Book 2 of The Making Of A Man series is out today with Love Lane Books, All Romance E-Books, and will be appearing on Amazon later in the day!

If you loved book 1, then you'll love book 2!

The Book

School’s out and Alex is home, but things aren’t going as smoothly as he hoped.

Jared is hesitant about advancing their relationship and fixated on the fact that Alex’s mother doesn’t know he’s gay. When she discovers the truth, her extreme reaction drives Alex back to school early. Jared is stunned.

Motivated by his need to protect Alex, Jared begins to question the wisdom of their planning a future together. How will their love flourish when every circumstance makes it seem predestined to fail?


Series

Our December (Book 1)
A Place To Run (Book 2)
Stronger In Your Hands (Book 3)

Buy Links


Reviews

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Excerpt

Living Happily Ever After

Alex woke to the sound of Jared's heartbeat and the feel of Jared's fingers in his hair. He pressed a kiss against his lover’s naked chest and let the soothing motion of strong fingers against his scalp lull him back towards sleep. Alex wondered how he'd slept the first half of his life without the reassuring presence of Jared beside him. He'd never make it alone now, not after fourteen years of his lover's heartbeat either in his ear or beating steady against his back. The movement of Jared's fingers in his hair sent slow tendrils of heat spiraling down his spine. He nuzzled Jared's chest, enjoying the feel and scent of sleep-warmed skin.

Jared cupped his face, and Alex lifted his mouth for a kiss. A gentle, tender good morning, uncaring of morning breath, that was Jared. The low sound in the back of Jared's throat curled Alex's toes and tightened his balls as he was pushed onto his back. That was all Jared too. He pressed his tongue against Alex's lips in a request, but when Alex didn't respond quickly enough, it turned into a demand. Alex twisted his hands in Jared's hair and met his lover's plundering tongue with an eager one of his own. His hips bucked up against Jared and he gasped when Jared, braced on one hand, reached between them with the other to grasp their cocks. His long fingers encircled both with ease, something impossible for Alex to do. Jared stroked them together, his tight grip exactly how Alex liked it best.

"God, fuck, Jared," Alex gasped and his hips jerked in reaction. He remembered the first time Jared wrapped his hand around both their cocks. Alex hadn't believed Jared could work enough friction into the motion to get them off. He'd underestimated Jared's strength and determination. The steady movement of Jared's hard dick on his, the slide of Jared's hand, slicker with each downward stroke courtesy of Alex's weeping cock, provided more than enough to push them both towards the edge.

Braced over him, Jared's eyes slid closed and Alex gazed at him, fascinated with the intense focus written on his features. Jared gave a twist of his wrist and gasped, biting his bottom lip in his struggle for control. Alex cried out, his fingers dug into Jared's shoulders and his hips pumped steadily into Jared's unrelenting grip.

Jared often exploited Alex's hyper-sensitive morning wood, transitioning him from a peaceful sleep to blinding passion with nothing but a few touches. Jared played him expertly without a single wasted motion. Alex's climax built. Heat curled in the base of his spine, his balls drew up into hard knots, and his cock throbbed in Jared's unrelenting grip. Alex came first, he always did in the morning. Jared slanted his mouth over Alex's and caught his cry. Jared released Alex's cock and remained braced over him. His face was buried in Alex's neck, and his chest heaved for breath as his hand moved faster, chasing his release. It wasn't long before Jared gave a low grunt, shuddered, and hot cum spurted between them. He collapsed on Alex, who didn't complain. He tangled their legs and hugged Jared closer, pressed kisses to his neck and his ear.

"Good morning to you, too," he teased, and Jared's chuckle vibrated against him.



* * * *



"Pie's in the oven," Alex called from the kitchen.

Jared glanced towards the sound of Alex's voice, though he couldn't see him. When Alex drew the plans for the house he'd declared he wanted to leave dishes in the sink if he felt like it. Jared didn't care much for dirty dishes lying around, but Alex's design contained enough open space that he didn't mind the kitchen being its own haven. In his opinion, the great room design of the kitchen, dining, and entertainment areas was ingenious, but he was biased.

"Don't burn down the house!" he yelled, turning his attention back to the TV.

Alex appeared in the doorway and leaned on the jamb, arms folded over his chest, ankles crossed. Sprawled in the huge recliner they usually shared, Jared threw a grin in Alex’s direction.

"Aren’t you funny? I burned a cheese sandwich. Once. Thirteen years ago."

"You set it on fire."

"It was a small fire."

"That caught the potholders on fire."

"I threw them in the sink!"

