STARTING FROM SCRATCH Cover and Blurb Reveal!

Finally! The stunning new cover by the talented Reese Dante has been revealed!  Starting From Scratch will be here October 15. Book 2 in my rock and roll series, Starting From belongs to Charlie and Ky, the fabulous self-appointed manager of the band and the skater boy turned bassist. They have nothing but the band and a quirky sense of humor in common. Charlie isn’t sure Ky’s as invested in Zero’s success as he should be. Replacing him might be tricky, but it’s better than being distracted by the sexy, straight guy he can’t stand. However, Ky has made it clear he isn’t going anywhere. When their personal and professional lives collide, they realize things aren’t always as they seem. And the road from enemies to lovers might be worth starting from scratch.

Opposites attract, enemies to lovers, and rock stars!! Sign me up!! Mark your calendars for October 15! There are a couple of giveaway opportunities to celebrate the reveal. Be sure to stop by Diverse Readers and Lane’s Lovers for a chance to win! And check out the blurb below.

Happy Reading! Lane xo

Blurb for Starting From Scratch by Lane Hayes:

Charlie Rourke is an ultra fabulous human whirlwind on a mission to launch the next biggest band in the world. However, he might have taken on more than he could handle when he signed on to manage Zero. Promoting a rock band and finding gigs shouldn’t be hard. They’re a talented group with a ton of star power. If Charlie can find the right record label, he’s sure he can help them get to the next level. The only problem is the skater boy slash bassist with a quirky sense of humor. He’s annoying and silly, and he’s exactly Charlie’s type. Except he’s straight.

Ky Baldwin isn’t afraid to switch things up. He’s loves a challenge as much as anyone, but Charlie doesn’t make things easy. Zero’s manager a force of nature with a razor sharp tongue, a quick wit, and a no-nonsense attitude. Ky can’t stop thinking about him. Winning over Charlie becomes Ky’s pet project. But when the ice between them thaws, neither is prepared for the intensity of going from enemies to lovers. They’ll have to decide if they’re willing to start from scratch and take a chance on the unexpected.

Better Than Meeting the Family- A Matt & Aaron Short Story- Part 4 (NSFW)

Here you go!! All four parts of Better Than Meeting the Family are now posted. This final part is NSFW. Enjoy Matty and Aaron!
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
*For those who are new to this series of shorts. Matt & Aaron are from my first novel, Better Than Good.

Happy Reading! Lane xoBetter Than Meeting the Family- Part 4 (NSFW)

Not using a condom was a big fucking deal. I remember being lectured on the importance of ‘safe sex’ well before I knew what the term meant. And I had no clue what a condom was until my fifth grade health teacher sponsored a ‘birds and the bees’ class. Mr. McDoughal, who also coached the boys’ basketball team, gave an in-depth lecture about the importance of “protecting your pecker”. Those were his exact words. My eleven-year old self had a very hard time not busting out laughing. He had a few cringe-worthy rhymes he told us would remind us later that safety mattered. “Don’t be silly, cover your willie.”…that kind of thing.

My dad reiterated the lesson a few years later when I had physical evidence that my penis might be for more than peeing. He sat my brother, Sean and I down and gave us the same spiel. But he added something about not considering other options until we were in serious relationships. Forever relationships. I was definitely a rule follower. I’d been sexually active since high school and I’d had a few long-term girlfriends, but I’d ever had sex without a condom. Ever. It didn’t matter how often I was tempted, I suited up every time.

“I’m kind of surprised, Matty,” Aaron commented, idly tapping his fingers against the window of his BMW. “I figured men in straight relationships always got talked into using other methods of birth control. I mean, if your girlfriend was on the pill, you wouldn’t have to use a condom, right?”

I scowled at him from the driver’s side. And yes, I was driving. I insisted and he didn’t argue. Aaron was scary as fuck behind the wheel. He had a lead foot and a habit of weaving in and out of traffic. I told him I’d have gray hair before I turned twenty-five if I didn’t take over. He’d laughed, but handed over the keys and called me his sexy chauffeur.

“Not me. And I don’t have a girlfriend. I have a boyfriend,” I replied testily.

“Don’t get cranky. You know what I mean. I’m surprised you never got talked into it. That’s all.”

I shrugged as I slowed to make a left on K Street. “I have amazing willpower.”

“You didn’t in the shower this morning,” he singsonged.

“That was hot.”

“It was. Oh my God. When you fingered me and then told me to face the wall and spread my legs while you sucked me and—”

“Okay, that’s enough. You know I actually have to go to the office this morning too,” I griped, adjusting my half-hard dick in my suit pants.

“I could blow you in the car before you drop me off,” he offered good-naturedly.

“Tempting, but we agreed nothing more till tonight.”

Aaron shivered dramatically. “I don’t know how I’m going to make it through it the day. Do you think they’ll let you leave early?”

“I’m not going to ask. I want them to hire me after I pass the bar. They might not if they think I’m a slacker if I leave early for a booty call.”

“Hmm. So you do have amazing willpower.” He leaned over to rest his hand on my thigh. “I don’t. If I don’t get hit with a suddenly urgent project at work, I’m going home early…to get ready.”

“How? I have your car and I’m working till five.” I reminded him as I pulled in front of his building.

“I’ll get a ride home with Jay. Don’t worry about picking me up. Just be prepared,” he purred, licking the corner of my mouth.

I turned to intercept his kiss and caressed his smooth cheek, then bit his bottom lip before pulling back to get a good look at him. Fuck, he was beautiful.

“You’re mine,” I said unthinking.

“I am.” He nodded slowly as he reached for his bag. “See you, Matty.”

 

I don’t know why, but I was really nervous when I opened the door to Aaron’s apartment later that night. I didn’t know if I should act like it was any ol’ normal night or if I should buy him flowers or something. That seemed like trying too hard. Didn’t it? I couldn’t tell. We’d talked about this after we got our test results last night. Aaron had to work late and I had get to the office early today, so we agreed to wait till to tonight. And we agreed not to make a big deal. It was sex. We had sex all the time. Like everyday. This was just…different.

“Aar?” I dropped my keys in the orange bowl on the table and glanced up when he called my name from the kitchen. “Hey there, I—holy…wow. What are you wearing?”

“Not much. Do you like it?” He spun in a circle, snapping the elastic strap on the black jock he wore…with nothing else.

“Uh…yeah.” I swallowed hard and cocked my head. “Is that lace?”

He flashed a Cheshire cat grin and nodded. “Yes. Sexy, but a little itchy. Especially since I just manscaped. You know how that goes.”

“Uh…no, but you look…hot. Really fucking hot.”

“Thank you. Do you want a drink or something to eat? I made dinner, but I was going to wait to put it in the oven. If you’re hungry, I can do it now. Up to you. Did you have a good day? Mine was a day. Such a day! Marsha was mean to the new intern. There were tears and…” His hands flew as he got going. I tried to follow, but I didn’t think he cared either way.

“Hey.” I slipped my hand around his waist and crashed my mouth over his. Fuck, he tasted good. Peppermint and Aaron. I pulled back slightly. “Are you nervous?”

“Yes. Isn’t that silly? I couldn’t concentrate today. I just kept thinking about you and…I don’t want this to be a production. Like you know those people who’re together for so long they basically know when they’re going to have sex? Once a week, Sunday morning eleven a.m. Be there, be square. I don’t want that to be us. I like spontaneous, ‘fuck me over the table’ kind of sex, you know?”

I lowered his hand to my crotch. “I don’t think we have to worry about that, babe.”

Aaron smiled as he wrapped his fingers around my erection through my suit pants. “Good. Then come with me. I’m so horny, I can’t see straight.”

He moved ahead of me into his bedroom and stopped at the foot of the bed. I closed the distance between us and pulled him into my arms, sealing my lips over his. I threaded my fingers through his hair and nipped his chin before licking a trail along the column of his throat, splaying my hands over his back and down his sides as he unbuttoned my shirt. I was glad he was practically naked. My hands were shaky and unsure. I hooked my thumbs under the elastic of his sexy black thong and froze. Fuck, I was nervous. We’d done this a hundred times at least. But this time felt special. Maybe even important. Geez, no pressure Matt.

