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All My Loving

By J.D. Walker

Published by JMS Books LLC at Smashwords

Visit jms-books.com for more information.

Copyright 2017 J.D. Walker

ISBN 9781634864213

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Cover Design: Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com

Image(s) used under a Standard Royalty-Free License.

All rights reserved.

WARNING: This book is not transferable. It is for your own personal use. If it is sold, shared, or given away, it is an infringement of the copyright of this work and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review.

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It may contain sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which might be considered offensive by some readers. Please store your files where they cannot be accessed by minors.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published in the United States of America.

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I have enjoyed creating this series and appreciate your love for these men! Here’s a small window into the lives of the characters after their stories ended. My gift to you.

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All My Loving

By J.D. Walker

Chapter 1: Tory and Maury

Featuring characters from the story, “Love, Love Me Dude.”

Maury’s sister Sheila was getting married, which was driving him nuts, and, therefore, me, too. The wedding would take place on Saturday, a day and a half from now, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over already.

Leonard, Sheila’s fiancé, had the patience of a saint, in my opinion. He had to, in order to live with the woman and the mild hysterics that had happened from time to time when something ruined her perfect plans. It had been a nightmare of epic proportions, these past six months, and I hoped to never have to deal with such like again in this lifetime.

I got why she wanted it to be perfect. The father of her children was a moron of the highest order, and she wanted a do-over, of sorts. Still…Maury and I had watched over his sister’s triplets any number of times as Sheila and Leonard traveled up and down the coast in search of the perfect dress that didn’t cost the earth, a venue that wouldn’t bankrupt them, and on, and on.

Now, we were at the end of the wedding rehearsal, catered by René, our local pastry chef extraordinaire. Sheila had made the wedding party run through the program three times, and there would have been a fourth if Maury hadn’t put his foot down. Thorn and Brian, who would be providing the music at the wedding, had already left, since Thorn had to work. The triplets were asleep, two in Maury’s lap and one in mine. I couldn’t wait to go home.

“Tell me we won’t do this on our wedding day,” Maury whispered to me as we watched Leonard and the priest calm Sheila from yet another meltdown.

I turned to him in surprise. “You want to get married?” It hadn’t even occurred to me such a thing would come up, even after gay marriage became legal. Why did we need to be married, anyway? We were happy together, firm in our love and neither of us was going anywhere, ever. Putting a ring on his finger seemed…superfluous.

“You don’t want to get married?” he asked, the surprise and sadness—hurt, even—I saw on his face taking me aback.

“I…I didn’t realize it would be important to you, tying the knot. We’ve never talked about it. Aren’t we fine as we are? Why do we need a ring? I love you and you love me. Is all this hoopla—” I gestured to the madness around us and scowled “—is it really necessary?”

“Well, I don’t want any madness like this, that’s for certain,” he replied, which I took to mean that yes, the hoopla was a given. Crap. I sighed, knowing I’d do anything to make Maury happy, but getting married? I wasn’t sure I could promise that.

My parents hadn’t been the demonstrative sort, and though they’d cared for me, I knew they’d felt relief when I left home. They’d gotten married because my mom had been pregnant with me, after all. I’d been a constant reminder of their “mistake.” I hadn’t heard from them since I walked out the door at eighteen, but I hadn’t made the effort for them to find me, either. If I were to use them as a shining example of marriage, it wasn’t encouraging.

Another hour went by before Leonard and Sheila finally came over to take the triplets and thank us for watching them. Maury kissed his sister on the cheek and assured her the wedding would be perfect. His smile was bright, but I could see the strain behind it.

Leonard shook my hand with his free one and I could tell he couldn’t wait to be done with the whole fiasco. Why would Maury want any of this? Did he need proof of our love on a marriage license? It disturbed me he might feel that way. And where did that leave me?

* * * *

The wedding went off without a hitch on Saturday morning, thank the universe. It was a chilly, cold day in December but the sun was shining. The whole town seemed to be present, and everyone was smiling.

Sheila looked beautiful, Leonard handsome, the triplets cute and full of mischief, throwing petals on the guests instead of the carpet, and blowing spit balls at each other.

Maury gave a speech at the reception that almost had me in tears. He spoke about how close he and his sister were and all they had gone through, then expressed gratitude to Leonard for taking her off his hands, thank Christ. We all had a good laugh at that, but my heart hurt.