"And caught the curtains on fire." Jared laughed at Alex. The burning of the sandwich had turned into a comedy of errors that Alex never lived down. Since no one was hurt, and he hadn't managed any lasting damage to the house, it remained funny. Jared thought so, at least. Alex narrowed his eyes and poked out his bottom lip. Jared sobered, though his eyes still danced with laughter.

"Not the pout, dude! Have mercy!"

Sniffling, Alex stared at his feet and pretended to ignore him.

Jared groaned and fell back into his chair. "Oh my God, you're killing me here."

Alex couldn’t prevent the slight upward curl of his lips as he struggled not to laugh.

"Ha! I saw that. Stop your fake pouting and come watch TV with me." Jared scooted to his side of their chair, leaving the other half empty as an invitation.



* * * *



Alex glanced at the TV, where men in chefs' coats ran around franticly. Jared and his cooking shows, they weren't Alex's thing, but the spot next to his lover was inviting and there wasn’t anything else to do until the pie finished baking.

"I can't believe that's still on the air. Chef Ronnie is getting old," Alex observed. Jared glared and he laughed. Jared’s infatuation with the blond chef was amusing. Alex dropped into the chair and the treasured furniture creaked ominously under their combined weight. The recliner had been around almost as long as they'd been together and it wasn't new when they bought it. Alex held his breath when Jared pulled him into his arms to snuggle him closer. The chair groaned and complained but held together.

"Jared, we have to get a new chair." Alex introduced the subject with caution. Suggesting change to Jared could be dangerous territory. Jared kept things. He didn't like letting go of what he considered special. There were a lot of memories wrapped up in their recliner. Jared made a noncommittal noise into Alex's hair and he sighed. The ancient thing would send them sprawling soon. They had to do something, but circumventing Jared's desire to cling never proved easy.

His thoughts drew Alex's attention to the table where Jared emptied his pockets each night. His keys sat there, along with some change, and a small, dark stone worn smooth from his fingers. The pebble had been a part of Jared's pocket contents as far back as he could remember. Hopeless, that's what.

Jared nudged him. "It'll wait. Now hush, they're going to judge and if Ronnie loses he has to blow me."

"Dude, you are seriously disturbed, you know that, right?"

Jared barked a laugh and roughed his hand through Alex's curls. "Well, you know I have to make it interesting. If he wins, I blow him."

Alex eyed Jared's serious profile as the judging commenced, during which the panel ate things neither he nor Jared would ever let near their mouths. Raw balled up oysters? Really? He shuddered. It looked like a huge glob of snot sitting in a pool of milk. Some things were way overrated. He made a rude sound. "The only place you'll ever see his dick is in your dreams." He poked Jared, who pulled his gaze from the TV long enough to grin.

He winked. "You'll do. You have curly hair too."

Alex sputtered. "Ronnie Flare wishes he was me."

Jared laughed. "And you wish you could cook."

Fighting off a real pout, Alex slumped back into the chair. He'd let Jared have his fun. Jared might start Iron Chef role-play, but Alex had no doubt whose name would be on his lover's lips when he came. Jared's hands would be buried not in tight blond curls, but soft dark ones, and it would be Alex's talented mouth wrapped around his cock. Chef Ronnie might get the satisfaction of the win, but win or lose, Alex got the prize.

He snuggled next to Jared and silently wished defeat on the blond chef. The recliner, rickety or not, had harbored them through many a storm, beginning with the one that raged the summer his mother discovered he was gay.

Homecoming

Clark fidgeted beside Jared, his gaze locked on the place where he expected Alex to appear at any second. Jared laid a calming hand on Clark's shoulder for the third time in fifteen minutes. His own insides tied themselves in a knot of anxiety. Eager to see Alex after so many months, he didn't know if meeting him at the airport was the best idea. The call from Frank caught him off-guard, and he agreed to take Clark and pick up Alex from his flight before thinking things through. Worried as he was about his self control after their five month separation, he found it hard not to fidget along with Clark.

And then Alex appeared, clad in a green T-shirt and a pair of tan board shorts, taller than Jared remembered and sporting the shadow of a moustache on his upper lip. Jared's jaw tightened at the sight of Alex's laughing eyes. He barely restrained himself from rushing forward and grabbing him into his arms.

Alex scanned the crowd, his brilliant smile lighting his face when he spotted Clark. He waved enthusiastically, moving forward to greet his friend. His smile wavered when he noticed Jared and his eyes widened with surprise. He slowed to a stop. The strap of his backpack slid off his shoulder and it dropped unheeded to the floor, then he broke into a run.

