Saturday, 25 January 2014

A review of Klub Kids by Johnny Williams


Okay, I have a confession.
I loved Johnny. 
I loved his humor from the first line, and it just kept coming. I was reading this on my laptop and my husband lost track of the number of times I laughed and then read him the line which had amused me.
A conversation between Danny and Johnny had me wanting to laugh and cry, all at the same time. Well, the whole situation had me laughing - not gonna spoil it, but you'll know when you get there.

“Nothing's wrong with you. You just haven’t met the right guy." 
"I'm a hopeless romantic stuck in a helplessly cynical body." I counter. I lift my head and look intently at him. "Help me find someone." I plead.
He seemed really shocked by my letting down all my walls. I don't think I've done that with many people in my life.He recovered,and patted my head, forcing it back onto his chest. "I'll find you someone. I promise." We laid there quiet for a while longer. 
“Alive.” I say. 
Danny sighed. “ He’ll be alive.”
“With all his own hair and teeth.” 
“Check.” He sighed louder. 
“Wealthy too.” I continue. 
“Anything else?” 
“Get him to look like Brad Pitt.” 
“What if he looks like Johnny Depp?”
“Okay . . . if I must.” I pretend to sigh.

Let's talk about the wanting to cry part.
Oh My God. Every time Johnny met someone, I found myself crossing everything and hoping with every fiber of my being that THIS WOULD BE THE ONE. Because all I wanted was for Johnny, hopelessly romantic Johnny, to find love.
And as for the last bit.... Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. I melted. Just...melted.

I couldn't stop reading. And seeing as I know exactly how far the author is into the next book, you can be sure I will be on his case.
More, please, Mr. Williams.
And you definitely have a fan here.
Available from Amazon.com and  Amazon.co.uk 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

So what's Ed up to...?

This seems to be a week of excerpts.
Personal Secrets is approaching completion, but I thought I'd give you a sneaky peek into what Ed, my lovely Cockney Bear, is up - especially as now you can see what he looks like...

Monday, 13 January 2014

Learning to Love:Final Exam - Chapter One.

(Okay, bear`with me - this is the unedited version, but at least it gives you an idea.....)

Chapter One

“Where’s Evan?” Josh asked, hands full of polystyrene cups of coffee with cardboard holders around them. Chris carried a selection of muffins.
Daniel laughed. “He’s only gone to check the arrivals board again.” He scanned the crowd of people thronging the Arrivals hall of Manchester airport, trying to spot his husband. His face lit up. “There he is.” He shook his head as Evan got close enough to see him. “Now, has anything changed since the last time you looked? Is their plane still on time?” His lips twitched as he tried not to laugh at Evan.
Evan flushed. “Okay, make fun all you want. I was just checking to see that they hadn’t been delayed.” He dropped onto one of the chairs and held out his hand for a coffee. Josh handed him a cup with a grin.
Chris chuckled. “I hope not. They’re due to land in about fifteen minutes.” He held out the muffins. “Choose one. It’s just a bite to keep us going until lunch.”
Daniel laughed as Evan and Josh fought it out for the chocolate muffin. “Remind me again: you two are how old? Six?”
Josh stared at him with wide, incredulous eyes and then tut-tutted to Evan. “You have my sympathies. Being married to a man who doesn’t understand the importance of chocolate.”
Evan sighed dramatically. “I know. The things I have to put up with.”
Chris snickered. “Oh, my sympathies lie entirely with Daniel. You’re a handful.” Everyone except Evan got a laugh out of that.
Daniel leaned closer to Evan and dropped his voice. “It’s okay, baby. I know you’ve missed them. But not long now and we’ll have our Sean and Michael back with us.” He mouthed silently I love you and took hold of Evan’s hand, squeezing it tightly before releasing it. Evan gave him a grateful smile and sipped his coffee. Daniel wasn’t about to share their concerns with the others. It was enough that he and Evan were worrying about Sean—Josh and Chris didn’t need something else to worry about.
He took a closer look at Josh. The medical student appeared tired. Daniel knew he was working night shifts as an agency nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary. In fact, he’d barely gotten in the house from finishing his shift that morning before they were ready to come pick up Sean and Michael. Evan had tried to argue that it didn’t need all four of them, and two cars, but Josh had gotten this stubborn look over his face. Daniel could understand how he felt. It had been five long months since the boys had left for Spain, and all four of them couldn’t wait to have them back home.
There was another reason for his scrutiny. Daniel wasn’t sure what he’d done, but Josh had changed subtly in the way he acted around Daniel. Oh, nothing too obvious, and there were moments when he was sure he was being paranoid, but there was definitely something going on. And it had been like that ever since June. Daniel hadn’t said a word about his fears to Evan, and that had felt weird for a start. He hid nothing from his husband, but this? He was afraid Evan would laugh and tell him he was imagining it. Worse still—Evan might say he’d noticed it too.
Daniel drank his coffee and stared at the door where he knew Sean and Michael would appear eventually.
Those two are our hub, he thought pensively. Although Evan had known them the longest, Daniel had grown to love the couple when he’d moved in at the end of their first year. Then Josh had reappeared in their lives, along with Chris, both men with a strong connection to Michael.
Daniel smiled to himself as he thought about the couple. Michael was definitely the quieter of the two, and a more generous, good-natured man Daniel had yet to meet. He was plainly Sean’s rock. And right now that rock was sinking under the weight of worry about his husband’s health. Both he and Evan had been talking a lot in recent weeks via Skype with Michael, and it was clear Michael wasn’t happy with the doctor’s diagnosis of migraines.
If Sean has migraines, then why isn’t the medication helping?
The doctor had been adamant, however. He’d told Michael to give it time.
Easy to say that, but Michael is the one dealing with a husband in pain.
Evan nudged him with his shoulder. “Stop. You won’t solve anything by worrying.”
Daniel gave him a half-smile. “You really do know me, don’t you?”
Evan arched his eyebrows. “And this surprises you?” His eyes met Daniel’s. “Of course I know you.” His expression said what his lips did not. Daniel could see the love in those eyes, and it filled him with warmth.
Thank God I have you, he thought. There wasn’t a day went by without that thought crossing his mind.
“Hey, they’re early!”
Chris’s words broke through his internal meanderings. Daniel looked up to see Chris pointing to a monitor. Sure enough, it announced the arrival of their flight from Madrid.
Daniel got to his feet and grinned at his house-mates. “Let’s go welcome our boys home.”


