My dear friend Holly Day is the last of the naked gardener writers to visit my blog, and before I leave the space to her, I just want to say that I completely adore the cover. Admittedly, the guy is decidedly un-naked considering the theme, but it’s a trivial matter, let’s ignore it 😀
Hello everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me swing by today! As I’m sure you know by now, we’ve done this author collaboration thing where we’ve all written a story for World Naked Gardening Day. With we, I mean my lovely hostess, Nell Iris, A.L. Lester, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, and me.
My story is called Perfect Rows, and it’s about Grayson and Camden who share a garden. They live in two cottage-style houses facing each other, and between them is a big kitchen garden. It was Grayson’s great grandfather who bought the property and had the houses built the way they are. Once they were built, he gave one house to Grayson’s grandmother and one to her sister. The two of them had no problems sharing the space, Grayson and Camden however… They don’t get along.
Grayson thinks Camden is hot but always leaves their conversations feeling sad and inadequate. Camden’s mum is a drug addict, and they had it rough growing up. It’s no excuse for acting like a prick, but Camden feels inferior. He refuses to let it show, though.
It wasn’t until I was done with my edits that I realised that I’ve used an example to show how Camden had it growing up that might not make sense to everyone. I’m sure Nell will get it since she’s Swedish too, but I talk about how Cam’s mum forgot to pack field day lunches and how it embarrassed him.
In Sweden, school lunch is free. No one brings anything to school. Everyone is served warm food in the canteen. For free. There is a law prohibiting schools to charge for food, but when I was a kid, we brought our own lunch on field day. Kids don’t anymore. If they’re going on field day, they either pack cold food from the school canteen. My kids’ school is in favour of pasta salad with ham, or they make a fire and heat up some hot dogs. Today, no Swedish kid will go through a school day without getting fed.
When Camden was in school, kids still brought their lunch on field day, and I use that to show that his mum was unable to care for her kids. The shame he’s carrying around from having been that kid who never had lunch on field days has made him into the slightly prickly person he is today.
So, I realised too late, that I’ve used something perhaps only Swedes will understand to paint the picture. My bad.
Everything would’ve been perfect if Grayson Dawe hadn’t been forced to share his garden with Camden Hensley. Grayson has everything he needs in life – a job, friends, a house he loves, and a garden. He wants to grow enough vegetables to cover his needs over the summer, and he has a plan for how to achieve it.
Camden Hensley loves his garden. He loves beautiful flowers in perfect rows, sweet scents and buzzing bees, but his neighbor, Grayson, messes everything up. He mixes vegetables with flowers in the growing beds and is incapable of placing plants in straight lines. And when Cam pulls out the plants growing in the wrong place, Grayson snarls at him.
Grayson doesn’t want to fight with Camden, but he’s completely unreasonable. Cam only wants Grayson to stop creating chaos and to grow flowers instead of vegetables. Neither of them is willing to back down, and days in the garden usually end in shouting matches, at least until Grayson realizes he can shut Cam up by kissing him. But will they ever be able to agree about what plants should grow where?
Contemporary Gay Romance: 16,427 words
Camden Hensley watched Grayson stalk off and blew out a breath. That was one fine ass; too bad it was attached to an ass. The garden could be lovely, it was lovely, but it could be truly beautiful if Grayson could only find it in himself to be a little more organized. Everything was higgledy-piggledy with Grayson. Everything. The way he dressed, the mess in his car—he mixed black T-shirts with white when he washed, for fuck’s sake. Though, Cam guessed he should be glad he washed at all.
Who wanted to paint walls all day? And this obsession with chickens… He shook his head. It had started as soon as Grayson had moved in. He hadn’t been there more than a day or two before he’d approached Cam about wanting to build a chicken coop.
They would not have chickens running around, roosters crowing at dawn—no, thank you.
Cam loved his home, loved the garden, and the peace that came with living outside the city. But everything had been so much better when Frances had been alive. She’d been an adorable little lady and instead of criticizing everything Camden did in the garden, she’d been pleased.
He couldn’t believe Grayson was her grandson. They were nothing alike—not in appearance, not in manner, and Frances had never snarled at him. She baked cookies and used them as bribes to get him to sit with her in the garden and chat for a bit. She was easygoing, satisfied with life, and it was a welcome break from the ugliness of the world.
The garden had been his oasis until Grayson had moved in. Loud, demanding Grayson. He towered over Camden as if he believed his size would intimidate him. It did, but he’d never admit it.
Cam remembered Grayson from school, though he doubted Grayson remembered him. He’d been the rail-thin kid in the corner with unwashed clothes whose mother forgot to pack lunch on field day. She forgot to serve dinner too, but it wasn’t as obvious as the lack of lunch on field day.
Grayson had been wild. Not mean, but loud, though Camden had been terrified of him. He’d spent more time roaming the corridors than he had attending lessons, and then one day he’d been gone. Cam didn’t know what had happened, but someone had said he was working at his uncle’s painting firm, and since he was a painter now, Camden assumed the rumor had been true. He’d been fifteen then, so Grayson had been sixteen.
Camden looked at the house Grayson had stormed off to. Twenty-one years of painting walls, no wonder he was growling all the time. Cam would’ve died of boredom. Perhaps he should give in on the chickens simply to give Grayson something new in his life—no. No chickens. No noise. No mess. If Grayson wanted more excitement in his life, he could go back to school and get himself a better job.
He glanced at the house again. Had Grayson put on clothes?
About Holly Day
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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