Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he's gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.
In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will's problems seem like nothing compared to Noah's. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn't happy about.
When a gossipmonger with a popular YouTube channel finds evidence that Will is gay, the quarterback’s closet doors begin to crumble. Hounded by the press and harassed by other players, Will has to choose. Stay in the closet and keep his family’s wealth, or let the doors fall off and walk out with nothing. Nothing but Noah.
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“You’re not telling me that your own parents don’t know you’re gay? No way.”
“Way. I’ve never come out to them.”
Noah opened his mouth, then closed it. Being alone looked better and better. “How is that possible? Did you just decide you like guys last week or something?”
“No. I think I pretty much knew when I was twelve.” He smiled. “Our neighbors had a son who was about sixteen. His bedroom was across from mine. I used to peek through the curtains and watch him dress. Watched him jerk off too. Man, he did that a lot.” Will laughed. “I got hard every time, and I ended up beating my meat as much as he did. One day I finally realized that he had a sister who walked around the backyard wearing, like, nothing. I never looked at her, just him. That’s when I got worried.”
Had Noah ever been worried about being gay? Maybe a little. “But you date a girl. I saw you with her hanging all over your body.”
“Yeah. For the last couple years I’ve had sex with girls. I hoped I was bi.” He leaned his elbows on his knees and shook his head. “It doesn’t work very well. I even had to take Viagra once. I finally gave up and broke up with her.”
He smiled, kind of sad. “Yeah, it’s been a helluva day.”
“So are you going to come out now?”
His golden eyebrows drew tight above that straight nose. So damned Aryan. “I wish I could. No, that’s a lie. I dread the whole thing. But the truth is, if I come out, the whole team takes it in the ass. Other teams will harass me, which means my guys will defend me. Some of them will. And they’ll get suspended for fighting. Anyway, it’s a fucking mess trying to come out in team sports. I’ve got to wait until after I graduate.”
Noah frowned. “If big-time athletes like you never come out, it will never change.”
“I get that and I hate to say this, but I’ve got enough shit in my life without carrying the damned rainbow flag.”
Noah sucked in his breath to call the guy a pussy. And stopped. Coming out had been no big deal for him. Just one more weird thing about weird Noah. No one expected anything different. Will’s life was another whole pile of bullshit. Different but maybe not better. “So why did you come here?”
The green eyes glanced up, then away. “To tell you I didn’t lie to you about my name because I wanted to deceive you. I’m just so deep in lies I can’t see over the top.”
“Why did you want me to know? Why did you care?” He held his breath.
Will frowned. “Did you just have sex with Masterson?”
What the—? He pushed himself back on the couch. “What the fuck business is that of yours?”
He didn’t look up. “If you’re committed, spoken for, I want to know, that’s all.”
“Nobody speaks for me. I’m committed to no one. And I’ll have sex with whomever I please, got it?”
Will looked up from under his eyebrows, and this time he grinned. “I just wanted to check to see if you were too tired.”
Noah suppressed a snort. “What makes you think I’d want to have sex with you?” He tried to keep his lips from turning up.
“You kissed me, remember?”
The smile must show by now. “What if I didn’t like it?”
“Not an option.”
“You think you’re that good, huh?”
Will steepled his fingers in front of his own smile. “Yep.”
“I might catch girl cooties from you.”
“You’ll have to take that chance.”
Noah cocked his head at the big, handsome quarterback. Did he dare suggest it? Hell, the guy ate painters for breakfast. “There’s just one thing, jockoid.”
“I like to top.”
“Oh. My. God.”
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
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