Jesse meets a wonderful guy who is caring, attentive, lovable, and handsome to boot. Unfortunately, the only time he sees Cameron is in his dreams—dreams that are never flimsy and fast forgotten in the morning, but feel very real. And the longer they go on, the more palpable they feel to Jesse.
But what happens when these dreams have a bigger and bigger impact on Jesse’s daily life? When they begin to take a toll on him and make it harder to wake up every day? And what if they turn into nightmares and Jesse can’t get out anymore, if he never wakes up?
One day Cameron finds a heartbreaking poem in a small notebook, hidden in a used book. From the first time he reads it, the handwritten words resonate somewhere deep within him and when he goes to sleep that night, he meets Jesse for the first time—a sad young man who makes Cam want to give him reasons to smile and a shoulder to cry on. From that night on, Jesse is a nightly visitor in Cameron’s dreams.
But what happens when Cameron finds out that his Jesse is very much real? And what if a sinister presence takes hold of their shared dreams and Cameron wakes up? Can he get back to Jesse? Or will Jesse stay back forever in this dreamscape turned nightmare?
It was barely a breath, a rough and broken whisper that tumbled from his lips as he curled his trembling fingers in the soft cotton of Cam’s shirtfront. He was as surprised by his actions as his words, even if they were more a shuddering whisper gusting over his lips than the demand his body wanted them to be. Wide eyed, he stared up into the honey-brown depths of his friend’s eyes, which returned his gaze questioningly. Cam’s large hands came up to land lightly on his hips, an assuring touch, not a hold, as a soft smile revealed his dimples.
“Jesse?” he asked, his voice low, as if he didn’t want to spook him. Jesse’s fingers clenched in the fabric above Cam’s strong and steady heartbeat. He swallowed hard, his throat clicked and he stepped even closer into Cam’s personal space, the warmth of the other man’s strong body enveloping him.
Shrill, so shrill! “Dammit!” he sat up and stared blearily at the wall opposite his bed, swallowing hard against the pang of loss that accompanied his rough awakening. Whoever had the guts to ring his doorbell at ass o’ clock in the morning of his first vacation day better be on fire! Jesse rubbed a hand over his chin, his fingertips catching on stubble, cursing the stubbornly ringing doorbell under his breath again. With a pissed off and heartfelt “Fuck!” he shoved his tangled comforter back and swung his legs over the bedside, already missing the warm nest of blankets, and...
He shook his head, hefted himself up, and stretched with a groan curling his toes in the fluffy chocolate brown carpeting as his spine popped. Not friendly was one expression for what he felt when he stumbled from his bedroom down the hall and yanked the door open, not even bothering with a look through the spyhole. He had a feeling who had the guts to bother him, now that he was partly awake.
“Don’t kill me, I bear coffee,” Liam greeted him, stepping back, but holding a paper cup with the logo of their favorite coffee shop. He held it out to Jesse like an offering for a wroth deity, and, well, if he were able to smite with a glare, his best friend would not be more than a pile of burned remains on Jesse’s doorstep.
“I might still maim you,” Jesse mumbled darkly, but accepted the cup with a sigh, stepping back to let Liam in. The blue-gray eyed man grinned winningly up at him and ducked into the hall, toeing his shoes off on the go.
“I also brought donuts,” his friend called over his shoulder, waving a greasy paper bag.
“Coffee is fine,” Jesse muttered, pulling the lid from his cup and taking a tentative sip.
Strong and rich, with just a hint of sugar. Perfect.
Yeah, he might let Liam live. He brushed his fingers through his sleep tousled strands and let his gaze follow Liam down the short hallway.
“What are you doing here, Liam?” he called out after him when he heard him banging around in his kitchen already. He padded on bare feet after him.
Liam seemed disgustingly awake, and Jesse decided he should just give up on getting back to bed.
“You forgot, did you?” Liam answered his question with one of his own—definitely something Jesse always appreciated... not. Jesse only quirked an eyebrow over the rim of his coffee cup when he stepped into the kitchen and sat down at the small wooden table. He was cold in his ratty t-shirt and pajama pants, and the coffee did nothing to make him yearn less for his bed. Liam huffed at him, hands on his hips, so he tried to rack his brain for what he could have forgotten. He poked around in his memories, but as he hadn’t even finished his coffee yet, it was a lost cause. Liam just turned around and opened Jesse’s fridge, apparently in the more or less hopeless search for something that could make up a proper breakfast.
“What did I forget?” Jesse finally grumped, giving up on finding the answer himself. Instead, he took another sip of the hot beverage and listened to Liam’s loud and long-suffering sigh.
His best friend stopped the rummaging through Jesse’s fridge and turned around with another huff. Liam had obviously worn his drama pants. Jesse didn’t even have to look at the other man to know he was rolling his eyes at him.
“You know, if I didn’t know you better, I’d be offended,” Liam drawled, turning back to the fridge and pulling a carton of orange juice from it. He sniffed at the juice, as one was wont to do if they took something from Jesse’s fridge, and threw it into the sink with a disgusted wet-cat-face.
“Just spit it out,” Jesse grunted, studying the barista’s scrawl of Liam’s name on his paper cup with the unblinking intensity of the sleep deprived. “And make me another coffee... please.”
“In an hour, we’ll be on the road to the writers retreat, honey. We booked the lake house, like months ago. And you forgot and haven’t even packed. Two weeks in the woods of Maine. Lake view and everything.”
Jesse looked up to Liam startled and a bit confused. “I thought it starts on Monday?” Of course he hadn’t forgotten the vacation he and Liam planned. Not really, at least. He looked forward to the quiet time. Well, as quiet as any time spent with his best friend could be.
“That it does. But last weekend we decided to start early. Road trip, Jesse. So up and at them, boy. Pack your bags, shower your carcass, while I make you breakfast.”