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True Colors (True Love #2)
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Oskar used to be Marco’s best friend. His everything. His sunshine yellow.
But that was before. Before Marco stopped being a hot jock. Before he learned to live with scars and pain. And before Oskar tore their friendship apart.
Now the boy next door has returned home, determined to rekindle his friendship with Marco, and Marco’s more afraid than ever. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being humiliated.
Afraid of falling in love.
Can Oskar find a way through Marco’s fear, back into his heart?
“True Colors” is an enemies to lovers, boy next door, first time, slow burn M/M romance with a generous helping of UST. This no-cliffhanger, HEA book can be read as a standalone.
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There’s a lot of things I’m not sure about. Things I’m still trying to work through. Will work through.
But the thing I know with absolute certainty?
Oskar and me? Our story didn’t start at hate.
Our story started three days after my thirteenth birthday with the Audi and the ice.
Mama’s off-key humming of Cyndi Lauper came to a sudden stop. Papa yelled, and our car jerked. Tires squealed, and a thunderous crunch turned the snowy street upside down. My vision stuttered and failed. When I woke, thick rubbery smoke clawed at my throat and dug into my lungs. My ears rang, my chest stung, my lap burned.
The back of the front seat, glass, and a loose lock of Mama’s red hair came into focus before warping into a formless haze.
Hands burst through the haze. Thick, calloused hands that had held me a hundred times before.
Papa was pulling me free from the screaming, burning black.
Scratch that. Our story started a few weeks earlier with Mama and the play.
I hovered in the doorway to Mama’s study. “Can I play some MazeStuff on the iPad?”
She tapped her laptop keyboard. A few seconds later the printer groaned to life on the filing cabinet. “Can’t you do something other than staring at a screen?”
“I love how much of a role model you are, Mama.”
The lines at the corners of her blue eyes crinkled as she leaned back on her chair, folding her arms. Her amused gaze flickered to the humming printer. “How about we read the first act of our Christmas play?”
I groaned. Did she and Dad have to make plays every year? “Thirty minutes of MazeStuff?”
She shook her head and motioned for me to pick up the printed sheets. I did so reluctantly, socks scuffing over the carpet just the way she hated.
Mama clapped her laptop shut and pinned me with a warning look. “Suck up the attitude, Marco. Or I’ll take your iPad privileges away.” She nabbed the papers I held over the desk. “Besides, this’ll be fun. I’m writing it for you. Two swashbuckling enemy pirates race over high seas searching for Lord Large’s lost treasure. Nothing and no one can stop them except their hearts—or lack thereof.”
I snorted. “Pirates? I’m practically thirteen.”
That scored me a frown. “But you love pirates.”
“I used to. Now I love MazeStuff.”
She rolled her eyes. “Good try. Not going to happen. Really, no pirates?”
“Sorry,” I said, shrugging my shoulders. “You should have talked to me before you started writing.”
A soft hum in the back of her throat followed a smile. “I tried to but you ran off with Oskar. You’re always running off with him.”
A rough memory of Mama asking surfaced in my mind, but she had asked during winter and Oskar and me had wanted to play basketball while it wasn’t raining. “No pirates, Mama. How about ten minutes of brainstorming new ideas in exchange for twenty minutes of iPad time?”
She laughed and I grinned back at her. “Is that a yes?”
“I’m a terrible mother.” She rolled up the first act of her play and shoved it into the paper bin with a sigh. “Fine. Brainstorm for fifteen minutes and you can play MazeStuff.”
Let me try again. Our story started the week before the accident, the day of my first color. It started with sunglow yellow and him.
Oskar and I trudged through frosty grass and decaying maple leaves.
“I hope it’s cold enough for the lake to be frozen,” I said, rubbing my hands against the cold bite of morning.
Oskar readjusted his knotted ice skates that hung around his neck, blades catching the light in slanted stripes at his chest. Hazel eyes sparkled as he breathed a large cloud of foggy air in my face. “Yep, cold enough.”
I swung my ice skates off my shoulder and playfully swatted his butt. Oskar lurched forward, choking on a laugh.
He pivoted and walked backward with a lazy smile. “I’m gonna race you over the lake, and this year I’m gonna win.”
“Hardly likely. Also”—I pointed behind him—“dog shit.”
Oskar deftly skipped to the side, missing the turd by a hair. “Whatever. You only won because I had a cold.”
I kicked a cluster of motley leaves at his knees and Oskar laughed again, mouth wide and open, cheeks full. The tips of his straight upper teeth peeked out and his dimples deepened.
I chuckled too, then promptly tumbled over a protruding tree root. I snagged Oskar’s arm to keep from face-planting into the path and he jerked with my sudden weight, the blade of his skate whacking against my forehead. I quickly straightened, rubbing the spot.
Oskar snickered. “So gonna win.”
We rounded the path and the lake came into view. Trees encircled the water with a few grassy stretches interspersed. One glance at the lake and disappointment churned in my gut. Oskar’s shoulders slumped and he slowed his step.