Though Maury and I had continued with our lives as usual after the rehearsal, I could tell he was preoccupied. He hadn’t once brought up getting married again, and I was terrified of discussing it, too. I could feel his eyes on me, sometimes, and wondered what he was thinking. Was it a deal breaker, my lack of interest in getting hitched?

Every night before we’d fallen asleep, Maury had given me a chaste kiss on the mouth, and nothing more. I didn’t think he was punishing me for what I’d said. He was simply trying to figure things out and probably didn’t want to cloud the issue. I didn’t want to lose him over a stupid piece of paper.

Once the happy couple had left, and the triplets had been handed off to friends who would watch them until their parents returned from their honeymoon in a week, Maury and I drove back to the motel mid-afternoon. There were no guests booked for the weekend, surprisingly, so we had the place to ourselves.

Not being hungry, I suggested a walk on the beach after we’d changed into sweats. Maury nodded and we donned our hoodies before heading out to stroll on the sand. We usually held hands, but this time, we didn’t. Though we walked side by side, I could feel the distance of an ocean between us.

It wasn’t that windy, and we were the only ones out there. I’d gone jogging first thing that morning, as usual, but my footprints had been washed away hours ago.

“That was a great speech, love,” I said as we strolled along slowly. “Sheila and the kids would have been lost without you all those years.”

He shrugged the way he always did when complimented. “I’m just glad I could be there for her. She’s strong on her own, but I know she loved having me in her corner, and vice versa. Now, it’s Leonard’s turn.” He winked and I laughed in relief. At least he didn’t seem to be mad at me.

“Yeah.” I led the way to one of our favorite rocks and sat, Maury doing the same. I took a deep breath, the nip in the air giving me courage. “Something on your mind?” I asked, watching his profile lovingly as the gentle breeze blew over-long strands of hair into his face. I wanted to tuck them behind his ear and nibble on his chin.

“You’ve been pensive since before the wedding,” I continued, “and I know it’s because of what I said about marriage.”

Maury sighed. “It is, and I’m sorry that I’ve pulled away from you, a little. It’s just, I never thought we could get married and was happy with the status quo, and then gay marriage was legal, and my sister was planning her wedding…I got caught up in it and assumed you wanted the same thing, too.”

“I didn’t realize it was something that would be important to you. To tell you the truth, my parents didn’t have a great marriage, and I never thought it would be something I would consider.”

Hesitantly, I reached out to take his cold hand in mine, and was relieved he didn’t pull away. “If it’s what you want, give me some time to think about it, okay? I want you to be happy, no matter what.”

Maury grabbed my other hand and looked at me earnestly. “I want you to be happy, too. I won’t lie that I really want to get married, but if you can’t get there, we can remain as we are, too. I love you, and that won’t ever change.”

What I felt in that moment could only be expressed in a kiss.

* * * *

Chapter 2: Murphy and Austin

Featuring characters from the story, “Happiness Is a Warm Bum.”

I lay in bed next to my lover and watched him sleep. It was early on a Sunday morning, not even six o’clock, and I didn’t have to work, which meant it was the perfect day to snuggle up to Austin, and get up much, much later. The laugh lines and crow’s feet were not quite as pronounced when he was totally relaxed, and I loved every one of them. His left leg was thrown over mine, and his hand rested on my bicep, his obsession with my muscles still evident even in repose.

I loved the man, and I didn’t think he would ever understand how much.

When I had come roaring into town one winter’s day, angry, depressed, weary, and practically homeless, he’d given me a place to stay, paid work, and shown me a level of caring and concern I’d rarely found in others up to that point. He’d had no reason to help me out, and he did it anyway. Chipped away at my walls until they all came tumbling down. How could I not love Austin, who’d taken me in from the cold and helped me find myself again?

I leaned in and kissed his forehead, smiling when he snuggled in a little closer. His hair was almost fully gray now, the brown pretty much gone. When he was awake, those blue, blue eyes rivaled the ocean. He was fit and hot, older guy or not, and I counted my blessings every day that we were together, that he hadn’t given up on me.

Reaching down between us, I gently grabbed his dick, which was half-hard. Austin loved to claim that he was old and couldn’t keep up with me, but he did just fine. And though we didn’t have sex morning, noon and night, it wasn’t about that, anyway. Holding him in my arms all night, making breakfast together, going on motorbike rides, spending our lives in each other’s company, having each other’s back. That was what made me happy.

“Murphy,” Austin mumbled as I began to pump his cock. I kissed him gently on the tip of his nose, making him wiggle it, which was always cute.

