Ebook ISBN: B01I220M3W
[ Contemporary Romance, MM ]
Second cousins getting together isn’t actually illegal, but for Justin the relationship is too close—he just can’t contemplate them being together.
Terry deliberately averted his gaze as Justin tugged off his T-shirt and dove into the pool. The last thing he needed was to see him topless. His libido was already in overdrive and he was having trouble not jumping Justin’s bones. In fact, the only thing that held him back was the fact that Justin was his second cousin. They hadn’t been brought up particularly closely, so it wasn’t as if he were lusting after someone he considered to be a brother, but still. They were related and it was weird. Or it would be weird if anything happened between them, which it wouldn’t, of course. It would be wrong and they both knew it.
Terry assumed that was the reason Justin was avoiding him, anyway. They got on well and there was an obvious spark between them, but nothing inappropriate had ever taken place. For the most part, they acted as cousins should. Every now and again, though, he’d catch Justin looking at him. Equally, Terry would drink his fill of his cousin when no one else was watching. Apparently it was getting increasingly difficult for Justin, too.
Right now, at the annual summer get together at Terry’s grandparents’ massive house in rural Warwickshire, the tension between them had never been higher.
What made the whole thing ten times worse was that neither of them had come out. So ending up together would be a double whammy for their families. He could see it now. Hey, everyone! I’m gay—and so is he. We’re together. Now, as you were.
He didn’t know whether the reaction would be favorable or not.
He did know that part of his frustration about the situation was because he hadn’t yet seen any point in coming out. His feelings for Justin ran deeper than he cared to admit, and for that reason he hadn’t been in a relationship with anyone—ever. Not a homosexual relationship, anyway. He’d had girlfriends back in the days when he hadn’t realized what his urges meant, but since then he’d been by himself and remained a virgin. He was surprised, actually, that no one in his family had asked whether he was gay. He could only assume that because he was so private generally, they thought he would only introduce them to someone when he felt it was absolutely right. That was his plan, in fact. To come out and introduce his partner at the same time. But until he got over this damn infatuation with Justin, he was never going to be any farther forward.
His thoughts ran on for several minutes until he was interrupted—and startled—by droplets of cold water falling onto his bare shoulder. He turned. Justin stood there, shaking his blond head and sending the droplets flying around. Apparently he wasn’t avoiding Terry anymore.
It was hot and he was wearing casual clothes, so Terry wasn’t bothered about getting wet, but for some reason, he snapped at Justin. “For fuck’s sake, do you have to do that here?”
Immediately Justin stopped and stared at him. They’d never had a cross word between them, not even when they were children. “Sorry, mate. I was just messing around. I didn’t think it would piss you off.”
His blue eyes were wide and Terry’s irritation dissipated rapidly. He continued to rake his gaze down Justin’s half-naked form. His broad shoulders and wide chest, which was sprinkled with a handful of pale hairs. His toned stomach, the six-pack nicely defined but not too body-builderish. His arms were thickly muscled but suited his athletic frame. Deep-blue swimming trunks hid the area he most wanted to see, but he relied on the glimpses he’d had over the years and his overripe imagination.
Thick thighs and calves and, unbelievably, nice feet—he didn’t generally like feet—finished off the package of perfection and Terry was suddenly extremely glad he had a book in his lap, because his cock was beginning to swell and press against the inside of his swimming shorts. He realized that a dip in the pool would be a pretty good antidote—the chilly water should take the heat from his cock. And if not, at least no one would be able to see the bulge unless they swam underwater.
It was stupid, really, trying to hide his erection from Justin. They both knew there was something between them, and he wanted to bury his hard cock inside Justin’s mouth or arse, not hide it beneath a fucking book.
He began to wonder whether they should just get together, and to hell with the consequences. It wasn’t illegal.
Justin sat down on the sun-bed next to Terry and flashed him a smile. “Am I forgiven, then? I haven’t got your book wet, have I?” He reached out to grab the book, presumably to try to dry it, but Terry slammed his hand down quickly, catching Justin’s fingers beneath his in the process, not to mention giving his cock a bit of a smack.
“No,” he ground out, wondering how he’d managed to get even a single word to fall from his lips. As soon as their fingers had touched he’d felt a spark that had run straight up his arm and multiplied throughout his entire body. His ebbing erection had immediately jumped back to attention, lifting the book slightly. He hoped against all hope that Justin hadn’t noticed, but he had no such luck.