“Why is it our cases are always the last to come off the plane?” Sean grumbled.
Michael longed to give him a hug, but the Baggage Claim area was not the place for public displays of affection. It had been bad enough on the plane. The elderly lady who’d sat next to them had given them some intense glances when Michael had taken hold of Sean’s hand during the take-off. Not everyone was accepting of gay couples, sadly.
Never mind. We’ll be home soon enough, and then I can hold him all I want.
Sean’s brow furrowed as he scanned the suitcases which tumbled in slow motion onto the moving conveyor belt. Michael felt that fluttery feeling in his stomach as he regarded his husband. The creases across Sean’s forehead told him there was more to Sean’s mood than impatience. They’d had to get up really early for the flight, and Michael knew tiredness was one of Sean’s triggers to bring on a headache. He’d made sure Sean had eaten enough: getting hungry was another trigger. In the last month or so, Michael had been doing a lot of research into migraines. He still wasn’t entirely convinced that Sean’s increasingly frequent headaches were migraines, but right now it was all he could do. Part of him hoped that getting back to a more moderate climate and out of the stifling heat of C√≥rdoba would have a positive effect on Sean’s health. Even in August, the heat and humidity in the UK were easier to cope with than in the south of Spain.
Michael bumped shoulders with him. “It’s not like you can miss our cases, is it?” He grinned. Sean had bought three luggage straps to make it easier to spot the black suitcases. Michael smiled to himself. Trust Sean to pick rainbow stripes.
Sean’s wan smile was an improvement, at least. Then his face lit up. “There’s one.”
Michael moved closer to the belt and watched as the first of their huge cases made its way slowly toward them. He grabbed it and heaved in onto the waiting trolley. It wasn’t long before the other two had joined them. Michael pushed the trolley toward the Nothing to Declare gate, Sean at his side. As they emerged from the corridor into the Arrivals hall, Michael’s heart leaped when he spotted four familiar faces, all grinning widely at them.
“Oh, look, they all came.” Sean’s delighted exclamation made him sigh internally with relief.
Maybe it’s going to be all right after all.
No sooner had they got through the barrier than they were surrounded by four men who hugged them enthusiastically. Michael didn’t give a damn how it looked to the crowds of people milling around them. He was so happy to be back with his extended family. Sean was beaming as first Evan, then Josh hugged him.
“Come on, let’s get you home,” Daniel said, grabbing a case. Josh and Chris took the others. “We’ve brought two cars, so you can chose who you travel home with.” He grinned. “Though that might be a good way to start an argument.”
Michael laughed and put his arm around Sean’s shoulder as they walked out of the airport and across the walkway to the car park, flanked by their house-mates. Everyone was smiling and talking animatedly, including Sean.
God, it’s so good to be home.


