All He Needed [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Simone Anderson
eBook Category: Gay Fiction/Erotica
eBook Description: He had everything he wanted, they would give him everything he needed. Successful photojournalist Chase Hansen is summoned to Dallas, Texas when his estranged sister is killed and informed that he is now the sole guardian of his sister's newborn daughter. On the eve of the funeral, his partner of several years breaks up with him. Once home, Chase must adjust to being a single father, something he'd never thought he'd be, as well as the demands of his profession. Eric Zimmerman is a highly skilled, in demand computer geek, whose new job came with a six-month lease in a high-rise apartment. Now that his professional life is in order, he's willing to start dating again. But, no matter how hard he tries, no one measures up to the one man he can't forget, the one he can't have. Poaching your friend from another man is never a good idea. Magic and chaos are often travel companions in the stark barrenness of winter. Under the full moon of the Winter Solstice, love is rekindled.
eBook Publisher: MLR Press, LLC
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2012
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5 Reader Ratings:
Chase Hansen took a deep breath, pushed a hand through his hair, grabbed his camera bag, and filed out of the airplane. Twenty minutes later he'd grabbed his suitcase and was on the way to the hotel. Stifling a yawn, he stared out the window as the cab took him down highways and through a maze of city streets until he arrived at the hotel.
Looking at his watch, he swore and dug his cell phone out of his bag. He wanted nothing more than to check into his room and sleep for at least twelve hours. After spending more than thirty hours in the air and twenty-two more to finish what he could, pack, and arrange transportation back to Lagos, Nigeria so he could catch a flight to the US, Chase could still count the number of hours of sleep he'd had on two hands. None of it had been anything close to decent or restful. He had enough time to shower and shave before he needed to be at the hospital. A split second decision made by someone else and seventy-two hours later the only thing he was completely sure of was that the lives of at least four people were forever changed.
"Long flight?" the driver asked, looking at him in the rearview mirror.
"Thirty-two hours," Chase answered scratching at the scruffy beard that had grown in.
The driver whistled and shook his head.
"Are there restaurants within walking distance of the hotel?" he asked, wishing he'd had more information. Almost wishing he'd taken his sister's co-workers up on their offer. Almost.
"There are several upscale and chain restaurants all within about a ten minute walk from your hotel."
"Any of them any good?"
"If you like that kind of thing," the man chuckled and Chase joined him.
"Your choice?" Chase asked. He'd traveled enough to know that certain groups of people knew more about a city than the city leadership often did.
"There is a pretty good Cajun place fifteen minutes from here, a place called Louie's."
The man nodded and pulled to a stop in front of the hotel. Stepping out of the cab, Chase waited while the driver retrieved his suitcase. Chase handed over several bills for the fare and tip, picked up his suitcase, and walked into the hotel.
"You have a reservation for Chase Hansen," Chase said walking up to the front desk. The phone in his pocket beeped.
Chase waited until after he'd showered and shaved before looking at his phone. He had a text message from his boyfriend Leonard and email from his long time friend Eric. Leonard confirmed his arrival time for the next evening. The email he saved until he had time read and respond to it. Dressing in clean clothes, he stowed his camera bag and suitcase, grabbed everything he thought he might need for the upcoming meetings, and hung the do not disturb sign on the door handle.
The hospital was a fifteen-minute cab ride from the hotel and Chase made a mental note to get a rental car first thing in the morning. Taking a deep breath, he walked into the hospital and asked for Doctor Sarah Jamison. Chase's stomach clenched and knotted as he rode the elevator up the several floors to the neonatal intensive care unit. Making his way down the sterile hallways, he shivered trying to process and adjust to the differences between the clinic he'd been at days before and the hospital.
"I'm looking for Doctor Jamison," he said approaching the nurse's station.
"I'm Doctor Jamison and you are--?" a tall, athletic looking red-haired woman said looking up from a file.
"Chase Hansen, my sister, Kylie Hansen, was brought in a few days ago--"
"Let's go some place and talk Mr. Hansen. Hannah, will you please call Detective Sanders and let him know that Mr. Hansen has arrived?"
Chase nodded and followed the woman into a conference room. He looked at the plush chairs and debated on whether he should stand or sit. Exhaustion swept over him and he yawned before sitting down across from the doctor. Chase listened as the doctor explained to him about his sister's death and the emergency cesarean section done to save the baby's life. The baby, a girl, was being kept in the neonatal intensive care unit to help her regulate her body temperature as well as help her lungs develop, eat on her own, and watch for infection.
Dropping onto the edge of the bed, Chase buried his head in hands. He'd spent the past several hours talking with the doctors, a social worker, the police detective handling Kylie's murder investigation, and finally his sister's colleagues and bosses. By far the best part of the day was seeing his niece for the first time. He'd been able to briefly touch her through the protective layer of the incubator she was in. She was so tiny and fragile, wires and tubes seemed to run everywhere, criss-crossing her body.
