Will is certain there’s truth to the phrase that no good deed goes unpunished.
William Blunt thought posing for a charity calendar would be fun. Instead, it’s kind of tedious and stressful, and his boyfriend begins to display some alarmingly jealous behavior. Once the shoot is over—again—he’s ready to move on to other things, one of which is, eventually, a healthier relationship.
Breaking up isn’t hard to do, and Will vows to learn from his past dating disasters. What he doesn’t count on is meeting a man whose smile turns his world upside down. Baz is gorgeous, but more than that, he’s intriguing and funny, and he seems to be as interested in Will as Will is in him.
But all is not smooth sailing, and a murder complicates the personal issues both men are already struggling with.
General Release Date: 10th April 2018
“I swear, this is the last shoot. The single and couples idea is going to work out and this will be the bestselling charity calendar ever!” Perry clapped her hands. “Thank you, everyone, for your patience and support. I’ll contact y’all with details of the release party, release date and all that good stuff.”
Will Blunt sighed. He was relieved to be done with the calendar shoot. It’d caused nothing but trouble for him. Now that he was done and Perry was happy with the photos she’d taken, Will was ready to put his life in order, because it’d gone to hell in a handbasket the last few months.
“See ya around.”
Will nodded to Gregg. “Sure. I think we work together a few days next week.”
“Always happy to work with a great nurse.” Gregg smiled then turned to speak to his boyfriend, Albert.
There were a few more people Will stopped to chat with before he reached his car. At least he’d made some new friends…much to his boyfriend’s ire. Anxiety sat like a brick in his stomach as he unlocked the car and got in. He’d known Geoffrey wasn’t the guy for him after a few dates, but he’d stuck it out for over six months in part because he hated confrontations.
He didn’t want to get introspective and figure out his issues when it came to putting up with possessive crazy shit from his boyfriend.
Will cranked the volume up on the radio and sang along with every song he knew as he drove home. By the time he’d parked in the driveway of his ranch-style house, he was a lot less anxious. His voice was raspy from bellowing at the top of his lungs to a few tunes. He snickered as he imagined what he must have looked like to other drivers who might have seen him.
He unbuckled and started to get out when he saw Geoffrey’s sedan pulling up behind him. The anxiety was back in an instant. “Ugh! Not now.” He’d had such a good day. This isn’t right. I shouldn’t dread seeing my boyfriend this much—or at all.
Geoffrey was out of his vehicle quicker than Will. It annoyed Will, but he tried not to let it show as he closed the car door. Smiling at Geoffrey was more than he felt capable of. “Geoffrey, what’re you doing here?”
Geoffrey—Dr. Geoffrey Chalmers—frowned at him. “You don’t seem happy to see me.”
Will sighed and ran a hand over his hair, which was still stiff with product from the photo shoot. “Geoffrey, I wasn’t expecting you to show up today. I’ve told you I’m not fond of uninvited guests dropping by.” It screwed with his anxiety, and Will didn’t want to have to tell his therapist that was getting worse again after finally getting off meds.
Geoffrey’s smile morphed into a fake smile. “I’m not any old guest. I’m your boyfriend. Your lover. Surely that exempts me—”
“It doesn’t,” Will cut in. His temper was rising, and he hated that—it was part of the reason he avoided confrontations. “I made it clear that I had boundaries, and you’ve stomped all over them numerous times.”
“Boundaries? Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not crossing any boundaries. I just stopped by on the way home because I saw you outside.” Geoffrey’s smile was still in place, and it made him look rather unhinged since it didn’t meet his eyes.
Will slipped out from between Geoffrey and the car. “You live on the other side of town. My house isn’t on your way. You worked until four, so I know you weren’t in the neighborhood doing any shopping. You’re creeping me out, dude.” He hadn’t meant to add that last part. It just slipped out.
Geoffrey’s creepy smile dimmed until he was back to frowning. “If you didn’t have such ridiculous rules, I wouldn’t have to make up excuses to see you.”
Will’s head spun as his anger flared to full power. “There are so many things wrong with that sentence, I don’t even know where to start. Wait. Yes I do. Let’s start with you not dismissing my needs and feelings, and let’s end it with, hey, guess what? We’re both single now!”
It wasn’t his finest moment, and Will knew he’d bitch at himself over the way he’d broken up with Geoffrey later. Right then, he had to get away from Geoffrey before he said anything else he’d regret.
“You don’t mean that.” Geoffrey reached for his arm and Will jerked back. Geoffrey’s face darkened with anger. “Stop acting so childish. Do you know how lucky you are to be dating a doctor? I could have my pick of women or men.”
