By: E.M. Leya | Other books by E.M. Leya
Published By: E.L. Publishing
Published: Jan 23, 2014
ISBN # LPBLSH00000018
Published By: E.L. Publishing
Published: Jan 23, 2014
ISBN # LPBLSH00000018
Word Count: 34,935
Available in: Epub, HTML, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.mobi), Palm DOC/iSolo, Adobe Acrobat, Rocket
DescriptionJeremiah comes from an ancient line of shifters whose presence has been talked about for generations, but never confirmed. He hid his secret for years, until he makes a drastic mistake by being seen in his other form, an error that could easily cost him and others of his kind their lives.
James can't believe what he saw in the trees behind his home, telling himself it was nothing more than his distraught mind playing tricks on him, still, the sighting plagues him. Taking to the mountain, he seeks out proof of what he saw, ignoring the danger it could bring.
Two lives changed in a glance, two men drawn together by fate, and secrets some would kill to protect. These two are about to find that it takes more than a shared attraction to make a relationship work.
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
Excerpt:Twelve years. That was supposed to mean something. James stared at Marshall in shock, unsure how to respond. The years they'd shared flashed through his mind, from the first kiss back when they were fourteen, to losing their virginity together at sixteen. The two of them did everything together.
"You can't be serious. Married?" James blinked at his best friend, confused as he tried to digest the information that Marshall just tossed at him.
"I told you, it's what's expected of me. Besides, she's a great girl. I'm sure you'll like her when you meet her."
James shook his head, still dumbfounded. "I don't want to meet her."
"Why not?" Marshall actually looked hurt.
"Tell me, Marsh, does she know about us? Does she know that you and I have had a thing for over twelve years now?" James tried not to scream, but the more he thought about things, the angrier he became.
Marshall stared back at him and sighed as he ran his hand through his blond hair. "It's not that easy, James."
"Why not? If she really loves you, then she should love everything about you, right?" James tossed the shovel he was holding aside. "Damn it, Marsh. You and I had plans. What happened to you moving in here with me? Was that just talk? Bullshit words you thought I wanted to hear?"
Marshall shoved his hands into his pockets and took a step back. "You know it's not like that. I care about you, but everyone expects me to settle down and marry. It's just not that easy."
"It is that easy. Just tell them about us. Quit acting like a sissy and stand up and admit who you are. Fuck, Marsh, you're going to ruin this girl's life 'cause you can't stand the truth. You know as well as I do you won't ever be happy with a woman."
"It's not that bad." Marshall shrugged.
It was as if a knife was plunged straight through James's heart at Marshall's admittance. "You've fucked her?"
Marshall bit his lip.
"Just how long have you known her?" James was starting to wonder if he was the stupid one.
"Listen, it doesn't matter, does it? I'm going to marry her, and that means I can't do anything with you anymore." Marshall glanced over at his truck as if he wanted to make a quick escape.
"Fuck you, Marsh. You know it matters. You go. Get the fuck out of here and enjoy your life with your little woman. Just make sure you know when she isn't enough and you miss what we had, I won't be here waiting for you. I'm done. I'm not going to play your games anymore. Enjoy your married life." James forced himself to turn and start to walk away.
"James, wait. I didn't want this to happen." Marshall grabbed him by the shoulder.
"Didn't want what to happen? You mean her? Or were you hoping that somehow I would be okay with all this and stand by you?"
"You're my best friend…"
"I was more than that until ten minutes ago… At least I thought I was."
"You are. You know that. This doesn't have to change anything."
"Are you kidding? It changes everything. I thought it was you and I for life. I figured you would find the guts to come out sooner or later. I never thought for a minute that you would be telling me you've been cheating on me for God knows how long, let alone with a woman." James fought to keep the tears back as he looked the man he loved in the eyes. "I love you, Marsh. I never thought we would end. For me we were for life."
Marsh shoved his hands in the pockets of his shorts. "It was for me, too. I thought I could deal with us, but then my parents started pushing. They kept asking me to bring my dates home. I had to do something. I met Shelly in college—"
"Two years? You've known her for two years and just now telling me about her?" James heard enough. Tears burned his eyes as he turned away. "Have a good fucking life, Marshall. I hope she makes you happy."
