Book One in the Arctic Love series
Andreas has been in love with Christian for as long as he can remember, but he’s also always known it would remain one-sided. When he travels to Svalbard to take the last years of his Masters, spending time with Christian again brings back those feelings and makes life more than a little awkward.
The very last thing Christian needs is to have a very grown, very stunning Andreas living with him for a few weeks. Even the awkwardness between them is not enough to stop his attraction. Neither is the fact that Andreas is his sister’s stepson.
(c) T. T. Kove
Andreas had not expected this. Not at all.
He knew he’d most likely still find Christian attractive, but that he’d turn into such an idiot at just the sight of him … He had not expected that.
He had managed to stammer forth a hello, but hadn’t said a word since. Now he was sitting in the backseat of Christian’s SUV listening to Christian’s younger sister Kine talking animatedly in the passenger seat.
She didn’t share the same thoughts as Andreas, but then she was actually related to Christian, so for her it would’ve been illegal. Andreas was not related to Christian, not by blood. He was the brother of Andreas’ stepmother, but Andreas didn’t think that counted for anything. He could crush on Christian all he wanted. He always had.
Whenever Christian came for a visit in his teenaged years, Andreas had lusted after him. Christian was only eight years older than Andreas, so the age difference wasn’t that big of a deal, and besides, Christian looked good.
Andreas didn’t listen to Kine’s chatter. Instead, he found himself staring at Christian, who was driving the car. His hands, strong and tanned, kept a firm hold on the wheel. His hair was a golden shade of brown, and though Andreas couldn’t see his eyes now, he knew from many years back that they were a brilliant green. Christian’s face was tanned too, as if he spent a lot of time outside, which he probably did. He had a shadow of stubble on the lower part of his face, so he hadn’t shaved that day, and Andreas found it to be incredibly hot.
He had to practically tear his eyes away and he settled for looking at his own hands, which twisted nervously in his lap. Why was he so nervous anyway? He shouldn’t have been. This was Christian. He had known him for as long as he could remember, though he hadn’t exactly spent any quality time with him. Besides, he was twenty-four, he should’ve grown out of this nervous muteness in the proximity of a man he liked by now. He wasn’t fourteen anymore, after all.
Andreas was glad Kine was there though. If she hadn’t come with him, if he’d been all alone with Christian now, he wouldn’t have known what to do. Live alone with Christian, when he couldn’t even say a single word properly to him … it would’ve been too awkward.
It was only in the beginning of July, and there would be at least two, maybe three weeks until he would be able to move into his dorm. He was going to start at the university on Svalbard in August, but until then he had to live with Christian.
And Kine … she really hadn’t had any choice. Being only fifteen, she was still living at home and under her parents’ rules, and they had decided, as punishment for her wild behavior this last year, that she would do good with some time on Svalbard. They hoped she would calm down.
At first she had been angry and sullen about being forced to spend her summer up on an arctic island in a small settlement with only about two thousand people, but she had gradually warmed up to it, and now it didn’t look as if it bothered her all that much to be there.
Andreas was brought out of his thoughts by Christian shutting off the car.
“Is this where you live?” Kine squealed from the front seat. “It looks so nice!”
Andreas looked up and took in the small, two-story house that was painted a bright red. Looking around, he saw that most of the houses were painted in bright colors. They all seemed to be neatly lined up close to each other, following with the line of the street. On the next street, it was the same: houses on a line with little room between them. It was very different from the chaos that seemed to rule in a big city, which Andreas was used to.
“It’s enough for me,” Christian replied and got out of the car. “It gets a little cramped with visitors, but we’ll work it out.”
Andreas got out as well and walked around to the trunk, which Christian popped open.
“What do you mean cramped?” Kine asked.
“I only have one extra bedroom,” was Christian’s answer. “And there’s two of you. But I’ve put a bed in my office, so one of you can have that. I’ll let you two argue about who should sleep where though.” He lifted out first Andreas’ suitcase, and then Kine’s.
Andreas accepted his own suitcase with a nervous smile then stood back and waited to see what Christian would do next.
He headed for the house, with Kine’s suitcase in one hand. Kine followed closely behind him and Andreas trailed after her.
Christian put Kine’s suitcase down in the hall, and Andreas put his beside it as he shrugged out of his jacket.
“I’ll give you the quick tour. Ground floor consists of living room, kitchen and my bedroom. Upstairs you have the second bedroom, my office and a bathroom.”
“Only one bathroom?” Kine made a horrified grimace.
Christian turned to smile at her, and Andreas felt his stomach tumble over, even though the smile wasn’t directed at him. “Yes, only one bathroom. But I’m sure we’ll manage just fine.”
Christian led them through the house. It was sparsely furnished, but it was comfortable and homey, and Andreas liked the house right away.
“I’ll sleep here,” Kine announced after seeing the bedroom upstairs. She looked at Andreas, but when he didn’t reply, she just shrugged and followed Christian to look at the bathroom.
Andreas looked around Christian’s office. There was a desk with a computer, a book-shelf, and a sofa, nothing more. Andreas guessed that it was one of those sofas that could be turned into a bed because there surely was no other place to sleep in the room.
“Does it look alright?”
Andreas startled at Christian’s voice coming from behind him, and he turned to find Christian standing in the doorway, smiling slightly.
“Y-yeah.” He cleared his throat. “It looks great. It’s very kind of you to let me stay here.”
Christian’s smile widened slightly, and Andreas could hear his heart speeding up. “It’s no problem. You’re family.”
Those were not the words Andreas wanted to hear, but he guessed that was the way Christian saw him. How many years had Anna been with his father now? A long time, before Kine had been born. He had been eight years old then. After all this time, of course Christian would think of him as family. Anna was like Andreas’ mother, after all. She was the only mother he had ever known, though he had never actually called her that. He never would either, but he loved her like one.
Andreas’ own mother was dead. She’d died of cancer when he was ten. He had always lived with his dad though, so he had never seen her as much as he could’ve. Andreas guessed she wasn’t mother potential, seeing as she had willingly let him stay with his father. He wasn’t bitter about it, not anymore, it was just a fact.
Andreas went back down to get his suitcase. He deposited it in his new room and looked around once more before he went down to join Kine and Christian, who had left him alone when he fell in thoughts, in the kitchen.
“I thought we could go out to eat tonight,” Christian told them. “There are several good places around here.”
“Yeah, that sounds great.” Kine was all smiles, so different from how she’d been last month. She’d been sullen and grumpy, and not at all happy about being shipped off to Svalbard. Andreas could not tell if she was being sincere, or if she was just faking it for Christian’s sake.
No matter what, he was happy she was there and that she took care of most of the talking. Andreas did not know what to say to Christian, and if he could think of something to say, he didn’t know if he would manage to say it properly. He had never been so tongue-tied in his life. But then he had never been living so close to Christian before either. Before, if he’d seen Christian a couple of times a year, it would’ve been a miracle. Now he was here on Svalbard, living with him …
Andreas had thought he was over his silly, teenaged crush. Apparently he was not.
And, as naive as it might have sounded, he had not expected it.