Excerpt for The Quarterback by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. All person(s) depicted on the cover are model(s) used for illustrative purposes only.

The Quarterback

Copyright © 2017 by Mackenzie Blair

Smashwords Edition

Cover art: Natasha Snow, natashasnowdesigns.com

Editors: Sarah Lyons, May Peterson, maypetersonbooks.com

Layout: L.C. Chase, lcchase.com/design.htm

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher, and where permitted by law. Reviewers may quote brief passages in a review. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Riptide Publishing at the mailing address above, at Riptidepublishing.com, or at marketing@riptidepublishing.com.

ISBN: 978-1-62649-584-5

First edition

September, 2017

Also available in paperback:

ISBN: 978-1-62649-585-2

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Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happily ever after for both of them.

For R & J

May you always love openly.

For A & E

I will always help you fight the good fight.

About The Quarterback

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Epilogue

Dear Reader

Acknowledgments

About the Author

More like this

Matt shuffled from one foot to the other as his best friend, Connor, leaned in to chat with the woman at the front desk of the spa. A spa they’d driven forty minutes outside of campus for, well past the Bodine County line. Connor, known for his loud mouth on and off the football field, spoke in low tones. Discreetly. Which meant this place was exactly the type of place Matt feared.

It wasn’t like dudes had spa days like chicks. Unless it was one of those places. Matt groaned. He knew his buddies were just trying to cheer him up. And they didn’t even know how bad his social life had gotten—pretty much nonexistent. He pretended he was just discreet with his hookups, but the truth was, he’d essentially been celibate for almost three years. God, that was depressing. Everyone else was cutting loose senior year. But Matt couldn’t. He couldn’t. He was team captain, on a full athletic scholarship, and that came with expectations.

Expectations that meant he should not be standing in a happy endings massage parlor off the interstate next to a budget motel in the deep South. So what if he had a three-year case of blue balls? He could handle a few more months. But, apparently, his friends had other ideas.

“All right, boys, we’re set!” Connor said with a huge grin, passing over a wad of cash to the receptionist. Cash.

Yep, Matt was screwed. And not in the way he wanted to be.

Connor handed their teammates and suite mates, Damian and Ryan, two white robes, which they immediately put on over their jeans and T-shirts. Matt reluctantly took his robe from Connor, the big lug of a linebacker, and followed his buddies to the locker room. If Matt weren’t so terrified about what was about to happen, he would’ve found Ryan’s and Damian’s eager excitement amusing as hell.

They were total opposites in appearance—Ryan with pale skin and buzzed hair, Damian with his dark Jamaican skin and a huge Afro. But personality-wise, they were totally in sync. Goofy, ridiculous, loveable idiots.

“I could be a young Hugh Hefner.” Ryan strutted like a playboy in his terry cloth robe as they reached their assigned lockers.

Damian scoffed at him. “Please, boy. That’s pathetic. Aim higher. Like Bond, James Bond,” Damian said with a horrid British accent, trying for a sexy pose. A purposefully pathetic sexy pose.

“No wonder ya’ll never get laid,” Connor said, rolling his eyes. Matt even managed a chuckle.

They all shucked off their clothes, used to being naked in front of each other in the locker room. In fact, Damian loved to walk around nude, bragging that he had to prove that the stereotype about black men was true.

Not that Matt looked. Ever. He was way too careful. Thankfully, Matt had zero interest in his friends in that way. The thought actually made him shudder.

As everyone shrugged on their robes again, Matt considered asking Connor what exactly he’d paid for, maybe backing out of a certain happy ending. Because knowing Connor, he would have requested the prettiest girl for Matt . . . and it would do absolutely nothing for him. It never did.

His dick liked other dicks. And he’d hid it for years. Maybe if he thought about enough gay porn, he’d be able to get hard for the pretty masseuse. Then again, he could just tell her no thanks. She’d probably be relieved. Working at a happy ending massage place couldn’t be all that glamorous. Especially off an interstate in Alabama.

“All right, boys, ready?” Damian clapped his hands eagerly.

“This is stupid,” Matt said. “We’re not a bunch of sorority girls.”

“Dude,” Connor snapped. “I took a major hit for you the other night. My back is killing me. It’s either one of Coach Boyd’s lackeys works it out or a pretty lady does it here. I choose option B.”

At that moment, a discreet knock came on the door, and they were led to separate massage rooms. Matt hoped his room was last, so he could just bail on the whole thing, but the dang girl led him to his room first. His buds gave him thumbs-up. He wanted to die. The girl ushered him through the door.

“Just take off your robe and slide under the sheet,” she instructed before heading back out.

Matt slipped off his robe, wishing he’d at least kept his boxers on, but he couldn’t race back to the locker room without causing a scene. So he reluctantly slid his bare-ass self under the cool sheet. He lay down on his stomach, his face nestled in the cushion provided.

Long minutes later, a knock came. “Come in,” he called out a bit hoarsely. He kept his head firmly down. He could do this. The regular massage part would feel good, and if it came to more . . . well, he’d just pass.

“I’m Trevor, I’ll be your masseur today,” Matt heard, and he snapped his head up. Holy shit, it was a guy. And not just any guy, an absolutely gorgeous guy who he knew from school. Trevor Kim. Fuck. Fuck.

Because damn the man was hot. Asian with dark-brown eyes and almost shoulder-length jet-black hair, a piercing in his left eyebrow, and a thin tattoo snaking around his wrist—he wasn’t the usual type at Bodine College, which was filled with soon-to-be yuppies. Any ethnicity other than white or black was less than five percent of the student body. He was tall, just a few inches shorter than Matt’s six-foot-two frame, and toned but not overly muscled. And Matt was the asshole staring at him.

“You’re a dude,” Matt heard himself stupidly say.

“Uh, yeah, last time I checked,” Trevor said with a small smile. “Is that a problem?” He looked away, quickly pulling his hair into an elastic band.

