Read an Excerpt
“I thought we agreed we weren’t going to do this anymore.” Tristan Fielding pressed a kiss to his mother’s cheek as he whispered the words in her ear.
She stared up at him with such startled innocence; he could almost believe she didn’t have an ulterior motive for inviting an absolutely gorgeous man to have dinner with them. Since this was the sixth stunning man she’d introduced him to in as many weeks, Tristan no longer felt obliged to fall for the act.
“Tristan, dear,” she said, not the least affected by his attempt to appear disapproving. “This is Cody. He’s Mr. and Mrs. Sadler’s son. You remember them, don’t you?”
“Of course. Cody.” Tristan turned to face the man he’d been admiring out of the corner of his eye since he’d walked into the restaurant. “How are your parents?”
Cody offered him a slightly strained smile as they shook hands. “They’re fine, thank you.”
“I’m sure you two will get along famously,” Tristan’s mother said as she sat down. “You have lots in common.”
Cody’s gaze darted towards her. He offered a politely curious smile.
“Tristan’s gay, like you,” his mother announced.
Someone switched off the light behind Cody’s eyes. He dropped Tristan’s hand, as if he’d suddenly acquired some contagious disease.
Tristan gave a mental sigh. The saying was wrong. All the best ones were almost invariably straight. But the denial he expected didn’t come. Cody remained silent as they took their seats around the quiet table in the corner of the restaurant.
“Cody’s telling us about an award he just received for his art,” his mother said. “Why don’t you tell Tristan about it, dear?”
The younger man did a remarkable impression of a rabbit caught in the headlights. Tristan idly wondered if he was the only man on the planet who could make that panicked expression look appealing. Wide eyed, with his lips slightly parted as if he was offering them up to be tasted, he was glorious.
Finally Cody pulled himself together. “It’s nothing,” he murmured, pushing a hand through his hair, disordering the neatly combed style.
The gesture appeared more nervous than flirtatious. It still made Tristan imagine himself tangling his fingers in the thick blond strands as he held Cody still to be kissed.
“Now, that’s not true,” his mother cut in—completely derailing Tristan’s train of thought. “It was in the papers last week.”
Cody hesitated. “The Harman Legacy,” he finally said, very softly—as if he wasn’t sure he wanted anyone to hear what he had to say.
“The award is for art?” Tristan checked. “You’re an artist?”
Cody gave a jerky nod.
Tristan studied him carefully. He was probably just nervous. His family could be intimidating—especially when in hot pursuit of someone they thought ought to be set up with one of their own.
Doing his best to push aside thoughts of anything other than setting the other man at ease, Tristan tried to think of something Cody might be more comfortable talking about. It wasn’t easy to think at all, when Cody called to something inside him more strongly than any man he’d ever known.
“I haven’t seen you around for...” Tristan scrolled through his memories. He held a vague recollection of a pale, blond boy a few years younger than himself, but that was way back before he’d found out there were games more fun than football to be played with other boys.
Cody didn’t fill in the gap. If anything he withdrew further into his shell.
“Since we were children,” Tristan finished off, as he did the math. If Cody was the year or two younger than him that he remembered him being, he’d be twenty-three now.
The conversation, such as it was, died.