Welcome to author Amy Lane and the tour for her latest release, Crocus, book two in the Bonfires series!
Surviving the Winter of a Relationship
There is a song by Dar Williams called “February” that breaks my heart every time. You can find it here and if you get a chance, give it a listen.
It details a relationship as it dies under the ice of a long winter and one of the most poignant parts—to me, anyway—is that the speaker knows where she fails, but she can’t seem to find the strength in herself to see her lover in the spring again.
If Bonfires was about the rekindling of youth through a new love, Crocus was about remembering how to love through the ice of winter, and that’s not always an easy thing to write about. New love is exciting! It’s happy! There’s sexy times and steam!
The next stage? The stage if you really do stick it out through thick and thin and the dark of winter? That’s not always so exciting.
Larx and Aaron get along so well—and they’re such fun characters as a whole—that setting about to temporarily ruin their lives for book two was not as easy as it usually is. But I came back to this song—February—and wondered how Larx would deal with a long winter when love didn’t come so easily. How would he face through his personal February and keep the beauty of his relationship alive?
Of course, I left a big plot thread hanging with Olivia—and I’d done it on purpose. But when I started writing about her condition—not just depressed, but depressed with the care of her unborn child hanging over her head—I realized that Larx wasn’t the only one living in a personal February. Olivia has been enduring her own individual winter for over a year now, and she’s not sure she’ll ever see the sun.
Having these two characters remember that they have the strength to overcome the coldness in their hearts wasn’t easy—but it did make for the perfect metaphor.
Their love, for their lovers, their family, their lives, never really died. It just… gestated, like a bulb flower, under the snows of winter, waiting to poke through and feel the sun.
I love the cover of this book—that bright snowflower, shedding god on the surrounding ice. It says everything I want to say about holding on until spring. Larx and Olivia both find their way to break through to the sunshine, to become part of the world once again.
To beat the cold of “February”—to remember the warmth of love.
About the Book
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.
High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.
But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.
Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?
Larx’s phone, sitting on the table next to him, buzzed, and he was damned grateful.
Hello, Principal—are you being a good boy and getting your work done?
Larx groaned. Sort of. Olivia showed up on the doorstep this morning. Oh hell. He didn’t even want to ask Aaron about using his house.
Is she visiting for the weekend?
The phone rang. “Are you kidding me?”
“Sorry, Aaron.” He sighed and sipped his tepid coffee, then took a deep breath. “I don’t know what’s going on. She came in talking a mile a minute, tripped over the dog—”
“Is Dozer okay?”
Larx had to laugh. “Your dog is fine, Aaron.”
“He’s your dog,” Aaron protested weakly. Yes, the puppy had been a gift for Larx when his oldest cat passed away, but Aaron—big, solid, strong—had apparently been waiting for Dozer for most of his life.
Larx wasn’t going to argue that the dog was definitely Aaron’s, but it was true. Dozer—a mixed breed somewhere between a Labrador retriever and a German shepherd—was fine with Larx, answered to him just as well as he did Aaron, appreciated the hell out of the full food bowl, gave plenty of sloppy, happy kisses, and pranced about on spindly legs and feet the size of dinner plates.
But when Aaron came home, Larx watched the dog melt, roll to his back, offer up his tummy in supplication, and beg for pets.
Larx couldn’t object or be jealous—he felt the same way. Except Larx wanted Aaron to pet more than his belly.
“That dog’s your soul mate from another life,” Larx said now, scratching Dozer behind the ears. “Yes, you are. Yes, you are. But you can’t have him. He’s mine.”
“Wow. Just wow.”
Larx chuckled, because the distraction had been welcome, but now… now grown-up things. “She’s asleep on the couch,” he said softly. “Aaron… she’s not sounding….” He took a big breath. His ex-wife had suffered from depression after a miscarriage, and he remembered coming home from work bringing dinner once so she didn’t have to cook or clean up because she’d been so sad. She’d yelled at him—didn’t he think she was capable of cleaning her own kitchen? Then she’d burst into tears for an hour, while Larx had fed the girls and tried to calm her down.
It had been like standing on the deck of a ship in a storm—and Larx had that same feeling now, with his daughter, when his children had always been the source of peace in his heart.
“Pregnancy?” Aaron asked hesitantly. They were so new. Larx hadn’t spoken about Alicia more than a handful of times. Nobody talked about depression or mental illness.
Nobody knew what to say.
“Yeah.” Larx didn’t want to talk about it right now. He just couldn’t.
“Baby….” Aaron’s voice dropped, and considering Larx had gotten him at work, where he had to be all tough and manly and shit, that meant he was worried.
“Later,” Larx said gruffly. “Just not, you know….”
“When the whole world can hear. I get it.” Aaron blew out a breath and then took the subject down a surprising path. “Larx, do you have a student named Candace Furman?”
About the Author
Amy Lane has two grown kids out of college, two half-grown kids in high school and middle school, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with some of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.