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Genre: Contemporary, Military, Romance
How do you comfort someone who won't admit they're hurting?
Sparks fly on a hot Fourth of July weekend when newly-discharged army vet Troy Johnson and veterinarian Dmitri Wellington meet on a blind date.
Troy is pretty sure he’s gay, but since he’s spent the last eight years in the Army, his actual gay dating experience is, well, zero. But he's out now, and far from his conservative family. If the hot Veterinarian he’s been undressing with his eyes wants to go on a date, Troy is more than willing to jump in.
Troy is everything Dmitri’s ever wanted in a guy - gorgeous, smart, and funny. He likes dogs, he has the sexiest trace of an accent, and his kisses set off fireworks in Dmitri’s entire body.
But leaving the war behind is easier said than done. Troy has secrets he won’t tell, and the demons he’s running from are hot on his heels. When he realizes he's hurting more than just Dmitri's heart, Troy flees in horror, leaving behind everyone who loves him.
Dmitri has to find a way to reach Troy before he does something he can't take back.
Also in this series:
Dmitri woke up with his face smushed into the rough upholstery of the couch. Angel was on the floor, the afghan wrapped around her. How many times had they ended up like this after a night of shared confessions? Hundreds, probably. Sometimes he thought his mom forgot she had not actually given birth to Angel. In high school, Angel had had Sunday chores just like the rest of them. Angel brought her permission slips and report cards to his parents more than she did her own.
Groaning, swearing for the thousandth time never to drink again, Dmitri pulled himself upright. He sat still, letting his stomach catch up with his head, then stood and wobbled unsteadily to the bathroom.
He peed, and then dug through the cabinets for some kind of painkiller. Anything that would help the killer headache that had woken him up. Ibuprofen. A hammer. Whatever.
The light in the living room blinded him. The sun rose early this time of year, no way to tell what time it was. His phone lay on the floor near Angel’s snoring body. Dmitri nudged it with his foot, bending down with a loud moan as his head pounded with the movement.
He registered the time. Seven forty-five am. Plenty of time to go back to sleep. He’d barely straightened up when he saw the text notification on the top of the screen. From Troy. That was a nice surprise to wake up to. He swiped it open, read the text, and the twenty-seven texts preceding it, and collapsed down onto the couch, kicking Angel as he did. “Holy shit!”
Angel’s arm flailed wildly. “Quit it,” she mumbled.
He kicked her again. “Wake up.”
She rolled onto her back with a pained cry. “Oh, God. Why do you let me drink?”
Dmitri didn’t even bother dignifying that with an answer, he just held the phone down in front of her face.
She frowned and squinted, then took the phone out of his hand. Her eyes grew wide as she scrolled through the texts. She covered her mouth with her hand and looked over at Dmitri.
He shook his finger at her. “You sexted my boyfriend!”
Angel gave up trying to hide it, and burst out laughing. She winced in pain, hand going to her head, but didn’t stop. “Oh God.”
“Give me that.” Dmitri grabbed for the phone.
Angel rolled onto her stomach, wedging herself against the coffee table, cradling the phone like Gollum with the One Ring. “No way, Jose. This is gold.” She scrolled through more. “I’m like a porny Cyrano. You owe me. This is making me hot. Damn, I’m good.”
Dmitri put a foot on her back, holding her in place, and yanked the phone out of her hands, almost smacking her in the face with it. “Jerk.”
The texts started innocently enough if maybe a little awkward. Had a great time, let’s do it again, etc. Troy hadn’t responded in depth, just a simple me, too and a disappointingly vague sure.
Then there was a long gap in the timestamps before a text from his phone that read I want to lick your tattoos. Dmitri hadn’t been blackout drunk; he never got that bad, and he knew he hadn’t written that.
Ten minutes later, Troy had replied with yeah?
Oh yeah, Dmitri thought.
From top 2 bottm n bak again Angel had written.
From there the sexual content got more explicit as Angel’s typing ability deteriorated. The last coherent thing Dmitri could read seemed to be an offer to suck Troy’s brains out through his dick. An offer Dmitri would stand by if the opportunity came.
“Jesus, Angie. I would never tell someone I was going to ‘make them take it.’” He licked his lips, mouth dry.
“Yeah, you would, you toppy bastard.”
Dmitri considered it. “Well maybe. But not in a text.” He stood up, taking a wobbly step over Angel’s body.
“Where are y’going?” she mumbled, halfway back to sleep.
“I have to go talk to Troy. Apologize for even knowing you.”
“You love me.”
“I do. Water and aspirin on the table. Bacon in the fridge. I’ll be back.”
He took a quick shower, threw up, which helped his stomach but not his head, and picked out what he hoped was a flattering outfit. Maybe it would distract Troy from the sweating, pale skin and dark circles under his eyes.