Wood – A True Lover’s Story Read online A.E. Via

Categories Genre: Angst, M-M Romance, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 115
Estimated words: 107960 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 540(@200wpm)___ 432(@250wpm)___ 360(@300wpm)

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Wood - A True Lover's Story

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

A.E. Via

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It’s been a long seventeen years but Herschel Wood Jr. is finally a free man and he’s looking forward to reconnecting with his old cellmate, Bishop Stockley, who promised him a place to stay and some help getting back on his feet. Wood had a good life once upon time when he’d owned one of the most successful tattoo shops on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront – until a fatal accident that was his fault cost him everything.
Now at forty-six years old, all Wood wants is to work in another shop on the beach and find a mature, easygoing man to settle down with. But when he gets to his new place and finds he has to share the small trailer with Bishop’s childhood friend, he wasn’t expecting a sexy, smart-mouthed brat that enjoys pushing a man to his limits.
Wood pressed in tight until there was only misunderstanding between them, his mouth mere inches from Trent’s parted lips. “You wanted to get a reaction out of me you annoying, immature little shit… now you’ve got one.”
Trent Armstrong has never been considered a catch. He’s a twenty-nine year old laborer, an ex-con, and not the easiest person to get along with. He’s used to being the one people cast to the side when they're done with him. Everyone he’s ever cared about has walked out of his life without a backward glance, so he’s used to the loneliness. His foul mouth and quick temper are a great defense mechanism and an easy way to hide his hurt.
From the moment the tattooed, silver-haired man walked into the house there had been nothing but tension, side-eyeing, and sparks between them. Trent has always held back a side of himself that he’s terrified to explore, and without warning Wood’s voice, his maturity, that maddening scent, and even his damaged past all trigger feelings that Trent thought he’d buried deep long ago.
Trent went completely still when Wood dragged his nose over his forehead and down the side of his face. His voice was shaky, and his breaths were hot and swift along Wood’s throat. “What the hell are you doing?”
“I’m doing what you want me to do.” Wood whispered. “I’m playing your bullshit game, Trent.”
No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. Ends with a HEA.
***Note: This is a steaming agnsty, age gap, new-to-love romance. Trigger Warning: AA Recovery
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A.E. Via

Chapter One


Wood sat uncomfortably in the weak aluminum chair in front of the house director’s desk, trying not to bear all his weight down on it. He was sure the flimsy thing had a one-hundred-and-fifty-pound weight capacity restriction, and from the groans it was making, he figured he was testing it to its limits. Wood braced his elbows on his knees, reaching for yet another document he had to sign before he could leave the halfway house for good.

Wood skimmed over the bullet points: Yes, I will report to my parole officer. No, I will not do illegal drugs. No, I won’t engage in any criminal activity. Yes, I will remain in an AA program. No, I will not try to contact my victims. Signed. Agreed. Now can I please just get the hell out of here already. As if the director heard his thoughts, he gave Wood a tight smile.

“One more form and I swear that’s it.” He chuckled loudly which quickly morphed into a hacking cough. The stocky man had supposedly quit his two-pack-a-day habit, but it smelled as if Mr. Mannis had just stubbed one out before Wood walked in.

From what he understood, Mr. Mannis was kicked out of the military for serving his own needs and not those of his country. He’d messed up so much until he’d ended up with a gig like this. Babysitting a bunch of grown men who’d also messed up once too many. Wood had learned early that life was ironic as hell.

“You got a place lined up, don’tcha?”

“Yeah,” Wood mumbled.

Mr. Mannis had to finish his cough before he was able to accept the final form. He skimmed over Wood’s answers, then glanced at him over the rim of his reading glasses. “I see your new place is in Norfolk.”

Wood didn’t answer, noting those words weren’t posed as a question. He knew the expression Mr. Mannis wore. Norfolk could be a rough city, and he was advised to avoid certain places and types of people since it was also where Wood had got into trouble. He didn’t roll his eyes in irritation, but he’d already been through this with his parole officer. Instead he listened quietly while he stared down at his two trash bags totaling his entire life’s possessions.

“And employment?”

Wood rubbed his hand over his beard before dropping his arm back to his thigh. He stared at the colorful ink wrapped around his forearm, his art, his designs. “Yeah, I’m going to stay on with the temp agency. It’s kept me with steady work so…”

Mr. Mannis nodded and continued to stare at him for a long moment as if he had some kind of telepathic ability. “You know, I’ve watched you around the house over the past several months, and you seem to stay to yourself. Quiet. Didn’t make any friends… or enemies. You avoided the bullshit that goes on.” He glanced down at the folder. “I read your record, Mr. Wood. And I gotta tell ya, the man that’s lived under this roof the last six months doesn’t seem like the same man that did the things listed here.”

“But he did,” Wood gritted out.

The director cocked his head to the side, and Wood held his glare with his own. “You still drink?”


And more fucking staring. “The man on this paper sounds violent, angry, and quick to—”

“The man on that paper did what he had to do to survive prison, all right. And I think you’ve been doing this job long enough to know that.”

“I have,” Mr. Mannis snarled, leaning forward. “And I also know a man doesn’t do the kind of time you did and come out fine. And come out as composed as you’re putting on.”

Wood got on his feet. “I never said I was fine, because you never asked how I was doing. But it doesn’t matter what you think you know. You don’t know me. And I’ve done the required sessions already. So, if you’ll excuse me. I don’t wanna keep my ride waiting.”

Mr. Mannis rocked back in his creaky chair. “I hope I never see you again, Mr. Wood.”

“Just Wood. And I can make sure that happens for you.” Wood left the stifling office with his bags slung over his shoulders.

The brisk February air felt good against his heated face as he stepped out the doors of his residence for the last five and half months. No more check-ins, bunk partners, curfews, and a shit ton of other rules he no longer had to adhere to. He hurried down the steps to the end of the long driveway, finally feeling like a free man. He’d gone from being told what to do every day for seventeen years in prison only to be released to Mr. Mannis’s mansion of rules and regulations. He looked back at the large Victorian-style home, then toward the long street that led out of the city toward the interstate. He almost stumbled at the realization of what that long stretch of road meant. He was on his own now, and shit was about to get serious. There was no one to tell him what to do and when to do it. And he admitted that fact scared the life out of him. But his good friend Bishop Stockley had done it, and he heard he was getting by all right since his release.