Wyatt Abbot is 19. On the outside, he lives the perfect life. He has a loving family, he’s wealthy, and he has just been given the opportunity to travel to Paris and train under one of the world’s best pastry chefs. But underneath all that, Wyatt is struggling. He’s battling anxiety, he’s scared of the future, and he’s struggling to come to terms with the fact that he’s genderfluid.
Izzy Kostas is 28, and on parole. When he gets a job at Abbot Organic Produce, it’s a chance for a new start. Izzy has his own demons he’s trying to overcome, but meeting Wyatt throws even more complications his way. Izzy has always thought of himself as straight, and certainly didn’t expect to fall for his boss’s little brother.
When Izzy is blamed for putting the Abbots at risk, it jeopardizes everything he and Wyatt have begun to build together. Izzy knows how important family is to Wyatt, and he doesn’t want him to have to take sides. But when it comes to found families, nobody is perfect, and there’s always room for another seat at the table.
Justin was still working, and Dad was out meeting some guy who could source him local venison, and Lettie was upstairs doing her homework with her headphones on when the doorbell rang. Wyatt wiped his hands on his apron and hummed to himself as he went to answer the front door. He was working on a practice batch of cupcakes for Jimmy and Jenna -- not that he didn’t think he could make good cupcakes, but he wanted to send some home with Jimmy tomorrow and make sure they were definitely the ones Jenna had liked. Wyatt had made a lot of cupcakes for Justin’s workers over time, and the ones with ‘like the cream stuff in the middle’ didn’t really narrow it down a whole lot. He thought he knew the ones Jimmy meant, but he wanted to be sure. Also, it was an excuse to make cupcakes.
He pulled the front door open to find Izzy standing there.
“Hey,” Wyatt said, and then froze as Izzy’s gaze lingered on his hair.
Shit. He’d forgotten about his hair.
“You look like a girl,” Izzy blurted out.
Izzy stared at him intently, his eyes dark and unreadable. “Pretty like a girl,” he said at last.
Somehow that was more ominous than anything else he could have said, because Wyatt didn’t know what he meant. Was pretty like a girl a good thing, or wasn’t it?
“I ...” he said, his heart racing and his tongue thick and clumsy with nerves. “I was -- Lettie. She was practicing. On me.” He swallowed. “For her hair.”
Izzy’s stare was no less intent.
“What are you doing here?” Wyatt managed.
“I came to say thanks,” Izzy said, his brows tugging together. “To your dad, for feeding me last night.”
“He’s not here,” Wyatt said. He was still clutching the doorknob, and it was slippery under his damp palm. Wyatt’s throat felt as dry as a gravel pit, but the rest of him was sweating like crazy.
Izzy took a step forward. His gaze slid up and down Wyatt again and then he reached out and touched Wyatt’s hair. He held a tress of it between his thumb and forefinger, and rubbed it gently to separate the strands. He was standing so close, and Wyatt felt like a prey animal trapped under the gaze of a predator. Wyatt’s mouth was dry too. He licked his lips quickly, and froze again when Izzy’s gaze was drawn to his mouth. Hardly daring to believe what was happening -- what was happening though? -- Wyatt lifted his gaze to meet Izzy’s.
And suddenly Izzy’s mouth was on his, and the kiss was shocking, intense, and Wyatt’s knees almost buckled when he felt Izzy’s tongue touch his. One of Izzy’s hands tangled in his hair, and the other one slid down his side and rested on his hip. Izzy pulled him tightly against him, and Wyatt went willingly. Izzy’s hand found its way under his shirt. His fingers were as hot as brands on the skin of his waist, and Wyatt shuddered. He was hard and aching in his jeans already.
And then as quickly as the kiss had begun it was over, and Izzy was pushing him back. His eyes were wide now and his mouth, which had felt so good against Wyatt’s, so full and soft when they’d been kissing, was pressed into a thin, harsh line that turned down at the edges.
“Shit,” Izzy said, his voice gruff. His gaze dropped to Wyatt’s crotch. “Thought for a second you ...” He trailed off.
Wyatt’s face burned as he realized. Izzy had thought Wyatt was pretty like a girl, and kissed him because of it, and then Wyatt’s erection had fucked the illusion up for him.
He opened his mouth to say something, and the words that spilled out of him were wrong. So wrong. “I could be,” he said, his voice cracking. “A girl. I might be. Sometimes.”
Izzy stared at him like he’d sprouted a second head. “The fuck are you talking about?”
“Nothing,” Wyatt said. His eyes stung with tears, and his stomach lurched. He wanted to be sick. “Nothing.”
Izzy stared at him a moment longer. “Sorry,” he said at last, and turned and left.
Wyatt closed the door behind him, and then sagged against it and sobbed.