Authors: Mia Watts
Donovan, who emphatically claims to be hetero, has just
found out his best friend and business partner Ty is gay. Ty’s willing to
answer any and all of Donovan’s curious questions. When Ty opts for hands-on
answers and demonstrations, Donovan is pretty sure he’ll be getting more than
he bargained for. But the idea of Ty with another man may prove that Donovan’s
heart just got jacked.
male/male erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
“What’s it like?” Donovan asked, leaning across the narrow restaurant
table. Words like “gay” shouldn’t be said above a whisper, he felt. Those were
words that could wreck a perfectly good reputation. Wreck a perfectly good
business partnership and put a stain on the company they were trying to build.
Belatedly, he shot a look around to see if anyone had heard.
It didn’t seem like it. A harried waitress rushed by, clearly stressed by the
lack of staff on tap for the lunch rush.
like?” Ty pressed his back into his cushioned
booth seat. He eyed Donovan skeptically as though he knew what he’d been asked
but wanted it spelled out for him.
“Kissing a dude,” Donovan hissed.
Ty’s eyes lit with humor. “What’s kissing a chick like?”
Donovan huffed, dropped back against his booth bench and
crossed his arms as he leveled a glare on his best friend. “Soft.”
“The same.” Mischief winked around the edges of Ty’s smile.
Donovan didn’t know what to think about that. It couldn’t be
the same. Not in any of his wildest imaginings—and he wasn’t admitting that he
had imaginings—did he think that kissing a guy felt like kissing a girl. Girls
were soft, smaller and full of sighs. They had small hands and curved bodies.
They laughed a lot and flipped their hair.
Guys were big and angular. He’d never seen one who flipped
his hair—unless he had
hair—and not one of them had ever sighed or
batted his lashes at Donovan.
“I don’t think so,” Donovan answered.
Now Ty leaned across the table. His fingers wove together
and he cocked his head. “This isn’t the reaction I thought I’d get when I told
you I was gay.”
“It’s still sinking in.”
“But,” Ty continued, “this is the first thing you ask me?”
Donovan frowned. “I have questions.”
Ty laughed. “Yeah, I expected that.”
“What did you think I’d say?”
“Oh I don’t know. Maybe, ‘how long have you known?’ Or, ‘why
didn’t you tell me sooner?’”
“Yeah, about that,” Donovan snapped. “Why
tell me sooner?”
Ty shrugged. “Guess I thought you’d flip out on me.”
“Nope. Instead you asked me what it was like to kiss a dude.”
Ty grinned again.
“I’m curious about the dynamics,” Donovan defended.
“This I have to hear.”
Donovan dropped his gaze, feeling stupid. Was he supposed to
be irate or shocked? He didn’t know why he wasn’t. Best friends were supposed
to share everything but this was a secret Ty hadn’t shared with him until just
now. Maybe he’d known? Except he couldn’t say that he’d known when he’d
known—so to speak. Just that hearing it now sounded about right and that
tension he didn’t know had been there had gone. Like everything was on the
“That was an invitation to ask,” Ty told him when Donovan
didn’t speak right away.
“You’re okay with me asking shit?”
“If I say something that isn’t all politically correct, you
aren’t going to chafe my ass?” Donovan wanted to know. “Because I might. I
don’t know all the gay lingo yet.”
“That was only mildly derogatory.”
Ty’s grin relaxed. “Keep going. Get it all out. I can see
the questions bouncing around in your head.”
“Do you go on dates?” Donovan asked.
“Do I know them?”
“Maybe, but I don’t know if they’re out and it wouldn’t be
fair to tell a secret that’s not mine to share.”
“That makes sense. Okay, how come you’ve never introduced me
to your dates?” Donovan mentally counted the people Ty had introduced him to.
There weren’t many because he and Ty had met their last year of college and then
worked together for two years.
“I haven’t met anyone special enough to introduce to you.
When I do, you’ll be the first one I bring him to.”
Donovan smiled, feeling warm and fuzzy inside until suddenly
the raw bite of jealousy chilled him. Which only confused him more. Why would
it bug him to meet the guy Ty was dating?
Because guy relationships were different than guy-girl
relationships. A man wouldn’t let his girlfriend get between his guy
friendships. They didn’t have the same interests. That was kind of the point.
