In His Arms - Joey W. Hill


Part of the joy of writing relationships in romance is the ability to “idealize” some aspects of a love story. However, the best romances know when to tap into the realities of falling in love. As such, it was vital to me to represent a paraplegic Dom hero in a way that respects the real-life paraplegic men out there, navigating their own relationships.

To do that, I had invaluable help. Thank you to the team of readers—some disabled themselves, others who were caregivers or had access to family members in wheelchairs—who reviewed parts of this story or answered questions. A special thanks to Jeanne for letting me take almost verbatim her thought about Rory realizing that being a sexual Dominant is something that transcends the body, something any submissive paying attention will recognize (smile).

Thank you also to the disabled people who have crafted videos to help others like them learn to navigate the daily how-tos of life in a wheelchair. These videos were an incredible resource for an author. While the written word done right can paint an unforgettable picture, for practical skills, nothing beats a visual. These videos also kept me from badgering my reader team with endless minutiae like: “how would you take off your pants?” “how would you open a door?” etc. A particular thanks to Richard of Wheels2Walking, as his videos became a key resource for Rory and Daralyn’s story.

Daralyn presented her own kind of challenge. I thank my physician resource who answered the questions I had about her that can’t really be posted online without law enforcement taking a much closer look at you, lol – but I’m very glad they would, to confirm I’m simply an author looking for accuracy in her story.

I hope you all fall in love with Rory and Daralyn. However, as always, any shortcomings in the story are entirely the fault of the author – not those who helped me bring Rory and Daralyn’s story to life!

Chapter One

She’d been getting paler by the hour. As her departure time drew closer, he was worried she might pass out.

Rory pushed his chair a few inches to the right. Just enough to study her from his vantage point at the front counter without looking like that was what he was doing.

Daralyn stood before the mirror in the back of the store, where they sold outerwear and work shoes. Someone else would think she was fussing over her appearance, but he knew she rarely looked at herself.

He noticed everything about her. Every emotion transmitted through body language—a change in the angle of her chin, the light of her eyes. The rate of her pulse, the tiny beat of it in that pocket at the base of her throat, and how her breath made the slight curves of her breasts rise and fall.

Last Christmas, he’d kissed her under the mistletoe, in front of his well-meaning family who’d engineered the event. He remembered every detail of that, too. One of her nervous, chapped hands had fallen onto his biceps, her fingers tightening. He’d wanted to pull her into his lap, right there in front of everyone. Not because he wanted to disrespect her, but because he ached to do what a man with two functioning legs could do. Hold his girl flush against him, cradle her in his arms as he kissed her. Feel the give of her body as she trusted his strength enough, wanted it enough, to melt into him.

Not long before that Christmas, when he had thoughts like that about her, he’d put them away, appalled at himself. Since she was fifteen, she’d mostly lived with his family. But then Marcus had pointed out the obvious, and it had stuck to his brain cells like gum.

Marcus was his brother’s…husband. Yeah, Rory was small-town enough that saying it, even in his head, still felt weird. But Thomas was happy, and Marcus was a decent guy. When he wasn’t being a prick. So Rory was cool with his brother being gay, though he still reserved his right to block any images in his head of guys getting it on with each other.

A couple days after that Christmas, Rory had been in the driveway in front of the house, watching his mom and Daralyn say goodbye to Rory’s sister, Les, who was headed back to medical school. Marcus was standing beside him.

“You know she’s not your sister, right?” he said.

“I’m pretty sure she is,” Rory responded. “There are pictures of me holding her as a baby.”

“You know how