Josh piled the dirty plates and bowls from lunch into the washing-up bowl and squeezed in the detergent, before letting hot water fill the bowl. Chris stood next to him, tea towel in hand. Evan had already got the coffee machine going.
“Is Sean okay?” Chris asked quietly. “Only I was surprised when he said he needed to go lie down. It’s not that long a flight from Madrid.”
Which was exactly what Josh had been thinking. He’d already made up his mind to question Michael about it. Something didn’t add up.
Josh gave Chris a smile. “I’m sure he’s just tired. He’ll probably be full of beans by tonight.” He handed Chris a clean bowl. “Here, do your job, drying-up boy.” He winked.
Chris widened his eyes. “Ooh, it’s like that, is it?” He flicked Josh’s backside with the towel. Josh yelped and Chris snickered. “Drying-up boy, indeed.”
Josh had to smile. Chris had changed so much from the young man who’d moved into the house the previous summer. That Chris had been nervous, shy, and devastated by his parents’ reaction to him being gay. A year on, and Chris had blossomed. It had filled Josh with joy when Chris agreed to marry him. Josh had even begun to put the whole Eric episode behind him, though the thought of a trial made his heart sink each time it came to mind. But he knew Chris would be with him, every step of the way.
“Sean’s asleep.”
Josh turned to look at Michael as he entered the kitchen, Daniel behind him. “Good. Then now perhaps you’ll tell us what’s going on.” He put down the washing-up brush, folded his arms across his chest and fixed Michael with a firm stare.
Michael opened his mouth as if to speak.
“There’s nothing going on,” Daniel interjected. He sat down at the table. “Sean was just tired out. He was probably up way too late last night, eh, Michael?” He cast a glance in Michael’s direction.
Josh shook his head. “Uh-uh, not buying it.” He stared at Daniel, his eyes cool. “I’m not stupid. And I may only be a second year medical student, but please don’t forget that I used to be a nurse. Now, something is wrong, and I don’t just mean today.” He turned his attention back to Michael. “I know about the headaches. Evan told me a few months ago.”
Michael swiveled his head to gaze at Evan and slowly shook his head. Evan dropped his chin to his chest, cheeks flushed.
Michael sighed. He walked over to the kitchen table and sat down, placing his hands on the wooden surface. He stared at them for a moment before speaking. “Okay. Sean’s been having headaches for a few months. It took him until June to finally go see a doctor, who diagnosed migraines.”
“Which is what you thought it might be,” Evan added quickly, looking at Josh.
Josh nodded. “So I’m assuming he has medication for them.”
“Yes. The doctor gave him these tablets that he’s supposed to take once the symptoms appear. Only trouble is, the two or three times he’s taken them, they did absolutely nothing.”
Josh tilted his head. “And as a matter of interest, have there been any more incidents like the one where he walked out on you after a row?”
Michael jerked his head up. There was a moment of silence, and then his shoulders sagged. “So we had a row. Married couples do have them, you know.”
Chris was following the proceedings with intense concentration. “Yeah, but you two aren’t like most married couples. If you two argue, it has to be something really serious. I’ve known you for less time than anyone here and even I know that.” He cast a quick look in Josh’s direction. “And I don’t appreciate being kept in the dark about all this. ’Cause from where I’m standing, everyone knew about Sean’s headaches except me.”
Josh couldn’t miss the hurt in his lover’s eyes. “Aw, fuck, honey.” He went over to Chris and put his arms around him. “I didn’t want you to worry, that was all.”
Chris leaned against him, and at last his arms slipped around Josh.
“The point is,” Daniel said in a determined tone, “we all know now, so if Sean gets worse, you tell us, right, Michael?” He fixed Michael with a firm stare. “No more keeping anyone in the dark.
Michael nodded. “Maybe it’s best this way. At least we’re all looking out for him now.”
Daniel nodded in agreement. “At least you have a couple of months before term starts. Why don’t you spend some time with your mum and your sister in Oxford? Or maybe go down to the Isle of Wight for a while? You two worked really hard the last ten months. Maybe a holiday is just what you need.”
Michael looked thoughtful. “That’s not a bad idea, actually. I’ll suggest it to Sean when he wakes up. But right now….” He stared imploringly at them. “I could really use a coffee.”
Evan snorted and went to pour him a mug. Josh turned back to his washing-up.
I’m glad they’re home, he thought as he washed up the dishes and passed them to Chris. But I can’t get rid of the feeling that something’s coming, something huge.
What that something was, Josh didn’t have a clue.


