Thursday, December 11, 2014

Amazon Made a Mistake with Heavy Hitters

In case you guys didn't get to see this, here's part of a massage I posted yesterday.

I can't dedicate time to my writerly persona right now. For the longest time I've been engaged in a race against time, but I need to stop. My day job is my priority at the moment, plus I need to think about my health, and guys, I can't deal with the stress anymore. One mental breakdown was enough. :-(

Many of you know I don't like doing things half-assed, so I'm going to concentrate on my job and take a brief break from the gay romance world. Just a few weeks, but nothing TVD related will happen until I come back. This means the release of Heavy Hitters (December 12th) will be postponed until then. I'm sorry for disappointing all of you who were looking forward to it, but I hope you'll understand that I wouldn't do this if I absolutely didn't think I had to. Like I said before, it won't be for too long, and you can be sure I will give you quality stuff upon my return.

Amazon was supposed to un-publish the book, yet I got an email saying it was delivered to everyone who pre-ordered it. I hate to tell you all this, but you got Six Chapters. That's not even a third of the book. I never uploaded the entire story.

And I'm fuming.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life Happens, so Bad News

Hey all! Hope you're having a great holiday season. All shopping done? Good for you! I haven't even started mine yet, but what else is new? I don't have time for much these days. I don't do much other than work. :-(

So, I'm going to keep this post quick and simple. 

In the past few months I've been feeling like this...

and at some point in the past couple of weeks I realized I was like this...

then I became this...

 and had no choice but to do this...

I can't dedicate time to my writerly persona right now. For the longest time I've been engaged in a race against time, but I need to stop. My day job is my priority at the moment, plus I need to think about my health, and guys, I can't deal with the stress anymore. One mental breakdown was enough. :-(

Many of you know I don't like doing things half-assed, so I'm going to concentrate on my job and take a brief break from the gay romance world. Just a few weeks, but nothing TVD related will happen until I come back. This means the release of Heavy Hitters (December 12th) will be postponed until then. I'm sorry for disappointing all of you who were looking forward to it, but I hope you'll understand that I wouldn't do this if I absolutely didn't think I had to. Like I said before, it won't be for too long, and you can be sure I will give you quality stuff upon my return.

I love you all!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Heavy Hitters: Cover and Blurb

Hey all!

So yesterday I had my seventh cover reveal since I started writing in 2011, this time for the first story in my Caribbean Tales, a series of standalone books set in my hometown of Puerto Rico. And yes, you read that right. All stories will be standlones. No cliffies this time around, so check it out!. ;-)

His toughest opponent is himself.

World Boxing Champion Santino Malavé has been fighting since he was a kid. Poverty, domestic violence, and emotional abuse were early contenders. Guilt and self-loathing were beaten into him by his homophobic dad at an impressionable age and now machismo, an integral part of the Latino culture, rules his life. In the ring he’s undefeated. Outside the ropes life constantly hits him below the belt. It takes a sucker punch from his best friend to finally knock the denial out of him and force him to face his true nature like a real man.

A natural born entertainer, Luca Betancur has grown up laughing, performing, and celebrating life among his tight-knit family under the scorching Puerto Rican sun. He has also dedicated years to deny his sexuality, study what the Bible really says, and pursue fame. Singing the wrong note on stage is not a mistake the multi-platinum award-winning singer would ever allow. Falling in love with a man is not a transgression his devout family would ever accept. The ties that bind him are strong, but the pull toward his childhood best friend may just be enough to tear it all to shreds.

Anger, mistakes, bigotry, and the need to conform put up a good fight. Can they break down the walls erected by Catholic teachings and a chauvinistic society, or will their relationship lose by technical knockout?

Available December, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Music Monday... With a Punch

Music is super important in my life, so I wasn't surprised when I caught myself creating playlists for my stories before I even started writing the books. I'm currently working on "Heavy Hitters" a story set in my hometown of Puerto Rico featuring a reggaeton singer and a professional boxer, and, of course, I've been listening to lots of reggaeton. But the lively beat is not suitable for every scene. Sometimes I require a slow song with lots of emotions and meaning, and I was delighted to find this one when I was working on the first part of "Heavy Hitters". You'll see why parts of it got to me when you read the book.