Will’s face went hot with embarrassment when he saw Mr. Ewing standing on his porch watching them. “Then have at it. Find someone without all the ridiculous rules that I have.”
“You’re fucking someone else, aren’t you?” Geoffrey’s expression was one Will hadn’t seen before. It was something worse than anger. “Some slut from that calendar shoot. Who is it? Gregg? Did he dump his dorky side piece already? You and Gregg talk a lot at the hospital.”
Will’s temper snapped. “That’s enough! Get your obnoxious ass off my property! And you’d better not harass me or Gregg at work.” He turned on his heel and walked up the driveway, each step jarring his shins as he stomped out his anger.
“So it is Gregg,” Geoffrey snarled.
Will didn’t bother turning around. “It is not.”
“I think he told ya ta leave,” Mr. Ewing called out. “I can call the po-lees if’n ya don’t listen to him.”
Will halfway expected Geoffrey to say something rude to Mr. Ewing and was glad when that didn’t happen.
Will took the keys from his pocket and jogged up the steps to the wide porch that ran the length of the house. He darted a sideways glance in Geoffrey’s direction, saw him get in his car and start it up, then he opened the screen door and fitted the key in the deadbolt. Geoffrey revved the engine then peeled out of the driveway.
After unlocking the deadbolt, Will waited a few seconds until he heard what he thought was Geoffrey’s car taking the corner. He glanced around, and once he was assured his ex was gone, Will traipsed back down the steps and over to thank Mr. Ewing.
“Sorry about the display. He’s obnoxious.” Will offered his hand to shake.
“That he is, son. Why ya’d date a jackass like him is beyond me.” Mr. Ewing sniffed, and his nose twitched, much like a rabbit’s would have, which was appropriate considering the fact that Mr. Ewing was a jackrabbit shifter.
“Because I don’t have the best taste in men,” Will muttered.
Mr. Ewing nodded. “Well, that’s the coyote in ya. Got that trickster blood fightin’ against yer human nature. Makes things a mess upstairs.”
Will wasn’t even going to try to decipher that diagnosis. “Yeah, that must be it. Thanks again, Mr. Ewing. I hope that’s the end of Geoffrey.”
Mr. Ewing narrowed his eyes at Will. “Ya do know that some Native Americans consider coyote a trickster, doncha? I wasn’t pickin’ on ya. Just tryin’ ta help.”
“I appreciate it.” Will thanked Mr. Ewing again, then beat a hasty retreat to his house. He knew about the different views on coyotes in mythology and in modern times. While he didn’t put any faith in what Mr. Ewing had said, Will wasn’t going to argue with him. He had more respect for his elders than that.
Will locked the door then leaned against it for a moment, closing his eyes. He tried the breathing technique he’d learned in therapy. It took longer than he’d have liked, but he got past the anger and anxiety the confrontation with Geoffrey had caused.
It occurred to him that he needed to give Gregg a heads-up regarding Geoffrey. Will groaned. He hadn’t clarified that he wasn’t screwing around with anyone, had he? He ran that part of the confrontation through his head. “Aw, shit.” Geoffrey was going to think he was screwing around, period, and yeah, it was doubtful Geoffrey would believe that Gregg wasn’t bumping uglies with Will.
Knowing Geoffrey, he’d stew over it and decide Will was fucking every man at the calendar shoot.
“Jeez, what the hell was I thinking?” He should have never gone on a second date with Geoffrey.
But he’d been flattered, and, okay, I was lonely. Fuck. It’d been almost a year since Will had been with anyone other than his hand. He was a monogamist, and he tended to meet men who…weren’t.
“Well, I’m not going to stand here and feel sorry for myself.” Will pushed away from the door. He’d stew over the breakup, and the whole stupid attempt at dating Geoffrey, if he hung around the house.
He considered his options for the evening and decided a nice, celebratory dinner was in order. This was a new start for him. No more dating the first guy who seemed interested in him, and no more jumping into relationships with guys he didn’t really like.
I deserve better. I shouldn’t settle. Mom is right about that. Then he smiled, because his mom was going to be thrilled he’d broken up with Geoffrey. She’d been polite to him the few times they’d been around each other, but there’d been no way Will could have missed her dislike for Geoffrey. She’d never be so rude as to have said as much. His mom was all charm and manners and warm heart.
So he should have paid attention to the fact that she hadn’t liked Geoffrey because it was a rare person she didn’t care for.
Mom’s always right. He’d remember that from now on. Taking the phone from his shirt pocket, Will headed to the bathroom. He’d call his mom first, Gregg second, then he was going to treat himself to a decadent meal at Busca’s.