Excerpt – The Trade

This story is an erotic MM romance.

18+ ONLY

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The Trade

Badge - Blurb

When Rockford Owens is told that he’s failing his classes, he has only one reaction – it would be the end of everything. His sports scholarship counts on a grade point average he can’t maintain.
He has one chance to scrape through in his last class before failure secures his exit from campus. He can’t go home, to an overbearing father who plans to make every decision for him, for the rest of his life. His plan seems simple – get a tutor and put all his efforts into getting his grades up.
However, the one person who offers to tutor him is Liam Monroe, the out-and-proud gay friend who has been hitting on him for the last two years. Rock has no other choice; he’ll do anything to stay on campus.
Rock makes a deal with Liam. In return for a steady tutor, to get him through all his classes and keep his failing butt on campus, he’ll open his mind to the possibility of a relationship between them. That’s not asking too much, right? But what happens when more than his mind opens up to the possibilities? Will Liam finally get the relationship he’s been craving for the last two years? Will Rock fight the inevitable to save face?

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Two hours later and three people had let him down. He had no choice but to go for the one person he really didn’t want to ask for help. Liam Monroe was practically obsessed with him, sending him flirty looks and always sidling up to him in his Film class. The guy was nice, somewhat attractive with dark chocolate coloured eyes, pale, marble like skin and funny as hell, but Rock was straight and Liam wasn’t. He didn’t want to hurt the guy by getting up in his face about how much he wasn’t gay, but he might have to if they were going to study together. The boys were already making jokes about how Liam was ‘in love’ with him.

Rock didn’t want to start anything that could make it worse.

But he didn’t have another choice.

“Liam,” He cleared his throat as he approached his table in the courtyard. It was labelled Rainbow Row, with no-one but Liam ever sitting there. Some ass had spray painted the entire table and two benches in rainbow colours after finding out Liam was gay in his first week on campus. Ever since he had sat on his own at the table every time he wasn’t in class.

Liam looked up with a happy smile that totally transformed his face. A moment ago he’d been engrossed in a book with headphones in his ears; as soon as he saw him, his whole aura lit up. If he’d been gay, he probably would have found it cute. “Can I sit down?” Rock asked, not wanting to presume he was welcome despite the smile.

“Of course.” Liam patted the bench next to him and he felt his face heating up. It was social suicide to sit at Rainbow Row, but he didn’t have a choice. He needed help and Liam was the only one he could count on. He sat down beside him, facing the guy he’d been awkwardly trying to hide from for the last two years of his life.

“I need your help. I have twenty-four hours to read Dracula from cover to cover and write up a ten thousand word essay on it.” He revealed his biggest problem first. Liam immediately frowned and began counting his fingers in a way he didn’t quite understand.

“That’s going to be difficult. Say take five hours to read it, including time for re-reads, bathroom and food breaks. That only leaves nineteen hours for the essay. Divide that into ten thousand words and you’re only leaving me less than two hours to plan and write a thousand words.” Liam explained his theory and Rock managed to smile.

“I don’t need you to do it for me, just help me with it.” He would have loved to have Liam do his essay for him, but he’d already done a lot of essays for Miss Wells and she was bound to notice if someone else did it for him. Liam was too different in how he talked and thought.

“Oh. Well that’s doable. We can read it together and then it should go quicker. It’s one of my favourites, so I tend to get caught up in the story instead of evaluating it.” He claimed with a laugh. Rock nodded, with no idea what he was talking about. All he knew about Dracula was what he’d seen in the Gary Oldman film, which he had admittedly watched instead of reading the book. It was probably why his essay had only been six thousand words long, rather than the ten his lecturer wanted. But he figured the story was the same. From reading the notes Miss Wells had made on his essay, it seemed he’d been wrong about that.

“Right. So, are you busy now? I’d like to get it out the way.” He admitted, hoping to get it over and done with. “I can pay you. I mean, I appreciate you taking the time to do it, but I’d like a steady tutor.” Rock watched a look of faint surprise pass over Liam’s face, before it transformed into a smile.

“I don’t need money.”

“So what do you want?” He asked, well aware of an unspoken ‘but’ in that sentence.


Rock blinked a few times before realising that he hadn’t imagined it and Liam wasn’t just taking the opportunity to flirt with him while he was there. “Sorry?” He needed an explanation to that. He had no idea what he was hinting at.

“I’m happy to help you today because you’re just utterly gorgeous. For a regular tutor, and my time, I’ll need something more. I want you to give me a chance to change your mind. Make an effort to get to know me, try to see beyond my sexuality, see me as more than a friend and I’ll do anything you need me to do.” Liam explained. Rock wasn’t exactly surprised. The guy had been trying to get with him for two years and now was his golden opportunity.

Just three months ago he’d nearly given in to that wish. He’d had a drink spiked at the local club, just before Liam appeared with a few of his friends. Rock didn’t mind hanging out with him sociably so they’d sat together at a booth and the flirting had started. It was the usual non-serious, hopeful flirting that he faced on a daily basis, except that they were in a much more public setting.