"James, wait," Marshall yelled.
There was nothing to wait for. James stomped off, ignoring Marshall's calls for him to come back. If this affair was going on for two years now, nothing was going to change. He was a fool for not seeing it sooner.
Praying Marsh wouldn't follow him, James made his way to the shed. He slammed the door hard, hoping that was a final goodbye to his best friend and lover. Tears escaped as he turned to slam his fist into the wooden wall.
"Fuck!" The pain of his knuckles tearing open grounded him. He shook his hand as he listened to the sound of Marshall's car pulling away. Blood covered his hand as he leaned back against the wall, trying to make sense of what just happened. How stupid could he have been? He really thought Marshall was his future. He could hardly remember a time when the two of them hadn't been together.
Sure, they had problems, and he'd begged Marshall to come out of the closet and live with him as a couple, but he'd been willing to give him the time he needed to do it. That should have been his first clue. He should have seen this coming, but he didn't. Maybe if it was another man he had been left for, he could deal with it better, but a woman… He just didn't see that coming.
He swiped at the tears with his uninjured hand, pissed off that he was crying in the first place. Marshall didn't deserve the tears. That fact still didn't stop them. It hurt worse than almost anything James could remember. Even his father's death just two months ago didn't hurt as bad as this.
James took a deep breath, trying to focus his jumbled thoughts and emotions. Memories of Marshall and him over the years played like a movie in his mind, their friendship growing from friends to lovers. They talked about the future often, and James never doubted that Marshall was who he would spend the rest of his life with. What a fool he was.
Anger mixed with pain as he pushed away from the wall and started to pace. The shed, usually his sanctuary, was now confining. He glanced at the wood-working equipment he used to carve his statues and other items, finding no comfort in them like he usually did. There were too many memories of Marshall in here, but hell, where weren't there memories?
Needing to escape, he pulled the door open and stepped back out into the large yard. It bordered the mountains on one side, and sat nearly a mile from the main road at the front. His father loved his seclusion. When he died, James inherited the place, and was happy to move out of his apartment to the large home. He'd spent most his time with his father anyway as his health declined. It was also home to his wood shop where he created the art that he would sell to the local stores in town.
Marshall would come over almost nightly and sit with James as he worked. They would talk, flirt, and tease each other, until the wood was forgotten, and they would pull blankets out to lie upon the ground so they could make love.
James never hid he was gay, coming out to his parents in high school, but he respected Marshall's wishes to not let anyone know about their relationship. Marsh promised to come out in time, swore that he wouldn't hide forever. James trusted him. That had been a huge mistake.
The sun beat down on him, making the average Oregon afternoon hotter than normal. He glanced at the sky, wishing for rain. It would fit his mood. The garden he'd been working in when Marshall showed up would have to wait. He wasn't going to get any work done today.
Ignoring the garden and the shovel he'd tossed aside, he made his way to the front porch. He loved the old screen enclosed porch his father built when he was a boy. It kept the bugs away, but still allowed the evening breeze to come through. James fell asleep most nights, lying on the porch, staring out over the land.
He went into the house only long enough to grab a cold beer before returning to the porch. He slumped down in his favorite chair and twisted the cap off the bottle. He took several gulps before setting the beer down. His mind was a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. It didn't feel real. Marshall was such a huge part of his life, he expected him to come driving up any minute as if nothing happened, but that wasn't going to happen. He wouldn't let it. Not after being lied to for years. He had more self-respect than that.
As he reached for his beer again, a sound to the side of the yard caught his attention. It sounded as if branches were being broken. He was used to deer and other small wildlife coming into the yard, but this sounded larger. Leaving the safety of the porch, he walked across the yard, toward the base of the mountain. Heavy trees and bushes covered the land, and he saw nothing at first, but as he scanned the trees, his breath caught and the beer fell from his hand. He froze in fear and awe as he stared at something he never thought was real…