College freshman Shayne Ralston never expected to meet the man of his dreams on his first day of school, but star quarterback Desmond Stratton is a force to be reckoned with. Soon he slips past Shayne’s reluctance and romances the shy history major.
Des has a decision to make about his future. His family has been pushing him toward a professional football career for years, but Des also has dreams of being a doctor.
As his feelings for Shayne grow, Des's decision becomes more important than ever. Shayne is openly gay, and Des needs to remain in the closet if he wants a football career. Staying in the closet, however, could lose him the man he's fallen in love with.
“Listen,” Shayne said softly. “I wanted to apologize for the other day. Running out of the diner like that and, well, the things I said.”
Des nodded. “It’s okay. I wish you hadn’t run out though. I really did want to get to know you. I didn’t know you had a boyfriend, though.”
“Boyfriend? Nah, I don’t.”
He frowned and gestured toward the wall Shayne had recently been leaning against. “Who was that dude with his tongue down your throat then?”
Shayne rolled his eyes. “Not my boyfriend. He just wants to go out with me. He’s a little --”
Shayne chuckled. “I was going to say persuasive.”
“Well, no offense, but you seemed okay with it.” Des struggled to keep a scowl off his face, knowing full well it wouldn’t be appropriate.
The other man shrugged. “He is a good kisser.”
His jaw tightened. “Hmm.”
“Anyway, I did want to apologize. In my defense, Bart has some past experience with jocks that was pretty bad, and I guess I’m a little protective of him.”
“We’re not all the same, Shayne.”
Shayne turned pink. “I know that. Well, I’m trying to know that. To be honest ... are you gay? I just wouldn’t have thought you were.”
Des stepped close to Shayne until they were just a few inches apart. Other students walked past them on their way to classes, but Des paid no attention to them.
“Go out with me and I’ll show you,” Des heard himself say. Maybe a little corny but no one ever said he was suave.
And without thinking it through, Des leaned down to kiss Shayne. If the other guy had been a good kisser then Des wanted to be an amazing kisser. But even as Shayne’s dark eyes widened, Des knew he couldn’t kiss him. Not here, like this where anyone could see him. He pulled away, feeling like the jackass he surely was.
“Shayne.” Des cleared his throat. “When are you going out with that guy?”
Shayne frowned. “Friday, why?”
“Go out with me tonight.” If he had his way, Shayne would be breaking the date with the other guy.
“Yeah, let me take you to a nice dinner. I’ll even pick you up.”
“I don’t know, Des.”
Des sighed. “You think I’m ugly?”
Shayne shook his head.
His heart sank. “Oh.”
Shayne’s hand curved around Des’s forearm. He couldn’t tear his gaze from the sight of Shayne touching him. Even this small contact had his head spinning.
“What I meant to say, is I do find you attractive. I just ... I don’t date guys like you.”
“Because you find us shallow and dumb?” Des smiled. “I know you have a low opinion of me. Let me change that. You’ll never know if you don’t give me a chance.”
The other man looked away for a few seconds, but he didn’t move his hand, it still clutched Des’s arm and he couldn’t help but feel hopeful because of it.
Looking at him finally, Shayne’s dark eyes bore into Des’s very soul. “Okay.”