"Anyone who feels they cannot come out, for whatever reason, has my sympathy. There comes a point though, when living your own life has to be more important than “keeping up appearances”, or pacifying a demanding parent, and this story is about Graham, a cop who struggles with both. Needlessly, and stupidly, and he makes some idiotic mistakes on the way, but in the end, he gets the point. Poor Darren, who had to walk through hell getting ignored and dumped, is a saint as far as I am concerned, for taking Graham back. Twice! I have to admit that I didn't like Graham at first. He was so clearly mistaken about his own feelings and following someone else's idea of what sort of a relationship he should be in. And he isn’t just trying to conform to what he thinks his cop buddies expect (two of them are, after all, openly gay and with partners of their own, but listening to is mother’s idiotic demands. I mean, really! It is his life, and he is clearly deeply in love with Darren, and miserable without him. But he redeems himself when he finally admits that he loves Darren and goes after him. Not that it's easy - there are a few obstacles still for them to overcome. Darren is a nurse, and getting rally fed up about having to hide his relationship with Graham. And then the man dumps him. It almost kills Darren, but he manages to survive. When Graham comes back to him, he makes it very clear he cannot go through that again. And what does Graham do? After a very sort time he dumps Darren again. He may think he has his reasons, but does he explain them to Darren? No. Poor Darren is ready to end it all, when help comes from an unexpected angle. It changes everything, and Darren finally finds his stride. Enough so, that when Graham appears again, Darren ends up having more than a say in what happens! The depth of Darren's emotions (and Graham's once he admits them) was wonderful and the twists and turns of the plot certainly held me captivated. If you like “bullheaded detectives who think they know best” and the men who love them but are helpless to make them see reason, if you like reading about “destined” couples, and if you’re looking for a read that is heartwrenching and has a few interesting twists, then you will probably like this novella." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
“Hello?” Darren said.
“Hey, baby, it’s me.”
“What do you want?” Darren asked when he recognized Graham’s voice on the phone.
“I thought we were going to spend the night together?”
“Why don’t you go spend the night with Troy’s brother?” Darren snapped. Graham’s words had quickly brought home the fact that they would never be an item. He would always be Graham’s dirty little secret.
“Oh, come on, Dar,” Graham said. “You know I didn’t mean it that way. I had to say those things.”
“No.” Darren snorted. “You didn’t. You really didn’t.”
Darren heard Graham sigh deeply. He knew what Graham was going to say even before he said it and his heart ached. He could go his entire life without hearing what Graham was about to say to him.
“Darren, you knew how things had to be before we got involved. I explained it all to you and you agreed to it.”
“Yes, I did.” And agreeing to Graham’s stipulations had been the biggest mistake of his life. But back then, Darren just wanted to get the man in his bed and didn’t care how he did it. He would have agreed to anything.
He had no idea he would grow to love Graham.
“Then let me come in,” Graham said softly.
Darren’s breath caught in his throat. He got up from his bed, walked over to the bedroom window, and glanced out the slit in the curtains. He could see Graham sitting in his car, the cell phone held to his ear.
Darren closed his eyes and leaned his head against the window. He knew what he needed to do, what he should do. He took a deep breath and tried to find the words to send Graham away. Words that would shatter his heart.
“I’ll unlock the door,” Darren whispered as he pushed himself away from the window and walked out of his bedroom. With each step he took, Darren berated himself for his weakness.
Graham was bad for him. He knew that. Oh, Graham would never physically hurt him, but the emotional whirlpool Darren swam in every time he saw Graham was devastating.
Darren had been so sure he could handle an emotionless relationship with Graham. They could be friends and just fool around occasionally. People did it all of the time. And, in the beginning, that’s exactly how it worked, but the more time Darren spent with Graham, the more he grew to care for the man.
Now, a year later, Darren knew he was head over heels in love with Graham. He’d do anything for the man. He’d even tried to hide his feelings from Graham so they could continue to see each other.
Graham knew, though. Darren knew he did. Over the last couple of months they spent less and less time together until they barely saw each other at all. Darren saw more of Jamie, Graham’s best friend, than he saw of his occasional lover.
Darren just didn’t know what to do. He could no more deny Graham’s request to come inside than he could ask for the man to acknowledge him to their friends. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.
He unlocked the door and opened it a crack before turning away and walking back to his bedroom. He heard the front door close and the lock click into place before he even reached his bedroom doorway.
Graham was here!
Darren’s heart beat faster when he heard Graham’s footsteps behind him. Strong, muscular arms encircled him. Darren leaned back against Graham’s chest and closed his eyes. He stood there, savoring the feel of his lover wrapped around him. It felt like it had been forever since he felt Graham hold him.
“We can’t keep doing this, Graham,” he whispered. He didn’t want to say the words, but he knew they had to be said, for both of their sakes.
“I know, baby.”
Callused fingers stroked the side of Darren’s face. Darren felt tears pool in his eyes and closed them tighter. “Isn’t there—?” he whispered.
“No, Dar,” Graham said. “You know this is the way things have to be.”
Darren turned in Graham’s arms and opened his eyes to look up into his face. His fingers plucked anxiously at the fabric of Graham’s shirt. “Can’t we—?”
