Former underwear model and current mechanic Jared Leon always figured his best friend, Aidan, had it easy being gay. Satisfying a man had to be much simpler than trying to figure out how to please a woman, right?
Well, he’s about to find out.
A trip to Alaska to get over his messy divorce sounds like just what Jared needs to put the past behind him. Or at least, it sounds perfect until Jared learns that he and Aidan are spending two weeks at a hunting and fishing lodge exclusively for gay men. That's fine for Aidan, but Jared is not gay. No way, no how.
Just because he fantasizes about Aidan doesn’t mean anything, right? And neither does lusting after the lodge owner, or casting longing looks at some of the guests. But when one little kiss leads to much more, Jared is forced to confront everything he thought he knew about himself...including the possibility that his relationship with Aidan has always been about something other than good old-fashioned male bonding.
And wouldn’t his ex-wife have a fit if she discovered she was right about him all along...
...“I discover more about my guests in two weeks than most people learn about them in a lifetime.” There was no boasting in Vance’s voice, just simple statement of fact. “Living this close to someone, hunting alongside them, sharing meals, maybe even going through some life threatening adventures together…that’s the kind of stuff that can speed up the bonding process. It doesn’t hurt that they never have to see me again. Besides, your face tells me more than you think.”
Jared schooled his features into a smooth mask. “I came here for a quiet getaway, not for a psych analysis.”
“Too bad. You came to Alaska, where everyone knows everyone else, and if you’re new here, the locals will make it their business to get to know you. You’re about to get a whole lot more than you bargained for.”
Before Jared could reply, Vance slammed a hand on either side of his upper arms, holding him in place. “You don’t believe me.”
“About Alaskans being a nosy bunch? It wasn’t in the brochure, or in your ad, but thanks for the heads up. I’ll be sure to stay away.”
Vance shook his head. “Not that. About having sex being much easier than talking about it.”
Jared swallowed hard. “Sex is…sex. How simple or complicated it is depends on who’s doing it, and with whom.”
“And you want to be doing it with Aidan.”
Jared’s shoulders stiffened. It didn’t matter that Vance was right. What mattered was that he proved him wrong. “How many times do I have to tell you? I’m not gay.”
“Fine. Bi-curious, then. Does that feel less threatening to you? Less permanent?”
His heartbeat ratcheted up a notch. Bi-curious. Yes, he liked that. It didn’t mean he had to change who he was. He could, perhaps, just explore a little.
But…no. He couldn’t. He was straight, and he’d been married, and he’d get married again. He’d make his mother proud, give her a dozen grandchildren, and carry on the family line. His life would click into place exactly as his family expected it to.
“You’re wrong,” he said, locking gazes with Vance. “And I can prove it to you.”
“Oh yeah?” Vance looked skeptical. “How?”
“Kiss me.” God, did he have to do everything himself? “I’ll feel nothing when it’s over. Will that get you off my case?”
Vance hesitated before answering. His lips parted, and he moistened them with the tip of his tongue. “Maybe it will only prove that you’re not attracted to me.”
Jared’s jaw tightened. “Maybe. But you’re going to kiss me anyway.”
He wasn’t sure whether he needed to prove something to Vance, or to himself. But he had to know whether last night had been a fluke. Whether what he felt for Aidan was exclusive to Aidan, or whether it had more to do with sinking his teeth into forbidden fruit.
He should have had some warning that Vance had made up his mind. The skies should have opened up. Lights should have flickered on and off. Instead, Vance simply lowered his head, and pressed his mouth to Jared’s. It was that simple. And that enormously complicated at once.
Jared held his body taught, unprepared for the onslaught of response zinging through his veins. His entire system went on high alert. His head spun, his muscles tensed, and his lips parted of their own accord, yielding to the slight pressure against them. When Vance’s tongue demanded entry, he didn’t protest. He didn’t think he helped, either…at least not at first. But the more Vance kissed him, slow and sure and agonizingly persuasive, the more difficult Jared found it to resist.
It’s just one kiss. No one’s watching. He’s not Aidan.
That last thought did it. Pouring all of his anger and frustration into the action, he kissed Vance back. Their tongues dueled with furious intensity, and he knew he’d caught the other man by surprise when he heard a sharp gasp escape Vance’s throat. Jared fisted his hands in the man’s shirt, yanking him even closer.
Vance cupped Jared’s ass, pulled him against his groin, and made slow, rhythmic undulations with his hips that caused their erect cocks to stroke each other. The sensation set his nerve endings on edge and made him delirious with desire. He’d opened a floodgate with that dare, and he let it all wash over him, the lust and agony and shame...