P.S. "Heavy Hitters" doesn't end on a sad note. :-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Teaser

This is the title of my next release. Stop by for tidbits related to it in the upcoming weeks. :-)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Music Monday

It's been a while since I did one of this, but lately I've been listening to lots of raggaeton, a very popular music genre from Puerto Rico. I thought I'd share. :-)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Good Things Happen By Degrees

Hello, my lovely readers!

I know some (all) of you will be disappointed to read this, but I have to let you know it'll be a few months until Six Degrees of Agony is released. I want to get these stories to you as soon as possible, but I also want to do what's best for my series, and after much soul-searching, I finally made a decision.You're probably wondering how is this good news at all, considering Six Degrees of Separation came out almost a year ago, but hear me out, okay? Okay. :-)

This week I had lunch with Elizabeth North. For those of you not familiar with her name, she's the owner of one of the most fabulous publishing houses of gay romance. Among other things, we discussed the future of By Degrees, and I'm thrilled to announce the series has a new home with Dreamspinner Press.

Six Degrees of Lust will remain with MLR Press for the duration of its contract. You can still get print and electronic copies through their website, as well as third-party vendors, but DSP will hold audio and translation rights. Full rights to every installment in the series after Six Degrees of Lust will now be held by DSP.

Although it pains me to make you all wait, I am super excited to work with DSP, and I know you'll find the end result worth the wait. Just remember time flies, and Six Degrees of Agony will be here before you know it. Besides, we'll have lots of new releases from awesome authors to keep us occupied. :-)   

Thank you all for your understanding and continued support. They mean the world to me.



Sunday, June 1, 2014

To My Lovely Readers

As many of you know, I'm not a blogger. It's very rare for me to share my inner musings, mainly because I lack the talent to do so. Blogging, in my opinion, is an art, and I decided to leave it to the experts a long time ago.

That being said, there's something I'd like to share with all of you now that Hearsay has gone live..

I love writing. I love creating characters and situations, and, more than anything, I like addressing issues that I've seen affect gay individuals and couples. Consequently, I try to keep my plots as realistic as I can.

We all love a good fairy tale. We all want to believe love conquers all. Sadly, I'm far too jaded to believe that love alone accomplishes anything. In my opinion, it is up to the individuals in love to work out their issues and push through the realities of life so that they can be together. My stories will always reflect that, no matter what. So be forewarned. If you read something of mine, it'll have very realistic roots.

Another thing I love is writing different characters. I love the guys who live to have sex and find the love of their life in someone they thought was a casual lay (I'm looking at you, Sam Shaughnessy). I love the guy with a serious mental illness and goes to therapy every day so that he can be better for himself and his partner (hello, Cedric Haughton-Disley!). And I love guys like Derrick Swain, from Hearsay, who wants to be the star of his very own Disney fairy tale.

My guys come from different backgrounds and have different issues to deal with. Some of them express the love they deny feeling by having off-the-charts hot, messy sex. Some others express their love by going through a serious of necessary steps just so that they can hold hands. And some others express their love by being sexually creative because, for medical reasons, messy sex is just not possible. They all deserve to get the man they want. They all deserve love. And I'll always make sure they get it, even when they aren't the type to have crazy monkey sex every day.

I love you all for your support. I love to read your comments about Sam and Mac's chemistry, about Kevin and Cedric's commitment, and I look forward to reading your comments about the obstacles Derrick and Roman have to overcome in order to be together in Hearsay. But I'd like to ask from all of you to keep in mind all my characters are different. Do I sound like a broken record yet? ;-) Seriously, though. I'm trying my best to give you all a different, unique story every time you purchase one of my books, so, please, give all the characters a chance and judge/review/rate them individually, because their circumstances are different. :-)  That's all I ask.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We Have a Release Date!