Yes, yes, it was a huge-ass problem! Because worse than being massaged by a chick whom he wouldn’t have a reaction to, was getting massaged by Trevor and having a huge reaction. But he couldn’t exactly explain his predicament.

And why the hell had they sent him a guy? Were his friends fucking with him? Or had they known he wouldn’t want a happy ending? Maybe all the girls only did massages for men who wanted to get off, and the guys did massages for men who didn’t? Yeah, that made sense. Right?

Apparently, he’d been lying there too long with a stupid expression on his face, because Trevor looked down at his clipboard and said, “You requested a Deluxe Deep Tissue Athletic Sports Massage. Is that right? Do you want someone else?”

Matt let out a relieved breath when he heard it. “No, no, that’s fine. We’re all on the football team, and yesterday’s game was brutal.”

“Are you sure?” Trevor asked again, reaching for the doorknob.

“Yeah, totally,” Matt said with a smile, sinking back down to his elbows. He doubted a chick at a place like this had enough strength to work out his muscles. Actual massage skills were probably not their best selling point. But, damn, Matt needed it. He’d been tackled hard after he’d thrown that final, perfect pass in the game yesterday. “If you can get out the knots, go for it,” Matt added, trying to ease the awkwardness. “My back is killing me.”

Trevor gave a nod and set aside the clipboard. “Sure, no problem. Go ahead and lie back down, and we’ll get started.”

Matt stretched out on his stomach, placing his face back into the headrest opening, so he was now staring at the wooden floor below. Soft music began to play as the lights dimmed a bit more. He felt himself relax, his eyes closing. But they snapped back open when Trevor lowered the sheet to just above his ass cheeks. Then he felt Trevor’s hands lightly graze down his spine, then again with a bit more pressure. And it felt so damn good. Too good.

Trevor did this a few times, warming up Matt’s skin, slowly, soothingly, as if trying to calm a skittish colt. Shit, could the guy tell he was nervous? He’d never really had a guy touch him like this. Had actively avoided it for most of his life.

And then the warm hands were gone. He heard the snap of a bottle and the smell of vanilla and cinnamon floated his way. A second later, Trevor’s touch was back, smoothing massage oil across his shoulders and upper back with firm pressure, the heels of Trevor’s hands pressing down. Trevor started in on Matt’s left shoulder, working the tendon that ran to his neck, his thumbs stroking in circles, digging into the muscle, forcing it to let go and relax.

“You carry a lot of tension here,” Trevor murmured.

Matt just nodded, because he was carrying tension a whole lot lower too. He needed to fucking relax. So he took a few deep breaths, trying to will his body and mind to chill the hell out. Trevor’s hands moved along his shoulder, digging into his deltoids, and Matt let out a sigh of satisfaction. These hands were magical. Trevor wasn’t afraid to use a lot of pressure, and it hurt a bit, but in a good way. Matt could feel the knots releasing after a few long minutes.

“Pressure good?” Trevor quietly asked.

Matt mumbled out something that sounded like, “Mpftyeah.”

Trevor chuckled and worked Matt’s left side, his fingers massaging down his arm, pausing to spend some time on Matt’s biceps before going lower, eventually to his wrist and his hand. Oh man, that felt good. Trevor’s fingers worked the palm of his hand, digging into the flesh at the base of his thumb. Matt let out a small moan of approval and didn’t even care anymore. He was blissing out. He usually avoided massages from the trainer at school too—he pretty much avoided any contact off the field—but clearly he’d been missing out.

Then Trevor stepped to his right side and started his ministrations all over again. Matt closed his eyes, his thoughts going blank, his body and mind lazy. Eventually, Trevor’s hands moved to his neck and used long strokes upward to the base of his skull. Then the fingers kept going, sifting through the locks of Matt’s blond hair, massaging his scalp, and damn that was heaven. He let out another murmur of approval, not wanting the sensations to end, and Trevor listened. He used a bit more pressure, his fingers working in small circles from the base of Matt’s scalp up and out to his temples. Soothing with each motion.

Matt almost whimpered when the fingers stopped, but then they slid to the space between his shoulder blades. Trevor firmly smoothed his hands down Matt’s spine, digging into the lats, the wicked fingers doing their magic. Then they massaged the muscles at the base of his vertebrae, and Matt almost died when the fingers dipped into the dimples on either side of his spine. Trevor seemed to linger there. Delving into the hollows, fingers splayed out, spanning his waist, as if measuring him, caressing him . . .

And then the hands were gone, and Matt heard him shift to the bottom of the massage table. A second later, warm palms were lifting his foot and stroking along the arch, magical thumbs finding hidden trigger spots.

“Shit, that feels good,” Matt said.

He practically heard Trevor smile. “Reflexology. Parts of your feet correspond to other parts of your body. Like, that’s your liver,” he explained, stroking the inside of Matt’s arch. “So if you’re hungover after a party at Kappa Sig, rub there.”

Matt laughed. “You go to Bodine, don’t you?” he asked, even though he already knew the answer. It wasn’t like he could forget a guy like Trevor. They’d had Freshman Lit together. And they both took classes in the Math Department.

“Uh, yeah,” Trevor finally said. “You do too, right?”

Matt nodded. Did Trevor recognize him? Did he know Matt was the quarterback? Probably. At such a small school where football was the sport, almost everyone knew the players.

But Trevor surprised him by saying, “We had Freshman Lit together.” And that made a tremor pass through Matt, because it meant the guy had noticed him too. Back when Matt had been a freshman and a benchwarmer, before he was Bodine’s star quarterback. Back when they’d been in a massive lecture hall with hundreds of students. And Trevor remembered him.

But his bubble of excitement burst when Trevor added, “You threw up in the middle of the midterm.”