“Feel good, love?” I asked, reaching out to fist his hair and take his mouth in a hard kiss, nibbling on his bottom lip before I sucked on his tongue, making him moan. Austin pushed his dick through my fist, over and over, chasing oblivion while I fucked his mouth.

It didn’t take long before he lost it, giving up enough cream I could use to work on his hole. I reached down between us to find his entrance, Austin moving his leg up a little higher so I could access it. He was still loose from the night before, and it didn’t take long before he was fucking my fingers, silently begging me to take him since I refused to stop kissing him. He tasted so good.

I fit my cock to his asshole and pushed inside, slow and easy until I was all the way in. As I placed little bites on his chin and throat, I moved in and out of his body, setting up a slow rhythm that I kept going for a few minutes.

“Murphy,” Austin whispered, a slight whimper leaving him before he twisted one of my nipples and said, “Fuck me like you mean it.”

I took him at his word and rolled us onto his back so I could wrap his legs around my waist and go to town. Sometimes, Austin was loud in the throes of passion. When he was quiet, all pants and little moans, it seemed more poignant. Those eyes of his trapped me in their spell, and I fucked him hard enough he had to put a hand against the headboard so he wouldn’t slam into it.

“That’s the way,” he said, sweat running down his face, and mine dripping onto his skin. Neither of us cared, heading for the finish line, and when we came? It was like the first time. And I never wanted it to end.

“I love you more than life, Austin,” I said, nuzzling against his cheek as we lay next to each other, trying to cool down.

Austin played with a lock of my shoulder-length blond hair, more silver than blond as each day went by. “I know you do, love. Me, too.”

I closed the scant inches between us, kissing his bruised lips softly before saying, “It’s the start of a beautiful day.”

* * * *

Chapter 3: Wheeler and Gregory

Featuring characters from the story, “Can’t Buy His Love.”

Will he forgive me?

I had entered photographs of Gregory’s paintings in a prestigious art competition a couple of months ago. Naturally, my lover didn’t know about it because he would totally freak out. And get mad at me. And there’d be no sex for a week, which was a very effective punishment, I assure you.

Ever since that heinous assault that had caused him to leave university where he’d been an Art major, Gregory had shut himself off from everyone and doing the things he loved, like painting, until his parents helped him find a way to cope. They had assisted him in opening a daycare business, and working with children gave him some measure of peace. The only painting he’d done since school was the mural at the center, and helping tots with their art projects.

He used to be known as the “ice queen” by everyone in town, until I came along and, with quite a bit of effort, finally got him to open up to adults, not just children, and let himself be vulnerable and love again. He’d come a long way, and I wanted him to keep moving forward.

I had seen some of the pictures of his old artwork, pieces he’d worked on in school and before. They were exquisite. I encouraged Gregory to pick up his brush again and paint on canvas because art was how he bared his soul and he was so, so good at it. Also, it would help him heal that part of him he’d ignored for so long. After a long while, he began working on a few pieces which were absolutely magnificent. He’d recently finished a series on the town and the ocean, and I couldn’t stop looking at them.

I wanted the world to know about Gregory’s talent, and it was a shame his work was languishing in the house somewhere. Which was why I had decided to be slick and underhand. I hoped he wouldn’t hate me when he found out. The decision would be made soon, and I would have to figure out how to tell Gregory and convince him it was a good thing, whether he won or not.

I’d even gone so far as to contact his old professors—I’d done some research on the sly, including talking with Gregory’s parents, who were almost in tears when I told them my plan—to let them know what was going on. His former teachers were ecstatic I was doing this, and they raved over the images I sent them.

And now here I was at the gym, looking at the message I’d opened in my email box while working at the front desk. Gregory had won first place, and he’d been invited to attend an event where he would receive his prize, which was a check for five thousand dollars and a gallery exhibit.

I looked across the street and saw Gregory talking to a group of parents as they collected their kids from daycare. His hair was a little bit longer than when we’d met, and he wore his glasses, which always made me hot. When I heard him laugh, it melted my heart. He hadn’t done that very often before we’d met, and it was a matter of pride he did so freely now, with everyone.

He caught my gaze and waved at me briefly before going back inside. I’d have to tell him tonight. The event was a week from Saturday, after all.

“If you’re done mooning over your boyfriend, Wheeler, how about you spot me with the weights?” one of the patrons, Mr. Hastings, said as he stood before me, a smirk on his gently wrinkled face. I refused to blush.

“Can you blame me?” I replied as I walked around the desk and followed him. “The man is hotter than fire.”

