David Loris is a resident of The Roosevelt, the assisted living facility where Jeremey and Emmet live. David’s father bought and converted the building specifically so young adults like David could have somewhere to live and be as independent as possible. But because David is still coming to terms with his disability—C4 incomplete spinal injury due to an auto accident—David isn’t always the most gracious of sons.
The day he moved in, everyone acted as if a movie star had come to stay. Even Stuart, who never talked to anybody, came out of his room to see Bob’s son arrive. There were eleven of us living at The Roosevelt, and he was the last to move in, number twelve.
He rolled up the ramp wearing sunglasses and a black T-shirt that said ATTITUDE PROBLEM. Bob and his wife were with him, and a tall black man. Bob waved to us, and the black man smiled and waved when some of the residents greeted him. Stuart asked the man who he was.
“Jimmy.” The man smiled at Stuart and stuck out his hand, but Stuart didn’t take it because he doesn’t care for touch at all. Jimmy pulled his hand back. “I’m one of David’s aides. What’s your name?”
Stuart hummed and turned away to face the wall. That was pretty much Stuart.
David murmured something we weren’t supposed to hear, but I did. He said, “Welcome to the freak house.”
David and Jeremey become friends when Jeremey offers to be David’s aide for the afternoon.
David breezed through the last barrier between him and the outside, and he sped up as he headed down the ramp, letting out a lusty sigh at the bottom. “Damn. I feel as if I got a reprieve from prison. Thanks, bro. Owe you one.”
I hadn’t ever been anyone’s bro before. Folding my arms over my belly, I came hesitantly around the side of his chair. What was I supposed to say? I felt panic start to spiral, but I set my teeth and didn’t let it take hold. No. All I had to do was stand here and be his live-action help button. If he wanted to talk to me, he’d talk. If not, I didn’t mind enjoying the moment of quiet.
He enjoyed it too, shutting his eyes and tipping his head back in the chair’s headrest so his chin stuck up toward the sky. “Perfect fall day.”
There wasn’t much to say to that, so I said nothing and continued to study him. He was handsome. Dark brown hair cut close to his head, a smart goatee—though I could see the rough spots under his chin where he hadn’t been shaved properly. He would have to be shaved too, since his hands clearly didn’t work well enough for him to do it himself. He wore a bright green shirt with yellow and white geometrics across the front, and a pair of jeans. I wanted to stare at his still torso and legs, mesmerized by how little he moved. His legs were smaller than seemed right too—atrophy. I didn’t get around much, but I did enough movement to build basic muscle. The only way his muscles moved was if someone moved them for him.
Emmet doesn’t like David, though. And when Emmet finds out about Jeremey helping David, things get a little tense.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Jeremey working for David. I hurt all through my insides as I thought about David smiling and laughing at Jeremey, being able to make all the right jokes, flirt without notes and special fonts. The more I thought about it, the more I hurt and the more panicked I felt. My feelings got louder and louder, angry, sharp colors jangling in my head. My brain started playing bad pictures of David walking across campus, laughing and teasing with Jeremey, putting his arm around him, touching him the way he wanted. David getting out of his chair and flirting with Jeremey with his whole body.
Taking him away from me.
The three young men eventually work it out, and they become the best of friends, helping each other navigate their independent lives. To find out how, read Carry the Ocean.
Title: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan
The Roosevelt Series Book One
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, M/M, Romance
Length: Novel/Word Count: 89,300
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
The Roosevelt, Book 1
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.
As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
Product Warnings: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
Add to Goodreads.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state’s LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Follow the rest of the tour HERE.