Guy advice

Bonus, unpublished scene from between The Haven (Book #2) and The Hunt (Book #3). Content is considered canon and is owned by the author, E.M. Johnson.

January 16, 2038

             Josh sipped at his beer before glancing to his right, at Cypha. She had groaned audibly, glaring at the TV on the other side of the Barry’s bar, her chin resting on the edge of her glass.

                “Since when do you care how the Vikings are doing?”

                “I don’t.” She sat up, looking at him. “I have a question.”

                “Okay, shoot.”

                “How do you tell a guy you’re into them?”

                Josh’s eyebrows lifted, looking surprised. He laughed slightly. “Uh, what?”

                She narrowed her eyes. “Did I stutter?”

                “No, I just… didn’t expect you to ever ask me that. Um… Well, you could always be direct, you know. I know you have no problem with that.”

                “I am this time.”

                “It’s not me, right?”

                Cypha gave him an exasperated look. “Josh, aside from that being fucking weird, we both like dicks. I’m not a moron. That’s why I’m asking you.”

                He laughed. “Okay, okay. Um… Well… I can’t see you being flirty or shy like a lot of girls… Uh, is it someone you already are familiar with?”


                He looked at her appraisingly. “Is it Traphian?”

                Cypha narrowed her eyes at him slightly, color rising to her cheeks. “Why does it matter who it is?”

                Josh smirked. “Well, morbid curiosity, mainly. Also, taking your current relationship with the person into account matters quite a bit. You guys still hang out a bunch, right?”


                “And you’re not already dating?”

                “No, we just hang out.”

                “That’s it?”

                Cypha sighed and looked at the TV again, the color refreshing on her cheeks. “Well, we’ve been having sex occasionally since like March.”

                “But you’re not dating, huh?”


                “Is that just what you say, or…?”

                “We both say we aren’t.”

                “And now you want to say you are, huh?”

                Cypha nodded slightly.

                “Well, you could try and work it in subtle-like I guess.”

                “Like how?”

                “Um…” Josh deliberated, looking at the TV. “Okay, uh, next time you guys talk about getting together, maybe ask if you could do something nicer than just hanging out here.”

                “Like what?”

                “Like go out to eat.”

                “We already do that sometimes. He works here.”

                “Ask to go somewhere not normal. Or just ask, the next time you hang out, if you could make it more like a date. No reason to be super subtle.”

                She inhaled deeply. “How do you ask guys to go out with you?”

                “Well, can’t say I ever have.”

                Cypha eyed him. “That’s pathetic.”

                Josh shrugged and took a sip of his beer before speaking again. “This town is super conservative, and no one in our circle of friends swings my way. I work too much to try and get into any other social groups.”

                “Stop using work as an excuse to avoid social shit.”

                Josh smirked. “You caught me. I want to work though.”

                “You just want to avoid acting like an adult.”

                “Who doesn’t?”

                She elbowed him. “If I can get my shit together enough to tell Traphian I’m into him, we’re going to work on you next.”

                Josh laughed. “Yeah, sure,” he said doubtfully. “Good luck with that one.”

                “I’ll get Satyrna involved.”

                Josh eyed her, his expression sobering. “Not fair.”

                “Would you rather I got Jess to help?”

                Josh cringed. “I’d rather you left it alone,” he said firmly. “I didn’t ask for help.”

                “I figured you’d at least had a crush or something in the five years since you came out – I didn’t realize you’d just been hiding.”

                “I never said I’d never had crushes. I haven’t deemed anyone worth the headache.”

                “Lame. Anyone I know?”

                “No.” He hesitated, his glass in front of his mouth. “Not that I’d tell you, anyway.”

                Cypha smirked, eyeing him. “Point taken.”

                Josh set his glass down and waved a hand, annoyed. “You need to stop slipping into bully big sister mode whenever it pleases you.”

                She snickered and said, “Where’s the fun in that?” before taking a drink.

                He gave her an unamused look, but Cypha was avoiding eye contact, looking at the TV again. “Is Traphian the first guy you’ve had a crush on?” he asked after a few quiet minutes.

                “No, he’s just the first one I’ve considered acting on.”

                “What’s different?”

                “He doesn’t think I’m a train wreck, and we have a lot in common.”

                “How so?”

                “We’re both orphans. We’ve both spent a lot of time trying to make shit work all on our own. He doesn’t feel the need to give me charity, because he gets that I prefer to not have moral or monetary debt.”

                “When your friends give you shit, they don’t expect it to be paid back, Cypha.”

                “I respect my friends, so I’d never let things sit uneven. He gets that. He also understands I don’t like sharing my feelings.”

                “I think we all know that about you. That’s why you’re stressing out over this.”

                “You may all know it, but it doesn’t stop all of you from trying to chisel my emotions out of me anyway.”

                Josh snickered. “That’s mostly Satyrna.”

                “It’s all of you, she just does it the most.”

                “Well, if you want to date him, he’ll probably want you to share your feelings with him, Cypha.”

                “I know. I wouldn’t ask him if I wasn’t prepared to.”

                “Good. Well, good luck,” he said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “I hope he’s on board with it.”

                “Thanks,” she mumbled.

                “Tell me how it goes, all right?”