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Flagstone Creek 2: Battle Scars (Preternatural)

Chapter One

  “You do realise you’re going to have to talk to him eventually?”

  Willow Janovic reluctantly tore his gaze from the person he’d been watching across the club and winced at his brother, Tannith’s words. For months now Willow had been chatting with Bodhi Steele on line. The problem was Bodhi had absolutely no clue Willow was a man. Willow had never set out to deceive Bodhi, it was more he never corrected the man’s wrong assumption. Everyone told him it was going to backfire and bite him on the arse. Now he’d wished he’d listened to them.

  Tonight he and Bodhi were meant to be meeting for the very first time in person. It was supposed to be a bit of fun. Nothing more than a night of no strings attached. Willow sighed as he got to his feet. “Okay, I’ll go talk to him, but make sure you have your keys handy in case he gets pissed off and decks me. I might need you to take me to the hospital.”

  “No way Bodhi Steele would hit you in public. He wouldn’t want to tarnish his reputation.” Tannith snorted derisively. “I just don’t know why it had to be him. Why couldn’t you have picked someone who’s normal? I mean, someone who’s more like us.”

  Willow shrugged, not knowing how to explain it. “He’s always so nice on line. Nothing like the guy who picked on me way back when.”

  “He’s only nice because he’s trying to get into your panties.” Tannith said mockingly. “He’s sure as shit going to be shocked you’re not what he’s expecting.”

  A touch of fear rolled through Willow. Tonight was a bad idea. He realised as he sat there and watched Bodhi walk in he was making a huge mistake, but a large part of him hoped Bodhi wouldn’t care and they could at least still be friends. There was only one way to find out. Over the past couple of months he and Bodhi had shared many things. Some of them Willow hoped were true. The closer he got to where Bodhi was sitting. The more he wanted to turn around and run. His brother was right. He shouldn’t have done this. By the time he reached the table his whole body trembled.

  “Can I help you?” Bodhi asked as he eyed Willow from head to toe.

  Willow could almost hear the cogs in Bodhi’s mind turning as he tried to figure out where he’d seen Willow before. The way he tilted his head to the side and inhaled deeply was odd, but Willow stood and waited.

  “Don’t tell me,” Bodhi all but snarled, “You’re Willow?” Before Willow even had a chance to answer Bodhi stood up and walked away.

  Hurt flowed through Willow. He couldn’t blame Bodhi for his reaction. Hell, he probably would have done the same thing if the tables were turned.

  “Well, at least he didn’t punch you in the face. So no hospital trip required.” Tannith said as he stopped beside Willow. “Are you ready to get out of here?”

  “Yeah.” Willow’s voice was thick with tears and he hoped his brother wouldn’t hear them.

  He smiled as the weight of Tannith’s arm settled around his shoulders. “Just because I love you so much. I’ll even take you out for coffee and cake before we go home. What do you say, little brother?”

  “I say yes.” Willow smiled as he let his brother lead him from the club and out to their car.

  They mightn’t have the newest car in the lot, but they sure had the prettiest. The Holden FB Special Wagon, might have been first made in 1960, but they, along with their father, had lovingly restored it before the man passed away from cancer. It was almost in mint condition. Painted a soft Satellite yellow with white panels. Since the brothers lived together they shared the car as needed.

  “You know it’s probably for the best. I mean even if by the grace of the almighty Bodhi was gay. Would we really want him and his friends in our lives? Ten years might be a long time, but they say a leopard never changes its spots. He’s probably still as overbearing as he was back in high school.”

  “He’s changed. I know he has. We’ve talked a lot.” Willow defended Bodhi even though he had walked out. He knew it was his own stupid fault for not telling Bodhi the truth. All Willow could do was live with his mistakes. Tannith was probably right. Willow was starting to think he’d never end up with someone willing to love him as he was. Some things in life were just not mean to be.

  As Tannith started the car and pulled out of the lot. Something out of the corner of his eye caught Willow’s attention. He could have sworn he saw a pissed off looking Bodhi in the front seat of a Ute arguing with another person. He was possibly angry at having being tricked and was even now thinking up ways to exact his revenge. Willow hoped like hell when the time come it wasn’t going to hurt too much.

