved it will be you and your brothers who take the reins.
You in particular are very capable.
Strategic and observant
and too cautious by far
once thought
but all of it has served you well.
You are the backbone I’ve leaned on too often
but I see now that it has only made you more competent
more self-assured.

The house belongs to you and your brothers.
No catches
no loopholes.
It’s worth much more than you can imagine.
The gift I’ve left you here will
help you to discover even more about who you are and what you’re capable of accomplishing.
Use this letter legally if you have to.
fear that
despite my best intentions
have deposited a much heavier weight on your three pairs of shoulders than you are prepared for.
Certainly it’s heavier than any of you deserve
and I regret that deeply.
Your brothers especially will need your prudence
your ability to look at a much bigger picture than may be readily visible.

This time
must ask one more thing of you:
don’t think too far into the future.
Some things are just here to be done.
Without a plan and without analysis.
Don’t be afraid to lean on your brothers
and please
don’t be afraid to lean on me.
Wherever it is that I’m going
can’t imagine ever truly leaving your side.
And Cal
can take the weight.
It’s been ages since I held you
but I’ve never forgotten how to do it.
Holding a loved one is something the soul remembers.

love you
so much it’s hard to say.

Your mother


Chapter One

At seven minutes to two, the contractor rang the doorbell, but by that time, Calvin had been stewing with the need to get things moving—preferably yesterday. He pulled the enormous door open wide, a greeting halfway out of his mouth.

The man on the porch, dressed in jeans and a green T-shirt and holding a clipboard, turned from where he’d been gazing at the sunray woodwork. “Hi, sorry, I know I’m—”

And stopped talking.

The realization felt slow, as though Calvin were waiting for the blood to move through his veins. Because it was—

It was Will Cabot.

Had to be wrong. But Calvin knew he wasn’t. He found he’d squeezed his fingers tight to the doorknob, triggering something very near a cramp, and he let go.

“What are you doing here?” Thank God it didn’t come out sounding accusatory, but still. Calvin could only get the most basic, necessary of words to form.

Will’s mouth worked. “I, uh.” He gave his head a rough shake, sending an uneven reddish fringe swaying across his forehead. “Did you need a contractor? For the house?” He licked his lips and pointed in the direction of the porch roof. But he kept going as if he’d forgotten he was speaking. “God, Calvin.”

A hundred things begged Calvin’s mind to look at them, yet he just couldn’t drag his eyes past Will’s face. Will had been younger—but now he wasn’t; he’d aged through such a permutation that Calvin could see all of it in his features, the youth that was, the final change, and all that must have come between to make it so.

Will stepped back, making the porch boards groan. He flapped the clipboard in front of himself like a fan. “I had no idea, I didn’t know that you would be here.”

Another weakening gesture. Will’s shoulders lifted and fell, and that was what made Calvin move back at last, push the door open wider.

“You’re the contractor.” Will hadn’t been planning to go into construction, had he? Not in high school, at least. Or landscaping or...

you call?” Will asked, earnest. “Because I can go, I can get someone else.”


Will froze, and Calvin had to take it in all over again, things he hadn’t seen or felt in over a decade. He hadn’t ever expected to see or feel them again, that was the thing, but his body still reacted, his thoughts slammed back in time and his lungs expanded too far and, hell, his

Why, oh why couldn’t he avoid sounding so urgent? It would have waited. Moments like this always waited. There would have been time to collect himself, to go out onto the porch and foil Will’s escape, correct misunderstandings patiently rather than such a reach-and-grab...and hold on...rejoinder.

“Will?” On the heels of the rush came a dense plunge in his guts, an echo of discomfort so long associated with Will’s face and voice.

“I didn’t know you’d be here,” Will said again softly. He had calmed down. Even after so long, Calvin could tell. Holy hell, he could still read Will, like coming back to an old habit after ages of believing he’d kicked it.

“Uh.” Calvin rubbed his lips and dropped his eyes. “It’s new.”

When he raised his head again, he could see at once that Will was aware of what had happened to Audrey. He was staring at Calvin in such a way—

“Come in.” Calvin moved out of the doorway, waving Will forward.

Will stepped over the threshold to Calvin’s level, and he was still taller, must have gained an inch for each of Calvin’s in college. Will had always been long in body and leg, but he’d fallen favorably into it at last in a way a teenager never could have. Not muscled but well proportioned, solid in all the places he hadn’t been and—why was he taking inventory of Will’s body, for God’s sake? He had to stop, because if he could still read Will, it was a given that Will could read him.


“Yes.” The nickname was still a trigger, and Will’s voice a stimulus he still reacted to.

