Lucas Masterson’s life turns on its head when his long-time lover leaves him for his teaching assistant. Lucas is devastated, and the only person who seems able to help him live again is Creed Hamasaki, his brother’s best friend, who doesn’t waste any time staking his claim. But can Lucas and Creed’s love survive a return visit from Lucas’s ex who’s willing to kill to get him back? Even more so, can Lucas?
Ira’s side of the bed was cold when Lucas awoke early that morning, the day of their third anniversary. Lucas rose, brushed his teeth after showering and mulled over how unfortunate it was his lover probably slept at the office. It wasn’t the first time. Somehow, over the years, they’d moved from the passionate couple who traveled together, enjoying the adventures and laughter two men in love should have, to two men who simply shared a house. They used to wake in the morning wrapped in each other’s arms. Now? They were lucky to pass each other in the night.
Lucas was going to change that.
The meal he’d been preparing, along with the tickets he’d purchased for Ira’s favorite production, would go a long way to making his man happy, and hopefully, help bridge the distance that had grown between them.
Lucas missed their closeness, but they didn’t seem to want the same things anymore. He wanted someone to settle down with, to take care of. Ira wanted Lucas out and about, dressed to impress. The passion they’d once shared, the moans and sighs late into the night, quieted, too. Lately, Lucas found satisfaction at the end of his wrist rather than beneath his lover. That wasn’t how he’d envisioned them three years ago when they’d moved in together. He’d planned to take care of Ira, show him how to be loved and to provide for his needs.
When did I lose track of my own needs?
Today, he was going to talk to Ira and fix what was broken.
He was startled when he heard the door open and slam against the wall. He rushed from the kitchen to welcome Ira and stood frozen in disbelief as he watched his own teacher’s assistant, Tommy, laugh into his lover’s mouth.
The smell of sauce burning wafted in the air. Ira, his lips curling in disgust, looked over at Lucas and his eyes flashed with distaste.
“Lucas, what the fuck are you burning in the kitchen?” Ira stepped away from a breathless Tommy and headed for the kitchen.
Tommy, who gently wiped his lips, grinned widely as he took in his former professor’s face.
“Oh, Lucas. You’re home. Sorry. We were hoping to pop in and out.” The sound of pots and pans tossed about rang in the background as Tommy got himself together. He ran one hand over his tight blue dress shirt. Then he pulled at his impossibly tight jeans, the obvious intent to make the bulge in his pants more comfortable. “Don’t mind us. We won’t be long.”
“What—,” Lucas began. He couldn’t fathom it. No way had his TA been there in front of him with his lover’s tongue down his throat, practically dry humping him. Lucas turned toward the kitchen and back to Tommy.
“Oh, Professor Masterson. Don’t be so surprised. You didn’t think Ira was still interested in you, did you? Surely, even you are able to add up the facts.” Tommy pushed his blond hair away from his face as he shook his head. His startling blue eyes looking up at Lucas in pity. Shouting loud enough to be heard in the other room, he said, “Darling, do hurry. We have a flight to catch.”
“Yes, love,” Ira called back from the kitchen. “Don’t want the kitchen to burn down. What is this anyway, Lucas?”
Lucas heard himself answer, “Butternut squash and hazelnut lasagna.”
He’d driven the day before to Ira’s family home to learn how to make the meal from Rosaline, the family cook, who’d been only too pleased to share the experience with him, even whipping together homemade bread for him to prepare along with it.
His heart raced, the pulse loud in his own ears. Tommy, his TA, and Ira, the man he thought of as his partner for the last three years were what? Lovers? He thought back over the past few weeks and the months. When Ira was busy and unattainable. The days when Tommy couldn’t work because he needed to visit family. When Ira was busy, was he with Tommy?
“Oh, my favorite. Pity, Rosaline loves to make this for me. Do you remember trying it, Tommy?”
“Yes, sweetheart. We ordered it yesterday.” He turned to Lucas before adding, “Don’t really care for it myself, but we all have to make sacrifices, don’t we?”
“Right, at Marco’s,” Ira said while he still bussed about in the kitchen.
Yesterday. When Lucas repeatedly tried to call Ira. Last night when Ira didn’t come home.
“Finally getting it, are you?” Tommy whispered. Lucas drew his hands into tight fists, muscles tense as he faced someone he’d trusted, someone he’d invited into his home. “All night, I rode his cock. Not once did he consider answering your calls even after he screamed my name.” To Ira, he called, “Ira, honey. Please hurry. I’ll continue chatting with Professor Masterson while you gather your things. Remember…flight?”
“Oh, yes, Tommy, love. Hurrying.” Lucas heard Ira’s heavy footfalls move down the hallway toward the bedroom.
“We won’t be out of town long, but Ira mentioned some items he couldn’t live without this time.” Tommy moved to the leather sofa, sat down with the same ease he’d always displayed in Lucas’s home. “Why don’t you have a seat, Professor? Let’s chat, shall we?” No longer able to stand—rather than Tommy’s invitation—Lucas sat down in the love seat across from him, numb and shaking.
With graduation right around the corner, Lucas hadn’t seen Tommy in a while. Tommy was so busy with family—or so he said—he’d had little time to help Lucas finalize grades. Yet, there he sat, his pouty lips swollen from Ira’s kisses, and whisker burns from Ira’s five o’clock shadow evident on his pale skin.