Originally titled "The Year Of Us." Sold in print as "The Year Of Us."

Tanner’s life had all been planned for him, and falling in love with his boss was not a part of that plan. Tanner is new to country life, and a stranger to country living. He is not new, however, to love. During his summer in the countryside of upstate New York, Tanner falls in love with the man he has come to work for and learn from. Tanner knows he must leave at the end of the summer and return to medical school, but cannot imagine life now without his boss, Mr. Knight. Tanner must decide for himself if he will follow the predetermined plan for his life, or follow his heart and stay with the man he loves.

A Time For Us
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Excerpt

As Tanner entered the station, there was only one man waiting. Braden Knight was a tall man who Tanner guessed to be about six feet tall, with dark hair, a slight build, and a very kind face with the bluest eyes he had ever seen. As Braden stood up, Tanner slowly walked toward him. “Hi, Braden Knight,” the nice man said with a kind voice to match his kind face. He reached for Tanner’s hand and Tanner took it in welcome relief. This man seemed genuinely kind, not just as a pretense as he had seen in so many of his fellow students. “Here, let me take your bag,” Braden offered. “Thanks. I’m Tanner, but I’m sure you already know that from the picture I sent.” “I was pretty sure it was you, at least you looked just like the picture you sent.” Braden’s smile lit up his entire face, and immediately put Tanner at ease. “We have about a five mile drive to my clinic, and then about another five miles north of town to the old homestead I call home. It’s been in the family for years. My grandparents built it, then my parents inherited it, and now it’s mine. My parents are no longer living.” “Oh, I’m so sorry,” Tanner said, not even being able to imagine what it would be like to have no parents. “Thanks,” Braden answered. Tanner wondered how old Braden was, and guessed him to be around thirty or maybe thirty-five at most.

On the drive to the clinic Braden thought Tanner was unusually quiet, but thought nothing of it. After all, he didn’t know anybody here and probably just felt a little out of his element. As they drove through the main part of town, Braden pointed out various businesses to Tanner and waved at many of the people who were going about their daily activities. “Everybody seems to know you,” Tanner commented. “Well, when you’re the only veterinarian for miles, you get to know people pretty well,” Braden said with a chuckle in his voice. They were soon heading north out of town on the way to Braden’s house. “Well, we’ll soon be home,” Braden said as he sped up a little. “You’re probably pretty tired by now,” Braden asked more than stated. “Oh, maybe a little,” Tanner replied.

***

Braden was so intently picturing the two of their bodies meshed together enjoying all the pleasures each could provide the other, that he hadn’t noticed they were almost back at the house, nor had he noticed that it was almost entirely dark. The beauty of Tanner’s skin, with its perfect oriental tones, was breathtaking in the moonlight. His lips which were parted just slightly were so enticing that Braden had to bite his own just to keep from kissing Tanner right there in the moonlight.

Lost in his own sexually explicit thoughts, Braden hadn’t realized that Tanner was talking to him. “Braden, did you hear me?” Tanner asked, looking into Braden’s big blue eyes. “Oh, no, I guess I didn’t. I must have been thinking about the animals at the clinic, Tanner. I’m sorry.” Braden looked down at his feet, hoping that this was a believable lie. He didn’t want to lie to Tanner or hurt him in any way, but he wasn’t willing to face possible rejection either. Braden was falling for Tanner, and falling fast. He hadn’t been with anyone for a very long time, and didn’t want to get hurt either. He was willing to risk the latter, however, because he knew that withholding his feelings for Tanner would make him miserable, and could also possibly make him miss out on a relationship which was meant to be. How could he share his feelings with Tanner when he didn’t even know if Tanner were gay? Maybe if he asked Tanner about past loves, or past relationships, then he would know better where he stood. Tanner was a very sensitive young man, and Braden didn’t believe that he would think him a lesser man if he inquired about matters of this sort, though he wasn’t sure. In some way, however, Braden had to know if a relationship was even a possibility, and he needed to know tonight.

***

As he reached the top of the staircase, through the door of Tanner’s room that had been left slightly ajar Braden could see the beauty of Tanner’s skin and the perfect physique of his young friend as he slowly undressed. Braden didn’t mean to stare, but found that his feet would not move. He stood and watched as Tanner’s shirt was pulled up over his head, and the color and contours of his back made Braden feel a tightening of his jeans as a hard-on was begging for attention. He watched as Tanner unzipped his own jeans, and slid them along with his briefs over his tight young ass. As he bent over to remove them, Braden wanted to have that ass in his hands, caressing it, squeezing it, and feeling his now extremely erect hard-on enter that dark space that would bring them both so much pleasure. He could just barely see Tanner’s balls as they hung down between his slightly spread legs, as his jeans and shorts were no longer a part of his entirely naked body. At that point Tanner stretched once and walked a few steps forward to climb into bed.

