Title: The Greatest Gift
Author: Felice Stevens
Series: Memories #3
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 10, 2015
Cover Design: Dar Albert/Wicked Smart DesignsSummary:
After five years, Alex Stern and Rafe Hazelton have what seems to be the perfect marriage. Alex is entering his last years of residency and Rafe’s veterinary business is busier than ever. For Rafe, all that is missing is a child, but Alex, afraid of ending up to be a man like his father, isn’t as sure. He doesn't want to make any mistakes.
When a new patient enters the hospital, Alex is drawn to the young, desperately ill single mother, who shares her fears for the future of her young son. Rafe worries about the toll on Alex becoming emotionally invested in a patient, yet he too can’t walk away once he meets the little boy, and together they vow to help in any way possible.
Families are not always born of blood— love is a gift no one can plan for. And sometimes from the darkest of tragedies, the brightest light will shine.
This is a 25k word novella in the Memories series.
Alex and Rafe are possibly my favorite Felice Stevens' couple so when I heard they were going to be starring in their own Christmas story I was beyond stoked. Let's just say I was not disappointed. I have not had any intimate experience with cancer but I have spent a few Christmases sitting by my mother's hospital bed so just after reading the blurb I knew a few tears would fall, and fall they did. I can't really think of more to say that wouldn't leak spoilers so I'll just say this is a beautiful story that needs reading because not only is it a great tale but you just might walk away learning a little something about yourself too.
“Are you asking me to walk away from it?” Sometimes in the night he’d wake up and ask himself if it was worth it, so he understood Rafe’s concern. But then he remembered Seth’s words, inscribed in his heart—if you give up, maybe that one person whose life you can help won’t make it because you aren’t there.
And that meant everything was worthwhile.
“No, of course not. I know how hard you’ve worked. It’s hard to see you sad, that’s all I’m saying.” Rafe toyed with the beer bottle. “I don’t want you to change from the happy person you always were.”
His greatest fear, the one that prevented him from adopting a child and giving Rafe that family unit was losing his joy and becoming bitter and disillusioned, like so many others.
Without answering, Rafe took his hand and led him to the sofa where they sat down together, legs entwined.
“No, not yet. But I could see how easily it might happen. I know you’re doing it because of your brother—”
“No, you have it all wrong. It may have started out to beat what killed Seth, but now I want it because I feel as if I am making a difference. That if I help one person it can be the start of helping two or three.”
Alex needed this validation from Rafe, the person he loved beyond anything to ground him. While this residency was brutal emotionally, the rewards it reaped were worth the toil and he’d gladly give of himself if it helped his patients. He needed to know that Rafe wouldn’t give up on him and their marriage.
“I want to keep on with it but I don’t want to lose you in the process. If I become a different person or you see me change for the worse you need to point it out to me; smack me in the head and tell me I’m fucking us up.”
There was such tenderness in Rafe’s eyes, and his lips curved in a smile. “You’ll never lose me; I’m in it for the long haul. It’s you I worry about. I don’t want you to lose yourself.”
There was a sense of peace wrapping his arms around Rafe to hold him close; something special and wondrous in being secluded from the rest of the world with the one person who understood and never judged him, who merely loved and provided a warm and safe harbor to return home to every time.
“I’ll try not to.” He rubbed his feet over Rafe’s, warming them up against his socks. “But if I do, make sure you look hard.”
“You could never hide from me,” said Rafe kissing his cheek. “No matter where you go, I’ll always find where you are.”
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.
But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.
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The Greatest Gift #3
Memories of the Heart #1
One Step Further #2
The Breakfast Club Series
Beyond the Surface #1
Betting on Forever #2
Through Hell & Back Series
A Walk Through Fire #1
After the Fire #2
Embrace the Fire #3