The Barry Necessity

Autism Fact: Did you know that early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan?

Thank you for reading the inaugural blog post to my new site. Welcome! I’m thrilled that my first blog post is part of the annual Autism Awareness Blog Hop. You can check out the full list of participating authors here: Please also consider donating to to the Lindengate charity which works with children with autism.

This year, we were asked to write about a childhood toy. I wasn’t much for toys as a kid, I became a bookworm as soon as I could read. But there was one toy that captured my heart from the time I was three up until college – my beloved stuffed bear, Barry. Original name, I know. My stepmom gave me Barry and from that time on it was my constant companion.

Barry was tucked under my arm every night as I fell asleep and a comfort through fevers and tummy aches. Barry was my peace when I couldn’t sleep for weeks after my family experienced a home invasion robbery. That cotton stuffed plushie, worn, stained with cough syrup, and full of holes, got me through some of my toughest times in childhood.

So when I went off to college, of course Barry came with me to cushion the huge transition. Unfortunately I lost Barry in my move between college and my hometown after my freshman year. Over 15 years later, sometimes I still wish I could reach for my old friend in times of stress. Barry was incredibly important to me for a long time and got me through some dark days so I understand the significance a stuffed friend can be to a child.

Now for my shameless self promotion. For a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and get free copies of future new releases, join my ARC team! I’ll select a winner on Sunday, April 14. If you haven’t already, check out my latest release Living on the Inside. Here is an excerpt!

“Is that what we are?” Micah asked quietly. “Friends?”

“Yeah,” Adrien answered. “I hope so.”  

Then he was surrounded by Micah’s body. Adrien hesitated for a moment before returning the other man’s embrace, locking his arms around Micah’s torso. A few seconds into the hug all the reasons why he needed to pull away from Micah—now—raced through his mind. But he couldn’t make himself do it.

Adrien had been fighting his attraction, but the man had slipped past Adrien’s defenses. Micah’s earnest joy at making progress with his son. His trust in Adrien as he shared his insecurities. His nonjudgmental attitude. Their growing friendship. All those things made him feel strong and needed. Adrien wanted more of that feeling. He leaned into Micah.

Micah sighed as he squeezed Adrien tighter, and Adrien’s body sagged against him, the fight against his attraction to Micah leaving his body. He tucked his head into the crook of Micah’s shoulder, and gave in to defeat, breathing in the salty sweet scent of Micah’s skin, running his palms up the man’s back.

The scent and feel of Micah was heady, and Adrien’s head swam as he let his eyelids flutter shut, let his lips graze the exposed skin between Micah’s neck and shoulder. Micah tensed against him and his breath hitched, making Adrien wonder if he’d gone too far. But then Micah’s palm slid up Adrien’s neck, cupping his nape, grazing a thumb along his hairline.

Micah moved his other hand lower, resting it right above Adrien’s ass, his fingers lightly grazing the swell below Adrien’s hips.

“Adrien,” Micah grated out. Adrien pulled back, slowly opening his eyes. Micah licked his lips, his eyes skimming Adrien’s mouth, and then he leaned forward.

Adrien met him halfway, their lips connecting in a kiss. The light brush became a firm press then flared, hot and wet, as Adrien ran the tip of his tongue against the seam of Micah’s lips. Micah submitted to Adrien’s silent request, parting his lips to give Adrien access to his tongue and mouth.

Then a loud honk made them jerk apart as a car sped past them, headlights bright and blinding. Their chests heaved, and Adrien took in Micah’s disheveled hair and damp lips and wondered if he looked nearly as enticing to Micah.

Adrien’s gaze skittered away, and he grimaced, embarrassment replacing the intense need he’d felt moments ago. What was he doing? He knew better than this. He’d been down this road before. He couldn’t get involved with an employee again.

Then a terrible thought occurred to him. What if Micah felt like he had to hook up with Adrien? Had Adrien pressured him in some way? Shit. Negative thoughts tumbled through his mind, making him dizzy. He had to nip this in the bud.

“Micah, about what just happened—”

“Our kiss?” Micah moved closer to him.

Adrien’s eyes wandered, unable to meet Micah’s. “Yeah, the kiss. I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to—I’m sorry.” He shook his head and Micah stopped the motion by gripping Adrien’s chin between his forefinger and thumb. He lifted Adrien’s face to his.

“I’m not sorry.” Micah’s voice was quiet in the night.   

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