Say It Right is available now!
After his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he’s giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he’s sure is straight.
Anthony Romano hasn’t seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant’s absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he’s in love with Marc. Always has been.
Marc swore he’d never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he’s always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.
You can find Come What May (All Saints #1)
Going home together, disarming the alarm and then setting the table for dinner was such a natural thing now that they moved around each other with few words. Anthony got drinks while Marc put their food on plates. Marc delivered the plates to the table while Anthony got utensils and napkins.
So easy. So domestic.
So fucking fragile.
Before he sat down, Anthony retrieved the Oxy from his pocket and put it on the table. Marc froze in the middle of putting a foil-wrapped burrito on his plate, eyes zeroing in on the tablet. “My hand hurt so fucking bad when I finished work,” Anthony said. “And this kid just walked too close, and I had a weak moment and bought it, but I don’t want it. I don’t want it, Marc, and I’m so sorry.”
Marc’s jaw clenched as he visibly worked to control his temper. “How many did you buy?” His voice was steady but cold.
“Only that one, swear to God.”
“Because your hand hurt.”
“It’s second-degree burns and all I had was ibuprofen, and that’s no excuse. It isn’t, because you were super fucking clear about scoring. I broke your trust, and I am so sorry.”
Marc studied him for a long time before asking, “How did you feel after you bought it?”
“Relieved at first. Like just holding it helped the pain, you know? But right after, I felt sick to my stomach, because I knew I’d done a horrible thing.”
“You could have flushed it after dinner and never said a word.”
“No I couldn’t.”
Anthony blinked hard. “Because it would have been the same as lying to you. I don’t ever want to lie to you, Marc.”
Another long, terrifying silence was finally broken by Marc saying, “Pick it up.”
He did. Then he followed Marc when he led him away from the table, to the small half bath beneath the stairs. Without any prompting, Anthony dropped the tablet into the toilet, then pulled the handle. It swirled away in a rush of water and noise.
“That could have been us,” Marc said. “Us, Tone, flushed away because of one fucking pill.”
“I know.” Anthony’s heart hurt with the knowledge of what he’d done. How close he’d come to relapsing. “It won’t happen again. It can’t.”
Marc nodded, his eyes glistening. “No, it can’t.” With a deep sigh and a half smile, he said, “Come on. Let’s eat before it gets cold.”
They returned to the table. Uncertain now, Anthony tried to concentrate on his burrito, barely tasting the spicy meat, stewed pinto beans, lettuce, cheese and jalapeno peppers. He added more spice with the sweet mango salsa, and the pain in his hand and heart briefly took a backseat to amazing flavors.
More than once he caught Marc staring at him, like he frequently did while they shared meals. Sometimes Marc looked at him like he was watching actual porn unfolding, and tonight, despite the pill, was no different. So he played it up, slowly licking a smudge of sour cream off his thumb. Chewing with long, slow grinds of his teeth. Distracting him from Anthony’s screwup.
He made love to his food until Marc was squirming in his chair.
Marc put his burrito down and reached for his soda.
“How’s your meat?” Anthony asked.
Marc choked on his cola. “Asshole.”
He laughed, then attacked the remains of his own dinner. Burn and score aside, today had been a good day. The food truck engine was up and running, the truck would be painted soon, and then he’d begin the final task of refitting the interior. He’d bought the Oxy, but then he’d turned it over to Marc. He’d resisted the temptation to numb himself against his aching hand.
He’d even gotten a pretty good spit take out of Marc, and he would put his next paycheck down that Marc was hiding wood under the table. From watching him eat.
Two months down, four more to go until they got their first date. Four months to make up for buying that damned pill.
Meet the Author
No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments. You can contact her at AM_Arthur(at)yahoo(dot)com.
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