~

  Sitting in his car Bodhi felt like an idiot. He’d let himself get his hopes up only to have everything thrown back in his face. For so long he’d been searching out his mate. Most of the pride no longer believed in true mates and instead they married for friendship and children. From the time he was a cub Bodhi had sworn he’d marry no one except his true mate. Everything in him was starting to believe Willow was the one. She was everything he’d hoped for. She was smart, funny, and the way she talked turned him on faster than he could blink. Then tonight the truth bitch slapped him as it tore his heart from his chest. He’d been had. Tonight was someone’s idea of a joke and Bodhi wasn’t happy.

  The guy pretending to be his female Willow seemed familiar. So someone he knew was yanking his chain, and having a good old chuckle at his expense. Actually this was exactly something his cousin Liam would think up. Bodhi growled as he turned and glared at his cousin who was currently sitting in the passengers eat beside him. “Was this your idea of a joke?”

  “Hey, I had nothing to do with this. I told you not to meet in person until photos had been exchanged and we could do some research. You’re the one who was all gung-ho on meeting the girl of your dreams. The one destined to be your true mate. Maybe next time you’ll bloody listen to me when I tell you to slow down.”

  Bodhi let out another growl as he scrubbed his hands across his face. When he opened his eyes again the door of the club opened and the guy who wasn’t his Willow walked out. He saw red as he detected Willow/not Willow wasn’t alone. A guy of similar height and build was walking beside him with his arm wrapped around Willow’s shoulders. Anger had Bodhi moving. His hand was on the door handle when Liam grabbed him.

  “Wait! Is that Willow?”

  Bodhi nodded. “Yes, but that is not the Willow I’ve been talking to for the last couple of months. It can’t be. I would have known if I was talking to a guy.”

  Liam started laughing and Bodhi wanted to reach out and punch him. What the hell is so funny?

  “Oh my God. You are such a tool.” Liam got out between chuckles. “You don’t know who that is do you? Or should I say you don’t remember who he is?”

  Bodhi glared at his cousin. “Well, why don’t you enlighten me, oh, wise one.”

  “His name really is Willow… Willow Janovic, and if that doesn’t jog your memory, in high school your favourite game was to beat him up until he cried. All because your father saw him and called him a sissy. The only thing stopping you from killing Willow back then because Alpha Walsh forbid it.”

  Confusion brought Bodhi to a total standstill as he thought back. “Ten years is a long time to hold a grudge over something I did to him as a kid. Is this his way of finally getting even with me?”

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Quaide’s Crossing 1: Meghan’s Way (Contemporary – both M/M & M/F)

Chapter One

  The sight and sound of the party he was attending faded away as Abraham Tanner was yanked kicking and screaming back into his all too recent past. In desperation he covered his head and lay on the ground, bullets and sand flew around him, and Abe prayed his unit made it out with no serious casualties. Lately, it seemed like every time their team went out they came back with fewer and fewer men. Abe had dedicated his life to serve and protect his country, and now here he was, stuck in the middle of this unforgiving desert all because his country asked it of him.

  A quick glance to his left had him crying out in pain, frustration with a whole lot of fear thrown in when he saw the lifeless face of Buddy Rogers staring back at him. The whole front of his chest covered in blood and gore. Buddy had been one of the sweetest men among their unit, and now with this tragedy he would be finally going home—just not the way the poor guy had planned on. This wasn’t supposed to be his happening. Buddy was scheduled to go home to his family in two days’ time. He was supposed to have forever with his high school sweetheart back at home. He wasn’t supposed to have bled out on the desert floor in a country not his own.

   “Medic!” Abe winced at the sound of someone screaming their lungs out close by. The voice sounded hoarse with overuse. It took what seemed like a life time for Abe to realise the screaming was coming from him. Slowly but surely his sense came back to him. Through the desolation of the fight going on around him, Abe latched onto the one thing that made its way through to him—the voice of an angel.

   Somewhere deep inside of him Abe comprehended this wasn’t real. His unit was dead and buried. And his part in the war was finally over. Sweat had soaked through his clothing by the time he came back to the here and now. And the voice of the angel was in fact Meghan Cooper, the woman who owned and ran the farm next door his parents. The concern in her eyes broke him, and he felt the first tears he’d ever shed since the fateful day he’d lost everyone—the men he’d served with and called family—spill over.

