Heaven Can’t Wait
Published Jun 1, 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
Contemporary, paranormal, romantic comedy
Part of the 2014 daily dose package “Mended” and also available as a stand-alone novella
Reviews & Blog Posts:
My “Desktop” blog post of inspirational images for “Heaven Can’t Wait”
4.75 stars from The Kimi-Chan Experience — “I LOVED Eli’s version of heaven/evolution/explanation of Gay… fantastic. This was a super fast read, but well worth it. I’m sure it will be re-read many times.”
5 stars Prism Book Alliance — “Don’t miss reading this endearing story. It’s a real treat!”
5 stars Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews — “…tangible chemistry going on, a nice touch of slow burning sexual tension and a lovely, sweet romance building up throughout the book that all mixed together culminates into a very enjoyable and satisfying little supernatural love story.”
4.5 stars Boys in Our Books — “Heaven is a quick and easy read I recommend for, well, everybody. Pick it up ASAP, but be sure to put on your favoriteswingy, swishy dress for your Maria von Trapp solo dance.”
4,5 stars from Bloggergirls — “If you’re looking for something that’ll simultaneously touch you and make you smile, give this one a try because it definitely affected me! I loved it!”
4.5 stars from The Novel Approach — “packed with everything a good story should be; romance, realisation, moral, convincing dialogue, perfect shared narratives”
Rainbow Book Reviews — “This was distinctly entertaining and should not be missed!”
4.75 stars from Kimichan Experience Book Reviews — “This was a super fast read, but well worth it. I’m sure it will be re-read many times.”
5 stars from Fallen Angel Reviews — “This is one story that shouldn’t be missed!”
4.25 stars from Joyfully Jay — “It’s a sweet and funny story with a side [of] hope and silliness.”
4.5 stars from Boys Do It Better – “Leave it to Eli Easton to write such a moving, heartwarming and bittersweet hurt/comfort gem with two totally lovable MCs in only 61 (!) pages.”
Brian Matheson died at the ripe age of nineteen. In heaven he’s informed that his soul is in a limbo state. He’ll have one last chance to redeem himself before he’s thrown into a very nasty pit. All Brian has to do is return to earth and save a life. The trick is, it’s the life of Kevin, his friend Chuck’s roommate. See Kevin is gay, and Brian and all his pals picked on him, making his life a misery. Still, Brian can see the error of his old ways now. And he can succeed at this challenge, turn Kevin’s life around, and avoid going to hell. Easy peasy. Right?
Kevin thought he’d left bullying behind in high school. But then his college roommate, Chuck, showed up and turned out to be friends with a bunch of gay-baiters. They loved to come over and give Kevin a hard time, so he spent as many hours as he could in the coffee shop. He was lonely and shy and he was depressed, but he had to hang in there until another room opened up. That and keep his eyes off his drop-dead sexy, uber-straight roommate.
Everyone thought Chuck was a tough guy. He looked the part so he acted the part. But what none of his friends knew is that Chuck, on the inside, was nothing at all like the exterior. He tried to be like all the other guys, but being stuck in a dorm room with the prettiest, gayest twink he’d ever seen was so not helping.
If Brian can untangle this mess, he’ll deserve his wings. Good frickin’ luck.
Excerpt — CHAPTER 2:
Rain. Dark. Brian was on the sidewalk outside of Cole Hall, the dorm where Chuck lived. He could see students walking by in a hurry, heads down, bundled up, so it had to be cold. But he felt neither the cold nor the rain.
No one seemed to see him, even when Brian waved his arms, even when he yelled, Hey! It was creepy. It made Brian feel small and insignificant.
Shit. I’m really dead. They’re all still moving on with their lives and mine is over.
That sucked. Hard.
Before Brian could get too freaked out, he saw a guy approach in a hooded sweatshirt under a parka. Kevin. Immediately, Brian’s fear turned to motivation. Whatever he had to do to save Kevin, man, whatever. He was not going to that red place, no way. The white room wasn’t that bad. Maybe with some manna and some communion wine, a vestal virgin or two, and a lot more of that sweet light, he could deal. No aches, no pains, no finals, no having to earn a living. He could work with that. But, going to hell? That was not on.
He had to nail this. Saving Kevin was the most important thing he’d ever had to do.
Kevin had a backpack on and was carrying some kind of dorky music case. His shoulders sagged and his steps were slow, as if he was loaded down by more than what he was carrying. “Kevin?” Brian said as Kevin walked by. Kevin didn’t look up.
Brian followed him. He followed Kevin as he trudged up three flights of wet stairs like they were Mount Everest. He followed as Kevin pushed through the stairwell door into a hallway. He followed as Kevin trudged down the stained carpet to his room like he was taking his last walk on condemned row. As they reached the door, Brian noticed it was open a crack. A loud voice came from inside the room, and Kevin paused as he reached out for the door handle.
“Look at this! A purple shirt! Holy crap, Kevin is such a fuckin’ flamer.”
Brian recognized the deep voice. It was Randy, one of his and Chuck’s friends, being dickwaddish. Then again, that was Randy’s singular duty in life.
“Stay out of his closet. Christ. What’s wrong with you?” That was Chuck.
“Gay,” Randy said, accompanied by the sound of sliding hangers. “Gay, gay, oh, fuck that is so gay.” Laughter.
