Title: Forever His
A Friends to Lovers, Small Town M/M Romance
Series: Forever M/M Romance #1
Author: Jennilynn Wyer
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 4, 2023
Love was hard. Loving him was easy.
We all know the story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. It’s a tale as old as time. Well, it was… until the day I met Elijah Barnes.
Julien Jameson appears to have it all. He’s the quintessential golden boy. Confident. A star athlete. Popular. Adored by everyone. And completely in love with his best friend since childhood, Liz Fairchild. Or so he thought. The moment Julien lays eyes on Elijah Barnes, everything changes.
As Julien and Elijah’s friendship blossoms into more, Julien not only must navigate the complexities of his growing attraction toward Elijah, but also the challenges of coming out to his family and friends. What happens when the girl Julien thinks he’s in love with turns out not to be the person who is destined to be his soulmate?
With small-town drama, complex emotions, and a love worth fighting for, Forever His is a steamy, friends-to-lovers M/M romance with emotion, heat, and heart that will leave you wanting more.
A Contemporary Romance Writers Stiletto Finalist!
Reader’s Note: Forever His is a steamy, emotional, friends to lovers, small town, M/M romance. It is intended for mature audiences due to sexual and mature content. All sexual intimacy is consensual. Parts of this story were first published in Julien (A Fallen Brook M/M) in 2021. The book has been re-edited, re-written with new content and new chapters, and republished under a new title. Forever His ends on a cliffhanger and is book 1 in the Forever M/M Romance Series. The series spans from high school to college to adulthood.
Forever M/M Romance Series
Book 1: Forever His (Julien’s POV)
Book 2: Forever Yours (Elijah’s POV)
Book 3: Forever Mine (dual POV)
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Just as I was about to head back inside to look for the guys, I heard Greg’s boisterous laughter. If you were blindfolded, you could have told Greg apart from anyone else by his laugh alone. He had a habit of snorting between his guffaws. We teased him mercilessly about it.
I finally located where the guys were congregated. They had set up a scattering of lawn chairs around a small, circular firepit. I caught Timothy’s eye and he shouted something at me, but I never heard what he said.
Because I froze.
Because my heart literally stopped beating before it painfully punched me in the chest.
Because sitting on one of the lawn chairs was Elijah.
And he wasn’t alone.
There was a raven-haired girl propped in his lap. She was stroking the back of his hair and planting kisses along his neck. She was touching the same wild, blond waves I craved to thread my fingers through. Her lips were pressing against the same skin I fantasized about kissing. Her eyes were looking into the same green-brown eyes that haunted my dreams at night.
And he just sat there and let her.
What the fuck?
It was almost comical watching Elijah look over at me and seeing the shocked recognition draining his face of all color until it mottled an ashen gray. Yeah, I’d look guilty, too. Could this week get any shittier? First Liz, and now Elijah. Well, fuck him and all his sweet, meaningless words. Elijah made me wish for things and want things that I knew better than to hope for.
I plastered on the fakest smile I could muster and walked over. Elijah wouldn’t get the satisfaction of seeing how much he’d hurt me.
“So, this is where the cool kids are,” I said.
Don’t look at him.
“Took you long enough,” Greg complained. “We thought you had bailed on us tonight.”
I purposefully kept my back to Elijah. “Ryder and I were inside and ran into Nate. Davis took a drunken header into the coffee table.”
Shaun busted out laughing. “No shit?”
Using my hands and arms, I mimed the image of Davis toppling over like a felled tree.
Do not look at him.
“Where’s Jayson?” Timothy inquired, rubbernecking over my shoulder. Everyone was used to me and Jay as a pair. Where one went, the other was usually not that far behind.
“He’s under house arrest.”
Greg delivered one of his classic snorts of laughter. “Yeah, right. Seriously, where’s he at tonight?”
“He’s seriously grounded.”
Shaun flung his arm over my shoulder. “For what?”
“Jesus, Julien. Could you just spit it out and tell us what happened?” Timothy demanded. He was not known for his patience.
“Jayson and Liz hooked up. They’re dating.”
Three mouths gaped open.
Greg punched Timothy in the arm. “Ha! You owe me twenty bucks, asshole.”
