Today I am so pleased to welcome Amy Aislin to Joyfully Jay. Amy has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Keeping Casey. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
“Here,” Casey said, nudging the basket over as Ethan helped himself to another fry. “Have some more. There’s no way I’ll finish all of these.”
“I’m good. I had dinner already, at the House,” Ethan said even as he took another fry. The House was the Glen Hill Mountaineers Hockey House, which Ethan had been lucky enough to nab a room in even though he was only a freshman. A twenty-year-old freshman, but a freshman nonetheless, same as Casey. Ethan because he’d spent the two years since high school graduation playing in the juniors, and Casey because he’d needed to work full-time to save up enough money to attend college.
“What’d you have?” Casey asked, raking his thick, chestnut-brown hair off his forehead.
“It was Theo’s turn to cook.” Another fry went into Ethan’s mouth. He wasn’t all that hungry after his teammate’s meal, but the cafeteria fries had some kind of spicy seasoning that made them addictive. “He barbecued salmon and made a vegan risotto and roasted veggies to go with it.”
Casey blinked once at him before turning his gaze down to his burger. “That sounds good.”
“I did invite you.”
“Yeah.” Casey sighed and dipped his burger in ketchup. “But if I don’t take advantage of my meal plan, what’s the point in having it?”
“Your meal plan won’t go to waste if you spend one evening having dinner with me and the guys.”
“Aren’t there rules against having people over at the House, though?”
Ethan grunted. “The rule is no overnight guests. I can certainly have my best friend over for dinner.”
“Next time, maybe.”
Digging into his gear bag for a water bottle, Ethan eyed Casey as he drank—skin tanned gold from a summer spent hiking at every opportunity, lean torso, defined arms encased in a maroon T-shirt topped with a blue-and-white checkered shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, end-of-day stubble darkening his jaw. Ethan knew what Casey was doing, and it had nothing to do with taking advantage of his meal plan and everything to do with his fear of getting attached. Casey might not say it out loud—he might not even recognize what he was doing—but Ethan knew him better than he knew himself. Getting attached meant developing feelings, which meant, in turn, the potential for getting his heart broken.
Five years ago, Casey had lost his father in the same construction site accident that had killed Ethan’s mother. He held himself back now, stood apart and played it safe, as if even one dinner with Ethan’s teammates at the House would cement the guys within Casey’s small bubble of loved ones, putting his heart at risk.
Casey’s gaze drifted over Ethan’s shoulder. “Hey, April,” he said around his last bite of burger.
Ethan’s sister dropped a heavy backpack onto the table. Hair the same gingerbread color as Ethan’s was pulled into a messy ponytail, and she huffed as she sank into a chair on Ethan’s left.
“Long day?” Ethan asked, stealing yet another of Casey’s french fries. As a physics major in her senior year, April had long days full of lectures and labs. Not that Ethan’s days were any easier as a biochemistry major, plus hockey on top of it all.
Giving a grunt of acknowledgment, she reached across the table and grabbed a handful of fries.
“Hey!” Slapping the back of her hand like she was a naughty child, Casey scowled at her. “Those aren’t for you.”
Ethan bit back a smile. As an only child, Casey wasn’t good at sharing.
Except with Ethan.
“Oh sure.” April shoved the fries in her mouth with a grimace Casey’s way. “It’s fine if Ethan eats them, but not me? You know, I thought your whole brother-from-another-mother schtick would’ve suffered a setback when this one—” She jerked a thumb at Ethan. “—was in Ohio, but you guys are as close as ever.”
Ethan swallowed a self-deprecating chuckle. Brother from another mother. Ha! He couldn’t remember exactly when he’d fallen in love with Casey, but it had been so long ago that he’d never considered Casey a brother.
“There are no setbacks in our relationship,” Casey said, wiping his hands on a napkin.
“Except for that time you conned me into participating in our twelfth-grade performance of The Wizard of Oz.”
“Admit it.” Easy smile on his lips, Casey pointed a finger in Ethan’s face. “You still have your munchkin costume.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Laura stole that out of my closet a long time ago.”
“Uh-huh.” Casey waggled his eyebrows at April. “He thinks I don’t know that he took it back once Laura was out of her dress-up phase.”
“He also still has the Cowardly Lion onesie that he stole from the props room after your final performance,” April said.
“Oh, I know.” Casey shot Ethan a fond look.
“Fuck you both. It’s warm,” Ethan grumbled.
Keeping Him, Book 1
Casey Preston is the guy with the plan. The list-maker. The one who micromanages his own life.
Spontaneously offering to be his best friend’s fake boyfriend to get Ethan’s annoying team captain off his back?
That’s not thinking things through. It’s not even smart given Casey’s been fighting his feelings for Ethan for years.
Ethan Rain just wants to play hockey and get his college degree. Adding a fake boyfriend to the mix? He doesn’t need that complication.
If Casey were his real boyfriend, though? If he got to keep Casey forever? Now we’re talking.
But what if Casey doesn’t want to be kept?
Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.
An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group, Amy Aislin’s Readers, to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter.
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To celebrate the release of Keeping Casey, Amy is giving away a signed copy of Keeping Casey to one lucky winner! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
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