But a guy-guy relationship? They’d be like best friends spending all their time
fucking. It didn’t seem fair. Meeting Ty’s boyfriend would
be like introducing a new best friend into their dynamic and frankly, Donovan
didn’t want to share his best friend with another guy.
Maybe Ty was on the fence. Maybe he only dated guys to see
what it was like. Ty was an open-minded sort. That could be what was going on
here, Donovan decided.
“Do you get intimate with them?” Donovan tested. After touching
on the kissing issue, this was the next thing that sprang to mind. Especially
if Ty wasn’t sure he was gay.
“Wow. Don’t hold back or anything,” Ty said on a snort. “I
wouldn’t want you to feel embarrassed to ask anything that might be personal.”
Donovan ignored his sarcasm. “I’m serious. Do you screw
dudes, blow them or just rub up on them?”
Ty’s eyes widened and he shot a hurried glance around the
small coffee shop. “Keep it down, would ya?”
“Sorry.” Donovan glanced too. Aside from the smirking barista,
it didn’t appear that they’d been heard. “It’s just I’ve never pictured you
that way before.”
“You’re picturing me? Doing all those things?” Ty laughed
loudly. “Dude, maybe
the gay one in this relationship.”
Donovan’s face heated from neck to hair roots. His ears
roared. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d blushed and that made quelling
it all the more challenging. And it kept Ty laughing at him.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Sure,” Ty teased. “You just want to know what you’ve been
missing all these years.”
“I meant that I had no idea you were gay. So the thought of
you going down on some guy is kind of a mind-bender.”
Ty took a final drink of his hot tea and pushed the empty
cup aside. “Yes, I screw them. Yes, I blow them and yes, I rub up on them. I do
a lot of other stuff too.”
“You’ve never hit on me,” Donovan noted. Had that sounded
“You aren’t my type.”
“How can I not be your type? I have a cock.”
Ty’s brows lifted. “Seriously. You ought to check that
jealousy streak. It takes more than the right parts to get me going.”
“Well, you can’t be looking for personality because we’re
also best friends. If anyone is going to click, it would be me,” Donovan
continued thoughtfully. “Who’s your type?”
Ty shrugged. “I don’t know exactly. I just know it isn’t
you, so relax.”
“I’m relaxed.” Totally relaxed. Completely not jealous and
firmly relaxed. Or flaccidly relaxed. Whatever.
“Fine, you’re relaxed. Are we cool?” Ty asked, slouching
artfully against the back of the booth bench.
How could they not be? Being gay wasn’t something you held
over someone’s head like a missed bill payment. You couldn’t be mad that your
best friend preferred dudes to chicks. It didn’t change anything. There was
nothing to get pissy about, but goddamn he should’ve known.
“We’re cool. You’re gay, so I’m naturally cooler,” Donovan
“No way, man. I have the minority, gay rights, politically
correct agenda on my side.”
“And I’m the last minority on the planet as a straight,
single white guy,” Donovan argued.
Ty grinned. “It’s a good thing you’re straight. I’m way out
of your league. I’d hate to have to reject your unwanted advances on my
Donovan groaned. “God, you’re egotistical.”
“It’s only egotistical when it isn’t true. I dare you to say
Donovan gave his friend and business partner a critical once-over,
trying to push down the part of his brain that recoiled from deliberately
looking for hotness in his best friend. There was a freedom in looking at him.
Being given permission to really eye-lick the man was heady and nerve-racking
at the same time.
a good-looking sort. His mop of dark-brown
curls seemed irresistible to women. They were always digging their fingers in
there. His friend’s blue eyes were dark and kind of smoky. He managed to frump
around in worn, torn jeans and t-shirts with vague quotes written across the
chest, and cross-trainers. The only nod to dressing up was a thick leather
wristband that wrapped twice around and snapped closed. No spikes or special
scrolling on it. Nope. Just the natural scarring of full-time daily use to give
the band character.
He was the only guy Donovan knew who could make
look like a legitimate fashion statement.
But Ty was a genius. He was an interpersonal
writing genius. Donovan couldn’t claim the ease his partner had in social
settings, but his own abilities on the keyboard gave Ty’s a run for their
Ty wiggled his brows, clearly accepting Donovan’s silence as
admission. Which annoyed Donovan all the more.
“I’m not agreeing. I’m simply giving your point a fair
assessment,” Donovan told him.