The blond’s gaze dropped to their still-touching fingers and, presumably, to the book and the thing beneath it that had caused the movement. He stared for a few seconds that felt like hours, then looked back up at Terry’s face. He opened his mouth then closed it again. For the first time ever, it seemed Justin was speechless.
A huge splash and a series of laughs from the pool broke the spell between them. Justin snatched his hand back and raked it through his hair. He opened and closed his mouth again, but for the second time nothing came out. He let out a heavy sigh and stood up, looking dazed. He appeared to have trouble putting one foot in front of the other, as though he were drunk or had just woken from a very deep sleep. Of course, only the two of them knew the real reason for Justin’s behavior.
Finally Justin got his limbs to cooperate, and he made his way across to the table that held food and drinks, sheltered from the bright sunlight by a large, green gazebo.
Terry watched him go, a tumult of emotions running through his brain. Disappointment, confusion, anger, lust… they all assaulted him, though admittedly the last was screaming the loudest, a fact certainly not helped by Justin’s damp and topless state.
Now a feeling of despair took hold of him. What the fuck was he going to do? He was certain that his crush on his cousin would be easier to ignore if he weren’t sure that the other man felt the same. If his feelings were unrequited, he could attempt to give it up as a lost cause and try his damn hardest to move on. But knowing that there could be something between them if they could just let go of their reservations was driving him crazy.
A few seconds passed and Terry made up his mind. He was going to go and fetch Justin and take him somewhere they could have a private conversation. Away from their family, away from prying eyes and ears. He’d put his heart on his sleeve and see whether he was right, see whether Justin felt the same way and was willing to take the plunge. Not right away, just in case things didn’t work out between them, but in the not-too-distant future. The sooner they got their coming-out out of the way, the sooner everyone would get over it and things could get back to normal.
He was just about to get to his feet and put his plan into action when his mother appeared and sat on the sun-bed Justin had just vacated. “You all right, sweetheart?” she asked. “Sitting over here all by yourself? I noticed that at first you were reading and probably just wanted some peace and quiet, but now you look as if someone just kicked your dog.”
“I don’t have a dog, Mum.”
She clipped him playfully around the ear. “I know that, son. And you know damn well it’s just a figure of speech. So are you all right?”
She was a perceptive woman, was Caroline Kroft. She was also very good at spotting when someone was lying, so denying that anything was wrong wouldn’t work.
“No, Mum, I’m not,” he said, smiling weakly as she reached out and gave his shoulder an affectionate squeeze. “But I really don’t want to talk about it at the moment, all right? It’s nothing personal. I’ll tell you when I can, okay?”
She sucked in a deep breath, clearly fighting the urge to ask him more questions. Then she smiled back at him. “Yes, okay,” she said, squeezing him again. “As long as you know you can talk to me any time, about anything. I’m good at keeping secrets.”
Terry frowned. “What makes you think it’s a secret?”
“It must be or I’d know already.”
With that she got up and went back over to the other side of the large garden where the majority of the family was congregated. The younger generations were messing around in the pool. She sat down, then looked back over at him. As their eyes met, she nodded and grinned, then shifted her gaze over to where Justin was sitting, dangling his feet in the pool.
Terry’s heart pounded but he took care not to change his facial expression as his mind raced at a thousand miles an hour. Did she know? Or just think she knew? Perhaps she’d guessed. And perhaps everyone knew and it was only Justin and him who didn’t know they knew. His thoughts were a maelstrom so powerful that he was surprised it wasn’t making him dizzy, blowing him over the six foot fence and into the garden next door.
He dropped his head into his hands. There was no way he was going to go over and talk to Justin now that his mother was in the know. He’d have to wait until she stopped paying attention or went inside. Maybe he could arrange to meet Justin somewhere during the week, just the two of them. Or was being alone together tempting fate?
He ran his fingers through his hair, then gripped chunks of it and pulled lightly, hoping the pain would distract him from his difficult thoughts. It didn’t work—they continued to pester him incessantly.
It was then that he noticed Justin making his way over to him once more. A glance in the opposite direction revealed his mother watching them with interest. He shook his head and glared at her, and she raised her eyebrows and gave him a pointed look before moving her attention back to the people surrounding her.
It didn’t matter whether she was watching or not, though. He was still fucking screwed.