“Oh shit.” Matt groaned. Okay, that wasn’t exactly how he wanted Trevor to recognize him. “I— Yeah, that was bad. Sorry you had to see that. I’d overdone it just before class,” Matt tried to explain, feeling himself turn red in embarrassment. “Running stadiums in the crazy heat.”

“Ah,” Trevor murmured. “I always thought you’d been hungover and maybe nervous.”

“No, just some freshman hazing by the older players. They were total assholes.”

“Well, that sucks,” Trevor said.

Matt shrugged. When he’d become captain, he’d put an end to the hard-core hazing. The idea that it brought everyone closer together was crap. It just created bitterness and rifts. Not how he wanted his team to interact.

Trevor switched to his other foot, and Matt closed his eyes, letting his mind go blank again. Well, at least he tried to. Of course, now, he kept replaying that horrible midterm moment in his mind. But, eventually, he relaxed again. When Trevor started working his calves, Matt smiled at how much better it was to have a guy with strong hands massaging him rather than a girl with dainty hands. No one had to know if he requested a male masseuse in the future. This was perfect for his sore muscles.

Well, not all his sore muscles. One in particular still needed to calm the hell down, but at least he was now only semihard, the massage relaxing even his horniness. But then Trevor’s hands moved up to Matt’s thighs, kneading the tight muscles there. Matt stifled a curse, trying to count backward from ten, willing down his erection.

But Trevor’s hands were so very close to the part Matt secretly wanted him to really relieve. Yet they stayed strictly in the lower thigh-zone area, not inching up at all. He kept the sheet lowered to a modest level. Apparently Connor had been wrong about this place. No happy ending here. Would there ever be for Matt?

Trevor skimmed the sheet to the side, revealing Matt’s upper thighs and his bare ass. Matt sucked in a breath in surprise, but Trevor’s hands just boldly smoothed straight up his thighs and started kneading his ass like this was ordinary. And maybe it was. His muscles certainly liked the attention as they unclenched beneath Trevor’s ministrations, but damn, this didn’t feel innocent. And his erection was getting downright painful. What the hell was he going to do when Trevor told him to roll over? He needed to think gross thoughts—his grandmother, road kill, moldy cheese.

Matt breathed a sigh of relief when Trevor moved away, because he needed a break from the incredible torture. Matt heard him slick up his hands again with oil, and Trevor stepped back toward him. His left hand firmly palmed Matt’s left ass cheek, and Matt gasped. Before Matt could protest, Trevor pulled his ass cheek to the side so that Trevor’s oiled fingers could slide right along his crack, slicking it up and coming back to press a thumb firmly against Matt’s hole.

“Oh, holy fuck!” Matt yelled, shooting off the massage table, yanking the sheet with him to cover his junk. “What the hell was that?”

Trevor backed away, hands up, his eyes terrified, horrified. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I thought that’s what you wanted.”

“What I wanted? Your thumb in my backdoor! Why the hell would you think that?”

Trevor looked away and gulped, then he spoke very softly. “You asked for the Deluxe Deep Tissue Massage. Athletic style.”

“Oh god.” Matt rubbed a hand over his face, his mortification deepening. “And what is that code for here?”

“Um.” Trevor shifted uneasily.

“Tell me,” Matt insisted. He needed to know exactly what Connor had planned for him.

“It’s a handjob with a prostate massage,” Trevor admitted.

“A what?!”

Trevor narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms defensively. “A prostate massage. You know that part inside your ass that—”

“I know what it is!” Matt snapped, cutting him off. “Fuck, they’re assholes! I can’t believe they did this to me. Wait, what is the ‘athletic style’ code for?”

Trevor actually blushed at that question and looked away. “‘Hard and vigorous.’ Sorry,” he added, sounding truly miserable.

“Not your fault, man,” Matt managed to say, realizing Trevor was just as traumatized as he was. “Don’t worry, I’ll kick their asses for this.” Matt yanked open the door, remembered he was still pretty naked, but decided, fuck it, he needed to get out of here. Now. He wrapped the sheet around himself and raced to the locker room.

Minutes later, Matt practically ran through the lobby, now dressed, and pushed into the September heat. He quickly made his way to the parking lot in the back and hurried behind Connor’s SUV. Matt bent at his knees, bracing his arms and trying not to hyperventilate. Holy shit. It had to have been a practical joke. He knew some of the guys had been pissed about his no-hazing rule. Maybe this was payback. But, damn, this crossed some serious lines. And he couldn’t believe his best friends would agree to it.

Needing to calm down, Matt crossed to the gas station across the way. He stepped into the attached convenience store and scanned the refrigerators. Soda, power drinks, water. Yeah, those weren’t what he needed. It might be the middle of the afternoon, but if there was ever a time for a drink, it was now. He bought the manliest beer he could find (which was asinine, but whatever) and headed back outside.

Alabama was a no-open-container state but screw it. Matt popped the top on the can and downed it. Hoping a slight buzz might dull the horror. By the time he got back to the parking lot, his buddies were heading his way. Rage filled him as he picked up his pace.

“What the hell were you thinking?” Matt snarled at his best friend, shoving Connor against the Jeep. Connor winced and held up his hands in surrender, but Ryan and Damian both laughed, apparently finding this hysterical.

“Hey, hey, I was only trying to help,” Connor pleaded.

“Help? By having a guy give me a handjob. What is wrong with you? All of you?” Matt turned to glare at Ryan and Damian. Their laughter faded, and they exchanged glances with Connor, uncertain.

Connor cleared his throat, looking downright uncomfortable. “Uh, it’s a happy ending parlor. We thought . . . you’d like it.”

“‘Like it’? Jesus, we could all get kicked off the team for this!”

“Well, we sure as hell shouldn’t be shouting about it in the parking lot,” Damian replied, looking around the very public place. If anyone walked by, they could get seriously busted.

Matt yanked open the back door of the SUV. “Sickos. I bet all of ya’ll didn’t have a dude,” he snapped. Matt didn’t wait for confirmation. He just crawled into the back seat and slammed the door behind him, wanting to be as far away from this place as possible.

