Life is simple and hopeful in youth. Luke and Nelson are best friends exploring their budding sexuality. They have big plans for the future, and nothing can stand in their way or tear them apart—except a family move that puts a continent between them.
Ten years later Luke and Nelson meet again, but nothing is simple anymore. As strong as the attraction remains, obligations and expectations come between them as Luke is forced to honor family responsibilities over the desires of his heart.
Impossibly fate sees fit to offer them a last opportunity to see what might have been. Will the third time be the charm, or is trust so badly broken it is impossible to repair? Can they recapture the innocent love they once knew and make up for all the wasted years? In a love story that spans half a lifetime, two friends destined for each other will have to fight hard for their happily ever after.
Had he lost his goddamn mind? Luke was a friend he hadn’t seen in ten years, not a potential date. He shook his head at his stupidity. Just two old friends having dinner to catch up on old times. It didn’t matter that Luke was still the hottest guy Nelson had ever laid eyes on. Maybe Luke had become a jerk. Perhaps they no longer had anything in common. Hell, just because they rubbed off on each other a couple times, shared a few blowjobs, it didn’t make Luke gay. A lot of adolescents experimented. It didn’t mean anything. Besides, Luke talked about a steady girlfriend. “So put your dick and your hope away,” Nelson warned himself.
The jeans weren’t the easiest to get into with wet skin, but he managed. Somehow he was able to dress, fix his brown mousy curls—sort of—spray on a little cologne, and was downstairs in the allotted time. He was presentable, but sure, he looked frazzled. Of course, when he spotted Luke leaning against a pillar, Luke appeared calm and relaxed and, man, oh man, did he look presentable. He was wearing tight jeans and a baby-blue dress shirt the same color as his eyes that accentuated his deep tan. He wore his hair styled back, the longish strands tucked behind his ears, and from this distance, it looked dry, unlike Nelson’s wet mop.
“Just dinner with an old friend,” he mumbled. He ran his fingers through his hair one more time and took a deep breath.
His hands were shaking so badly he shoved them into the pockets of his jeans to hide his nervousness. With as much confidence as he could muster, he strolled over to Luke.
Luke smiled when he spotted Nelson. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Oh, that was original.
“The receptionist said they have excellent food in the Torch Light, but if you’d rather get bar food, we can hang out in the lounge.”
“Might be hard to talk in the bar,” Nelson pointed out.
“True. Torch Light it is. We can always head to the bar later.”
Nelson walked along with Luke, doing a little mental math. He had to meet his client at seven in the morning and still had to go over the notes his boss had sent him. He was young. As long as he got back to his room by, say… two… three at the latest, he’d be good.
The restaurant was high-end. White linen tablecloths, fine china, cut-crystal wineglasses. The whole nine yards of way too fancy for me to be here. The other patrons wore slacks, dinner coats, and dresses. Nelson was way underdressed, as was apparent from the disapproving looks he was getting. However, since Luke was dressed casually as well, it did make Nelson feel marginally better. He pointed out the dress code as soon as they were sitting and the host had walked away.
Luke waved a dismissive hand. “Like I care. My money spends just as easily as theirs.”
Nelson shook out his napkin and laid it in his lap. “I’d have thought, you being from Malibu and all, you’d adhere to etiquette. You know, wear nothing but the finest everywhere you went.”
“This is my finest. Best pair of blue jeans, that is,” he chuckled. Luke then tilted his head. “Does it really bother you? We can go somewhere else if you prefer.”
“Nah, I’m good. Hell, I don’t even own the finest pair of anything.”
“My kind of guy,” Luke said. He flashed that stunning dimpled smile before hiding it behind his menu.
SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.