Running In Circles

by Jess Buffett

Running in Circles - Jess Buffett
Editions:Kindle - Third Edition

Brody Jamerson returned to Woodport sure of three things. It would only be temporary, his future was in the city, and he would avoid his old high school teacher and crush, Nate McCallister, at all costs.

However, with the help of a nosy but well-meaning baker and a hyperactive cafe owner, Brody may find that in a town known for its second chances, he might just stop running in circles long enough to find where he really belongs.

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“Wait,” Nate said quickly, reaching a hand out to stop him. The warmth of Nate’s hand on his chest soaked through his skin, heating him up from the inside. “Just… oh god. I can’t believe I’m messing this up already. I mean...hey...seriously? That’s the first thing I say to you after all this time. I’m an idiot. Look, can we get a coffee or something? It’s been a while. I just want to… I need… I’ve missed you, Brody.”

It took a moment for the other man’s words to register. His gaze roamed over the other man’s body, taking it all in Nate’s face had become flushed and his eyes had become a little panicked looking while his hands shook slightly. Had he done that? Had Brody actually made Nate turn in to a trembling mess?

There was something a little intoxicating about that. But then, when wasn’t something about Nate intoxicating.


“Missed me?” he asked, still somewhat surprised. He honestly hadn’t thought Nate had given him much thought over the last few years. The last time Brody had made it home for Thanksgiving break, he had headed to the grocery store for his mother, only to turn the aisle and come face-to-face with Nate. More importantly, Nate and another man. The pair had appeared extremely friendly, and while it was obvious they were taking precautions to not be overly affectionate, Brody had seen the desire in the stranger’s eyes. A desire reflected in Nate’s own.

In the here and now though, Nate stood before him, alone and asking to spend time with him. The look in Nate’s eyes said Brody’s decision was more important than he knew.

“Yes. Missed you. I should probably...Brody…I…” Nate seemed to be stumbling over words, a first for the older man.

Still, Brody was hesitant to take Nate up on his suggestion. Even after all these years, Nate’s words in that letter, sending him away like he had, still caused him a fair amount of pain. Yet in the end, he couldn’t walk away from a chance to spend some time with the man.

Nate McCallister was still well and truly under his skin.

Wanting to break the tension that was building, Brody gave one of his cocky little grins that he knew for a fact had made many a man catch his breath. He took silent encouragement from the knowledge that Nate was no exception now. “How much?”

“ much…what?” Nate asked in startled confusion, a frown marring his features as he clearly struggled for composure.

“How much did you miss me?” He pushed for an answer, taking a step toward Nate. He was no longer that young man, desperate to take things slow and easy because he was so afraid of pushing Nate too far.

“A lot,” Nate whispered, his gaze softening as he said the words.

Taking a chance, he asked, “Do you have anywhere to be today?”

“No. It’s a school holiday.” Nate tilted his head in obvious curiosity. “Gotta love a long weekend. Why?”

“Wanna grab a coffee now?”

Seeming surprised, the Nate took a moment to respond. “If you’re sure? I don’t want you to feel as though you have too. I know that things between us are-”

Brody nodded and cut the other man off. “I’m sure, Nate. I wouldn’t have asked otherwise. There’s a new café I saw that must have opened up a while back. On the main strip. Hotshots. You heard of it?”

“Yeah, I know Hotshots,” Nate said with a chuckle. “It’s almost like a morning ritual for me before school to drop in there now. Skye and Brandon definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to coffee.”

“I was told those two opened up a place. I know them pretty well. Brandon’s older brother Isaac and my brother Scott are close friends. They work together.” Taking the steps necessary to fall in line with Nate, they cut their way through the forest toward the old highway where he had parked his car before heading off into the preserve. “Both of them were a couple of years ahead of me. You wouldn’t have met them back then since they graduated the year before you started teaching.”

Brody winced at the memories that particular comment brought up and looked out into the forest, at anything that meant he didn’t have to maintain eye contact.

An awkward silence settled on top of them until they finally reached their cars, and while he felt a slight relief in the break of tension by parting ways temporarily, another side loathed to let Nate out of his sight.

“I’ll meet you there,” he offered in parting as he moved towards his car.

“Are you sure you don’t want to head home and shower first?”

“Nah. I’m good.” He shrugged and opened the driver’s side door. Truth be told he was a little afraid that if he didn’t seize this moment now that Nate would change his mind, and that was the last thing Brody wanted. Seeing Nate uncertain, Brody sighed and bit the bullet, getting straight to the heart of it. “It’s just coffee, Nate. No expectations. Just coffee.”

Nate nodded with a small smile as Brody gave him a quick wave before folding into his jeep and slamming the door shut.


About the Author

Jess Buffett was born and raised in New South Wales, Australia. Jess is a mum of two, married to her high school sweetheart. She is a hopeless romantic who is a huge fan of M/M and M/F romance with a happy ending—anything with hunky men in all their glory, whether they be Shifters, Vampires, Cowboys, or the boy next door. A caffeine addict who shamefully can’t make a decent cup of coffee to save her life, Jess believes in soul mates, happily ever afters, and in love at first sight, but that sometimes people need a second or a third for the brain to catch up.

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