Aaron chuckled softly.

I opened my eyes, not realizing I’d closed them to begin with. “What’s so funny?”

“You. You’re so serious. Like you’re in a church or something. It’s just me, silly.”

I brushed my nose against his and let out a pained-sounding laugh. “There’s no such thing as ‘just you’. You’re…all I can see. There’s a whole world spinning around us, but you’re the only one who matters.”

He lifted my hand and kissed my knuckles. “We’re the ones who matter. You and me. Touch me, Matty.”

I pushed the elastic band over his ass and pulled his cheeks apart, tapping my middle finger at his entrance as I grinded against him in a mad quest for friction. “Like this?”

Aaron groaned wantonly. He bit my shoulder then fumbled with my belt, pausing to rub his palm over my rock hard shaft. “Clothes. Off. I can’t do it.”

I didn’t think I’d ever undressed so fast in my life. I tossed my shirt haphazardly on the floor, kicked off my shoes, pulled off my socks, and finished undoing my belt before unbuttoning and unzipping my fly. I kept my gaze on Aaron as I hurried, admiring his toned body, olive skin, and perfect ass. He folded back the duvet, climbed into bed, and lay back on his pillow. His right hand immediately drifted south. I swallowed hard as I shoved my suit pants and boxer briefs down, finally releasing my rock hard dick. It bobbed like a flagpole straight in front of me. I gripped myself at the base and stroked my cock as I moved toward the bed.

“Let me see you,” I commanded in a deeper than usual voice.

“Like this?” Aaron spread his legs wide before setting his fingers over his hole.

“Mine.”

“Then come and get me.”

I pulled myself over him, careful at first not to touch him.  Then I slowly covered him, sighing with pleasure at the feel of his warm skin against mine. Aaron wrapped his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist, tilting his hips so his cock slid alongside mine. I kissed him hard, pushing my tongue inside to taste and ravage as I rocked against him.

I broke for air and pulled myself up on one arm to look at him. “Fuck, you are so damn sexy, but you gotta take that thing off.”

He quickly removed the thong and threw it over my shoulder. Then he yanked my head lower and bit my lower lip. It hurt, but in a good way. “I want you. I want you inside me, Matty.  Please.”

“Tell me what to do. I want you too much and…I don’t want to hurt you.”

Because suddenly, I had no fucking clue. It felt like the first time we were together.  I knew where to put my cock obviously, but I didn’t want to rush anything. Self-control was vital, and at the moment, I wasn’t sure I had any.

“I like it when it hurts a little.”

I gulped and put my hand over his mouth. “Don’t talk. I’m gonna come before I get inside you if you keep that up.”

Aaron chuckled softly then gestured for me to grab the lube from the nightstand.  I sat back on my knees and opened the bottle, squirting a generous amount in my hand. He stroked his cock as he watched me. When I crawled between his knees, he opened his legs wider still and let me take over. I bent to suck his cock as I stroked myself. He pulled my hair and arched his back, fucking my mouth until I rubbed his lube over his hole and pushed a single digit inside. Then he threw his head against the pillow.

“Matty, please…”

Damn, I loved it when he begged. “Please what, baby?”

“More.” His tone was strangled with need.

He moaned when I pushed my finger inside. I twirled my tongue around the head of his cock as I finger fucked him. I pulled all the way out and pushed slowly inside again. And again. I added a second finger and then the tip of a third, loving his breathless cries for more. I pressed my shaft against the back of his left thigh and looked into his eyes.

“I don’t think I can wait.”

He nodded and drew his knees to his chest, inviting me in. I added more lube before lining my cock at his entrance.

“Open your eyes, Matty. Look at me.”

I obeyed, slowly inched forward. He gasped, but stayed focused on me like he was memorizing the moment. I licked his lips and moved a little more. I didn’t get far before I saw stars. The heat was intoxicating. I could feel him in a way I physically couldn’t with latex in between. Don’t get me wrong…that was amazing too. But this was…special. I paused when I was balls deep inside him and let out a half laugh.

“Fuck, you feel so good.”

He smiled sweetly. “Mmm. I’m ready. Fuck me, Matty.”

I rocked my hips slowly, teasing us both with short, shallow strokes until he lifted his hips higher and raked his fingers down my back. “Ow?”

“Don’t play with me. Fuck me. Fuck me hard,” he growled, nipping my chin.

So I did.

I gathered him close and pumped my hips, letting the rhythm build around us. The bed springs creaked and the headboard hit the wall with a steady thump, thump, thump. Aaron jacked his cock, keeping perfect time with the pace I set. He whimpered when I tweaked his tits and when I told him how fucking hot he looked with my bare cock in his ass, he lost it. He took over. He topped from the bottom, arching his back and meeting me thrust for thrust with soft grunts and blissed out sighs. I slowed to swipe precum from his slit and lick my finger clean. Aaron’s nostrils flared as he shivered with need. He didn’t have to say a word. I knew he was close. But I teased him a little more. I pulled almost all the way out before burying myself inside him. Then I lifted his legs over my shoulders and let go. I fucked him relentlessly, shifting my gaze from his eyes to my dick.

“You have no idea…so fucking beautiful. I’m not gonna… I’m too close,” I whispered as my balls drew up and a wave of pleasure tingled along my spine.

“Come inside me, Matty. Come inside.”

White light and stars. That was all I could see. Wave after wave of intense pleasure flooded my senses as I came inside him. Aaron shuddered and fell apart a second later, shooting between our tightly pressed bodies. We held on tight, trembling and swaying against each other until we were completely spent.

When I thought I could move without shaking, I braced myself on one hand and smiled down at him. He looked as completely in awe as I felt. I didn’t want to break the spell. I wanted to stay inside of him for as long as possible. I pressed my forehead to his, trying to convey with a touch what I was incapable of saying aloud.

I gave in after a minute and bent to kiss his forehead. “I love you.”

Aaron smiled and pulled me close, nuzzling my shoulder until I gently pulled away and flopped gracelessly on to the pillow next to him. He rolled sideways to lie on my chest, then traced my jawline and my lips with his thumb.

“Hey.”

“Hey yourself.” I captured his wrist and bit his thumb playfully. “That was…incredible.”

“Amazing. I’m gonna feel you all day tomorrow. I can tell,” he sighed happily.

I could feel myself blush, but I had to ask. “What does it feel like?”

“Kind of weird, but crazy crazy hot. Want to see?”

“Uh…are you asking if I want to see…?”

“Your cum,” he finished with a mischievous laugh. “You should see your face. It’s not gross. It’s hot. Here. Just feel it instead. Give me your hand.”

He pulled my hand between his legs and grinned when I gulped theatrically.

“Fuck. I can’t tell you how glad I am I waited. I’m glad it’s you.”

“Me too. I’m gonna tell you a secret. Are you ready?” He waited for me to nod before continuing. “I wanted to save this for someone who mattered. It’s taken a long time for you to show up, but I’m glad I waited too. You’re my someone special, Matty.”

“And you’re mine.”

I tugged at his hair playfully then set my hand on his hip before hiking my leg over his. I wanted to be close to him…tangled up in him, inside and out. I wondered how it was possible to be so consumed by another person and yet feel stronger for it. He made me want to be a better version of myself everyday. He was the better part of me. And maybe I was that for him.

I thought at first it was a good idea to keep this to ourselves, but I’d told his dad how felt about him and I was glad I did. I meant what I said. He was my person. Maybe it was time to tell my parents too.

 

 

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Better Than Meeting the Family- A Matt & Aaron Short Story- Part 3

As promised, here’s part 3 in Better Than Meeting the Family! I thought this would be the last installment, but after reading this, you’ll probably agree we need one more scene. And it’s gonna be HOT!!! LOL Look for Part 4 next week. In the meantime, enjoy!

*For those who are new to this series of shorts. Matt & Aaron are from my first novel, Better Than Good.

Happy Reading! Lane x4a843cd21e36944d29ba81496b482c1a_120-best-the-gentlemans-guide-to-vice-and-virtue-images-on-_491-700Better Than Meeting the Family- Part 3

We headed to the baseball game after the ‘introduce the boyfriend’ barbeque with Aaron’s family. Personally, I thought it had gone pretty well.  The Mendezes were warm and welcoming. I played a hardcore game of tag with his nephews in the backyard, threw the Frisbee around with his brother and sisters, and watched baseball with his dad. After a couple of hours, I felt like I’d known his family for years.