He was now completely out of Braden’s sight, and after a few seconds Braden braced himself against the stair rail and walked to the other end of the hall into his own room alone. He closed his door completely, and quickly reached for the sanctuary that was his own bed. Thinking of Tanner, he stroked his hard-on which was by now practically throbbing, and masturbated himself as hard and fast as he could. He wanted to feel that orgasmic feeling that he wanted so badly to feel with Tanner. He came fast, thinking of how much he wanted Tanner to feel this same pleasure, with him being the one to give Tanner this intense pleasure over and over until Tanner was completely satisfied. After he had drained every drop from his withering erection, he rolled over and immediately fell asleep.

***

With not a word said, Braden kissed Tanner’s cheek, then his mouth passionately, with no mention of the few tears that had streamed out of Tanner’s eyes. Tanner kept his eyes closed, wanting to feel that arousal he had felt just minutes before. Braden surprised Tanner by kissing his eyelids, and he was even more surprised by the arousal this caused in him, and he arched his back so that he could feel his hardened nipples against Braden’s hairy chest. Braden eagerly welcomed Tanner’s nipples into his mouth, sucking the hard erections one after the other. Tanner was so aroused now that his entire being felt electrified. He raised his pelvis, his penis even more erect than before, and unashamedly placed his hands on Braden’s buttocks and repositioned them until he could feel Braden’s hardened entity against his own. Braden allowed Tanner to squeeze and caress his buttocks for as long as he wanted, as he was the one who was aroused now more than ever. He stopped his kissing now, raising his body up so that his and Tanner’s rock hard erections could continue to enjoy the feel of the other.

***

Braden heard the click of the phone as Tanner hung up. He held the phone in his hand for the longest time, knowing that he could only wait and hope that Tanner made it back to him. Braden called his motherly receptionist and told her about the call. She was thrilled, and offered to contact Braden’s substitute veterinarian who fortunately was available for tomorrow, which would allow Braden the time he needed to be with Tanner. “It sounds serious, Braden, about Tanner I mean,” she admitted. “I don’t know what to make of it, but at this point I just want him back,” Tanner said, and thanked her for arranging a sub for tomorrow.

Braden sat and stared straight ahead at nothing in particular, feeling drained. What in the world had happened to his Tanner? I can only hope that he will return soon. Fortunately for Tanner, he was able to get a cab to drive him as far as he requested. His driver was a woman and very nice to him, which was what he needed right now. “Honey, you look terrible, you been in a fight?” she asked Tanner as they left the city. “I guess so,” he answered. “Well, if you want to hide your bruises for any reason, I keep my makeup kit under the seat. Just a little foundation will do the trick. Help yourself.” Tanner looked at the makeup, and decided that it couldn’t hurt. It didn’t look that bad either. It blended well with his skin color. Maybe Braden wouldn’t notice. The lady also noticed that Tanner’s shirt was torn, with blood on parts of it. “There might be some of my boyfriend’s shirts back there. You can put one on if you like.” Tanner thanked her, and placed a button down shirt over his own. Looking in the rear view mirror, he decided that he really didn’t look that bad. Tanner was glad he had gotten her as his driver. She had been very helpful. He certainly didn’t want Braden to see him like he was, and planned to keep it from him as long as he could. He felt ashamed and embarrassed, and wanted to hide.

Braden was replaying his phone conversation with Tanner over and over in his mind, but still could make no sense of any part of it. Braden heard a car pull up and stop, which snapped him immediately out of his daze. He rushed to the front of the clinic, and was surprised that it was Tanner so soon. It had only been two hours since they had talked, and Braden was thankful that Tanner had been able to find a cab so soon, and also that he hadn’t forgotten what to do, as he had seemed so out-of-it on the phone. Braden rushed out the door to pay the driver, and to help Tanner with his things. When he opened Tanner’s door, however, he encountered a much different Tanner than had left here. His eyes told a story of deep anguish and detachment, and he was disheveled. He tried to get out of the car, but found that his legs would not hold him. Braden quickly helped Tanner to his feet, and could feel the weakness. He needed Braden to support him entirely. Tanner tried to lower himself to the ground out of fear of falling, but Braden stopped him. “Let’s go home,” Braden said, and scooped Tanner up into his arms and carried him to his truck. He carefully lowered Tanner to his feet, holding him to his own body, realizing that Tanner’s body was a weak and emaciated vessel. Braden carefully placed Tanner into the truck, laying him down gently. On the way home, Braden continuously wiped tears from his face just seeing his precious Tanner this way. What happened to you, Tanner? What in the hell happened?

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