Bully & Exit – Nathan and Caleb

The Midwest Series: Book One

by Brigham Vaughn

It's time to leave college and the closet behind.

Nathan Rhodes has put hockey first for most of his life, but as graduation looms, he has a different goal in mind. He needs to come out and reclaim his first love. If only Caleb will believe him...

Theater geek Caleb Stockwell gave up on love when his boyfriend chose the closet over being with an openly bisexual guy. Now, he hides his heartbreak behind a string of casual hookups. He loves the drama on stage, but he’s done with the drama of Nathan Rhodes. For good.

Nathan is determined to right the wrongs of four years ago, but the clock is ticking.

One month until he and Caleb go their separate ways. One month to take a final shot at winning Caleb's heart back.

Win or lose, everything is on the line.

NOTE: This is a second edition released June 2020 with an additional 18k words of brand new content, fresh edits, and a new cover.

This book is on:
  • 4 To Be Read lists
  • 1 Read list
  • 1 Currently Reading list
Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Editors:
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Bad Breakup, Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Find Love and Come Out, First Time, Forbidden Love, Geek and Jock, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Out for You, Passing as Straight, Reunited and it Feels So Good, Second Chances, Slow Burning Love, True Love, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Word Count: 60684
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

Nathan’s voice was soft when he spoke, gentle as it’d always been. “Caleb Stockwell. I’ve been looking for you.”

Caleb cleared his throat and ignored him, tipping the bottle up for another long drink. He licked the spiciness from his lips as he debated making another run for it. There was a shrub blocking his way in one direction and a hockey player in the other. Even if he hadn’t been drinking, the odds weren’t in his favor. “Nathan Rhodes,” he managed.

“Damn, I can’t believe it’s you!” Nathan leaned in, and Caleb pulled back, uncomfortable with him being so close.

Caleb laughed bitterly. “It’s me. Now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can run along.” He motioned with his hand, encouraging Nathan to leave.

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“It’s really good to see you,” Nathan said, ignoring him. He took a seat on the pile of discarded construction materials, his knees brushing Caleb’s as he lowered himself down. Caleb pulled away as if scorched.

“Yeah? Too bad I can’t say the same,” he muttered, his head swimming as the alcohol began to hit him. He eyed Nathan’s long, long legs and the way he was pinned in by them, remembering the way they’d felt tangled with his as they came, panting shallowly against each other’s skin. It brought it all back: the scent of Nathan’s cologne, the taste

of his skin, the way Caleb’s heart raced in his chest when Nathan held him close. It brought back the memories, the ones he’d worked so hard to run from. The good and the bad. The sharp, intense happiness of falling for Nathan. The aching, crushing hurt that paralyzed Caleb for months after Nathan was no longer in his life. Everything he’d buried four years ago and vowed never to touch again.

He caught the first glimpse of doubt on Nathan’s face. “Are you okay, Caleb?”

“Oh, I’m motherfucking peachy,” he snarked and took another long drink. “I’ve made it through four fucking years trying to ignore the fact we’re on the same campus, and with barely a month left in my senior year, I thought maybe I’d managed to pull it off. But, no, Lowell had to drag me to this goddamn party, and, of course, you showed up too. Just my luck.”

He raised the bottle again, but Nathan wrapped a hand around the neck and tugged. He was stronger than Caleb, so Caleb let go, afraid he’d end up getting pulled onto Nathan’s lap if he didn’t. Nathan took a drink and passed the bottle back, licking the taste of rum off his lips before he spoke. “You’re so angry at me.”

“Ya think?” Caleb snarled. “Didn’t it ever occur to you I would be? What the hell makes you think you can waltz in here and pretend like all the shit that went down between us didn’t happen?” He tried to stand, but Nathan’s dark denim-clad knees were on either side of his, pinning him in place. The bottle was pried from his suddenly limp fingers and set aside.

“I don’t think that,” Nathan protested. “I was just glad to see you, and I… I wanted a chance to apologize. I didn’t … I wanted …”

Caleb’s lips parted in surprise as cool fingers framed his face, and for the first time in four long years, Nathan’s lips were pressed to his again. Involuntarily, Caleb’s eyes closed, feeling a rush of heat wash over him, taking him right back to the first time. Before Nathan broke his heart.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

 


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