“That was cool,” I commented as we pulled away from the house.

“It was. But they were also on their best behavior,” Aaron said with a laugh. “My dad especially.”

“He’s a nice guy. He loves you, you know.”

“In his way, I suppose he does,” he sighed.

I glanced over at him when I stopped at a red light. “No, I don’t think that’s fair. Maybe he doesn’t know how to talk to you sometimes, but he’s very protective of you. He pretty much told me he’d kick my ass if I didn’t treat you right.”

Aaron swiveled in the passenger seat to face me. “He did not.”

“He did. I told him not to worry ’cause I…you know.”

“’Cause you…what?” he prodded.

I adjusted my rearview mirror then my sunglasses before reaching for the volume control on the radio. Aaron smacked my hand and lowered his own glasses meaningfully.

“I forgot what I was going to say,” I lied.

“You did not. You never forget anything, Matty. What did you tell my dad?”

“I told him…” I cast a quick sideways look at him before focusing on the road. I knew him too well. He wasn’t going to let it go, so I might as well save my energy. I bit the inside of my cheek and blurted, “I told him Iloveyou.”

Silence. Car silence. And sometimes, that was the worse kind. I didn’t know what else to say, so I leaned forward to adjust the volume one more time and got my hand smacked…again. “Ow.”

Aaron grabbed my wrist and laced his fingers with mine before pressing a kiss on my knuckles.

“You told my father you felt the L-word about me?”

“The L-word,” I repeated with a half laugh. “Yeah, I did. And he told me not to fuck it up.”

“Ha. Were those his exact words?”

“No, but he said you were special and he hoped I knew it.”

Aaron opened his mouth and shook his head in disbelief. “Wow. That so…”

“So…what? Crazy?” I suggested.

“No. You’re very…brave. And you’re always so sure.” Aaron let go of my hand and looked out the window for a long moment before continuing. “How do you know that you won’t get tired of me someday? Maybe not tonight…’cause I’m definitely going to make today worth your while. But…what about a month from now or next year or two years from now? How do you know you’ll always feel this way about us?”

I couldn’t decide if it was a good thing I was behind the wheel and had to keep my focus elsewhere or not. I wanted to see his expression and reassure him I meant every word I said, but I didn’t do emotional stuff very well. I had a tendency to make the simplest things sound clumsy as hell. I didn’t want to freak him out, but he should know I was in this for good.

“I know because…when I’m with you, I feel…whole.” I winced. Too much. “Look, I didn’t feel broken before we met. It’s more like I didn’t know what or who I was missing. I’m better when I’m with you. My world isn’t so small anywhere. Anything feels possible and somehow it’s connected to you.” I kissed his hand, and gave him a quick sideways look. “And I know this sounds corny, but I’m on a roll so, I’ll just tell you…you’re the one for me. You don’t have to say it back. You’ll know when you’re ready.”

Aaron wiped at his eyes and exhaled. He squeezed my fingers tightly and held my hand for the rest of the drive. He wouldn’t let go until I told him I needed both hands to pay the attendant.

I parked the car and turned off the engine before glancing at Aaron. He’d been way too quiet for too long. That always made me nervous. “Ready for some baseball?”

“Mmhmm.” He unfastened his seatbelt before twisting to face me. Matty, I want to ask you something, but I have to tell you something first.”

“Uh…okay, now I’m nervous.”

“Don’t be.” Aaron leaned over the console to caress my jaw sweetly. “I know how I feel about you. We haven’t known each other very long, but you’re so important to me. My most important person. It scares me sometimes. I want to hold something back so I don’t give you everything and that feels wrong but I just…I’ve never said those words to anyone. And I told myself when I did, it would be forever. Maybe that’s where we’re going, but I’m afraid to go to fast and rush this because I want it too much. I don’t even know if that makes sense.”

“It does. I’m not rushing you. I swear. I shouldn’t have told your dad—”

“No. I love that you told him. I do. It’s just that when you tell me things like that I want to do something crazy, like ask move in with me or marry me. And I don’t want to scare you away.”

I grinned. “That’s not gonna happen, Aar.”

“Okay…” He bit his bottom lip and gave me a shy smile in return. “So, I have something to propose and if you’re not ready, I won’t be offended. We can wait. I’ve never done this before, so it’s not like I know what I’m missing. Although I’ve heard it’s amazing and—”

I set my hand over his mouth and kissed his nose before releasing him. “Ask me already. The suspense is killing me.”

“How do you feel about…what if we, um… let’s get tested and stop using condoms.”

I nodded like puppet on a string. “I’d feel really good about that.”

He smiled. “Yeah?”

“Fuck yeah.”

“Do you want to think about it? It’s kind of a commitment, Matty. We’ve already established that we’re exclusive, so it’s easy in that sense, but I’ve never done this before. Like ever. It’s sort of a big deal to—”

“I never have either. And I haven’t been with anyone but you in almost a year.” I cupped the back of his neck and drew him closer to me. “Maybe we should skip the game and go back to your place and fuck like bunnies. I have an insta-erection and I have a bad feeling it’s not going anywhere until we take care of business.”

“Bad boy,” Aaron scolded, chuckling softly. He licked my lips then pulled back slightly. “I’d love to get naked for you right here, right now. I could bend over the backseat and let you fuck me from behind. Or I could climb on top of you and ride you till we both come.”

I gulped as I gripped my now rock hard cock through my shorts. “Oh my God.”

“But I don’t want to get arrested. My dad might change his mind about you if we end up on the eleven o’clock news.” He laughed before continuing in a lower voice. “And I want to do it the right way. We’ll get tested first and—”

“It could take a whole week to get results back,” I groused.

“I think that’s only for full blood panels, but we’ll see. I’m not suggesting we don’t have sex for a week. I’m planning on sucking your cock the second we get back to DC. And I kinda wanted to try that new pink dildo I bought online…just for fun. What do you say?”

“I think you’re trying to kill me.”

Aaron threw his head back and laughed. “Never. I’m simply reminding you that we have so much more to look forward to.”

I held his chin and sealed my lips over his. “We do. In the meantime, we’ve got baseball. Let’s do this, babe.”

 

The moment we entered the stadium and made our way to our seats, Aaron was like a kid in a candy store. He couldn’t sit still and he couldn’t stop staring. Everything was a “wow”, from the size of the field to the sold-out crowd to the wide variety of refreshments available.

“Oh my God!  I had no idea this place was so big, did you? Have you been here before?  I’ve never been to a real baseball game. Not a professional one anyway. These seats are incredible. Did you see all the food? I’m stuffed from barbeque, but we should try one of everything. Especially the alcohol. Please tell me they serve alcohol.”

I grinned, pulling him onto his seat to let a family of four through our aisle. “They definitely serve alcohol.”

“Yes! I’d like a Cosmo, please.”

“They don’t have Cosmos, wise guy. Just beer and wine. Are you coming with me to order or do you want to stay here?” I asked before taking a quick peek at the action on the field.

“I’ll stay here. And I’ll have wine, please. Better make that three wines, a cotton candy and one those popcorn things,” he replied decisively.

“Let’s start with one drink each. I’ll buy snacks when they come around.”

“Perfect. I’ll save your seat.”

By the time I returned with our drinks, he’d made friends with the couple next to him and family behind us. I kept a watchful eye on him, but I should have known he could handle any crowd. Even a baseball crowd. The woman sitting next to him, who was probably his mom’s age, wanted to adopt him by the seventh inning stretch.

“So, is that handsome man next to you your boyfriend?” the woman asked, linking her arm with Aaron’s.

“Yes,” Aaron replied, flashing a wide smile. He was more than a little tipsy. I’d cut him off at three glasses of wine when he started to sway in his seat. “Did you meet Matty? He’s my favorite person in the world. I think we’re gonna get married some day.”

“Oh honey, I hope you do. You’re a gorgeous couple. Let’s drink to that,” the woman enthused, clinking her plastic cup against his before adding loud enough for me to hear, “He’s so good-looking. Looks a fireman or something.”

