Lincoln McCaw lost everything -- his home, his job, his partner -- after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he'd never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive...before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has.
Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he's ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife's accident, he tries to pull away. But how can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything -- a friendship and a love that could save him? He may not have time to make the choice before someone else destroys it all.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Loose Id, LLC
November 16, 2010
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Breathe by Sloan Parker
Jay parked his Jeep and got out. The door rattled as he slammed it shut. One of these days it was going to fall off the hinges, and he'd end up driving around with plastic sheeting and duct tape for a door.
The neon signs from the Late Night Paradise Plaza carryout nearly blinded him as he crossed the parking lot. He'd entered Sonny's Tavern a few times over the past year. A lot over the last six months. That's when the drinking had gone from a way to dull the pain to a way to get through each day. He couldn't face the empty house and the fading memories.
Most of the time, he walked to the bar and back. A necessity when you expect the bartender to keep the beers coming. Tonight he had some thinking to do before he fell into the bottle, so he'd made the stop off to Sonny's. He'd save the heavy drinking for when he got home. Time to figure out what he planned to do about Lincoln McCaw.
If Todd was right, and the man was leaving town, Jay didn't have a lot of time to make up his mind. This might be his last chance to face him -- to get a look at the man who had taken Katie from him.
But what would he gain from finally seeing him? And was it worth tearing at old wounds when they hadn't even started to heal?
Jay shoved the bar's door in with his shoulder and welcomed the scent of beer and smoke that signaled the usual forthcoming alcohol stupor. The lighting in the bar was dim, and the brown wood paneling and hardwood floor added to the darkness. It took a minute for his eyes to adjust. Sonny was pouring a glass of whiskey behind the bar, and four men sat at a table nearby, celebrating a bowling league victory -- unless they liked to dress in matching button-up shirts advertising the Edgefield Pizzeria across their backs. The group's laughter and the clink of their glasses drowned out the country music playing overhead. A young couple sat at a table along the back wall, paying attention only to each other. And the same old, weathered man who was always in Sonny's sat at his usual table near the restrooms, proximity obviously an issue for him. He was dressed in a dirty jean jacket worn to tatters at the seams and cuffs and sported a white and gray beard that he hadn't trimmed in years. The waitress on duty brought him another glass of whiskey. The old man gripped the glass and sucked in a long, slow sip before she retrieved his empties.
Jay ordered a beer and settled in at a table toward the back. He was nearing the bottom of the bottle and hadn't come up with a decision on whether to find McCaw when two men sat at a table next to him. One was short and sweaty. The other, tall, somewhat good-looking, but with a beer gut lounging out past the belt holding up his jeans. They made several lewd comments to the waitress and offered her a party at Short and Sweaty's place after her shift. Jay tried to tune them out until he heard the word he'd feared for a long time.
"He's a fag."
What? Jay stopped the bottle an inch from his mouth. How could they tell? Was there something in the way he had looked at them?
"Who?" Short and Sweaty asked.
"That guy. At the bar," the tall one said.
Someone else. Jay let a long breath into his lungs.
"The one in the leather?"
"Yeah," Tall and Gutty said. "Fucking fag."
"Yep. Went to high school with him. Was a fag back then too."
Short and Sweaty shook his head, threw his arm over the back of an empty chair, and gave the man at the bar a disgusted look. "What the fuck's he still doing here?"
"Beats me," Tall and Gutty said. "Oughta head out to California or one of them pansy states that lets 'em get married."
"Maybe we should give him a clue." Short and Sweaty slid his chair away from the table without lifting his ass. The chair legs scraped the wood floor.
"My buddy Hal tried once. Three years ago. He and some of his guys went to the man's house. Fag was living with another guy. Can you believe that? Hal and his buddies beat the shit out of them. Cops came. Hal spent time in jail for it."
Short and Sweaty stood. "Ah, he ain't worth all that trouble. Let's head across town."
Tall and Gutty joined him, and they sauntered toward the door.
"Yeah. Don't wanna hang out in a fag bar." Tall and Gutty spat the last of his words toward the man in question, who ignored them.
Jay stared at the back of the man's leather jacket. A gay guy? In Edgefield? In Sonny's?
The dark-haired man lifted his head and took a long swig from his beer. The guy from out front last night.
Jay had no idea how to tell if someone was gay, but that long stare they'd exchanged had seemed like...something.
The man's shirt was untucked, hanging out past the bottom of his jacket. His ragged face sported several days' worth of stubble. His attention was focused on the beer in front of him, which he held on to with both hands. The expression on his face, his posture, the way he clung to his beer told of the despair. Lost. Broken.
Was Jay looking in a goddamn mirror?
* * * * *
"You watching the game? Who do you think's going to win?"
