Matt is looking for more than a one-night stand. Nate is looking for his first man-on-man experience. A relationship made in heaven—or a disaster waiting to happen?
Matt Johnson is feeling just a bit fed up with life. Not mad at the world, exactly, but definitely suffering from a case of the blues. Never one to withhold his sexual prowess from an interested party, he’s beginning to feel that one-night stands just aren’t enough.
Nate Hayes, obsessed with Matt ever since seeing his photograph and profile on an online chat room, longs for the hot stud to be his first man-on-man experience. One night he finally plucks up the courage to engage with Matt and tell him his secret fantasy.
The two are attracted to each other at first sight, but when Nate tries to explain to Matt he can never tell his mother the truth of his sexuality, Matt informs him that he cannot date a closet case. When Nate is confronted by his mother, who has discovered his desire for Matt, the two clash over his right to privacy and her warnings of hellfire for homosexuals.
Nate moves out, but it takes mutual friend Jason Harrison to bring Matt and Nate back to even talking to each other. Jason’s advice? Take it nice and easy so that Matt and Nate can get to know each other…and not make their first night together their only night together.
General Release Date: 2nd June 2020
From his position behind the bar at Bobby’s Tavern, Matt Johnson surveyed the crowd that filled almost every square inch of the largest gay bar in San Diego. He sighed. Another night of forcing a smile to his lips and thinking of something humorous to pass on to the customers who got tipsier, and sometimes downright drunkier, with every passing hour.
It wasn’t as if he didn’t like his job—he did—but in the past few months, he’d felt as if, somehow, he’d been left behind. Not sexually, for sure. He had more than his fair share of guys wanting to spend time with a hot bartender. Matt knew he was hot—he’d been told so many, many times—but, it seemed, not hot enough to keep a guy interested for more than a few nights. He was still young, he’d told himself a hundred times. There were still a lot of years ahead for him to find the ‘one’, weren’t there?
It was just that in the four years he’d been working at Bobby’s Tavern, almost everyone he’d known, whether they worked together or were friends he’d see on his nights off, had somehow managed to get themselves seriously involved with another guy. So, why couldn’t he? Was he regarded as that much of a flake? He’d overheard a remark like that a few months ago, from someone who thought he knew him, and Matt had wanted to turn around and say, “You don’t know me at all.” But he hadn’t said it, couldn’t really, because the man was a customer, and rudeness from the bar staff was not allowed at Bobby’s Tavern.
Jack Felton, the owner and manager, had fired a couple of bartenders for just that offense, and if there was something Matt needed badly, it was to keep this job. Nowhere else, without a college degree, could he earn the kind of money he did here. Steve, his relief bartender, was studying to be an environmental engineer. Well, good luck to him, but he was going to miss the tips that didn’t come with a job like that. Still, he did have that hunk of a wealthy boyfriend he was living with should things not pan out for him.
Matt sighed again then had to quickly jump to it as Brett, the other bartender on duty, looked like he was getting swamped with orders all of a sudden.
“What’ll it be?” he asked a cute, fresh-faced blond kid who yelled his order over the combined din of voices and music that was a nightly staple at Bobby’s.
“Two screwdrivers and a Stella.”
Is this kid twenty-one? “You have ID?”
The ‘kid’ laughed, his gaze settling on Matt’s bare chest. “I’m twenty-three, but thanks for the compliment.” He handed over his driver’s license without hesitation.
Matt smiled after he’d glanced at it. “You must get that a lot…Taylor.”
“I do…uh, what’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you, Matt. Anyway, I get asked for ID nearly every time in bars me and my buds don’t go to a lot. We live in LA and usually go to Sykes on Melrose. They know us there.” He waved a hand behind him to include the two guys standing there. Both looked to be the same age as Taylor.
“Well, enjoy your evening,” Matt said while he fixed their drinks.
“We’re here for the weekend, so we’ll most likely come here again.” Taylor gave him a flirty smile. “Are you working tomorrow night?”
Matt nodded and passed Taylor the two screwdrivers. “The Stella for you?”
“Yes.” Taylor turned to hand over the screwdrivers to his friends. When he turned back to face Matt, he asked, “What time d’you get off tonight?”
“Not till two a.m., sorry.” He watched the frown of disappointment crease Taylor’s forehead. “But I’m off at nine tomorrow night if you’re thinking of buying me a drink.”
Taylor’s expression lightened. “That, and anything else you’d like.”
“It’s a date. That’ll be fifteen for the screwdrivers. Your beer’s on the house.”
“Thanks.” He slipped Matt a twenty. “Keep the change.”