“He’s a lawyer. Well, he will be soon,” Aaron said proudly.

“Good for him. And for you. I can tell you love him. I hope he knows he’s a lucky guy.”

Aaron turned to me then and gave me his signature smile. The one that lit his eyes and made my heart flip in my chest. The one that reminded me I wasn’t alone. He felt everything I did.

“Did you hear that? She thinks you’re the lucky one. It’s the other way around.”

I put my arm around his waist and kissed his temple. I wasn’t big on public displays of affection, but I couldn’t hold back. And didn’t see the point in denying that this was exactly what I wanted.

To be continued…

Better Than Meeting the Family- A Matt & Aaron Short Story- Part 2

Here’s part 2 of Better Than Meeting the Family, featuring Matt and Aaron from Better Than Good. There will be one more installment in this short story, which most likely will be posted early next week. Enjoy!

Happy Reading! Lane xoBetter Than Meeting the Family- Part 2

“Hola, Papa. Come meet my boyfriend.”

I gulped. My palms went instantly sweaty. I was so damn nervous it wasn’t funny. I pasted a smile on my face and swallowed hard as Aaron’s father walked into the kitchen, setting a bag of groceries on the island. We gave each other a quick onceover. I had no idea how I measured up, but Aaron’s dad had a pleasant face with a ruddy complexion, piercing brown eyes, and thick dark hair liberally streaked with gray. He was roughly Aaron’s height, which meant I had a good five inches on him.

“Matty, this is my father, Roberto. Papa, this is Matt, my boyfriend,”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Mendez,” I said extending my hand.

Aaron made a face at me behind his dad’s back. No doubt he was trying to get me to relax, I mused as he came to stand beside me, hooking his finger in my belt loop.

So…here’s the thing about Aaron. He was always very affectionate. Small public displays, like entwining his fingers with mine while we stood in line at the market or slipping his hand in my pocket while we walked in our neighborhood, were second nature to him. But I thought he might be more reserved around his traditional and religious father. He wasn’t. In fact, Aaron’s voice took on a higher more effeminate note when he introduced me to his dad. I was just Matt to his mom, but his boyfriend to his dad. And he said the ‘bf’ word twice. Like a subtly passive-aggressive affirmation that he was queer…in case anyone forgot.

“Sí, good to meet you, Matt,” Roberto replied. His accent was heavier than Rosa’s. I remembered Aaron telling me his dad had moved to the States from Puerto Rico when he was in his late teens or early twenties.

“Call him Roberto!”  Rosa yelled from the kitchen.  “Boys, come by me, so I can talk too. I have chopping to do. Aaron, wash your hands and help me.”

Aaron and I followed Roberto into the kitchen area. I sat on one of the barstools sipping water and idly observed Aaron and his mother. They worked side-by-side with a harmony that indicated they had an unspoken system down. I had a feeling Roberto wasn’t part of it. He offered me a beer and grabbed one for himself when I declined before taking the barstool beside me.

“What you do, Matt?”

“He’s a lawyer, Papa,” Aaron chirped as he chopped cilantro.

“Let him tell me himself.”  Roberto said something else in Spanish to Aaron before turning his attention back to me. “Sorry. He talks a lot.”

I smiled then cleared my throat. “I just finished law school. I actually graduated just a couple of weeks ago. I’m busy studying for the bar exam, so I’m not actually a lawyer yet.”

“But you will be, Matty. The best lawyer in DC,” Aaron piped in.

“Where did you go to school?”

“He went to Georgetown, Papa,” Aaron said.

I chuckled when Rosa smacked his hand. “I did,” I confirmed before sipping my water.

“You Catholic?  That’s a good Catholic school, yes?”  He looked at Aaron, shaking an admonishing finger at him. “And you let him talk himself!”

“No, sir, I’m not Catholic. I was just very fortunate to get into Georgetown.”

“Fortunate. I don’t know about that. I think you must have brains too.  I hear it’s a very difficult, yes?”

“He’s very smart, Papa.”  Aaron interjected with a smile.

Roberto shook his finger at his son. “This one is like a monkey. He does the same trick over and over.”

He said something to Aaron in Spanish and they all laughed. I smiled, relieved in a sense, because I wasn’t sure what the dynamic was here.

“In case you’re curious, Matt likes baseball,” Aaron singsonged.

“Yeah? Who’s your team?” Roberto asked.

“The Pirates.”

His dad frowned and shook his head in mock disbelief.  “That’s too bad.”

I chuckled. “I’m from Pittsburgh. I gotta root for my hometown. Besides, it’s early in the season still. Anything can happen.”

“Including a miracle, eh?” he teased. “That’s all right then. Want to watch a game?”

“Sure. I think the Nationals are playing now.”

“They are. I was listening to the game in the car. We’ll keep it low, Rosa,” he said before heading into the adjoining living area.

Roberto sat in a battered recliner that had clearly seen better days. It was mismatched from the other updated furnishings in the room. Nonetheless, it had a “head of the household” vibe. I pushed aside one of the colorful pillows on the back cushion then perched on the corner of the sofa closest to the chair.

“We have too many pillows. Take some home. Rosa says they bring color. There is much color here,” he griped without heat.

“I heard you and I don’t care. I love my pillows,” Rosa yelled from the kitchen.

“I do too, Mama. Don’t listen,” Aaron said.

I laughed. Roberto seemed amused and then uncomfortable. He frowned as he focused on the game. Fine by me. Baseball was easy. After a couple of minutes he turned to me with an intense stare.

“Maybe I should say I’m sorry. You like all the pillows too, don’t you?”

Huh? What the fuck was he talking about?

“Um…pillows are cool,” I said.

“I mean, you like colorful things, yes? Like Aaron.”

Oh. Got it. This was code. I sucked at code, but I’d give my best shot.

“I like colorful things…sure. But to be honest, Mr. Mendez, I don’t really care about pillows. They’re nice I guess, but I’m not an expert.”

Poor guy. I think I confused him right back. He frowned so hard it had to hurt. Well, he sort of deserved it. No one should try to talk to me in code. I never got it on the first try. Thankfully, Aaron danced into the living room just then, singing something in Spanish. He sat on the ottoman between his dad’s chair and the sofa, resting his elbow on my knee.

“Is he putting you on the spot? Papa, I told you to be nice.”

“I said nothing. I just asked if he likes pillows. That’s it!”

“Oh.” Aaron turned his attention toward the television, which both his dad and I knew was of no interest to him. Then he twisted to face us and added softly, “Matt isn’t like me, Papa.”

His father cocked his head to the side in query, but no one said a word. Okay. This was uncomfortable. I took a sip of water and tried to think of something to break the silence.

“Did Aaron mention that we’re going to the Orioles game tonight? We have great seats. He got the tickets for me for a graduation party,” I blurted.

“You’re going to a baseball game?”  Roberto asked Aaron, furrowing his brow.

“Yes! It’s going to be fabulous!” Aaron said in a campier than normal tone. “Do you think Mama will lend me her fuschia scarf in case I get cold later? I know I should be wearing orange ’cause those are the team colors. But black was all I could manage. Matt said it was fine, right honey?”

I glanced from him to his dad and back again. “Um, yeah.”

“Okay, now you have your outfit out of the way, what about the game?  You know anything about baseball? Do you need pointers?” Roberto asked brusquely.

“I’ll be fine. Matty will give me the touchdown updates,” Aaron assured him, hopping to his feet. “I’m going to grab a drink. Can I bring you boys anything?”

“No thanks. I’m good with water,” I said.

Roberto waited until Aaron was out of earshot. Then he leaned forward and cocked his head. “You know he’s gay, right?”

I nodded slowly, unsure if this was still a test. “Yeah. He’s my boyfriend.”

“You seem like a good guy, but you don’t… seem very gay. And I don’t want him hurt if you decide you aren’t,” his father said in a firm but kind voice.

Okay. I wasn’t expecting that. I opened my mouth and closed it. Twice.

“I would never hurt him. I love him.”

Roberto narrowed his gaze. “Love? You just met a few months ago. How do you know you love him?”

