If only building the foundation for a lasting relationship was as easy as drafting the blueprint.
Jet Black doesn’t date. Even if he wanted a man beyond sex, his ever-watchful identical twin scares potential suitors away. Jet lives with his brother, but since Gray fell in love with Kris, Jet feels like a third wheel. Despite their bond, Jet knows he needs to move out and experience life for himself, whether Gray likes it or not.
After his father dies in a boating accident, Ethan Nichols is devastated. As the last survivor of his family, he feels the need to put down roots. He leaves Australia and returns home to San Francisco and his old architectural firm. But there’s more to building a new life than simply moving house.
Jet and Ethan’s first encounter is brash and anonymous, but when Ethan moves across the hall, their lives become irrevocably linked. Jet is quirky and fun loving, while Ethan is rock steady and dependable. There’s no denying the passionate spark between them.
But Ethan is looking for a more solid foundation than Jet is ready to offer. Until Jet learns to spread his wings and trust Ethan with his darkest secrets, building a life together will be impossible.
**This can be read as a standalone, however it is best enjoyed reading the series in order as side characters play a major role.**
“Jesus, Gray. I can’t talk to you when you’re like this.” I attempted to slam the front door on my brother, but he was right behind me as we entered the condo after our students’ final play performance.
“Like what, Jet? Just because I don’t want you to move out?”
I dropped my messenger bag on the living room floor with a heavy thud and turned to glare at him. “The only reason you don’t want me to move out is because then you won’t be able to look out for me, control me. Protect me.” My tone may have been a little singsongy on those last two words, but I didn’t care. Gray was smothering me, and I was more than a little tired of it.
Gray’s expression tightened as he flexed his fingers. “The last thing I want to do is control you. You’re free to do anything you want, you know that. You’re my brother, and I like having you here. I love you—that’s why I don’t want you to move out!”
I almost laughed when he yelled he loved me. It wasn’t the tone you’d normally use when telling someone that. Not that I’d know. He was the only person I’d said those words to.
But I knew Gray wasn’t angry. He was scared. He’d been protecting me out of a misguided sense of guilt since we were teens. Meeting Kris and moving in with him helped Gray accept that life moved on. But if I no longer lived with him and Kris, Gray would stress and drive all three of us crazy with his worry.
As it stood now, I had to watch them get all lovey over each other, reminding me of what was missing in my life and what I’d probably never have. Everyone around us was coupled-up. Cam and Jake’s wedding came and went. Brandon proposed to Mason, and even Gray, in all his brash broodiness, managed to find his soul mate in Kris. Tears burned the back of my eyes, but I was determined to hold onto my anger. If I didn’t, I’d turn into the pathetic creature I knew I was.
I threw my hands in the air, my chest getting tighter as I glared at a slightly disheveled version of myself. “I’m not listening to you anymore. You need to get over this protective bullshit you’ve got going on and let me lead my life, and you need to get on with yours.”
Gray slumped a little, the tightness in his shoulders bleeding from him and his expression turning miserable. I couldn’t hide anything from him. Just as I knew he wasn’t angry, he knew I didn’t really want to move out.
“I’m just sick of being the third wheel.”
As soon as I finished that sentence—leaving no time for Gray to respond—the front door opened and Kris slowly ambled in, looking more than fine in his black suit, but bedraggled and sad. Dr. Nichols’s funeral must’ve taken a toll on him.
Gray was on him in an instant, our argument forgotten. That was okay. It wasn’t like we wouldn’t argue about it again next week.
“How was it?” Gray asked as he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend. “I’m sorry we couldn’t be there. We really wanted to go, but it was the final performance for the play…”
“It was fine,” Kris said against his shoulder. “Ethan was torn up, as you’d expect. He lost his mom only a few years before he left for Australia, and now his dad’s gone too.”
Dr. Nichols had died last week in a fishing accident. He was an old college buddy of Kris’s dad and the doctor who’d attended to Gray’s concussion and twisted ankle when Gray slipped on a loose rock one fishing trip. I didn’t know Dr. Nichols very well—having met him only a handful of times—but Gray had had a few fishing trips with him.
“I’m sorry, Kris. I’ll talk to you when I get back, okay? I have a session with Danielle,” I lied as I patted Kris on the shoulder. He was still engulfed in Gray’s arms. “I’ll take the car.”
Gray ran his hands up and down Kris’s back while he looked at me over his boyfriend’s shoulder. He looked so dejected and sorrowful, and I wasn’t sure how much of that was for Kris.