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Droplets strayed down between his broad shoulders and into the small of his back. As he ran his hands through his thick dark hair, his shoulder muscles rippled. The reflection in the full-length mirror at the foot of the bed showed Troy's broad chest narrowing in a V to a tiny wasplike waist a gay man half his size would have killed for.
Two years ago, a vision of Troy at the foot of his bed might have been a masturbatory fantasy or an idle daydream. Impossible and unattainable. Something Brad had cooked up to get himself off after another night in the bed alone.
It wouldn't have crossed Brad's mind back then that he could get a piece of Troy Boston-or anyone even half as hot. He had pretty much given up trying. In fact, in those dark days, Brad had sworn off gay men forever, believing each and every one to be a liar and a crook, shallow and cruel. They were living, breathing, walking advertisements for the joys of a celibate life.
Troy continued to fuss with his thick, coarse hair in the mirror on the wall at the base of Brad's bed. He slicked his palms with gel and ruthlessly shaped the mane that-he complained-never obeyed him. It took him a full five minutes of work before he was satisfied.
To Brad, Troy looked just fine-before, after, or during the arranging of his hair. It didn't make a bit of difference to Brad. Troy looked hot every which way. Any time of day.
As he tugged the last recalcitrant locks into position, Troy caught Brad's lustful look in the mirror's reflection. He flashed a half smile at the mirror. Then he turned toward Brad, who sprawled comfortably in their bed. A sheet was twisted around one arm as if he was in bondage. His brown hair was tousled. One of his feet stuck out beneath the covers at the bottom of the bed.
A rush of guilty pleasure raised the bedclothes like a tent over his crotch.
"You peeking?" Troy teased.
Brad nodded. He had never been much good at hiding his feelings. His body betrayed him: his anger, his passions were all right on the surface, raw and available.
He couldn't help it. He was a chef, and being a chef was all about display, about revealing the secret flavors that lurked in food. He was not one of those cool cucumbers who wore a mask twenty-four-seven.
Troy let the towel on his waist drop. The morning light falling into the room put his abs and pecs and nipples into perfect relief.
Brad gasped, as if it was the first time he had seen what was hidden beneath. Troy was a magnificent specimen of manhood. At thirty-three, three years older than Brad, he had the firm, hard stomach of a high school athlete. His muscles were naturally lean and ropy; he was strong, but he had none of the false bulk of a steroid queen.
Troy playfully let a hand drop to his crotch. Although they had been together almost two years, the size of Troy's member never failed to surprise Brad. Troy tensed. His cock twitched obediently.
Brad's mouth went dry. His penis throbbed. Hunger rose up from a place deep inside him, an animal hunger, basic and carnal.
The muscles of Troy's belly wrestled one another like animals under a blanket. And the thin treasure trail from navel to crotch seemed positively alive.
All thought rushed out of Brad's head. He threw back the covers.
Troy laughed. He picked up the wet towel from the floor and threw it at Brad.
"Not today, sweetheart. It's Friday. I've got a breakfast meeting with the investors and a dog-and-pony show this morning with the mayor to talk about the Club. Only three months until the target date for our grand opening, remember?"
Being business partners and opening a club together were exciting developments in their relationship. But Brad wished they focused as much on their romantic connection as they did on being business partners.
Troy's fine, firm ass pranced into the hallway and disappeared. Even though they didn't officially live together, Brad had turned over the hall closet to Troy to store a few things, so that he did not have to go home every morning to change. Brad was looking forward to the day when they would share a bedroom with enough closet space for the both of them. That would be the day he would have the luxury of watching Troy dress each morning, bare-ass in the sunlight.
Brad touched himself beneath the sheets. The thought of sharing a home contented him. It was a feeling less urgent than the animal desire that had just coursed through his veins. It possessed a richer, fuller flavor. A long, round finish. Hints of chocolate and berry. Pinot noir. A whiff of something evergreen.
Brad often thought of love and sex and relationships in terms of flavors. Sharp, piquant encounters on the beach in the summer with a new friend were a kind of sweet mango salsa. The return to the bedroom of a comfortable ex-lover for a little backsliding was slow comfort food with hot barbecue sauce. The bruising yelp of being with a big man had all the subtlety of a thick piece of beef, nearly raw, and tender on the inside.
Brad closed his eyes, dozing in half sleep, laughing at himself for being so goofy.
What was Troy, he mused, in this world of flavors? Red-hot Creole? Succulent lobster? Braised lamb with mint at the end of a tired day?
