Since childhood, Jake, Adam, Kyle, and Brendan have been teammates, best friends, brothers. Then one day, when they were twenty-five, Adam disappeared without a word, devastating his friends—none more so than Jake, who had secretly loved Adam since they were teenagers.
Now, five years later, Adam is back, and he has his mind set on Jake. But those years of anger, hurt, and confusion are a lot to overcome, and Jake doesn’t find it easy to forgive. He isn’t sure they’ll ever fit together the way they did. Jake, Kyle, and Brendan have moved on with their lives, but Adam’s high-profile career keeps him in the closet—the same place he’s been for years. Still, his apologies seem sincere, and the attraction is still there. Jake desperately wants to give him a chance. But first he has to find out why Adam left and if he’s really back for good.
Catch up with Jake and Adam in “Shortstop,” an anniversary story, part of Dreamspinner Press’s Sexy Sixth anniversary celebration.
“There is so much to enjoy in this book – the wonderful characterizations, the emotions, the love, the joys, the paths not taken, and most of all the love between Adam and Jake.” — 5 stars from Jessewave
“I thought the book was really well done. Sweet and romantic with a lot of unique issues mixed in to keep things interesting. I enjoyed it a lot and would definitely recommend it.” — 4.5 stars from Joyfully Jay
IT MIGHT have been romantic if room 1126 was a swanky penthouse suite, but it was just a normal room on one of the middle floors of the hotel. Still, even the corridor leading to Adam’s room was much nicer than the interior of any hotel I’d ever been in before.
I stood there staring at the numbers on the door for a good five minutes before I raised my hand to knock, and even then I almost turned and ran back to the elevator about six times. I’d been like that all day, one moment swearing I had nothing to say to Adam and no reason to go see him but then the next feeling oddly compelled to at least hear him out. Under everything, all my hurt and anger, I still missed him. I still wanted him. I’d gone to a bar after work and tried to decide if I should go see him or not, and the alcohol had mostly served to weaken my resolve enough for me to do what I pretty much wanted to do anyway, which was go to his hotel.
I knocked, and he answered. His whole face lit up. “Jake!”
He stepped away from the door and ushered me inside. “I didn’t think you’d come.”
“I didn’t either.”
He smirked, and there was so much of the boy I remembered in that look. But we were basically strangers now, I reminded myself.
“Well, now that you’re here, do you want some coffee or something? Or we could break into the minibar.”
I shook my head. “Look, I just came because you said you wanted to talk things through, and I had a lot of whiskey before I got on the El and came over here, and somehow that persuaded me that seeing you in person was a good idea, but now that I’m here, I kind of think it isn’t, so just say what you have to say, and then I’m going home.” The words tumbled out of my mouth rapidly.
“Just… what is it you want from me?”
He looked away from me and then started to pace. “Well, I thought that we could be friends again, for starters.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
That just hung in the air for a while, the echo pinging around the room. Or maybe that was just my imagination. Everything went still. Then Adam rubbed his head and resumed pacing. “I’m quite serious, actually. I know I made some mistakes—”
“Mistakes? You call disappearing for five years a mistake?”
“And I know you’re still mad at me. Maybe it will take some time to repair the damage, but come on, Jakey, we’ve known each other since we were infants. How can you just throw all that away?”
“Maybe you should have thought of that before you threw it away.” I reached for the door, thinking I should bail before I got more upset. It had been a mistake coming to see him. I could see that now. I didn’t know what I’d expected of him. It seemed clear now that nothing had changed. “It’s too late, Adam. I’m not little Jakey Isaacson anymore. I’ve grown up. Shit’s different now. You can’t expect me to just drop everything for you like in the old days.”
“Tell me why it’s too late. I know you still have feelings for me. Otherwise you wouldn’t have come here at all.”
Was that what this was about? “Maybe I just wanted some closure.”
“Maybe you want me.”
“Fuck you, Rosie.”
His skin went pale at the nickname. I’d stopped calling him by it when he’d asked me to, all those years before. Now I wanted him to feel everything it represented, both to me and to him.
Still, he looked so thrown off by it that I couldn’t stop myself from apologizing. “I’m sorry. But it’s too late for us.”
“Because you left us!” My anger grew like a cancer through my body. “Because one day you just took off and didn’t tell anyone where you were. Because five years went by when things happened to us, happened to me, that you weren’t around for. Because you’re not a part of my life anymore. Because you chose to leave.”
That was about when I broke. My knees got wobbly, and the anger started to dissipate, like it had just been waiting for me to say these things. Adam stared at me, but I didn’t understand the look on his face. His eyes were wide, his lips were pressed together, and I found it all completely inscrutable. So I sat on the edge of the bed and told him one last truth.
“Because I spent five years wondering what was so horrific about kissing me that it made you run away.”