His buddies wisely followed, remaining quiet.

A few minutes later, they were headed down the interstate, Connor driving a bit too fast. Matt stared out the window, thoughts racing through his head. Did they know? Did they know he was gay? They couldn’t. They’d never hang out with him if they knew. It had to have been a prank. A mean prank meant to freak him out. Well, it did. Just not in the way they expected.

Damian broke the awkward silence first. “Listen, Matt, we didn’t mean anything by it. You’ve been tense, cranky as shit, and we—we . . .” he trailed off.

“You what?” Matt practically growled.

“Fuck, I’ll say it if no one else will,” Ryan offered, leaning over from the front seat. “You need to get off, man. And we never see you with chicks.”

Matt felt his heart stop beating. Shit, shit. He’d gone on a few dates; he’d even kissed a few girls. He thought that had been enough. But, clearly, clearly, it hadn’t been. He was screwed. They suspected the truth.

But he was captain of the football team, and as his father had drilled into him, football was not a place for faggots. His father had used the slur casually, not having a clue that Matt actually was one. The hate, the bigotry, had been there his whole life. At church, at home. And Bodine was no exception. The Dean of Athletics had made his view on queers, well, anything liberal really, very clear. He was a God-fearing man and such sin would not be tolerated.

“It’s no big deal,” Damian said, interrupting Matt’s mental meltdown.

“No big deal?” Matt shouted.

“So you’re gay, so what? It’s, like, legal to marry and shit.” Damian shrugged.

“Yeah, we can be your groomsmen! I look sick in a tux,” Ryan added with a fist bump to Damian.

Matt squeezed his eyes shut. This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening. How were they okay with this? It had to be a joke. They were trying to trick him into admitting something. But why? For their amusement on a boring Sunday night?

Matt opened his eyes and looked at Damian and Ryan, who met his gaze with reassuring eyes. They weren’t messing with him, they weren’t disgusted by him . . . they were supportive? Was this really happening?

And then Matt’s best friend since sixth grade pulled the car to the side of the road, flicked on the hazard lights, and turned to face him.

“Matt, I know your dad did a number on you,” Connor stated calmly. “He’s a piece of shit. And I know our church is not down with homosexuality. But I don’t care about that. None of us do.”

“I’m not gay,” Matt whispered, almost automatically.

“Dude, you are so gay,” Connor countered. “I saw you kissing that goth kid behind the gym in ninth grade.” He smirked.

Matt slammed his head back against the seat rest. One moment of weakness. Okay, a few moments. But the hot goth kid had so been his type, with black eyeliner and a nipple ring. Still, this couldn’t be—

Connor leaned over and punched Matt in the chest, hard. “Stop fucking freaking out. Only we know, okay? And it sucks, it sucks that you have to hide it. I know what your dad’s like, and look, I get that some of the guys on the team might—”

“Freak the hell out? The dean could take away my scholarship,” Matt managed to spit out.

“Yeah, maybe. Maybe not,” Connor said. “I think Coach might have your back. But, dude, you can’t go through all of college celibate. You’re . . . you’re, like, really unhappy, man.”

Matt saw the sincerity on his friend’s face. He and Connor didn’t exactly do heart-to-hearts. Mainly because they usually already knew what the other one was thinking without ever having to talk about it. They knew everything about each other—favorite foods, favorite video games, annoying habits, fucked-up family members, when to hang out, when to give the other one space. But, apparently, Connor knew Matt way better than he even thought.

“Hey, if it helps, I have a gay cousin,” Damian offered, breaking into the discussion.

Matt let out a surprised laugh.

“Smooth, dude,” Ryan groaned.

“What? I do,” Damian replied, with a shrug.

“And I have a gay best friend. No big deal.” Connor smiled. He nudged Matt again. “We cool?”

“Shit, I guess. I don’t know. Just drive, okay?” Matt said, trying to process everything. And Connor understood, cranking up the radio and rolling down the windows.

As Connor pulled back onto the interstate, the conversation switched to yesterday’s game. Matt took a steadying breath as he stared out the open window. His best buddies knew. And they didn’t care.

Matt felt himself start to smile. So, apparently, he was an idiot. For not telling them. For not trusting them.

And for not getting the handjob from the really hot masseur.

Trevor grabbed his backpack out of his locker in the massage parlor’s back room, then slammed the door shut with a satisfying bang. Fuck, fuck. He’d just screwed up. If Samantha found out, she could fire him. He never should have said yes. He certainly hadn’t ever said yes before. Jerking off clients wasn’t mandatory here at the spa, and even though it paid so much more, Trevor had avoided it until today. And he’d not only agreed to perform a handjob but a prostate massage too . . . Trevor groaned in self-disgust. What the hell was wrong with him?

It was all the damn quarterback’s fault. Everyone on campus—man and woman, student and professor—noticed the guy. Matt Lancaster was walking charisma. Sex on a stick. And he was also unattainable as hell. One rumor was that he was planning on marrying his high school sweetheart after graduation. Another was that he was just very discreet with his hookups, a true Southern gentleman. But the girls he supposedly banged weren’t so discreet. They bragged. A lot.

Even though girls swore they’d hooked up with the elusive quarterback, Matt had never officially dated anyone on campus, which only made him more of a catch. While there were rumors of him having various one-night stands, he’d heard no woman had been able to tie him down. He remained the unattainable football god.

So when Trevor had seen Matt walk in with his teammates an hour ago, Trevor couldn’t believe it. Matt wasn’t the type to slum it in a happy ending massage parlor. And yet, it had set off all of Trevor’s dirty fantasies of touching Matt Lancaster. Any part of him. His smooth back, his muscular thighs, hell, the arch of his foot. But he knew Matt would request a female masseuse. All the straight ones did.

