When being true to yourself means denial is no longer an option.
On the heels of a tragedy, Brandon White shaved his hair, adorned his body with tattoos, and concentrated on his attraction to the opposite sex. Fifteen years later, Brandon is a protective son and a loyal and respected member of the San Francisco Fire Department, bedding anything in a skirt that promises not to stick around afterward.
When his past and present collide in his dreams—including his best friend and fellow fireman, Mason—Brandon knows things are never going to be the same again. He starts to recall that fateful day years before, and the long-forgotten feelings that preceded it. The most important thing he remembers—he’s not as straight as he’d thought.
With help, Brandon learns to accept who he was always meant to be. But when tragedy strikes again, Brandon must reconcile his past and present and deal with his grief if he is to ever be true, not only to himself, but to Mason as well.
**This can be read as a standalone, however it is best enjoyed after reading the first two stories as side characters play a major role.**
“YOU BETTER not think you can come into my bed after being with a woman.”
Mason was lying on his stomach, facing away from the bedroom door where I stood, the light from the window making his skin glow. My fingers itched to feel its warmth.
“I haven’t been with anyone. I’ve been at the bar by myself,” I said quietly in the hope that he wouldn’t throw me out.
I had been at the bar for a couple of hours, and with each minute that passed, I knew I’d made the wrong decision. I should’ve gone home with Mason. I stripped quickly, leaving my jeans and shirt on the floor as I climbed into bed. I rested my head on my pillow and looked at him. His eyes remained closed, a tightness pulling at the corners, his lips a thin line.
“Old habits are hard to break. After a call like that, I’m used to getting drunk and getting laid. I only intended to get drunk tonight, I would never cheat on you. The only person I want to be with is you,” I whispered into the space between us. I wanted to touch him, hold him, but I wasn’t sure if I was allowed.
“I take an antihistamine and knock myself out.”
“I didn’t take one tonight because I wanted to be coherent when you showed up so I could kick your ass.” Mason’s eyes stayed closed and the tense lines remained. “I still want to kick your ass, you bastard.”
I ran my hand gently down his back, feeling the solid muscle ease beneath my fingers. “I’m sorry. I’d rather be here with you. I don’t feel like drinking anymore. Can I try your way instead?”
Mason opened his eyes and looked at me, his lips quirking slightly. “How about we fuck, then take some meds. Combine the two?” He slipped a hand around the back of my neck, pulling me closer.
“Works for me,” I said just before he devoured my mouth.
I slipped into Mason with ease, his body readily accepting me. We kissed and fucked and kissed some more. When we were both spent, me riding on a blissed-out orgasm-induced high, Mason got up and went to the bathroom, coming back with a warm towel. He cleaned us both before taking a small mouthful of Benadryl, then handing it to me.
“Here. Take this. We won’t know a thing until lunchtime.”
“Lucky we have tomorrow off.”
Mason eyed me. “I never take it if I have a shift the next day, and only if it’s a shit call.”
“I know. Don’t get defensive—it’s probably a healthier way to deal than what I’ve been doing.”
I took a swig, then dragged Mason back into bed. Wrapping my arms around him, I played the big spoon as I kissed his hair. He wriggled his ass against my limp cock, releasing a big sigh. “That’s better,” he murmured as he ran his fingers over my arm.
“How long until this kicks in?” I asked, already feeling sleepy.
“Give it a few minutes.” Mason yawned. After a few seconds, he added, “I’m sorry.”
I kissed his hair again and hugged him tighter. “What for?”
“For doubting you tonight. I knew you wouldn’t leave with a woman, but… it hurt. I just wanted you to come home with me.”
“You should’ve told me instead of walking off.” I kissed the back of his neck, savoring the feel of his skin under my lips now that our initial lust had been slaked. “I knew you were pissed, but old habits are hard to break and I didn’t know any other way of dealing. I was on autopilot, but when I was at the bar, it didn’t feel right and it took me a long time to figure out why.” I squeezed him tighter. “As soon as I figured it out, I jumped in a cab and came here, ready for you to kick me to the curb.”
“I won’t ever throw you out.” Mason dipped his head and kissed my arm, his voice soft and sleepy as he said, “Even though I don’t think fucking a colleague is a good idea, I can’t stay away from you.”
“I don’t want you to stay away.”
Mason patted my arm. “Good. Now shut the fuck up and go to sleep.”