GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 76,166 words
Tristan used to be top salesman at his firm, but when his friends suffered a tragedy, he stepped in to support them. Their ordeal over, Tristan turned to partying to ease his new solitude. Now his job is at risk and he stands to lose his home.
Rain spent years putting up with his husband Milo's bad behavior before moving out. Single again and insecure, Rain dreams of creating a marionette show to celebrate kids on the autism spectrum in honor of his son. When Rain meets his neighbor Tristan, he's drawn to Tristan's sex-appeal and protective nature.
But Milo keeps pulling on Rain's strings and messing with his head.
Tristan loves everything about Rain, including the strange sandwiches, mismatched socks, crazy marionettes, glitter makeup, and messy apartment. And Rain wants to give Tristan everything, but can he cut lose from Milo's hold?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
They both stood at the same time and were eye-to-eye. "Rain," Tristan said, moving closer to him. Their faces were so close he could feel Rain's breath on his skin. He swallowed hard, trying to keep control. "We can take it real slow. I don't want to push you."
Rain wet his lips and nodded his head. "It's not that I don't want to do anything, but --"
"No, I know. I know." Tristan picked Rain's chin up, dying to kiss him. "What if we agreed to some rules? Nothing happens tonight."
"Nothing?" Rain raised a brow.
"Well, what are you comfortable with?"
Rain titled his head, giving him a probing look. "What's your story, Tristan? Really. Why don't you go out on weekends? Why can't you sleep?"
Tristan felt a wall going up inside him. "Just been under a lot of pressure as of late, that's all." He stepped back a little. Why did he always need to come off as perfect? He couldn't seem to let people see the weaker side of him.
The other side.
But Rain stopped him by gently taking his hand. "I need you to be upfront with me, Tristan ... please. I wanna let my guard down a little with you, but I can't do that right now."
"Things keep me awake at night."
"What things?" Rain still held his hand in his warm fingers.
"Just things." Tristan sniffed and looked away. "The life I led -- I took everything too far and now I'm paying for it." He couldn't believe he was opening to Rain this way and so soon. "I slept around a lot." He blew out a long breath. "I mean ... a lot. I -- I don't know how I got there. After my friend got sick with cancer ... I threw myself into taking care of her and her family, and then she got better and I was faced with a lot of time and that notion of death." He paused, hating to remember that nasty and dark feeling he'd carried with him back then. "I couldn't stand being alone anymore. Couldn't stay in my own apartment. Started going out drinking every weekend and then it was weekdays, too. I think I was running away from my own mortality or the idea that I was replaceable or not important enough."
Tristan thought of Constance. Of Candid. Of his own personal history, but pushed those thoughts out of his mind. Was he inconsequential?
"So you partied a lot? You were depressed? How did you manage work?"
"I don't know how I did it all. Me and this other salesman -- we just partied, crashed a few hours and did our doors, but I started coming in later and later. He got fired this month and my job is on the line. But I'm working at gaining their trust back." Tristan stopped and held his breath. Was Rain going to understand?
Rain stared at him for a moment. "That it?"
Tristan felt naked and vulnerable under Rain's kind green eyes. He scratched his head and laughed nervously. "Yeah, that's it." He lost the smile and looked down at his hand in Rain's hand. They fit so well together. "Aren't you turned off a little?"
"No," Rain said, trying to meet his eyes. "Hey, look at me, Tristan."
Tristan chanced a look up, his heart beating hard. "I've changed. I want you to know that."
Rain gently pressed his hand. "Thank you for being so honest. It means a lot to me."
Tristan moved closer, and with an unsteady hand, slipped his fingers into Rain's hair. Their eyes met, a current passing between them. "You have such a beautiful face," he said. "But more than that ... I see something precious inside your eyes. Something kind. Something true."
Rain took Tristan's face in his hands. "Maybe I shouldn't kiss you. But I want to so bad." Rain kissed him soft and slow, yet Tristan felt the heat of his kiss down to his toes. He pressed Rain hard against him, washed clean with his touch. Kissing Rain harder, he slid his hand down Rain's chest, but when he felt the swell of Rain's cock against his thigh, Tristan knew he'd lose control. "Oh, my God, Rain," he managed to say, against Rain's hungry mouth, pulling away a little.
Rain's cheeks were all aflame. He wiped his lips and took a deep breath, clearly cooling down. "Sorry." He laughed. "I haven't been kissed like that in a long time."