...that Hearsay will be released May 28th! Yay!

Thank you all so much for your patience and understanding. Your support means the world to me. <3

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Today is May 15. As all my By Degrees readers know, this is a significant date for Mac and Sam. I wrote a little interlude to celebrate the occasion. It's that "tattoo scene" you guys wanted to read, and, although I had intended to release it today, I'm just getting back into the swing of things after being sick. No worries, though. The freebie will be available soon, so, once again, bare with me.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Minor Production Setbacks

Hi, all!

So, Hearsay was supposed to release today. Sadly, that wasn't possible. As you all know this is a self-pubblished title, which means I'm responsible for every aspect of the production. Writing it is only the beginning, followed by acquiring cover art, an editing team, formatters, the works. And after all those things are good to go, I still need to upload the title to different vendors. Unfortunately, everything that could have gone wrong in the past week, did.

I'm writing this from bed. I am so sick I can barely think, and I'm going to need a few days to recover before I can do what needs to be done. I feel terrible for this, but, as my kiddo so wisely told me, "s*it happens, and even famous singers have to cancel shows when they get sick." I know you all have gone through something like this at some point in your lives, and I appreciate your patience and understanding. Just bear with me, and I promise I'll be back on my feet by the end of the week.

Love you all!  

Friday, May 2, 2014


But not really.

Hearsay's release day is fast approaching and I still have so much to do to get it ready! This means I'm going through that phase where I feel equal parts nervous and excited and I just want to puke. Fun times! I'll have a mini-tour. I'll talk about the characters and their story and whatnot. Then I'll sit back and start biting my nails. You know, the usual. But, anyhow.

This here is Chapter One. It'll give you all a glimpse at one of the issues MC Derrick Swain will be facing in this book.

Chapter One



Unverified information.


The legal term for testimony in a court proceeding where the witness does not have direct knowledge of the facts asserted and normally considered inadmissible as evidence against the accused... unless the charges were child molestation. In that case, all bets were off, and a third, fourth, or even fifth party allegation alone could land a person’s ass in jail before they became fully aware of what the fuck was going on.

At times it seemed as if serial killers could get more leniency than a person accused of child molestation, and that was without a formal indictment. Once the rumors started, the suspect was presumed to be guilty by mostly everyone, whether there was any physical evidence or not. Derrick remembered seeing this happen in a similar case sensationalized in the news when he was a kid and had taken a closer look once he started practicing as a family law attorney. He never thought it’d happen to a dear friend.

“I can’t believe those fuckers are turning everything I said against me!”

The angry words were followed by retching so violent it made Derrick wince as he stood by the bathroom door.

“Are you okay?”

Stupid question, yes, but Derrick needed to make sure Tyler would be fine. After fifteen minutes of tightly embracing the porcelain god, Derrick was afraid the guy had nothing left to throw up but his guts. Well, maybe his heart, considering the reason why he’d shown up at Derrick’s place at eight o’clock at night unannounced.

Tyler hadn’t said much after his “I’m being falsely accused of sexually molesting a minor” greeting the second he came through the front door, but Derrick was a lawyer. He knew, without having to be told, how deep of a shithole Tyler was in.

“I cooperated with them.” Tyler’s voice sounded like gravel. No surprise there. His throat must be raw and bleeding by now.

“Who exactly do you mean by them? Who did you talk to?” Derrick asked carefully, praying to God his suspicions were wrong, then cursing under his breath when Tyler confirmed his biggest concern.
“People from the Administration for Children’s Services and that investigator the police depart—” Tyler’s words were interrupted by some more retching. When he managed to finish the sentence, his voice sounded muffled, as if it was coming from inside the toilet bowl. Yuck. “The police sent an investigator. I talked to her.”

Big mistake.


Falsely accused people often decided to talk to the authorities to try and clear things up, but instead they only managed to talk themselves into a corner. Derrick’s stomach tied in a knot.