“So what’s the gossip?” Sean asked eagerly. He curled up against Michael on the couch, head leaning against his husband’s shoulder. That nap had done him a power of good, and he felt thoroughly spoiled when he came downstairs to find dinner already taken care of. It seemed a lot had changed in their absence—namely, the boys had learned to cook. Sean had laughed to see the look of delight on Michael’s face when he tasted Daniel’s lasagna.
Josh sat in the big, squashy armchair, Chris in his lap, their arms around each other. “We just took Dad on holiday to the Isle of Wight.”
Sean smiled at the thought of his former home, though not without a brief stab of sadness. It had been so long since he’d seen his mother. Oh, he got letters and emails, sure, but it wasn’t the same.
“Did you like it?”
Josh beamed. “It was such a beautiful island, and just what Dad needed.”
Sean nodded and snuggled up closer to Michael, who tightened his arm around him.
Daniel spoke up. “But you should have been here a few weeks ago. Evan’s brother John came to town for a job interview in a primary school.”
“Did he get it?”
Evan chuckled. “Oh yeah. We took him out to celebrate at Babel.”
Sean grinned. “Okay, what am I missing here?”
Daniel stroked Evan’s hair as he sat on the bean bag at Daniel’s feet. “Remember how John kissed me, when I went to meet Ev’s parents for the first time?” Sean and Michael nodded. “Well, it seems John has finally made his mind up.” He paused. “He came out.”
Michael laughed. “Well, that took long enough.”
Evan nodded. “But you’re going to love this. Last week I went with him to find somewhere to live, and he’s found this great shared house—and the three guys who live there are all gay.” His eyes sparkled.
Sean burst out laughing. “Take about following in his brother’s footsteps.” He gazed at Evan fondly. “It must be nice, though, to have him living so close to you.”
Evan’s face lit up. “Yeah, it’s great. Though after seeing how he was in Babel? That boy is going to be a handful.”
Michael dipped his head to whisper in Sean’s ear. “It’s good to be home, isn’t it?”
Sean hugged his husband tighter. “Oh God, yes.”
He closed his eyes and half-listened to the conversations, Michael’s voice a comforting rumble in his chest.
It felt unbelievably good to be home.









The boys are back in town, the boys are back in town!

Okay, so it's been sixteen months since I last wrote about the students in a certain house in Manchester.
Wow. THAT long? Oops....
I'd never intended to leave it that long, but other things got in the way. After I'd finished writing Learning to Love: Josh & Chris, I wrote An Unlocked Heart, the first in the Collars & Cuffs series - which grew legs and took off, so to speak. That series now has three books, with another coming out early summer, and another six in the pipeline...
But my boys were never far from my mind. I knew what the final book would contain back in April 2012. It was just a matter of sitting down to write it.
Well, we are finally there. Learning to Love: Final Exam is up and running.
I think I've received more emails on this subject than any other topic. It seems everyone is worried about Sean. I even had a message from a lovely fan who made me promise that Sean really is going to be okay...  Yeah, Lynn, I know, I know....
So, for all those people who want more from my boys - Michael & Sean, Evan & Daniel, and Josh & Chris - here's an excerpt from Chapter One. Enjoy...

