As the reigning stud of the local gay club scene, every guy in the county knows Travis Templeton, and vies for his attention. Travis wears his crown lightly, careful not to break any hearts. He knows what it’s like to really love someone who doesn’t love you back-at least, not in the way you want.
Heath Kelley made the biggest mistake of his life the night before his best friend Travis left for college. One small action snowballed into years of silent misunderstanding and empty distance. When Heath accepts a transfer that sends him to his hometown, he doesn’t know Travis has moved back home, too. It doesn’t take long for the men to reconnect.
Admitting they never stopped thinking of each other as “best friends” is easy. Forgiveness of past sins is easy, but confessing their secrets comes harder. When Heath discovers the truth about Travis’ private life, the newly repaired bonds of friendship are stretched taut.
It’s time for Travis to choose – the love of his best friend, or a life of settling for having only second best.
* * *
The ghost of his lips slid coolly over mine like they had so many times over the years, a phantom whisper that raised gooseflesh on the back of my thighs and buttocks. Travis fixed me with a stare far colder than my memories. His angry, hurt voice froze my insides.
“You had what I wanted, Heath. You were normal. You dated girls. You fucked girls.” He sucked in a deep, difficult breath. When he spoke again, the anger was gone, but not the hurt.
“Then you kissed me and brought the very thing I hated right to my bed. How could you do that to me? Why didn’t you tell me you were really gay?”
Stunned, my knees wobbled, and I leaned back against his car before they gave out and I ended up on the pavement. Never had I imagined he felt such self-loathing. I hadn’t seen it, but then I’d been just seventeen. Liking some girls muddied the water for me, and I never thought of myself as anything but straight, back then.
What I felt for Travis was special, outside everything, and everyone, else. He was my best friend. I was a senior in college before I dared put a name to my sexuality, and begin to accept what it meant. I took a chance he wouldn’t shake me off, and grasped his elbow. He trembled under my fingertips.
“Travis, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. How could I?”
He shivered, like he had a sudden chill. The anger left his beautiful eyes, to be replaced by a great sadness.
“I’m sorry, too, Heath. I didn’t know how to tell you. I thought you’d hate me.
I thought you’d run away from me, and then I ran away from you.”
My chest ached. Thirteen years lost.
“I could never hate you, Travis. There was a lot I didn’t know about my teenage self. So much I didn’t understand.” I took a deep breath. “The truth is, I’m bi.”
His eyebrows drifted up. He blinked. I nodded and rolled my eyes at him.
“Don’t look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language.”