He slammed into Jared so hard he almost took them both to the floor. Jared staggered back a step to regain his balance and wrapped Alex in his arms. He had him back at last. Jared hugged him closer, whispering his name. Alex clutched him so tight it became hard to breathe. He didn't protest. He sank the fingers of one hand in Alex's dark curls, cradling the back of his head, and rested the other on small of his back to keep him close.

"Jared," Alex breathed, burrowing his face into Jared's neck.

Jared's heart stuttered and he stood frozen, unwilling for the moment to end, but afraid to find out what he'd do if Alex lifted his face for a kiss. He pressed his face into Alex's hair, breathing his scent in deep breaths, the feel of him in his arms gradually erasing the ache of his absence.

"Missed you. God, Jared, I missed you so much." Alex's voice was muffled against his shoulder, and he silently echoed the sentiment. The sound of someone clearing his throat interrupted errant thoughts of stealing a kiss. Jared lifted his head to meet a pair of bemused blue eyes. Embarrassed and blushing fiercely, Jared attempted to extract himself from Alex's embrace. Alex resisted, clinging.

"Someone else missed you, too," Jared whispered.

With a sheepish grin, Alex glanced towards Clark and allowed Jared to let him go. The next second he and Clark were locked in a brief back-thumping hug. Finally Alex stepped back and picked up his backpack. He beamed with delight as he surveyed his friends.

"Man, it's good to be home. Let's get my suitcases and get out of here!"



"And so it is, I'm demoted," Clark mourned, stuffed into the back seat of Jared's extended cab pickup with Alex's luggage.

Jared shot him an amused glance in the rearview mirror. "Pretty boys get the front. Sorry, dude, you know the rules."

Alex hugged Jared’s arm and laughed at his teasing. Clark made a face at them. Jared grinned and placed a kiss in the dark curls tickling his ear. "Sit up, Alex, seat belt use mandatory." He reached across Alex and grabbed the shoulder harness. The action brought them unexpectedly nose to nose. Their lips brushed. More a shared breath than a kiss, it still set Jared's pulse pounding in his ears. He jerked back, leaving Alex panting and fumbling with the seatbelt on his own. Confronted for the first time in months with his decision to allow more physical contact between them, Jared white-knuckled the steering wheel and battled his lust. He wondered if he'd been out of his mind at the time.

"Uh… food?" Clark suggested. His attempt to distract them worked like a charm.

"Greasy Dog!" Alex seconded Clark's suggestion.

Jared shook his head as soon as the words were out of Alex's mouth. "Not today. You have to go home. I promised your dad. He couldn't get away from work. It was me, Clark, and a promise to take you straight home, or your mom." Alex’s bottom lip protruded in a full-blown pout, but he slumped in his seat without further protest. Jared laughed and roughed his hair. "Geez, stop pouting already. It's not as cute as you think."

Alex's eyes flashed with mischief as he batted Jared’s hand away. "You lie. My pout's totally hot. How about the drive-thru?"

"Fine, drive-thru, but you better eat whatever your mom has cooked for you." Jared laughed and caved in to Alex’s demands.

"I will, promise." Alex hugged Jared's arm, clearly delighted at having lengthened their time together by even a few minutes.

"Greasy Dog it is."

"Hell, yeah!" Clark's excitement spilled out. Jared glanced back at him again, a silent warning about language in his eyes. Clark stuck out his tongue but still managed to look contrite. "Sorry, Mom."

Alex glanced at Clark, a frown marring the smooth skin between his brows. "Mom?"

"Jared's turned into my second mom, bigger and uglier than the first one. Damn sight pickier too." Clark winced. "Fuck. I mean, ah geez, Jared doesn't like cussing." Jared laughed at Clark's fumbling. Alex looked more baffled, but their arrival at the Greasy Dog distracted him.

"What'll it be?" the drive-thru cashier asked with total disinterest.

Jared studied the menu. He couldn't believe he'd let himself be trapped into eating sloppy hot dogs.

"Greasy Pounders!" teenage voices chorused. Jared shook his head, of course, what else? He turned back to the speaker.

"Three Greasy Pounders, all the way, two large Cokes, and a Dr Pepper." A chorus of groans erupted from his passengers.

"You still drink that?" Alex made a face, one mirrored by Clark. "It ought to be called 'Dr Barfer'." The boys laughed. Though he missed the sound more than he wanted to admit, Jared rolled his eyes and pretended to ignore their teasing. He dug in his back pocket for his wallet. A hand on his arm stopped him.