“That’s the worst thing you could’ve done. What the hell were you thinking, talking to a police investigator without lawyering up?”

“I have nothing to hide.”

“You should’ve called me the moment you found out there were allegations against you,” Derrick barked. “Have you any idea how much damage—”

“I thought that if I talked to them, they’d see it was all bullshit and leave me alone.”

“Fuck, Tyler.” Derrick took a deep breath and forced himself to not kick the door open and strangle his friend. “You can’t possibly be that stupid.”

“And that motherfucking piece of shit Brandon,” Tyler snarled once the retching had stopped. “How could he do this to me? How could he believe I’m capable of sexually molesting a kid? How could he get ACS involved without talking to me first?”

“Brandon?” he repeated, trying to put a face to the name that had obviously started this mess. “Are you talking about the former rent boy who now volunteers at the safe house?”

“Stripper,” Tyler corrected him after flushing the toilet. “He worked as a stripper before starting college. He wasn’t a volunteer. He did his social work internship at the safe house. But he’s been on the payroll for over a year now.”

“How come I didn’t know that?”

The moment the question came out of his mouth, he shook his head and dismissed it with a hand gesture.
Derrick’s curiosity usually got the best of him, but the answer wasn’t important, nor would it change anything.

“It isn’t like I discuss every aspect of the Coleman Safe House with you, do I?”

“Maybe you should,” Derrick suggested, looking down and smiling at his yellow tabby when he rubbed his head against Derrick’s leg.

“It gets worse,” Tyler mumbled through the closed door. “They asked about you.”

Derrick’s blood froze in his veins. “Come again?”

“Robbie Yates—the kid accusing me—also said he was present when I had sex with a few dudes and—”

“The police think I exposed myself to a minor?” The question came out as a shriek. Derrick didn’t care. He was freaking out a bit. “Are they saying we had a three-way with Robbie Yates?”

“They didn’t say that, but they wanted to know about my sex life.” Tyler’s voice was so low, Derrick could barely make out the words. Or perhaps it was the thunder of his own heart that was stopping him from hearing them. “I haven’t been with that many guys. I— Shit. I didn’t think…”

“You didn’t think it’d be a big deal to share the details with them,” Derrick finished, all of a sudden feeling tired and about ninety years old.

Lumière rubbed himself against his leg again. Most likely he’d sensed Derrick’s distress and wanted to cheer him up, but when Derrick failed to pick him up, he meowed loudly and disappeared behind the bedroom door.

“I’m sorry… For what it’s worth, we never had sex at the safe house, you and I. They can’t possibly charge you with anything.”

“Oh, they can,” Derrick scoffed. “And there’s a damn good chance they will.”

“But you haven’t done anything and neither have I!”

“I know that, but this is child molestation we’re talking about. It’s serious shit.”

“You’re a lawyer. You can get good legal representation and put an end to this mess.”

“I know that,” Derrick said again, “but I can’t afford the scandal. Neither of us can.”

“I don’t think they’re going after you,” Tyler mumbled.

“I hope they aren’t, but they may question me. I’m not looking forward to that.”

Even if the investigators decided they didn’t give a shit about Derrick or any other casual or temporary lovers, they’d want to build a strong case against Tyler. He was a big fish. A gay man running a safe house for runaway gay teens mostly on sponsorships and government grants and charity money was gold for the media. Derrick couldn’t take any risks. He wanted both of their names cleared of all suspicion of wrongdoing as soon as possible.

“So one of the kids went to Brandon and accused you of sexually molesting him, and Brandon went straight to the authorities without warning you first. Is that correct?” Derrick used the tone of voice he reserved for his clients: practical, efficient, and direct. He knew from experience it relaxed them a little and made them feel more understood.

“Correct. And to think I went on two dates with that fucking prick.” Tyler yanked the bathroom door open. He looked like shit. “I need to borrow a toothbrush.”

“There’s a new one in the medicine cabinet,” Derrick said absently. “Isn’t Brandon like, twenty-three?”