Now it was my turn to gape. “You did not make a bet to see who would get with Liz first,” I castigated. “Did you?”
Do. Not. Look. At. Him.
I pointed to all three of them. “Do not breathe a word about it. Understand? Ryder is here tonight, and I don’t want him to have to deal with you idiots.”
Greg, Timothy, and Shaun all nodded their heads in understanding. They knew how bad Ryder had it for Liz. They just never knew how bad I had it for her, too.
I turned sharply to glare at Elijah. “What?” I snapped. The girl from earlier was nowhere to be seen.
“Can I talk to you for a second?”
I might have been the more easy-going and affable of the group, but that aspect of my personality had flown out the damn window as soon as I saw him letting that black-haired beauty put her mouth on him.
“Fine,” I clipped.
I told the guys that I’d be right back and stalked off toward the pool where Ryder and Fallon were. Elijah could follow me if he wanted to talk to me so damn badly.
I found an unoccupied lounger and dropped down onto it. Elijah sat on the concrete deck next to me, pulling his knees up to his chest. He reached out, his hand getting scant inches from my leg before he pulled it back.
Those hazel eyes of his captured mine, and we did nothing more than stare at one another for a long time. God, he was so handsome. Upset as I was at him, I still wanted him.
“Julien, I need you to listen and not say anything, okay?”
Could I do that?
Ignoring him, I watched the changing colors of the water in the pool go from red to blue to green to yellow. Nate’s pool had several of those solar-powered float lights buoying around in the water, creating a disco effect. It looked cool.
“It’s all an act.”
Elijah’s voice recaptured my attention. He asked me not to say anything while he talked, so that was what I was going to do.
“Jessi is a friend.”
I scoffed. I bet she was.
“She has a girlfriend.”
Now that definitely had my attention.
Elijah ran a nervous hand across his forehead to slide a lock of hair away from his eyes. He repeated the motion again and then he licked his lips. My gaze instantly zeroed onto them. Elijah’s lashes raised, and he smiled at me when he saw me staring. That freaking smile of his was going to be the end of me one day.
“Jessi and I met years ago at summer camp. We were both shy and nerdy, so we gravitated toward one another. Over our time at camp, we became really good friends. We also figured out early on that we had more in common than we thought.”
He cleared his throat. “I won’t bore you with the backstory. Just know that whatever you saw was an act. It wasn’t real. She’d rather eat broken glass than have a boyfriend.”
“Elijah, I’m going to have to stop you right there.” I leaned forward on the lounger, so that he and I were eye to eye. “Will you just be honest with me? You said you liked me. You asked me out. Then I see some girl touching and kissing you. Forgive me for being confused as fuck. Do you not get how scared I am? How terrified I am of these feelings that I’ve been having?”
His head raised and lowered emphatically. “I do. I’m just as scared, Julien. My mom—” He exhaled briskly and thumped his closed fist against the side of his thigh several times. “Only a few people know that I’m gay. I live in fear every damn day because of who I am. Because of how I am,” he emphasized. “Jessi plays a role. She helps me out when I need a fake girlfriend on my arm. I do the same for her. It’s a ruse, Julien. What you saw was not real.”
Elijah stood up, brushing his hands off on his shorts and staring off into the distance. I tracked his line of sight and saw a glow of red lighting up Fallon’s profile as he took a drag from a joint. He was watching us. Shit.
“The only thing that is real is how I feel about you,” Elijah stated quietly before turning around and walking away.
He left me there, sitting alone with only my swirling thoughts and the hot, summer night to keep me company.
Excerpt from Forever His copyright 2023 Jennilynn Wyer
Releasing July 27
$2.99 for a limited time!
Jennilynn Wyer is a Rudy Award-winning author of Romantic Suspense and a three-time Contemporary Romance Writers Stiletto Finalist. She writes steamy, New Adult romances as well as dark reverse harem romances. She also pens YA romances under J.L. Wyer. Jennilynn is a sassy Southern belle who lives a real-life friends-to-lovers trope with her blue-eyed British husband. When not writing, she’s nestled in her favorite reading spot, e-reader in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, enjoying the latest romance novel.