Chapter One

“Where’s Evan?” Josh asked, hands full of polystyrene cups of coffee with cardboard holders around them. Chris carried a selection of muffins.
Daniel laughed. “He’s only gone to check the arrivals board again.” He scanned the crowd of people thronging the Arrivals hall of Manchester airport, trying to spot his husband. His face lit up. “There he is.” He shook his head as Evan got close enough to see him. “Now, has anything changed since the last time you looked? Is their plane still on time?” His lips twitched as he tried not to laugh at Evan.
Evan flushed. “Okay, make fun all you want. I was just checking to see that they hadn’t been delayed.” He dropped onto one of the chairs and held out his hand for a coffee. Josh handed him a cup with a grin.
Chris chuckled. “I hope not. They’re due to land in about fifteen minutes.” He held out the muffins. “Choose one. It’s just a bite to keep us going until lunch.”
Daniel laughed as Evan and Josh fought it out for the chocolate muffin. “Remind me again: you two are how old? Six?”
Josh stared at him with wide, incredulous eyes and then tut-tutted to Evan. “You have my sympathies. Being married to a man who doesn’t understand the importance of chocolate.”
Evan sighed dramatically. “I know. The things I have to put up with.”
Chris snickered. “Oh, my sympathies lie entirely with Daniel. You’re a handful.” Everyone except Evan got a laugh out of that.
Daniel leaned closer to Evan and dropped his voice. “It’s okay, baby. I know you’ve missed them. But not long now and we’ll have our Sean and Michael back with us.” He mouthed silently I love you and took hold of Evan’s hand, squeezing it tightly before releasing it. Evan gave him a grateful smile and sipped his coffee. Daniel wasn’t about to share their concerns with the others. It was enough that he and Evan were worrying about Sean—Josh and Chris didn’t need something else to worry about.
He took a closer look at Josh. The medical student appeared tired. Daniel knew he was working night shifts as an agency nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary. In fact, he’d barely gotten in the house from finishing his shift that morning before they were ready to come pick up Sean and Michael. Evan had tried to argue that it didn’t need all four of them, and two cars, but Josh had gotten this stubborn look over his face. Daniel could understand how he felt. It had been five long months since the boys had left for Spain, and all four of them couldn’t wait to have them back home.
Daniel drank his coffee and stared at the door where he knew they’d appear eventually.
Those two are our hub, he thought pensively. Although Evan had known them the longest, Daniel had grown to love the couple when he’d moved in at the end of their first year. Then Josh had reappeared in their lives, along with Chris, both men with a strong connection to Michael.
Daniel smiled to himself as he thought about the couple. Michael was definitely the quieter of the two, and a more generous, good-natured man Daniel had yet to meet. He was plainly Sean’s rock. And right now that rock was sinking under the weight of worry about his husband’s health. Both he and Evan had been talking a lot in recent weeks via Skype with Michael, and it was clear Michael wasn’t happy with the doctor’s diagnosis of migraines.
If Sean has migraines, then why isn’t the medication helping?
The doctor had been adamant, however. He’d told Michael to give it time.
Easy to say that, but Michael is the one dealing with a husband in pain.
Evan nudged him with his shoulder. “Stop. You won’t solve anything by worrying.”
Daniel gave him a half-smile. “You really do know me, don’t you?”
Evan arched his eyebrows. “And this surprises you?” His eyes met Daniel’s. “Of course I know you.” His expression said what his lips did not. Daniel could see the love in those eyes, and it filled him with warmth.
Thank God I have you, he thought. There wasn’t a day went by without that thought crossing his mind.
“Hey, they’re early!”
Chris’s words broke through his internal meanderings. Daniel looked up to see Chris pointing to a monitor. Sure enough, it announced the arrival of their flight from Madrid.

Daniel got to his feet and grinned at his house-mates. “Let’s go welcome our boys home.”

Monday, 6 January 2014

2014 is the Year of the Blog

Okay, well, that's the intention.
I am notoriously bad at keeping this blog up-to-date. My friend Max Vos puts me to shame. Every Saturday he produces a blog post, rain or shine.
And he got me thinking.... "Maybe it's about time I did something with mine."
So, to kick-start my year of good intentions, I thought I'd share with you the first chapter of Personal Secrets, the final installment in the Personal series. Last week saw the release of Personal Changes, Rick and Angelo's story, but now it's Ed's turn.
A few of you did pick up on the clues, and I know you've been dying to learn more about the brash, loud, Cockney rugby player who always looks out for his friends... So here it is. Enjoy.