“And your assessment is?”
“You’re completely in my league
I played for your
team,” Donovan concluded. “But since I don’t, you’re going to have to live life
“How do you figure? How is not playing for my team any
different than our relationship ten minutes ago when you still thought I was
straight? We’re friends. You’re still in my life.”
“I’m tired of this argument.”
“Because you’re losing,” Ty answered for him. “It’s not
different. We’ll keep working on the video games the way we always have. You’ll
keep trying to find the woman who finally
you and likes
techno-geeks. Meanwhile, I’ll keep fixing bugs and selling programs while I get
laid on the side by men who can’t keep their hands off me.”
“Wow. Just, wow. Your ego is amazing.”
“It is, right?” Ty agreed, grinning.
They both laughed because as big as Ty liked to talk, he was
about as egotistical as Donovan was, which basically meant
barely at all
Not that an outsider in their conversation would hear it that way. To someone
else it would sound as if Ty was the world’s biggest douche-bag. But then,
neither Ty nor Donovan particularly cared what the world thought. They’d just
write code to blast computerized likenesses out of the water in the next game
“About Anagram Inc.” Donovan decided that the best way to
big a deal Ty’s sexuality was, would be to stop giving it
airtime. “I think we need to keep the first person point of view into the death
rally dome even after Sura bestows the gold.”
Ty’s smile widened. Donovan had no doubt that he knew what Donovan
was doing, yet Ty’s body language shifted into business mode all the same.
“Then the question becomes, do we make this an
keep it at
? Sura has the potential to bestow some graphic
Donovan gave an internal sigh of relief as the subject
shifted into familiar territory. Part of him felt oddly unsettled, but not in a
way he could pinpoint. He found himself looking at Ty a little differently,
deeper, wondering how Ty saw him. He’d never thought about it before. They’d
always been Ty and Donovan. Sure, they were still Ty and Donovan, but now
Donovan found himself watching how he joked and wondering if there were moments
where his business partner and friend ever looked at him as a potential fuck.
The next day wasn’t any easier. Donovan felt as if his skin
didn’t fit quite right. Like the world was off-kilter and maybe if he cocked
his head at an angle it would make sense again. Only that didn’t happen.
It shouldn’t have mattered. He shouldn’t give a flying fuck
that Ty was gay and in all the ways that probably mattered to Ty, Donovan didn’t.
He didn’t care that Ty did dudes. He didn’t care if Ty looked at men more
openly than he’d ever pretended to look at women. Donovan also didn’t care that
Ty was completely comfortable with his announcement. He just hoped his partner
thought Donovan was as calm about it.
Even though he wasn’t. And that’s what got him thinking
about how it mattered quite a bit in ways Donovan hadn’t anticipated.
Especially since until yesterday, he’d had no reason to anticipate anything other
than the expected from his best friend.
So the fact that Donovan spent a few minutes—okay, an extra
half hour—figuring out what he’d wear to their small, five-person office that
day already smacked of being out of character. That should’ve been his first
clue that things weren’t kosher.
The next thing should’ve been when he finally snarled at his
bathroom mirror after spending another five full minutes deciding whether he
should tuck the tail of his shirt into his jeans or leave it hanging out over
his ass. Did he
Ty to look or didn’t he? Annoyed with himself, he
yanked the hem out of the waistband and left messing with it in favor of
violently brushing his teeth.
He ignored the quiet voice in his head that whispered an
accusation that the only reason he’d worn a new pair of perfectly distressed
jeans was to highlight that ass and the snug fit on his thighs. It wouldn’t
have done anything more than piss him off anyway. But the consolation was to
loosely knot a tie at the open neck of his button-down—his nod to formality and
professionalism. More clothes seemed like a good idea.
Donovan took his bike to work, riding the ten blocks to the
strip mall without consequence, made himself a cup of black coffee in the
breakroom and snagged a cake donut. He was doing fine until Ty walked in all
smiles and bedroom eyes, which only tilted the axis on Donovan’s questionable
“Morning,” Ty greeted him.
“Might be. Haven’t checked.”
“After that cup, make yourself another. Looks like you need
it today,” Ty suggested.
Ty lifted his brows. His blue-gray eyes danced. “Really?