"I've got it." Alex held out a twenty and Jared looked from it to Alex's face. Unlike Clark, cash didn't flow freely for Alex. Alex's chin lifted. "I got a job." The pride in his voice curled Jared's mouth into a small smile and he accepted the money without argument.

Clark groaned from the backseat. "You and me both. I told you, your boyfriend put me to work. I hope you get to do something more interesting than run around doing errands for a bunch of grumpy old men." He grabbed the bag Jared thrust back at him.

"You can be replaced," Jared warned. He pulled up into an empty parking spot while Clark handed out the paper-wrapped hot dogs.

"In your dreams." Clark unwrapped one end of the hot dog dripping with chili, mustard, cheese, onions, and slaw, took a huge bite, and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand.

"Napkin?" Jared suggested. Clark dug some from the bottom of the bag and tossed them towards the front. They fluttered down between Alex and Jared.

"To each his own." Clark laughed before devouring another giant bite.

Alex eyed the meat-filled bun sitting open in his lap. "I forgot they were so messy. My eating method doesn’t come close to Clark’s Henry the Eighth impression."

"It's not that bad," Jared said as he rearranged his dog's wrapping to prevent unwanted escapes.

"Yeah, easy for you to say with your big-assed hands." Alex blushed and looked back down at his food. Heat flared between them again.

"He's got a bigger mouth, too," Clark happily contributed from the back, finishing off his hot dog and licking his fingers clean, oblivious to Alex sinking deeper into his seat. Clark peered over Alex's shoulder at the untouched food. "I can eat it for you."

Alex glared. "I can handle it." He bit carefully into the hot dog and managed to keep the mess in the bun and not down his shirt front or the passenger seat. The ride proved long enough for Alex to finish his messy snack and spend the remainder hugging Jared's arm.

"Home," he announced, pulling into Alex's driveway. Alex sat up and Jared missed the heat and weight of Alex's head against his shoulder. Alex glanced towards the house and back at him.

"I'd rather…"

"Oh, no, you go visit your mom. We have all summer." Jared turned to Clark. "Carry Alex's bags in, he'll be there in a minute." Clark crammed the trash from their snack into the bag their food came in, and looked at the pile of bags next to him. He opened his mouth to protest. Jared didn't give his a chance to speak. "Just take what you can carry, please."

Clark's mouth snapped shut. He shouldered the door open and climbed out, hauling most of the luggage with him. "I'll let your mom know you're home, better not take too long," he told Alex.

The door slammed, leaving Alex and Jared alone. Alex turned to him, his expectation of getting kissed written on his face. His eyes slid closed and he leaned towards Jared.

"Oh, no."

Alex's eyes flew open, confused. He frowned. "New rules, you said we could."

"I know what I said. But none of what I said applies when sitting in the driveway with your mother inside, waiting for you. The mother who does not know you are gay." Despite his gentle tone, Alex flushed with shame and glanced towards the house.

"She has to know. I never had a girlfriend, and there's you."

"A lot of guys never had a girlfriend, Clark for example. She doesn't know about me. Neither of which is the point. She's your mother, Alex, and regardless of whether she should have guessed, or has guessed, you owe her the courtesy of telling her yourself."

"I've only been home an hour," Alex muttered.

"I know you haven't had a chance yet. It's just important."

Alex rolled his eyes. "That's not what I meant. I meant you're already nagging me." He grinned in delight when Jared blushed.

Unfortunately Jared wasn't embarrassed enough to let it drop. "I'll keep nagging until you tell her. Alex, it's critical for you to tell her yourself. Someone is going to see us, and things will be much worse if she finds out that way. Believe me, mothers like confession. I always got in twice as much trouble if Mom found stuff out before I told her." Jared was earnest, but Alex avoided meeting his eyes.

"Your mom isn't like mine," he muttered. Alex's mother appeared in the door to the house, a trim woman with light brown hair caught back in a ponytail. Her slacks and blouse, in tones of blue, were immaculate. She stood on the porch with her arms crossed under her breasts, looking uncertain. Watching her, Jared silently agreed. His mother would have been at the truck pulling him out by the scruff of the neck.

"Everyone's mom is different, but some stuff is true about all of them."

Alex shrugged. "I'll tell her, soon. Okay?"

Jared roughed Alex's hair. "Okay. Now go." Alex pressed a kiss to Jared's cheek and, grabbing his remaining bag, jumped out of the truck.



As he backed down the drive, Jared watched Alex's mother welcome him home with open arms, pulling him into a hug,. The expression on her face as she watched the truck leave belied that welcome, and sent a chill of apprehension down Jared's spine.

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