  Abe wanted to turn away from Meghan, but instead found himself curling into her shoulder for comfort. A shudder ran through his body as she rubbed soothing circles over his back as she held him close. It had been a long time since someone had cared enough to reassure him everything was alright with the world, or at least the small part where he now lived.

  “Shh, it’s going to be alright. Come on, let’s get you up off the ground. I think you need a cuppa—My gran always said everything will work out as long as you always have a cuppa on hand.”

  Another set of hands reached for him and Abe flinched away until he heard his brother’s soft voice. “Let’s get you inside so you can relax.”

  Abe willingly went with them. He hated being the centre of attention, especially when those nearby to witness his ??? now gazed at him with pity in their eyes. The truth was he wasn’t even sure what had set him off this time. His whole body ached after the episode. A doctor at the rehab clinic he’d been in to recuperate when he returned home had once likened the effect as what an alcoholic feels while going cold turkey. If giving up booze was anything like this, then Abe was glad he’d never really been a drinking man.

  “Maybe he should rest for a bit.” Meghan said beside him and Abe knew she was talking to Devon and not him. “He looks like he hasn’t slept in days.”

  “He hasn’t,” Devon agreed, “Abe hardly sleeps anymore.”

  Sadly his brother was right. What he could seem to make anyone understand was that each and every time he closed his eyes he found himself reliving the day of the attack when he—just barely—was the only one to survive. Seven great men died that day. He should have died with them, and because he didn’t the guilt ate away at him.

  Once inside the house Meghan led him to the lounge and pulled him down beside her as she sat. She twined her fingers through his and he was surprised when not long later a cup of steaming hot tea was placed on the side table. He fought the insane urge to start crying again. The truth was right now he couldn’t even remember where he was or whose house he was currently sitting in.

  Closing his eyes he laid his head back on the Lounge and asked, “Where am I?”

  “You’re at my place.” Meghan said.

  Abe shivered when he felt her lightly touch his face. Almost as if pulling his head toward her shoulder. The feeling was nice, and Abe decided to go with the flow. He didn’t even hesitate as he turned enough to wrap an arm around her waist as he snuggled closer.

  For right now this was perfect.

  He listened as the voices around him drifted. This was the first time Abe could remember feeling safe. He was closer than he ever thought he would be to the peace and quiet he always sought, but never found.

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TASH (Futuristic)

CHAPTER 1

  The shit was about to hit the fan and he had no way of stopping it. Starr had always said that one day his past would catch up with him and now here it was slapping him in the face. As they approached the high wrought iron gates Tash wondered whether the sound of his heart beating was as loud to Gil as it was to him, it felt as though hundreds of horses were galloping across the open plains like in many of those old movies he had seen that Starr had so lovingly kept. How often had he joked about his sincere devotion to his collection of antique movies? Now he just wished he was at home snuggled up on the couch instead of standing here waiting for Gil’s retina scan to end and allow them entry; a slight breeze tugged at the strawberry blond curls at the nape of Gil’s neck.

  Tash was conscious of the abundance of security focused on this one gate, right now he could see three cameras aimed straight at them and wondered whether Gideon Thorpe was somewhere inside at this very moment watching them. If so, would he recognise him, and if he did, then what did she intend to do about it? Had he changed much in the last twelve years? Tash felt nervous as it had been a very long time since he had last stood in the same room as Gideon, he couldn’t stop his stomach from somersaulting with anxiety.

  Was he doing the right thing? His gut instinct was telling him to run, to turn around and run like there was no tomorrow, run away and never look back. On the other hand his heart and his head were telling him to go through with it; to get it over and done with or he’d never be able to move on in his life. Tash’s chest ached with indecision as he realised the momentum of what she was about to do.

  Tash forced himself to stare straight at one of the cameras; he wondered if all the security was meant to keep people out or all those who entered in? ‘But,’ he supposed if he owned and ran three quarters of all the sectors in this city, then the security wasn’t such a bad thing, there were all kinds of weirdo’s and freaks running around out there. Tash released the breath he had been holding at the sound of the locking mechanism being released and then it hit him.