“Almost twenty-seven,” Tyler corrected through a mouthful of toothpaste. He never stopped brushing his teeth, but he sought Derrick’s eyes on the mirror above the sink. “I had sex with him.”


“About a week before Robbie talked to him, but that didn’t stop him from believing the little scumbag who’s falsely accusing me.”

“He’s an employee of the Coleman Safe House. He’s legally bound to report incidents of alleged child abuse.”

“He didn’t witness anything!” Tyler threw the toothbrush in the sink, rinsed his mouth quickly, and faced Derrick. “That’s why I decided to talk to them. I’ve done nothing wrong, and this is fucking crazy. I’ve dedicated my entire life to helping gay kids in need. They just have to take a look at my record to see that—”

“Nothing you’ll say or do at this point will convince the authorities that the abuse didn’t occur,” Derrick interrupted him. “You know how it is, Tyler. Some kids are really having a hard time at home and are in desperate need of help. But, how many times have you taken the word of a minor over that of their parents or guardians, only to find out the kid was lying through their teeth?”

Tyler stared at Derrick for what felt like hours. He opened his mouth in an attempt to talk and then closed it again when he realized he couldn’t refute those words. Derrick watched him break out in a sweat. The veins in his forehead and neck looked ready to pop. His normally rosy skin lost all trace of color. And just when Derrick was about to take a step closer, Tyler turned around and buried his face in the toilet again.

Derrick rubbed his face and started pacing back and forth in the short hallway of his fifth floor walk-up apartment. “Jesus… fucking unreal,” he muttered under his breath, his mind working overtime, searching for a way to help his friend out of this mess.

It wouldn’t be easy. He knew his opinion was tainted by personal experience, but he didn’t trust the Administration for Children’s Services to conduct a fair investigation to begin with. Tyler’s mistake of talking to them and the cops without having any legal representation made things a thousand times worse. They’d most likely have to deal with several accusations of behavior consistent with that of a child molester by the time the authorities were done twisting things. The general population would want to lynch Tyler before it was all said and done, and only God knew what would happen to Derrick’s job.

“I’m fucked, aren’t I?” Tyler asked from the bathroom door. His voice was trembling, and his eyes were bloodshot. He looked like his strength had abandoned him, but he managed not to cry. Somehow he was holding onto his dignity, and Derrick admired him for that.

He wasn’t as strong, though. “Crap.” Tears ran down Derrick’s cheek, and two steps later he was in front of his friend, hugging him tightly.

“What the hell am I going to do, Derrick?” Tyler sobbed on his neck, ultimately losing his battle against his own tears. “How are we going to get out of this?”

“Shhh…” Derrick caressed his friend’s auburn hair and gently rocked him in his arms.

“Will you represent me?”

“You need a criminal defense attorney, sweetheart,” he explained softly. “Preferably one with experience in child molestation cases.”

“I can’t afford a high-priced lawyer and they’re usually the best.”

“Let me worry about that.”


“Trust me. I have a plan.” He pulled back and dried off Tyler’s tears with his fingers. “Come to the kitchen. I’ll make us some coffee while you give me the details. I’m going to need every single one of them in order to get us out of this mess.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Tuesday Teaser is All About Hearsay

I know most of you are waiting for the next installment in the "By Degrees" series, but I wanted to give you guys something else before "Six Degrees of Agony" comes out.

"Hearsay" is the first installment in "Bylaws," my new series about attorneys working for Acosta, Bradford & Chadwick, LLP, a fictional lawfirm located in NYC. It is also part of a trilogy within the series, soon to be followed by "Daresay" and "Gainsay." All three titles will feature the same couple, Roman Bradford and Derrick Swain, and will follow their journey as they deal with damaging rumors, the judicial system, and life's curveballs while they make their way toward coupledom.

Here's a little excerpt for you. Enjoy!

Le excerpt:


Roman Bradford had heard the rumors more times than he cared to remember in the past month. He’d heard them from his partners, close friends, a few acquaintances, his accountant, and even from the attendants at his gym. 