“You’re not biased at all, are you?” he said, smirking as he lay on the bench.

“I absolutely am,” I replied, grinning as we got down to work.

* * * *

“You love me, don’t you?” I asked Gregory, who was seated next to me on the couch, a laptop each in our laps.

When I didn’t get a response right away, I looked at him. Gregory’s eyes were narrowed. “What did you do?”

I huffed. “Why did I have to do anything? I just like to hear you say it, is all.” God, he knew me so well.

Gregory still didn’t appear to believe me, but he said it anyway. “I love you. Now, spill it.”

I mock-pouted. “It was for your own good, I promise.”

And now Gregory closed his laptop and set it on the floor before turning to me. “I worry whenever you say that.”

Sighing, I handed him my laptop. “Read the email. Please.”

He gave me another look before focusing on the screen. I nibbled on a fingernail while watching his facial expression. He didn’t blink or show any emotion when he handed the computer back to me, though I thought his chin wobbled a little. He leaned back against the cushions, crossed his arms, and stared at me unflinchingly.

“Why’d you do it, Wheeler?” Okay, he wasn’t yelling. That was a start.

I closed the laptop and set it on the coffee table before us. I gathered my thoughts, trying to keep my leg from bouncing with nerves.

“I love you. I want you to be happy and will do anything to make that happen. You love to paint, Gregory. It’s a part of your soul and you create such beautiful things. I probably should have asked for your permission, but knowing you, you probably would have said no.”

He started to argue and I held up my hand. “It’s the truth, and you know it. I wanted to prove to you that you are good—great even, and that the world agreed with me. I want you to be whole, love. And I’m sorry if I overstepped, but as I said before, it was for your own good.” My leg bounced, but I stopped it. “Do you hate me now?” I asked in a small voice.

Gregory was silent for a long time, and all I could do was sit there and fidget. When he finally spoke, I almost jumped out of my skin.

“I really, really should be pissed at you. You went behind my back and did something that was…unbelievably cool and wild and crazy, like you always do.” He laughed a little, though tears ran down his face. “You always push me just enough to get my attention. This is so awesome, Wheeler. I can’t believe you did this.”

He threw himself into my arms and I ended up on my back on the couch with his hot body on top of me. “I won? Really? I can’t…” And then I heard him sniffling, and I rubbed his back and tried to soothe him.

“You needed this. It’s validation that you still have something to offer the world through your art. And that asshole who raped you that summer didn’t take away who you are, what you can do, the beauty that you can create.” I touched his chest. “It’s here, love. And I’m here, too. Always.”

He leaned back a little, and I used a hand to wipe the tears from his face. “You’re crazy,” he said before kissing me lightly on the mouth.

“I know,” I replied, before succumbing to the best kind of “thank you” that had ever been invented.

* * * *

Chapter 4: Rafe and Woody

Featuring characters from the story, “Norwegian Woody.”

Being sober was probably the hardest thing I’d ever had to do in my life. Well, aside from the time I had to admit to being an alcoholic, and gay, and in love with my baby brother’s best friend. Fun times. Worth it.

Every time I looked at Woody, at how strong he was, how he never let me get away with any bullshit, how he loved me, I was floored. All the years I’d spent hiding who I was, and I could have had everything I’d ever wanted, right here in my hometown, instead of being a coward. Yup, I was an idiot.

Now, here I was on a Friday afternoon, having taken a half-day from the precinct, and I was waiting for Serge and René to show up at the house because we were planning a surprise party for Woody to celebrate his finally taking over as Director at his school.

I had asked my brother and his boyfriend to help me out with the cooking. Woody was at the school right now, and he would be home in a couple of hours. I had already turned on the barbecue grill and had soda and water on ice. As I wondered where the hell the guys were, there was a knock on the door.

When I opened it, Serge nudged me aside so he could carry a heavy-looking box of stuff down the hall. “It’s about damn time. We parked down the road so Woody wouldn’t see the truck.”

“Hello to you, too,” I said, smirking as he staggered to the kitchen, sweaty and huffing.

René snickered as he passed me, saying over his shoulder, “Don’t worry, I’ll sweeten his temper with some pastries he doesn’t know I brought.”

I grinned as I shut the door. My brother had a weak spot when it came to his boyfriend’s baking. René definitely knew the way to Serge’s stomach and heart. I left them to it and started on the steaks that I’d been marinating.

When the food was ready, René and Serge sat at the table with a bottle of water each, René feeding Serge a brownie while I headed out the front door to wait on Woody, who should be home any minute.