After what you know, you still want to say shit like that to me?” Ty walked to
the coffeemaker beside Donovan. “I might take you up on it if I ever get drunk
Ty took a step back and gave him a full-body assessment.
“Well, you still aren’t my type, but I’d do you in a pinch.”
Donovan couldn’t help the wry smile that twisted his lips.
“Moron,” Ty returned with the same good-natured tone Donovan
Donovan took another bite of his donut.
“Have I ever mentioned how
donuts are?” Ty
-thy?” Donovan repeated around his mouthful.
“Wide, round hole begging for a tongue, wrapped in sweet,
tooth-sinking goodness the color of a perfectly tanned ass.”
Donovan choked. Ty grinned, lifted his mug and wandered out
of the breakroom. When Donovan finally got a breath in, and the bite swallowed,
he shouted after him, “Not funny!”
“Yeah it was!” Ty shouted back.
One of the programmers walked in with a questioning look on
his face and a smile as though he expected Donovan to share the joke. No way in
hell was that happening. He gulped down the last of his coffee and poured a
“Winston, make another pot while you’re in here,” he told
the man as he left the small space.
And that was pretty much how the day went. The night
was—well the night wasn’t something Donovan felt comfortable exploring.
Because that night, after the office closed and the other
three employees had gone, he and Ty were working on product. There wasn’t
anything out of the ordinary about that, except Donovan’s skin crawled during
the silent stretches.
The glass storefront had the shades drawn and the
two-thousand-square-foot front area of desks, drafting stations and viewing
rooms was dark. Only the back where Ty and Donovan worked remained lit. Their
desks shared the large corner along with all the paraphernalia of previous
projects and source binders for brainstorming new concepts. It had been that
way since they’d opened the company over two years ago. It had always worked
Now it made the floor space feel small.
Ty pushed the curls off his forehead absently as he stared
at the computer monitor. He flipped between four keys on the key pad
thoughtfully. Donovan stared.
What was it about knowing Ty liked men that made Donovan suddenly
want to be wanted by him? There, he’d said it. Maybe not out loud, maybe
out loud, but the thought had been given form.
Ty liked guys. Donovan was a guy. Why didn’t Ty like him that
way? It bugged him. A lot.
“Say it. Whatever it was that shoved the bug up your ass,
say it,” Ty muttered, flicking a glance at Donovan before returning his
attention to the monitor.
“It’s not nothing. You’re staring at me as though I ate the
last candy bar of your Halloween stash,” Ty insisted.
“I said it’s nothing.”
Ty sighed. He sat back in his chair, spinning it to face
Donovan. Ty stared hard at him for several seconds. Donovan tried to look busy
even though he couldn’t think of anything that he should be doing at the
moment. Not when Ty was trying to figure him out. Not like
face half-hidden and one eye, more blue than gray under the unnatural glow of
the monitor, stared at him with hooded lids. Because that made Donovan think sexy
thoughts and he shouldn’t be having sexy thoughts about Ty.
“It’s the gay thing, isn’t it?” Ty asked after a moment.
“You’re freaked out because I told you I’m gay. Now you
don’t know how to act around me. I’ll make it easy. Pretend I never told you,
that’s how you should act. Because I’m the same guy I was day before yesterday that
I am today.”
“It’s not the gay thing,” Donovan snapped, glancing over. “I
don’t give a shit that you’re gay.”
Ty’s gaze narrowed. He leaned forward sharply. “That’s not
exactly true,” he said softly as though he had just figured something out.
Donovan turned his chair to fully face him. He hadn’t been
successful in finding fake work to do and he couldn’t seem to concentrate on
real work. Besides, the longer he didn’t meet Ty’s dead-stare, the guiltier
“Are you still curious about what it’s like with a guy?” Ty
, Donovan silently amended.
“Did I piss you off with the gaming project? Danny is late
on the street scene. He was supposed to have it finished last week.”
“So?” Ty left the question hanging with a tilt of his head.
“Nothing I want to talk about.”
“Does it involve me?”
“Yeah, Ty, it does. But that doesn’t mean I want to go all-girl
slumber-party and talk about it.”
Ty frowned. “That’s bullshit. I’m using my bullshit rights
on that one.”
Back three years ago when they’d first met, they’d agreed to
bullshit rights in order to have open communication about the company they
wanted to form. Bullshit rights meant that if one of them wasn’t being truthful
or owning up, the other one could call him on it. The idea was for the
bullshitter to come clean because the lie had been caught, with the
understanding that he wouldn’t be judged for the truth.
