Lord Alexander, heir of Viscount of Winchester, is deeply closeted and preparing to marry a woman. Until a chance encounter with a handsome stranger at his bachelor party threatens to jeopardize the image Alex has worked so hard to create.
Dr. Jasper Kelley, the new personal physician to Alex's uncle, harbors deep scars from a mysterious past. No one would ever guess that the brilliant doctor once led a very different, much darker life. The last thing he needs is to let someone in, especially a golden boy like Alex Winchester.
But one weekend is about to change everything. And if Alex and Jasper aren't careful, murder and intrigue won't be the only things crashing the royal party ... It just might be love.
Be Warned: m/m sex
Alex headed down to the front hall and eyed Geoff there looking at the paintings hanging on the wall. A bag sat on the floor by the door, and a fleeting thought crossed Alex’s mind. How remiss Jimmy was to forget to take it to one of the rooms upstairs. Alex turned his attention back to Geoff and how he exuded high self-confidence. Alex had never had a problem with his own self-confidence before and hated the way he felt right now. But he was only a writer, and his parents kept talking about The Great Geoff Addingsworth and his successful company and how Alex should have been like that—making good use of his engineering education instead of hiding his head in the clouds and daydreaming all day and night.
Alex cleared his throat, and Geoff swung around in a rather shocked way. It seemed that he’d not been the only one lost in thought.
“Hey, Geoff, how are you? You look fabulous.”
For a moment Geoff looked guarded, but then he seemed to overcome himself and showered Alex with his wide, dimpled smile.
“Alex, my favorite cousin. How’s our great author?”
Alex felt himself blush, which didn’t happen often, thank you very much.
“Shut it, Geoff. I’m not great or anything.”
“Oh, come on. Three books on Amazon’s bestseller lists, that’s not great? Don’t sell yourself short, Alex.”
“Yeah, try telling my parents that.”
Geoff went serious all of a sudden. “I heard that about your parents. You hang in there, cousin. You know you have me if you need anything.”
Alex shifted uneasily. “I’m fine. Uh, why don’t we go to the sitting room?” he asked, hoping Gabe would appear soon. He was the host, for Christ’s sake, not Alex. Alex would just take Geoff there and excuse himself.
“Sure,” Geoff said. He made to take his bag, but Alex stopped him.
“Jimmy will help you with that.”
Geoff offered him a polite smile and left the bag.
In the library Alex asked Geoff if he wanted some tea and scones. They sat there enjoying their little snacks quietly; neither had anything else to say now that they were finished with greeting and compliments for each other.
But it wasn’t like Alex to stay quiet for long.
“Hey, how is your family? You have a boy, right?”
Geoff was clearly relieved to finally have something to say.
“No. A girl. Our little daughter, Iola. Olivia and I are very proud of her.”
“What a pretty name. She must be very sweet. How old is she now?”
“Just four, going on five.”
“Ah.” Alex nodded. “And you’re now, like, forty, forty something, right? A late baby, I presume?” Alex felt like smacking himself. Did he sound like an old nosy or what? “Sorry, you don’t have to answer that.” But Geoff only laughed—open and loud—and made Alex huff in relief.
“That’s okay. It’s my own fault, right? But then I only met Olivia late. We fell in love immediately.”
“Yeah.” Alex nodded in agreement. “She is a lovely lady. Lucky you, cousin.”
“I know I am. I don’t know what I’d have done without her.” A cloud swept over Geoff’s handsome face, but it was gone before Alex was sure he really saw it. It made him wonder if something had happened. All right, enough with this being curious thing, Alex scolded himself.
“But I hear you didn’t fare bad yourself.”
“Heh, yeah.” Alex ducked his head. It was not cool when he was supposed to be proud and excited about his fiancée, when in fact the face that went around in his head belonged to Jasper. Alex had tasted Jasper’s lips and now wanted more. He could still remember those brilliant eyes, beautiful though they stared at him rather coldly. “H-Hermione is so cute. Love her.” Great. He’d almost said he.
“When did you two meet?” Geoff asked, the question almost making Alex stutter. When had they met again?
Sounds of long footsteps distracted them both. Alex turned to see Gabe stride toward Geoff, opening his arms wide. Jimmy trailed behind him.
“Cousin Geoff. Welcome to Darlington.” The two hugged and shook each other’s hands under Alex’s and Jimmy’s gaze. “How are you doing? It’s so good to see you again. It’s been so long,” Gabe said, looking determined to keep his attention only on Geoff and deliberately ignoring Alex.
Alex shrugged to himself. Gabe was always such a drama queen. Alex glanced at Jimmy, who lifted an eyebrow in a questioning manner, and he shook his head a little. He knew when he was not wanted somewhere. He cleared his throat.
“Well, I’ll leave you two here. Jimmy, can you help with Geoff’s bag?” Alex headed to the wide entrance leading out of the sitting room.
“He took care of it,” Gabe replied on behalf of Jimmy, still not looking at Alex.
“All right.” He nodded to Geoff. “See you at the dinner, Geoff.” Without waiting for a response, he walked off. He heard someone trailing after him in small jogs.
“What?” But he didn’t stop.