  “Gil… Gil I can’t do this. It’s not time, I need to go home.” Tash whispered as he backed away from the opening. It terrified him that he had been willing to complicate his own life beyond all reasoning. “This is a mistake,” goose bumps erupted all over his body; he needed more time.

  Gil turned and stared at his frightened face. “Tash,” he stepped cautiously towards him, “Honey, what’s wrong?” Gil had never seen Tash like this before, he looked absolutely scared stiff.

  “I can’t do this… I need more time,” he shook his head. “It’s too soon, I’m just not ready.”

  “It’s alright,” Gil whispered soothingly into his hair. Gil enfolded Tash into his embrace “I’ll look after you… I promise I won’t let anything bad happen” he marvelled at how fragile Tash felt, and how much he needed him at this moment. “I will always protect you, you know that, don’t you?”

  “You won’t be able to stop it… If I walk through that gate something bad is going to happen and you will end up hating me.” Tash whispered even as he allowed Gil to pull him into enemy territory. The Gil that smiled at him now seemed like a total stranger to him; he was different to the Gil he had known all year. To the Gil that had been in love with Starr; the shy clumsy Gil that could light up a whole room just by smiling. Why wasn’t that Gil here now? That Gil would understand his need to flee.

  It was now or never… wasn’t this his destiny? Wasn’t this where he belonged? He might belong here, but that didn’t mean that this was where he wanted to be. Then what the hell was he doing here? What had possessed him to agree to come here? Tash shuddered at the thought of all those cameras following him. Tash tentatively placed his hand in Gil’s as they started the slow walk up the driveway; his hand felt comfortable in Gil’s grasp, they had done this a lot since Starr’s death, whenever he had needed a shoulder to cry on Gil had been there with a big box of tissues in hand.

  Tash concentrated on his thumb as it caressed the back of her fingers; she tried to think of anything than her reunion with Gideon. Tash stopped dead in her track as the house loomed into view, looking ominous against the quickly darkening sky, she shook uncontrollably.

  “Bloody hell Gil” the words exploded from her “That’s your house… it’s freaking huge” Tash was dumbfounded, she wasn’t sure what she expected but it definitely wasn’t this, it looked more like a mini scraper or complex then a home for one family, it was nothing like she had ever seen before.

  He chuckled “You’ll get used to it” he smiled trying to reassure her, he wanted her to know that things were alright he wanted her to believe that he was capable of protecting and taking care of her. Giving her hand a little tug he started them moving again. He knew that she would really like it here one she got used to it. It had taken him a full year to turn events enough so that she was even willing to come here, and now that she was here he wasn’t about to let her go, and maybe just maybe she would be the one her father wouldn’t find fault with.

  Tash glimpsed movement in one of the first story windows and her heart all but failed, was it him? Was he standing there watching her approach? Was he wondering who she was? Damn it what was she going to tell Gil if Gideon did recognise her. He was going to hate her, she knew that and still she let herself shy away from telling him, she had even let Starr talk her out of it the few times she had attempted it, and now it was too late because she was here. Why the hell was she here? Her mind refocussed as the front door opened moments before they reached it, she relaxed when she saw an older grey haired woman come out to greet them.

  “Well if it isn’t wee Mr Thorpe himself” her aging hand reached out and stroked his cheek “Been gone a whole month and nary a word to stop a person from worrying herself to death about ye, but I see that you had someone to look out for ye” her eyes filled with suspicion as she took Tash’s appearance in.

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S.P.A.M. Inc. 1: Claiming Roxy’s Heart (Preternatural)

Chapter One

  “Shan, how about we have ourselves a little bit of fun?”

  “What would ye be having in mind, Seamus? What sort of fun are ye talking about?”

  Shanahan waved his hand over his empty glass and smiled as it refilled. Being a Leprechaun totally kicked ass sometimes. No walking to the bar for Seamus and him. He smiled as the coinage disappeared from the table and the barman nodded in their direction.

  “Well since we’ve been so good for a long time, the council has bound to have forgotten the last kafuffle we caused. I am sure even Fate has forgiven us by now. I was t`inking maybe we should share some of our good fortune with the wonderful people of our new home.” He gestured to the crowded Nightclub. Club Creation was fast becoming the place to be seen… OR, not to be seen when you were still in hiding from certain people among the uppity-ups of the spirit realm.