I glanced at Aaron in the kitchen. His hair fell into his eyes when he smiled at something his mom said. I wasn’t in the room, but I knew him. I knew how to read him. The things he said, the things he kept to himself. I could listen to him all day. I could look at him all day. There was something so fucking beautiful about the curve of his neck, the proud set of his shoulders, and his twinkling eyes. He was lovely…inside and out and I was head over heels for him.

But I wasn’t sure how to translate the things I saw in him or the way he made me feel to his father. I pursed my lips and shrugged.

“Aaron is…my person. I don’t know how to explain it. We’re different, but we get each other. He’s incredibly special to me and I can promise you, I would never hurt him. Ever.”

Roberto inclined his head. “Be good to him. He is…único. One of a kind.”

“Yes, sir. I know.”

“Good.” He sighed heavily and gestured toward the television. “Too bad you’re not going to a Nationals game. The Orioles suck.”

I held his gaze and smiled. Maybe it wasn’t much, but it felt like a beginning.

To be continued…

Better Than Meeting The Family- A Matt & Aaron Short Story – Part 1

Here’s a surprise Matt and Aaron short from the archives…just because! This is where Matt meets Aaron’s family for the first time. It follows Better Than Graduation, the small NSFW short I released last month, and would be a few months after Better Than Good ends…for those interested in sticking to the timeline. 😉 This one will most likely be posted in three to four installments. Enjoy!

Happy Reading! Lane xo4a843cd21e36944d29ba81496b482c1a_120-best-the-gentlemans-guide-to-vice-and-virtue-images-on-_491-700Better Than Meeting the Family- Part 1

We drove from DC to Baltimore on a Saturday morning. The weather was gorgeous with blue skies, bright sunshine and a mild seventy degrees. A perfect day for an Oriole game and a barbeque. We were expected around eleven. Aaron wanted me to meet his parents before his brother, sisters and their families arrived. I was nervous as fuck.

I tried to play it cool, but I barely ate that morning, which definitely wasn’t like me.  Aaron laughed and said it was just as well because there would be more food there than I could possibly eat.  He said it was best to save my appetite because his mom always made enough food to feed an army. Then he reassured me for the hundredth time that I had nothing to worry about. They were gonna love me.

“You keep saying that. How do you know?” I asked, giving him a sideways glance.

Aaron wore a fitted black T-shirt and denim shorts, and a sexy pair of designer sunglasses. The black shirt, he informed me earlier, was his nod to the Orioles colors. When I told him they were orange and black, he made a face. “Orange? I don’t think so.” Fuck, he was hot. I swallowed hard and turned my attention back to the road. He was far too distracting.

“Because you’re macho.”

“Excuse me?”

He threw his head back and laughed. “I’m Puerto Rican, sweetheart. Very machismo. Well, I’m not, but the men in my family are. I am an oddity. Especially to my dad. He doesn’t get me and he never will. You’re easy. He understands guys like you and that’s why he’ll love you.”

“That doesn’t really help.”

“You can talk about things he likes…baseball, football, hockey. Do I need to keep going?”

“You know, I think you are guilty of reverse discrimination. Curt’s gay.  He likes sports too. Being gay or bi and enjoying sports aren’t mutually exclusive.”

“I know, but not everyone else does. My dad doesn’t, that’s for sure. He thinks men who like men all act a certain way. You’ll surprise him. In a good way.”

“So, you’re saying he’ll like me because I like sports? That seems a little too simple.”

“It is too simple, but it’s also true. My dad likes sports and baseball is his favorite. I told you he coached my brother’s little league teams. It’s always been a way for them to bond. I’ve never had that with my dad. I’m not the son he wanted, but he has Paul, so it’s okay.”

“That sounds really awful.”

“It’s real life, Matty.  I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m just stating a fact.  I’m too “gay” for my dad. He doesn’t get me.  My mom is easygoing.  I may confuse her, but she goes along with it. My sisters adore me and my brother is cool. But you’re a regular guy. They’ll love you.”  He gave me one of his beautiful smiles, satisfied he’d made his point.

I understood what he was saying, but I didn’t like it. And I had a bad feeling I wasn’t going to like Mr. Mendez at all.

We pulled in front of a two story red brick house with a sloping green lawn. Wide steps built into the hill led the way to the front porch. It was a charming home and I turned to say as much to Aaron, but he’d jumped out of the car and was already running up the steps like a maniac. I followed at a more casual pace and kept my gaze on his ass until he reached the top step and yelled something in Spanish. I glanced up just as he twirled a tiny raven-haired woman in a circle. She laughed then kissed him repeatedly and hugged him close. When she released him, Aaron turned to me with a flourish.

“Mama, I want you to meet Matt. Matt, this is my mother, Rosa.”

Wow, Aaron looked a lot like his mom. He had her coloring and petite frame. Rosa Mendez was much shorter though…maybe five one. Her dark hair was cut in a stylish bob that suited her small pretty features and olive skin. Her beautiful hazel eye twinkled with humor and kindness. Like Aaron’s.

“I am very pleased to meet you. Welcome.” She smiled widely, taking both of my hands in hers and squeezed.

“Thank you, Mrs. Mendez. It’s a pleasure to meet you too. Thank you for having me. Gracias.”

Aaron snickered. “Muy bien, Matty.”

His mom must have reprimanded him, in Spanish of course, because he replied “siento” quietly and made a zipped lip motion. I understood a limited amount of Spanish, but I was getting better. I mouthed “sorry” at Aaron who grinned and gave a slight nod.

“You may call me Rosa, por favor. Are you hungry?”

Rosa took my arm and led me inside. In a lot of ways, the Mendez home reminded me of my own parents’ house. The décor was different, but the welcoming vibe was the same. There were warm colors on the walls and furnishings and family photos everywhere. On every available surface actually. I wanted to stop to check them out, but Rosa was too fast. She led me through a formal living area into the great room. A comfortable looking sectional and a couple of armchairs faced an enormous flat screen television. I glanced at the photos on the side tables before turning toward the kitchen. It was huge. I noted the vegetables strewn all over the massive wood-topped island and the colorful tiles behind the large pots on the cook top. Whatever was happening in there smelled amazing.

Rosa walked around the island. She said something to Aaron in Spanish as she tied an apron around her waist and picked up a large chopping knife.  Aaron walked over to the huge refrigerator and grabbed a couple of water bottles and handed one to me.

“Gracias,” I replied.

“Look at you, Matty. He’s been practicing his español, Mama,” he teased, chuckling when I scowled. He kept his gaze glued on mine, but waited for his mother to turn around before running his fingers down my forearm. “Where’s Papa?”

“At the market. He’ll be back soon. Matt, do you want something other than water? Aaron, offer more to drink. There is soda or maybe beer if you want?”

Aaron rolled his eyes then winced when his mom smacked upside the head. “Honey, do you want something other than water to drink?”

“No thanks.  This is good,” I said before turning to Rosa. “Your home is beautiful.”

“Thank you. We have lived here many years now.” She chopped quickly as she spoke. “All my children were raised here.”

I spotted an older family photo on a console table near the sofa and went to take a closer look.

Aaron gasped. “Oh my God!  I should have come earlier and banished all these horrible old pictures. Some of these are a million years old. Matty’s going to break up with me and tell everyone what a dorky kid I was. How will I ever show my face in DC again?”

Rosa and I shared a look and chuckled. I rubbed the back of his neck and squeezed his shoulder. I didn’t know what the rules were here. I wasn’t going to stick my tongue down his throat, but I couldn’t resist him. I dropped my hand and swallowed hard when the kitchen door swung open.

Aaron leaned against me then snaked his arm around my waist. “Hola, Papa. Come meet my boyfriend.”

To be continued…

OUT IN THE FIELD Audiobook is LIVE!!

Audible got to this one faster than expected! I’m so thrilled! Michael Pauley is back to narrate Out in the Field, and I have to say, this might be my favorite of his so far. He somehow manages to tap into Max’s vulnerable side under his badass jock facade. And Phoenix is just the breath of fresh air he needs. Hell, I think we can all use a Phoenix in our lives. LOL

Check out the sample/purchase link for Out in the Field here.

