Authors: Lynn Kelling
Brayden Clare never wanted to return
to small town life. Blond, athletic, and struggling with his sexual identity, a casual relationship on the beach in Florida suits him much better. When a family emergency calls him home, he is forced to trade his personal freedom for a job as a bartender in a town where everybody thinks they know who he is, and nobody has a clue—including Brayden. Jenner Parrish is the owner and operator of Parrish Pub, the social hub of Robertsville, Pennsylvania. Jenner is charming, dominant, and popular since they were both in high school together. Brayden finds his new boss intimidating, and is daunted to find that turns him on. Jenner finds his new recruit intriguing but mustn’t dare to ask an employee to submit to him. The two men find what they’re seeking at a masked BDSM ball in the next town over, and are startled to discover their desires rest much, much closer to home. (M/M)
an imprint of
Fantastic Fiction Publishing
BOUND BY LIES
A ForbiddenFiction book
Fantastic Fiction Publishing
© Lynn Kelling, 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission from the publisher, except as allowed by fair use. For information contact
Editor: Rylan Hunter and D.M. Atkins
Cover Design: D.M. Atkins
Cover Art: Photo by 7thlord at Dreamstime
Production Editor: Erika L Firanc
Proofreading: Kailin Morgan and Aislinn
SKU: LK1-000109-01 AMZ
Published in the United States of America
This book is a work of fiction which contains explicit erotic content; it is intended for mature readers. Do not read this if it's not legal for you.
All the characters, locations and events herein are fictional. While elements of existing locations or historical characters or events may be used fictitiously, any resemblance to actual people, places or events is coincidental.
This story depicts fictional BDSM; it is not intended to be used as an instruction manual. It contains descriptions of erotic acts that may be immoral, illegal, or unsafe. The characters are not models for the Safe, Sane and Consensual forms embraced by most current practitioners of BDSM. The author takes license with the use of BDSM for dramatic effect. Do not take the events in this story as proof of the plausibility or safety of any particular practice.
For my fellow ugly ducklings and hopeless romantics, with love.
Roughly two-thirds of the way north, on a long drive straight from Miami, Florida to Robertsville, Pennsylvania, Brayden Clare stops at a gas station in Maryland to fill up. The middle-aged woman at the next pump stares openly at him while he pumps the gas.
That’s just your raging self-consciousness talking again. You’re projecting, being paranoid. She’s probably staring at the massive, obnoxiously colorful surfboard wedged in the back of the Jeep.
He tosses his hair back out of his eyes and peeks, trying to make it seem like a natural, casually disinterested glance.
Nope, she’s staring at me
, he finds, and smiles politely.
“Hey. Afternoon,” he nods to her. He has found, through much trial and error, that sometimes it’s better to make the effort to confront life’s awkward moments rather than pretend them away. Ignore them all you like, if they’re there, they’re there.
She hadn’t expected him to say anything, he sees, as her eyes widen comically. Blushing and dropping her gaze, she giggles nervously, playing with her keys. “Um. Hi. Yeah, um…” Rolling her eyes at herself, she gives him a little wave and ducks behind her car, sliding back in behind the wheel. Through the window, he sees her cover her face with a hand.
Chuckling softly with sincere amusement, his heart becoming a little bit lighter, Brayden pulls the gas nozzle from the Jeep and finishes the transaction. Usually he’s the furthest thing from cynical. It’s been his greatest source of pride over the past four years, how he’s slowly learned how to be able to smile, often, and mean it. It’s the drive to his old home that’s affecting him, turning him, mile by mile, back into someone he has vigorously tried to no longer be.
His phone buzzes in his pocket, startling him slightly. Uncertain who could be calling, he fishes out the phone and sees from the caller ID that it’s Andre. A tiny photo flashes on the screen, identifying him—dark brown skin glistening like chiseled marble in the sunshine, white smile beaming.
“I thought I got rid of you,” Brayden says as he answers, lacing paper-thin annoyance into the words, thinking,
God, I’m glad he called
. It’s proof that Andre is still thinking about him, that the act of leaving the state hasn’t automatically removed Brayden from everything, and everyone, left behind.
“I’m not that easy to get rid of,” Andre retorts. “As you know well. What state are you in? Besides confusion.”
