Shilo David and Jeffrey Layton return in this sequel to The Colors of Love and Autumn. The two of them beat the odds to find true love, with the falling leaves in the Wisconsin woods to guide them. However, the colorful leaves have long since vanished, and Shilo and Jeffrey must face a new stage in their relationship.
The lovebirds return to Eagle River after a vacation to find Jeffrey's home burned to the ground. The news is particularly chilling when it's discovered the fire might be deliberate.
With little alternative, they decide to live together in Shilo's house, but they quickly discover that loving each other under one roof is more challenging than they expect. Despite this uncertainty and the veiled threat that stalks them in the dead of winter, one question must still be answered. Is their love strong enough to survive the ultimate step—marriage?
Whoosh! The waves came crashing onto the shore sounding like thunder during a rainstorm. Winds carried mist from the ocean into the air, dampening Shilo David's face. A pair of seagulls flew overhead, calling to each other as they made lazy patterns in the sky. Other than that, it was quiet on the beach. In fact, there was no one else in sight, aside from Shilo.READ MORE
He leaned back and took in the scene. Shilo was glad he had decided to come along on this little trip. He had not seen the ocean in years, even though he grew up in Arizona, one state away. The last time he had come to the ocean was on his 18th birthday, when he and two of his friends, Marilyn and Tucker, decided to take a road trip to celebrate the occasion. Seeing the ocean in all its vastness would take anyone's breath anyway, and Shilo had planned to stay longer, but the visit to the ocean had been cut short when Tucker decided to streak down the beach and caught the attention -- not in a good way -- of a beach patrol officer.
Shilo snickered as he remembered that day. It was his last gasp of being a fun-loving teenager not burdened by responsibility. Those days seemed to be long gone as Shilo went through college and became a journalist. After spending many years trying to eke out a living in Arizona and suffering heartbreak at the hands of a lying and manipulative ex-boyfriend, he moved far away from his home state to the tiny town of Eagle River, Wisconsin. Fortunately, he now had another chance to see the ocean waves rise and fall, and it was all because of his current boyfriend, Jeffrey Layton.
Jeffrey was as much of an all-American boy as you could get. Well-mannered with amazing good looks, Jeffrey was the man any heterosexual female or homosexual male would sell their mother into slavery for in order to have him at their side. Too bad his heart already belonged to Shilo.
Jeffrey had a cousin named Garrett who lived in Pulaski, Wisconsin, and was part of his high school's marching band. The band had received the rare honor to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year's Day. Today was New Year's Eve, and Shilo was enjoying the chance to be alone with the huge body of water. His life had turned so interesting in the last few months, and it was nice to slow down for an hour or two and reflect on what had happened.
With a court settlement and his orange tabby cat, Mew, Shilo had packed up his life and moved to Eagle River, mainly for an available job he'd landed with the local school district but also to escape the heartache it had represented for him then. He had planned to just hide out, working at a job to pay the bills but otherwise keeping to himself. Those plans quickly changed the night he met Jeffrey.
Shilo had gotten hungry one night shortly after he moved to town and decided to revisit a diner he found when he first arrived in Eagle River -- the Blue Spruce Café. It was Friday night, which usually signaled the diner's weekly fish fry, and there had been a lot of people that had been waiting for tables. The monotony of waiting in the foyer had disappeared the moment Jeffrey walked through the front door. His dirty blond hair and dazzling blue eyes had instantly captivated Shilo. He certainly did not look like a police officer that night, wearing a gray t-shirt, jeans with a hole in the knee and a ratty pair of sneakers. But even if Jeffrey had been in his uniform that night, Shilo's heart would have melted regardless.
With the foyer packed, there had been only one spot left for Jeffrey to sit and wait, and it had just happened to be next to Shilo. The two of them had talked for a good five or ten minutes before a table had become available for Shilo. In a daring move, Shilo had decided to invite Jeffrey to join him at the table. That had been the first step in what had become an amazing roller coaster of a relationship.
Shilo smiled as he remembered that night at the diner. He stood up and dusted some of the sand from the rump of his black shorts. He picked up his sandals from the ground and started to meander down the beach. His thoughts wandered back to his early days in Eagle River, specifically his first date with Jeffrey.
Jeffrey had been very secretive about where he planned to take Shilo for their first date. Shilo had figured lunch or the movies or something typical. He had never guessed that Jeffrey would take Shilo into the woods so they could pick wild raspberries. Shilo had always been a country boy at heart, having grown up in the rural part of Arizona, but this unique notion of going out to pick fruit for a first date never would have struck him as a brilliant idea.
Shilo soon found out, however, that part of the reason Jeffrey had decided to do this was because he was not open with the community about his homosexuality. Having grown up in an atmosphere where he was told being gay was wrong and immoral, Jeffrey had kept that part of his life private, even though he had lived with another man for five years.
It had been difficult at first to forge a relationship, as Shilo was very open about the fact that he was queer. He never made a big deal out of it, but if anyone asked him, he didn't lie about it. It had taken a lot of soul searching from both Shilo and Jeffrey in order for them to become the happy couple they were today. While Shilo could have lived with the possibility that he could never tell the community about his lover, Jeffrey had made the conscious decision to fling himself out of the closet.
What ultimately proved Jeffrey's love was the night he had saved Shilo's life -- twice.COLLAPSE