Wanting by M.L. Rhodes
*Book 1 in the Campus Hearts series!
#1 Bestseller at Amber Allure
Over 18 months on Amazon Kindle’s gay/lesbian top 100 list
It started with one kiss. Which led to another. And another. And then to a mind-blowing night of intimacy Jeremy Reynolds can’t forget. He can’t stop thinking about the gorgeous, smart, compassionate man who tilted his world. Can’t stop seeing warm, sexy eyes gazing at him with breath-stealing intensity.
Jeremy tries to tell himself to let the incident go, move on, and chalk it up to a life experience. After all, what transpired between him and his best friend and roommate, Ben Cross, can never happen again. Ben is gay, and Jeremy…isn’t. At least he’s never thought he was before. But now he’s torn and confused and not sure what the night with Ben meant—for either of them. Already stressed about final exams before the holidays and his difficult family situation, Jeremy doesn’t know how to deal with the conflicting feelings he’s having. And the one person he’s always been able to talk to about everything, and who’s always been there for him, is the very person he’s been avoiding for the past week because he doesn’t know how to face him after waking up in his bed.
Afraid he might have already screwed up his and Ben’s friendship beyond repair, what haunts Jeremy even more is the backlash he could face if he admits to Ben, or even to himself, how much the night they spent together really meant to him.
And how much he still wants Ben even now…
Genre: Contemporary gay (M/M) erotic romance
Release date: December 6, 2009
Length: Novella (23K words)
Available in ebook formats at: Amber Allure, Kindle US, Kindle UK, B&N, Sony ebooks, ARE, Fictionwise, and other online ebook retailers.
Available in paperback at: N/A
The sharp voice jerked Jeremy out of the erotic memory he’d been having, and back to the here and now with a jolt. He blinked and gazed up to the front of the lecture hall, to find Professor Ivanik glaring at him beneath dark, heavy slashes of eyebrows.
“This is neither the time, nor the place for you to be sexting your girlfriend,” the professor said, his voice oozing contempt as it echoed through the hall. “Especially, indeed, when she seems to actually care about paying attention in my class even when you do not.”
No one in the room made a sound or even looked in Jeremy’s direction for fear of drawing the professor’s wrath down on themselves. But Jeremy’s face burned in humiliation nonetheless. He glanced down, realizing his cell phone was in his hand and open. How the hell had the professor noticed it? Jeremy was only one student in a class of fifty.
Ivanik had a history of being a hard-assed S.O.B., though, with a whole list of classroom rules, one of which was no cell phones out or on during his lectures. With his snake-like dark eyes that condemned more often than praised, the man didn’t miss much. Unfortunately. He’d reamed students a new one for far less than using a phone in class. No one wanted to be on the receiving end of one of his tongue-lashings.
Jeremy quickly snapped the phone shut and cradled it in his palm. “I wasn’t se—” At the sight of those thick, accusing brows shooting up another notch, daring him to continue at his own risk, he cut himself off. “Sorry.”
“As you should be. There are people in this class who, during this hour, are committed to reviewing the material that will be on the final exam in two days. Unless you are already an expert on international business management, I suggest you make sure you’re one of them. That is if you plan to pass this class, Mr. Reynolds.”
“Yes, sir,” Jeremy mumbled.
As the professor went back to his review, Jeremy tried to concentrate on listening and dutifully following his class notes in front of him. But within seconds his mind was wandering again. He risked a guilty glance at a row of auditorium seats in front and to the right of him.
As if she knew he was looking, Lisa’s head slowly turned and she gave him a glare that was a cross between embarrassment and “What the hell is wrong with you?”
He wished he had an easy answer to that question.
“Sorry,” he mouthed at her.
Lisa’s long dark hair, captured today in a ponytail, swished against her shoulder as she shook her head at him in frustration. Then her forehead crinkled with lines and her eyes flashed with hurt before she turned away.
The bottom dropped out of his stomach. She knows…
A bout of panic gripped him for a few seconds before he slowly managed to rein it in. Get a hold of yourself. How could she possibly know?
She couldn’t. The part of his brain that was at least semi-logical and reasonable knew that. But it didn’t stop the part that was purely animalistic and all about self-preservation from winding up for a doozy of a defensive reaction.
What bothered him most though, was why he cared so much what she might think if she did know.
His heart pounding in his chest, and an unsettling knot twisting in his gut, it was all Jeremy could do to sit still through the rest of the lecture.
The moment class was over, he stuffed his books in his backpack, grabbed it up, and made his escape as fast as he could, taking the steps to the top of the hall two at a time.
He heard Lisa call his name, but he couldn’t talk to her right now, couldn’t face her. He needed to get out, get away, and get some air. Alone.
Once he was through the doors of the building, he set off at a jog.
Hell, he didn’t know.
He just knew he couldn’t bring himself to stop until he’d put a good distance between himself and…well, everything he’d left behind. He rounded the corner of Orton Hall, one of the science labs, and, finding the small quad next to it blessedly empty, leaned against the wall of the building to catch his breath.
“What the hell am I doing?” he mumbled.
He closed his eyes. The warmth of the sun felt good, but the afternoon breeze had just enough of a chill to it to make it clear that in spite of the unusually warm temperatures in the fifties they’d had this week, it was still December in Colorado. Jeremy had left his fleece hoodie in the lecture hall in his hurry to get away, and now, wearing only a thin T-shirt, was wishing he’d remembered it.
Opening his eyes, he dragged a hand through his hair, and stared across the quad at the bare, gray branches of the wintery trees reaching toward the endless, cerulean sky. It was so vast, he felt lost in it.
Almost as lost as he felt in his life right now.
School, Lisa, family—which always left a bitter taste in Jeremy’s mouth—and most of all the night a week ago that, no matter what he did or where he was, he couldn’t stop thinking about, were all a tangled mess in his mind.
Jeremy let out a shaky breath, then banged his head back against the wall once, twice, hoping to knock some sense into himself. Even as he did, though, his hand was reaching into the pocket of his jeans and pulling out his cell.
He opened the phone and, unable to resist the lure, stared down at the picture that had gotten him in trouble in class.
And just like in class, just like it had been for the past week, he couldn’t tear his gaze off the buff, beautiful, burnished flesh tangled in the snow-white bedsheets. The sheets were the perfect foil for the display of bare lean hips, firm ass, and broad-shouldered back. The man in the picture lay on his stomach, one leg bent, his dark head resting on his arms, which were wrapped around a pillow. He looked peaceful, yet completely mouth-watering. Even in sleep he made Jeremy’s heart skip several beats.
Jeremy knew he shouldn’t have taken the picture, but he’d figured he’d never have another chance to capture a moment like this. Because what had happened between them…could never happen again. This was it. All he’d ever have of the night that had blown his mind.
So deal with it. It’s over. Chalk it up to life experience and move on.
He’d been telling himself those very words, over and over, since he’d awakened in the bed that wasn’t his own, sprawled far too comfortably and intimately against a warm, hard, masculine body. What he couldn’t understand was why every time he repeated the mantra about moving on, the knot in his stomach only twisted tighter.
You know it could never be anything more. It was a one-night stand that didn’t mean anything to you or to him.
Then why did he feel so torn up inside? Why did his heart run a race whenever he remembered the husky sound of Ben’s moans and his own, and those eyes gazing at him, so full of promise and something else he couldn’t quite define, something that made his knees go weak and that he’d felt echoing inside himself as well?