More than anything, struggling tech support specialist Bradley Evans wants an alpha male lover. He thinks he’s found his perfect match, but when his domineering stock broker boyfriend goes too far, Bradley wonders if his flexible, mindful neighbor might be just what he needs.
Ward Linden teaches autistic middle schoolers and is sexy and kind…but he isn’t quite the alpha Bradley’s been looking for. Do nice guys always have to finish last?
Bradley explores what it means to be alpha male in this steamy, humor-laced gay romance. Due to its sexual content, this book is for adults only.
- 2 To Be Read lists
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: Bad Breakup, Friends to Lovers, Hurt / Comfort, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Opposites Attract, Pets Are 'Portant, Smartass Twinks, True Love
Word Count: 26000
Setting: Dallas, Texas, United States
Languages Available: English
They ate grilled tofu and veggie shish kebab drizzled with some tangy ginger sauce and quinoa salad dressed with fresh lime. Ward made margaritas for desert, which they drank on the balcony with Mijo, on a leash, watching the autumn-empty pool. Listening to the pool’s fountain while sipping the tequila-soaked drink soothed what was left of Bradley’s flustered mood.
He and Ward had fallen into a comfortable silence. Feeling generous, he broke it. “You know, I’m going to be here a few days. You don’t need to cook like that every day I’m here.”
“Oh, no. I do that every night. I love cooking.” He shrugged. “I think it’s good to take care of yourself. Love yourself, you know?”
Bradley laughed. “I eat things that come in Styrofoam cups. Oh, and bagged salad. Gotta get your greens.”
“Would you like to learn to cook? I can show you. You can cook with me, if you want.”READ MORE
“Eh…maybe. I’m a slow learner sometimes. Not sure I can learn much in a few nights.”
Ward looked at him with a pitying expression. “Your apartment—that damage isn’t going to be repaired in a few days. They’re going to have to repair the drywall, repaint, replace the carpet…I think you’re going to be here a few weeks.”
Bradley held his hand in his hands. “Fuck. Fuck me. Just fuck.”
“Maybe your boyfriend will want you to stay with him, after all.”
“He thinks we’re getting too serious. I’m getting too serious.” Bradley drank some more of his margarita. “Staying at his place a few weeks would definitely be too much for him.”
“How could anyone get too much of you?”
Bradley waved the remark away. “It’s the commitment he has problems with. I want a committed relationship. He’s not sure about it.”
Ward snorted. “What an asshole.”
“He’s my boyfriend,” Bradley corrected, a thin note of warning in his voice. And then, perhaps fueled by tequila, he added, “He’s an alpha male. They’re like that.”
Ward shook his head slightly. “I don’t know. I’ll check my Greek, but I don’t think alpha means asshole.”
Ward, evidently, had no idea how to be polite. Bradley decided to change the subject. He stared out at the fountain. “What grade do you teach?”
“Middle school. Mixed grades. I work with autistic kids.” Before Bradley could express his condolences, Ward continued. “My kids are fantastic! You wouldn’t believe how amazing they are. I learn something from them every day.”
Bradley couldn’t resist. “Aren’t they sort of little Vulcans? They don’t feel anything? Isn’t it hard?”
“They feel. They process emotions differently, but they definitely feel. It’s like with animals. Some people think they don’t have emotions. People don’t understand them, but they definitely have emotions.”
Bradley sniffed. “I believe they do. Animals feel more than people, I think. It’s like they’re all emotion. Like, people think animals are savage. If an animal is cruel, it’s usually because of some primal need. Humans are cruel just to be cruel. Because they’re bored. Because they’re greedy. They justify their fears and prejudices with religion and reason. That’s true cruelty.” He took a deep breath, realizing he had stepped on his soapbox. He shrugged, aware suddenly that he was slightly drunk despite having eaten. Ward made his margaritas strong. “Yeah, animals have emotions.”
Ward stared at him with a strange expression. His brown eyes drank the darkness. In the evening glower, the shape of his lips and that sharp angle of his jaw made him look like some black and white movie star. He wasn’t mediocre at all, he was actually quite handsome. Mijo hopped into Bradley’s lap. Ward laughed. “No wonder Mijo likes you.”
Bradley giggled, petting the cat and feeling flushed suddenly. “I have to get some sleep.” He stood and handed Mijo to Ward. Their hands touched, and a chill fled through Bradley’s chest and belly. He was drunk. He wasn’t interested in Ward. He had a boyfriend—and Ward was too nice. Nice guys finish last, wasn’t that the saying?
He went to his room, undressed, and crashed on the futon. As he drifted to sleep, he wondered if Ward had ever slept on the futon, wondered where he had lain, wondered how his hair smelled. How could anyone get too much of you?COLLAPSE
Potential trigger warnings: emotional abuse, narcissistic parent, narcissistic boyfriend, shooting (off page but characters deal with aftermath)