Cathal Kinnery is an arrogant, overeducated jerk, and Damon Eglamore is not afraid to tell him so. But Damon married Cathal’s best friend, so they have an uneasy truce. Then she passes away. Now they’re stuck together in close quarters, trying to honor her memory without shouting at each other all the time.
At first, they have no idea how to move forward. Damon is a chef, but all his favorite recipes remind him of his late wife. Cathal would love to start tomcatting around town again, except for that annoying promise he made to his best friend about looking after Damon.
Then Damon’s son comes to them for help, convinced the only way to win over his first crush is a gender-bending Shakespeare production. After that, Cathal talks Damon into taking up baking as a new way to use his talents. Next thing they know, they’ve begun a new life working as a team instead of jumping at each other’s throats. But can they trust each other long enough to make it last, or will they fall into old bad habits again?
Title: Death of a Bachelor
Author: M.A. Hinkle
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 29, 2018
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, bisexual, enemies to lovers, grief/grieving, UST (unresolved sexual tension), teenage kids, family drama, humorous
Death of a Bachelor
M.A. Hinkle © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Everything was progressing well except Cathal’s work, so he decided he needed to get away from distractions. After Felix left for school, Cathal peeked in the kitchen. Damon was cracking and separating eggs, his tongue between his teeth. “I’m making macarons,” he said.
“Did I ask?”
Damon ignored that.
Cathal made a face, only because Damon wasn’t looking. “I’m going to the library to work. Try not to kill yourself while I’m gone.”
Damon’s mouth twitched. “If I did that, I’d never figure out how to make these. It’ll be good to spend the day without you muttering up there.”
Cathal stuck his tongue out, only because he did talk while he was working.
He went out to the hallway to grab his coat.
Then he went back to the kitchen. “What are macarons?”
“You’ll find out, won’t you?”
Macarons, as it turned out, were French cookies, and they were tasty, and Cathal ate three—all lovely pastel colors—while waiting for Felix to get home. Dinner was leftover roast, because Damon had spent the whole day making macarons. Piles of them. Enough that Cathal might have been compelled to call the authorities, except that he wanted to eat them.
Damon glanced at the oven clock. “He’s late. You think I ought to call him?”
“It’s only been a half hour. He’s probably chatting with his friends. You know how he is when he starts talking music.”
Fifteen minutes later, Cathal was about to suggest that Damon should call Felix when the boy came in the front door, looking crazed. He fell into the empty chair at the kitchen table, staring at the floor.
“I did something really stupid,” he said, not blinking.
“You didn’t pick a fight or something, did you?” Damon nudged the plate of macarons at Felix.
Felix only glanced at them before returning his eyes to the floor. “No. But I was telling the triplets minus one about my awesome Queen Titania idea, and they thought it was great, and then I was telling them about Morgan, and then I got to study hall and somehow I ended up asking Morgan if he was going to audition for the play, and he said yes, and I told him he should try out for Oberon, and he said he’d take it into consideration.” All of this came out in one breath. Felix gasped and added one final thing: “And then he looked at me and he has the prettiest eyes ever and I am doomed.”
“Sometimes I wonder why you act so silly, but then you make speeches like this and I worry how much oxygen is getting to your brain,” said Cathal.
Damon made an irritated noise. “What Cathal is trying to say, Felix, is that you made a good first step today, and we’re proud of you.”
“I am not.” Cathal took another macaron. When had they turned into we? This was not okay. “He’s ridiculous.”
Felix squinted at the plate as though seeing it for the first time. “What are those?”
“Macarons,” said Damon, at the same time Cathal said, “Don’t change the subject.”
They kept talking at the same time, almost like they were thinking the same things. But that could not be true. Damon made no sense.
Felix picked one up and peered at it, his countenance lifting. “These look good, Dad.”
Damon sighed. “We’re never going to get anywhere in this conversation, are we?”
“It depends on what you mean by ‘getting somewhere,’” said Cathal.
“These are good, Dad!” said Felix around a mouthful of pink meringue.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Damon and Cathal said in unison.
“You guys have got to stop doing that,” said Felix. “It’s creepy.”
“You’re not the one living it.” Damon shook his head.
“That being said,” said Cathal, “Damon was right.” Damon made a noise suspiciously like a muffled laugh, which Cathal did not deign to acknowledge. “You’re closer to being his friend, if nothing else. You went out of your comfort zone, and that is always good.”
Felix bit his thumbnail. “You know, you guys are right. I was freaking out there, but I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if he was some random guy and I didn’t like him. Maybe that’s how I should do it.”
“It’s exactly how you should do it,” said Damon.
“Says the man who’s never caught a man,” Cathal said, looking at him askance. “Take it from someone who knows, Felix. You need to be clear about what you want, because if he’s as shy as you say, he won’t pick up on any hints subtler than ‘I want to kiss you. Please let me.’ And if he’s straight, he won’t pick up on it even if you say, ‘I want to kiss you. Please let me.’”
Felix turned red. “I don’t want to kiss him. I want to stare at him until he bursts into flame. Which, I mean, that might actually happen.” He sighed. “Can I have another macaron?”
“No,” said Damon. “Not until you eat some actual food. You too.” That was directed at Cathal. “You didn’t eat breakfast.”
Cathal opened his mouth to object. Then he realized Damon was right. Instead of admitting this, he had another macaron. Because he was an adult.
M.A. Hinkle swears a lot and makes jokes at inappropriate times, so she writes about characters who do the same thing. She’s also worked as an editor and proofreader for the last eight years, critiquing everything from graduate school applications to romance novels.