“Elaine White grew up in a small town on the east coast of Scotland. She is an author of paranormal romance, crime and MM romance.
Fighting cancer in her early teens taught her that life is short and dreams should be pursued. She lives vicariously through her independent, and often hellion characters, while living comfortably at home with a pack of wolves cleverly disguised as one standard poodle.
A self-professed geek, Elaine has fallen in love with the research linked with her novels. The more obscure the better. She has recently delved into reading and writing MM romance/erotica and is now a happy addict of the genre.”
One secret, two men, and one band. One choice: reveal the secret or save the band?
Felix is tired; he’s kept a secret for too long, from too many people that are important to him. He’s living a lie and it’s time for him to come clean. But to do that, he has to expose his secret to Stone, the one person he can’t risk hurting. And he doesn’t know how he’s going to react to that.
Then Stone reveals his own secret, which blows Felix’s entire world apart.
Can their band survive their secrets? Can their friendship?
“When the hell will you stop being such a little bitch?” Stone raged in the other room.
Felix ducked his head down over his book and kept his mouth shut. There was no way he was getting dragged into another argument between the brothers.
Stone and Hawk argued nearly every day over something that he usually found frivolous, but it would cost more than his life was worth to admit it. The last time he’d opened his mouth, to tell them to grow up and act like the adults they were, he’d been punched, had his nose broken and spent the next six weeks singing like he was high on helium.
“Whenever the fuck you stop touching my stuff.” Hawk shouted back.
A thump followed his words and Felix knew what was coming next. He lifted his feet off the floor and lay them over the table, having to shimmy over a little to reach.
The bus wasn’t massive, but it was big enough for bunks in the back and the living quarters in the front. He was currently sitting with his back to the window and his feet comfortably up on the table that attached to the wall. Whatever Hawk and Stone got up to, he could be sure they wouldn’t knock over his seat or the table. They’d have to go through the wall of the bus to do that.
A second later than he expected, Hawk came crashing into the room, landing on his back on the floor. “Bastard,” he muttered, as he used all that muscle he had to push himself off the floor and to his feet.
“Everything all right?” Felix asked casually, as he turned the page.
“Just the bloody usually.” He complained, turning to face the open door., leading to the sleeping quarters.
Stone came sauntering in with a self-satisfied smile and his hands in his jean pockets. “Hey Felix, what are you reading?” He asked, while perching himself on the table beside his feet. A big hand gave his feet a nudge, but he refused to play his game. He knew fine well that he was just biding time until Hawk thought the fight was over, then he would pounce again. There was no way either of them were going to back down until someone spilled blood.
“Something your pea-brain couldn’t comprehend.” He replied honestly.
“Oh yeah?” Stone laughed, clearly more amused than insulted. “What is it?” He asked, tilting his head this way and that to see if he could read the cover.
Felix couldn’t help but smile. He’d recently bought a Kindle cover that was made from an old hardback book. It looked like he was reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes when in reality the hotness on his Kindle could set fire to the entire bus. But he didn’t dare confess the truth.
The band were just taking off and the last thing they needed was Felix stepping out of his closet and flaunting his preference for hard muscle and big dicks to the world. He’d been gay his whole life and pretty open about it when he was younger. He’d been the stud star football player slash musician that all the girls drooled over, only it was always the hot boys he was caught making out with after a show or a game.
“The adventures of…” Stone read aloud, his head tilted to an uncomfortable angle as he tried to read the cover.
“Sherlock Holmes. A classic.” He told him, trying hard not to laugh.
“Who?” His block-headed, but attractive, companion asked.
Felix settled for shaking his head, while Hawk acted as if his question was a personal insult.
“The greatest fictional detective ever to exist on paper. He only revolutionised our entire forensic process.” He complained, giving Stone a shove that knocked him off the table and onto the bench seat across from him. The blood-thirsty glare he sent his brother was nothing new, so Felix stayed where he was and kept reading. It was getting to the good part.
“Do you mind?” Stone asked, pretty politely considering the moment.
Felix waved him off; he didn’t give a crap what the two idiots got up to. They were on their way to a concert and he wasn’t particularly fussed how they got there or in what shape. They were old enough to make their own choices. He wasn’t their father.
Though, he wouldn’t mind a daddy of his own; he was sorely in need of some sexual attention. That was the trouble with agreeing to go back into his closet for the sake of the band. He might have been keeping their ‘reputation’ squeaky clean, but it left him little opportunity for human contact without the risk of exposure.
The girls could flock around him all they liked, but unless one of them was a hot buff male in drag, then he wasn’t buying into the experience. He had never, and would never touch a woman, not even for their ‘reputation’.
Their manager, Byron, was the only one who knew he was gay and it was on his say so whether he could or couldn’t be open about who he was. If he went against him, even for the sake of his sanity, then he could lose his spot in the band. He’d worked too hard for too damned long to let that happen.
Stone went flying across the room, thrown into the kitchen cabinet at the other side of the bus. A second later Hawk jumped him and tackled him to the floor.
Felix looked up just for a moment, but now the two brothers were wrestling and he wasn’t interested. Unless they were naked and acting out his favourite steamy scenes from his latest book, ‘Invicta’, then he wasn’t ever going to be interested. The author really knew how to write about two hot guys going up in flames; he couldn’t get enough of the sizzle and cock that was in Miss Kay’s stories.