Personal Secrets by K.C. Wells

CHAPTER ONE

Something was definitely wrong with Ed Fellows.
Okay, so he hadn’t come out and said anything, but ever since he’d stepped outside the Elephant & Castle pub to talk on his phone, Ed had seemed preoccupied. Colin couldn’t help but notice the incessant glances at his phone, the restless checking and re-checking of his messages, Ed’s furrowed brow as his fingers did their best to tap the virtual keyboard. Colin had chuckled to himself at first when he’d caught the frequent, under-the-breath swearing when Ed made mistakes.
I suppose it’s hard to text when you’re pissed.
Not that Colin would know right now. He was stone-cold sober. Bloody antibiotics. He only had to take them for one more day, but that still meant he was on Coke for the night.
Talk about torture. He wasn’t sure why he’d gone with the rugby team to the pub after the match. They’d spent hours getting increasingly hammered, while Colin had sat there nursing his Coke, smiling at the drunken jokes and slurred speech.
Come on. You know why you came. The reason is sitting right next to you.
Colin sighed internally. Ed was leaning forward, bleary eyes fixed on his phone, thankfully oblivious to Colin’s crush. Colin gazed around the cozy pub at his team-mates, careful not to focus his attention wholly on Ed. He’d noticed Ed had drunk less since the phone call, and that expression of concern hadn’t diminished.
When ten-thirty arrived and the team was finally showing signs of bringing their binge to an end, Colin couldn’t take any more. He tugged at Ed’s elbow.
“Want to tell me what’s wrong?”
Ed twisted in his chair to regard him, forehead smoothing out almost instantly as he pasted on a bright smile. “Wrong? Nothin’s wrong.” His voice slurred slightly.
Colin snorted. “Yeah, pull the other one, mate. You don’t fool me.”
Ed stared at him in silence for a moment and then heaved a heavy sigh. The mask slipped from his face. “Look, me boss Blake and ’is ’usband are expectin’ a kid, yeah? Well, Blake rang me about four hours ago to say their surrogate had gone into labor three weeks early.”
Colin was impressed. “He must be a damned good boss if you’re worried about him.” Better to react like that than to the news that Ed’s boss was not only gay, he was married.
Ed cackled. “God, me an’ Blake go way back. We were at school together, and then at uni.” His gaze traveled back to his phone. “Thing is, I’ve been texting ’im and the sod isn’t answerin’.”
“Maybe there’s no news?” Colin suggested. “Surely he’d get in touch if there was.”
Ed looked glum. “You didn’t ’ear ’is voice, Col. That man was worried.”
Colin could almost feel the concern rolling off his friend in waves. And just like that, he wanted to be the one to help him. He got to his feet and tugged Ed to stand up beside him.
“Come on,” he told his now puzzled team-mate. “I’ll take you to the hospital. I’m assuming you know which one, right?”
The look of relief on Ed’s face made Colin’s insides quiver. You don’t have a fuckin’ clue what you do to me, do you?
“Seriously?”
“Well, no other bugger here is going to drive you, are they?” Colin grinned. “’Course I’m serious. Now let’s get you there so you can put your mind at ease, okay?”
Ed’s expression softened as a smile lit up his face. “Thanks, mate,” he breathed.
It didn’t matter that Colin knew Ed was older than him by about four years or so. In that moment, having the man lean on him felt damn good.