Still, he’d held out hope that maybe Matt preferred a male masseur, someone who could dig into his muscles. Then he’d watched Matt’s best friend pull out a wad of cash, and Trevor had known they’d be going for the deluxe services. There went that wet fantasy. So he’d headed into the back room again after dropping off the freshly laundered robes to Samantha.

A few minutes later, Samantha had found him. She didn’t bullshit him or coax him; she was far too direct for that.

“I’ve got a request for a Deluxe Deep Tissue Massage,” she said matter-of-factly, but they both knew it was code for prostate massage. Didn’t get a lot of those requests around here. Repressed men were a bit touchy about anal play. The outskirts of Bodine, Alabama, were not exactly a sexually liberal part of the country. Although they did have some less repressed men who sometimes passed through. Not that he’d worked with them, but he’d definitely heard them through the walls.

When Trevor had taken this job, he’d been desperate. Apparently, gay Asian guys with eyebrow piercings and tattoos were not acceptable for the fine ladies of Bodine, Alabama, and their spa days. Plus, this place paid so much more. Trevor had made his boundaries very clear up front. He would perform the massage, and the men could get off, but he wasn’t going to help them. No handjobs, no blowjobs. But clients could fondle him over his boxer briefs, could stare at him as they jacked themselves off, and he was just supposed to blissfully ignore it all. Which wasn’t totally awful. He was pretty secure in his body. He was toned and lean with high cheekbones that he’d overheard one or two women comment on in envy. And he was far from sexually conservative.

But that didn’t mean he wanted to get men off for money. Well, or women for that matter. The ladies loved to grab his ass while he massaged them. But, damn it, he was not a prostitute. Even if he was broke. Even if his family would never care, because he was already dead to them. Yay, fucked-up world.

And yet, when Samantha had found him in the back, Trevor had actually been hoping she might ask him to make an exception. But surely they’d requested women. Maybe Tess—Tess was every straight boy’s fantasy: red hair, big lips, big tits, tiny waist.

“Derek’s not in today.” Samantha raised an eyebrow. “You interested?”

Trevor swallowed. Derek, not Tess. They wanted a guy. “Which one?”

“Blue-eyed, blond one with the red shirt,” she replied.

“No problem. I’ll take care of him.” The words were out of Trevor’s mouth before he could even fully think them. What the hell is wrong with me? But he knew the answer. Matt Lancaster was what was wrong with him. All six foot two of his golden skin, blond hair, and deep blue eyes. Trevor was already half-hard just thinking about touching him. But, wait, this couldn’t be right. Matt couldn’t want a guy. He snagged Samantha’s hand.

“Look, I don’t think he’s into guys. I know him from school. This is probably a practical joke they’re playing on him,” Trevor warned.

Samantha nodded. “He did seem nervous, like he was just figuring out where they’d brought him. But his friend got all quiet and sincere when he whispered they wanted a man for the blond. Maybe he’s bi-curious. Who cares as long as they pay? Just don’t fuck this up,” she said with a warning look and then headed off.

And, now, she was probably going to fire him because he had fucked it up. Which made Trevor even more enraged as he stormed out of the back room. It wasn’t his fault the dude had freaked. His friends had played a rotten joke on him . . . and Trevor. He had never been more embarrassed in his life.

Trevor headed toward the exit, relieved when Samantha just waved him off as he passed. He sighed in relief. Maybe Matt hadn’t lodged a complaint. In the parking lot, Trevor climbed into his beat-up old Corolla and started the drive back to campus, leaving behind the more rundown area on the outskirts of the county, heading toward the quaint college town of Bodine. He’d never envisioned himself living in small-town Alabama, but it certainly had its charm, especially the main street that catered to the college kids with funky clothing shops, a few bars, and cute restaurants where students could eat outside on warm days. It was only a ten-minute walk from campus, so the place was almost always busy.

He arrived at the popular coffee shop, the Daily Grind, with its wooden tables and overstuffed couches a few minutes early for his study session. His best friend, Emily, spotted him and waved him over. Her blonde hair was up in a ponytail and her glasses were perched on her nose. That meant they’d actually be doing the problem set today rather than gossiping the whole time. Which was good, because he only had an hour before he switched from customer to server at the Daily Grind.

“Lauren and Ethan are joining us in a bit,” she said after hugging him in greeting. “They haven’t been able to solve the third question, so I said we’d figure it out.”

“Okay, good, because I really need to finish this assignment.”

Emily’s eyes widened in innocence. “Are you implying that I distract you from your studies?”

Trevor gave her a mocking smile. “No, I love hearing about every single detail of your day, all the school gossip, all the celebrity gossip, all your hopes and dreams and—”

“Oh, shut up,” she snapped. “You love it. So . . . how was work?” She gave him a mischievous smile.

Trevor purposefully misunderstood. “I don’t start for another hour.”

“Not here at the coffee shop, loser. And not tutoring either,” she warned before he could try that tack. “At the spa.”

Trevor busied himself with pulling out his class notes from his messenger bag. Yeah, Emily was never interested in his other two jobs. They were incredibly boring in comparison. He seriously never should have told Emily about what really went on behind some of the closed doors at the massage parlor. But he told her everything. Mainly because she pried it out of him, so he’d given up deflecting long ago.

And although she might verbally vomit every personal detail of her life, she did know when to keep her mouth shut about his secrets. Still, he was so not telling her about today’s incident.

“Work was fine,” he replied with a casual shrug, keeping his eyes averted.

“Oh my god, what happened?” Emily said in an excited whisper.

It was really annoying that she was such a pro at reading his body language. They’d essentially been joined at the hip since freshman year when they’d met in the dining hall. Both bemoaning their rotten luck in the roommate draw, Emily and Trevor had formed their own little support group. They’d learned that they both loved bad pop music, but that guilty pleasure was offset by their equally fervent love for obscure indie bands and even more obscure indie films.

“Nothing happened,” Trevor tried again with another shrug.

