Patience is a virtue. But what if you wait too long?
While Xander Ekman’s dream of becoming a successful artist has come true, his love life has gone from bad to worse. Sick of the endless string of one-night stands, he accepts the challenge when his best friend, Erik, bets him that he can’t be celibate for a month. Now all he needs is a reminder to keep his distance in the heat of the moment.
Troy Moriarty doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to keep his recently opened tattoo parlor afloat. Besides, ever since the man who was supposed to be his business partner abandoned him to run the shop on his own, he has a hard time trusting others.
When Xander turns to Troy for a tattoo that will remind him to be patient, the attraction is instant. But faced with Xander’s month of celibacy, Troy’s trust issues, and a nemesis lurking in the background, their relationship may be doomed before it has a chance to begin.
About the Author
Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.
The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.
Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Helena Stone 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
Here we go again. Xander stared as the man he’d spent a few sweaty hours with walked away without a backward glance. He closed the front door as softly as he could before his guest reached the stairs leading to the street. With a sigh, he rested his forehead against the smooth wood. Weariness crept into his bones, swiftly followed by anger. He squeezed his hands into fists and raised one before lowering it again. The middle of the night was not the time to slam his hand against the door, no matter how frustrated he was.
“Don’t hold back on my account.”
Xander’s heart stuttered at the unexpected voice coming from behind.
Shit. Bollix. Fuck. Xander raised his hand again and forcefully hit the door, immediately regretting the action as pain seared through his arm.
“Another one bites the dust, I see.”
Xander spun around, fury and embarrassment battling for dominance, as he glared at his housemate, and most of the time best friend, Eric.
“What are you doing up at this ungodly hour?” Xander didn’t try to keep the frustration from his voice, in the hope that an attack would hide the discomfort he experienced.
“I’ve got no idea. Give me a minute. What could possibly have me awake at this time of night?” Eric remained expressionless as he stared at Xander. “It may have been the bed frame rhythmically hitting the wall between our bedrooms earlier. Or the noises from the shower. Or maybe it’s because you still haven’t done anything to stop the hinges on your door from squeaking every time it opens or closes. Take your pick.”
“I…” Xander swallowed, biting down on a smart retort as he realized his housemate had a point. He glanced at Eric’s face and was just in time to see his features relax and a small smile tug at his lips.
“Cat got your tongue? It’s not very often you’re lost for words.” A smirk appeared on Eric’s face but the sting had gone out of his tone and Xander allowed himself a small sigh of relief.
“I’d love to know what’s up with you, though. You’ve always been popular, but I’ve never known you to slut around like this in the past. Is this a new thing? Something you developed while I was overseas?”
Xander opened his mouth to give a flippant reply then pressed his lips together again. He might not like to admit it, but once again, Eric had a point. Instead of answering, he shrugged and shook his head, hoping it would be enough to make Eric drop the subject and allow them to go back to bed. It was three in the morning. Apart from the opportunity for a few hours of undisturbed sleep, Xander couldn’t come up with a possible positive spin to put on his guest’s early departure.
“Let’s have a cup of tea, seeing as we’re both up, anyway.” Eric didn’t wait for an answer but turned and walked toward the kitchen.
Xander watched his friend’s retreating form and sighed before reluctantly following him. He didn’t want to have this conversation but he’d known it was coming. It had been six weeks since Eric had returned from Canada where he had worked and lived for two years. It had made sense to offer his spare room to the man who’d been his best friend since they’d both been ten years old, just as it had seemed logical to tell Eric there was no need for him to hurry about finding a place of his own. Reasonably priced accommodations were next to impossible to find in Dublin unless you were prepared to live in a shoebox, and Xander had more than enough space in his apartment. Of course, Xander hadn’t stopped to consider what having a live-in guest would mean for his nocturnal adventures. He sighed as he realized he wouldn’t be able to fob Eric off with half-answers and evasions either. The man knew him too bloody well.
When Xander dragged himself into the kitchen, the kettle was on and Eric had two mugs waiting on the counter.
“It’s still the middle of the night.” Xander figured it was worth a try. “You need to get up for work in a few hours. We could have this conversation later today.” Or not at all. Xander didn’t hold out any hope for that possibility.
Eric turned from the counter and looked at Xander. All signs of levity were gone and replaced by concern. “It’s okay. I’m wide awake now, anyway, and I’ve been trying to find an opening for this talk for days. Might as well take advantage of the opportunity.”
“I don’t really want to—”
“Leave it, Xander. You know me well enough to realize I’m not going to let it drop, now that I’ve opened my mouth.”
Xander nodded. Eric rarely dropped an issue after he’d broached it—something he used to admire in him. He sat down at the kitchen table and waited in silence for the kettle to boil and for Eric to make their tea. Only when they both had a steaming mug in front of them did Eric speak again.
“So, what is going on with you? It’s shocking how much you’ve changed in only two years. If I remember correctly, you used to say how you couldn’t see the attraction in one-night stands.”
Bollix. This was not what Xander had prepared himself for. He’d been ready for a speech about him being a selfish bastard. He was happy and willing to apologize for not taking Eric into consideration when he brought people home and took them to his bed. He didn’t want to talk about why he did it, though.
“I haven’t been that bad.” As he said the words Xander realized that not only did he sound childish, he also wasn’t being honest.
“Really?” Eric raised an eyebrow. “You reckon ten one-night stands in six weeks is unremarkable?”
“You’ve been keeping count?” Indignation swept through Xander.
“I told you, your nighttime activities have been hard to miss or ignore.”
