College Rose Romances, Book 3
For Andrew Tuttleman, sex is a means to an end. With a mother too sick to pay the bills on her own and college bills to pay, Drew has spent years resorting to sex with strangers to keep a roof over his mother's head and keep himself at school, far away from the hell where he grew up. This summer, his usual tricks are still paying the bills. But there's a new one, Grant, who never got the memo that a trick is a no-strings deal. Convinced that Drew is the answer to a hopeless prayer, Grant seems ready to pursue Drew to the ends of the earth.
Drew, on the other hand, isn't so convinced. Grant comes with trouble in the form of a wife and three kids, not to mention a single and unwavering requirement: that Drew give up his livelihood. Grant's kiss makes Drew ache for more, a romance that he never dreamed possible. He finds himself unexpectedly willing to try. Can Drew weather Grant's angry father, wife, and a daughter determined to kick him in the shins so hard that he'll leave Grant's life forever? It all relies on Grant's faith in an impossible prayer.
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Publisher: Purple Horn Press
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Coming of Age, Coming Home, Coming Out / Closeted, Coming Out Later in Life, Families/Raising Kids, Hurt / Comfort, InstaLove / Love at First Sight, One Night Stand
Word Count: 76000
Setting: New England, US South
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
ANDREW RICHARD TUTTLEMAN approached the ramshackle cinder block house cautiously. There was another car parked in front off the side of the road, and his mom didn’t drive. The voices inside were loud, and not in any sort of good way. Drew’s car was parked in the driveway, filled with suitcases and a few boxes that he’d left there. He’d stored more back at the University, but he wasn’t certain just what sort of reception he’d get. Not now that his mom knew.
Coming home hadn’t been a difficult choice. Sure, it was over a thousand miles. Sure, it was going to be hot, sticky, and miserable. It was still home. His mom was the only person in his life who’d said “I love you” that he had believed. She’d even said it after she found out. She’d been in tears, she’d screamed. But she’d still said “I love you,” and Drew never doubted for a moment that she’d meant it.READ MORE
The screaming in the house got worse. It took only moments for Drew to reach the house and fling open the door. Any other time it would be kept locked in a self-delusional attempt to pretend safety, but the three chains that helped secure the door hung limply from the wall. A towering white man with a bushy black beard and a shaved head stood threateningly over Drew’s mom. He was in jeans and leather vest—no shirt.
“I done gave you your extra week. Now where’s my fucking money, b—”
“Don’t you dare finish that,” Drew said. He felt his leg for the comforting distension that the knife he always carried made in his pants.
The man spun and glared. Drew’s plain white t-shirt was soaked through, his usual shirt and sweater discarded in favor of comfort on the long drive. He knew he looked puny and weak in comparison to the towering mass of muscle and fat standing over him. He wasn’t. He looked up. “That’s my mother. Don’t even think of saying that word if you ever want to be paid.”
The man’s gaze skirted to Drew’s mother and then back. “You got my money, boy?”
Drew fished into his pocket and counted out the rent. He didn’t need to ask what it cost. He’d been paying it since he was fifteen. Behind the man, his mom was pale. She crossed herself when she saw the wad of cash Drew was carrying. Drew pushed the money against the man’s chest. “There’s your money.” He didn’t look at his mom as he pushed the wadded up remainder into his pants pocket. “He touch you, Mom?”
“Like I’d let that touch me!” His mom put her hands on her hips and stared at the massive man in her kitchen. “You got your money, Jed. You get outta here.”
He grunted as his hand closed over the cash. For a moment Drew thought he was going to stand there and count it, but he folded the bills and stuffed them into his pocket. “You better make sure this fucking gets paid on time next month or I’ll throw your precious mama out on the street. You hear me, punk?” Jed shoved Drew against the wall.
“She said get out,” Drew said, resting his hand on the pocket with the knife. “I think she meant now.”
Drew waited for him to leave. Jed owned every house on this street, and he’d been surly and unpleasant since Drew’s mom had gotten too sick to pay Jed in the way he preferred. Drew quietly closed the door and locked it, making sure every chain was in place and the deadbolt was locked.
Drew didn’t turn around. He stood there for a few moment, resting his forehead against the door, one hand still resting on the door knob. “Did he touch you, Mom?” It didn’t look like Jed had done anything; his mom was dressed.
“Not since I got sick, baby. He’s afraid he’ll get sick, and I don’t disabuse him of that notion.”
“He could.” Drew gulped. He hated these conversations. “I sent the rent. What happened?”
“Medicine changed again. The new mix is more expensive. I took extra days at the grocer bagging, but I got sick, then I was behind and needed more than just my pills.”
“He might have raped you, Mom.”
Drew heard the rustling of fabric as his mom ran her hands down her knee-length dress. “Wouldn’t have been the first time. It’d serve him right if he got it. The medicine keeps me alive. That’s more important.”
Shakes went through Drew. It wasn’t something he didn’t know, but hearing it never made it easier. The thought of that man on top of his mom made him more than a little sick to his stomach. “You could have called me. I would have—”
“Phone was out of minutes, no money for that either.” The click of her heel on the linoleum told him she’d moved. A hand touched his cheek. “You need that money for college. That’s your chance. That’s your future. Don’t you worry none about me.”
He didn’t need the money for school. He had plenty. With the full fucking ride, four scholarships he’d busted his ass to get, and a Pell grant, he did just fine. “I would have sent it, Mom.”
“You shush. That money’s for college.”COLLAPSE