Colin was still reeling from the shock, although he was doing his damnedest to hide it. They’d gone straight to St. Mary’s hospital in Paddington and after some wandering around they’d eventually found Ed’s boss Blake and his husband. And it was then that Colin had done a double take.
Oh my God—that’s Will Parkinson. He knew the face so well from his frequent trips to Will’s Facebook page where Colin would read what his favorite MM author was up to. Then he’d schooled his face pretty quickly. Admitting he knew who Will was might lead to some awkward questions, which Colin wasn’t prepared to answer just yet. This wasn’t the time or the place. Not that he had any qualms about telling Ed he was gay, but right now there was no reason to do so.
Blake was clearly surprised to see them and wanted to know why they were there. For the first time, Colin gave a thought to how they must have looked. They were still in their rugby gear, which was covered with about half the mud of the playing field. God, we look a sight! The two men ushered Colin and Ed into a little waiting room furnished with a sofa and a couple of armchairs. It had taken all Colin’s effort not to fangirl all over Will. He must have called on hitherto undiscovered acting abilities, because Will didn’t appear to notice anything. Then again, the poor guy did have a lot on his plate just then.
Ed collapsed into an armchair and addressed Blake. “Well, I’ve bin sendin’ yer texts and got no effin’ answer, so I got a bit worried.” He indicated Colin with a flick of a hand. “This is Colin, one of me rugby mates. Seein’ as ’e’s been on the Coke all night ’cause ’e’s on antibiotics, ’e volunteered to bring me ’ere.” He peered at Blake. “Be an absolute angel and find me a coffee, would ya? Me ’ead’s bangin’.” He paused for a second or two. “On second thoughts, you couldn’t chase up some asp’rin, could ya?” He gave Blake a hopeful look.
Blake snickered. “I’ll see what I can do.” He went toward the door.
“I ’ave told ya recently that I love ya, ain’t I, boss?” Ed batted his eyelashes.
Blake laughed. “Every time I have coffee waiting for you, yes.” He exited the room, shaking his head.
Will stared at Ed in amazement. “Have you all been in the pub since Blake rang you?”
Colin snorted. “That’s nothing. When we left, half an hour ago, they were still at it.” He shook his head. “I should have just left them to it, instead of sitting around, torturing myself, watching them downing pints like they were about to be rationed.” He sat down on the sofa and sagged back. “And it’s not as if this one”—he gestured toward Ed—“could drive, the state he was in. Although,” he added grudgingly, “he did stop downing his pints as fast once you’d called.”
Ed blew him a kiss. “Mwah! Ya know you only do it ’cause I’m bleedin’ adorable, Col.”
That casually thrown-out remark, typical of Ed, almost made Colin’s heart stop. You have no idea. Ed was brash, loud at times, a bear of a man with a generous heart—and Colin had been in lust with him virtually from the time Ed had turned up to play with the team. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d berated himself for falling for a straight guy, but there was something about Ed that was simply compelling.
With a start Colin realized he’d been staring at Ed for far too long. He was suddenly conscious of Will’s gaze on him and he hurriedly turned away. Will’s expression had been all too knowing. Colin kept his gaze trained steadfastly in any direction except Ed’s.
Blake returned to the room, carrying a clear plastic cup and a couple of tablets. He nudged Ed with his knee. “Here. Take these.” He handed them to Ed who swallowed the pills quickly, chugging the water after them.
Ed peered at Blake’s now empty hands. “Coffee?” he pleaded. Colin had to smile at that. Ed was like a little needy kid sometimes.
The door opened and a couple entered, carrying two small children. Colin got lost in all the greetings and conversation that followed. Ed leaned forward to speak in a low voice.
“That’s Lizzie an’ ’er ’usband, Dave. Lizzie works at Trinity—well, she did, until the birth of that little tyke.” He pointed to the toddler who was at present making shaky steps toward Blake. “An’ Dave is Blake’s best mate from uni. The kids are Blake and Will’s godchildren.”
That explained the closeness which permeated the little group. Colin felt awkward for a moment, as though he were intruding on a family gathering. Such thoughts disappeared rapidly when the door opened and a diminutive woman in a white doctor’s coat entered. Judging from the speed with which Will and Blake followed her out of the room, Colin guessed all was not well with the baby. He glanced at Ed, whose eyes were trained on the door, his brow furrowed once more.
You’re a good man, Ed Fellows. It wasn’t the first time such a thought had crossed his mind.
Blake and Will came back into the little room, their faces drawn. Just the sight of them had everyone sitting up straight, Colin included.
“The baby’s in distress,” Blake explained, “so they’re doing an emergency Cesarean. Donna will be going into theater in the next few minutes.” Will slipped his arm around Blake’s waist and kissed his cheek.
Ed’s face fell. “Does the doc think the baby’ll be okay?”
Will looked to Blake before replying. “She seems pretty confident, and it’s a fairly quick op.”
“Then come an’ sit down, the pair of ya,” Ed said practically, gesturing to the space next to Colin on the sofa. “Just let ’em do their stuff, yeah?”
