Vance Weimer has been leading a quiet life for over a decade. Between his work as a foreman at a pig farm and dealing with his teenage son’s monthly visits, he hasn’t had time for anything else. That all changes when he attends a birthday bash for his boss at a gay club. Unable to resist bartender Jimmy Gibson’s flirtatious advances, Vance gives in to temptation and slips into the back for a little fun. While he’d planned for it to be a one-time thing, he can’t get the handsome man out of his mind. Vance starts a liaison with Jimmy, but due to the bigoted attitudes of his ex-wife and son, he keeps it discreet. A verbal faux pa in front of his family drives a wedge in his budding relationship. On top of that, another suitor—one open with his sexuality and charming to boot—makes his interest in Jimmy known. Can Vance come to terms with the changes he must make to fit Jimmy into his life, or will he allow life’s demands to cause him to walk away from the first person to truly capture his heart?
Vance Weimer resisted the urge to massage the bridge of his nose until the car was out of sight. The second he couldn’t see the dark green Maxima, he flopped into the rocking chair on his front porch and brought his hand to his face. He rubbed at his temple with his thumb, then his brow, and finally the bridge of his nose.
“Hey, was that Darlene’s car I just saw leaving?”
Lowering his hand, Vance turned and spotted Brand rounding the side of his cabin. “Yep,” was all he could muster as he watched the dark-haired man climb the couple of steps and join him on the porch.
“Wasn’t she supposed to pick up Mark two hours ago?”
Vance nodded once. “Yep.”
“Well, damn, boss.” Brand settled into the chair beside him. Leaning forward, he rested his forearms on his knees as he focused on Vance. “You okay?”
Rolling his eyes, Vance wondered the best way to answer that. He went with a variation of the truth. “Just tired of her bullshit. And the crappy views she’s feeding Mark—” Vance groaned as he rubbed his temple again. “It’s exhausting.”
Brand opened his mouth, then closed it again.
Vance could make a fair guess at what Brand was thinking.
Why the hell do you put up with her shit?
The answer was simple enough, too.
Because of my son.
Vance would do damn near anything for Mark. He truly hoped the young man would grow out of his belligerent teenager phase soon. Too bad Darlene’s entitled attitude didn’t help with that.
Brand straightened and smacked his jean-clad thighs with his palms. “Well, all right then. Go get changed.” He rose to his feet and headed toward the front door of Vance’s cabin. “We need to leave in five if we don’t wanna be late.”
Groaning, Vance lounged in his chair and scowled at his friend. “I am so not in the mood for a birthday party,” he grumbled, shaking his head. “You go on without me. Tell Laramie my ex-wife was just leaving when you were heading out, too, and when he gets back, I’ll make my apologies.”
The right side of Brand’s mouth curved into a half-smile as he reached for Vance’s upper arm, making the scar on his upper lip pucker. “Oh, no, boss-man.”
Brand used his hold to yank Vance from his chair. His massive six-foot-five frame, complete with brawny arm and leg muscles, allowed him to drag Vance to his feet with ease. Then he turned him and began frog-marching him into the house.
Vance glared at Brand, but the guy paid him no mind. Had it been any other man, Vance would have been severely pissed. As it was, Vance had been friends with Brand even before they’d started working together. Twelve years of friendship could allow for plenty of leeway.
“Good grief, Brand,” Vance snapped, pulling away when Brand paused in the doorway to his bedroom. “What the hell?”
“Now, now, Vance.” Brand swept his gaze over him, grinning widely. He waved his hand toward the closet. “Should I pick your clothes while you shower?”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Vance unbuttoned the top couple of buttons to his flannel shirt as he asked, “Why is me going to this shindig so important to you?” After tugging the shirt over his head, he began moving toward the ensuite bathroom. Vance paused in the doorway and tossed his flannel shirt into the laundry basket. After that, he pulled his undershirt over his head while muttering gruffly, “I sure as hell ain’t gonna be good company.”
“That’s the point,” Brand replied glibly. “I’m too good a friend to let you sit around here by yourself and stew over your shitty ex-wife.”
Vance grunted as he threw the undershirt into the basket, not bothering to counter his statement. Brand was a good friend, and his ex-wife was shitty. As he began swinging the door closed, he heard Brand make another comment.
“Besides, what better way to lift your spirits than to get your dick sucked?”
Pausing, Vance lifted a brow as he met Brand’s gaze.
Brand shoved his thumbs into his belt loops as he rocked onto his heels. “And how would I be able to enjoy my own blowjob if I knew you were here wallowing?”
“We’re going to a gay club, Brand,” Vance couldn’t help pointing out.
While Vance had never been, he knew The Red Door, the place where Laramie’s gathering was taking place, was a gay club. His boss was gay and had been with his firefighter partner, Trace, for several years. Usually, Laramie didn’t do much more than a barbeque to celebrate his birthday, but since he was turning thirty-five, Trace had convinced him to go out.
“So.” Brand rolled one huge shoulder in a half-shrug. “A guy’s mouth can feel just as good as a woman’s.” His eyes narrowed, and his lips twisted in a smirk. “And I know that you know that.”
Vance nodded once. Brand was one of the few people who knew he was bisexual. He just hadn’t acted on it in…it felt like forever. Vance had been faithful to Darlene, and ever since his divorce over a decade before, it’d just been easier to find the occasional female company than create waves with a vindictive ex.
Swallowing hard, Vance felt his heart rate spike. His breathing became shallow. He swallowed hard, again, struggling to get moisture into his too-dry throat.
His blood flowed south just thinking of giving in to his desire.
Brand chuckled gruffly, drawing Vance’s attention. “I think it’s been waaaay too long for somebody.” He cleared his throat, then motioned toward the shower behind Vance. “Hurry up, man. I’ll find you somethin’ hot to wear.”
Feeling his cheeks heat, Vance nodded once more, then turned and started cleaning up.