In Fearless, my heroes Connor and Wes (who you may remember from my rent boy story, Priceless) travel to New York City for a Christmas wedding. But of course, no happy ending comes without struggle, as our boys are about to discover…
“Wes? You okay in there?” The toilet flushed, followed by water trickling into the sink, accompanied by another sound—breathing, thick and clogged, like someone with a cold.
Connor heaved to his feet and went over to the door, fingers closing over the knob, but then he heard a scratchy, “I’ll be out in a minute.” He sat down on the edge of the bed, looking up when Wes finally emerged, face red and blotchy.
He opened his mouth to ask what’d happened, but a quick shake of Wes’s head stopped him. “I called my folks to find out why they’re not coming.”
Oh, God, no. Connor’s heart lurched. “I wish you hadn’t done that.”
“I just wanted to hear it from them. And man, did I.” He sank down next to Connor and slumped against his shoulder.
“Jesus, Wes, why do you keep doing this to yourself?” He wrapped an arm around Wes and pulled him close, pressing a kiss to his temple. “How many times have I told you, there’s no reasoning with homophobes.” Personal experience had taught him that painful lesson. He’d bid his own intolerant family good-bye eighteen years ago, and good riddance to all of them.
“I thought I could convince them. Thought I’d given them enough time to be okay with it, but . . .” His voice cracked. “How can they hate you so much when they haven’t even met you?”
Connor sighed. Everything that’d happened lately only seemed to cause Wes more pain. Why couldn’t he make it stop? “I don’t care how they feel about me, and you shouldn’t either. Let’s forget about it and go to bed.”
But Wes didn’t move, just sat gnawing his lip and examining the carpet. “There’s something else I need to tell you.” What was so bad that Wes couldn’t even look him in the eye? “My aunt . . . well, she’s the one who reported you to the chancellor’s office.”
“She called you a predator. Said she did it to protect me from you.” Wes barked out a laugh. “I hung up on her.”
A chill seeped under Connor’s skin. Everything he’d worked so hard to build these last ten years—his lab, his teaching position, his reputation—all flushed down the toilet by some self-righteous bigot. The realization smashed into him like a fist to the gut.
Wes’s hand on his elbow was all that kept him from toppling over. “You okay?”
“Do I look okay?”
The flash of pain on Wes’s face tore through Connor like a jagged blade. He was still reeling from the shock, but that was no excuse for biting Wes’s head off. He needed to calm down, stay focused. Exploding in anger wouldn’t do either of them a damn bit of good.
“I’m sorry, Connor. I had no idea she’d do something like this.”
Another useless apology. That’s all they ever seemed to say to each other lately. It still didn’t ease the pain, or get him his job back.
“I, I don’t understand why you had to tell her we were getting married in the first place,” Connor said, straightening up. “You knew she didn’t approve of our relationship. How did you think she’d react?”
“Jesus, Connor, she’s part of my family. Doesn’t she have the right to know?”
Except it wasn’t about that at all. It was about Wes’s sweet, if utterly deluded, fantasy where his aunt had a miraculous change of heart and welcomed him back into the fold. If it weren’t so galling, he might’ve found it touching.
“Not if she’s going to use it to destroy our lives.”
Wes flinched. “So you’re blaming me for all this?”
Connor’s nerves jangled, already scraped raw, but damn it, one of them had to keep a level head here. “Who said anything about blame? I just wish you’d think these things through—” He rubbed a hand over his face. “Look, I’m sorry. But you have no idea how rough it’s been these past few weeks.”
The color drained from Wes’s face. “You’ve known about this for weeks, and you didn’t tell me?”
Way to go, idiot. “I thought I could work it out with the chancellor on my own. I didn’t see any reason to worry you about it.”
“So you went ahead and made a decision that affects my entire future and didn’t even bother mentioning it? Thanks a whole fucking lot.”
“Leaving Berkeley is entirely your decision, Wes. Nobody’s forcing you. In fact, you should be grateful you’ve got a choice.”
Wes’s eyes widened as he jerked to his feet. “You mean, they really are firing you?”
No point hedging now. “Not yet,” he admitted. “But I am on indefinite suspension.”
“And you weren’t going to tell me that, either.” Mouth twitching, he shoved his hands in his pockets. “What else haven’t you told me?”
Such a stony, accusing tone. It froze Connor to the core. “Nothing, I swear.”
“You might be more convincing if you hadn’t already admitted you lied to me.”
That much was true. He’d dug himself a hole and now here he was, staring into its muddy depths. “Wes, c’mon, give me a break here. I just didn’t want to ruin the wedding.”
“What wedding?” Wes turned on his heel and stormed out.
Cat Grant lives by the sea in beautiful Monterey, California with one persnickety feline and way too many books and DVDs. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her watching movies or TV (Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries are among her favorite shows), singing along to whatever’s on her iPod, or fantasizing about kinky sex with Michael Fassbender.
Here’s Cat’s various hideouts on the Internet:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Grant/e/B003ASUGUS/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
You can contact her directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can you plan for the future when escaping the past seems impossible?
After over a year together, Connor Morrison and Wes Martin decide to tie the knot. But an ethics complaint regarding their deeply non-traditional relationship threatens Connor’s job and Wes’s Ph.D. The fact that Connor tried to keep it from Wes—even with the best of intentions—makes the situation even worse and casts a pall over their plans for a Christmas wedding in New York.
It doesn’t help that Connor still treats Wes like glass, though Wes insists he’s recovered from the brutal assault he suffered a year and a half earlier. Wes may be okay, but Connor isn’t. Memories of taking a battered, terrified Wes to the emergency room that night still haunt him, and he can’t let go of the need to protect Wes from any and everything life might throw at him.
But Wes has had enough. Between the specter of the ethics complaint and Connor’s overprotectiveness, he’s already beginning to question their plans. Add in a family ashamed of and angered by his choices, and Wes might just leave Connor standing at the altar.
Available at Riptide Publishing: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/fearless
And on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ALJOLXC/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
And All Romance ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fearless-1017694-145.html
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