Today, Lane Swift is here to share an excerpt from her book Dormant Heart that shows a great example of #ConsentInRomance. Beautiful. Thanks, Lane.
I wanted to make him fall apart. I wanted him to feel with every ounce of my being that he never, ever had to apologize for who he was, or shy away from asking for what he wanted. I wanted us to do everything, everything his heart desired. (My lack of the necessary accoutrements notwithstanding.)
Josh arched into my grip as the flush on his face grew darker and his eyelids fluttered closed. Perhaps it was too soon for us to be doing this. We’d only known each other a week. There had been no dates, no long walks holding hands or drawn out good-night kisses. But I was ready, and I got the feeling Josh was too.
I untangled myself and reached for my pad and the pen that had rolled across the floor. Hastily, I scribbled: What do you like/want? I’m afraid I don’t have condoms or lube.
Josh looked as if I’d asked him to explain the theory of relativity. He pondered, scratched his ear, and at last said, “Anything. Whatever you want?”
I shook my head and prodded him in the chest with my forefinger. Tension rippled through his body. Smoothing my hand over his hair, I kissed him softly and waited.
He swallowed thickly. “Part of me thinks we should wait. But I don’t know why or what for.” He fiddled with one of the buttons on my shirt, twisting it one way then the other. “I’ve never had a one-night stand, but that’s not what’s going on here, is it?”
I kissed the top of his head, and he chanced a look at me. “We haven’t known each other long, but it’s been pretty intense, hasn’t it? I’ve told you things I haven’t told my cousin, Mark, and I’ve been living with him for weeks.”
If I could have, I’d have told him again that we’d do whatever he wanted. But he didn’t need my prompting. I could see from how he worried his lip and with each word he said that, bit by bit, he was reasoning things out in his mind and coming to a decision by himself.
“You make me feel like I don’t have to hold back on anything. Like, if I get something wrong, you’ll just let me know and won’t make me feel bad.”
I nodded. My chest swelled with pride, but for Josh, not myself. Despite his indecision, the way he spoke was more certain than I’d ever seen him.
Finally, he let go of my button and patted my stomach. “I’ve got a condom and a sachet of lube in my wallet. I can’t guarantee they’re not past their sell-by date but….” He moved one hand to my cheek. “Are you sure about this? I don’t want to rush you.”
I laughed and kissed his chin before I wrote: I’m 26, ready, willing, and able, and very much enamored with you. You’re kind of killing me here, too.
“Then I want you to fuck me. Is that all right?”
I wrapped my arms around Josh, reached into his back pocket, and pulled out his wallet. He grabbed it from me before I had a chance to shove it at him. Now, so long as long as those expiration dates were good….
Amateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor.
Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.
Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.
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