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Now here is that excerpt, one never before shared. Enjoy. Buy links follow.
He flung the door open and had to use every bit of restraint he possessed to keep from throwing his arms around Wyatt and hugging the life out of him.
“Come in, come in.” He anxiously took Wyatt by the arm, led him into his office, and shut the door with his foot. “You look good enough to eat.”
Jack claimed Wyatt’s lips, leaving the man breathless. He poured his desperation into the kiss, wanting to climb inside the man and take refuge there for the rest of his days.
When they parted, Wyatt drew in a big breath. “I’m so glad you are back.”
“Don’t leave me,” Jack whispered. “Please, don’t leave me.”
Wyatt placed his hands on each side of Jack’s head. “Look at me.”
Jack did, giving away the tear he’d hoped not to show.
“What’s wrong? Tell me.”
Jack took Wyatt’s hand and led him to the couch. “What’s not wrong. The tour ended badly, and I’ve just learned that my father died.” Jack covered their hands with his free one. “I don’t want to be alone.”
Wyatt held and rocked him as Jack poured his sadness into Wyatt’s wool jacket. He didn’t mention Milo, no need, but he surely wept for him too.
“I’m so sorry about your father. Were you close?”
“Yes,” Jack said, embellishing the truth with that single word.
Wyatt’s tenderness warmed him through. He took it in, reveled in it.
Roderick’s brisk knock startled them both. Jack pulled himself to a full sitting position and wiped his eyes on his sleeve. “Come in,” he shouted, his voice watery.
Roderick brought their dinner in and placed it on the table he’d set up earlier. “If there’s anything else, Mr. Jack, just let me know.”
Jack nodded, not wishing to risk a hitch in his voice.
Familiar smells filled the room, transporting Jack back years to when his mother served the meals to the workers after they came in from the fields.
“Come sit, before it gets cold,” he told Wyatt, who gave him a worried look. “I’ll be fine. You’re here.”
“I hope so.”
They chatted through a dinner of chicken and andouille gumbo, made with the homemade sausage Jack had brought back from Louisiana.
To wash it all down, they had an ample supply of Theresa’s cure-all mint iced tea.
“Dig in. It’s the best gumbo you’ll ever eat.”
Wyatt wrinkled his nose, as he pushed the contents around the bowl.
“Is something wrong?”
“Ah, this looks like dirty dishwater.”
“Oh, you city boy. That’s the roux, and it’s delicious. Taste it before you make any hasty judgments.”
Wyatt took a wary sip from his spoon, then another. His eyes brightened. “My God, I’ve never tasted anything so delicious.”
“I knew you’d like it. I grew up on this stuff. My mama used to tell me I had it running through my veins.”
“It’s different, I’ll give you that.”
“Good different, though right?”
Another mouthful and a nod.
When they finished eating, Roderick cleared the room and said he and Theresa were retiring for the evening.
“Good night and please thank Theresa for a wonderful homecoming meal.”
“That I will. She’ll be glad to hear it.”
When Roderick closed the door, Jack asked, “Would you like a glass of wine?”
“That sounds great.”
Jack wanted to lick Wyatt’s smile, and a few other things, but chose to sit at one end of the couch, his leg crooked and his body turned to face Wyatt. “I’m sorry for my behavior earlier. So much has happened these last few days, then to hear of my father’s death, it all kind of got the best of me.”
Wyatt sipped his wine, his eyes fixed on Jack. “Please, no apologies necessary. I’ve been told I’m a good listener, if you’d like to talk about things, that is.”
A good listener. Had he ever known such a person? “I saw my family on our stop in New Orleans. My father was quite ill and despite hopes, it was understood that he’d not make it. I expected his passing, but I suppose not so soon.”
Wyatt studied the swirl he’d produced in his glass. “You know, we never really mourn for those who have passed. We always mourn for our loss, what the absence of that person will do to us, the living.”
Jack contemplated Wyatt’s words. “I’ve never heard it said quite like that, but I suppose you’re right. You know, I was never sure if my father loved me, until that last day when he was so weak he could barely speak.” Jack hesitated, recalling his father’s barely audible voice. “He told me he was proud of me. Those words were the finest gift he’d ever given me.”
