Falling in love was his biggest mistake…
Abandoned as a child, Dave Blanchard learned to be self-reliant at an early age. Puberty brought a distressing attraction to other boys, and an abnormal growth spurt that drove Dave further into his shell. Adulthood granted him the freedom to stand on his own two feet, but cloistered him in a plastic bubble of his own making. At seven and a half feet tall, Dave has no problem finding men for anonymous sex through sleazy backroom romps, but the experiences leave him feeling cold and unsatisfied. He dreams of love and commitment, but finding someone interested in a relationship seems like a pipe dream.
Desperate for companionship, Dave signs up for an online matchmaking service. To his utter embarrassment, his first date never shows, but his luck improves when he runs into a former foster brother, Micah Black. Dave and Micah quickly rebuild their friendship, but with it comes the resurrection of the forbidden crush Dave harbored for Micah when they were teens. Micah is off limits to Dave, but that doesn’t stop Dave’s imagination from spinning torrid scenarios involving his straight friend.
When Micah’s life is threatened, Dave’s inhibitions melt away. Unfortunately, the price of one chaste kiss could mean the end of the friendship Dave wants so badly…
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While Dave began the day not knowing what to expect, he had a surprisingly good time with Micah, even if the two men were surrounded by a thousand screaming strangers. It all began when he arrived at Micah’s house promptly at eleven A.M., after which the two of them swung by a drive-through to grab a bite to eat and then hit the road. Two hours later, they arrived at the Bristol racetrack and parked. Just as Dave had feared, the looks and whispers started almost as soon as he got out of Micah’s truck. Women sidled closer to their men for protection. Men narrowed their eyes and glared at him, as if sizing him up to see if they could take him in a fight.
Although Dave had hoped Micah wouldn’t notice the abrupt change in the atmosphere, the other man stiffened beside him. “Jeez, aren’t they a friendly bunch? Do I have something hanging out of my nose, or what?”
“It’s not you.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“This kind of crap always happens to me. It’s no big deal.”
“Oh…because of your height? I get it, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I mean, you’re just tall. It isn’t like you’re the incredible hulk for fuck’s sake. Now if you were the color of a piece of broccoli, I might be able understand why everyone’s gawking.”
Dave glanced over at Micah, noticed the righteously pissed look on his handsome face, and burst out laughing. “You’re really something, you know that?”
“Oh, yeah? Something good, I hope.”
“Maybe,” Dave said with a grin.
“Come on.” Micah punched Dave’s upper arm and stepped ahead of him, leading the way through the crowd. “Let’s go find our seats.”
And just like that, the issue had been dropped. Once they sat down, everything went smoothly. Unless you counted the way their thighs brushed together, or the way Dave perspired, although his sweating had nothing to do with the hot sun beating down on his shoulders and everything to do with the bare curve of Micah’s broad shoulders and the white tank top that clung to the other man’s sinuous flesh. Sitting so close, Dave could smell the light scent of sweat wafting from Micah’s glistening skin, and it went to his head faster than the most potent liquor.
It was damn hard concentrating on the race when he had such a better view sitting right next to him, but he managed. And although he enjoyed listening to Micah’s quick witticisms about life and sharing comfortable silences with him, being around him also felt like punishment. The entire time Micah went on and on about some trivial thing at work, or whatever the moment’s discussion happened to be, Dave’s mind multi-tasked. Part of him sat and listened to Micah; the other part pictured the man naked, Micah’s creamy skin flushed with pleasure. It was a fantasy based on the sight of Micah in all his wet, bare glory the weekend before.
If only a stiff wind had whisked away the towel…
After returning to Micah’s house, Dave agreed to join his new friend for a drink before he headed home. While sitting in Micah’s living room, sipping a stout margarita from the stash Micah kept ready in the fridge and trying to put off the short journey to his lonely townhouse, Dave turned his neck the wrong way and felt a sharp twinge of pain rush down his spine. Somewhere between falling asleep on his sofa the night before and dozing in Micah’s truck on the way back from the race, Dave had developed a sore neck. With a wince, he rubbed his nape and tried to work out the stiffness.
“You all right?” Micah asked, already working on his second—or was that third?—drink.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just have a damn crick in my neck. It’s probably from falling asleep on the couch last night. You’d think I’d know better, but I get comfortable and then I’m out like a light.”
Micah set his drink down on the floor by the couch. “Your couch must be more comfortable than mine. This damn thing is a killer. I could probably rest easier on the floor.” With a grin, he rose to his feet and walked around the back of the couch to stand behind Dave. Warm hands landed on Dave’s shoulders. “Let me help. You know, I took a few massage therapy classes when I was in college because this hottie I had my eye on enrolled in the class.” Micah laughed and began to knead Dave’s shoulders, his thumbs digging into the sore spot in the middle of Dave’s nape. “Things didn’t work out so well there, but I did learn a thing or two.”
“God, that feels good.” Dave groaned and then snapped his lips shut, horrified that he’d failed to censor his thoughts and had actually verbalized them. He tensed, waiting for Micah to say something.
“It’s supposed to feel good. Just sit tight and relax. I’ll have those tight muscles loosened up in no time.”
Dave swallowed the moan building in his throat and tried to stay as still as possible—not an easy feat when his cock was hardening by the second and pressing against his zipper for liberation. He would have been humiliated had Micah realized what effect his massage was having on Dave’s libido, but the other man seemed oblivious. As it stood, a firestorm of need was building in Dave’s groin, aided by the magic of Micah’s nimble fingers working his neck and shoulders, rubbing away the soreness and replacing it with a precious ache Dave had never felt before. He’d experienced lust, knew it well, but the sensation building in his groin was deeper, more intense than what he was used to.