He had ignored them every single time. He’d refused to believe. He’d been eager to move forward. His future was looking promising again. He hadn’t wanted anything to get between him and Derrick, the man who had captivated his attention from the moment they met. 

For a little over four years Roman had admired him from afar. He’d watched Derrick become comfortable in his recently acquired attorney’s skin. He’d watched him grow confident, earn promotions, and win impossible cases while Roman’s personal life fell apart.

He’d collected the pieces.

He was ready to start again. 

It wasn’t until very recently that he’d acted on his attraction for Derrick. Even though he was free to do so, he forced himself to consider carefully the possible ramifications of getting involved with one of his employees. If things went sour between them and Derrick turned out to be vindictive, Roman could get sued for sexual harassment or misconduct at the very least. He knew this, and after the debacle of the past few months and consequent distress, the last thing he wanted was to risk a similar mess. Yet he’d been unable to resist going after him.

Roman was rather subtle in his pursuit of Derrick. The lingering, veiled glances during the two hour monthly meeting with the firm’s associates and the coincidental encounters in the building’s lobby, the cafeteria, and court, had progressed to casually running into him in Central Park during their lunch break for the past eight days. They’d gotten to know each other better during their conversations. The attraction was mutual and almost palpable, and Roman didn’t doubt for a second they were compatible in every important way. Things were going so well between them that he’d decided the previous night it was time to take the next step and ask Derrick out to dinner and maybe the ballet. Hell. He even wanted Derrick to be his date to his parents’ dinner party in three days. 

But those damn rumors had been waiting for him when he got to his office in the morning. They’d been louder than ever, too… so loud it was impossible to ignore them anymore.

Roman shook off his preoccupied thoughts and glanced around him. The Pond was one of his favorite places in the city. A little piece of heaven smack in the middle of his demanding world. It never ceased to amaze him how easily he could find solitude here despite the hundreds of people that walked by the water’s edge every day.

He watched the ducks in the water and regarded the trees that would soon start changing colors. Once again he marveled at the beauty and simplicity of the Gapstow Bridge, then closed his eyes and blocked everything. He was a bundle of nerves. Today, more than ever, he needed to soak in the peacefulness that surrounded him.  

“Have you decided on a present for your parents’ wedding anniversary yet?”

Roman shifted his body toward the man who had managed to make him feel so much in such a short amount of time and tried to give him his undivided attention. Talking to Derrick was an absolute pleasure, and in addition to being physically perfect in Roman’s eyes, he was also sensible and genuine.

“I’m going to take your advice and give them a vacation to some exotic destination.” He brushed off a few crumbs from Derrick’s tie and smiled when he noticed him shudder.

“Asia? Somewhere in Europe?”

“My mother goes shopping in Paris once a month,” Roman said with a fond smile. “She still tries to drag me along with her to carry her bags whenever my dad refuses to follow her around.”

“It won’t be easy to surprise her and your father, then.”

“I think the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru would be nice.”

“Have you been there?”

“I went with Alan and Sergio when we were still in law school.” He took his glasses off and put them in the pocket of his suit jacket. “Mom loved the pictures we took. That’s why I think she’d enjoy it.”

“From what you’ve told me I get the impression she’d enjoy a week in the jungle with no plumbing, as long as she’s with your father.”

“They’re inseparable.”   

“Forty-five years together,” Derrick said wistfully. “Almost a lifetime spent with the one person they promised to love forever.” He sighed deeply. “Your parents are very lucky, Roman.”

“What about your parents?” Roman asked. “Are they still together?”

“No. They weren’t as fortunate.” He shook his head slowly. “Not like they didn’t want to. I mean, they loved each other so much… My mom chose my dad over her own family, a career, and a very comfortable life. Like your parents, they wanted to die together, but it wasn’t meant to happen that way.”

