Farewell from the Bookshelf!
Please note that GLBT Bookshelf -- the community wiki which was the parent to this fiction blog -- went offline on May 31, 2016, after seven years' service to members.
All Gay Romance will remain online till the end of 2016 in order to give contributors every opportunity to recover materials uploaded here.
Many thanks to all who contributed over the years, and good luck to everyone in your future works!
Author: Sloan Parker
Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Length: Novel Plus
Breathe is available for purchase at: www.loose-id.com/Breathe.aspx
Lincoln McCaw lost everything -- his home, his job, his partner -- after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he’d never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive…before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has.
Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he’s ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife’s accident, he tries to pull away. But how can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything -- a friendship and a love that could save him? He may not have time to make the choice before someone else destroys it all.
“God, you sure are a cute one.”
Jay cracked a smile as the woman at the far end of the bar flirted with the dark-haired man wearing a leather jacket. She had no clue she’d already lost the game. Not only was Dark Eyes gay, he also looked as lost as he had when Jay first saw him. No one stood a chance with someone who obviously wanted to be left alone the way he did.
She kept at it, though. “Come on. Buy me a drink.” She ran her long, pink fingernails through the hair above his ear. Dark Eyes swatted her hand away and returned his attention to the glass that held something stronger than beer, gripping it with both hands.
Jay couldn’t blame her for trying. Dark Eyes looked good in the black leather and faded jeans, his dark hair and skin a temptation for the fingers. Jay clutched his beer and took a swallow before setting it on the table he’d grabbed ten minutes earlier.
Sonny’s Tavern was crowded, the eligible singles mixing with the heavy drinkers. Most--like the woman hitting on Dark Eyes--not knowing how to tell the difference between the two. The Friday night crowd was more animated than the last night Jay had been in. A group of couples danced near the back wall, creating a makeshift dance floor. There was a different bartender on duty, the television and music overhead were louder, but the same old man sat sipping whiskey near the restrooms.
Jay drank more of his beer and waited. It wouldn’t take long.
By the time he finished the beer, the bar stool next to Dark Eyes was empty, the chatty blonde desperate for a free drink--and possibly more--had moved on. Jay waved for another beer, dropped onto the stool, and said, “Hey.”
Dark Eyes ignored him and stood.
Apparently Jay sucked at the flirting thing. Which made sense. He hadn’t dated many girls. The only one other than Katie had been a fellow classmate he’d agreed to go to the homecoming dance with his junior year during the five weeks he and Katie had their one breakup.
Dark Eyes removed his jacket, laid the leather over the bar, and sat again. The muscles of his arm flexed as he lifted the glass for a drink. The hint of a tattoo peeked out from under the T-shirt’s sleeve. An outline of an eagle feather.
“Do I know you?” Dark Eyes asked.
And here Jay was picturing what it would be like to blow the guy. He’d always wanted to know. Always imagined he’d like sucking cock and couldn’t stop dreaming of doing it to Dark Eyes since the man had walked out of the bar the other night. Was it because Jay knew Dark Eyes was gay?
No. This guy was a total turn-on for him. He’d only been sitting next to the man long enough for one smoke, and already all Jay’s fantasies were roaring to life.
“I uh…I was in here the other night.”
“I remember,” Dark Eyes said. “Saw you outside the night before that too. Thought maybe I’d seen you somewhere else, though.” He slid the bowl of peanuts toward Jay.
Jay stilled the spinning bowl. “Don’t think so. I’d remember meeting you.” Heat rose in his cheeks. Shut up! But did he want to? He nodded to the TV. “You watching the game?”
“Nah. I gave up last half.”
“Guess I didn’t miss much excitement, then. I had to work late.”
Dark Eyes removed one hand from his glass. He made like he was going to take a drink. “Where do you work?” The question came out in a rush before the glass hit his lips.
“Stacking loads at McNeil’s Lumber Yard.” Jay made eye contact with the man. Neither looked away. A nervous jolt shot from his gut to his groin. “It’s a shit job, but I’m lucky to have it. I was going to college but, I…uh, I had to quit. And since they won’t let you teach high school history without a college degree, or a teacher’s license for that matter, I’m stuck with whatever pays the bills.”