All four books in the Out in College series are now available in ebook, paperback and audio. Note: All books/audiobooks can be read/listened to as standalones! Here are the Audible links for the other three books in the series too. Out in the Deep, Out in the End Zone, Out in the Offense.

Happy Listening! Lane xo

OUT IN THE FIELD is LIVE on Amazon KU Now!

OUT IN THE FIELD is here!! Woohoo!! Amazon was surprisingly fast today!! LOL. Out in the Field is book 4 in my Out in College series. This one belongs to Max and Phoenix…and baseball! Max is a star first baseman at a private college who’s used to having his cake and eating it too. But Phoenix isn’t like anyone Max knows. He wears lipgloss, watches old movies, and quotes Shakespeare. But there’s something about him…The jock and the theater geek have nothing in common…or do they?

Happy Reading!! Lane xo

Blurb for Out in the Field by Lane Hayes:

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

Euro Pride Con and London!

It’s good to be home again, but I have to admit, I kind of miss Europe! More accurately, I miss all of the amazing people I met. Some were FB friends I’ve known online for over five years and others were friends I’d met previously at big events like GRL. And yes! I even got a chance to fangirl over a few of my personal favorite authors, like RJ Scott and Lily Morton. I travelled with my good friend, Dana, who is a huge MM reader. Anyone who’s ever done a major trip abroad knows how important it is to travel with the right people. I totally lucked out. Our European adventure was a whirlwind, beginning with Euro Pride Con in Amsterdam and ending with 1.5 million people at London Pride. LOL. A HUGE thanks to everyone who traveled to EPC or London or York to meet us. (I won’t try to name everyone because jet lag is real and I don’t want to forget anyone!)Here are a few photos…

Oh!! But first…OUT IN THE FIELD will be here any second now. Be sure to check Amazon for Max and Phoenix and a little baseball.  Happy Reading!! Lane xo

Better Than, Right & Wrong, A Kind of Stories are on KU Now!

KU-BetterThan-Seriespromo-1200x800 2It’s true! My first three series, Better Than, Right & Wrong, and A Kind Of are all available on KU now. They’ve been repriced and in a few cases, they also include extra content. For example…Better Than Good now includes a not-previously released epilogue and Better Than Friends comes with a brand new bonus chapter. A sexy one too!😍 Better Than Safe and A Kind of Truth come with short stories. And The Right Time come with a bonus chapter. 

All of the ebooks are now live. It may take a few days to work the kinks out and link the titles properly, but I’m so thrilled to be able to expose these books to a larger audience at an affordable price. And yes, all audio and foreign translation are still available…win win! 😉 These titles will only be on KU for 90 days so check them out!

*Better Than Good…https://amzn.to/2WTpmBj
Better Than Chance…https://amzn.to/2ZuJRFW
*Better Than Friends…https://amzn.to/2IsZR5L
*Better Than Safe…https://amzn.to/2RlxtW3
*A Kind of Truth…https://amzn.to/2WUgkZq
A Kind of Romance…https://amzn.to/2FmYzXX
A Kind of Honestly – https://amzn.to/2Fml5jB
A Kind of Home…https://amzn.to/2MXBl0E
The Right Words- https://amzn.to/2ZGsv9o
The Wrong Man- https://amzn.to/2ZDr2Aj
*The Right Time – https://amzn.to/2FqWxGa
And don’t forget…Out in the Field will be here in less than three weeks!! Woohoo!
Happy Reading! Lane xo
KU-AKindOf-Seriespromo-1200x800 2
KU-RightAndWrong-Seriespromo-1200x800 2

Better Than Graduation!! A Surprise Matt & Aaron Short Story! (NSFW)

I have a big announcement coming soon and Book 4 of Out in College will be here soon too. I figured it might be a fun idea to celebrate with a surprise Matt & Aaron short story. This one is from Matt’s graduation from law school. So in the Better Than timeline, it’s just a month or so after Better Than Good ends.

Enjoy! And check in next week for some fun news!!

Happy Reading! Lane xoBetter Than Graduation (NSFW)

Graduation day finally arrived on a somewhat gloomy mid May Sunday.  The skies didn’t look dark enough for rain, I pondered as I strummed a few notes on my guitar in an attempt to keep my nerves at bay.  Within the hour, my roommates and I would be heading over to Healy Hall and the grand commencement ceremony on the Lawn. I’d obviously been in and to quite a few graduation ceremonies, but this one was stood out as being particularly significant. Even our robes were grand, in their royal blue color with a regal purple velvet piping. It all screamed “Big Deal”. I was glad to know that Aaron was going to be in attendance somewhere in the massive throng of bodies.  He’d sent me a text first thing that morning.

So proud of u.  I’ll try to find u there…xoxo

I looked at that text repeatedly with a stupid grin on my mug before finally picking up the guitar to give my fingers something else to do. Curt came out his room with his freshly pressed gown over one arm and a bottle of expensive champagne in his other hand.

“I think a celebratory drink is in order. Gather round, gentlemen.”

He cleared his throat as if in preparation to make a speech.  Dave filled in the silent gap with a large belch, and Curt made a move as if to smack him upside the head. I busted up laughing. It wasn’t so much that anything was really funny, because it wasn’t. It was almost a hysterical reaction of acknowledgment of the significant connection the three of us had shared over the past couple of years. Today would signify the end of a chapter in our lives. I’d only known Dave and Curt for two years, but we’d become close friends as well as roommates. These guys knew what I’d been through because they’d been immersed in the same shit.  Endless hours of studying, reading and writing countless papers while trying to prove ourselves as bright young minds at our internships.

We still had the bar exam to pass, but a major milestone would be reached today and I was as proud of their accomplishment as I was of my own. They were good people and had become lifelong friends. I trusted them implicitly. They, along with Jason who was with his girlfriend that morning, were the only people who knew about Aaron and me.

I should have said all of that and then some, but tears were threatening.  I cleared my throat and lifted my glass.

“To us. May we all have bright shiny careers and hell, why not bright shiny lives too? Cheers.”

We clinked our glasses together and let the moment’s significance fill the void of speech. Dave raised his glass and Curt and I looked at him wondering what words of wisdom he was about to impart as we rolled our eyes in his direction.

“I never thought I’d end up rooming with a couple of homos.  One who’s a recent convert to dick, no less. But I want to say one thing…”  He held up his hand both to indicate he still had the floor and to fend off Curt’s attack. “You guys are the best friends I have. Jas too, of course.  I know this would have sucked big time if I hadn’t had you both here to motivate and push me a little.  You guys are awesome. Thank you. You almost, almost make me want to be just like you.”

Curt and I stood with our mouth agape before we raised our own glasses.

“I didn’t mean I want to be a homo! Geez!”

What an asshole. We laughed and then got busy finishing the bottle before walking toward campus, each of us feeling a nice fizzy buzz.

 

As expected, the ceremony was long. Two hours at least.  But by late afternoon, I was officially a law school graduate.  What followed was an endless paparazzi brigade. Photos with family, friends, friend’s families, professors…you name it, I posed for it. The only person I really wanted to see and hadn’t caught sight of was Aaron.  A girl from my first year Criminal Law class had just asked me to take a picture of her with her extended family when I heard my name spoken in the sweet voice I’d been longing to hear just a few feet behind me.  I dutifully snapped the shot and then turned to capture my man in a tight embrace.  He gasped in surprise but returned the gesture in kind.

“I’m so proud of you. Wow!  hat was lot of big words and important like folks talking fancy talk, Matty. Are you going to start speaking like that all the time now that you’re a big lawyer?”  Aaron looked up at me and batted his lashes as though everything coming out of his mouth wasn’t a complete tease.

“First of all, I’m not a lawyer yet. I still have to pass the bar. However, I am confident of a favorable outcome after years of diligent scholastic application.  Perchance the title of lawyer might soon rightfully be mine to claim.”

Aaron’s face was a picture of incredulous puzzlement. I knew he was just humoring me, but I found it charming. His entire face lit up as a breathtaking smile claimed his pretty mouth.

“I like the big words, Matty. Can you say all that in bed later and maybe find a pair of nerdy glasses!”

