Unexpected Love Collection
What can a hotshot Wall Street trader and a simple handyman possibly have in common?
Jack Crawford, a recently widowed handyman, has never defined himself as gay. But a secret erotic encounter years before left Jack with a wealth of deep sexual dreams and longings that have remained secret, until now.
Careful to keep his heart out of the equation, Will Spencer uses and discards lovers as easily as he trades stocks. He is used to taking what—and who—he wants, until now.
In an unlikely pairing, Will and Jack explore an incendiary relationship, sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always erotic. Each man must find his courage, one to bring the dreams of his heart to life, the other to determine whether he is truly able to entrust his heart to another.
Warning: Hot, delicious male/male erotic romance.
- 3 To Be Read lists
- 4 Read lists
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Coming Out Later in Life, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, Healing Power of Sex
Word Count: 61000
Languages Available: English
From his vantage point at the dining room table, Jack watched Will carefully measure and pour whole coffee beans into a fancy black and stainless steel coffee-making contraption that probably cost as much as his old pickup truck was worth. He was sure the coffee would taste fine, but doubted it would taste much different from the coffee he made in the old auto-drip machine he’d had for twenty years.
The coffee smelled wonderful as it started to brew. The cannoli sat piled on a plate on the table in front of him. Jack wanted to eat one—to just pop the whole thing into his mouth, but he waited for Will, not wanting to be impolite.
“Can I get the cream and sugar or something?” he asked, feeling antsy, not used to being waited on by someone other than Emma. For some reason, he couldn’t seem to take his eyes off Will’s body. His jeans fit like a comfortable second skin, molding along the curve of his ass down long, lean legs.READ MORE
“No, I got it. Just hang on a second. I’ve got the coffee going now. Sometimes I think you need a license just to operate this damn thing.” Will turned toward him and flashed a grin. Jack noticed, not for the first time, Will’s movie-star-perfect smile. He had a dimple in his left cheek and his eyes sort of creased up into half moons when he grinned broadly, which he’d been doing a lot this evening, or so it seemed to Jack.
What am I doing here?
The question flashed into his brain and as it did, a part of Jack wondered why it had taken so long to get there. What exactly was he doing with a young, handsome gay man? Had they been on a date, for God’s sake? Were they now going to finish the date with dessert and a good-night kiss? By coming back to Will’s house, was he tacitly offering himself up for a homosexual encounter?
Jesus, cut it out.The word homosexual sounded so formal, so dated. So Will was gay, big deal. Was it a crime to have a gay friend? He had female friends, or he used to, he supposed, when Emma was around. If he was alone in the kitchen with one of them, did that necessarily mean sex was in the offing? No, it did not.
He and Will had become friends over the two weeks he’d worked on his kitchen. Will was easy to talk to. He understood about Emma, empathetic about Jack’s self-imposed loneliness without making him feel self-conscious. Jack had to admit he liked how Will seemed to hang on his every word, awed by his renovation skills and his “artist’s eye” as Will had called it. When he was with Will he didn’t feel like just a handyman. He felt as if the work he was doing really mattered.
He surveyed the room, admiring his own handiwork. The marble countertops gleamed, the floor looked as if it had always been there, the appliances fit perfectly. He glanced up the ceiling, studying the oak leaf pattern pressed into the white tin. This kitchen, he thought proudly, could be featured in one of those home-improvement magazines.
Will moved to the table, carrying a tray with mugs, a pitcher of cream and a sugar bowl. “I’m going to have to have a big dinner party to show off my new kitchen.”
Jack suddenly imagined this dining room table, which seated eight, filled with Will’s rich young friends—the up-and-coming movers and shakers of the financial community. Or maybe he’d have all gay men, GQ-model types, each one better looking than the last, lifting their champagne flutes, their little fingers extended as they lisped their toasts to one another before falling into a debauched orgy…
Come on, Crawford, get a grip.
Will left him a moment and this time returned with a bottle of Cognac and two brandy snifters. “I thought we could toast the new kitchen,” he said as he set them on the table. He brought over the coffeepot and stood beside Jack as he filled each mug with aromatic, steaming coffee. As he leaned down, his arm brushed Jack’s shoulder and the touch sent an inexplicable shiver down Jack’s spine.