  “And what good fortune would that be?” Shanahan burped loudly, and proceeded to giggle like a drunken school girl. Alcohol worked twice as fast on a Leprechaun so it didn’t take much to get them drunk.

  “I be t`inking maybe we should share the love. Can’t you just taste the lack of love in the room?” Seamus held his arms out wide. “I be t`inking maybe we each pick someone who looks like they need love – or – looks like they could use a change.”

  “Bloody hell, Seamus – that be a fecking brilliant idea. Let’s go and pick poor sods to share our gift with.” He grinned as he jumped up and walked into the crowd. Shanahan couldn’t wait to give someone a helping hand. The council would be happy they were helping others and not causing mischief. Fate couldn’t possible get angry at them this time. His grin broadened as he watched Seamus approach the Faerie laddie who looked lost, and in that same instant his gaze landed on just the person he needed to help. The guy was screaming out for him to lend him some power. He was dressed in a three piece suit in the middle of a nightclub filled with all things sparkly. Yes this guy was definitely the one.

###

  “Oww! What the fuck was that for?” Harlin Edwards rubbed his forehead and glared at the smiling idiot who had just flicked him on the forehead for no reason. What the hell was his problem?

  “I will to you me powers,” the guy before him grinned like a lunatic, and it was a tad creepy.

  “Okay,” Harlin said slowly as he took a step back moving further away from the crazy guy. “Seriously man, you need to leave. You are really, and I mean really, weirding me out right now.” The freakish little man didn’t fit into his sort of normal.

  The guy was dressed in green trousers with a sparkly pale green shirt; even his boots were green. Didn’t this guy even look in the mirror before leaving home? He was taking one step forward for every step back Harlin took. “Do you accept me powers?”

  “Yes! Whatever! If it will get you the hell away from me, I’ll take the damn power.” Harlin was not one for panicking, but this was even a little too much for him to handle.

  “You must say me name. You must agree, and use me name.”

  “I don’t fucking know your name. You just assaulted me for no reason.” Harlin glared again.

  Laughter so musical fell from the guys lips; it almost sounded like the tinkling of hundreds of little bells. “Oh, for sure, I be forgetting the most very important thing. Me name is Shanahan Doherty. What be your name Laddie?”

   “Harlin Edwards,” Harlin answered without thinking.

  “Harlin Edwards, I will to you me powers?” Shanahan smiled so sweetly and for a moment it blanked out Harlin’s ability to think clearly. Because, if he had been thinking there would be no way he would have agreed to what was about to happen. His life was full of order. He, Harlin Edwards IV, owner of Edwards Industries was always organised. He would never sign up for the chaos which was about to invade his life and change his future forever.

  “Yes, Shanahan Doherty.” Harlin stared at the strange but compelling man as he stood there rolling his eyes and making the world wide gesture for ‘and’. “I… accept… your… power?” It came out more as a question rather than an answer.

  Shanahan jumped around as if he was doing some sort of Irish jig, and Harlin just wanted to get the hell out of there. He turned just as a purple blur tore across the room and launched himself into Harlin’s arms. Harlin stumbled as the smaller man wrapped his arms and legs tightly around Harlin’s body.

  “Just pretend we’re lovers, and you’re madly in love with me.” The little man said in between laying soft kisses over Harlin’s face. Harlin knew he was Fae by the gothic attire he was wearing, seriously though he was having trouble thinking of anything as the man’s moth worked its magic across his skin. A moan fell from his lips as he tilted his head back allowing the little man better access.

  “Why am I pretending to be in love with you?” Harlin asked as he noticed the man in green was still dancing as he melted into the crowd. ‘Tonight must be the night for the crazies to come out,’ Harlin thought as the man in his arms nuzzled his face into his neck. A shiver ran through his body as the man’s tongue tasted his throat. In all reality the man smelt wonderful – he smelt like home – especially when his mother had been alive and the house was always filled with the most delicious mouth-watering scents.

