A broken engagement, a kiss with a stranger, and now he might be...gay?
Luke Fletcher’s engagement with Sandy has gone bad, and it was all his fault. He’d kissed a guy, and he’d liked it. Luke thinks he can move on and write it off as the drunken, bachelor-party prank it was meant to be, until a virtual clone of Kissy-Face Guy shows up on his doorstep. Seth Rusko has been a friend of Sandy’s brother for ages, so when he’s asked to drop off a box of Sandy’s ex’s stuff, he figures the least he can do is help the girl out. But he hadn’t planned on Sandy’s ex being so tongue-tyingly, breath-catchingly hot. Of course, being hot is irrelevant—the guy is clearly straight. At least, he seems straight... until he tells Seth just what he did to cause the breakup... and until Seth remembers the last time he lost his heart to a straight guy who didn’t know what he wanted...
Luke plopped the box on the floor none-too-gently, then sprawled on the couch. His legs were showcased within the gray swim trunks he wore, lean and muscled with dark hair the same shade as everywhere else. Unable not to, egged on by curiosity, Seth shut the door and trailed him, taking the opposite end to sit. The other man leaned back, staring at the ceiling with his hands clasped over his stomach.
“I don’t even know why I want to tell you, to be honest,” Luke said, subdued. “It’s stupid. I know it.”
“Why you guys broke the engagement?”
Luke laughed mirthlessly. “She broke it off. I agreed. It seemed like the right thing to do, considering.”
From where Seth was sitting, Luke was in turmoil over the breakup. Sandy had given him zilch in details, and Taylor wasn’t going to share.
“Do you love her?” Seth asked quietly.
“I did. I cared a shitload, more than I cared for any other woman I’ve ever known. I did ask her to marry me, but…” A deep draw of air raised his shoulders, and he shuddered. Waves of indecision and heartache clouded Luke’s expression. “This is where it got fucked up.”
Seth leaned on a hip, not judging or pushing. He was a good listener, told too many times “he had the face” for it. So Luke wanting to bare it all wasn’t uncommon. It was the source of this unexpected confession that was making his heart beat in crazy, erratic flips.
“The guys took me out, a bachelor party of sorts. An unofficial one.”
Luke didn’t look his way, continuing. “I was wasted. I mean, shit-faced, didn’t-know-my-own-name gone.”
“What happened? You weren’t driving, were you?”
“God, no!” Luke twisted to give him a loathing grimace. “Drunk, not suicidal.”
He ripped those glossy bottomless brown eyes away, and said, “I kissed a guy. Fucking laid one on him like I wanted to scrape his tonsils.”
Seth shivered, mindful to control it, though Luke seemed lost now in the memory of what had happened. “You were drunk, Luke. I’m sure she would have forgiven you.”
“Oh, she would have,” he agreed with sharp intensity, growling low. “Until I told her I’d fucking loved it. I don’t know what happened.”
Hesitantly, Seth offered, “Curiosity, maybe?”
Luke rocked his head. Then, he breathed, “Yes. But it was… More.” He scrubbed over his face viciously with flat palms. “It wasn’t supposed to be like that. It was just supposed to be a joke, a fucked-up joke on the man about to be tied down for the rest of his life.”
“They put you up to it?”
“Yeah. My best friends found this guy, and…it kind of went insane after that.”
Seth could imagine. He loved a good groping session himself. If Luke was experiencing real curiosity, it probably turned his world on its ear. If he wasn’t, he would have blown it off as the prank it was meant to be. Seth sincerely doubted it was the latter. He’d witnessed this often enough to know the signs.
His gaze traveled over Luke’s frame, his pose now more dejected and confused than relaxed. Except for the sight of his dick prominently tenting his trunks. The man was definitely affected by what had happened that night. Seth whipped his focus north, grateful Luke hadn’t caught onto his wandering attention. “So why tell me?”
“Because I’ve been going nuts, running in circles in my head for weeks. And after swimming for an hour solid, I still can’t shake the memory. I hoped talking about it would make it go away.” But by the haunted, melancholy sounds of his confession, that wasn’t happening.
Seth stood. He needed to get out of there before he jumped the poor man, willing to do anything to ease his confusion. Oh, hell yeah. Seth would take one for the team—and never punt him back onto the playing field. Men like Luke were few and far between.
As rich as fresh tilled earth, that gaze landed on him.
“I wouldn’t let it linger, Luke. Aberrations happen. Human curiosity is natural.”
Luke straightened from the couch with the grace of a trained athlete. “You’re right. Don’t know why I spilled my guts to you. I don’t even know you.”
Seth smirked with a hiked shoulder. “That is precisely why,” he replied with a kind inflection. “I don’t know you, can’t and won’t judge you.”
Luke shrugged. “Thanks for bringing the box.”
“No problem.” Seth knew a request to get out when he heard it. He aimed for the front door.
“Hey. This didn’t freak you out?” As if Luke just realized that little detail.
Seth shook his head to stop by the door. “No. Should it?”
“It freaked the shit out of my best friend.” Luke looked away. “Apparently I was all over this other guy.”
“And that’s a bad thing?”
“It is when you’re straight.”
Seth’s hand curled around the doorknob, ready to toss it open and run depending on how this conversation ended. He could fight to protect himself, he just didn’t like to, and against Luke, he’d pay. The man was wide and strong. “Well, see, that’s where I don’t have a problem.”