Giving up a life as rent boy Sweetcheeks for his lover, William Matheson, was an easy decision for Theo Bascopolis. But years of selling his body and the lingering pain of being thrown out by his father leave Theo worried that Wills, who’s always had his family’s acceptance, can’t truly love him. Life has taught him love isn’t for rent boys, and he’s having a hard time tearing down the walls he built around his emotions and trusting that Wills sees beyond his past.
Despite Wills’s reassurances, he leaves for an extended assignment with no contact, giving Theo too much time to think about the future. A message arrives, and as far as Theo is concerned, it proves him right. Maybe it’s too late to protect his heart, but he’s not going to hang around waiting for Matheson to stomp all over it. Theo runs, breaking all ties to his former lover.
When Wills returns to an empty apartment and no sign of his lover, he wonders whether Theo wants to be found and if they were meant to be together after all. But they’ve been through too much, and Wills always gets his man.
- 3 Read lists
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Class Differences, Hurt / Comfort, Queer Wedding
Word Count: 118360
Setting: Washington, DC, Savannah, GA, Cambridge, MA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
I was in my office, working on the tax returns for Tim and Cris, when the house phone rang. “Theo Bascopolis, accountant at large. How may I help you?”
“Theo, it’s Vincent.”
“Vince? What’s—Wills?” Vince never called during the day, and I felt my insides twist. Since I’d learned what Wills really did, I’d started dreading a call from his boss. “Is he all right?”
“Yeah, he’s fine.” I sagged in relief. “I sent him to take a nap.”
“He was busy with work.”
“Oh, got it.” Wills had called early the day before to let me know he was working through the night, and I’d brought him dinner. “So what’s the skinny?”
“Paul’s in trouble.”
It was a good thing I was sitting down, or I’d have wound up on my ass, but I still had to swallow a bunch of times before I could speak. “What... what’s wrong?”READ MORE
“Spike’s missing, and I’m flying out to deal with it. I need a favor.”
“Oh, Jesus…. What can I do?”
“I have a kitten—”
“You do?” The thought of Vince with a kitten was kind of adorable. I remembered how cute he’d been with Miss Su. “Since when?”
“Since… Theo, is that really important?” He sounded impatient, and I felt dumb for letting myself be distracted.
“No, I guess not. I’m sorry.”
“Can I leave her with you?”
“Sure. You want me to come pick her up? Just leave the key—”
“Geez!” From the way he reacted you’d think I was volunteering to walk into a minefield instead of his home. “You don’t have to be so jumpy!”
“Look, you know where my condo is.”
“Sure.” As well as those times I’d worked there with Delilah Carson, for a few weeks this past fall, I’d gone to Aspen Reach to oversee it being refurbished... the walls painted, the hardwood floors refinished, and the arrangement of the furniture. I’d had the best time, and I was pretty sure Vince was happy with the results.
“Meet me there, okay? Wait for me outside the gate.”
Like I’d be able to get in—there were no guards there who I could charm into opening the gate for me. Which I wouldn’t have done anyway, since I was an engaged man. “I’m leaving right now.”
“Thanks, Theo. I owe you.”
“Vince, you don’t owe me a thing. You gave me Wills! And besides, you’re doing this for Paul.” And I knew how much Paul meant to him.
“I’ll see you in about fifteen minutes.”
“Okay.” I hung up, got my jacket and keys, and turned to my own kitty. “I’m going to bring a visitor home. Watch the house, okay?”
I went down to the garage, got into the Corvair, and backed it out, scraping the driver’s side door again. Stupid narrow driveway.
Although… Maybe I should take lessons?
I’d only just arrived at Aspen Reach when Vince pulled up to the gate, and it swung open. He drove through, and I followed him to his building and parked behind his car.
“I don’t have much time,” he said as he used a keycard through the swipe lock to unlock the door to the lobby.
“That’s fine. You haven’t heard anything else, have you?”
“No, but I know someone who knows someone on the CIA set, and I’m going to call him as soon as I get to LA.”
Spike had been thrilled when he’d gotten that part on the TV show, the friend of a computer geek who hacked into an important lab’s mainframe. We’d all been thrilled along with him. It was his first role following his appearance in the slasher flick slated to open over the Independence Day weekend. Even though the movie hadn’t been released yet, insider word praised Spike’s performance, and the CIA showrunner had been interested enough to give him a screen test.
Vince headed for the stairs. I’d never known anyone who preferred stairs to the elevator the way he did, but if that was what made him happy…
“I know you’ll want to talk to Paul, but do me a favor and wait for him to call you. He’s been up for almost twenty-seven hours, and I told him to get some sleep. I’ll have him call you when I get there.”
I touched his shoulder. “Thanks, Vince.”
“Don’t make a big deal of it.”
“Okay. But Vince? Thank you.”
We climbed up to the third floor, and he took out a key ring with a bunch of keys on it. He inserted one key after another into the six locks on his door. That was new; at least they hadn’t been there last fall. Something else I didn’t understand, but it wasn’t my business, so I didn’t say anything.
“Come on in.”
I followed him in and glanced around.
“I have to say we did a great job on this place.” And I was pretty damn proud of it. “It’s so much less… pink.”
“Yeah, it is, isn’t it? Pita!”
“That’s your cat’s name?”
“It’s temporary. I’m giving her to a friend’s mother for Mother’s Day.” He stuck his pinkies in the corners of his mouth and whistled.
“That isn’t the way to call a cat!”
“No?” He laughed as the cat appeared and bounded toward us.