Derrick glanced at him shyly from under thick, long lashes, probably thinking it was too soon to be sharing such personal details. He smiled at the guy, encouraging him to continue. Derrick’s candor was one of his most endearing personality traits, and Roman would hate it if all of a sudden he started feeling self-conscious. 

“Papa didn’t have an education, you know? He worked as a janitor at Columbia University. That’s where they met, when Mama was a freshman. She wanted to be a lawyer, but my grandparents cut her off when she refused to end their relationship. She moved with Papa to his tiny apartment and never looked back. Papa worked so hard to provide for us… We didn’t have money, but we were happy.” He blinked rapidly, but his tears didn’t disappear. “Mama got very sick with lupus when I was a twelve. She didn’t make it.”

Roman resisted the urge to reach out and hug Derrick. It was too soon for that kind of gesture. “I’m sorry to hear that,” was all he said. 

“They had a good run, but instead of enjoying his marriage, Papa had to be strong for us kids and watch the woman he loved die slowly.” Derrick grabbed a napkin from his lunch bag and wiped the few tears that were now spiking up his lashes. “I respect him so much for it. I don’t know if I could do the same if I were in his position. I don’t know that I could deal with watching the love of my life waste away. Christ, I’m a terribly selfish person, aren’t I?”

Roman’s heart dropped to his stomach when he heard those words, but his voice sounded normal when he tried to re-assure Derrick. He might not like the guy’s reluctance to be with someone who was sick, but he understood it.

“It wasn’t only your father watching a loved one die. She was your mother, too, and you were a kid. That had to be a very traumatic, painful experience for you and your siblings.”

“It was.” He smiled a little. “Thank you for listening to me blab.”

“I always look forward to hearing you talk about whatever you want.” Roman caressed Derrick’s cheek softly with the back of his hand. “So blab away. I don’t mind.”

“You sure about that?” Derrick’s flirty smile made Roman’s heart skip a few beats. “Because I think I’d like to talk your pretty ears off every chance I get.”

“Sounds like a great plan,” Roman admitted, returning the smile.


That seemingly innocent question almost knocked Roman flat on his back. So much desire was packed in it; so much expectation and hope. His feelings weren’t one-sided. Derrick was along for the ride, and Roman was so happy he could’ve jumped up and down, if only his mind wasn’t plagued by doubts.

It can’t be true It can’t be true It can’t be true…

Roman put his almost untouched grilled chicken wrap inside the bag. “I need to get back to the office,” he said quietly. 

Derrick frowned. “Is there something wrong?”

A hysterical chuckle almost escaped Roman.

Where to begin…

Apprehension had him by the balls. He also had a sore throat, a headache, and swollen lymph nodes. He felt like crap.

“Roman?” Derrick’s beautiful amber eyes were clouded with uneasiness and concern. “Did I say something wrong?”

“No!” he rushed to say. “Of course you didn’t.”

“Then what is it?

Roman looked away and cursed under his breath. “I might be getting a cold,” he said in a louder tone.

“I can get you some tea if you want.”

“No, no… It’s fine… I’m fine… Look, I need to go now. There’s something I have to do.” 

Derrick grabbed Roman’s hand to stop him from getting up and he obliged, hoping this wouldn’t be the last time he was so close to the other man.

“Can you please tell me what’s going on?” Derrick almost begged.

Roman couldn’t say a word. Uncertainty had gotten a hold of him and it was making him sick to his stomach. He wished he didn’t have to go, but as much as he liked the guy, Roman knew he wouldn’t be able to even look at Derrick again until he’d found out whether the rumors he’d been hearing were true.

Don’t let it be true, please… Don’t let it be true…

He pulled his hand from that soft, firm grip he wanted to feel all over his body, and took several steps back. “I need to go.”

“Will you be back tomorrow?”  

Derrick was trying not to sound hurt, but Roman heard it in his voice anyway. He saw it in his eyes. And because he couldn’t offer an honest answer, he chose to not say anything at all. He just turned around and walked away from what he knew was his second chance at love, hopefully not forever.

Please God… Please. Don’t let this be the last time I talk to him.