It was a process that kept people from getting their toes
stepped on, while being completely honest about an issue they disagreed on. It
was a catch-safe for guys like them, not yet thirty and still learning to speak
The bullshit rule sucked. It should be aborted, yet Ty had
called it and Donovan didn’t want to say what he was thinking.
“Sometimes things can be private,” Donovan hedged. “My
thoughts are my own.”
“Except it involves me in what I think is a very important
aspect of who I am. So here’s your problem. If you keep it to yourself, you can
feel all safe and satisfied that you’re somehow entitled. Or you can tell me
what’s bugging you and we can get over it. But if you keep it under wraps, you
gotta know that it’s going to eat at me, causing a rift in our business
Donovan mulled it over. He didn’t like it.
“Secrets will kill a partnership. If you have something to
say to me, then you’d better just say it.”
“You’re making it a bigger deal than it is,” Donovan
talks. You listen without argument,”
Donovan relented, hoping that reminding him of the rules would ease the tension
in his partner’s voice.
“That’s the deal,” Ty agreed.
“I’m still wondering what kissing a dude is like,” Donovan
“Why does it matter?”
Donovan shrugged. “It doesn’t. It’s just idle curiosity.”
“You never experimented in grad school?”
Ty took a deep breath and hoisted himself out of his chair.
“Right, what?” Donovan asked.
Ty moved to stand in front of Donovan. He bent, pinning
Donovan in his chair with a hand on either armrest. “Today’s your lucky day.”
“What are you—no, no way, man. I’m not interested in kissing
you.” Oh yes he was. Or at least his thickening cock was.
Wearing a look of pure determination, Ty ducked low and
covered Donovan’s mouth with his own. Every instinct Donovan had was to push Ty
away—until their lips slid together. Ty’s mouth felt warm, soft, gentle where
Donovan kept his in a firm line.
Ty chuckled. The sound tickled the sensitive flesh of
“Try relaxing,” Ty murmured, lifting back slightly. His face
was so close to him that his eyes almost merged into one deep-blue blur.
“Dude. You’re kissing me. No way in fuck can I relax.”
Ty cupped his jaw. He traced Donovan’s bottom lip back and
forth with the tip of his thumb. “No one’s here to see, so no one here’s going
to tease you about this. It’s just me. Fucking relax and enjoy it, because I
won’t try a second time to kiss a guy who doesn’t want to be kissed.”
“This is weird,” Donovan muttered.
“Close your eyes and think of Angelina Jolie if that’s what
it takes. But here’s the deal. I kiss you and you stop wondering what it’s
like. No more secrets or distractions, right?” Ty reasoned.
“Lift your chin so I can reach you better. Or I could sit on
Donovan inhaled sharply. Ty was
sitting on his
lap! He’d feel just how not-grossed-out Donovan’s cock was. He hurriedly lifted
“That’s it. Now relax these lips or I can’t do it properly,”
“You mention this to anyone and I kill you. Slowly.”
Donovan’s pulse leaped and his palms sweated. God, was he
supposed to feel like this with another guy? Because he kind of liked being
this close to Ty—the dancing eyes and soft sheen of his dark, curled hair.
Those curls brushed Donovan’s forehead as Ty leaned in. The
side of Ty’s nose brushed his as hot, moist breath feathered Donovan’s lips.
This time when Ty’s mouth smoothed across his, he accepted it. Damn, he even
His fingers itched to hold on to Ty, maybe draw him in or at
least keep him there longer. The kiss ended and Ty pulled away just as the haze
of lust had settled on Donovan. He still felt a bit dazed as Ty grinned down at
“See? The world didn’t end.” Ty went back to his seat, spun
toward the computer screen and went back to work.
Donovan blinked, trying to get his libido back under
control, to kick the sensation of Ty’s lips from his mind and quell the hot
tingles settling around his groin.
! Ty had said the kiss would
stop the questions. That so wasn’t going to happen. Now all Donovan would be
able to think about was that the best fucking kiss he’d ever had—came from a
Donovan slipped a glance at Ty, who seemed unimpressed.
Business as usual. Totally unaffected and all Donovan could think was,
can I get him to do that again