Book Title: Open Water (Scandinavian Comfort, Book 2)
Author: Sophia Soames
Publisher: Self published
Cover Artist: Miriam Latu
Release Date: July 20, 2019
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope/s: Enemies to lovers, Second Chance, Older couple and Younger couple
Themes: Late Coming out, Growing up, Mental health, Parenting
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 99 031 words
This is a standalone story and the second book in the “Scandinavian Comfort” series. These books celebrate love, family and realistic messy lives, threaded with the Scandinavian concept of ‘’Hygge”. This Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.
Previous book Little Harbour (Scandinavian Comfort, Book 1) is available on Amazon, KU and in Paperback.
This story is set in Sweden, where the age of consent is 16. The laws are there to protect children from abuse or exploitation, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity. There are a multitude of cultural differences described in this story that readers from other parts of the world might find strange or downright amusing, also family practices that not every Scandinavian family would necessarily agree with.
Trigger Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks and brief non-graphic flashbacks to traumatic events and bullying.
Buy Links – Available on KindleUnlimited
Meet Lukas Myrtengren, Mentor Teacher in Biology and Maths at Östra Real Senior School in Stockholm. He makes sure his students pass his classes. He is hopeless when it comes to men, but is trying to sort his life out. Honestly. He can’t keep living like this.
Meet Tom Andersson. Emergency room doctor and single dad. He has no idea how he has managed to mess up parenthood this bad. He hasn’t meant to, he just hasn’t got a clue how to deal with the son he loves to the point of insanity. He knows that he is drifting out to sea without a paddle, he just doesn’t know how to stop it.
Meet me, Max Andersson. Seventeen. Gay AF. An emotional wreck with no future, no skills and no clue. All I know is that I am in love. Helplessly. Desperately. And unrequited, of course. What else can I expect? It’s not like my life is going to get any better.
Welcome to Open Water.
I actually manage to read two of the links before the sound of Dad’s homecoming echoes through the house. Big loud footfalls in the hallway. The swish of his coat being thrown over the banister. Huffing and puffing when he realises that we have no food in the fridge. Zero. We did have a banana, but I ate it. Serves him right for not coming home first.
He comes around the corner with a glass of water in his hand, still weirded out, like he doesn’t know where to look. What to say. Whether he should even step over the threshold.
“Did you eat?” he asks. Taking a gulp of water.
“Banana. We have no food,” I huff back, pretending to tap on the keyboard.
“I can go down to ICA. Get some supplies. What do you want?” He looks really confused. Fiddling with some chipped paint on the doorframe to my room.
“Dad, why did you do whatever you did to Lukas? What did he do?” I slam my laptop shut. I’m curious. Also, whatever he did will give me lots of ammo to use if I need it. Put some pressure on Lukas. Get back at my Dad when I need it. Secrets are good. I’m good at keeping them. I’m also good at using them.
“You will just hate me if I tell you. Some secrets are better kept inside,” he says, looking so fucking sad it almost breaks my heart.
“You never told me much about when you went to Östra Real. Did you do the whole graduation thing?”
“Yeah. I did everything. Student Committee, Student Council. Parties. Hazing. Rode all around town on a tractor trailer whilst drunk and disorderly. All that shit.”
It is actually. Like my Dad was on the Student Council. And was in the Hazing group. I kind of nod appreciatively. Not that I approve of it, but the kids who run in those groups are like the cool kids. The A-team. People who matter.
“I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.” He is still looking sad.
“Are there photos? Did you keep any footage? I mean it must have been twenty years ago, but surely you had cameras?”
“I got rid of them all. I wanted to just kill off who I was. I wasn’t a nice person, Max. I hurt people and I was a fucking idiot.”
“Is that the reason you got rid of the Björklund name, Dad? Because that was what they called you? I heard Simon call you that. Weird.”
“Yeah, partly. I was so scared your Mum would change her mind about giving you up, so I got it removed when you were born, thinking that it would be harder to find us with a more common name. I used to have nightmares of her turning up and snatching you away from me.”
“She gave up her parental rights. Why would she come for me?” I don’t get it. Well, I do. I am the master of overthinking shit and making up drama in my head. Then panicking and freaking out over it.
“She could have changed her mind. Regretted giving you up. I don’t know.” Dad is messing around with his hair again, picking at that chipped paint. Tapping his toes against the carpet.
“So why Lukas?” I need to know why. I mean. It’s intriguing. It’s the kind of story that would make a good script for Drama. I could probably score extra points with Simon just writing all this shit down on paper.
“He was this really cool guy. I mean, he came out during our second year. Just like that, everyone knew and he fucking owned it. This handsome cool dude, who was just who he was. No drama about it. He was a cocky little shit and the girls adored him. There was always this cluster of girls hanging around him and he had these really solid mates who defended him and loved him to bits. I mean, it was almost sickening. He had it all. People thought he was the fucking business. And hell, Max, he was so fucking cute.”
Dad stops himself and looks almost panic-stricken. Like he has said something totally wrong. Which it takes me a minute or two to compute.
“Cute?” I say. Fucking hell, Dad.
“Forget it. I am going to ICA. I’ll get meatballs. Or pizza. Or whatever.”
Yeah and a shit-ton of alcohol. Because Dad is freaking out and I almost crash my laptop onto the floor getting my feet tangled in the charging lead, following him out into the hallway.
“Dad. You were in love with him, weren’t you? That’s why you did it. You loved him. Fucking hell, Dad. After all this and you freaking loved him.”
About the Author
Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.
Her long suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.
She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.
Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.
Miriam Latu is a Norway based artist, specializing in hand drawn pencil portraits. She works with old-school pen and paper, and more of her work can be found on Instagram @om_hundre_ar_er_allting.
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