It scared the piss out of him.
Dave leaned his head back, staring up at Micah, and felt the breath hitch in his chest. Micah loomed over him, his full lower lip caught between his teeth, his brows furrowed in a look of utter concentration. Dave’s lungs burned with the need to exhale, but all he could concentrate on was Micah’s face so very close to his own. Micah’s eyes were even more stunning, the limpid blue pools almost mesmerizing in their intensity. Micah’s head tilted to one side as he released the death grip he had on his lip and soothed it with his tongue. Dave’s rapt gaze followed the progress of Micah’s tongue across his mouth and gulped. With their noses almost close enough to touch, Micah gave Dave’s shoulders one last squeeze and pulled away.
Hard, and damn uncomfortable about it, Dave quickly finished his drink and left, promising to call Micah about joining him for a BBQ the following weekend. Running away from Micah’s house with his dick hard as iron and pissed off at his cowardice was not Dave’s proudest moment, but he knew he’d done the right thing. Making a move on someone straight wouldn’t have endeared him to anyone, and he genuinely enjoyed his new friendship with Micah. He didn’t want to do anything to fuck it up.
Dave dragged his tired butt inside his house, and shut and locked the door behind him. Petey hopped up and down, racing around his feet as if the pooch hadn’t seen him in weeks instead of a single day. Dave was sure there would be a mess waiting for him to clean up because Petey was barely housetrained and unused to being alone for long stretches of time, but the welcome home dance was appreciated.
Following a quick walk around the block with the spaniel, Dave cleaned the urine off the kitchen floor and then hauled his weary bones upstairs. He needed a hot shower and some quality time with his right hand. There had to be a special kind of hell specifically for single gay men who lusted after their straight friends.
Dave stripped off his clothes and climbed into the shower. A flood of sweltering water cascaded down over his body, bathing him in heat and moisture. He grabbed a bottle of body wash off the shelf, squirted a dollop into his hands, and rubbed it over his chest and arms. Humid air swirled around him, infused with the scent of vanilla, as he washed away the memory of Micah’s touch.
Closing his eyes, he tilted up his face into the spray. As he rinsed off from head to toe, he speculated about how Micah would have reacted if Dave had closed the narrow space between them after the massage and had spilled all his passion into a single scorching kiss. He envisioned Micah kissing him back, his warm and capable hands cupping Dave’s face. It was so real he could almost feel the heat of Micah’s mouth moving over his own, the slick glide of Micah’s tongue breaching his closed lips.
His hand strayed down the flat plane of his stomach, the wet hair beneath his navel tickling his palm. He wrapped his fist around the base of his cock and squeezed, teasing himself just a little. The solid weight of his shaft throbbed against the inside of his fingers with a forewarning of the pleasure to come.
The sucking sounds of abundant moisture on slick flesh teased his imagination with what could have been—the pleasure of Micah’s sweet lips wrapped around his shaft, the stubbled contours of his cheeks concave with the desire to draw Dave’s very soul out through the length of his cock.
Dave stroked up, his pointer finger pressing in on the bundle of nerves just beneath the head. It was so easy to imagine Micah’s tongue in its place, lapping at the juncture between head and shaft with a tongue the color of bubble gum. Micah’s beautiful eyes staring up at him, his wet lips stretched wide around Dave’s meat. Micah moaning out his pleasure around Dave’s cock, the hungry sound vibrating his flesh and drawing him closer to climax.
Rapidly stroking from base to tip and then back again, a telltale tingle built in his groin, swiftly spread from balls to ass, then up the length of his cock in a prickly rush of sensation that weakened his knees. He braced his weight against the slick tiles with one hand—the image of Micah’s face playing over and over on the inside of his eyelids—and held himself upright until the tremors faded, and he regained his strength.
Dave blinked the water from his eyes and banished the forbidden image of his friend. There was no reason to think about what would have happened, because Micah would have jerked back and punched the shit out him if he’d had even an inkling of the thoughts going through Dave’s mind.
No doubt about it.
He turned off the water, stepped out of the shower, and quickly toweled off. After pulling on a loose pair of boxers, he trudged back downstairs to check his email. Since there was no way he was going to be able to sleep, he figured he might as well get some work done.
“Amanda Young has always been one of those authors that you have to always have a copy of her work at hand to read and reread, and PRECIOUS ACHE will definitely be getting lots of reread[s].”
~Reviewed by Jhayboy/Romance Junkies
“I loved this story. Ms. Young writes in a way that makes her characters seem so real. She makes them believable, with emotions and feelings and makes the reader fall in love with them. I would highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a great romance with two gorgeous men.”
~Reviewed by Sandra/The Romance Studio
“Precious Ache is a touching novella that should not be missed.”
~Reviewed by April/Fallen Angel Reviews
“Precious Ache is a wonderful story about how we all deserve to be loved, in spite of our peculiarities, whatever they may be.”
~Reviewed by Emily/Rainbow Reviews
“I enjoyed reading Precious Ache for a variety of reasons. It brought to mind the difficulties children have growing up in the foster care system when they have no one they trust to depend on. It also made me realize the problems people experience who don’t fit the cultural norms, whether it is height or weight, when trying to find that special someone.”
~Reviewed by Mystical Nymph/Literary Nymphs Reviews
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