Book Title: Two Soldiers
Author and Publisher: Aurora
Cover Artist: Cormar
November 25, 2022
Genre: Contemporary M/M/M Romance
Tropes: Brother’s best friends, established couple adding a
Themes: Christmas in Australia, pining
Heat Rating: 3
Length: approx. 28 000
It is loosely connected to
another series with cameos, but can be read alone.
It ends with a satisfying
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Can Avery open his
heart to two soldiers this Christmas?
Can Avery open his heart to two soldiers this
Felix Hawkins and Zach Walsh fell in love with each
other when they were fourteen—and with their best friend’s little brother when they were
twenty-three. But at that point, Avery was barely an adult, still wearing hearts in his eyes
when he looked at them. Felix was determined that they should wait so that Avery could
come to them on even footing, as an adult fully grown and with a clear head. Zach wasn’t
sure he could be that patient, but for Felix, and for Avery, he would do anything. So they’ve
held out for what feels like forever—and they know what they want for Christmas this
Avery McKenna might have crushed on his
brother’s best friends once upon a time, but that’s over with now… right? He’s focused on
his career, and while his job might not be keeping him warm at night, it’s summer in Sydney;
he doesn’t need any extra warmth. Felix and Zach and their charming… everything, can waltz
right back out the door because he doesn’t want anything to do with whatever game they’re
playing with him. It has to be a game, right? Earth-shattering kisses aside, why would they
ever want him for keeps?
Is the beautiful picture they might paint together
worth the risk of it all going wrong? Avery has never been a gambler, but he might finally be
ready to take a chance on the best Christmas present he’s ever received.
Two Soldiers for Christmas is a roughly 28,000-
word MMM older brother’s best friends Christmas novella featuring an established couple
adding a third, Christmas shenanigans, and a satisfying HFN ending.
If Zach hadn’t already fallen in love with this man, this
would have been the moment. The point in a rom-com movie where everything slows down
as that realisation kicks in. Except there were no oh fuck feelings to accompany it. It
wasn’t a surprising feeling for him. Zach welcomed it.
“What are you—?” Avery said, his eyes widening in horror.
They widened further when he looked down at himself. “Oh my god.”
He slammed the door in their faces.
Felix chuckled. “Think he forgot we were coming?”
Something crashed loudly inside and Zach instantly shoved
his bags at Felix and rushed through the—thankfully unlocked—door. If it hadn’t been, he
would have put his boot through it.
Avery was standing next to a small scaffolding set up, the
floor surrounding it covered in white sheets, and dozens of tins of paint in different sizes.
There were about six jars of murky water and paintbrushes and a few rollers, along with an
iPod speaker dock that had splashes of paint all over it. An iPod that Zach was pretty sure
was older than Avery was sitting in it, low Christmas music playing.
The only part of the situation that didn’t fit was the paint
tin that Avery was holding in his hand, red paint puddled all over the sheets and some of it
leaking onto to the tiling.
Avery stared at him, red paint dripping from his hair.
“Are you all right?” Felix asked. He took the paint tin from
Avery’s hand and checked it over while Zach took Avery’s face in his hands. Zach turned his
head left and right, making sure he hadn’t hurt himself. It looked like all the red was just
paint, but it was best to be sure.
Avery was still staring, wide-eyed, at him. “Yeah—yes? I’m
fine. I just…” He sighed and gestured at the scaffolding with the hand that Felix had just let
go of. “Knocked down the paint tin. It’s going to take me hours to clean this mess up.”
“I think you’re supposed to have a harness on when you’re
up that high,” Felix said, looking over the scaffolding with a slight frown on his face.
“It’s not high,” Avery said.
“Still above regulation height,” Felix said.
“Aren’t you just a walking inspector?” Avery shot back
sarcastically. “It’s fine.”
“What would happen if you did fall?” Felix’s eyes narrowed.
“If you were here alone and hit your head?”
Avery threw his hands up in aggravation. “I guess I would
Zach bit back his snarled reaction to those words. He knew
that Avery wasn’t being serious, but it still made him feel like he’d been slammed in the
head by a helicopter rotor. He might not have been a medic, but he knew how quickly a
head injury could turn bad.
He reached out and grabbed one of the scaffolding legs,
and then pushed. It rolled easily under his grip. “You don’t even have the safety on,” he said
“So what?” Zach repeated, his voice rising unintentionally.
“So have a little more care for your personal safety.”
“What, you guys are going to suddenly act like you give a
shit about me?” Avery’s hazel eyes were blazing.
“When have we not cared about you?” Felix asked. He
sounded like always did—even and level-headed. But Zach knew him too well. He could hear
the tremor of hurt that Felix was so good at concealing. Hearing it made anger rise in Zach’s
stomach. They didn’t deserve that. They’d never been dismissive of Avery, not once, in all
the years they’d known him.
“I’ve been doing this for years and I’m still here, so go pull
your big brother act on someone else,” Avery said, turning his back dismissively.
Zach whirled him around and trapped him against the
scaffolding, bracing himself with one hand gripping tightly to it. “Big brother act?” he bit out.
“You think that’s what this is?”
Avery’s pulse visibly jumped in his throat. The things that
Zach wanted to do to him, the thoughts he had, weren’t brotherly in any way. He took hold
of Avery’s chin and stroked his thumb across it, just under the alluring curve of his bottom
lip. Avery’s pupils dilated, his lips parting in shock.
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