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M/M, Contemporary, Erotic Romance

Anticipation is no longer available for individual purchase, but can be found in the collection:
Hearts Right Here

Jason may be a lot of things (stubborn, arrogant, occasionally oblivious), but he's got no delusions about his hopeless and long-secret infatuation with his best friend. The night he tells Max the truth, Jason worries his confession will ruin everything.

But he should know better than to underestimate Max. Maybe his crush isn't so hopeless after all.


The silence in the room was so profound it took Jason a moment to realize Max was holding his breath. In fact, Max was staring so hard it was a wonder Jason hadn't ignited under the scrutiny. Jason let himself look back, though his pulse beat an unsteady racket in his chest. He took in the sight of Max's slim shoulders, his ice-pale eyes, the way Max's lips were parted in silent surprise. Jason wanted to reach out and bury his fingers in Max's hair, the mess of curls backlit by the lamp in the far corner.

Jason watched silently, and Max drew a shaky breath.

"You asshole." Max glared. "This was why you ditched me? Because you were attracted to me? That's why you disappeared off the face of the earth for three fucking years?"

Jason didn't answer; anything he said would only dig him deeper.

There was anger in the line of Max's shoulders, in narrowed eyes, in the barely perceptible tremor where Max's knee still pressed against his leg. The quiet hung heavy with tension, and Jason didn't know how to break away.

"Please don't be angry," he said at last, though Max's eyes narrowed farther. "You said you forgave me for leaving."

"That was before I knew how much your reason sucked." Max glared harder. "I thought you'd taken off to have a nervous breakdown or something. I tried to feel sorry for you. I didn't know you were avoiding me."

"I'm sorry."

"God, you're a dick."

But Max's ire visibly deflated at Jason's apology. Or maybe he had simply decided it wasn't worth the energy to be angry. The tightness in Max's posture eased, and his expression shifted from wrath to exasperation. Surely he'd had enough time to learn that Jason could be a selfish jerk sometimes. What was one more piece of evidence?

"I really am sorry," Jason said more softly.

It was the one fuck-up he'd regretted from the first: skipping town with barely a goodbye, without a forwarding address, with no warning at all except a brief conversation on this very couch. There was no good excuse for treating a friend that way, and some days he still couldn't believe Max had spoken to him when their paths crossed again three years later.

A new quiet closed suddenly in, but this one felt different. There was a taut undercurrent of... something. Not discomfort, but an edge that threw Jason off balance, dragging him from his memories and dropping him onto paths he couldn't afford to follow. Those were treacherous thoughts, or at the very least inappropriate ones. Thoughts about Max's mouth and what Jason would like him to do with it. Thoughts about Max's hands, and his throat, and how incredible he would look sprawled beneath Jason or, better, arching astride him, head thrown back and neck taut—

"What's wrong?" Max asked, and Jason jolted back to reality. Max was still sitting too close. He was within easy reach and showing no sign of retreat, and Jason couldn't stop staring at his mouth.

He caught the sharp inhale as Max belatedly comprehended the direction of his thoughts. When Jason at last raised his gaze, he found Max's eyes flashing too much white. That wasn't fair; why should Max be surprised? It wasn't as though wanting to fuck one's best friend was an abstract concept. After everything Jason had already admitted tonight, how could Max be surprised that Jason wanted him now?

But Max's shock was potent, and Jason felt like a grade-A asshole. He needed to get off this couch and put some distance between them, but he didn't dare. If he moved now, he was going to move in the wrong direction—toward Max instead of away from him—and then they would really be screwed. Jason would put his hands on Max, and Max would rebuff him, and they'd never be able to have a conversation again without thinking about this single, most awkward moment of their lives.

Jason hated this damn couch. First thing tomorrow he was going to drag it outside and set it on fire. But for now, he couldn't move, which meant it had to be Max. Max would back off any second now, and maybe he'd laugh a little uncomfortably, and then they could get on with pretending this conversation never happened.

But Max wasn't moving either. He held motionless, right where he was, right in reach. Jason could scream with how desperately he wanted to touch.

Then Max said his name, barely a whisper, and set a hand on Jason's thigh.

Read the full story in Hearts Right Here
Book cover with white text on purple couch cushions: Anticipation
Cover design by Yolande Kleinn
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