I sucked back the shot and placed the glass on the bar. University was already kicking my arse, and it was only the start of my first year. Although, what didn’t help was my decision to change my degree. My dad hated the fact I switched from pre-law to a bachelor’s degree in paramedic science. In fact, he hated it enough to kick me out of the house. Didn’t bother me. I had enough cash saved from all my jobs during high school to find my own place. Even if it was a shithole, it was mine. No wonder Mum had left the dickhead and the town a few months ago. She’d asked for my forgiveness, but I didn’t need to give it when I understood. The man looked down on everyone around him and any chance he got, he put them down too.
What I wanted in life didn’t matter to him, so I stepped out from under his thumb. I wanted to help people and not in a way where I could keep them out of jail, but instead where I could save lives. Becoming a doctor hadn’t appealed to me. It was about a month ago and in my science course when I’d changed my mind on where I wanted my life to lead. People who worked in the police, fire, and health systems came in for a recruitment drive, and as the paramedic explained how his job worked, something clicked inside of me. I wanted to feel that pride the paramedic showed when he talked about his career.
He’d been so damn fine with his deep voice, tall, buff body, and eyes that I could have gazed into all day.
I shook my head. That was another thing I knew my father wouldn’t be proud of—me being gay. He didn’t know, and if I could help it, he’d never find out.
“Hey, kid, you want another?” Harry, the barman, asked. I’d been coming to his establishment for a while because I liked to relax with a drink or two while I studied. Some would say a pub was too loud or crowded, but Harry’s was different. He had his regulars and pop-ins, but he never got run off his feet, nor did he have the music pounding.
“On it.” He nodded, taking my empty shot glass and turning towards the kitchen to yell out my order, which brought a smile to my face.
I pushed the textbook away and grabbed another, flicking it open. But then I heard the door to the bar open, so I glanced that way. My eyes widened and I gulped.
It was the cop.
The one I’d admired at university.
I quickly glanced down to my book and pretended to read. It didn’t stop my ears perking up at the sound of his approaching footsteps. My pulse kicked up. I wanted to look, stare, and eye fuck. But I didn’t, knowing I wouldn’t be able to hide my desire, and since he was a cop, he could probably smell a lie from across a room.
“Hey, what can I get you?” Harry greeted after he set my shot down in front of me.
I flushed bright red when I hummed in the back of my throat. His voice was one I could listen to all night long. Even in the morning as well.
I kept my head down and tossed page after page aside while listening to the barman filling the order, and then the cop paying for it with thanks. I sensed him move away from the bar, so I let out a deep breath and chanced a glance up into the mirror across from me. The view was of the cop striding towards the back of the pub and sliding into a booth. He placed one of the Coors to the other side of the table, and I wondered who he was waiting for.
As soon as he started to take in his surroundings, I quickly moved my gaze back down to my book. I tried to pay attention to the words in front of me, but they all blended into each other and my mind stayed on the cop.
I remembered his name. Lan Davis.
The door banged open. I glanced there to see a woman walk in with a soft smile aimed behind me. My heart deflated and sank to my feet. She was there for Lan. In the mirror, I saw his returning grin.
Yeah, they were together.
Another one bites the dust.
I snorted at myself and shook my head. Picking up the shot glass, I tipped it back and went back to my textbooks. My night had just dimmed a little since she walked in and was snuggled up close to Lan in the booth as they talked.
After I’d finished my dinner and a beer a couple of hours later, I slammed my textbook closed and stretched. I needed to get some sleep if I was going to be coherent in class the next day.
“You done for the night?” Harry asked.
It was Lan saying goodbye to his friend? Woman? Hook-up? He didn’t leave with her, though, so I wasn’t sure what she was to him. That caught my attention, and I zoned for a moment.
“Kid?” Harry pressed.
Harry shot me a wave when someone yelled his name from the other end of the bar. That was when I felt a presence at my side.
“So…” was drawn out and it caused me to freeze. “You’re just going to leave and not say anything after watching me most of the night? Do I know you or something?”
I sucked in a breath, thinned my lips, and I may have even whimpered a little. Sweat formed on the back of my neck, and I thought if I stayed still long enough, then he wouldn’t disappear, and my dream would be true.
His chuckle had me blinking slowly, and I focused on him in the mirror. He’d leaned into the bar on one elbow while looking at me with a smirk on his lips. Throughout that time, I sat stunned out of my mind that he was even talking to me, and I was also embarrassed he’d caught me looking at him most of the night.