“Funny. Really. That’s hilarious. I’m in Maryland.”
“D’ya miss me yet?”
Brayden smiles. It’s genuine and for the first time in two days, warmth sparks in his heart, melting some of the gathered chill. He gets back in the Jeep to finish the call.
“Nah, I’m good,” Brayden teases. “How about you? Find someone to replace me?”
“Mm, might be a little tricky. There were some definite benefits to rooming with you…”
“You could always specifically ask for a slut when you advertise.”
Through the surprisingly good connection, Andre laughs loudly. “Oh baby, don’t you get it? What I like best about you is what a
slut you are. That’s rare. ’Specially in Miami.”
“Mm,” Brayden grunts. “Yeah, guess so.”
There’s a pause, and Brayden waits for it, Andre’s insight, now that the joking has broken the ice. “What’s wrong, Marsha?”
“Nothing’s wrong. It’s been a shitty drive. It’s cold. Hey, did I leave my sandals there?”
“No, something is definitely wrong. You don’t sound like yourself at all. Is this about—”
Brayden cuts him off. “I’m kind of dealing with a lot right now. Of course I’m stressed. That’s all.”
“You should tell them.”
“There’s nothing to tell. It was fun while it lasted but now I’ve gotta go back to reality and act like a grown-up. That’s all.”
“‘It was fun while it lasted?’ Are you seriously telling yourself that? This isn’t some
you’re going through, Braydy.”
“So that’s it? You’re going to just pretend to dig on pussy for the rest of your life because it’s easier than facing the truth?”
“I’m hanging up. Wh-why did you even call me? Don’t you think I’m miserable enough right now?”
“I offered to make the drive with you,” Andre says softly.
Brayden’s face twists up as some of his tightly bottled emotion surfaces momentarily. Holding his breath until it burns in his lungs, he presses his fingertips to his eyes. He listens and tries to find the balls to hang up on Andre like he threatened to. Betraying him, his imagination supplies the fantasy of having Andre’s massive form beside him in the Jeep, the sheer weight of muscle testing the shocks, Andre’s bald head nudging the plastic roof. It’s a wonderful thought, but it also makes Brayden queasy. He would never be able to let the different facets of his life bleed together like that. Andre is the past now. He’s the city, with all of its heat, bustle, action and decadent freedom to act spontaneously without scrutiny or judgment. Nana and Emma are the future, even if they’re also his small home town, full of ghosts and bad memories, where the name Brayden Clare will bear many specific labels, assumptions and expectations from the moment he shows up. He draws a line down the middle, right between them in his head, keeping them away from each other.
“This isn’t who you are,” Andre urges.
“Yeah. It is now. I’ll call you soon.” He hangs up and turns off the phone.
In retrospect, Brayden realizes how desperate he was when his big sexual epiphany happened. At the time, though, it was a whole other story. He was naïve, young, and uncomfortable in his own skin.
He knew Andre was bisexual, just as he knew that wrestling—watching it, doing it, thinking about it—was a huge, intensely secret turn on. The man-on-man, body-against-sweaty-body struggle for dominance unfailingly made his dick stiffer than any of his actual, hands-on attempts to get interested in girls. Even when Brenna James sucked him at the bonfire a few years back, he had to fantasize about the match he’d gone to see the night before just to get it up.
The wrestling aspect, therefore, played a big part in his epiphany, but Brayden also knew that the best way to lose some of his many inhibitions was to get good and drunk.
So, he got drunk
drunk. It was a Sunday night. Andre, a pre-law student, was doing class work. Brayden kept giving Andre beers, though. One after the other until Andre gave up the pretense, left the books behind and joined him on the couch instead. Then, Brayden got out the hard alcohol. One shot for Andre, one for himself. Over and over again. When Andre told him to slow down, Brayden insisted, calling it a long-overdue chance to blow off steam.
Things became unsteady—his body as well as his resolve to do or say something about the way he had been feeling. He accidentally spilled a whole glass full of tequila all over his chest and lap a few hours into the binge. Andre was laughing his ass off, telling Brayden he smelled like a liquor cabinet and looked like a wet dog, so Brayden took a shower.