  The little man in his arms sighed as he tangled his hand further into Harlin’s hair messing it all up, and for some strange reason Harlin didn’t seem to mind. “Mother’s spies are here. They pretend to be my friends, but they always report back to her on everything I do.” Sighing, Roxy untangled himself and slid down the stranger’s body. “I told them I was meeting you here, and they just laughed at me – kept saying I’m delusional if I thought you would be remotely interested in me.”

  Harlin saw the sadness filling the young man’s face as he went to turn away. There was no denying the man was adorable. Before he stopped himself, Harlin reached out and pulled the man back into his arms. Leaning down he whispered in his ear. “Hi, my name is Harlin Edwards by the way.” He smiled as he felt the smaller man relax against his body. “What’s your name, pretty man?”

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Taking Chances 1: Lie To Me (Contemporary)

PROLOGUE:

  Alec couldn’t stop smirking at the guy sitting across the night club. He just looked so out of place. For some reason he also kind of seemed familiar, but for the life of him he couldn’t work out where from. All he knew for sure is somewhere he’d seen the guy’s face before. As he sat there watching he loved the fact it had taken the poor guy most of the night to work out he was one of the few straight men in the room.

  “You know you’re being mean,” the bartender said as he refilled Alec’s glass. “I can remember when another young pup wandered in, and didn’t know where he was until someone hit on him.”

  Alec chuckled, “That was over a year ago, Darius.”

  “Yeah, but as I recall you still needed somebody to rescue your sweet and extremely straight lily white derriere.” Darius slapped a perfectly manicured hand onto Alec’s arm. “So be nice and go rescue the poor guy before someone else decides to play nice with him.” Darius sighed wistfully as he watched the guy. “That boy is all kinds of yummy.”

  Slipping off his stool Alec waded through the dancers to where the guy sat. He wondered why he hadn’t left after he worked out Flashes was a gay bar, but then again even a year after finding out for himself, he still came here to drink. At least for him the clientele no longer tried to pick him up, they all knew he was Darius’s special friend. Well that, and sometimes he stood in as bouncer and stopped fights from breaking out, which was the role he was playing tonight.

  “Hi,” Alec said with a smile as he slipped into the seat opposite the guy who was probably only a couple of years older than himself. “You do know this is a gay bar, don’t you?” The guy’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head, which only made Alec grin harder. “Are you really sure you want to be here?”

  The guy nodded and Alec shook his head in disbelief. “You don’t look gay; you just haven’t got that vibe about you.”

  “I’m not,” he blurted out, “I just needed a place to hang where my girlfriend wouldn’t think to look for me.”

  Alec held out his hand. “I’m Alec. I’m tonight’s bouncer, and probably the only other straight guy in the club. Why don’t you come and sit with me at the bar. Unless of course you’re into spending the rest of the night getting hit on by every unattached guy.”

  “I’m…” the guy began as he shook Alec’s hand. “Um… I’m Max.”

  “Hi, Max, nice to meet you,” Alec said as he pulled Max to his feet, and led him over to the bar. “You look awful familiar to me. Have we met before? Darius, hit my friend Max here up with a beer. He’s having girl troubles.”

  “Ooh, darlin,’ here you go,” Darius said as he handed over the pot, “tell Aunty Darius all about it.”

  It brought a smile to Max’s face, which in turn made Alec get the warm and fuzzies. The guy Really did have a beautiful smile.

  “Darius’s a good listener,” Alec said quietly, reaching out he patted Max on the arm. “He’s sorted out a few of my troubles for me in the past.”

  Max seemed to think about it for a while as he stared down at the beer in his hands. “My girlfriend, Tia, she keeps,” he ran a hand through his hair, “she’s very…demanding. The problem is I have an ex, with whom I have a child, Lily, she’s three. Tia well she doesn’t want me to have anything to do with Lily or her mum. Rachel and I get on Really well and I can’t get Tia to understand that there is nothing that will get me to turn my back on my family.”

  “Honey, this Tia sounds like trouble. Family always comes first, baby cakes. Isn’t that right, Alec?”

