|Cover Art by Posh Gosh|
Kieran Addison, in his teens, falls in love with his brother Brad’s boyfriend, and he runs away to another country to bury himself in a career so he can forget. When his brother is killed in a car accident, Kieran comes back briefly for the funeral, but then leaves almost immediately, his emotions too raw to face Jordan Salter.
It's only when his father becomes ill, and his sister begs him to come home, that Kieran returns for good. He finds the family business almost bankrupt and Jordan, the man he loves, broken—a shell of the man he used to be, beaten down by despair over the business and guilt over Brad's death, a death he blames himself for.
The journey Kieran and Jordan take—building a friendship and repairing the business, while exploring how they feel about each other—is a journey filled with decisions and revealed secrets. Can Kieran and Jordan finally see what could be between them after all these years?
"....Back Home is a delightfully engaging novel. Strong family ties and flawed characters provide added depth and authenticity to this well-plotted story. RJ Scott has once again written a powerful and passionate romance that will resonate with her readers...."
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Joyfully Jay - 5/5 - "....I absolutely adore Back Home. In fact, it’s a book I’d recommend to just about anyone. It’s heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. The story that Scott tells is a hard one of love lost and love found. It’s a bittersweet and poignant story, but it’s also beautiful, sweet, and perfect. I highly, highly recommend Back Home by R.J. Scott...."
Dark Diva Reviews - 4/5 - "....Back Home by is a delightfully engaging novel. Strong family ties and flawed characters provide added depth and authenticity to this well-plotted story. RJ Scott has once again written a powerful and passionate romance that will resonate with her readers...."
Sid Love - 4.5/5 - "....This story reads easily and you find yourself involved pretty fast and you become enthralled with the lives of the characters running the book.
A good, solid story with a nice plot and a connection with one or more of the characters. What more could you want as a reader?...."
Wilde Oats - 4.5/5 - "....Back Home is not just a damn good read; it’s a damn good book...."
"J, are you coming?"
Jordan Salter jumped a little and glanced up from his work, refocusing tired eyes that had been intent on minute hand work on a three-by-three post of kiln-dried walnut. He widened his eyes fractionally in the gathering evening gloom, blinking and attempting to make sense of the new focus of his concentration. The ache behind them was the icing on the cake—a by-product of the nagging headache that had tracked him all day and the need to concentrate on creating the intricate detail work that he was determined to finish. He closed his eyes briefly, gritty exhaustion in them, and he let out an almost incoherent, "Wha…?"
"You said you were going to be finishing early today."
"Wha…?" What is it with people interrupting my work?
Whoever it was in the room with him flicked on the overhead light, courtesy of the electrical work that had been completed and signed off today. Jordan winced.
"It’s past eight and you’re still here?"
Jordan blinked steadily—if it was eight o’clock then why the hell was Ben standing in the house? He should have gone home two hours ago. Come to think of it, why was Ben dressed to the nines in his Sunday jeans and a clean shirt? Jordan remembered last seeing his friend and colleague in overalls, working on wiring. Ben Craig was the only subcontractor they called on and then only in an emergency.
"You said to come back for you. To remind you about the party." Ben was clearly and deliberately speaking in words containing minimal syllables, and he spoke slowly enough that Jordan could absorb the words. Tension stiffened the older man’s stance, and his expression schooled itself into a frown. What was he supposed to remember? Suddenly, through the fatigue, the memory clicked into place. The party. Hayley’s party. She was twenty-two today, and he’d been invited to join the Addisons and associated friends at The Olive Garden for dinner.
"In it, big time," Ben muttered, walking across the kitchen and, almost as if he couldn’t help it, sliding the palm of his right hand over the unwaxed, still-dull brown wood that Jordan had chosen for the newel post. Fingertips barely touching the surface, Ben traced the grain and nodded. Jordan looked from the wood to Ben and back again, mind working feverishly to keep his focus on the fact that he’d promised to be at the party.
"She’ll be pretty," Jordan offered, wondering if he was coming across as defensive even as he dismissed the thought and focused on the beauty of the wood.
"She’ll polish up well," Ben agreed. "Walnut was a good choice."
"I just get…" Involved, he finished in his mind. Engrossed to the point that he felt no weariness until his attention was broken. From intricate carved details on newels to the hand-turning and intricate inlay work for chair backs, Jordan had always been mesmerised by the forms he could create. The patterns and the curves under his fingers had always been inside the wood, as far as he knew. Able to find the faintest of grains, he would sand and shape and polish, thinking of nothing except the beautiful wood beneath his touch. Once he saw the purpose of each piece of wood, and had paid attention to the shapes buried in each piece, he laid out the finished product in his head. Giving his thought to the raw potential in front of him, he focused on having the wood’s final shape match the completed mental image. He often didn’t know where to start, but when he was in the zone, when each tiny cut made the beauty of the wood show in striations of pale brown and gold, he couldn’t snap himself out of it.
Tonight wasn’t the first time over the last few months that he’d forgotten something, nor would it be the last. Jordan was tired, and he felt years older than his twenty-nine. He commonly put in eighteen-hour days. First had come the hard physical work on the larger aspects of renovation, then the labour-intensive detailed finishing woodwork on Mistral House had consumed him.
Recession had hit the construction industry hard, and he was the sole remaining staff member of Addison Construction. AC’d had no choice—people had had to be let go, and he was finishing this contract on his own, with just Ben in and out for things he couldn’t do, electrical being one of them. When Jordan was working on the final touches in a renovation, he sank into the process, the carving and staining and completing his only reality. Intensely involved and completely cut off from the rest of the world, such things as birthday parties and promises to attend them didn’t exist.
AC needed to flip Mistral House as soon as they could—the very existence of Phil Addison’s company depended on the cash flow realised from the sale of the home. Added to the stress of the need to finish, he’d had little more than three hours sleep last night, and he was into his nineteenth hour working today.
He glanced back down at the smooth wood, the texture of the newel satiny and solid beneath his fingertips, judging that he only had a quarter hour, maybe half, and this part of the detailed intricate work would be finished.
The kitchen cabinets, each custom made, were solid walnut, generations of growth in the sturdy wood. Jordan’s elaborate detailing accentuated the highlights and lustre of the wood’s deep honey tones. Jordan had created a pedestal, circular-topped kitchen table and four chairs as well, and the rails complemented the other wood in the room. The kitchen was the crowning glory of the carpentry in this house renovation and a source of great pride to Jordan.
He had, after all, done most of the work single-handedly, since Phil had become too ill to work alongside him. The kitchen was his baby, and he just needed to finish the detailing—tonight. Ben stood, waiting for an answer if his subtle shifting from foot to foot was anything to go by.