Community is everything. Some people have a very strong sense of belonging in nearly every community they interact with, while others don’t feel that connectedness at all. As with most things, I’m right in the middle of the road on that sliding scale.
When I was teaching I was very much involved in everything. I couldn’t go buy toilet paper without being stopped in Target by a student or two. My husband took to finishing the shopping while I chatted.
On the flip side of that, I’ve also lived where I felt very isolated. The last time, I had just had a baby who ended up spending months in the hospital. The rest of the time, she and I were stuck in a small town of 2,500 people where we knew no one. It was a lonely time.
I’m sure we all have stories we could share about walking into a city or a group or even a business and feeling right at home for no apparent reason. Venice, Italy, was on of those cities for me. Finally meeting MM Romance authors and readers face to face was one of those “coming home” moments. And the local brewery/restaurant just down the hill from me is one of those businesses.
Kaleidoscope Gardens is one of those spaces for Jude, in Farm Fresh. He’s not entirely comfortable since the commune members walk around in various states of undress and that simply foreign to him, but Jude feels a sense of power when we walks into the gathering circle.
“All right. And now,” Leo said as he opened the door and held it for Jude, “here’s the heart of our community, or at least the place where most of the activity happens.”
Bright, quaint houses faced a central circle with a fire pit, essentially a city square. Each house was a different color. As his gaze darted around, he saw the entire rainbow represented.
Each idyllic cottage was unique but with similar enough features Jude suspected the same person had designed them. They all had a little porch with intricate trim details that drew the eye, not at all what he’d expected. Jude assumed the houses would’ve been built out of a mishmash of found materials like scrap metal and random logs and scattered all around the property in no rhyme or reason. This looked like a vacation getaway, some spot people would pay an amazing amount of cash to visit, and they fucking lived here.
He breathed out another wow and didn’t try to hide his shock. “How? How is this possible? I was expecting things to be much more… rustic than this, more cobbled together.”
Leo laughed boisterously and pulled Jude into a half hug, leaving his hand right above Jude’s hip as they walked. “One of our founders was an architect. He planned the entire community on paper before we built our permanent structures so we could use the land in the most efficient way. For example, we’re at the highest point on the property, so flooding of homes has never been a concern even with heavy rains and oversaturated earth. Adam’s ideas were phenomenal. He was a genius. Whenever we’ve voted on something, we’ve nearly always been in consensus to stick with his original layout. Like this,” Leo said, gesturing to a stone-built structure shaded by a wooden pergola woven in vines. “Years ago he built this summer kitchen for Rochelle so she could cook outside for everyone. That was how she relaxed.”
“Cool.” Jude turned in a circle to take it all in, even allowing his palms to drift up, to feel all this place had to offer. “It’s beautiful.” The space felt like it held magic.
Kaleidoscope Gardens is a place of healing Jude feels connected to right away, a place where people in the queer community gather to live freely, care for each other, and tend the earth. It’s a community working toward the greater good.
Come read about a modern commune that has a shared economy, where people work cooperatively, and where living off the grid is the norm.
Jude Garrity visits the farmers market every Saturday. As an environmental engineering student, he’s curious about living off the grid and sustainable agriculture.
And one particular farmer.
Hudson Oliva has worked hard to support his commune, where queer people live without fear of harm or retribution. When Jude asks pointed questions about living there, Hudson realizes he needs to be honest about his home. Few people know what the farm is actually about, but Jude is insistent.
Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions. Falling for Jude wasn’t part of Hudson’s life plan. But when vindictive rumors about the commune begin to spread, love might be all he has left.
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