  Alec nodded, there was nothing more important than your family whether they were with you or not. His own daughter, Jeanie was currently residing with her mother. Alec hoped it wouldn’t be that way for much longer as he was close to gaining full custody of his little girl. It wasn’t that Chrissie was a bad mother it was more she cared more about herself than anyone else in the world. The time he had been with Chrissie had been hard, because even back then he had begun to believe he was more attracted to guys than girls. The only good thing to come out of the relationship was Jeanie, and getting to know Gabriel. To be fair Chrissie only started behaving like this when she started dating George, and it had gotten worse since they had married. It had gotten so bad, Gabriel, Chrissies brother had rung and begged Alec to come and pick him up. This was going to give Alec the chance to check out the situation with Jeanie. His thoughts came back to the here and now when Max sighed deeply.

  “That’s not the only problem,” Max sculled his drink and Darius gave him another, “but the other problem is too sick to even think about.”

  “Baby, a problem shared, is a problem halved.” Darius patted Max’s arm.

  “How can I tell my father his sister keeps trying to have sex with me?” Max had already drunk quite a lot, so once he started talking it was like he couldn’t stop. “I’m heading home tomorrow, for the first time in four years. Dad isn’t well, and my brother and sister want me home. Tia’s supposed to be going with me, which isn’t making them happy because they don’t get on with her.”

  “Baby, have you ever thought about cutting her loose and finding someone nice?” Darius asked.

  Max looked so sad. “I tried breaking up with her, but it never went over that well. I also find it hard meeting people, and even harder to trust them,” he sipped his beer.

  Darius flicked on the house lights indicating that it was time to close up shop. “Do you have somewhere to stay tonight?”

  “Yeah, we’re staying in a motel. I wanted to try once again to get free of her but she… she…” his words trailed off in a slur as he laid his head on the bar.

  “Hon,” Darius said to Alec. “You can take off if you want, Mack will be here soon to help lock up. Make sure he gets home, or somewhere he can safely stay the night.”

  “Will do,” Alec said as he led Max outside.

  “Do you live far away?” Max asked. He reached out and the way he cupped Alec’s cheek made him step back before he had a chance to lean into the touch.

  Sometimes being him sucked.

  “I just have a couple of blocks to walk.” The longer he spent in the company of Max the more he wanted.

  “Can I walk you home?” Max asked shyly, and Alec hated himself for agreeing so readily.

  “Sure,” something deep down inside Alec twisted. This was a bad idea. A very bad idea. Because the guy had a girlfriend somewhere waiting for him, even if he didn’t really want her. They walked side by side in silence til they reached his door. “Well this is it. This is where I stay when I’m in town. Normally I live in an apartment behind my parents’ house.” Alec cringed inwardly, why the hell am I over sharing?

  “Can I come in? I don’t want to go back to Tia right now. I don’t want to have another argument.” Alec must have had a strange a look on his face because Max hastily added. “I’m not gay. I promise I won’t try anything.”

  Sighing deeply, Alec pushed the door open and allowed Max to pass him as they entered. Tonight was going to be tough. Especially, because there was only one bed in this place. He watched Max looking around the small Spartan apartment. Everything was all in one room, there was only two other doors besides the one they had entered through, which were a closet and a bathroom.

  “Do you want a coffee or something? I need to have a shower, so if you want anything I’ll have to make it now.”

  Max shook his head, “No, I’m fine,” he sat on the edge of the bed as Alec headed into the bathroom.

   Damn, the moment he stripped off and had the water going a knock sounded on the door.

  “Can I come in? I need to use the bathroom.”

  “The doors unlocked,” he said as he quickly stepped into the stall and shut the screen, and let the heat was down over him. Alec tried not to look through the glass to where Max stood relieving himself.

  Stepping out of the shower and wrapping a towel around his hips he said. “You can have a shower if you want.” He gesture over his shoulder toward the stall before he walked out of the room.

  Alec reluctantly pulled on his jeans to sleep as he hadn’t brought any PJ’s with him. He slipped into bed as he heard the shower, and tried not to think about Max being naked and wet only a few feet away. What the hell am I doing? Man, if Bastian could see me now he’d be laughing his arse off and Willow wouldn’t be much better. He looked toward the bathroom as the door opened.

  Max came out wearing only jeans and climbed into the bed. “I promise I won’t do anything. I just want to sleep.”

  Alec nodded and closed his eyes as he lay on his back in the dark. If he tried hard enough, he could pretend that this was one of Willow’s puppy piles, even if it did only have two puppies. The weird thing was he had only known Bastian and Willow for three and a half years and had become fast friends with the pair. Having best friends was a godsend sometimes. Alec froze when he felt Max’s hand touch his chest.