Lincoln lit a smoke and ignored the questions. The kid had sat one stool away from him twenty minutes earlier and ordered a beer he'd downed in two gulps. Same guy Lincoln had seen outside the other night. Young. Gorgeous. With a sadness in his eyes a little too familiar. Probably a regular who had started coming in while he was at the jail. Lincoln had readied himself to find another seat if the kid talked too much. Damn regulars always felt the need to talk even when no one was listening.
Instead, the kid had ordered another beer and stared at the television set hanging over the bar, not even glancing away at the commercials, until he asked about the game. Lincoln didn't offer an opinion. It wasn't like he even knew who was playing.
The bartender stopped by, and Lincoln gestured for another beer. He gathered the new bottle in his hands and stared down the mouth at the liquid. He wanted a whiskey, but the beers would let him get his ass to Nancy's. He'd start in on the pint of Jack there.
The kid reached for a bowl of nuts in front of Lincoln, picked up a peanut, and took his time smashing it between his fingers, freeing the nuts from their shell. Lincoln silently cursed himself out as he watched the kid chew the nuts and lick the salt off his lips.
Damn. Maybe he should make a trip to the Forge sooner rather than later, find himself a nameless blowjob. If assholes like the ones from earlier caught him staring at good-looking straight guys in Sonny's, he'd get a pounding on the walk back.
Laughter erupted from the table of bowlers behind him, and they belted out a chorus of "We Are the Champions."
"Must have won the league championship."
Lincoln rolled his eyes and took another drink. Great. The kid was a talker after all. Lincoln grunted. There. He wasn't ignoring the man.
The bartender brought the kid a new beer and said, "Nope. Five years in a row they came in last place. Not this year. They were second to last."
"Oh." The kid turned on the stool and glanced at the men in bowling shirts. "Should I tell them champions doesn't mean 'we suck, but hey, at least we don't suck the most'?"
Lincoln huffed out a short laugh, almost choking on a mouthful of beer. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Don't laugh while you're drinking," the kid said. "Beer up the nose burns like hell."
Good-looking and funny. At any other time in his life, Lincoln would have been seriously interested.
The kid slid onto the empty stool between them. "Can I bum a smoke?"
With the back of his hand Lincoln slid over his pack of Marlboros.
"Thanks." The kid picked up the smokes. He dug one out and placed the pack next to Lincoln's beer. "Uh, you got a light?"
The guy was really killing his buzz. Lincoln fished the lighter from his pocket and tossed it to the kid, who fumbled the catch but saved the lighter from hitting the wood floor. Good thing. Lincoln's grandpa had given it to him. He didn't need it scuffed up.
He also didn't need the kid sitting so damn close. He smelled clean, refreshing after time spent with the jailhouse inmates who weren't sure how to work the showers or the sinks. The kid held out the lighter, his eyes wide, his lips parted, his chest rising with each shallow breath as he stared at Lincoln.
Lincoln accepted the lighter, as well as the slight press of the kid's thumb to his palm.
Oh, hell. He'd never had someone come on to him in Sonny's, not in any local establishment for that matter. Public propositions for gay sex didn't go over well in a town the size of Edgefield.
Had the kid heard those fuckers from earlier?
Maybe he was toying with him. Maybe he was friends with those guys, and Lincoln was about to get his ass kicked out behind the bar. But it didn't feel like the kid was fooling. It felt good. To be touched. To be wanted again. His hand clenched as he set the lighter with his smokes.
The kid was staring at the TV again and made no attempt to move back to his previous stool. He played along the length of the cigarette with his fingers before he took another drag. His hands were a bit beat-up, rough, the hands of a man who worked for a living. Yet the kid treated the cigarette as if it were made of delicate tissue paper until his last puff. Only then did he crush the butt into the ashtray with the push of his thumb.
Would fucking the kid involve the same mix of tenderness and roughness?
Lincoln's dick had hardened more with each play of the long fingers over the roll of tobacco, with each drag between the kid's lips. Damn. He hadn't gotten hard that fast in a long time. Not from one look and a touch of hands. This twentysomething kid brought to life needs he'd learned to bury. Would it be so bad to just give in? To feel again?
He wanted a fuck, but could he let himself have even that much of a release?
No. Too soon to feel good. To feel anything.
At the next commercial, the kid said, "Did you know those guys from earlier?"
The man's low whisper had Lincoln's dick begging for a hand, a mouth, anything. Why couldn't his body listen to his head...or his heart? "If you came in here to talk, I suspect you sat by the wrong person."
Before the kid said anything more, Lincoln downed the last of his beer, grabbed his smokes, and headed for the door.
It didn't mean anything that the kid watched him go. Did it?