“Just close it, will you?” Chuck snapped. “For fuck’s sake. What are you, twelve? Are we playing Halo or not?”
Kevin’s hand dropped from the door handle and he turned on his sneakers, silent as a ninja. That allowed Brian to get a good look at his face. Kevin stared at the wall, his jaw clenched. His nostrils flared as he took in a shaky breath and there was a resigned pain in his eyes. Cold, wet, and rather funky, truth be told (Brian still had his sense of smell), Kevin turned away from his room and headed back toward the stairs. He paused at a door and looked around. There was no one in the hallway except for Brian, and he apparently was the invisible man. Kevin opened the door—it was a supply closet—and stuffed his instrument case under the bottom shelf, hidden from view.
It was such a natural move. Kevin had clearly done that many times before. He returned to the stairwell, wiped his face with the back of one wet sleeve, and pushed through the door. The squeak of his sneakers pounding down the stairs echoed through the hall.
Brian stood there, feeling like shit. Actually, shit would be like log-shaped gold compared to how he felt. But what was he supposed to do about it? It’s not my fault, he thought. Why do I have to fix this?
A small screen blinked into existence in front of Brian’s face, scaring the crap out of him. He looked around, but there was no sight of Peter or Brutus or anyone else–human, spirit, or otherwise. The screen flickered to life. Brian saw himself and Chuck walk into Chuck’s room. It was the day Chuck moved in, back in August. Brian was helping Chuck carry up some boxes.
“Oh, hi!” Kevin said, getting up from his bed where he’d been sitting organizing CDs. He wore a large, welcoming smile. “One of you must be Chuck. I’m Kevin.”
Chuck stood perfectly still and stared at Kevin as if he’d been zapped by a paralytic ray. On-screen Brian scanned Kevin’s side of the room with a smirk. Kevin’s single bed was made up with a worn red comforter and his white pillowcases had a frill on them. Above Kevin’s bed hung a Teen Wolf calendar and a poster of a whale leaping into a sunset. Then on-screen Brian turned a look of contempt on Kevin himself. He was thin and wore too-new, too-blue skinny jeans and a plaid button-down shirt with pearl buttons. His hair was white-blond, straight, and long enough to curl into a flip on his shoulders like a girl’s. He had big blue eyes and his face was delicate and fey and pretty—or it would have been if not for the bad case of acne the kid rocked. To put the nail in the coffin, Kevin’s voice was soft and high.
On-screen Brian burst out laughing. Chuck dumped the box he was carrying on the unmade bed and looked at him with a frown. “Shut up.”
But Brian laughed harder and nodded his head toward Kevin, his hands full. “Oh, God. Chuck!”
“Knock it off,” Chuck said weakly, shooting Kevin an apologetic look.
Kevin was blushing and watching them with a frown.
“I’m Chuck,” Chuck told Kevin gruffly, not meeting his gaze. “C’mon, Brian, just put the box down, okay? There’s more shit to carry up.”
Brian dumped the box on the bed and Chuck pushed him, still laughing, out the door. As they exited the room, Brian snorted. “Awesome! You have to room with a fag all year! Wait till I tell the guys. Where ya’ gonna change your clothes, huh? Gonna drop trou and give your roomie a free show? Whoo!”
“Shut the fuck up,” Chuck said with a growl. He gave Brian another little push toward the stairs. He looked uncomfortable, like he wanted to disappear. It was an interesting look on Chuck, since he was a big, tough-looking guy. But Brian had seen it on him plenty. Chuck was easily embarrassed.
Brian and Chuck walked off, Brian still hooting and Chuck ignoring him. But the replay went back into the room where Kevin stood, his face red, his eyes bright, and his fists clenched. He actually cried, or, okay, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but he wiped his eyes furiously and got a bit blotchy.
Brian remembered what happened later that day. He and Chuck had met up with a bunch of the guys for pizza and Brian had teased Chuck mercilessly about his gay roommate. After that…. Yeah, after that, all the guys liked to go over to Chuck’s room to give him shit about Kevin.
The video playback stopped, and the words “You Started It” flashed on the screen three times then vanished, along with the screen itself.
Damn. That was… incredibly awkward. Brian felt exposed, like he wanted to roll up and vanish too. In retrospect, he did look like a big fat jerk. It wasn’t much fun to see yourself like that, not to mention being called out on it by, oh, God, or whoever Peter represented. Yes, Kevin was the kind of guy who deserved being made fun of a bit. Or at least, Brian had always thought that way. If you were going to look like a total dork or a loser or a fag, then how could you expect people not to notice? Not to comment on it, or tease? He wasn’t blind. It wasn’t like he would have hurt the guy. He wasn’t the kind of person who would push someone’s head in a toilet or anything like that. And he didn’t care if people were gay as long as they were gay over there somewhere. It had just been an opportunity too rarified to miss, to tease the hell out of Chuck for having to room with one. That didn’t make Brian a terrible person.
But justify as he might, it didn’t make Brian feel any less craptastic, not after seeing that look on Kevin’s face, not after seeing the kid chased away from his own room today by Randy’s obnoxious words.
“I get it. I was wrong! Okay?” Brian said it loudly, but his voice sounded hollow and insubstantial to his own ears. “I’m sorry!”
There was no reply.