Exclusive Excerpt from A Kind of Home
by Lane Hayes
“I’ve got it!” Adam sprang to his feet and waved his hand excitedly.
I gave him a weary sideways glance. “Whatever you’re thinking, stop.”
“No, it’s perfect. You teach me guitar and I’ll teach you how to bake something.”
“Not necessarily. When we can. The point is I’ll be here if you don’t feel like being alone. We can keep each other sane with wholesome diversions without having to ask ‘What do you feel like doing, roomie?’”
“‘Wholesome diversions’? You’ve been mainlining confectioner’s sugar again, haven’t you?” I quipped.
“Ha. Ha. Don’t overthink. I’ll keep my hands to myself. You’re safe with me. I promise. I just—we’re both adjusting to change. It might be helpful to lean on each other. That’s all.”
“Sure. Boston cream pie for a tip or two on how to play a couple Guns N’ Roses classics. What do you think?”
I lowered my eyes as I worked on the row of buttons on my navy shirt. I was touched. I couldn’t remember the last time someone stopped to notice my state of mental well-being and offered to ease my mind. I knew my friends cared, but they were going through the same things I was. All they could say was “Hang on. It’ll get easier.” Adam was offering something more—himself and his time. Platonically.
I wasn’t sure I trusted myself to keep us in the friend zone. Even now I wanted to tackle him to the bed and grind against him. He was solid, familiar, and trustworthy. Just what I needed to keep my mind off my troubles.
“Okay. You’re on.” I chuckled when he let out a whoop before I continued. “But we each get to choose what we want to learn.”
Adam mulled over my suggestion for a moment, then inclined his head. “As long as you know we aren’t making anything from a box.”
“And as long as you know I can only take so many run-throughs of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ before I’ll strangle you.”
Adam gave me a megawatt grin and then held up his hand for a high five. I slapped his hand and then rolled my eyes when he broke into a decent impression of Axl Rose’s version of “Patience.”
“Go,” I said, shooing him out of my bedroom. “I’ve got real-life bullshit to deal with. No more nonsense.”
“A little nonsense is good for you, Isaac. It’s what keeps you afloat so the bad stuff doesn’t drag you under.” He reached for my wrist and pulled me against him so our chests collided.
It was a slapstick maneuver that was too rough to be taken as a sensual overture. Until he backed me against the wall and lowered his head a fraction of an inch, stopping when his nose brushed mine. I held my breath, aware of my thundering heart. My world constricted to the smallest fragment of space. I occupied a place against a wall, covered by a man I’d known most of my life. Someone I cared about and, yeah, lusted after too.
Adam lowered his head again, and this time he didn’t stop. He pressed his lips to mine and went perfectly still as though testing my response. When I didn’t protest, he melded his mouth over mine, careful to keep the connection light. I reached out and ran a tentative hand along his cheek. Adam trembled and leaned into my touch, deepening the kiss ever so slightly. Then he licked my lips in a silent request for entry. I groaned when our tongues glided together and let him pull me under.
I broke for air and pushed his chest. This was ridiculous. We were friends only, and we were destined for heartache if we tried to be something else. “We can’t do this. I told you, I—”
Adam tugged at my belt loop and drew me against him. Then he rested his forehead against mine and went still as though he was wordlessly giving me control. I should have pushed him away, but I couldn’t. I fused my lips to his and moaned into the connection. I shivered when he moved his hands up my chest, then placed them on the wall on either side of my head. He nudged my chin with his nose until I exposed my neck. He traced my jawline with the tip of his tongue and then bit my earlobe before whispering in a raspy voice, “No repeats. I’ll behave. But I gotta admit… I really want to change your mind.”
Exclusive Excerpt from A Kind of Home
by Lane Hayes
“Hmm. I want to drop this, but…I have one last question. What did you mean about ‘being from here?’ I know San Francisco is home now but this is a nice place too. I always thought it would be kind of cool to move back someday so I could—”
“No. No way. Never,” I replied emphatically.
I tried and failed again to make a getaway. Zane pounced on me and held me down, snaking his arm across my chest to keep me next to him.
“O-kay…where’s this coming from?”
“I can’t explain it. You wouldn’t understand.”
“It sounds stupid.” I met his patient gaze, hoping he’d cut me some slack, but he didn’t budge and I had a feeling he wouldn’t until I spit it out. “Fine. I was teased pretty mercilessly for being a geek from kindergarten through high school. I never fit in. I wasn’t blond, athletic, or particularly charming. I was smart. Smarter than I appear to be now,” I huffed.
“Who bullied you? I’m gonna kick some ass. No one messes with my man,” he said, nuzzling my neck.
I chuckled, running my fingers along his spine. “Thanks. I told you it sounded lame. I’m a perfectly well-adjusted adult when I’m not here. And I’m actually pretty good when I come for quick family visits, but this feels different. It feels like I’m being thrown back in time and forced to hang out with the cool kids. Today was a great example. I made a fool of myself out there and I made you mad. Yeah, I was jealous but that was only part of it. I also wanted to prove I’d grown up a little and that I wasn’t the same sunscreen-caked dork who’d sit under an umbrella and read when he went to the beach anymore. I guess I still am.”
“You seem to be forgetting one major detail, Er.”
I traced the laugh-lines at the corner of his eyes and pushed his hair from his forehead. “What is it?”
“I like you just the way you are. I don’t expect you to change and develop a sudden passion for things I enjoy doing. Just be you. And if that means you’d rather finish a chapter lounging in the sand than jump in the water, that’s okay by me.”
“Don’t thank me. It comes with the territory. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with you if I didn’t love all your weird habits,” he teased, pulling us both to sit up.
“Weird? Me? I bet you can’t name three weird things about me,” I declared as I sauntered toward the bathroom.
“I bet I can name ten. I’ll give you my list at breakfast. Jump in the shower while I call housekeeping and ask them to change our sheets.”
I stopped in the doorway and frowned. “Just tell them I spilled water on them or something.”
“Why lie? I’m going to tell them my boyfriend got jizz on my side of the bed and…”
I shook my head mournfully and turned on the shower to drown out his silly speech about being stuck with a messy lover and crusty sheets. I chuckled at his ‘put upon’ tone and called for him to join me before stepping under the spray. I stopped abruptly and backed up to look at my reflection. My cheeks were flushed, my eyes were bright, and my smile spanned my entire face. I was incredibly happy and if I said so myself, it looked good on me.