Finley Embraces Heart And Home | Anyta Sunday
Love, Austen #4
Release Date: September 13th, 2021
For years it’s been just Finley and Mum. Now she’s getting married, and they’re moving into a flash mansion and his step-dad is lording it over him. He’s clearly a homophobe, and doesn’t want him rubbing off (so to speak) on his son.
Like that would ever happen. No way he’d ever go for someone who shares his DNA.
Even if Ethan and his dad don’t look anything alike.
Even if Ethan and his dad don’t act anything alike.
Even if . . .
This can’t happen. They’re whānau now, family, there are boundaries.
Secret. Forbidden. Irresistible.
A reimagining of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.
“Every moment has its pleasures and its hope.”
― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
***Heart-throbbing slow burn, a bit of pretty prose, Ethan is his step-brother, Finley wasn’t supposed to see him naked, step-dad is a homophobe, Finley has naughty thoughts, Austen might roll over in her grave, secrets and confessions under sparkly stars, mutual pining, the world is unfair, pining-pining-and-more-pining, Finley turns naughty thoughts to actions, so what there are rules?, maybe they shouldn’t have done that, jealousy is an ugly green beast, Austen might like this now, forgetting is impossible, more impossible is choosing between heart and home.***
Red brick and shingles and intricate white latticework.
Someone is up on the turret, looking down on us. I can’t stare back long against the glare of the sun. Male, sports cap.
Mum loads a duffel bag into my arms.
She takes the last two suitcases of our clothes—in mine, the picture of Dad—from her fender-bent hatchback. This is all we’ve got.
Mansfield has everything else we need, she said.
The car, Mum and I—our whole lives—are dwarfed by the historic mansion that looms before us.
It should be raining. There should be thunder and lightning cracking the sky the way my heart is cracking.
“I want to go home.”
“I know it’ll take time to adjust,” she coos in my ear. “But I promise, it’ll all turn out in the end. You’ll see.”
My throat is sore. “Couldn’t you have waited?” I know my whine is unreasonable, but I want her to feel my pain. Want her to feel guilty. “It’s only three more years until I leave school.”
Tom emerges from the massive entrance in a short-sleeved shirt and crisply pressed shorts. All that’s missing is a golf bag and a flash of his overly-whitened teeth.
Mum melts into a smile at the sight of him, then settles her warm eyes on me. She speaks a proverb; I know it, but I’ve never understood it before. I don’t really now, either. “Ka mate te kāinga tahi, ka ora te kāinga rua.”
When one house dies, a second lives.
But our home wasn’t dead. And leaving the refuge he made for us feels like leaving his memory behind. It feels worse.
Tears leak out the corners of my eyes. I want to sing and cry like we did at his tangi.
Mum pulls the duffel from my arms and hoists me into her embrace. She clutches me tightly, her bright dress wrinkling between us. “He is our past, he is always a part of us.”
Now we must concentrate on the present and build a future.
She lets me go and opens her arms for Tom.
I kick at the sun-gleaming grass. A black cat scampers from behind the tree and hisses as it avoids my arcing foot.
“Oi,” Tom scolds. “Careful of Mrs. Norris.”
“I didn’t . . .” It was an accident! I’d never hurt a cat.
“Why don’t you take your bag inside and look around? Help yourself to a scone, there’s some on the dining table.”
I don’t want to listen to him. I fold my arms.
He starts kissing my mum.
I grab my suitcase and stalk across the manicured lawn to the stupid, pretty house. I hope I leave mud over the pristine polished marble floor. My belongings, I drop in the middle of the entranceway. Where it’s most annoying. Only the duffel and suitcase are so small in the wide space they look ridiculous.
The dining room is as big as our old home. Sun streams in through the gridded windows and across the table set with modern plates and cups with saucers and matching navy teapots and two silver platters of scones. Some clotted cream.
I sit down on a leather-upholstered chair. I like scones. But now I don’t ever want to touch one again.
Tears track down my cheeks, hot and heavy. I swipe at them with the back of my hand, sniffing.
I shoot my head up, expecting to see Mum and Tom, but it’s neither. A guy strides into the room wearing a blue cap. He’s about my age, a little older, maybe. Broad shouldered like me and toned. But I don’t know where he gets his from, living in a mansion. Okay, Mansfield is on the outskirts of Port Rātapu, and the property looked big. But it’s no farm. I can’t imagine anyone living here doing any heavy lifting.
“I guess you’re Finley?” he says.
“I guess you’re Ethan,” I say back.
About the Author
I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.
Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.
I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of emotion, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.
My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Thai.
To celebrate the release of Finley Embraces Heart And Home, Anyta is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift card and an e-set of the “Signs of Love” books (5 novels and 4 novellas)