Felix groaned in frustration when a stupidly timed push from Hawk, on Stone’s shoulder, sent him banging into the side of the bus. He counted to ten after he caught his footing and leaned against the solid surface as he waited.
“Oh crap, sorry Felix.” Hawk apologised, the sincerity of his words written all over his guilty face.
Felix waved and made a face that told him he was letting it go when he really did want to.
“Come on, I’ll buy you lunch to make up for it.” Stone said, wrapping his arm around his neck.
Since he was the least hot tempered of the two and always apologised for their fights infringing on his personal time, he nodded his acceptance. It had absolutely nothing to do with the monumental crush he had on his band mate.
“Fine. But I want junk food. I’m sick of this packaged food crap.” He admitted, still a little pissed at them as Stone led the way towards the burger joint at the service station.
The bus was loading up on fuel before they hit the venue, since they would be staying long enough to do a three night show and a photo shoot for their next album cover.
They took a booth in the corner, where it was quiet, and both automatically pulled their baseball caps lower over their eyes to stare at the menu. They didn’t want a lot of attention when they were trying to eat, so it was best to keep quiet and not make a show of being there.
The band ‘Stone Cold Sex’, an unfortunate name that the brothers had chosen well before Felix joined, was growing in popularity. They’d hit it big two months ago when their latest single ‘You Don’t Know Me’ reached the top ten in the streaming charts. It had catapulted them to a whole new audience and, with the new rule being that streamed songs counted towards the ‘official’ chart, they were selling like hot cakes.
“Do we have a waitress or do we go order at the counter? I’m starving.” Stone complained quietly, as he looked around the near empty restaurant.
Felix looked up and spotted Hawk sitting by himself at a window seat, chatting to a girl in a dark blue pinafore with an apron on. She was blushing and fluttering her eyelashes, giggling over something Hawk said.
“I think our waitress was hijacked.” He explained, pointing Stone in the right direction.
He turned and glared at his brother, letting his hands curl into fists on top of the table.
“Cool it. I’ll handle it.” Felix insisted, shaking his head at the raging testosterone in the room. Why couldn’t he be on the receiving end of some of it?
Felix slipped out of his seat and made his way over to the table Hawk was sitting at, probably distracting the waitress on purpose. With long practiced effort he didn’t stand there with his hand on his hip, giving him the stink eye as he would any other person. That was his ‘open and accepted’ persona that he couldn’t show to the brothers who had no idea he was gay. Instead he folded his arms over his chest and tapped his damned expensive sneakers on the far from clean floor. Waiting. Always waiting.
“Oh, hey Felix.” Hawk smiled as he noticed him and looked up. “This is our lovely waitress, Yolanda.” He said, with a wink that said he was deliberately trying to piss off his brother by distracting her.
“I don’t care.” He confessed easily. He was sick of the games. “I’m sorry to be rude, Yolanda, but I’ve spent the last week on a bus with this raging lunatic and his equally crazy brother. Now, when they’re not beating the crap out of each other they’re fine, but I’ve had it up to here with their ridiculous displays of male testosterone.” He objected, practically having to salute to show the extent of how much shit he’d put up with.
He spoke to the waitress in an attempt to show her that she was wrong to dedicate her attention to Hawk, when he was just using her as a pawn in his war with his brother. “Why don’t you just get your dicks out and measure them? It would be a hell of a lot quicker.” He argued, glaring at Hawk as he struggled to control his temper. He was so sick of having stupid ass-holes ruining everything.
“Whoa, Felix…calm down.” Stone’s voice spoke softly in his ear and he managed to reign in the anger just enough. Hands held his shoulders steady and he closed his eyes to the touch; he knew those hands so well. Rugged, calloused from playing the guitar for so many years and with a cut on his wrist from a stupid prank at his twenty-seventh birthday party last year. “I’ll take care of this.” He heard him say to Hawk.
When the hands guided him away from the booth and Hawk, who looked shocked, Felix went willingly. Once they were outside the restaurant Stone more around in front of him.
“Okay, breathe for me.” He asked, imitating the deep breaths he needed to take.
“I’m sorry.” Felix apologised, staring at those dark eyes to help calm himself down. Stone’s dark hair was hidden by his baseball cap, but he knew the look and feel as well as he knew his own face. It was his eyes, though, and that concerned but hopeful smile that brought him back into reality.
“No, I’m sorry. You’re right.” Stone admitted, running his hands up and down the outside of his arms. “Hawk and I can’t get along; we’ve never been able to. Why we thought working together would be any different, I don’t know. But you’re stuck in the middle and that I’m truly sorry for.” He apologised in return.
Felix managed a smile and almost forgot himself by reaching up to touch his face. But he couldn’t do that without giving the game away. “I’m just tired.” He sighed, curling his hands tight into fists by his side, so that he wouldn’t touch him. He always had to hide something; his feelings, his instincts, his automatic reactions to situations. He was always having to lie and sneak around and pretend he was someone else.
“Really? Because you’ve been doing a hell of a lot of sleeping lately.” Stone frowned at him, cupping his neck in both hands. He tilted his face up with the light pressure of his thumbs on his chin.
He was too tired of lying and keeping secrets to have this conversation so he gently brushed his hand away. “Not that kind of tired.” Was all he agreed to say.
And with that, and lunch ruined, he walked back to the bus and climbed inside. He was going to hibernate in his bunk until he stopped feeling so lousy about his life or hoping for the unlikely day that Byron let him be honest about who he was.