“You took on a deluxe massage, didn’t you?” she accused with glee. “You are so totally busted.”

He sighed and gritted his teeth. “You’re really a pain in my ass, you know that?”

Emily laughed, clearly unimpressed with his grumpiness. “You love me. Besides, it’s super helpful that I can read your mind since you never willingly share.”

Trevor leaned back in his chair. “Maybe I don’t share for a reason. ’Cause it’s private.”

Emily swatted away his statement. “Oh, please, you’d explode from all your internal demons if I didn’t force you to share.” Emily was pursuing a minor in psychology. And although Trevor would never admit it to her, she really should be majoring in it. The girl was gifted. And relentless. “So why’d you change your mind?” she asked. “I thought you only let them cop a feel.”

“I do. Normally. It just . . . happened.”

“I told you not to work at that place.” Emily sighed, clearly sensing that it had been a shitty experience. “If you need to take on shady work, at least be a stripper. It’s more respectable.”

Trevor was used to this argument. “It is not. Then I’d have to give lap dances and they’d hump up against me. Plus, I’d have to wear a thong, not briefs.”

“But you have a cute ass!”

“Stop looking at my ass!” he said, trying not to laugh. “Besides, how many male strip clubs are there around here?”

“Okay, fine, good point. So what made today’s client different? Are you like super broke and about to sell a kidney?”

“No, no, I’m scraping by. It’s just . . . He’s this guy I kinda have a crush on.”

Emily gasped. “Oh my god, you knew him.”

“Shut up,” Trevor hissed. “Keep your voice down or I’ll be screwed.”

Emily pressed her lips together, duly chastised, but her eyes begged for more. He begrudgingly added, “I don’t know him know him. I’ve just seen him around.”

“On campus?”

He hesitated, then nodded. “But you can’t tell anyone.”

“Oh, like this is going to come up in casual conversation. Besides, you haven’t given me any juicy details about the mystery guy. It’s pretty much a nonstory.”

“Good. ’Cause that’s all you’re getting.” He opened his notebook, trying to find the latest lecture for their problem set. He could feel Emily still staring at him.

“How’d it go?” she finally whispered.

And Trevor felt all the horror rushing back. “Awful,” he admitted, looking up into her sympathetic eyes. “He totally freaked. His buddies were playing a trick on him.”

“Oh shit, did he punch you?”

Trevor shook his head, thinking back on the moment. Matt had seemed more embarrassed than enraged. He’d placed the blame completely on his friends, almost apologetic. It was confusing as hell, actually. There’d been a few moments when Trevor thought Matt might have been into it. He could have sworn Matt had given him a heated once-over when he’d entered the room. That he’d almost leaned into Trevor’s touch midway through the massage, but clearly Trevor was delusional.

Matt Lancaster was as straight as they came.

“Are you gonna do it again?” Emily asked, breaking into his thoughts.

“No, absolutely not,” Trevor replied, a little shocked at how dejected the thought made him. Not about other clients, of course, but about the fact he knew he’d never have Matt walk into his massage room ever again. Even for just a regular massage. And that bummed the hell out of him.

Luckily, their friends arrived moments later, and he turned all his attention to solving his multivariable calculus problems for his Financial Economics class. Math was complex but simple at the same time. Almost always only one right answer. Much easier than life. And it would lead him to a great job in finance. A job where he would never, ever have to feel so exposed again.

Matt didn’t get up off the turf. He just lay there, letting the impact of the hit slam through his body. He’d been sacked by a second-string sophomore during a scrimmage. Coach was gonna kill him.

A second later, Connor was staring down at him. “Dude, get up.” He hauled Matt to his feet. “What the hell is wrong with you this week?”

Matt glared at him and walked off so that Coach Boyd could tear him a new one.

“Sorry, it won’t happen again,” he offered before Coach started railing.

“Jesus H. Christ, Lancaster, get your head out of your ass,” Coach Boyd snapped, clearly not accepting any more apologies. “You’ve been shit all week in practice. Missed passes, interceptions, tripping on your own goddamned feet. Whatever the hell is going on in your head, get over it. We play North Alabama this weekend, and I need your A game. If you can’t bring it, I’m benching you. Got it?”

“Yes, sir,” Matt replied, knowing North Alabama was one of the toughest to beat in their Division II Conference. Bodine College might not be in the big leagues of the Division I NCAA, but that didn’t mean folks took football any less seriously around these parts. Every Saturday of football season, the stadium was packed with the majority of the college’s eight thousand undergrads along with thousands more—local fans, alums, and graduate students, plus the rival teams’ own rabid fans. Sunday might be for church, but Saturday was for worshipping at the altar of football.

Coach stared at Matt for a long moment. Coach Boyd was a good guy, tough but fair, always pushing for the best. He didn’t put up with bullshit on or off the field. And Matt worked hard every day to prove he deserved the full ride to Bodine College.

“Son, you need to talk about anything? Family problems? School?” Coach Boyd asked gruffly. He wasn’t a real touchy-feely guy, but Coach was about as close to a father figure as many of them had. Matt would certainly exchange him for the asshole he’d been born to. Still, it wasn’t like Matt could tell Coach Boyd the truth. He’d been avoiding the truth his whole life.

So Matt forced a smile and shook his head. “No, sir.”

Coach grunted and let it go. “Then get out there and stop fucking up.”

Matt nodded and ran back onto the field. He’d been a wreck since the guys’ stunt at the massage parlor. They might be okay with him being gay, but he freaked out quite regularly. It had been hard enough admitting it to himself. And now for them to know . . .

Besides, Matt felt absolutely clueless as to how to be gay. He pretty much had no experience with other gay guys, so Sunday had been embarrassing as hell. But that wasn’t what was really messing with his head. No, it was the fact he couldn’t get Trevor out of his mind—the feel of his hands on his body, the way he’d touched Matt’s ass, the way he’d . . . Matt groaned, trying to stamp down his thoughts. It might be prime fodder for jerking off in the shower, but he sure as hell shouldn’t be thinking about it during practice.

