Oliver Stoll’s life has gone up in smoke. Literally. Escaping an apartment fire, he’s made it out with little more than the clothes on his back and his best friend and downstairs neighbor, Mia. With few other options, he agrees to stay with David Elliston, Mia’s older brother. David was Oliver’s first crush, first kiss, first everything. That is, until the day they broke up five years before. It hadn’t been pretty.
David Elliston is back in town. Offered the chance to oversee the Kellmen Group’s newest magazine acquisition, he isn’t going to let a years old heartbreak stop him. But being thrown together with Oliver is harder than expected. And the flicker of hope he’s long tried to bury becomes even more difficult to contain.
Ex-lovers, best friends, and angry parents don’t make the best backdrop for rekindling a romance. But it’s the lies from the past that might just extinguish any chance they have of starting over.
He found Oliver in the kitchen bent down, picking up large shards of glass with bare hands near the dishwasher.
Oliver looked up and grimaced. “Sorry. I broke one of your tumblers.”
David waved it away. “Here, don’t touch that. Let me grab something.”
He pulled a hand broom and dustpan from under the sink, and went to help clean up what was left on the floor as Oliver dropped what he’d already picked up into the trash and rinsed his hands.
“Sorry I woke you.”
David looked at the clock on the microwave -- 2:21 A.M. -- and to where Oliver leaned back against the counter, and wondered if Oliver had been to sleep at all.
“Having problems sleeping?” Oliver shrugged, and David guessed that was a yes. “Want to hang out in my room and talk?”
The frown he got was answer enough.
David dumped the rest of the glass before slipping the pan and broom back under the sink and against his will he started speaking.
“I’ve missed you.” Oliver didn’t respond and David pushed himself up and concentrated on washing his hands too, grabbing a towel to dry them. “Did you miss me?”
“You know I did.”
When David turned to him, Oliver looked…well, he just looked plain sad.
Before he could stop himself, he’d wrapped his arms around Oliver shoulders and buried his face in his neck. He was taller than he had been, and smelled good, like soap and coconut shampoo, and a hint of something else, faint but familiar.
Oliver stiffened in his arms, but after a moment, relaxed, wrapping his arms around David’s waist in return, and squeezed.
It shouldn’t have surprised him how much he had needed this. Since the moment he’d returned home, thoughts of this man had haunted him. Had dictated his every decision.
Knowing that the two of them were bound to be thrown together at some point had helped him keep the shadows at bay for three long, lonely months.
He’d even bought him a Christmas present. One that made the present he’d given Oliver on his eighteenth birthday seem practical.
He pressed a kiss to the crook of Oliver’s neck, startling himself but unable to stop himself from going further when Oliver let out a quiet, breathy noise. He opened his mouth to taste his skin, and Oliver’s next sound bordered on pornographic.
He moved up Oliver’s neck to his jaw, and, fueled by the hardening length he felt pressing through both their layers of clothing, around to his mouth. Oliver opened to him, allowing his tongue to dip inside, and kissed him back with enough heat that David teetered on something that felt almost like panic.
He wanted him so badly. And, if they hadn’t had his sister down the hall, and years of baggage still to unpack, he might have tried. As it was, he was still fighting with the urge to slip his hand down the front of Oliver’s borrowed sweats and stroke him until he spilt warm and sticky in his fist.
Before he could lose that battle, Oliver pushed him away.
“Not now.” His mouth was swollen and pink, and the fabric below his waist beautifully tented. “Not like this.”
David dragged his hands through his hair, pushing it back from his face, taking a moment to remind himself that Oliver was right.
“You broke my heart.” Oliver straightened and smoothed the fabric of his shirt, tugging it down over his erection. “It took me a long time to get over you.”
But I never got over you.
David thought the words but didn’t say them. Instead he nodded and started for the safety of his bedroom. Before he made it to the darkened hall, Oliver spoke again.
“Was I right?”
David turned back, brows drawn.
“After graduation, when Taylor’s step-father offered you the position in Georgia? Was it because Taylor wanted to be with you?”
David was quiet for a long time.
“It’s a yes or no question.
“Yes. You were right about that.” And David had been naïve. “But I’m good at my job.”
“Of course you are.” Oliver’s face softened, his voice sincere. “I never doubted you would be.”
“And you weren’t right about everything.”
Oliver said nothing, waiting for David to continue.
“I’d have never chosen Taylor over you. I’ve never had any interest in him. Even after you stopped taking my calls.” Something flashed across Oliver’s face but David couldn’t read it. “And you should have come with me. We’d have been happy.”