Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.
On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.
Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now ... right?
Nico was beyond tired when Matt drove up the last slope to the cabin. It was past two in the morning, and while he wanted to sleep, he was jumping as soon as a shadow moved.
“Are you okay?” Matt gave him a quick look.
“You’re not.” His hold on the steering wheel tightened.
Nico tried to relax. He didn’t want to worry Matt. “I’ve had better days, but I’m okay.”
He’d called work to let them know he wouldn’t be coming in for a few days. His boss hadn’t been pleased, and he could understand, especially when he couldn’t say exactly why this had happened.
Matt parked outside the tiny cabin. “Come on.” He opened the door and grabbed a bag he’d packed for them both. Nico hadn’t been allowed to go back to his flat. David claimed Mr. Cheekbones and his crew would watch it.
“We’ll get some sleep, and in the morning it’ll all feel better.”
“You think?” He gave Matt a skeptical look he wouldn’t be able to see in the dark.
“No. I think we’ll be climbing the walls, but I stole a laptop from work, so if we can get enough reception on one of our phones to share internet, we can do some investigation on our own.
“I don’t think they have a blog where they write their plans.”
Matt snorted. “Don’t be naive.”
“You think they’re blogging about it?”
“Of course not.” He unlocked the door with a key hidden under a pot of dead flowers. “But if they’re trying to sell something, there are auctions and forums and stuff.”
Nico stepped over the threshold and shivered. The cabin was cold, and the air had a damp scent to it. “If they stole The Mona Lisa and wanted to sell it, they’d tell everyone online?”
“Didn’t I tell you not to be naive?” Matt placed his hand on the small of Nico’s back. “Come on, let’s get you to bed, and we’ll think about what to do tomorrow.”
Nico’s heart jumped to his throat. Last time he’d been here had been years ago, but then there’d only been one bed. They’d been kids and had all been sleeping on the floor while Joyce and Robert had slept in the bed. “You ... eh ... want the bed?”
Matt turned to him. It was too dark for Nico to make out his expression, but he was guessing on raised eyebrows.
“It’s a double bed. I figured we’d share.”
Oh ... “Yeah, sure.”
“No, of course not.” He hadn’t slept next to Matt in over ten years, and back then Matt had been nothing more than his best friend. Now he was Matt.
“What’s wrong? I can sleep on the floor if you --”
“Don’t be silly.” Nico grabbed blindly for his hand. Why was he nervous? Matt had never showed he wanted to be more than friends. He’d had both girlfriends and boyfriends through the years, but not once had he stepped over the friend barrier. And he never would. It was Nico who’d created an obsession with Matt, not the other way around.
It wasn’t an obsession; it was a realization. One he would not share. And it had nothing to do with being kidnapped. It had been there for years now. He couldn’t picture his life without Matt, and he’d more and more often come to picture the two of them living together, shopping together, eating together ... sleeping together.
He wouldn’t tell Matt, wouldn’t risk ruining their friendship. Because the truth was, he couldn’t live without Matt in his life, and making a move could ruin what they had.
Staring at the dark form of the bed, he took a deep breath. “Been on any hot dates lately?”
For a few seconds, Matt remained silent, then he laughed. “You know I haven’t. Your virtue is safe with me, though, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Disappointment filled his chest. “I’m not worried.” He lowered his voice into a whisper. “I’m never worried when I’m with you.”
Matt stiffened. “Good. I guess.”