In spite of his confident air, Colin could see the tension in Ed’s body. Blake sat down next to Colin, Will beside him, and the two men held hands. For a brief moment, Colin felt slightly envious. Blake and Will had each other, not to mention these great friends who clearly loved and accepted them. Then he brushed it aside. A relationship like theirs was what he wanted, but it wasn’t as if it was constantly at the forefront of his mind. Colin’s philosophy was that if it happened, it happened. And if it didn’t, well, he was good with that too. There’d been one, fairly long-term relationship in his past. He and Darren had been together for three good years, before things had started to go sour. When push came to shove, they simply weren’t a good fit. Since then, Colin had dated, but nothing special. In the last few years there’d been no time for anything else, as he’d concentrated on his career as a graphic designer. He had a close-knit circle of friends, and that had been enough.
Colin gazed at Ed who sat, elbows on knees, hands hanging down between them. Ed was lost in his own thoughts, affording Colin the opportunity to observe his team-mate. That body had formed a frequent component in Colin’s masturbatory fantasies of the last few months. Ed’s short, brown hair was a mess, and was even starting to thin a little, but Colin didn’t care. He loved those clear, green eyes and firm jaw. And that mouth. God, the nights he’d lain in bed, fantasizing about kissing those full lips until they were red and swollen. Ed’s neck was thick, and Colin let his gaze drift lower to where thick, curly hair was visible under his rugby shirt.
Fuck, hairy men do it for me every time.
Each time he’d glimpsed Ed in the showers after a match, it had been all he could do to keep his erection under control. He knew those shorts hid heavily-muscled thighs, the hair becoming thicker on his calves. The wide chest and thick, muscled biceps were all evidence of Ed’s workouts. Hell, he had to be that size. Being the number eight for the team meant he needed every inch of muscle.
Once more Colin became aware of eyes focused on him, and quickly shifted his gaze. God, how long had he been staring at Ed? He’d completely lost track of time.
The door opened and the doctor entered, smiling. Will and Blake were on their feet in an instant.
“Gentlemen, you have a daughter. And mother and baby are both doing well.” She beamed at them.
Will turned to face Blake. “A little girl. Blake, we have a little girl.” Colin loved the note of wonder in his voice. He watched as the two men held each other, exchanging soft, loving kisses as their three friends got up to hug them, voices raised in congratulation.
“Would you like to see Donna and your daughter?”
Colin had to smile as Dr. Marrin’s words broke through, obviously amused. Will released Blake and met his husband’s gaze. “Let’s go see our little girl.”
Ed cleared his throat. “Okay, now I know everythin’s fine an’ dandy ’ere, I’m gonna go ’ome.” He speared Blake with an intense stare. “An’ I don’t expect to see you at work, okay?” He grinned. “’Ave a day off on me. In fact, ’ave several. It’s called paternity leave, so I’m reliably informed.” Ed winked.
“Done,” Blake replied promptly. Both Colin and Will chuckled to see the look of faint surprise on Ed’s face. “What—you expected me to argue?” Blake snickered.
Colin got to his feet. “Come on, Ed, I’ll take you home. You need to sleep it off or you’ll be in no state for work tomorrow, Mr. Office Manager.” He grinned good-naturedly.
“That shows ’ow awake you are,” Ed cackled. “Tomorrow’s Sunday.” He was still beaming as he clapped Will on the back and gave Blake a brief, manly hug before heading for the door. Colin gave a nod to the group and followed him out. They walked along the now quiet corridors to the elevator. Ed leaned back against the elevator walls and sighed.
“Thank God everythin’ worked out all right.” He closed his eyes.
“Will and Blake seem like a nice couple,” Colin noted.
Ed opened his eyes. “Yeah, I didn’t see that one comin’. First we all knew about it was the office Christmas party when the coppers turned up to arrest Will for assaultin’ our receptionist, Karen.”
Colin stared. “You’re kidding.”
Ed shook his head. “God’s honest truth. ’Course, it was a crock o’ shit, but when Blake told the ol’ Bill that Will couldn’t ’ave done it ’cause they’d spent the night together…”
His words trailed off as the doors to the elevator opened and they exited. They walked out of the hospital into the dark night toward the car park. Colin was still ruminating on Ed’s words.
“Wow, talk about a dramatic way to come out of the closet.”
Ed guffawed. “You can say that again. Then blow me, a week later, during the New Year’s Eve party, Blake goes an’ gets down on one knee in front of everyone and proposes.” He shook his head once more. “An’ we never had a bloody clue that Blake was even gay! Just shows, you never can tell about people.”
They reached Colin’s car and got in. Ed sank his head back against the support and closed his eyes.
Colin smirked. “Yeah, close your eyes, Sleeping Beauty. I’ll get you home.” He switched on the engine.
“You’re a real prince,” Ed murmured. It wasn’t long before Colin could hear the change in his breathing as Ed fell asleep.
Good job I know where you live, eh, mate? It wasn’t the first time he’d driven to Ed’s p-lace to pick him up for rugby practice or a match. Smiling to himself, Colin pulled out of the parking bay and started on the forty minute or so journey to Ed’s flat. As he drove along, he glanced down at the muscled legs and thick calves, still spattered with mud.
God, I need a shower, he thought. It would have to wait until he’d deposited a sleepy Ed back at his flat. He grinned to himself. Wonder how Ed would feel if I offered to tuck him up in bed? He barely held back the snort.
Yeah, like that was going to happen.