We’re nearing the one week mark until A Kind of Honesty is here! Woohoo! In celebration of the third book in the A Kind of Stories series, I’m posting a short story to tie-in A Kind of Romance with the newest book called A Kind of in Between. It is told from Carter’s POV. The story is also posted on Love Bytes where I’m doing a giveaway. All you have to do tell me your favorite singer/band or a song you absolutely cannot get out of your head. Remember, AKH is a rock n’ roll story…work with me here. 😉
*And in case you missed it, A Kind of Romance is now available on audio! Listen to a sample here. I’m about a third of the way into it and I adore Seth Clayton’s narration. He’s so talented!
Back to part 1 of A Kind of in Between… there will be another installment or two before A Kind of Honesty is released on October 7. Check in for updates! And enjoy…A Kind of in Between– Carter’s POV
The nondescript East Village walkup was close to Bowery Bagels. I was supposed to be excited about this somehow, I thought rolling my eyes. Zeke used the geographic proximity of Benny’s old apartment slash work studio to his father’s store as a major selling point when he suckered me into helping them move “a couple” things to their SoHo condo. Fuck, I was an idiot. No one in their right mind liked moving. And no bagel was worth the headache. Besides, it was six o’clock now. I had better things to do with my Saturday night. Well… maybe not. But trudging up and down three flights of narrow stairs was no one’s idea of a good time.
“This is the best!” Benny gushed as he twirled around the almost empty room. “We just need to get the bed out of here and—”
“It’s not happening today, baby,” Zeke said in a firm voice. The ‘baby’ part sounded a tad sappy, but I let it slide. I was grateful he was on my side and willing to put an end to his husband’s overly enthusiastic take on the joys of manual labor.
Benny pushed his electric blue tinged bangs away from his eyes with his thumb and cocked his head. A subtle look passed between them. It involved a twitch of Benny’s lips and a hint of humor evident in the creased corners of Zeke’s eyes. It bespoke a language shared between lovers. Something intimate and special that had nothing to do with sex. I fought the familiar tug of jealousy as I cleared my throat to break up the love fest, and remind them they weren’t alone. If it was up to me to reset moving expectations, so be it.
“I’ll hire a couple guys from my office to take care of the bed another time,” I offered. “It’s getting dark and it’s icy on the steps. Not safe. Let’s get a drink instead. Zeke’s treat.”
Benny sighed as he sauntered toward Zeke. He slipped his arm around his husband’s waist and then cast an exasperated look between us. “We’re so close though. We could be done tonight.”
Zeke turned Benny to face him and pressed a kiss on his forehead. “The van is packed as it is. We can drop every off at the theater or in storage in the morning. Carter’s right. It’s cold, dark and icy outside. And we’re both over it. Don’t bat your eyes at me, it’s not gonna—”
“Hey, I’m out. My internal third wheel beeper is buzzing. I’ll check in with you guys tomorrow.”
“Carter, don’t go. We’re behaving! Besides, the mirrors are gone and Zeke won’t want to have sex here when our own bed is a couple miles away,” Benny said with a chipper grin.
“Of course I would!”
Benny rolled his eyes. “Fine. You would, but we aren’t going to. We’re going to move the bed and then…I’ll make dinner. How does penne arrabiata and a giant salad sound?”
“Yes to the food. No more moving. Let’s go, Ravioli. Lock up and get your cute ass in gear.”
This time their kiss wasn’t a peck. It was a serious lip lock involving tongue, groans and roving hands. Oh boy. Time to go.
“I’m out, boys. I have a date,” I lied. “I’m gonna—”
“You told us you didn’t have plans tonight,” Benny said, furrowing his brow.
“I just remembered something I need to do.” I waved absently as I moved toward the open door and then turned to head down the short hallway to the stairwell.
“Cart!” Zeke pulled my sleeve before I reached the landing. “What’s up?”
“Nothing’s up, dummy. You and Benny are newlyweds. I appreciate you including me, but it’s not necessary. Especially when your idea of fun is schlepping heavy crap up and down stairs. Go on. Do husband stuff with your man. Tell him I’ll be over for dinner tomorrow night. It’s the least you two can do after torturing me all afternoon. See ya, Zeke.”
I pulled out of his grasp and hurried down the stairs before he was tempted to offer any halfhearted platitudes that would only end up making both of us uncomfortable. Things had changed. It was time to accept it and move on. Again.
The transition from college boyfriends to best friends for had taken time and some getting used to. Zeke and I had muddled our way through hurt and misunderstanding to eventually find more common ground than we ever had as a couple. Over ten years had passed since we’d been more than friends. We were good at it.
In fact, we were so good at it, we were more like brothers. Sure, Zeke had three brothers and certainly didn’t need another, but I was an only child with no family. Zeke’s parents had practically adopted me when we started going out. They included me for every family dinner and holiday. I was an honorary member of the Gulden family and I loved it. Now… I wasn’t sure where my place was exactly. I only knew I wasn’t going to be the perpetual third wheel. The friend they loved but were anxious to set up with someone nice so the weird shimmer of guilt faded and we all found our place again.
Real life wasn’t that tidy. There was always a period of unrest and adjustment when close friends met and married the person of their dreams. With Benny and Zeke it had all been very…surprising. They were nothing alike. And I do mean nothing. Benny was a fabulous fashionista who changed his hair color according to his mood. The blue streaks in his bangs today might be pink, orange, purple or green tomorrow. He was five foot eight tops which made him at least four inches shorter than Zeke. He was lean but toned and had gorgeous golden skin… good looking for sure. Zeke had always had a thing for pretty things and people. But this was definitely the first time my conservative Wall Street financier friend had gone for anyone who wore eyeliner every other day. Or someone who wasn’t afraid to let him have it when his grand opinions and prejudices threatened basic common sense. Benny was good for Zeke. Hell, they were good together. I loved being around them. They made me think anything was possible. Including me eventually finding someone.
In the meantime, it looked like it was me, myself and I on a Saturday night in Manhattan. The possibilities were endless. I could go to a bar, a club, the theater… I pulled out my phone when I stepped outside to call for my driver just as a message popped up on my screen.
R u free tonite?
I studied it for a long moment. Bad idea, bad idea, bad idea. Don’t say yes, I told myself. Then again, why not? His timing was perfect and unlike meeting a random guy at a bar, we knew what to expect from each other. A drink or two, maybe dinner and then sex. Good sex. White knuckles gripping the bed post as my lover plowed into me relentlessly, sweat dripping as fingernails raked along my spine and…
I pushed Call as I moved toward the Mercedes idling at the curb.
“Hi Lance. How are you?”
To be continued…