Matt managed to make it through the rest of the scrimmage without any more major screwups, and then he ran five miles on the treadmill in an effort to totally exhaust his body. He didn’t want to lie awake again that night.

But at 2 a.m., he was still wide-awake in the quad he shared with Connor, Damian, and Ryan. He could hear Ryan snoring all the way in the other room on the other side of the common area. Matt shifted on his pillow, hoping his restlessness wasn’t keeping Connor awake in the bunk above him.

Then he heard Connor’s annoyed mumble: “What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” Matt said.

Connor heaved a huge sigh. “Dude, are you still pissed at us?”

“Nah, man, I’m over it. Well, I’m not over it, but I’m not mad at you anymore.”

Connor swung his head over the side of the bed. “‘Not over it.’ Interesting . . .”

Matt groaned. Sometimes rooming with his nosy best friend was a real drag.

“Samantha, the lady at the massage parlor, said she had someone special for you,” Connor said. “Was he hot? Did he get you going? And now it’s messing with your head?”

“Fuck off,” Matt snapped, but that only made Connor laugh.

“You want some advice?”

“No,” Matt immediately replied.

Connor ignored him. “Just go back and get it out of your system. Like, literally, dude. Get your repressed spunk out of your system.”

“You’re disgusting.”

Connor shrugged and flopped back onto his pillow. They lay there in silence. Finally, Matt heard himself saying, “How did you learn about that place anyway? What if we’d been busted?”

“Nah, I overheard my old man telling one of his clients. A guy who was going through a nasty divorce. He needed to blow off some steam but not get caught. So Dad suggested this place even though it was a two-hour drive.”

“Jesus, your dad really is a full-service attorney.”

“Hey, he knows people make bad choices; he’s just trying to control it the best way he can. So if he recommended this place, it must be safe as hell. Go back, man, ask for the same guy. Get your rocks off.”

“Nah, it’s okay. He actually, uh, goes to school here. It’d be too risky.”

“Really?” Connor asked.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him around a few times. We had Freshman Lit together. Seemed like a cool guy. And he’s . . . well, hot as fuck. He’s got this brooding punk thing going on.”

“Gross.” Connor gagged.

Matt kicked the bottom of Connor’s mattress hard, making Connor curse. “Jesus, you’re the one that started this,” Matt growled.

“Doesn’t mean I want to hear about how you have the hots for some guy.”

“I hate you.”

“I hate you too,” Connor said with a smile in his voice. “Now go get your happy ending.”

Matt groaned at the cheesy line. No way in hell was he going back to the massage parlor.

Two days later, Matt found himself in the massage parlor. Sitting on a massage table. Waiting for Trevor.

He was still fully clothed in jeans and a T-shirt. He’d even worn a baseball hat and sunglasses as he’d entered the lobby. Not that anyone outside of the college town really knew who he was. Guess that was a benefit of not being good enough for a Division I school. Something his dad bemoaned, but he was grateful for. Football was not his life. He liked it well enough, and it certainly had given him the freedom from his asshole father that he’d needed—no relying on his old man’s money.

Which was why he shouldn’t have come back to the massage parlor. Too big of a risk. Matt needed his football scholarship. But, damn, he hadn’t gotten Trevor out of his mind, and it was messing up his game. So if this was what it took to clear his head, then so be it. They had a major game tomorrow.

Matt adjusted himself on the white sheet, staring at the clock. His nerves were mounting by the minute. Maybe this was a bad idea. Yeah, this was a bad idea. He’d get over it on his own. He couldn’t do this. He just couldn’t. He stood up and reached for the door just as it opened. Matt jerked backward.

Trevor opened the door only partway and leaned against the doorframe, not really entering the room. He crossed his arms over his chest, looking all cocky and gorgeous, as he arched his pierced brow. “Are you here to kick my ass?”

Matt busted out a laugh, taken off guard. “No, no. I promise.”

“Okay,” Trevor said with a bit of a skeptical look, but he came into the room anyway, shutting the door behind him. “Well, I take it you’re not here for a prostate massage?”

“Hell no. Jesus, how can you do that to guys?” Matt asked. “Go up their . . . you know what.”

“Hey, don’t judge me!” Trevor snapped, his eyes narrowing in anger. “In some cultures, erotic massages, prostate massages, are considered healing.”

“Like in your culture?” Matt heard himself stupidly ask, not actually sure what Trevor’s background was—Chinese, Thai, Japanese?

Trevor lifted his eyebrows. “I was born and raised in Texas.”

“Oh,” Matt said, feeling idiotic.

“Yeah, ‘oh.’”

“So you’re practicing your healing technique? Are you pre-med or something?” Matt tried again. Man, he sucked at small talk.

Trevor’s eyes widened, and then he laughed. “I— No, I’m a finance major. And I’m broke, okay? Really broke. The irony is not lost on me.”

“What about student loans?”

“Okay, too many questions.” Trevor clapped his hands, getting down to business. “You want this massage or not?”

Matt nodded, terrified, but unwilling to leave. Not now that he was this close.

Trevor couldn’t hide his surprise. “You do? I thought it was . . . another joke.”

“Um, no,” Matt muttered, looking down at his shoes.

“Okay, right, okay, uh, no problem,” Trevor stammered, turning to dim the lights. Apparently, they were both nervous as hell. The now-darkened room helped matters considerably, hiding them more.

“I’ve never done this before,” Matt confessed in a near whisper.

“Gone to a massage parlor like this?” Trevor asked in an equally low voice.

“No, uh, never had a, you know, from a guy,” Matt clarified, watching Trevor from the corner of his eye. Gauging his reaction.

Trevor seemed to freeze for a long moment, then he simply nodded and straightened his shirt, putting on a businesslike demeanor. “No problem. We have lots of curious clients.”

