Blurb: Don Jenkins will do anything for a happy, thriving family and home. When he discovers that Griff McAllister, his life partner and love since high school, seems to be losing faith in him, he’s at a loss for how to mend the relationship. Then Howard Campbell is added to the mix, a man Don and Griff both love beyond words, and jealousy and mistrust threaten not just their bond, but even Don’s ability to keep his farm viable.
Nearly losing Howard in an accident serves as a wakeup call. They begin to pull their relationship out of the muck and work to remember why they came together in the first place. If they can figure out how to help one another and make sure each man gets what he needs, the trio might build the loving future they’ve dared to hope for. They have to be brave enough to commit every resource they can muster—especially trust, understanding, and acceptance—and realize true love is never as easy as it looks.
Excerpt: A low growl issued from Griff’s chest and he turned. “You’ve got to be the densest person on the fucking planet.”
Don blinked at him. Griff never swore.
“I don’t understand.”
“Obviously.” He shook his head, tossing strands of gold and sunlight over his face and past the clear blue of his eyes, like wheat on the horizon. And that look went on forever.
Until Griff was too close to focus on and of much more immediate importance was the taste of the coffee they’d been drinking and the mint gum Griff always chewed. Eclipsing whatever was behind his eyelids—closed now because there was nothing to look at—was the feel of calloused fingers on his cheek, then his neck, and the slither of wet tongue into his mouth, past lips still parted in shock.
Griff was kissing him.
It was clumsy and wet and more real than any kiss Howard had presented him with. It was as strange as a boy stepping between him and threat and punching it in the face. And it was as ordinary as a boy climbing into the cab of his father’s truck like he belonged there.
He hadn’t even gotten his head around the fact of it before it was gone.
Griff watched him, eyes wide, fingers still lightly connected to his face.
“You… smell like horses,” Don said.
Blond brows collapsed in confusion and the blue clouded over.
“Howard never kissed me like that.”
“Holy fuck!” Griff spun and reached for the door.
“Howard’s gone!” Don shouted. “He’s gone, Griff.”
“What do you mean? Gone?”
“We had a fight. He took off and I haven’t even spoken to him since.”
Griff’s head bobbed once, slowly. “That’s why you’ve been so….”
Don waited, but his friend didn’t say anything else. “So what?” he asked finally.
“I’m not sad over Howard.”
“I’m not.” And he wasn’t, exactly. At least, he didn’t think he was. “He asked me if I thought what we did was… gross.”
“I don’t think I want to—”
“Just listen.” Don knew Griff probably didn’t want to know what they’d been doing. But it was part of the thing that mattered. Part of the foundation, now. “I guess… he thought I was ashamed of it.”
Don shrugged. It didn’t matter that Griff couldn’t see the gesture. “Doesn’t matter what I think of it. Doesn’t change anything.”
“What do you mean?”
“We did it once… I don’t even know. It was sort of by accident.”
Griff snorted. “Oops. I fell and kissed a boy.” He shook his head. “You’re so full of shit.”
More swearing. He’d never heard Griff swear before, and here he’d dropped them all in the space of five minutes.
“I don’t know. It wasn’t planned. It just happened. I wouldn’t have done it, or done it again if I didn’t like it. I kissed Kerrie-Lynn once, too, and that was gross.”
Griff chuckled. “Yeah. Wendy Scofield. Course, I was, like, ten, so what did I know, right?”
“You know when it isn’t what you want.”
“So you wanted Howard?”
“Listen.” Don held his breath. He wanted to explain. To make Griff understand, but he didn’t want to make Howard the bad guy. He hadn’t actually done anything wrong. If anyone had been in the wrong, it had been Don, not Howard.
“Okay,” Griff said slowly. “I’m listening. So talk.”
Don let out a breath and nodded. “So I told him I didn’t tell anyone about him and me because I didn’t want to get the shit kicked out of me when people found out.”
“I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you,” Griff said, his voice fierce and quiet and full of all those things in him that made him stick up for small, skinny boys he didn’t know.
“I know you wouldn’t.”
And there. That was not the same answer he’d given Howard at all, was it?
“I know you wouldn’t, Griff. That’s what Howard said, too. I told him, basically, he couldn’t protect me, and he wasn’t worth taking the chance. Well.” Don drew in a breath and let it out, because the next bit was him taking a hammer to his own foundation in hopes he was just knocking away the loose flakes and not smashing it to smithereens. “What I told him was that not even you were worth it.”
“Wait. Let me explain.”
“There’s more? Christ!”
“I said that, and it was cruel, Griff. Don’t you see? It pretty much told him he was less to me than you are.”
“And yet I’m not worth taking a risk for.”
Don blinked hard and swallowed. How to explain he’d been wrong about that?
Finally, Griff turned just enough to look at him, and there were tears on his cheeks.
“Shit. I’m sorry.” He was dense. He had no idea what he was apologizing for. But Griff was crying and there wasn’t anyone else around who could have caused it. He was lousy at this shit.
“For what?” Griff asked, sniffing and wiping the back of his hand across his cheek.
“This is stupid,” Griff muttered, turning back to face the front of the cab.
“I guess.” Don smiled weakly and reached to turn the engine back on. It roared to life and when he glanced over at Griff, his friend’s proximity made his heart jump.
This kiss was less wet and a little longer. Griff leaned over to put his mouth next to Don’s ear after and shouted, “Don’t kiss Howard anymore.”
Howard had left.
Don grinned like an idiot as he got the behemoth machine moving again.
Griff had kissed him. Griff was his. His what? He grinned wider. Just his. That was good enough.