Indignation evaporated and was replaced by shame. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m still getting used to sharing my house. I’ll try and be quieter in the future.”
“No!” Eric shook his head. “That’s not why we’re having this talk. I want to figure out what happened to you. Where’s the Xander I used to know and what have you done with him?”
Xander hesitated. He understood exactly what Eric meant but didn’t want to consider the question or try to formulate an answer so he attempted to buy himself some time. “What do you mean? I’m the same Xander I always was.”
“No, you’re not.” Eric almost sounded sad. “If you had ten casual hook-ups in the decade between coming out and the day I left for Canada it was a lot. Do you remember that talk we had before I went? I could have sworn you told me you were ready to settle down, be responsible and hopefully find a long-term partner. That is what you said, right?”
Xander could only nod.
“And you did some of it. You established yourself as an artist and illustrator and managed to snap up your own apartment. So what happened to creating stability in your love life?”
Xander picked up his mug and took a sip of the still too-hot tea, buying himself some more time as well as a burned tongue.
“Hey,” Eric’s voice was soft and gentle, “it’s me you’re talking to. Remember me? I’m your friend. There’s nothing you can tell me that would make me love you less. Just spit it out.”
“Men.” Xander stopped talking and swallowed. “Men happened. If there is anybody our age out there looking for a relationship I’ve yet to find him. I tried, trust me. I really did.” He thought back and had no problem remembering how it had all unfolded. He’d gone out, and more often than not, he’d end up talking to a man he liked. They’d spend the evening chatting, drinking, flirting and laughing and by the end of it there never seemed to be a good reason not to bring him home.
“Those first few times, I hoped that sex would lead to breakfast together, an exchange of phone numbers followed by more dates, more nights and maybe a relationship.” Xander was surprised to find it still hurt. “It never worked out like that. Those men would leave as soon as we’d both gotten off. Some might take a shower first, but with one or two exceptions they never stayed long enough for scrambled eggs.”
The few times a man had stayed until morning, the atmosphere had been so uncomfortable even Xander had been glad when his hook-up had decided it was time to leave. And all of that didn’t even take into consideration the selfish bastard he’d brought home three months or so ago. For that man, it hadn’t been enough to just leave. He’d humiliated Xander first. Anger bubbled up again as Xander remembered how he’d ended that night crying in the shower—disgusted with himself and angry with the world.
“I guess you could say I gave up on the whole idea. After a few months, I’d gotten the message. I was good enough for some hot sex but not interesting enough for anything beyond that. So now I just take what I can get. There’s no point in continuing to set myself up for disappointment.” Xander clamped his mouth shut. He wasn’t going to go on and tell Eric about that prick who’d made him cry. Just because Eric was his best friend didn’t mean Xander was happy to share all his humiliations with him.
Xander put his now empty mug on the table and rested his hands next to it. When Eric reached across and squeezed one of them, Xander realized he’d been far less successful at keeping the hurt out of his voice than he’d hoped.
“Are you at least enjoying these one-night stands?”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Xander's string of one night stands leads his best friend, Erik, to bet he cannot stay celibate for 30 days. Once the idea settled with Xander, he really was determined to do it. He just never factored into the equation a certain tattoo artist whom Xander chooses to use for permanent reminder of his bet. Troy's tattoo business takes up all his time, since HIS so called best friend left him with the start up of their joint venture. He recognizes Xander. And the so called best friend keeps creeping into Troy's thoughts and he wants to leave Xander well alone. But he can't. My first and strongest thought after finishing this was: cute. really, really cute. And I can't shift that thought, even after 3 days. So, cute its gonna have to be. I loved how Xander's mind worked, once challenged by Erik. Loved how he processed it all. Loved that, while sorely tempted by Troy, he managed to stay the full 30 days. And nearly cried when it all started to go wrong so close to the end! Troy is right to try to steer clear of Xander. Troy's so called best friend, Shane, really messed them both up. But Troy eventually sees past Shane's hold. Troy and Xander's relationship grows through the 30 days, and because of the time scale, its a while before they finally get nekkid and naughty! And I LOVED being made to wait! I do love it when it takes time for the main characters to get themselves together enough for the main event, but here?? It was especially.....cute. I'm sorry, there's that word again! It pains me deeply that I cannot find a better word than cute but I really did enjoy this book! Its not a negative word, not at all! I hope I get to read any more in this series, Erik needs a story, for sure! a solid 4 star read. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**
I'm going to jump right out of the gate and say what a lovely story Patience is, realistic and beautiful. Now, as any one who is familiar with my reviews knows that I don't do spoilers. Having said all that, Xander and Troy could have saved themselves quite a bit of time and stress had they been more upfront with each other from the get go. Sometimes stories with misunderstandings, miscommunication, or lack thereof, make the reader just want to scream and shake their ereader but not Patience. Let's face it, if there was no drama then you would be reading a 10 page leaflet instead of a full length novel and where is the fun in that? But Patience is much more than just drama caused from miscommunication, there is a clear reason why both Xander and Troy haven't divulged everything to each other, but those reasons you'll have to discover for yourself. Along with the budding romance between Xander and Troy, I loved the true bromances boy men have with their lifelong friends, Eric and Lorcan. Helena Stone has created a journey that blends the title, the reasoning behind it, and interesting characters that will keep you hooked from the first page to the last. You might actually even discover something about yourself as you ride along with Xander and Troy in their quest for a healthy future that all began with a little tattoo. Helena Stone is a new author for me and after just one story I'm already looking forward to more, beginning with Equality, Dublin Virtues book 2 which follows Eric and Lorcan. She is definitely an author I'll keep on my radar.