Third Time Lucky | Aurora Crane
A Chain Reaction Spin-Off
Release Date: January 28th, 2023
Cover Artist: Cormar Covers
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 80,000 words
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Trust didn’t always go both ways, and Grady Donehue learned that the hard way. He hadn’t learned better after the first betrayal, but he wasn’t going to make the same mistake a third time. Striking up a strange friendship with the equally strange—and straight—soldier, Lake, who had sunshine in his eyes? Grady could do that. He could even handle helping Lake figure out he might not be so straight after all, in a very hands-on way. But falling in love? No, thanks.
Lake McKenna has spent his whole life absolutely confident in who he is and what he wants. Even when the picture-perfect future he’d always envisioned seemed further away than ever, none of his plans included another man. But the more time Lake spends with his new friend: grumpy and sneaky-sexy detective, Grady, the more he thinks that maybe what he really needs is something different to what he always imagined.
Neither man was prepared for the other, but Lake is nothing if not flexible. Doubt isn’t part of his make-up. He knows how much more incredible they could be together; if only Grady could see it too. Grady has to decide if Lake is worth risking his heart again, and whether he’s brave enough to see if it really is third time lucky.
Third Time Lucky is an 80,000-word MM romance. It is a bi-awakening, friends to lovers romance with low angst and high feels. It is set in the Chain Reaction universe but can be read as a standalone.
“Is there a reason you don’t like your house?” Grady asked.
It was a fair question, since they hadn’t spent a lot of time in the last few months at Lake’s, even though they’d spent so many evenings together.
Lake didn’t answer at first, staring out at the dozens of people milling about like ants with a purpose. “It’s empty,” he said quietly. “I bought it when my grandpa died about ten years ago, from my half of the inheritance. There was a lot of space for a family, and a pool, and a big yard for a dog. I fixed it up using money I got from a really long deployment.” He stared down at his hands. “I guess I thought it would be filled by now.” He couldn’t quite smother the feeling of failure when he thought about all the personal accomplishments that he hadn’t ticked off yet. As though his life were nothing more than a checklist that he had to work his way down. He knew that wasn’t right, but it slithered in there, anyway.
“It’s okay to not have found the person you want to make a family with yet,” Grady said softly. “Sometimes it takes longer than we’d like, but when it’s right, you’ll know.”
“I would never have pegged you for such a romantic.”
“Don’t tell anyone. And stop trying to dodge.”
Lake sighed. He knew, logically, that Grady was right. And he had dated a few people over those years that he’d thought maybe, but nothing had ever panned out. “It just feels big when I’m there by myself. Even with the TV on the silence gets to me. I like your house.” He shrugged. “It’s small, and cosy, and it has you in it.” He didn’t know if that admission was allowed, or what it even meant, when it felt like so much more than he could find the words for.
“I know we haven’t known each other long, but friendships are like that sometimes, aren’t they? I like being around you.”
Grady didn’t respond and Lake awkwardly fiddled with the beaded and leather bracelets around his wrist.
“Do you have food at your house?” Grady asked, eventually. That hadn’t been what Lake had expected him to say. He’d been bracing himself for rejection. Lake had gotten too clingy, wanted to spend too much time with him, and it was time to part ways. Lake would have understood. He knew that he was a lot to handle and sometimes he figured the only reason Felix and Zach had stuck around so long was that they’d had so long to get used to it.
“I guess it depends on what you mean by food?” Lake replied. “Why?”
“Because I like your house, Lake,” Grady said patiently. “And you shouldn’t have to feel like you can’t be there.”
“I—what? You like my house?”
“Well, yeah. It’s big, and it’s inviting, and it has you in it.” He paused and then turned to Lake with a grin that had Lake’s mouth going dry. “And it has more than one bed. Just in case.”
“All of my spare beds are being fumigated,” Lake said, hoping he didn’t sound as desperate as he felt. He didn’t give a fuck if it was weird; he liked waking up next to Grady, liked how big Grady was and how much space he took up on the mattress, the heat that radiated off him in waves. There was no mistaking he wasn’t alone when Grady was with him.
About the Author
Aurora Crane is an Australian author with a particular love for books featuring poly relationships. You can always find a healthy serving of banter, snark and heat in her books, along with impossible men falling in love, even if sometimes it takes them a little while to get there!
She has an appreciation for men in suits and frequently spreads that love in the Facebook group she shares with her muse, fellow Aussie, and co-writer Briar Kearney.
When not in the writing cave—a rarity to see this author out of her natural habitat—she can be found playing video games, building Lego sets, or hanging out with her fiancé and their menagerie of animals.
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