“Don’t say another word. I am so fucking horny I can’t stand it.”  I took a brief look around and spotted my parents busily chatting with Dave’s folks. The rest of the family would be close by.

“Don’t worry. I’m not staying.”

“Hey, I’m not worried. In fact, if you want to hang around and meet everyone, that’s cool by me.”  Once I’d said the words I realized I was completely serious. Why not?

“No. Now isn’t the time. I don’t want anything to take the focus from your special day. I’m leaving, but call me later. You can bring over your toothbrush and pjs. We’ll have a slumber party to celebrate. Just me and you.” Aaron squeezed my hand and disappeared into the mass of graduates and well wishers.

“Matthew! Oh, there you are!” My mom pushed her way to my side. I gave her a smile and she hugged me for what had to be the hundredth time that day. She mumbled a teary congratulations into my shoulder again and then grabbed me by the arms giving me a good long look. A mother look. All knowing. I wondered if she’d seen me with Aaron. We hadn’t done anything inappropriate, so even if she had seen us, she wouldn’t know anything. Or would she?

“We’re so proud, sweetheart!”

“Thanks Mom. For everything.”

She had that ‘about to cry’ look so I searched for a quick subject change.  Thankfully Curt showed up that moment and greeted my mother in a friendly embrace. They exchanged pleasantries and more congratulations while I looked around to see if I could spot Aaron one more time. He was gone. I would have to wait until tonight. Pjs? Yeah right. I smiled to myself. I looked back to see Curt and my mom staring at me expectantly.

“Sorry? I missed it. What did you say?”

Curt rolled his eyes but my mom was wearing a scrutinizing expression. Oh boy.

“Hey, I just saw Aaron, by the way.” Curt must have been dropped on his head. Why was he telling me this in front of my mother, the inquisitor?

“Erin?” My mom lifted one eyebrow comically.

I didn’t say a word.  Curt decided to shut up too, which was a minor miracle.  It was too late though.  My mom was a super sleuth.  I should give up, as it was really just a matter of time before she got what she wanted.

“So Erin is her name?”

Ah, that’s right. Of course my mom would assume the E spelling.

Curt turned coward and made a sudden departure. Supposedly he’d just seen someone he had to say hello to. Jerk. My dad and the rest of the family were making their way toward us, but my mom took one last shot.

“Well, Matt. At least tell me that. Please. Is Erin the name of your special someone? That’s all I’m asking. Just a name.”

Now, I could have played this a couple of ways. I could have lied and said her name is Erin and dealt with the having to explain the he/she angle later. Or I could have come out then and there. “Mom, I’m bi. Erin is actually Aaron, and I’m totally in love.” Brave, but I wasn’t sure I could handle it at that moment.  Plus, I’d promised Aaron that I would wait until after graduation. I know he didn’t mean, wait till after the ceremony either. Did I do either of those things? No.

“Yes.”  I even smiled.  What an asshole.

“Well… alright then. I respect that you’re keeping this a secret for now.  But please promise me that we’ll get an introduction soon.”

“Yes, Mom.”  I dutifully replied. It was a promise I intended to keep.  It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was time.

Obviously it was also the correct response. My mom was thrilled. I shook my head and tried to stay away from thoughts of my parents’ collective disappointment. It was too overwhelming to contemplate.

 

My family headed back to Pittsburgh that same evening after a light dinner together.  Everyone had work and school the next day, so the party was officially coming to a close.  As great as it was seeing everyone, I was ready to say goodbye.  And my mind was with Aaron already.  I yearned for him in a very physical sense, and I don’t mean just that I wanted to have sex with him.  I absolutely did, but I wanted to see him, touch him, talk to him, smell him, and hold him.  We sent text messages earlier and I was mentally already driving myself over to his apartment for our “sleepover”.

I knocked on his door a short time after saying my last goodbyes to my family when the driver came to whisk everyone back to the airport. It was later than I’d hoped. Aaron had to work in the morning. If I was a nice boyfriend, I would have called to see if he thought it was too late. But I was selfish. I was done waiting.

He opened his door a mere couple of inches and then wiggled a few fingers through the small opening.

“Hi.”

“Hi to you. You letting me in?”

He peaked his head only through a slightly larger opening.

“Yes, but I need to ask that you wait two more minutes out here. I know it is unbearably rude of me, but trust me, it will be worth it.”

“Uh, okay.”

“Come here.” He motioned for me to bend down toward him, planting a chaste kiss on my lips. “I’ll be quick. Two minutes!”

I leaned against the wall facing his apartment and checked email messages until he cracked his door open a couple minutes later.

“Hello? Two minutes not ten! Hurry up! Geez!”

He shut the door again and much to my amusement I could hear him stomping loudly inside. I let myself in as instructed and came to an immediate halt in the candle lit living room. Let me rephrase that. The room wasn’t lit by a candle or two.  It was positively awash in candlelight. Candles were arranged in groups throughout the entire space. Along the kitchen counter top, on the small kitchen table, on the modern coffee table and along the console table under his mega large screen television. There was a faint glow coming from his bedroom too. Small, medium and large, some skinny, some fat, but all of them were white.  The effect was luminously beautiful. I was speechless. I looked around for Aaron once I’d found my voice, but he wasn’t in the small living area.

I headed for the bedroom, my heart racing. I hadn’t even touched him, yet I was primed and ready to go.  With blood singing through my veins, I stopped short at the sight before me.  The bedroom was similarly lit with candles, but I only had eyes for the gorgeous naked man lying seductively on the charcoal gray sheets with his hands folded casually behind his head.  He watched me closely as I approached the bed, my heart thumping wildly.

“Happy Graduation.”

Fuck. I could barely put two words together and suddenly I couldn’t move either. I wanted to pounce on him, ravage him, take what he was offering, but I was paralyzed by the intensity of my desire. My tongue felt heavy in my mouth, my head was light. My dick, however, I knew had never been this hard. Ever.

I undid the buttons on my jeans, pushing them and my boxers down and freeing my feet before whipping my t-shirt off my head. I stood naked before him and I was certain he could tell just how much I wanted him, but once again, I was overcome with a wave of uncertainty. He must have sensed that I needed his direction as he calmly sat up half way leaning on one elbow and grabbed my hand before pulling me on top of him.

It was shear bliss. We both groaned aloud at the sensation of our naked bodies pressed together for the first time in what felt for forever. Our lips found each other and we kissed passionately while our hands roamed through hair, down arms, over chests and resting finally on one another’s ass. I tucked my hands under his ass cheeks as he wrapped his legs around me and pulled me in closer with his legs and arms. I was ravenous in my desire for him. I didn’t kiss him in as much as I devoured him with my mouth, trying to get as much of his taste as possible. Our tongues were so far down one another’s throats that we finally had to separate just to breathe. I was panting over him as I looked into his luminous hazel eyes.

“I want you inside me.”

Fuck. I nodded then moved over him to reach over to his nightstand to get the lube and a condom. I poured a generous amount of lube on my fingers and knelt between his thighs working them into his opening.  He laid a hand on mine to still my fingers.

“I prepared myself for you. Just do it. I need you Matty. Fuck me.”

His voice was low and husky with his own desire. I had to take a deep breath to get my senses together. I nodded again and got to work on the condom.  My fingers were shaky and unsure. Aaron sat up and laughing took it from me.  He opened the wrapper and placed it on the throbbing head of my cock, looking deep into my eyes as he rolled it down my length squeezing me enticingly. I closed my eyes again drinking in the sensation. I felt him move beneath me and looked down to see he’d turned over on his hands and knees. He looked over his shoulder and then leaned his head on the pillow, stroking his own hard dick with one free hand.

With a steadiness I didn’t feel inside, I guided my gloved cock to his entrance and pushed. Fuck, he was so hot. Literally hot inside and out. I struggled against the urge to take and plunder, but Aaron obviously had other things in mind.

“Matt, fuck me. Hard. I want it. Please.”