And then he was here, and his bright smile and lovely eyes were the best things I’d ever seen. “Welcome home, love,” I said in greeting as I took him in my arms and hugged him tight.

Woody pulled back and kissed me softly. “That’s quite the greeting. What’s the occasion?”

“Something I hope you’ll like,” I said as I slid an arm around his waist and walked with him into the house.”

“I smell barbecue. Are we having steaks?”

“Among other things,” I replied as I led him out to where Serge and René were now making out like it was the last thing they’d ever do in this lifetime.

I coughed and they jumped apart, only for Serge to stand and rush over to hug his friend within an inch of his life. “Congratulations, man! You’ll be the best Director that school has ever seen.”

Woody laughed and hugged him back before René took Serge’s place and did the same. “We’re all proud of you, buddy.”

I stood there, watching my family and felt nothing in the world could be better than this. I served food to everyone, then heaped a pile of stuff on my plate and sat next to my lover.

“You’re a softie, aren’t you,” he whispered to me and winked before taking a bite of steak.

“I’m the big, bad sheriff. It wouldn’t do much for my reputation if word got out, so shut it.”

He licked a bit of sauce from his lips. “Yes, Sheriff.”

I blew him a kiss. “That’s better.”

When it was time for my brother and his boyfriend to go, hours later, Woody and I walked them outside.

“Thanks again for the surprise meal and the celebration, guys,” Woody said, embracing both men before waving them down the road.

When they were gone, I took Woody’s hand in mine. “Care for a walk on the beach?” He smiled and nodded, pulling me along behind him to our room to change into old jeans and a T-shirt before putting on sandals and heading with me out to the sand.

“You’re the best, you know that?” Woody murmured as we sauntered along, listening to the waves, and watching the stars above us.

“You’ve told me so, once or twice,” I replied, squeezing his hand, briefly.

“Well, it’s true. I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m so glad you’re in my life.”

“Even with all the grief I’ve caused you in the past? It is I who doesn’t deserve you.”

Woody stopped and turned to face me, taking my face in his hands. “We deserve each other, okay? I wouldn’t be the person I am without you in my life, and I think you’d say the same about yourself. I need you. You need me. End of story.”

I stepped back a little to sign I love you to him, and he copied the gesture before taking my hand and placing it over his heart.


* * * *

Chapter 5: René and Serge

Featuring characters from the story, “Crumbs Together.”

Serge was in the kitchen baking…something. He wouldn’t tell me what, exactly, just that I needed to stay out, or I wouldn’t be getting my dick sucked tonight. Duly noted.

It had surprised me he wanted to do this since everyone knew he was obsessed with my baking. It was a good thing he didn’t gain weight easily because he ate my pastries by the truck load, it seemed, and I was more than happy to make them for him.

He was a true connoisseur and I often tested my products on him. More than half the time, they ended up smushed in the bed linen. I had bought a lot more sheets since we’d gotten together. And comforters.

As I cleaned up the living room downstairs, I could smell meat…perhaps sausage? And cheese. Whatever he was making, I was getting hungry. My longtime friends would be coming into town tomorrow to spend a few days catching up, so Serge and I needed to make the most of today.

I hadn’t seen most of my buddies in a while, except for Bryce, who was running the new shop that Serge had renovated for me. He stopped by once a week to let me know how things were going. He wouldn’t be coming around this time, though, because he had a new boyfriend he was taking to Las Vegas. We would catch up when he got back.

After putting away the vacuum cleaner, I dusted and polished. Halfway through this task, I heard familiar footsteps. I turned around and saw Serge coming toward me with a plate of…muffins? And there were also two bottles of beer on a tray.

With a sheepish smile, he set everything on the table in front of the couch. “Sorry it took so long. I hope you like it, not that it will compare to what you make on a daily basis.” He rubbed the back of his neck, and I couldn’t resist those puppy-dog eyes.

I set my cleaning supplies on the nearest surface and walked over to kiss his forehead. “Anything you make is good. I don’t need to have gourmet food every day, and you know I love it when you cook.” I dragged him to the couch and sat him next to me before reaching out to snag a still-hot muffin.

“Are these sausage and cheese?” I asked before blowing on it and taking a bite.

As Serge nodded, I chewed on the muffin and the flavors were exquisite. “You’ve been holding out on me, haven’t you?” I said as I quickly finished one and snagged another, not caring that it burned my tongue.