Dark Eyes let go of his drink and turned on the stool a fraction of an inch in Jay’s direction. The slight curve of his lips wasn’t as unnerving as the intense stare.
Jay kept talking. “History’s always been my thing. Since I was a kid. Everyone thinks I’m crazy for wanting to teach high schoolers, but there’s a lot we can learn from history.” And why was he sharing any of this?
The grin on the other man’s face grew. “You always talk this much?”
Jay shrugged and sipped the beer he’d forgotten he had. “I don’t know.” He laughed. That statement was worth a laugh--the first real one in over a year--considering Todd’s recent comments about how he hadn’t been talking much anymore.
“What’s funny?” Dark Eyes asked.
“Nothing. What do you do?”
“Just started over at the steel plant. Used to drive loads for them years back.” Dark Eyes gripped his glass again, clutching it in one hand. The other joined the first until he held on to it with both hands. What would those hands feel like when they touched Jay’s body? His ass? His dick? What would those arms feel like wrapped around him? How would the skin of that neck taste? What would that dark hair feel like when he grasped the man’s head in his hands while Dark Eyes blew him?
Jay breathed deep. Fantasies…just a fantasy. He wasn’t ready for anything physical with anyone. Was he?
Before that week, he hadn’t been ready for so much as a one-night stand. When he let himself get close to someone, all his thoughts would turn to Katie and every sexual moment they’d spent together. He hadn’t wanted to go there, especially not for a quick fuck to please his cock.
Had that changed?
His body was ready, but was he?
Maybe someday…a roll in the hay with a woman. Maybe even with a guy. Might be nice to know if all those fantasies had been leading him on about what he wanted--or whom he wanted it with. But not yet. Not after only a year.
Then why had he sat next to the guy in the first place? Why had he looked for the man?
Dark Eyes leaned his upper body in close, almost touching Jay’s arm. That rattled him out of his trance. Damn, he’d been staring at the man for too long. The husky whisper as Dark Eyes spoke did nothing to aid Jay in regaining his concentration.
“Quit looking at me like that, kid. Unless you’re willing to back it up.”
Oh God. Maybe the flirting had gone better than Jay thought.
The only sexual experience he had other than Katie was the ten-minute fuck in the back of Christy Harper’s car on homecoming night. He’d gotten off, but it hadn’t been anything special. He’d put every last minute of it out of his mind as soon as he and Katie had made up.
The weeks they’d spent apart were the worst weeks of his life until a year ago.
No. The worst part was telling Katie about what he’d done with Christy. Katie had gone on her own date, and Jay hated hearing about the kissing and groping she’d done. He could only imagine how much it hurt Katie to listen to his confession about his backseat “date.” He made a promise to himself as he drove her home that night, both of them sitting in the front seat of the Jeep in silence. He’d never hurt her again. Never cheat again. Even though she said he hadn’t technically cheated and she understood how it had happened, it sure had felt as though he’d been unfaithful. He never wanted to feel that way again. Never wanted any other person pleasuring him. Only her.
And now here he was hoping another guy was interested in him.
How had he given this guy the right signals? Or the wrong ones? And how was he supposed to respond?
Jay licked his dry lips and forced his attention on the TV above the bar. Commercials. Something with beer and babes in bikinis. How apropos.
“Kid.” That one word in the low, deep voice had him facing Dark Eyes again. Jay barely heard the whispered command over the sound of the country music. “Give it a few minutes, then meet me out back.” Dark Eyes stood, threw some wadded cash onto the bar, grabbed his coat, and exited out the back entrance that led to the rear parking lot. The music and crowd in Sonny’s muffled the bang of the door closing behind Dark Eyes.
Jay turned to the bar. He needed to leave. Out the front entrance. Now.
Why wouldn’t his legs help him out? He guzzled his beer in four tries, dropped the bottle onto the bar, and stood. What the hell?
He walked toward the back door at a quick clip, hoping no one knew where he was going.
Copyright 2010. Sloan Parker. All Rights Reserved.
Learn more about BREATHE and Sloan Parker
Breathe is available for purchase at: www.loose-id.com/Breathe.aspx