I plunged inside, watching my dick disappear in him. My hands resting on his hips, I pulled out and did it again.  I set a slower rhythm to start and steadily increased the pace. I moved my hands up to his shoulders and fucked him hard. Sweat poured from both of us as we moved together. Aaron arching his back and thrusting himself to meet me stroke for stroke until my tempo faltered as my orgasm approached. I held back for as long as possible before I gave myself over to intense release. Wave upon wave overtook me. I held onto Aaron tightly, grinding into his hot ass. I could feel him stroke himself underneath me and once my vision cleared, I unconsciously wrapped my arm around him to take over stroking him to completion. He bucked back toward me, riding my still hard dick as he met his own release. I felt his come spurt over my hand onto my fingers as I showered his neck and shoulders with gentle kisses. We let the moment linger.  Our sweaty bodies joined as we each struggled to catch our breath.

I reluctantly pulled out of him, disposed of the condom and came back to bed with a towel and a wet washcloth. Aaron hadn’t moved. I gently used the washcloth to clean him and the towel to wipe sweat from my forehead and chest before urging Aaron to lie down away from the wet spot so I could clean that too.  He laughed at my diligence, but he was pickier than me so I knew he appreciated the gesture. As I crawled in beside him, he nestled into my side and rested his head on my chest. I felt completely physically and emotionally wrung out.  I wasn’t sure where the emotional part was coming from, but I decided not to question just then. I held my lover a little closer instead.

I must have drifted off for a minute. I became aware when I felt the bed shift that the room was entirely dark. I reached over for Aaron who came back into my arms kissing my forehead, cheeks and chin. I opened my mouth and he took the hint, brushing his tongue sweetly against mine. Unbelievably I felt myself stir. Aaron must have felt it too. He backed away, resting his forehead on mine as he chuckled softly.

“Again? I need a little break,” he said, widening his eyes.

I laughed, pulling him into a tight embrace. “What can I say, baby?  You turn me on. Where’d you go?”

“I had to snuff out all the candles before I burnt the place down around our ears.” He snuggled closer into my side.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“The candles, you.”  I kissed the end of his nose and smiled down at him, willing him to understand how he made me feel.

“You’re welcome. I waited forever,” he sighed dramatically.

“Sorry. It took them that long to finally leave.”

“That’s okay. You like having your family around. Did you have a good visit?” He laid his forearms on my chest and was looking up at me through the dark fringe of wayward hair drifting into his eyes.  I brushed the stray hairs away and let my hand linger on his cheek.  I loved that I had the right to touch him this way.

“Yeah, it was great. But I strongly believe that anything over two or three days is pushing it when it comes to family time.”

“Like fish. After three days, it’s no good.”

I laughed softly in agreement.

“I have another present for you.” His voice was a whisper. “I mean, other than me.” He shifted himself off my chest and walked naked to the other side of the bed to reach for something on his dresser bureau. With a shy smile, he handed me a red envelope.

“It’s nothing really. Kind of stupid, but I think you might like it. If you don’t, you can probably give it to your brother or something. Actually I can just give it to my brother…”

I stared at him, willing him to stop his nervous banter with himself.

“Are you giving it away, or should I open it?”

“Open it. Just…if you don’t want to go…”

I opened the envelope, which contained premium seating for a Baltimore Orioles ballgame in two weeks. I’m a Pirates fan naturally, but moreover, I’m a baseball fan. The gesture was heartfelt and sweet. I looked at him curiously. I had learned that Aaron communicated in a variety of ways. Tickets to a baseball game near his hometown probably meant something other than the simple giving of tickets to a sporting event I would enjoy.

“Wow. Thank you! This is awesome.”

“You might not like them. I don’t know this stuff. I asked Peter ’cause he knows about these things and he thought it was a great idea. Then I asked my brother. He loves baseball. He actually helped me get them. If you don’t want to go, he’ll probably take them for you. If you want to, maybe go, though, um, you could take your friend Dave or Curt or…”

“You.” I lifted his chin with a steady hand silently demanding he look at me. He complied, but the fidgeting in his hands, which moved a mile a minute when he talked normally, went into over drive. He couldn’t still the nervous movement, so I took his hands into my own, willing him to calm down.

“Huh?”

“Don’t you want to take the other ticket? It looks like these are decent seats.”

“They’re fucking fantastic seats.” He seriously put a hand on his hip when he said that too. “But…”

“But what? Don’t you like baseball? It’s the great American past time. And it’s fun to go to games, you know. Even if you don’t watch the play on the field, the people watching is entertaining. The food is good too and you can get a drink. Alcohol, I mean.”

Geez, it’s a good thing I didn’t go into sales, I thought to myself. Aaron looked far from convinced. Which begged the question, why gift it to me if he wasn’t going to come with me? I couldn’t figure it out and I was too tired to try, so I just asked.

“Well…”  Aaron plucked his fingers on the comforter nervously.

“I’m waiting…”

“Look, the game is in Baltimore and I know you like baseball, so…”

“I get that part. What is it you’re leaving out?”

“Iwantyoutomeetmyfamily”  It came out as a single word, so I ran it through my brain a couple of times and came up with what I thought the translation would be. I was still incredulous, but I had to ask.

“You want me to meet your family?”

“Well, if you were going to the game anyway, we could stop over and, um…I’m sorry, Matt. Bad idea. Fuck.  I should have picked a team closer to here. Here, just give me the envelope. I’ll exchange it.” He reached over to grab it from me, but I swiped it away from him and held it above my head.

“Okay, let me get this straight. Back off, baby. I’m asking the questions now.  Got it?”

He nodded and looked a little miserable. I could not figure this man out for the life of me.

“So.  You bought me this very excellent gift.  Two tickets with okay seats…”

“Prime seats!”  Aaron’s eyebrows lifted comically and he folded his arms indignantly, but at least now he was looking at me.

“Sorry, prime seats, a great game in your hometown. And you want me to meet your family too.”

He nodded cautiously.

“I accept. Thank you. And I’m really looking forward to meeting your family.” I leaned over intending to kiss his mouth, but he moved suddenly and I got his ear instead.

“You want to meet my family?  You want to go to a baseball game with me?”

“Yes. What am I missing here? I’m terrible at guessing Aar. Can you just lay it all out there for me?  Please?”

He shook his head as if puzzling something over, sitting cross-legged and naked, he explained.  Or tried to.

“You know when you said you want to be out and then you said maybe you should just tell your family while they were here for your graduation?  I said not to say anything yet, because your graduation should stand on it’s own…”

“I know all that.”

“I’m kind of an asshole. I know you like baseball, and I was going to get you local team tickets, but then I kept thinking. I thought what if we got one family out of the way? They will be easy. Trust me when I say, they will love you.  So we go say hi to the Mendez clan, but we can’t stay long because we’re going to the baseball game. Win win.”

“I like it and I’m looking forward to it. What I don’t understand is why you’re an asshole for getting the tickets and introducing me to your family.  Explain.”

“Because it totally puts you on the spot! Who in their right mind would want to go to a baseball game with me? The theater, yes. The opening of a fabulous boutique, aboslutely.  A baseball game?  Hello? Or should I say, hell no?  I really don’t think I need to go any further with that explanation.  But the same goes with my family. If you aren’t really ready to meet them, I’m okay with waiting until you are. No pressure.” His hands finally stopped and he looked at me as if willing me to understand his reasoning. It was a bit convoluted, but I think I got it.

“So, you’re assuming I’ll think you aren’t, what’s your word again…butch…enough for baseball?  And that I’m possibly not ready or maybe even committed enough to us to want to meet your parents? Is that it?”

“Well, I stand by the first one, but the second one sounds bad. Yes, though, that’s the gist.”

“I love you. In fact, I adore you too. Just the fact that you’re willing to go to a sporting event at all with me is pretty damn cool. That is how I see it. And I’m looking forward to meeting your family too. No more doubts, okay?”

He jumped at me suddenly, flinging his arms around my neck in a tight hug. I pressed kisses in his hair and on his cheeks holding him closely to me.

For such a big talker, Aaron was very vulnerable at times. I found myself wanting to shield him from his unpleasant thoughts and insecurities.  I was touched when I thought about him waiting in the wings to congratulate me earlier in the day, letting me know he was there and he was proud of me.

This wasn’t where I imagined I would be a year ago when I considered my impending graduation.  But here I was, a law school graduate with a super hot boyfriend, not girlfriend.  A totally different path if I was ready.  And I had decided I was ready.