Exclusive Excerpt from Always You
by Nell Iris
I stiffen, waiting for Lee to say something, but he doesn’t. He pads across the floor and then my mattress dips and he shuffles close. Close enough for me to feel his warmth through the sheet but not enough for our bodies to touch. Carefully, he pulls down the cover from my head.
“You’re going to suffocate under there,” he murmurs and presses his palm against my back, right between my shoulder blades.
We lie in silence for a while. The sounds of his breath and the warmth of his hand relaxes me for the first time since yesterday and I sink into the mattress, reveling in the fact that the quiet between us is as comfortable as ever despite the awkward conversation we just suffered through.
“I forgot to ask if you’re okay,” I whisper after several minutes. “About Debora, I mean. I didn’t mean to rant at you like that. I’m sorry. I’m a terrible friend.”
“Shut up,” he says without heat. “You’re not a terrible friend. You were busy looking out for me, just like you always are.”
“I just—” A light pat on my back stops my words.
“Let me talk, please?”
I hum my agreement.
“To answer your question first: yes, I’m okay. I should have ended things between us a long time ago, but I got comfortable. And she’s a nice person. Funny to hang out with. So I thought, ‘so what if I’m not head over heels?’ I’ve never been anyway. But yeah. She saved me the trouble of ending it. I was relieved.” He scoots a little closer and moves his hand from my back to my upper arm, giving it a squeeze. “It was the reason she ended it that shook me.”
“I understand. Being told you’re gay and that your best friend has feelings for you must be a shock.”
“Yes. But not for the reasons you think. Only because I didn’t think you want a relationship.”
“I don’t follow.”
“Every time I asked why you’re single, why you never have a boyfriend, you were adamant you didn’t want a relationship. That you liked being by yourself and able to do what you want.”
What was I supposed to say? I don’t want a boyfriend because it can’t be you? I don’t think so. “Yeah,” I say.
“But that’s not the real reason, is it?”
My throat is dry and I’m certain I won’t be able to produce a sound, so I shake my head.
He hums and scoots even closer to me, his chest brushing against my back, his body curling around mine without really touching, his hand sliding down to my waist, and then coming to rest on my belly. He’s so warm; he’s leaving little trails of fire in his wake, even through layers of clothing and bed linen, and I gasp.
“What are you doing, Lee?”
About Always You
Thom Novak feels like a walking cliché: the gay guy desperately in love with his straight best friend, Lee. But he’s willing to keep his feelings hidden, to do whatever it takes, as long as they stay friends forever.
Lee Conway loves sharing an apartment with Thom, his best friend since birth, and would be happy doing it for the rest of his life…no matter his current girlfriend’s opinion on the matter. But he’s never been known for being in contact with his emotions.
When something happens to upset the status quo, Lee pulls away. Has Lee learned how Thom feels about him? Will it mean the end of their friendship? Or is there another reason Lee needs time to think? A more…hopeful reason?
Available at: Amazon
About Nell Iris
Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)
Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.
Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.
Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.
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