I decided to share part of the first chapter with you today! I hope you like it and don't forget, it's available for preorder now.
It was my best friend’s older brother who made me realize I’m gay. Sure, I’d wondered before. I mean, a part of me had to have known, but it was Levi who made me admit it to myself. Or rather, it was the fact that when I really started jerking off on the regular, it was to thoughts of him. It didn’t matter that he was an asshole—a straight-as-straight-could-be asshole—he was the star player in a whole hell of a lot of my fantasies growing up.
But then I went away for college and made all of those fantasies and more come true. Not with Levi because of the whole being a straight asshole thing, but once I was out of Coburn, the small town in Oregon where I grew up, I didn’t need to pine after the guy I’d never have. I was in San Francisco for fuck’s sake. Home had a shortage of gay guys to choose from, but San Francisco was an all-you-could-eat buffet.
Now it’s winter break and I’m home from college, so of course the Levi-factor is in effect again. His family is throwing a holiday party and I’m sitting on their living room couch watching Levi do what he does best: charm a group of women. He must be telling some kind of joke or something because they’re laughing and smiling, all eyes pinned on him. He was always the golden child—straight A’s in school, popular, good at sports. Maybe that’s why I wanted him so much. He was everything I wasn’t. Not that I want to be those things, because I don’t, but on him they’re sexy as hell.
He flashes a smile at his admirers that gives me a tingle in my balls. Groaning, I try to look away but can’t. He’s always had this magnetic energy that sucks me in.
His hickory-brown hair has grown out since I saw him last. It’s hanging in his face, almost blocking his dark eyes. When he grins, big and bright, his thin lips stretched wide, the group does the same, smiling at him. It’s like when someone yawns and you’re powerless not to yawn yourself. Sometimes it’s as though he lends you some of his confidence, or at least I tell myself that. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels that way as everyone looks at him like he’s teaching them to hang the moon. But then he has to go overboard when he puts his arms out, flexing his biceps. That’s when I roll my eyes and look away.
“What a fucking idiot.” My best friend Chris sits next to me on the couch. We met in fifth grade and we’ve been tight ever since. I was the quiet kid before I met Chris. Take after my dad that way, I guess, but Chris pulled me out of my shell.
We were always doing something stupid when we were kids. Nothing too outrageous: got caught drinking and smoking a few times, missing curfew. He stole two Playboy magazines for us to jack off to, which was when I first realized there was something different between the two of us. Naked girls and tits did nothing for me. I pretended to come as hard as he told me he did, and then a few months later, I was forgoing the magazines in favor of mental images of his brother.
“Eh,” I reply, because talking about Levi with Chris never goes well. He’s always had issues with his brother.
“Watch them, though—women eat him up. I don’t fucking get it. I swear to God if Gemma falls for him I’m going to beat his ass.”
Laughing, I look at Chris. His hair’s the same shade of brown as Levi’s but it’s shorter. Chris has always had this jealousy thing with his brother, which I guess is probably normal. I don’t have siblings so I wouldn’t know. His concerns aren’t too farfetched, though. Every girl who spends more than five minutes with Levi ends up falling for him. I can see why Chris would be jealous, especially because Chris had been in love with some of them. Or at least, he’d wanted to screw them. There was one girl in particular who Chris had been into. They’d fucked around a few times and the next thing we knew, Levi was taking her out. Chris hasn’t forgiven him for that one.
“I’m sure your girl isn’t going to fall for your brother.” If I don’t change the subject, he’ll go off on all the ways he can’t stand Levi, and I’ll want to stab my eardrums so I don’t have to hear it all for the millionth time. Nudging him, I say, “It’s kind of good to be home for winter break. I missed this.”
This being his family. My dad was around and he tried his best, but it wasn’t easy for him to support us. He worked all the time to make ends meet, and Chris’s family let me pretend like I belonged there because Chris and I were close. It made things easier on Dad. He misses Mom more every time he looks at me.
“When will Gemma be here?” I ask. Chris went and fell in love our sophomore year of college. Since I’m in San Francisco and Chris’s school is back East, this break will be the first time I meet her.
Before he replies, loud laughter erupts from the other side of the room and I glance over to see Levi sitting by the table with his head tilted back, letting out belly laughs. I watch his throat move. He has a really sexy throat I wouldn’t be averse to kissing…and I really need to shut my goddamned brain down and stop lusting after Chris’s brother. Even if there was a chance in hell I could bang Levi, I’m pretty sure Chris would lose his fucking mind if I did. Chris is the best friend I’ve ever had, my only real one, and I wouldn’t sacrifice that for anything.
“A few days. She’s incredible, Toby. You’ll love her. I can’t wait for you to meet her.” Chris nudges me the same way I nudged him a minute before, so I pull my attention away from Levi and back to him. “What about you? You said there were all kinds of dudes to choose from at school.”
While I’m glad he feels comfortable talking to me about this, discussing my sex life with him isn’t something I’m in the mood to do. With Chris it’s all roses and hearts and love. With me it’s ass and hands and mouths. Big difference in what we’re looking for.
“There were plenty of guys.” I wink. “So many, in fact, I feel like I’d be doing them a disservice if I got serious about any of them. Who buys the first car they test drive?” That’s what going off to school was about for me. Yes, there’s the education, but I really wanted to live and experience all the shit I couldn’t while at home. I’m the only queer guy in my small town—the only one I know of, anyway—and I never had an opportunity to experience much of anything before leaving for San Fran.
Chris has always been sympathetic to my situation in Coburn, but my brand of loneliness isn’t something he can really understand. It’s easier not to mention it much.
Still, he’s really the only person I have in my life who wants to be there for me. He never gave a shit that he was hanging out with not only the only gay kid in town, but the only black kid, too. He was my boy from the start and I was his. Reason number two I need to end my obsession with the oldest Baxter son. They’re like family to me.
More laughter from the other side of the room. Nearly everyone at the party is congregating around Levi and he’s making the holiday party all the merrier, soaking up being the center of everyone’s universe.
“He’s such a fucking bastard. Always has to be in the middle of everything,” Chris says, each of his words making me feel guiltier and guiltier, because as much as he can’t stand his brother, and as much as I love Chris, I understand the draw of Levi. There’s something about him, and even after all these years, I have to grudgingly admit that it’s still pulling me in, too.
Tobias Jackson grew up in Coburn, a town where the queer population equaled exactly one: him. Add that to the fact that his dream guy was his best friend's jerky older brother Levi Baxter, and it made hooking up virtually impossible.
Now home from college for winter break, Toby is a different person. He left Coburn for San Francisco, where he wasn't the lone gay guy and the only black kid in town. And yeah, he took advantage of what the city had to offer.
Apparently Toby isn’t the only one who’s changed. Levi’s not acting like the self-centered guy with all the answers that Toby remembers from growing up. Oh and Levi’s realized he's bisexual, which makes things a lot more interesting…
Heading back to college, Toby doesn’t expect to meet up with Levi again, despite him being in med school not far away. A surprise visit from Levi blows that assumption out of the water. As they spend more time together Toby sees Levi as more than just the fantasy. He’s complicated, unsure…he’s real. But if Toby can’t get out of the past and find the words he keeps locked inside himself, he’ll lose his chance at Levi for good.
New Adult Romance