All the labels fit to some extent. But none was quite right. Brad had not found the culinary match that captured Troy Boston. Troy was elusive that way. Making love with him was like making love with many different men, all with the same face and perfect body. Brad never knew what the flavor of the day might be.
All he knew was that Troy had the ability to make him randier than a high-school cheerleader at homecoming. And at the same time, to make him feel like the most important person in the world. Brad was-in a word-crazy about Troy Boston.
"You dreaming about food again, pretty boy?" Troy whispered. He was leaning over the bed, his lips to Brad's ear. His breath sent little electric sparks all over Brad's skin. His distinctly male scent at close range brought Brad fully awake. "It's giving you another hard-on."
Brad's eyes popped open. He had dozed off.
"I was thinking of you."
Troy trapped Brad in the bedclothes. He stroked Brad's head with his large, strong hands. The palms were cool and smelled of cologne and soap. He put a finger on Brad's lips and Brad suddenly opened his mouth and bit it, gently, holding it between his teeth.
"I don't know how you stay so skinny when you think about food every second of the day," Troy wondered. "And night. I would be a fat-ass if I did that."
It was a lie. Troy Boston would never be a fat-ass, no matter how long he lived or what he ate. He could swallow six Big Macs and never gain an ounce. And he could go without food for three days and never notice the difference.
And, Brad thought, I am not exactly skinny. Not fat either-well-toned and developed, a little stocky, with good shoulders and, he prided himself, a flawless gymnast's chest. And Tour de France thighs. But unlike Troy, Brad had to work his ass off in the gym to get and keep the body he wanted.
"Why do you think I was dreaming about food?"
"You get this fat lusty baby look on your face," Troy teased. "Drooling. Content."
"Trust me, honey. There's enough sexy about you to make a half dozen boys happy."
Troy kissed him on the forehead and stood. Brad glowed, and ran an appreciative eye over his boyfriend. Troy was hot naked, but he could peg the mercury in the thermometer even when he was fully dressed. Today, he was wearing a charcoal pin-striped three-button flannel suit that perfectly complimented his slim, muscular figure.
"You look hot."
Troy nodded. His confidence was not arrogance. He had designed the suit himself, so it damn well better look hot. It was part of the Troy Boston label and would have cost a mint at retail in one of Troy's stores. Troy prided himself on never wearing another designer's clothes, although he made an exception for Prada.
"You going to come over tonight after work?" he asked.
It was not really a question. One of Troy's great talents was his ability to get people to follow his commands without even knowing they had been commanded.
Troy smiled, turned, and then blew a quick kiss over his shoulder.
"Wish me luck."
Then Troy was gone. He bounded down the stairs of the condominium two at a time. The outside door slammed shut behind him with a sound that rattled the whole building. The apartment was suddenly as still as the dead, as if Troy had taken all the energy in it away with him.
Brad sighed. "Luck" was not what he would have preferred to say as a last word when they parted in the morning. Brad would have liked to say, "I love you." Or better yet: "Be late to meet the mayor and make love to me."
But "I love you" was an expression they never used. If Brad had pushed him for a declaration of love, Troy would have gotten all squirrelly. Troy spoke eloquently enough with his body and lips and hands. He was quick with a compliment and a reassuring touch. He might have pointed out that actions were more important than three words that were easy to say but hard to mean.
Troy never mentioned love. He never said so much as "You make me happy." He never revealed a trembling lip or eyes filled with tears. He was focused, hard, and exquisitely controlled. His cheekbones were dark and angular and his forehead was honest, but his penetrating eyes never gave up a secret. He was a fortress, absolutely impregnable when it came to his feelings.
This sexy unavailability only made Brad want him all the more. He plotted constantly about how he would taste that forbidden fruit hidden inside the walls that surrounded Troy's heart.
Someday, he vowed, Troy would surrender control, break, and confess his love. And that day, Brad would be waiting to embrace Troy and be his forever.
Brad snuggled into the flannel sheets, which were as deep and soft as blankets. He tested the pillow beside him for a quick hit of Troy's animal smell. He inhaled deeply, and again won that deep contented feeling that told him he was the luckiest man in the world. Everything he wanted would come. Spring in Boston was right around the corner. He just needed to give Troy time. The two years they had been together were not (yet) enough.
Brad rolled over to try to get more sleep. Unlike Troy, four hours' sleep was not enough to tide Brad over. Fifteen hours would have been nice. Followed by breakfast in bed and a full-body massage by six sculpted members of the United States swim team in their tiny blue Speedos.
Excerpted from Hot Sauce by Scott Pomfret Scott Whittier Copyright © 2005 by Scott Pomfret and Scott Whittier . Excerpted by permission.
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Posted November 3, 2013