  “Thank you, Alec.”

  Alec stiffened, “Your welcome, now get some sleep.” He answered as Max rubbed his hand over his chest.

  Alec woke sometime close to dawn to find himself wrapped around Max’s body, and instantly knew Max was also awake. “I’m sorry,” he said as he suddenly rolled away putting some space between them.

  “It felt nice,” was the whispered reply as Max turned on his side to face him. “You made me feel safe, wanted. But just because I liked you holding me, it doesn’t mean I’m gay. Because I’m not,” he said as he moved toward Alec and wrapped his arms around him.

  What the hell is going on?

  Alec didn’t know what to do. How was he supposed to get himself out of this situation? It was only getting worse when Max pulled his face around so they could kiss. Alec inhaled sharply as Max’s tongue invaded his mouth in slow strokes and began exploring, and tasting him. His body shivered as Max’s fingertips ran seductively across his skin, playing with his painfully erect nipples. He fought as his own arms betrayed him and embraced Max, drawing him closer as their kiss deepened, sending jolts of electricity through his body. Man he was so screwed. He had to remember Max wasn’t single—he wasn’t free.

  “I’m not gay,” Max whispered like a mantra as his hands undid Alec’s jeans and pushed them down, “I’m really not.”

  “I know… you’re not gay,” Alec replied nervously as he helped remove his and then Max’s jeans. Tomorrow he was going to hate himself. He really, really was.

  “I just want you to touch me,” Max said shyly.

  He groaned as Alec lightly ran his hands over him as his mouth followed along the same path his hands had just taken.

  “Please,” he thrust his hips off the bed as Alec took him into his mouth. His hand reached out and brushed Alec’s long hair out of the way so he could watch.

  Alec closed his eyes; if he couldn’t see the naked man in his bed then this wasn’t really happening. This was so wrong, and he knew it… not just because they were both straight, but because they both had girlfriends waiting for them to come home… yep, definitely screwed.  He heard Max cry out with his release seconds before Alec tasted the seed that filled his mouth; only then did he let him go.

  Alec looked up to see tears in Max’s eyes. “I’m not gay… but I so want to have sex with you right now.”

  Alec crawled up his body and nodded; he brought their mouths back together before getting up onto his knees.  He inhaled sharply as he felt Max penetrate him with his spit coated fingers; stretching that most private part of him, but soon a warmth spread through him as Max’s hard shaft entered him and satisfied him in ways that no one had before.  “Can I come inside you?”  Max panted, his rhythm becoming erratic as he neared his peak.  “Sweet Jesus,” he cried out as he slammed into Alec over and over.

  They collapsed on the bed in a tangle of arms and legs, and just lay there until Max got himself under control.  “Do you want… do you want to do that to me?”  Max moved toward him when Alec nodded.

  Alec watched as Max lowered his face and went down on him.  Jesus Christ what the hell was he doing; he wanted to push Max away but it just felt so damn good.  He shuddered as Max’s mouth and tongue worked their magic on him.  Max had just cupped his balls when he exploded.  Max’s mouth explored his body on the way back up.  They kissed tenderly before Alec did something that he never thought he would ever do to another guy.

  Alec couldn’t help but look down to where their bodies were connected and it struck him that it looked beautiful.  He stopped and stared.

  “What’s the matter?”  Max looked back over his shoulder, “Just because I’m letting you do this, it doesn’t make me gay”

  Alec looked at him in confusion before closing his own eyes as he started moving again.  “It might not mean you’re gay, but I think it does for me,” his heart was pounding in time to the sound of their flesh slapping together, echoed by Max’s soft sounds of pleasure.  He had never felt this way before.  When he was with Mel, it was always nice, but this was… was… he lost his thought pattern as he fell over the edge into his desire.  His cock still buried balls deep inside another guys arse.

  Alec moved them so they were lying on the bed spooning; they didn’t speak as they drifted back into sleep.

  Alec woke to the sound of his door closing and knew that Max had gone.  Part of his heart cried out that something so beautiful had just walked out of his life.  Regretfully he pushed himself up and got ready to go home.