“Lose your friends tomorrow night. They won’t be hurt, will they?”
“They’re married, so, no.” Taylor grinned at him. “They’ll be in bed by nine.” He stepped out of the way to let another couple of customers reach the bar. “See you later, Matt.”
He should have felt better about scoring with the cute guy, but if the truth be told, Matt was getting tired of the one-night stands, tired of the indifference after the second or third night. He’d always said he was happy to be some guy’s fuck buddy, happy for there to be no real commitment, just good times. If the sex was really good, then so much the better. But recently it had definitely palled when he thought about what some people he knew had…the same man in their bed every night, and delight with the status quo.
Taylor came back to the bar, three or four more times, his smile of anticipation always in place. Seems like a nice guy, Matt thought. Too bad he lives in LA, land of the parking lot freeways. Toward the end of the evening, he scanned the thinning crowd to see if Taylor had hung around, but there was no sign of him or his friends. That’s okay, I’m bushed anyway. Friday and Saturday nights were always a bear, but the tips made it all worthwhile.
On his way home, he stopped in at Fawkes, an all-night café a few blocks from his apartment. Not the chicest place in town, but the burgers were to die for, and Matt was starving. While he waited for his burger to go, Matt stared out of the window at the late-night stragglers wending their ways either home or to a local hotel. Mostly guys, their arms around each other probably for support, he reckoned, rather than affection, although it could have been a combination of the two.
Anyway, it’s more than I have right now. Okay, he had to stop with the self-pity. It wasn’t attractive and nobody had the patience to listen to a whiner. Nobody he knew, at any rate.
“Here you go, Matt,” Al, the guy in charge at night said. “I put some fries on the side even though you didn’t ask for ’em.” He stared at Matt’s flat stomach. “You gotta lotta room for ’em, by the looks of you.”
“Thanks, Al.” He’d been coming to Fawkes off and on for the last couple of years, so he knew better than to argue about the fries. He didn’t have to eat them when he got home. Tonight, he just might. Burger, fries and a beer. Better than… Nah, not really.
Working at Bobby’s, he was able to afford a nice apartment. As nice as Jason’s, anyway, he thought, looking around at the cozy living room. But Jason had moved into that fancy place with David, the guy he’d met at the gym. Stole him right from under my nose. Not really, but it had rankled for a bit. He and Jason had been fuck buddies, although if he were being honest with himself, he wished he’d asked for more. He didn’t see Jason often these days, like he used to. Guys who got serious usually didn’t make a habit of frequenting gay bars, apart from getting together with friends occasionally. Matt guessed he could understand that. Once a guy was hooked, there wasn’t that pressing need to go out and mingle with other ‘desperately seeking someones’.
Man, but he was getting jaundiced in his opinions. When had that happened? He wasn’t desperate…he had his share of the good life. And tomorrow night there’d be one more slice—Taylor, all hot and ready to get fucked before he had to go back to La-la land.
He stripped, threw his clothes in the laundry basket then slipped on a pair of shorts and, after getting a can of beer from the fridge, prepared to devour the burger and fries. He turned on the television, mainly to fill the room with sound instead of the silence that seemed to pervade the space on the nights he came home alone.
But I’m not lonely…not really. I have friends. Brett and Steve at Bobby’s…Jason. Yes, he’s still a friend of mine. We were real close there for a while until…but I still see him now and then, don’t I? When he comes in with his buddies, he always stops and says hello.
“Fuck it.” He stood and walked into the kitchen to dump the burger wrappers and get himself another beer. Truth was, he missed the times he’d spent with Jason. He’d been so sweet in bed. Sweet and kinda rough sometimes. He’d liked to mix it up. Matt had liked that too, but Jason had never made him feel he was just there for the sex. Afterward they’d cuddled and talked…almost like boyfriends.
There had been others since then, maybe too many others, and none of them had made him feel like Jason had. Well, he’d messed up for sure, letting him slip away like that without telling him, without saying the words that might have kept him by Matt’s side.
“I love you.” Yeah, those were the words. The words he hadn’t said, had never said to another guy…and now it was too late. Jason and David had been living together now for six months, and from what he’d heard it didn’t sound like they were having any problems or regrets. Not that he’d wish them to have. I’m not that fucking desperate…
Word Count: 37,815
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
J.P. Bowie was born in Scotland and toured British theatres in numerous musical shows including Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
He emigrated to the States and worked in Las Vegas, Nevada for the magicians Siegfried and Roy as their Head of Wardrobe at the Mirage Hotel. He is currently living with his husband in sunny San Diego, California.
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