Ten minutes after getting halfway through his drink he’d started leaning into Liam heavily as he flirted, talking shit about how soft his lips looked and asking if he could taste his drink. It was some sort of cocktail. Liam had smiled and said he would let him taste it if he hadn’t already finished it. Then he’d really acted out of character by saying that the taste would still be on his tongue. He could see the surprise in Liam’s eyes as he looked at him. He’d been subjected to that curious gaze again, from head to toe until the poor guy sighed, took his hand and led him into the men’s room. Then before he could argue, he was having two fingers shoved down his throat as they stood in a cubicle together.

Rock had thrown up everything from that night into the toilet and even got some on Liam’s brand new trainers, but he hadn’t complained. He’d sat him down, wiped his face clean and left him for ten minutes. When he got back, he had a bottle of water bought from a store across the street, to make sure it was safe. He’d washed his mouth out, feeling like shit and then been marched off to the hospital to get checked over, just in case.

He could still remember how well Liam had taken care of him. He could have kissed him, he could have taken advantage of his eagerness to get closer and done a hell of a lot of things to him or with him, without him being quite with it. But he hadn’t. He had never taken advantage of him, or pushed his flirting to anything physical, though he often could have.

Now he had to decide. Could he be Liam’s boyfriend, or try to be, for the sake of his grades?

It was simple really.

“Okay.” He agreed. There was no choice. When it came right down to it, staying in college was everything. He would do anything he had to just to stay on campus. If that meant turning gay or trying to, then he’d do it. He couldn’t go home.

“Really?” Liam beamed at him, looking surprised. Rock wondered if he had expected to get a no. He nodded to make his decision clear. And then, figuring sooner was better than later, he leaned in, in the universal signal that he was going to kiss him. To his surprise Liam pulled back, still smiling. “I appreciate it, really, but I like to keep private things private.” He said, with a light hint of laughter in his voice.

Before Rock could react to that statement, since he’d never have guessed at such a thing, Liam got up off his seat and stood there. “Come on then. We better get started on this book.” He insisted, removing his headphones and shoving them into his satchel, before adding his book. Rock got to his feet and decided just to go with it. He had no clue what he was doing or how it would end, but he didn’t really care.

He was trading himself for good grades and he didn’t even have the choice of hating himself for it. There was no way he could go back home.

Rock sat down on his bed and pulled out his pristine copy of Dracula, that he’d bought with every intention of reading. It was a classic and one of his favourite movies, so he had cracked open the cover and started reading it nearly three weeks ago, in preparation for writing his essay. Then he realised how long winded it was and how absolutely endless it seemed. He gave up after a few pages. Jonathan’s story sounded interesting, but with living in a fraternity house, having swimming practice and all his other classes to work on, it had placed itself at the bottom of his to-do list.

“You still in there?” Liam asked. Rock looked up to see him taking a seat on the stool by his desk. It seemed stupid for him to sit there if they were going to study together. He had insisted that he read aloud to him, so he could ‘absorb’ the words better, but he wasn’t sure if that was just Liam’s way of making sure he got to be with him, alone in his room.

“Yeah. I’m just pissed at myself for being stupid.” He admitted the truth because he trusted Liam. Weirdly, considering their history, he trusted the guy more than anyone else on campus.

“You know, if you’re not careful, I’m going to kiss you every time you call yourself names.” He frowned at him. Rock was surprised by the teasing, to start with, and more still by the fact that he seemed so unhappy about him using the word ‘stupid’ for himself. He made a mental note not to degrade himself in front of his new study partner. He wasn’t sure whether he’d live up to his threat or not, but he was just as unsure of whether he wanted to find out.

Unfortunately, he was beginning to realise that Liam did some funny things to him. For some reason he trusted him more than anyone else, yet he barely knew him and he knew for a fact that he wanted to get in his pants. He’d told him enough times. But he would never be afraid of being alone with him. Somehow he knew that Liam put him before everything and everyone else. It was confusing as hell.

“Why don’t you sit over here with me? If we’re going to read this, then it’s stupid to be at opposite sides of the room.” He spoke to divert his thoughts. Liam flashed him a happy smile and practically bounded over to his bed, before getting comfortable. He lay down, with his head on the pillow and his legs stretched out across his lap. Rock gave them a shove onto the bed. He might have done anything to get good grades, but Liam hadn’t mentioned sleeping together. He was keeping his clothes on and as much of his dignity as he could.

“Coward.” Liam fake coughed into his hand. Rock sat back against the wall with a notepad balanced on his knee to make notes on anything he found important. He tried his hardest to ignore his study partner. As if he’d never spoken, Liam went on to open the book and start reading.

Chapter 1. Jonathan Harker’s Journal – (kept in shorthand.)

3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8:35 P. M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.


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