Maybe he’d never learned to stop.

For a moment, Will looked seventeen again, overwhelmed and sad. “I swear to you, I didn’t know you were here.”

The intimation that Will wouldn’t have come here at all if he’d known was obvious. The clarity was what stung. “I know.”

Awkward now. He had to break this silence, no matter what came out of his mouth. “You heard about Audrey?”

Will nodded. He’d lapsed into a stance Calvin recognized, weight on one leg, hands in his back pockets with the palms turned backward so his elbows stuck out at either side. Will’s other favorite stance had always been arms crossed over his chest, covering as much surface area as they could, as low as they could. As if he had been trying to protect his stomach from the world. Calvin forced his eyes to Will’s face.

“She left the house to me.”
He decided he’d get to that later. “I wasn’t in time to see her, but I got a letter, asking me to come. Deal with some things.”

Will gestured, his other hand still in his pocket. He had a macramé bracelet around his wrist, the knots dark against pale skin and freckles. “You’re not living here, are you?”

“I am, actually.” Calvin cleared his throat. “For now.”

Will’s brows came down. He studied Calvin with plain interest.

He looked good. Calvin had always imagined good things for him. Despite the barricade of Will’s body language when Calvin had first known him, his intelligence and overt friendliness had always asserted themselves, especially against the backdrop of Calvin’s intense quietude. Will hadn’t known what he would do with his adult life, but he’d said that whatever it was, he’d do it right. Never a question of ability or drive, no obstacles immovable in his path. And yet, this remaining, fascinating hesitance, all that was forced low, needing to find some outlet, even a tiny and rare one.

had been the word in high school. Now Calvin would call him
Just this side of cautious.

It was Will’s turn to clear his throat. “I do live here. In town.”

There may have been something accusatory in Will’s voice. Or it could have been Calvin’s fabrication. He felt guilty enough that everything sounded like a judgment in terms of Audrey.

In terms of this house. This town.

But Will’s eyes didn’t linger. They rose to take in the entrance hall’s high ceiling with all its rich red wood, the door straight on into the living room and the wider door that opened into the dining room. The gargantuan Victorian felt smaller with Will standing in its foyer again, finally at his full height.

“I didn’t know she was sick,” Will said. “I was moving, new job, you know. I thought the house was being sold. That’s why they were fixing it up.” He focused in on Calvin again. “You were fixing it up.”

“You moved?” He should get Will out of the front hall, further into the house. Be a good host and do something other than stand here rocking from foot to foot. At least in the kitchen, Calvin could get him something to drink, or sit down and put the table between them.

Hide his stomach.

“Yeah.” Will followed him through the dining room, across creaking floorboards. “I was in Pullman getting a degree for a while.”

Washington State, then. And that was another Will-ism. He threw stuff like that away like it happened every day, a blip rather than a milestone. And part of Calvin still knew not to press when Will did that, avoided talking about himself like it embarrassed him.

But Will gave a sigh that turned Calvin around on his way to the cupboard. He stood back in the doorway that separated dining room from kitchen, looking troubled again. Like he didn’t belong. “Look, the truth is—” His mouth twisted. “I saw the job order and I asked for it. I didn’t get to see her before she died, and I thought...I would just come back, see the place one more time. Say goodbye, something.”

The expression on Will’s face was exactly what Calvin’s insides felt like whenever he set foot in Audrey’s old bedroom. He sat at the table, taking it slowly in case Will spooked, and pushed the opposite chair out with the edge of his foot.

“So how have you been, Will?” It came out on a sigh, but thankfully not a sad one.

Will folded down into the proffered chair and relaxed back as though his muscles had been cramped for too long. The smile he gave Calvin across the table was weak but real at last.

* * *

It wasn’t much in the way of conversation. No real depth, not after such a long time. Just pleasantries. But it felt good, felt calm. It had been a long time since Calvin had associated that feeling with Will Cabot, and something in him surged up, starving to have it back.

“Where are you working?”

“At an environmental consulting firm in Spokane.” Calvin fingered his glass. It was already empty.

Will sat up straighter. “Environmental consulting?”

“They get contracts from businesses, government departments, that kind of thing. People planning to build, mostly. They have to complete studies to figure out if their projects will cause ecological damage, and then they run the analysis through us. We help them compile the data, write the reports.”

Other books

All Hallows Heartbreaker by Delilah Devlin
Evelyn Richardson by The Education of Lady Frances
He Who Fears the Wolf by Karin Fossum
Storm Kissed by Jessica Andersen
The Lost Bradbury by Ray Bradbury
The Makeshift Rocket by Poul Anderson
7 More MILF Stories by Sophie Sin