“And you still don’t say anything.” His voice rumbled.
I had to do something so he didn’t think I was weird.
“Ah…” Great, I wished to God I wasn’t so socially awkward. Maybe I’d grow out of it one day, but it wouldn’t be that day obviously. Especially not when a sex god talked to me. I tried again. “Sorry. Um, yeah. Sorry. I didn’t mean to stare.” Think, Easton. Think. I slid off my stool opposite where Lan was taking up the space and grabbed my jacket. I shrugged it on and happened to glance at his crotch, and my damn eyes didn’t want to look away. So instead, I explained, “I remembered you calling into one of my classes at uni. You talked about being a cop.”
“So you’re at university?”
“Yes.” I nodded.
“What are you studying?”
“Everything there is to become a paramedic.”
“Good career choice, but it can be hard sometimes.”
A small smile formed on my lips. “So can being a cop I’m sure.”
He chuckled. “Very true. You in your first year?”
“Yeah.” I picked up my books and hugged them to my chest. “It was, uh, nice to see you again, and sorry if I annoyed you at all.” Sweet mother of Jesus, where had my balls gone? So what if he was good-looking and intimidating with his bigger form. He was just a human being who was trying to have a normal conversation. Thinking that, I met his amused gaze and caught his lips twitching while my face burned. “Well, I better get going.”
“I’m headin’ off too.” He turned and started for the door. I’d look even more of an idiot if I sat back down and waited until he was gone to make it less awkward. Sighing, I waved to Harry and slowly followed behind Lan.
When he stopped just outside and turned to me, I thinned my lips to keep from squawking like a fool. He put my nerves to the highest level they would go for some reason.
“Easton. And you’re Lan.”
He chuckled again. A sound that licked at my skin and made my stomach tense. “I am.” He took a step closer and I nearly fainted. “You shy, Easton?”
I managed a nod.
“Tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessin’ you like the way I look. That right?”
Christ on toast.
I really did, and he’d noticed.
I hadn’t determined yet if that was a good or bad thing.
How did I answer? With the truth or a lie?
Glancing to the ground, I sucked in a quivering breath and bit my bottom lip. I nodded again. Lan hummed under his breath, causing goosebumps to pop up all over my skin.
His hand reaching up was what I saw next. I kept myself locked tight, trying not to flinch. Two fingers touched my chin, he tilted my face up so our eyes clashed. He was smiling, so I was guessing he was going to say something that would shock me. His teeth grazed his bottom lip. “I like the way you look too, Easton.”
I flicked my gaze to the side and then back to his. “Are you gay?” I whispered.
“No,” he stated. My stomach dropped and I wanted to look away, but then his thumb ran over my lips. “I like both sexes. Mostly women, but right about now, you.” He smiled, leaned in close and ordered, “Breathe.”
My mouth opened as I drew in a deep breath. For a second there, I’d forgotten I needed oxygen to live.
“Would you….” Well, polish my nuts and serve me a milkshake, I had just about blurted if he wanted to come back to my place, but that’d be too forward. On the other hand, he pretty much told me he was interested in me, right? I wasn’t sure. I’d only ever been with one other guy, and that was for a weekend of testing the waters. The result: I was definitely gay.
“What?” Lan asked roughly.
“Nothing.” I shook my head. His hand dislodged from my chin and then—gasp—he placed it on the side of my neck while his other one went to my waist.
He bent, and I arched back to keep his stare. His heated stare. “Yes,” he clipped.
“I’ll come back to your place.”
Tits on a whale.
I hadn’t heard that.
“Okay,” I muttered. “It’s just around the corner.”
He smiled and stepped back. “Good.”
“Right.” I nodded. With my whole body feeling like it had been shot up with caffeine, I practically spun on my heels and skipped off. Lan chuckled, so I slowed and then explained, “It’s not the best of places, but it’s enough for me.”
“It’ll be fine.”
“Do you, um, live close by?” I asked as we walked side by side.
“Nope. I’m from Ballarat, not far though.”
“And…” I cleared my throat. “That woman at the pub?”
I nodded and thought it best to watch my steps so I didn’t trip. Excitement tingled in my chest and gut. Lan Davis was coming home with me.
To have sex.
At least that was what I hoped we were going to do.