Will sat across from Jack and gestured toward the cannoli. “Please, help yourself. I didn’t mean for you to wait.”
Jack selected a cannoli and bit into the light, crunchy shell. The creamy cheese filling exploded like heaven on his tastebuds, and he closed his eyes, savoring its sweet ecstasy. When he opened his eyes to reach for his coffee, he found Will staring at him, those large green eyes focused like a cat on a mouse. He felt himself blushing, which was ridiculous.
Will uncorked the brandy and poured a healthy amount in each snifter. He held one out for Jack. Jack hesitated, but then took the glass, not wanting to be rude. He looked down at the rich, amber liquid and moved the glass, watching it swirl.
Will raised his glass toward Jack, who raised his in turn. “To my beautiful new kitchen. Thank you, Jack Crawford, for your meticulous, high-quality work and your vision. You truly are an artist.”
Jack couldn’t help but grin, both pleased and amused by the young man’s abundant praise. “My pleasure,” he mumbled. He tipped back the glass and swallowed the strong, slightly sweet spirit. It felt good burning down his chest.
“Another?” Will held up the bottle.
“Sure, what the hell?”
Will poured another several ounces into his glass. Jack ate two more cannoli and drank his coffee, which, he had to grudgingly admit, was actually quite a bit better than the stuff he made at home.
Will wasn’t eating. He’d had one bite of his pastry and left it sitting on his dessert plate. His coffee mug was still nearly full. Instead he focused on his brandy, cupping the balloon glass in his hands as if using it to warm them. He looked anxious.
“You okay?” Jack asked.
“Me? Yeah. What do you mean? I’m fine.”
Jack smiled, feeling his grin spread slow and easy over his face. He felt good. He knew he was drunk. He knew his defenses were down. He knew he should probably be leaving, but damn it, where the hell did he have to go? Back home to his empty house to watch TV or read or do the damn crossword puzzle out of the paper like some old man waiting to die?
He liked Will. He liked the way Will seemed genuinely interested in the renovations, involved at each step. He’d enjoyed the evening playing pool and eating pizza. Boldly he stared at Will, who was looking down into his brandy glass. He liked the way Will’s lips seemed to curve into a kind of Cupid’s bow. He had a strong chin and jaw and straight brows over those very green eyes. He really did look like Luke. Or the Luke of days gone by. The Luke Jack remembered. The one who had touched his thigh, his face so earnest as he leaned forward, willing Jack not to pull away as their lips met…
“Jack? You okay?”
“What?” Jack jerked himself back to the present, focusing woozily on Will. “Yeah. Sorry. I think I had more to drink than I realized.”
“Let’s go sit on the sofa, why don’t we?”
Jack sat down as Will put some music on the sound system. Will sat on the couch as well, though not near. Jack had half-expected Will to sit right next to him, to put his arm around him, to pull him close…
He realized with a sudden jolt he’d only assumed Will was gay. He’d made a stereotypical assumption, based on Will’s appearance, his interest in the kitchen, his attention to artistic detail, the lack of a woman in the picture. What if he was totally off base? What if Will was as straight as he was?
How did one bring up something like that? Hint around about a girlfriend or ex-wife? Ask if he’d marched in the pride parade that year?
“You’re grinning, Jack, but I don’t know why,” Will said with an answering half-smile.
Jack sat up and took a gulp of his coffee. “Listen, Will. I’m not used to all the brandy. That’s my excuse.” He offered a lopsided grin and barreled on. “I’m going to ask you straight out because I don’t know how else to do it. Are you gay?”
FIVE STARS - THIS IS ONE STORY THAT WILL TOUCH YOUR HEART
I think my heart melted into a big pile of goo. This is one of the sweetest and most moving stories I have had the pleasure of reading. Jack and Will are perfect. Their journey together is so touching and makes you fall in love, with them. Their trepidation of revealing their feelings and opening up their hearts to each other makes you melt. If I didn't already love Claire Thompson's writing I would fall in love all over again. Thank you for such an amazing story.