Wyatt sipped his wine. “Is your mother still living?”
“Yes, she and my brother, Andrew. The telegram said she was holding things together. She’s strong. I want to take care of her, but she won’t allow me to. Now that Papa’s gone, though, I’ll be more forceful in seeing to her needs. Listen to me, I’m rambling on. What about you? I want to know all about you and your family.”
Wyatt’s expression changed to doleful. “Nothing much to tell. I was raised in an orphan asylum. My father died before I was born and my mother shortly after giving birth to me. I was given a parochial education, then shown the door when I was eighteen.”
“I’m so sorry. I had no idea. But you seem to have done very well for yourself. I mean, you’re intelligent and you have secure employment.”
“You could say that. I’ve worked hard to achieve my success, and it hasn’t been easy. Hiding my true nature takes precedence over everything, which makes for a very lonely existence. I mustn’t be doing a very good job, though, because you saw straight through me.”
Wyatt’s chuckle belied an obvious deep-set hurt.
“Only obvious to one who looks for such things. I’ve always enjoyed watching people. The true test would be to see you around people you have no desire to know better.”
Wyatt raised his glass. “To astute observations. May they take us far.”
Jack joined in the toast and winked. “May they take us far indeed.”
WYATT lolled his head against Jack’s shoulder as Jack drove him to his Garden Courts apartment. He kneaded Jack’s leg and inched higher, until Jack stopped his hand, mid-thigh.
“I coulda driven myself home,” Wyatt slurred.
“Not so sure of that, sport,” Jack said, as he patted Wyatt’s hand. “You should have told me you aren’t used to drinking.”
“I’m not ushed to drinking, Jack.”
There was something endearingly innocent about Wyatt’s drunkenness.
Jack pulled up at the apartment building, a neatly kept set of buildings. He rested Wyatt’s head against the back of the seat and got out of the car.
When he opened the passenger door, Wyatt appeared as though asleep. “Come on. You’re home.”
Wyatt groaned, then allowed Jack to get him out of the car.
The walk to the door of the building involved much shuffling and more than a few stumbles.
“Where are your keys?”
Wyatt fumbled in his pockets, then dropped his key ring on the ground.
Jack chuckled as he balanced Wyatt and bent to retrieve the keys. He unlocked the door, and then, with his arm securely around Wyatt’s waist, he helped Wyatt up the stairs to his second-floor flat.
“You’re tickling me.” Wyatt laughed, the sound reverberating down the long hallway.
Jack hefted Wyatt closer. “You find this humorous?”
“I was just thinking how you were trying to get me drunk so you could take me to bed.”
“Shh. You’ll alert the neighbors.”
“Don’t care. That’s what you were trying to do, isn’t it, Jack?”
Wyatt’s knees buckled just outside apartment 204. Jack held on while he slid the key into the lock and opened the door. He then scooped Wyatt up, into his arms, and carried him through to a hallway. “Which room is yours?”
There were only two choices, and with Wyatt hemming and hawing, Jack chose the one with the clothes scattered on the floor.
He laid Wyatt onto the unmade bed and proceeded to undress him down to his union suit, something he’d hoped to do under more auspicious circumstances. Wyatt dozed until Jack covered him, brushed his blond forelock into place, and kissed his forehead. He took Wyatt’s glasses off and put them on the bedside table.
Wyatt grabbed his arm in a weak grip. “Don’t leave me alone.”
There was something quite vulnerable about this handsome man that touched Jack deeply. Not since he and Andrew were children had he felt so protective of someone else.
He loosened Wyatt’s grip and tucked that arm beneath the covers. “I’ll be right here.”
Jack took off his own shoes, lay down next to Wyatt, and tugged him into his arms. Wyatt snuggled against his neck, then his breathing evened as he gently blew warm puffs of air against Jack’s skin. Jack smiled, closed his eyes, and fell asleep, feeling content and needed.
About Brita Addams: Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.
Readers can find more information about Brita Addams at any of the following places: