Roman Cook is content with his life. He’s married to the man he loves, has a good job, and has a roof over his head. And although Roman and his husband are in a rut after so many years together, Roman’s life is perfect.
Until the day Wayne says the words that shatter Roman’s perfect world. I don’t love you anymore. Roman is devastated over Wayne’s betrayal. When it seems as though Roman is still struggling to put his life together months after the divorce, Roman’s sister intervenes.
Austin Newman is a counselor specialized in helping men cope after a divorce. And although he’s had clients come on to him more than once, Austin never had to fight against his own feelings before. While Austin helps Roman on his journey to let go of the past, he wonders if he might have a place in Roman’s future.
Crap. Wayne will be pissed that I forgot dinner. Again.
Roman flew out of his very comfy, very expensive desk chair that he’d specifically ordered to cradle his ass and his back to perfection. As an independent website developer and overall geek, he spent many hours of his life in that chair. He didn’t want to turn forty and have a fucked-up back because of shitty sitting furniture. Nope.
Running down the stairs and to the front door where a delivery guy rang the bell as though the Huns were after him, Roman reached for his back pocket and frowned when he came up empty-handed. Where was his wallet? “One second, please!”
He sure as hell hoped the delivery dude wouldn’t take off with his food because of the delay. The shout coming from the other end of the door sounded as though the Huns had actually arrived. A fist met the door two times.
Roman rolled his eyes. “People these days.” He found his wallet on the kitchen table, not able to remember how it had ended up there. It wasn’t the first time the little shit had hidden from him.
When he reached the door, Roman yanked it open with a friendly smile—a smile that froze on his face when he had to look up several inches to take in the annoyed expression of the Hun-slash-delivery-guy. He was the biggest fucking man of Asian heritage Roman had ever seen. And Roman himself wasn’t a slouch.
“Uh…sorry for the delay.” Please don’t eat me.
The guy grunted. “That makes forty dollars.”
Roman was sure Attila wanted to add a little endearment, such as asshole, to the end of that friendly sentence. Afraid to end a head shorter if he gave a sassy comeback, Roman opened his wallet without breaking Attila’s stare and pulled out a bill. Mr. Grant changed hands, then the towering mountain that was squeezed into a green and red delivery uniform handed Roman several bags and left Roman’s front porch.
“Just, damn.” Shaking his head, Roman carried the bags inside and hurried into the kitchen. A glance at his watch told him he had to haul ass. Roman rummaged in the cutlery drawer, then unwrapped the ordered food. He spooned the curry and rice into two big white porcelain bowls with a cute pattern of little rose hips and green leaves on them. He put the bowls onto the middle of the table.
Next Roman quickly cut the naan bread and arranged it into a basket. He was the worst cook in the history of pathetic kitchen experiments, but he could arrange bought food like a pro. The basket landed on the table as well.
Roman placed two plates in the same design as the lovely bowls on the table. He added cutlery and cloth napkins, as well as candlesticks. When keys jingled in the front door, Roman opened a cupboard and stretched up to retrieve two wine glasses. He quickly caught his wayward sweater vest as it rode up his belly with his free hand. “Welcome home, honey! I’m in the kitchen.”
Seeing the empty boxes still on the kitchen counter, Roman cursed quietly. He grabbed them, opened the cupboard under the sink, and pushed them forcefully into the plastic trash. He gave the door a little shove with his hip and closed it just as Wayne rounded the corner.
“Hey.” Roman grinned, placing one hand on the counter and the other casually on his waist. He tugged at his vest again. “How was your day?” Wayne looked tired. He was always tired after a day teaching at the vocational business school in town. Not that Roman actually expected his husband to say that he was exhausted.
“I’m fine.” Wayne placed his briefcase on the third chair at their kitchen table. The one Roman hoped would one day be occupied by a little one.
And here we go.
Roman chuckled and got the wine glasses. “Let me pour us some wine to relax. Are you hungry?”
Wayne’s only reaction was a deep sigh.
After Roman had filled them each a glass of the sweet white wine he’d found on one of his strolls through the shops along the promenade, he turned and held one out to Wayne.
His husband snatched it as he loosened his tie. Once the tie was in a weird but more comfortable wide loop, Wayne took a big sip of his wine. Wayne’s suit was rumpled. He hated the damn things, would rather go to work in jeans and a casual shirt.
Roman knew Wayne wasn’t the chattiest guy after work, but the total silence was odd. Usually, he at least complained about his students, his boss, his students, not enough teaching materials, his students…
Wayne pinched the bridge of his nose, then rubbed his fingers into his eyes. When he opened them, Roman noticed they were blood-shot. Wayne had dark smudges around his eyes as well. How had he missed this?
“Can’t you cook anything for a change?” Wayne snapped. “At least try to make it look like you cooked it yourself instead of ordered last-minute. I can see the delivery bag peeking out of the trash.”
Roman flinched. “You know I can’t—”
“Yeah, yeah.” Wayne slumped into the chair heavily and drank his wine. “You’re here all day. Is it asking too much to expect a decent meal when I come home? And what is it with all your crap lying around all over the house again? You have an office upstairs for your geeky gadgets.”
Roman snorted. He had no idea what had gotten into his husband. “Did you watch Pleasantville again? Do you want me to bring you your slippers and a glass of brandy as well while you wait for your foot rub in front of a fire?” Leaning against the counter, Roman sipped his wine.