In our room with the door closed, I shove the garment bag at Jeremy.
“Change.” The word is a command.
Jeremy straightens, crossing his arms over his chest.
I step closer to him, into his personal space. “Change.”
“Why? What I’m wearing is fine.”
I drag in a deep breath, inhaling his cologne, which goes straight to my head.
“You are going to my father’s house. You have to be as perfect as humanly possible.” Now he’s confused. This isn’t fucking fair to him, I know that, but I can’t stop it. I need him to just go with it and not argue.
Grabbing his shirt in both my hands, I jerk him toward me until we’re face to face. He’s up on his toes to make him equal in height to me. For a second, his arms flail, trying to keep his balance. I prepare to flinch when his hands touch my body but they don’t. He’s watching me watch him.
Jeremy grabs onto my wrists. This is the second time today he’s purposefully avoided touching my body. What does that mean?
“Change your fucking clothes.” My body shakes with the nerves trying so hard to consume me. It would be so easy to fall headfirst into the fear and anxiety of this fucking dinner. I don’t know what to expect and that’s terrifying. I squeeze my eyes shut tightly until little specks of light dance behind my eyelids. “Please.”
“Tell me why.” The stubbornness of just a few minutes ago is gone.
My eyes open to find Jeremy watching me. The unevenness of his irises is impossible to look away from. So fucking different from anyone else I’ve ever met.
“Why does it matter so much to you?”
I rest my forehead on his, wanting so desperately to find comfort in this man while knowing I can’t afford to. “I don’t know.”
We stand there for another moment, our exhales mixing between us. Jeremy gives my wrist a gentle squeeze before he quietly says, “Okay.”
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Charles Preston Carmichael is the most infuriating man I’ve ever met.
I want to sock the golden boy of college hockey right in the mouth.
He enjoys telling me everything I’m messing up. Publicly.
And since he’s my roommate for the next year, I can’t avoid him.
Yet there’s something about him that makes me watch him.
A secret I want to uncover.
When he returns from a weekend away, broken and haunted, I can’t keep my distance anymore.
He needs someone and I’ll be damned if it’s not me.
Soon my life no longer revolves around hockey, but the nightmares he’s living with.
Desperately I want to save him but I can’t, not yet. The timing has to be just right.
Can I watch him destroy himself as he tries to hold tight to the things that matter or will I be the final hit in the destruction of his life?
ABOUT ANDI JAXON:
From Dyslexic kid with a love of Algebra to a published author, no one expected me to become an author. I love to write about tortured pasts and hot sex, a happily ever after that has to be worked for. My stories tend to be contemporary with a few little dark elements and some comic relief, typically in the form of sarcasm.
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