Somehow, it’s our final Promptly Penned of the year. I’ve been really looking forward to this one. As soon as Jess and I saw this, it sparked an idea. And thanks to this prompt and flash fic, we have plans for some connected Bound books–written separately but connected and happening concurrently. And this prompt brought forth two guys that we’re both totally in love with now. So, our posts are similar but from differing POVs, giving you a taste of two heroes you’ll be seeing from us in the future.
The prompt will appear in bold in the story.
Oliver adjusted his backpack and followed the winding dirt footpath up the side of the of the tallest hill on the outskirts of the small Welsh village where they were staying for the next few weeks. Varying brilliant shades of green cloaked the land, and mist settled in patches the shady places in the valley. The morning sun hadn’t risen far enough yet to burn away the fog, leaving it to hover like lost ghosts roaming the landscape.
He shook his head. That was fucking morose–even for him.
As he walked, he noticed the occasional tiny cottage peering out from the leaves below and the rest was rocks and rolling hills and streams as far as he could see. He paused to take it in, only to stumble forward when Sam lurched into him.
“What’d you stop for?” his brother grumbled.
Oliver turned to look at his younger brother. “I’m just enjoying how fucking gorgeous this is. I mean, look at this place.”
Of course, he hadn’t really intended to drag Sam on any hikes. When they’d originally planned this trip, he’d anticipated bringing Gina along. He’d scoured map after map and all the google images he could find to pick the perfect spot to propose to her. And then…she’d dumped him. His throat tightened, but he swallowed past the lump.
He’d found out later that Sam had run into Gina at a club. With her boss. Who she’d been practically fucking in a booth. Sam had apparently told Gina if she didn’t own up to the cheating, he’d do it for her.
“I’ve been looking,” Sam groused. “Not a goddamn coffee shop anywhere. I’d settle for Starbucks right now.”
Oliver rolled his eyes and started walking again. “Being away from a city and all its conveniences isn’t going to kill you.”
“You don’t know that!”
He snorted. He loved Sam–wouldn’t trade him for anyone or anything, but if they didn’t look so much alike, he’d have a hard time believing they were related. Sammy stumbled behind him. Again. Oliver would bet his return ticket home that his little brother was hung the fuck over.
“Rough night, I take it?”
“My night was just fine, thank you very much. It’s the morning I’m having trouble with.” He panted a little and swore, almost under his breath, as he stubbed his toe on a rock. At least, that’s what sounded like happened. “And what the hell is wrong with you that this is your idea of a good time?!”
His idea of a good time was supposed to be hiking and camping with Gina. Planning their future. He realized now that she’d been been what she thought he’d wanted while she waited for something better to come along. It hadn’t taken her any time at all to transform from nature girl to club girl. Or, maybe she was just one of those people who took on the interests of whoever she was with. Either way, it wasn’t his problem.
A sea-salt breeze blew in from the west, tempting him toward the cliffs overlooking the water. “This is a great time,” he said, pushing thoughts of Gina from his mind. “And besides, I did the London pub crawl with you when we first got here.”
“Um, excuse me, but that pub crawl was steeped in…in culture and history and shit! We drank at pubs that had been there for centuries. Can’t do that back home. We have trails and dirt and…and fucking rocks,” he kicked another out of his way half-heartedly, “at home, Ollie! And you’re missing the biggest draw of all, brother—there was beer at the pub crawl. There’s no beer here, Ollie. None. There is zero beer.”
Oliver snorted and paused at the top of the hill and looked back at Sammy. “When we get back, I’ll buy you at pint at that pub down the street from Gram’s.”
Sam stumbled again, and with a sigh dropped to his knees in the grass on the side of the narrow trail, then flopped over onto his back and starfished, as he stared blankly at the sky. “No need to bother, dear brother… This is my life now. I have climbed this hill, and now, I will die upon it.”
Oliver stood over him, trying to hide his grin, and gently nudged him with his foot. “Shut up. We’ve only been hiking for twenty minutes.”
Sam started to sit up then collapsed again, spread eagle on the ground.
“Could you be more dramatic?” Oliver asked, nudging him again.
Sam opened his mouth and wailed wordlessly, startling Oliver.
“That wasn’t a challenge!”
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