“You really like them?” he said, looking so earnest I wanted to kiss him all over.

“I do. Is this your own recipe?”

“It’s my mom’s. She would make these for us in the afternoons after school so we could have a snack while doing our homework. I got the recipe from her some years ago but hadn’t had a chance to make it lately.”

I snagged a muffin and put it up to his mouth. “Take a bite.” He did, making sure to nip my finger lightly before sitting back against the cushions.

“I can’t believe you did all this,” I said as I took one of the beers and drank a third of it. “What brought this on?”

Serge shrugged, playing with the label on his own bottle. “I just thought it would be nice to bake something for a change. You love to cook and bake and you’re the best. I just wanted to show my appreciation.”

I set the bottle aside and did the same for his. “I appreciate it, more than you know.” Pulling Serge into my lap, I took his mouth with mine, savoring the mixture of muffin and beer and something all his own. It was delicious and intoxicating, the most decadent flavor in the world. And all mine.

Serge pulled back and said, “I would be lost without you, René. I hope you know that.”

I brushed his hair back and nibbled on his nose. “Same here.”

And it was another hour or two before we even thought about muffins or beer or anything else but each other.

Which was the perfect recipe, as far as I was concerned.

* * * *

Chapter 6: Bill and Thorn

Featuring characters from the story, “He’s So Heavy.”

I knew Bill understood what I’d been through in my life, being on the streets, having to do things because of desperation and self-preservation. The fact he still loved me in spite of the fact that I’d slept with men so I’d have a roof over my head? Just for the night? That floored me every single time.

When we first met, I hadn’t been very nice to him, but he’d overlooked that, seeing to the reality of things. He’d offered me a place to stay and helped me get back on my feet, despite a falling out with his friends. I hadn’t been very subtle about my feelings for him, but he’d refused to act on them, thinking he would be taking advantage of me, or he was too old, or some shit. Far from the truth. He was the most decent human being I’d ever known, and I wanted the world to know it.

As I sang at the fall festival with my friend Brian accompanying me on guitar, I kept an eye out for my lover, hoping he would show up soon. He’d had to work someone else’s shift at the last minute and he would be late. I just hoped he arrived in time to hear the song I’d written just for him.

People applauded enthusiastically after each number, and when we came to the last song, I almost didn’t sing it, filled with despair that Bill wasn’t there yet…until Brian nudged me and tilted his head. I looked in that direction and saw my lover standing near the front of the stage, Austin and Trent next to him and grinning from ear to ear.

I laughed with relief and blew Bill a kiss before addressing our audience. “Thank you for hanging out with us this afternoon. Brian and I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves and are willing to indulge us in our final song.” A few cheers, then I cleared my throat. “Some of you may know this, if you’re local, but I had a hard life before I landed in this town. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got here, and Bill, that lovely, beautiful man down there in front of the stage took me in and cared for me, gave me a new lease on life. Without him, I don’t know where I’d be, and I wanted to show him, and the world, how much he means to me.”

I nodded at Brian, who played the opening bars of the song. I closed my eyes and let the words I’d written, the melody, everything about Bill and what he meant flow through me. I poured out my heart and soul, and when I opened my eyes, I could see tears in his.

I sang about being lost and broken, desperate and angry. I sang about taking chances, finding meaning, and learning to trust again. The melody was bittersweet, with a twist of hope, and I hoped Bill understood what I was trying to say.

When the song ended, I barely waited for the applause before I jumped off the stage and into Bill’s arms, laughing as he held me tight against that broad chest and belly.

“You know I love you, right?” I said as he set me on the ground within the circle of his arms.

“I do. And that song…Thorn, I didn’t know…I love you, too.” He brushed hair off my forehead and cupped my chin. “I am glad I could help you start over, but the rest of it? That’s all you. You had it in you all along.”

He leaned in to kiss me, and I gave him everything I had, including tongue-sucking and wrapping my leg around his hip, maybe a grind or two. I didn’t care that we had an audience. The only person who mattered was Bill, and giving him all my loving.

And that was the best melody in the world.


* * * *


J.D. Walker likes to keep her stories short and sweet, with the occasional novel or novella. A multi-published author, she is also a musician, artist, language enthusiast (German and Spanish), and lover of all things knit and crochet.

For more information, visit lifebyjo.com/jdwalker.


JMS Books LLC is a small queer press with competitive royalty rates publishing LGBT romance, erotic romance, and young adult fiction. Visit jms-books.com for our latest releases and submission guidelines!

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