Fires of Crete Excerpt
"Sit, Andrew. I'm not much the cook, but I ran out to the bakery around the corner and bought some fresh-baked croissants. Believe me, they will taste much better than my cooking." He grabbed a mug from the cupboard, poured out a cup of coffee, and passed it to Andrew. "Sugar? Cream?"
"Neither," Andrew said, then cautiously drank down the coffee. Oh, yeah. Perfect. Hot, but not enough to cause serious injury to his tongue. "This is all I need to get me started. God, yes. This is damned good coffee."
"I learned how to make it when I was attending college in the US. I had a part-time job at a coffee house. One of the few things I can cook with any competency."
Andrew grabbed one of the croissants and then glanced up at Stephanos. "I didn't realize you'd gone to college in the States. I don't know why I never asked you about that before. Your English is very good."
Stephanos shrugged. "We didn't exchange resumes or family histories. Both of us were interested in a different sort of history, I think."
"Or perhaps you just didn't want to talk about your own history?" Andrew suggested. That ripple of expressions crossed Stephanos's face again. Hesitancy, sorrow, anger...resolution.
He dropped into the chair on the other side of the table. "It isn't a secret I wish to keep from you." He sucked in a breath and then released it. "My family are devoted to their church, and it is not easy for them to accept that I am not like them. Especially for my father and my grandfather. They will not accept me as I am and have disowned me."
"I'm sorry, Stephanos." Andrew wanted to reach out for Stephanos as he had the night before, but he controlled his instincts. "I know it can go either way-some families can accept it; others can't. But some do come around. Maybe if you give them time?" He sounded like a man who knew what he was talking about, but he was a fake, and he knew it. Yes, his family accepted him, but for the Larsons it seemed more as though he was some sort of exotic trophy pulled out to show friends at parties. And the fact that he was trying to find out something about his birth parents? They just tied the two together now. Just another conversational piece for them to carry around to social get-togethers. Oh, our Andrew found his birth parents, you know. They're Greek. And he's gay. Did we mention that? Yeah, like he knew so much.
"It's been three years," Stephanos said. "It is as it will be. I cannot force their acceptance. Even as I cannot force myself to be as they would wish." "Is that the reason you haven't told your coworkers that you're gay? You haven't told anyone there, have you?" It was a hunch.
"Perhaps. As I told you, things are different here on Crete. The laws, they are getting better. But laws cannot change people's hearts and minds, nor their traditions. For now, things are what they are."
"You couldn't emigrate to the US? Things might be better for you there. You wouldn't need to be constantly looking over your shoulder. At least maybe not as much."
"My family is here. This is my home," Stephanos said softly.
Yet he seemed as alone as anyone Andrew had ever known. "I wish I could help you."
Stephanos smiled. "You have. Your friendship is very important to me. I have shared more with you than with most anyone I know. You are like a..." His words trailed away.
Andrew gave him a lopsided grin. "A brother maybe?"
The color of Stephanos's eyes deepened to the darkest shade of blue, almost black. Andrew could get lost in that look. "Not as a brother, no."
It was as though even the air in the room stilled. For a moment, Andrew stopped breathing. "Like what then?"
Stephanos leaned closer; he slid a hand across the table. Andrew met him at the center, and their fingers twined together. Here in Stephanos's apartment, there was no need to worry about who might witness their connection. His fingers tightened on Stephanos's. "Like what?" he asked again.
Stephanos leaned closer, and again Andrew mirrored his action until their mouths almost touched. "Perhaps we shall find out while you are here. Ne, Andrew?"
"Yes, I think so. I think perhaps we might." He felt Stephanos's breath against his face. He parted his lips, and in the next instant, their mouths were fastened together. Oh, God, he tasted so good. Just as good as he'd tasted the night before. It wasn't a deeply blistering kiss that curled his toes. It was soft and seductive, lips brushing in tantalizing invitation. It was a promise of things to come. And all too brief. Stephanos pulled away first and reseated himself.
"Anogia," he said as though trying to ease the sexual tension between them. Andrew released a long breath. "Anogia," he echoed, then picked up his mug and took a deep gulp of coffee in an attempt to steady himself.
"I did some more searching on the computer before you got up. It may not be as easy to find out information on your ancestors as we would like."
"Why is that? What did you find out?"
"Anogia has always had a turbulent history. But in 1944 the resistance fighters kidnapped a German general. In retaliation the village was burned to the ground and as many of the men as they could find were executed. The only building left standing was the church. The town was rebuilt, but I don't know if we will find any records of your family that might still survive. Any people who might know something may have moved to other cities or villages."
Andrew was disappointed. More than that, he was devastated. "Nothing?"
"I don't know. Anogia is one of those mountain villages difficult to reach. It may be that we will find the church still has some baptismal or marriage records that may prove helpful in your search. Do not give up all hope. I just wanted you to be prepared for the worst, just in case."
"Well," Andrew said, "I can't give up hope yet. I've come too far." Perhaps it would all be for nothing, but he still had to try. He looked at Stephanos. But then again, even if Anogia was a dead end, it might not all be for nothing. There was still Stephanos. And having met him could prove to be everything.
Reviews for Fires of Crete
Travel to an exotic location in the pages of Fires of Crete ... and meet two very sexy men. ...While both men were out, each had unique circumstances surrounding that, making the tale so much more interesting. Firees of Crete and Adrianna Dane makes sure the story lives up to its name but there are more fires built than just the one in Crete..." --Elise, Sensual Reads.coma nice dose of suspense to this story. I loved the setting. ... I'll Be Home for Christmas is a wonderful holiday story filled with messages on love, hope, survivle and forgiveness... --Scandalous Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews Only
...Fires of Crete is a well written, sensual, emotional read. ... The atmosphere of Crete is well sketched and the chemistry between the two characters smoulders off the page. ...an enjoyable read... -- Scarlet, The Romance Studio
I really enjoyed reading Fires of Crete. ... Ms. Dane has a flair for tying together the past and the present with this couple. ... --Samhain Queene, Dark Divas Reviews
Fires Of Crete
Arriving on Crete to uncover his past, a teacher meets a young Greek lover who ignites an inferno of passion. Is the attraction a quick flicker of raging lust or the lasting flame of love? Will past fears stifle any chance of a future together?
Unexpected, instantaneous, and combustible attraction. Two strangers meet online sharing a passion for Minoan history. An invitation to holiday on Crete. Andrew Larson, a studious university professor, and Stephanos Angelika, an attractive up-and-coming young Greek executive, finally meet, and an undeniable need blazes to life. They have two weeks to explore this heady level of their relationship. Is it lust or something deeper?
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