In Tune (MM)


Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 15,961
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In college, Paxton Barrilla and Mars Hudson built a strong foundation for lifelong friendship. Then their careers take them to opposite sides of the country. When they walk into a recording studio in Las Vegas, Pax as producer and Mars as clarinet player, they haven’t seen each other for almost twenty years.

At first, Pax’s plans are simply to make the best jazz record he possibly can. Mars? He wants that, too. But what he wants more is a chance to see if long-ago friendship and a gift for working together might add up to more.

The overture is a surprise, but Pax is interested. After three weeks of the kinds of conversations they never had with anyone else, are they ready to see if they’ve struck the right chord?

In Tune (MM)
0 Ratings (0.0)

In Tune (MM)


Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 15,961
0 Ratings (0.0)
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The good part about being hyper-focused on (first) what was coming through his headphones and (second) what was going on the log: Pax couldn’t get distracted by the view. The bad part was when he took another look at Mars as they all piled into the restaurant, he got very, very thirsty.

Dinner was great. A meal was generally a good way to create a family atmosphere that would foster making beautiful music together. You learned just enough about each other. Enough to choose jokes that would land without pissing anybody off; avoid sensitive topics; and make people feel like you really saw them. Pax learned, over the course of this meal, that everybody liked Scott and was kind of thrilled to be working on his record. He also learned that every damn person in the band was either married or otherwise loved-up, which meant nobody would be hanging out in the bar later.

Every damn person, that is, except Mars. Mars, who was still skinny for his height. But now, instead of gangly post-adolescent awkwardness, he moved with slinky, foxy grace. Now, instead of rocking a New York accent on a voice that hadn’t decided it was fully changed, he sounded like that Eighties singer Sade. Pax always was a sucker for a smooth voice, especially when it went with that milk-chocolate skin tone.

There was no particular physical type that Pax found most attractive; the common denominator was music. But he realized that the first time he’d acted on attraction to a man, the guy was like this. Taller than Pax, fit but slender, with big eyes and full lips and that flirty way of looking at you. Less personal space than a straight guy would take, touching you more, tucking his chin to look up through his lashes, constantly calling attention to his mouth.

Mars set down his empty glass, ice cubes clinking. Slumped back in his chair, rolled his neck, heaved a big sigh through pursed lips.

Pax said, “Are you doing that on purpose?”

A look composed of surprise, puzzlement, and mischief. “Doing what?”

“Flirting with me.” Mars grinned. Pax snorted out a laugh. “You totally are.”

“I won’t if you don’t want me to.” Mars leaned forward, elbows on the table. “Honestly. If you’re not interested, I’ll leave you alone. It’s just I’ve always wondered.”

Pax leaned forward too. “Wondered about me?”

“Wondered if I should’ve made a move while we were in college. I keep coming back to, it would’ve been a bad idea then. Wasn’t the right time to start anything with anybody, really, but especially not you.”

A blink, considering that. “Why especially not me?”

“Well, Paxton, because you’re a guy,” Mars said patiently. “And you were a question mark. If swishy li’l me wasn’t out to my parents there was no way you were out to yours, even if you would’ve been up for it. Besides, we were young and stupid and ain’t no keeping secrets when every damn body knows you. We both knew too many people.”

“Or too many people knew us.”

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