Scribbling down his list of things to do tomorrow, Chase scrubbed a hand over his face and briefly contemplated the luxury of a second, relaxing shower before stripping and crawling into bed. His phone beeped with an incoming text. Chase rolled over and slipped into the arms of sleep.
Chase looked down at the keys in his hand, took a deep breath, and opened the door of his sister's house. A neatly kept yard gave way to a light colored brick one-story house. The walls were white and held tasteful painting and landscape photographs. The off-white ceramic floor tiles echoed as he made his way through the kitchen and dining room into the living room, den, and what appeared to be a formal living room that had been transformed into a library. A short hallway led to a bathroom and four bedrooms. The largest room held a king-size four-poster bed, walk in closet, and a master bathroom. The bedroom was beige with a pair of matching desert landscapes oil paintings. Chase smiled. His sister had done extremely well for herself. It was a nice house in a nice area and reminded him of the home they'd grown up in.
Heading down the hall, he passed a bathroom painted in white, but decorated with lighthouses. The guest bedroom, an exercise room, and the nursery were on the other side of the bathroom. The nursery walls were pastel pink and accented with white furniture and plush pink carpet. A look in the closet and dresser revealed a healthy amount of clothes and blankets. A solid black diaper bag stood out against the pink.
All of the baby's stuff would need to be packed and sent to New York. After the will was read later that night, he would need to see about the rest of his sister's things. Returning to his sister's room, he looked through drawers and in closets hoping to find a journal or diary of some sort. Kylie had always kept one growing up and had kept one in college. He found her date book in her office and the diary in the drawer of the end table next to the overstuffed chair. He also found a partially completed cross-stitched picture of baby animals with the name Annika Kathleen penciled in the center of the chart. The craft didn't seem to fit with the rest of what he'd seen, but it was something their mother had done extensively. He went through her mail and listened to the messages on her machine before locking up and heading to the funeral home. He'd decided to have the funeral in Dallas, where most of her friends lived, and a small graveside service in Michigan, where she would be buried near their grandparents.
When his phone rang as the meeting at the funeral home ended, he was grateful for the distraction.
"Hey baby," Chase said pulling out of the funeral home and heading toward the small cafe near the hospital. "When are you getting in?"
"Tomorrow night," Leonard, his long time partner said. "I know I said I'd be there today, but I can't get a flight out until tomorrow evening. Um, my flight gets in at seven forty-five."
"Can't or won't? I know for a fact that there are flights every day to Dallas from New York."
"Can't. I have commitments here I have to deal with."
Anger surged forward. "Fine, whatever. I'll pick up you. Visitation will be on Friday and the funeral is Saturday. Make sure you have a suit and bring my black one with you. The dark gray shirt and black tie."
"I will. I'm not completely incompetent Chase."
"I have to go, I'll call you later," Leonard said, the background noise rising.
Chase swore when Leonard hung up without saying good-bye. Tossing the phone onto the seat next to him, Chase pulled into the parking lot of the hospital and made his way to the cafe down the street. Chase ordered his lunch and pulled out his sister's journal. He started from the beginning, learning things about his sister he'd never known. She'd gone into a three-page tirade aimed at his parents, finally disowning them because they failed to accept him.
His heart tripped and shuddered. Chase's stomach sank. He'd been so angry by his family's reaction that he'd never truly forgiven them, not even after Kylie had offered a tentative olive branch more than once. He'd never been comfortable enough with her to share that much of his life again, like he once had. Chase swallowed around the lump in his throat, he'd been convinced that Kylie was the same as his parents.
Page after page detailed the important people and events in her life, cases she'd won and lost, trips she'd taken with several of her girlfriends and the men she'd dated. The unexpected pregnancy and the death of a man she thought she loved. Chase blew out a breath and fit his sister's time line with his own. Measuring the ups and downs in her life, he tried to piece together what he thought he knew with what he was learning of the woman his sister had become.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Chase asked, squeezing his eyes shut.
Opening them, he knew the answer. He'd been gone, traipsing all over the world in some of the most remote locations because he never refused an assignment. Even when he'd been home, he and Leonard were usually out with friends or went to see a show or movie. He'd kept his conversations with his sister deliberately short and the topics superficial.
Heart heavy, Chase read through the remaining pages, his self-disgust and shame deepening with each entry. Closing the journal and pushing away the rest of his lunch, he wondered when he'd become such a cold-hearted bastard. Someone his sister didn't want to talk to. He tossed a tip onto the table and walked back to the hospital. He was anxious to see his niece and try to figure out how to become the man that he'd wanted to be.
"Afternoon Mr. Hansen," a petite brunette woman said as he walked into the neonatal intensive care unit.
"Afternoon Lisa," he said, smiling at the nurse. He vigorously scrubbed his hands and forearms with the betadine until the bubbles had turned from yellow to more of a burnt orange color before he pulled on a protective gown and went inside, finding his niece quickly.
"When can I hold her?" he asked, reaching into the see through bassinet.
"Not for a few days."
"Have you decided on a name for her?"
"Her mother was going to name her Annika. Annika Kathleen Hansen," Chase answered, staring down at the tiny sleeping bundle.