Making His List is part of Dreamspinner's annual Advent Calendar, and just went on sale tonight as a single ebook!
When his young niece Bailey moves in, Cory knows he needs to end his casual fling with Ken. Bailey’s had enough upheaval in her short life, and Cory doesn't want her to get attached to a “friend” who won't be sticking around. Even so, Cory finds himself continuing to let Ken into his life, but a one-night-stand gone serial isn’t what Cory wants, and so he makes The List: his requirements for the perfect partner.
Helping out during a difficult time, Ken finds himself being pulled into the family unit despite Cory’s previous emotional distance. He hopes he's finally breaking through, on the verge of convincing Cory to make their relationship more than a casual one. Then, while helping Bailey write to Santa, he finds Cory's list and takes it as his cue to bow out—just when Cory needs him the most.
The nice long excerpt on Dreamspinner's site is from Cory's point of view, at the very beginning of the book. So I thought I'd throw up (haha, no pun intended!) an excerpt that shows you a bit more about Ken. Hope you enjoy!
Ken didn’t even realize he’d made a decision until his hands turned the wheel left out of the parking lot—toward Cory’s—instead of making the right turn to go home. It was after eight o’clock, the earliest he’d been allowed to come over in the time since the girls had moved in, so Bailey would probably be in bed by the time he got there. And he could test his theory about being assertive.
Either he’d come out a winner, or the end would be clear. At the first red light, he sent a quick text: On my way over. OK w u?
Fifteen minutes later, he shifted from foot to foot, waiting outside Cory’s front door. Bypassing the bell as
usual, he’d knocked softly, twice, without success.
Is that clear enough for you, idiot? No return text and no answer.
Just as he was debating the wisdom of trying the knob versus keeping his pride and retreating, the door was pulled open, and he had to put his hands up quickly to keep a thin young woman with a vague resemblance to Cory from running right into him on her way out. So this was Becky, obviously dressed for a date.
“Oh!” She stopped for a second, and then veered around him toward the steps. A trace scent of alcohol trailed behind her as she brushed past. For the first time, he noticed the car idling at the curb behind his.
“Good. You’re finally here. I saw your text. I’ve gotta go. Bailey will not go to bed and Cory… Well, good luck with all that.” This last was offered over her shoulder as she opened the passenger side door and climbed in.
Staring in puzzlement after her, he was distracted from the actual sight of her driving off by the unfamiliar feel of a small, warm hand slipping into his. The sight of Bailey’s tearful face wiped away all his hesitancy as he herded her inside out of the cold night air.
“Hi, sweets. How are you feeling?” He squatted down to eye level as she wiped her nose on the sleeve of her shirt, blinking at him solemnly. He let his gaze wander past her, shocked at the unkempt appearance of the normally neat house.
“Okay. Can you help me make dinner?”
His eyebrows rose before he could control his reaction. With a surreptitious glance at his watch confirming it was close to nine, he bit back the questions and commentary and simply led her into the kitchen. There he found a ripped open loaf of bread sitting on the counter, two slices of bread amidst the crumbs, with a steak knife and unopened jar of peanut butter alongside.
“I can’t open the jar. It’s new. And it’s not crunchy.” Her lower lip quivered.
“Well, we can’t eat that then. Let’s look for something else.” While he quickly assessed the possibilities with a thought to speed of prep, he cored and sliced up an apple.
“Here. Why don’t you start on this? Do you like tomato soup and grilled cheese?”
“I like it how Uncle Cory makes it.”
Ken smiled, even as the reminder of Cory caused a twinge in his chest. “What do you like about Uncle Cory’s version?”
Bailey’s eyes sparkled for the first time since he’d met her. “He lets me float Goldfish in the soup and cuts the sandwich into a heart. Can you do that too? Pleeeeese?” She cocked her head to the side and batted her eyes as she begged.
He caught himself shaking his head at her antics and turned it into a nod. “You go find the Goldfish while I get the soup warming and find some cheese.”
Mission accomplished, Bailey perched happily on a stool, munching her apple slices and watching as Ken assembled two sandwiches. “Does Cory cut them into hearts before or after he cooks them?”
“After.” The adult-sounding duh in her young voice made him grin.
He finished the sandwiches, and Bailey eagerly assisted him by finding the heart-shaped cookie cutter, paper party plates and napkins. Finally settled with her dinner, he let her eat quietly while he munched on the sandwich trimmings, dipping them in his own small cup of soup, not really hungry but wanting to keep her company.
“Uncle Cory eats my edges too.”
He finally broached the question that had been foremost in his mind since his arrival. “Honey, where is your Uncle Cory?”
Available NOW at Dreamspinner Press! Don't forget to use the discount code "HolidayDreams" for 20% off your entire purchase twice per customer until the end of the year. :D
Violet Oakley (June 10, 1874 – February 25, 1961)
11 hours ago