Matt decided not to correct him by admitting he was fully gay. No ambiguous feelings here.

“So you’ll be having the Deluxe Swedish Massage today?” Trevor asked, pulling his shoulder-length hair up into a loose knot. Matt wished Trevor would leave it loose, but he didn’t have the balls to ask.

Instead, Matt shuffled back over to the massage table. “Yeah, I’ll just have the, um, deluxe part the normal way. The front part. Not the, uh, deep-tissue one.” He could’ve sworn Trevor was trying not to laugh at him.

But the guy managed to hold it together. “Got it. I’ll just give you a minute to undress.”

Trevor stepped out of the room. Matt released the breath he was holding. Damn, that had been awkward. But he’d come this far. He shucked off his clothes and crawled under the sheet, facedown, his head in the opening of the round cushion. His skin tingled in anticipation. He was doing this, really doing this.

A few seconds later, Trevor quietly re-entered the room. He turned on some music, a slow rock song. Matt heard the snap of a lotion bottle opening and held his breath. Damn, how he’d wanted this man to touch him again. And then Trevor was there, smoothing warm oil down his back in broad strokes. Matt sighed in contentment. Finally. It felt like heaven. It felt . . . like relief. Trevor knew Matt wanted him to touch him. And he wasn’t grossed out or offended. Then again, it was his job.

That thought actually made Matt a little sad. He wished it could have been for real, that he’d met Trevor at a bar in a big city, asked him out on a date maybe.

“This feel good?” Trevor asked. Just his deep voice made Matt’s nerves pulse, and he felt his dick swelling. Matt managed a nod. It felt good, so very, very good. As Trevor’s hands started to dig into his shoulders, loosening the knots, Matt actually groaned.

“You’re good at this. Where’d you learn massage?” Matt mumbled, trying to cover up his groan.

There was a long silence, but finally Trevor said, “My parents own a Korean spa. The Dallas ladies love being pampered. I had to help out.”

“Was it like this place?”

Trevor huffed out a horrified laugh. “No, god, no. It was all on the, uh, up and up. A classy place.”

“Hey, who says this isn’t classy?” Matt joked even though he was pretty sure he’d seen mildew in the locker room shower stalls. Trevor ignored him this time, and settled into his job, working out the aches and pains that Matt suffered from daily practices. He almost started to relax again when he felt the sheet being lowered, his bare ass displayed to Trevor’s eyes.

Matt wished he could look up. Wished he could see what Trevor thought of his body. Was he hot enough? Was his ass too round? Too pale? Fuck, he’d never really thought about his body before in a sexual way. Like in the way someone else would see him. He suddenly very much wanted to be attractive to Trevor. Because Trevor was . . . beautiful. Yeah, it was ridiculous to call a man that. But, screw it, the guy was hot.

Trevor had incredibly long eyelashes and his cheekbones were a bit hollowed out, like some fashion model. Yeah, the guy could be on a New York runway. He’d probably fit in better there. Not that Matt knew jack shit about fashion; he wasn’t that kind of gay. Matt wondered if Trevor was that kind of gay—or if he was gay at all? But the guy sure had more style than he did. He even sometimes wore jewelry, like leather arm cuffs and stuff. It was sexy. Trevor was sexy, especially when his long, firm fingers slid over Matt’s butt cheeks.

Matt moaned loudly, his cock now fully hard, begging for attention. Trevor dug his fingers deep into Matt’s glutes, massaging the tissue from top to bottom, then back again. He also carefully avoided going anywhere near Matt’s backdoor. Guess Matt had freaked out pretty good last time. But he really, really wasn’t ready for that. Everything else Trevor was doing? Oh, hell yeah.

Trevor lifted his hands from Matt’s ass, and Matt had to stifle his protest. But then Trevor’s hands were back on his skin massaging his upper legs. With each pass, Trevor would move a little farther up Matt’s thighs. On the fourth pass, his thumbs dipped inward, caressing the sensitive skin of his inner thighs. Matt drew in a ragged breath, trying to hold himself still. Trying not to hump the table like a teenager in heat.

Trevor removed his right hand and dragged his oiled index finger from the top of his ass crack down to the back of his balls, not pushing in, not separating the folds, just teasing him. Before Matt could worry that Trevor might go deeper, as he had last time, he was gently nudging Matt to turn over.

“Lie on your back for me,” Trevor murmured when Matt didn’t move right away.

Matt hesitated. It was one thing to have a boner when he was hidden from view. But to reveal it to Trevor . . . Well, that was pretty much the point of no return. Matt closed his eyes tightly. This was about a hell of a lot more than a handjob. This was about . . . admitting to someone else he liked men. It was . . . terrifying.

And it was everything he wanted. He hadn’t realized how much he’d needed the touch of another person. Not just sexually, but intimately. Matt mentally groaned at his thoughts. He was turning mushy over a damn massage.

His alter ego mentally chastised him for the stereotype, but Matt was done with deep inner thoughts. His dick was taking over from here on out. It was telling him to roll over. So he did.

Trevor surprised him by dropping the sheet down once more, although it was now most definitely tented. “Do you want me to take off my shirt and jeans?” Trevor whispered.

Matt’s eyes widened. Oh, hell yeah, he wanted to see Trevor without his clothes on. “You do that?”

Trevor nodded, his eyes downcast. “I keep on my briefs. You can touch over, but not under. If you want.”

Matt jerked his head in a nod. Trevor quickly slid down his jeans and pulled off his shirt, revealing smooth skin, his nipples small and brown, not muscular pecs but definitely some definition. He had no hair except for a thin happy trail running down his toned abs, heading into his black boxer briefs. His thighs were sexy as fuck. And the bulge in his briefs seemed to be growing under Matt’s perusal. Matt wanted to touch him so badly, but he just couldn’t unclench his hands. It was too much, too many steps in one day.


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