November: Over Here
Harvey Kramer shipped home from the European front with a damaged leg and memories of a man he couldn’t have. Ten years later, on the first official Veterans Day holiday, that man knocks on Harvey’s door and turns his world upside down.
Zach Jones never forgot Sergeant Harvey Kramer. Though he made it through the Second World War uninjured, he bears the scars of a love he thought he lost forever. Using the new holiday as an excuse, he tracks down his old friend in hope of a sweet reunion.
Joyfully Recommended by Raine, Joyfully Reviewed:...an incredible story of love and heroes. Harvey and Zach are very well-penned characters and I felt like I really got to know them. Their story of being separated and reunited is heartwarming.
5 hearts from Dee Dailey, The Romance Studio:...The writing duo known as Jamie Craig has penned a romance between the two men that's erotic yet still a touching tribute to men who fought and risked their lives for their country. Both men are well portrayed and crafted into people who never forgot what they had or what they did. They've gone on with their lives feeling like something was missing from their sense of completion.
5 angels from April, Fallen Angel Reviews:...a wonderful tale of romance and love...Reuniting was sweet to read, as both Harvey and Zach are both well written characters.
4 lips from Tina, TwoLips Reviews:...I loved the bitter sweet aspect to the story. Harvey and Zach are not young men. They are older and still have such chemistry together. Zach is more brazen, and Harvey more the staunchy mid westerner. But together they are beautiful.
4 stars from Emily, Rainbow Reviews:...a wonderfully romantic and touching story about two men that found each other under the most difficult of circumstances. The characters of Harvey and Zach are engaging and wonderfully developed, each having their own issues to deal with after serving in the war. I was fascinated as the men shared memories of the past and looked to the future. This heartwarming story is captivating from the very beginning. This is another one of my favorites in the Calendar Boys series. It is a poignant story of love and friendship, of two soldiers that made it through the war and deserve to be happy, not matter what form that happiness comes in. It is a reminder of why we observe Veterans Day and of the veterans who have earned the right to be with the one they love.
From Elisa Rolle:...I like this story, it's really sweet and tender. There is the sad memory of the war, but it's a distant thing and weights more the love between Harvey and Zach rather than the violence and the death. And I like both characters, the introvert Harvey, always weighting the things, always cautious, but ready to open to love; and I like Zach, dominant but gentle, not impulsive, but sure of what he wants and strong enough to reach for it.
4 nymphs from Mystical Nymph, Literary Nymph Reviews:...This nostalgic tale isn’t a hot and steamy romance as might be expected. Instead it’s a warm and tender tale of two lovers torn apart by war finding a way back to each other after years of being alone and unhappy. The physical intimacy between Harvey and Zach is sweet and slow as they re-build their relationship after so many years apart. It also deals nicely with Zach’s easy acceptance of Harvey’s war injury and the brace he’s forced to wear, showing he loves Harvey the person, not Harvey the scarred former soldier. These two guys are so likable it almost makes your heart hurt as they struggle with societies’ idea of what’s normal and accepted so they can have a life together. Harvey was my favorite of the two. He’d been living in a small rural community since his medical discharge from the Army and he’d been alone and unloved all that time. He’s the one who could hardly believe it possible to be with Zach…it was like life in California was a dream, and to watch him reach out and grasp his future…well, it was wonderful to see.
...“I’ve got a lot of baggage,” Harvey said. “I’m not going to burden it on a wife.”
“Oh. But you shouldn’t…condemn yourself to being alone. Of course, I made the mistake of marrying for that reason.” Zach grimaced and shook his head. “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think of Anne as a mistake. But…”
“It wasn’t right,” Harvey finished softly. They were silent for a moment, the only noise the sound of the tires against the road. Then… “Did you love her?”
“I…” It was an easy question. Did you love your late wife? The woman you vowed to cherish and honor? The woman who helped you through school when you were operating on nothing more than coffee and cigarettes? Did you love her? “Not like I should have.”
But Harvey nodded like he understood. It had always been that way. The more time they spent together, the closer it got to the way things had been overseas, when nobody had understood Zach the way Harvey did.
“And that’s why I won’t ever get married. Better for me to be alone on my own than to drag someone else into a relationship where we’re both lonely.”
“Yeah, I guess that makes a sort of sense.” It killed Zach to see his friend like this. At least he had a huge city surrounding him, full of interesting people doing interesting things. He could go out every night with a different friend and meet somebody new. From his office window, he could see the entire city, sparkling in the sun. But it killed him even more to know that he could not reach over and at least alleviate Harvey’s isolation.
“It’s not so bad. Really. I stay busy, I’ve got a job I love.” The smile he flashed was meant to be reassuring, but Zach found it difficult to buy. “I’m not saying it isn’t better with you here, but it could be a lot worse.”
That was true. He could have lost his leg. Or he could have died. And Zach had had enough nightmares about that very thing. “Would you ever think about leaving? Or are you pretty much rooted here?”
Harvey shrugged. “I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“But…what if you did?”
He heard Harvey inhale as if to argue, but words didn’t come. Zach watched him think about it, the lights from the dashboard reflecting up onto his face. It was fuller than he remembered, though that could have been an effect of the beard. His hair was longer, too, and he knew without needing to touch it that it would be slightly coarse and thick.
“I don’t think I’ve had real roots in a very long time,” Harvey finally said. “If I thought someplace else could give me something I didn’t have here, I could probably do it.”
Zach’s fingers tingled with the words. Now wasn’t the time to convince Harvey to go with him to California. Later. If he stayed for the week, and everything went well, and it was just like old times, he could try. But a part of him—a large part of him—didn’t want to go home without Harvey. He would do it, of course, but he wouldn’t like it.
“Well, that’s the thing about you, Harvey. You could always do what needed to be done. Even if the choice wasn’t easy.”
It was Harvey’s turn to glance at him. “You say that like you couldn’t, and we both know that isn’t true.”
“I don’t know. The last time I had a hard choice to make, it took me ten years to do it.”
More silence. This was one of the things that was different. This Harvey seemed to like taking time putting his thoughts together a lot more than the Harvey he remembered.
“We never used to have a problem with getting past the tough decisions.” Though his voice was low, almost tense, Harvey’s grip on the steering wheel remained lax and sure. “I don’t want to be a hard choice for you, Zach. That was one reason why I let you go.”
“You were never a hard choice for me. Even with all the consequences…everything that could have happened…it wasn’t hard to choose you...”