His heart sank as he watched Graham’s eyebrows furrow. Darren closed his eyes again and dropped his head forward to rest against Graham’s chest. He took a deep breath then wished he hadn’t. Graham’s rich, musky scent filled his nostrils, overwhelming him.
Darren opened his eyes and tilted his head back to look at Graham again. He tried to smile but knew he failed when Graham frowned. Darren reached up and stroked his fingers over Graham’s lips.
“Okay, Graham, we’ll do it your way.” Darren’s chest ached as he said the words he knew Graham needed to hear. He imagined he could feel the actual breaking of his heart.
Darren grabbed Graham’s hand in his and pulled him over to the bed. He stopped and turned to Graham, reaching for the hem of the man’s shirt. “Make love to me.”
Darren walked across the bar and made a beeline for the men’s bathroom. He checked each stall once he got inside, thankful when he found them empty. Walking to the last one in the row, he stepped inside and locked the door behind him. He had his cock out of his pants and in his hand in three seconds flat.
Images of Graham floated through his head as he stroked his aching cock, each one more arousing than the last one. Graham had held the top position in Darren’s fantasies for ages. Darren masturbated to them nearly every day.
His breath heaved as his hand moved over his engorged shaft faster and faster. He could feel his balls start to tighten up against his body and knew his orgasm was only moments away. Darren pictured Graham laid out on his bed, the man’s naked body glistening in the low lights. He stroked faster.
Darren froze, mere seconds away from coming. He bit his lips to keep from groaning. He was so damn close. Beads of pre-cum dripped from the head of his cock. His balls felt heavy, achy.
“Darren,” the deep voice said again. “I know you’re in here. I watched you come in. Answer me, damn it.”
“What do you want, Graham?” Darren croaked out, embarrassed beyond belief at being caught jerking off in a public bathroom. He just hadn’t been able to help himself.
“What do you think I want?”
Darren groaned and closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them and turned his head, he could see Graham peering over the edge of the bathroom stall door. Darren felt his skin flush. He knew he’d be turning several shades of red. His skin was pale. He always showed his embarrassment.
“So, this is what you do when you go to the bathroom.” Graham chuckled, and Darren felt his face flush again. Much more of this and he’d be red all of the way down to his toes. “And all this time, I thought you were coming in here to piss.”
“Can’t you see I’m busy?” Darren snapped.
“Open the door and I’ll help you out with that.”
Darren couldn’t get the door open fast enough. He unlocked it and stepped back, feeling delightfully crowded when Graham stepped inside and locked the door behind him.
“I’ve missed you, baby,” Graham whispered against Darren’s neck. The small lick of Graham’s tongue made Darren’s legs weaken. “It’s been weeks.”
“Whose fault is that?” Darren retorted.
“Don’t be like that,” Graham said as he leaned back and looked down into Darren’s face. “You know I’ve been busy working on that damn drug taskforce. I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone have a social life.”
Darren frowned and glanced down. “Sorry,” he said. “I’ve missed you, too.”
And he had. God, how he’d missed Graham. It’d been weeks since they had been able to spend any time together. Theirs wasn’t the usual sweetheart type of relationship, but Darren still savored every moment they spent together.
“Did you?” Graham crooned as he wrapped his hand around Darren’s cock and started slowly stroking his length from root to tip. “Show me how much, baby.”
Darren’s legs trembled. He pressed his head back against the stall wall. “It’s been so long, Graham,” he moaned quietly. “I need you.”
“You can have me,” Graham replied. “Let me come over tonight.”
“Yes.” Darren groaned. He groaned louder as visions of Graham fucking him filled his head. “Yes! Oh God, yes!”
Graham claimed Darren’s lips at the same moment his orgasm ripped through him. So overcome by the fire burning through his body, Darren could barely respond to the tongue thrust into his mouth.
Darren tried to extend the kiss, but Graham pulled away and put pressure on Darren’s shoulders, pushing him down. Darren dropped to his knees and reached for the zipper of Graham’s jeans.
He licked his lips as he watched the button slip free and the zipper slide down. Darren gasped, his heart pounding frantically as Graham’s cock bounced out of his jeans.
“Christ, Graham,” he groaned. “You’re not wearing any boxers.”
Graham chuckled above him. “I was hoping to see you tonight. I thought I’d cut out the middle man so we could get right down to business.”
Darren was in full support of that idea. He leaned forward and swiped his tongue across the head of Graham’s cock, groaned as the flavor of Graham’s pre-cum exploded across his tongue.
He leaned in farther and swallowed Graham down until his nose brushed against wiry pubic hair. Graham tasted so good, Darren didn’t even mind when the man pulled back then snapped his hips forward, driving his cock into Darren’s mouth.
“Fuck, Dar,” Graham growled. “It’s been so long. This won’t take much.”
Part of Darren regretted that. The quicker Graham got off, the quicker he pulled away, and Darren would have to go back to pretending they were just friends once again. Another part of Darren wanted to get Graham off from the sheer pleasure he could bring the man.
Hands clenched in Darren’s hair. “Your mouth is fucking perfect, Dar.”
Darren sucked harder, licked with more enthusiasm. He wanted to bring Graham to the heights of ecstasy. He wanted Graham to never consider having sex with anyone else except him ever again.