When a homeless boy meets an ace hacker…
Twelve-year-old Jack Horwood has run from the pimp his mother sold him to, preferring to take his chances on the streets. A house with a cheerful red door – and a classic convertible out front – prompts him into a spot of breaking and entering, and soon he has a warm, dry basement to squat in.
Until the owner of the house, Jamaican hacker Rio Palmer, discovers his hideout. Rio offers him a safe place to stay, but Jack doesn’t believe a word the man says and runs.
Rio can’t forget the youngster who is scared and vulnerable, and stronger than many men Rio has met. Finding Jack is a tiny challenge. Teaching him to trust is like climbing a mountain. But when faced with a true zero and its power, Rio can do nothing else.
Jack Horwood doesn’t do families. Or Christmas. From the time his mother sold him to her pimp to the moment he walked out on the man he loved, Christmas has always been about change and painful choices. This year seems no different. Helping Daniel and Nico recover from their imprisonment and hunting down those responsible puts Jack in a frame of mind he doesn’t want to inflict on anyone. Least of all Gareth and the tentative relationship they’ve started to rebuild.
But Gareth, for whom Christmas is all about new beginnings, won’t let Jack take the easy way out. He makes him face his ghosts instead. Even when said ghosts invade their bedroom.
When Daniel’s parents are found, Jack is determined to settle the matter without involving Daniel at all. But fate decrees otherwise, and it’s Gareth who helps him finally understand that the strongest bonds are those forged together. Once he gets that, Jack can step up and make a decision designed to lay his ghosts to rest—for good.
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Jack Horwood doesn’t do things by halves. Once he’s decided to build a home and family with Gareth, Nico, and Daniel he’s all in, whether that means helping with homework, arguing with banks and builders or taking care of Gareth, who is snowed under with work and his freelance job for Aidan.
Stressed, tired and barely home, Gareth doesn’t believe that Jack finds looking after his home-made family as enjoyable as he claims. Doubts creep in and arguments soon follow until Jack organises a weekend break in Northern Sweden just for the two of them to sort out their issues.
What starts as a good idea turns into a murder hunt when they discover a dead body, frozen into the “furniture” of the famous Ice Hotel, and both Jack and his friend Oskar are implicated in the dead woman’s disappearance. Jack can only watch from the sidelines as Gareth steps up to help solve the murder, sure that it will bring all Gareth’s doubts back full force and put him once more on a collision course with Jack and their feelings for each other.
Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She's worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.
Jackie writes thrillers, suspense, sci-fi and fantasy - often with love stories built in. She loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and characters who don't follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.
And she still hasn't found the place where the bus stops.
For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places: