Marc’s the Spot

MarksTheSpotMarcus “Marc” Lacroix, a red panda shifter, knows who Lucas Grayson is, and up until playing with him during the world cup of hockey, didn’t much care for him. But when he finds out the jaguar shifter with the hot body has a personality to match, he’s a bit blown away. A night of celebration leads the two of them to the bedroom, and they discover that one night might not be enough to finish this thing between them.
Passion grows to love and more than a little kink, and the two make things work despite the obstacles standing in their way. Lucas plays for the Aces and Marc for the Hares, the distance and crazy schedules of a pro-hockey player keeping them apart. Lucas discovers it’s harder to let go of things than he’d thought. When ill-fate strikes, Lucas spirals and Marc has to try and hold them together. It’s one match Marc doesn’t know if he’ll win.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Loose ID:




Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde / Publisher: Loose ID / Length: 62k


Enter to win a hockey charm necklace from Etsy:

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. (1)



It’s Here!

Will You Be My Escort

willyoubemyescortfs_v1A Carlisles novel

Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

Find it at: Dreamspinner  / Barnes and Noble / All Romance / Amazon

Will You Be My Escort _headerbanner.jpg

What readers are saying about the second Carlisles novel

“I absolutely love the Carlisle family. They are a large, close-knit, in your business family that loves, respects and accepts each other for the person they are.” H. Martin – Bayou Book Junkie

“There is a lot of angst in this as well as family love, loyalty, hot sex, misunderstandings, denying feelings, nosey family members and lust. The games are fun to read about and instead of making the MCs heroes, they fall and have to pick themselves up just like normal people.” Babs – Amazon Review

I loved the premise and the execution. Filled with humor, hot sex, and enough realism that I didn’t have to suspend disbelief to get through it, this absolutely hit the spot in all the right ways.” Belen – Gay Book Reviews


Win a paperback copy of Dinner for One the first in The Carlisles series.

Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.


Coming soon: The third installment in The Carlisles series, Checking it Twice, arrives on November 28th, 2016. Join Dorian and Eric on their not so smooth romance.

Closeted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.

 Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory. 



Release Day: Dinner for One


Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.


Published by Dreamspinner / Cover art by Reese Dante / 200 pages 


What readers have to say about Dinner for One

“As for the plot, there wasn’t one thing I didn’t love about it. From the description of the baking/cooking, the detail of the small but important things and the fact that we actually got to watch the relationship between Bastien and James grow meant that it was a solid 5 star for me.” – Elaine White, Divine Magazine 

“Let’s get straight to the point, shall we? I fucking LOVED this book. It is steamy, romantic, refreshing perfection.” – Gigi, Gay Book Reviews

“Dinner for One was a sweet, sexy and succulent romance. I adored the hell out of both men but have to give a hug to my fellow ginger Bastien for making James fall head over heels with all his wonderful ginger traits. I loved everything about this and hope that if you give it a try, you’ll love it too.” – Sara, Oh My Shelves

Find it at: 

All Romance:
Dreamspinner Press:

Weds Review: A Kind of Romance – Lane Hayes

a-kind-of-romance.jpgZeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.

Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.

Published by Dreamspinner Press / Cover art by Aaron Anderson / 234 pages


This was my first time reading anything by Hayes, and I went into it having heard many good things about her writing. I wasn’t disappointed. Zeke is… somewhat unlikable. At the same time, though, he was easy to relate to and it was clear why he had the issues he did. Benny is the opposite, he’s the eternal optimist, and it’s not hard at all to fall for him. So it makes sense Zeke – who is in desperate need of someone to show him the half full glass – would find himself tangled up in feelings for the man.

Benny helps Zeke learn how to move on from his past and shows him that being different isn’t a bad thing. Some of Zeke’s hangups come in the form of his perception of what his ideal partner looks and acts like (not Benny) and the rest come in the form of his family. Which, you might need tissues. As someone who is very close to their mom, this hit me smack dab in the feels. It’s probably what tipped me over into Zeke’s favor.

This was a sweet story about moving on and letting go of old hurts. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

5 Stars

Find it Here:

Dreamspinner Press / Amazon / All Romance 

Preview: Dinner for One


Available on July 13th 

Pre-order available now

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Cover art by Reese Dante

63k words

The first in The Carlisles series



Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.



Buy Links

 Dreamspinner / Amazon / ARe / Barnes and Noble




Wednesday Review: Practice Makes Perfect – Jay Northcote



 Getting experience with the guy next door seems like a great idea—until the lines blur.

Dev, a geeky first year physics student, has zero sexual experience and he’s determined to change that ASAP. After a bad time in halls of residence, he’s starting the summer term with different housemates and a new plan of action.

Ewan lives in the house next door to Dev. He’s young, free and single, and isn’t looking to change that anytime soon. When awkward circumstances throw them together, Ewan offers to help Dev out in the bedroom in return for maths tutoring, and Dev jumps at the chance.

They work their way through Dev’s sex-to-do list, but what starts as a perfect no-strings arrangement gets more complicated as their feelings for each other begin to grow. If they’re going to turn their lessons in lovemaking into something more permanent, they need to work out how they feel about each other—before they get to the end of Dev’s list.

Publisher: Jaybird Press

Length: 54,000 words

Genre: Contemporary gay romance

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Release Date: Wednesday 22nd June 2016

Series info: #3 in the Housemates Series but may be read as a standalone



I’m a fan of Northcote. I went into this with high expectations, and I came out of it with them having been met. I really enjoyed this book and the dynamics between Dev and Ewan. I found it to be a refreshing and different read from a lot of what’s out there right now. The drama is minimal, the problem is small and easily solved once the two get their act together, and the focus is on the two of them learning and figuring out what they want both as individuals and together. It’s very sweet.

This was an easy read for me, but one that had me skipping work and errands so that I could keep turning pages and finish it. I thought about it when I wasn’t reading it. I wanted to know when Dev and Ewan would finally have an honest conversation with each other, and I felt for them when they kept putting it off. Because those conversations are hard. Northcote did a great job of portraying college students falling in love and trying to figure things out.

On a side note, as someone with OCD, I really liked Dev. He’s a very honest portrayal of someone who thrives on order and who over thinks to the max.

5 Stars

Find it at:
Universal Amazon link (will open in your region)


Sitting on his bed, Dev yawned, his full stomach making him sleepy. He stared at his phone as he contemplated calling home but decided he couldn’t face it tonight. He loved his mum, but she did tend to bang on. Once she got him on the line, she’d end up talking for ages and asking him a million questions he was too tired to answer. Instead, he sent his mum a quick text.

All moved in, everything’s good. I’m shattered now so I’m going to have an early night. I’ll call you tomorrow.

She replied within seconds as though she’d been waiting for him to call.

Okay sweetie, glad you’re settled. Sleep well xxx

He picked up his notepad and crossed off phone home. Texting counted. He also crossed off everything else on his list for today. That was Saturday done.

Dev set his notepad aside, opened his laptop, and pulled up his lists app. He liked his notepad for day-to-day organisation; it gave him a certain satisfaction to cross out the things he’d done and to get to the end of the day with all the tasks completed. But for longer-term planning, he kept his lists on his Mac, synced to his phone.

For the first time in six months, Dev could breathe again. Finally he had a safe place where he could get back on track and look to the future. He began to type.

Things To Do This Term

Make some friends

Learn to cook

Research sex stuff

Join Grindr

Get some experience

Find a boyfriend

He stared at the words on the screen and sighed. That seemed like a lot of things to aim for. But it was good to have goals, right? Jez and Mac seemed really nice, so hopefully Dev was already on his way to achieving the first objective. And that bloke Ewan… Dev’s mind conjured up the image of the flame-haired hunk who lived next door. Ewan had been friendly.

Maybe there was potential there too.

Author Bio:

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.

She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.


Facebook profile

Facebook Author Page


Jay’s books






New Release: To Arizona


Dustin Charleston has just been traded to the Arizona Hares hockey team. As an otter, he’s not too pleased by this. Arizona is dry, he’s leaving his home behind, and he has to move in with a stranger. Things take an even steeper plunge when he meets his roommate.

Chandler Kipling is the captain of the Hares, a least weasel, and he’s got a bit of a thing for his new teammate. Too bad that teammate seems to hate him. And Chandler’s romantic strategies leave something to be desired. Will Dustin be able to get the message he’s trying to send? With a little time, their nightmare might turn into a dream—if they can get past their differences.


Cover created by Catt Ford / Published by Dreamspinner Press June 1st / Length 15k.

Find it at: Dreamspinner Press / All Romance Ebooks / Barnes and Noble / Amazon

“This story has it all. A little drama, a little cluelessness, a little hockey game amidst a fight, and a lot of hot sex. Perfect!” – Christy Duke


BEING SENT to play for the Arizona Hares is Dustin Charleston’s idea of a nightmare. A really bad joke. He loves hockey, don’t get him wrong, but right now he hates it with a fiery passion. He thought he was playing well for the Michigan Mountain Lions, thought he’d be with that team for a while. He was there for three years. Knew how things worked. The last thing he expected was to get the call that he’d been traded. Especially when the season had barely started. He thinks trades shouldn’t happen a month into training. It feels like someone checked him into the boards and kept tripping him every time he tried to stand up.

Arizona is just the icing on the cake. He’s an otter shifter, and they’ve sent him to a desert. He’s going to be reduced to taking laps in an indoor pool. Does Arizona even have rivers? He knuckles at his eyes. They probably do have rivers. He’s being a bit of a baby about this. But he’s upset. It’s not right. He rolls his forehead against the cool window of the plane and watches Phoenix come into view as they get closer to the ground.

It’s going to be his new home. He’s going to have to buy a new place and live in someone else’s spare room till he does. He has no clue who’s going to get saddled with him. All of his belongings are still in Michigan, waiting to be sent to him. All of his former teammates are there too. None of them have texted him. He tries to pretend that doesn’t hurt.

The plane touches down with a hefty jolt, and he grits his teeth.

He doesn’t want to be here.

Wednesday Review: Loaded for Bear – Cheyenne Meadows


Shifter Hardball: Book Two

Polar bear shifter Graham Tundra can’t believe his bad luck. Not only is he traded to another baseball team midseason, but he’s also teamed up with Trigger Mallow: widely considered the best player in the game—but with the worst attitude.

Trigger is on the fence about Graham. As a grizzly bear shifter, he’s relieved to have another ursine on the team, even if they are different species. The problem is Trigger is in the middle of his natural mating season, and Graham looks too damn good to pass up.

What begins as friends with benefits shows potential to grow into a deeper connection. If only they can put aside their differences, learn to trust, listen to their feelings, and realize it’s more than just a bear thing.

Dreamspiner Press ~ 192 Pages ~ Cover Designed by Reese Dante 

Purchase it at: Amazon / Dreamspinner Press / All Romance Ebooks 

This was my first time reading a book by Meadows, and I wasn’t disappointed. Graham and Trigger are interesting characters and this feels like a novel about their lives and not just them falling in love. It’s a sweet story, and their being shifters adds another dynamic to it. I will admit, I have a fondness for shifters and especially bear shifters. They’ve got some of the funniest personalities in my opinion. These two bears are no exception.

Do you need to like baseball or know the first thing about it to understand what’s going on? Nope. I don’t follow baseball and in fact have never seen a game, live or on the TV. It’s just not my thing. But I liked it here, and I didn’t have any problem understanding what was going on. So if you’re not a fan, don’t let it steer you away. And if you want to become a fan, this is a good introduction.

There’s plenty to laugh about throughout this story, and there’s times where you’re going to want to bang Graham and Trigger’s heads together to demand they stop being so stubborn, but it’s great. The supporting characters are lovely, the sex scenes are steamy, and both stubborn men come through for each other in unexpected ways. It manages to be a sweet read without being 192 pages of pure fluff at the same time.

4 Stars.

Ringed Love – Elizabeth Noble’s Blog Tour


Hello and thank you Meg for hosting me today. The first chapter of Ringed Love is posted on Dreamspinner Press, so over the next two weeks I’ll be offering the first one hundred or so words of each subsequent chapter.

Ringed Love releases on May 23rd. Find it at:

Today’s excerpt is from chapter 4



Todd was torn. He hated leaving Nick in the camp, and he didn’t want to leave people unprotected while they scouted farther down the tunnels. Yet he and Nick did work better when they could back one another up.

“We need to get a good look down those tunnels,” Todd said as casually as possible.

“Sal will be helpful, and I suppose Trey will insist on coming since he’s got the maps. Clara knows about the schematics,” Nick said.

“Yeah.” He hesitated, not sure how to broach with Nick what he was considering. “I think that we need to consider the best way to provide protection for these people.”



New Colorado Protectorate fell with the assassination of Chancellor Clarke. Like many others, Todd and Nick Ruger left the land of their birth and made a home to the north in Yellowknife. Their world was ever changing. The time came to say a sad farewell to some of their friends and loved ones, but they were taken in with open arms by others and in turn offered shelter to yet more. Through the years they remained steadfast in their duty as sentries to protect and defend those that needed it the most.

Time marches on but through it all they hold each other dear and cherish the love they’ve shared. There are still angry ghosts, Windigos and water spirits to contend with. Their lives change, offering them new roles. When the time comes, they do what sentries have done for generations prior and teach others the skills to carry on as sentries. The Rugers lives were rich and their hearts full with their devotion and love for each other. The tradition of the sentries lived on forever. It was the legacy of Todd and Nick Ruger. That was the way it was always meant to be.



Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fanfiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess and her sidekick, tabby cat.  She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening and winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!) and stargazing all year long. When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.

Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published two of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.





Tour Stops

May 16 Kris Bethke

May 17 Susan Laine

May 18 Meg Harding

May 19 Jamie Lynn Miller

May 20 Charlie Descoteaux

May 23 Grace R. Duncan

May 24 Sarah Madison

May 25 Rick R. Reed

May 26 Skylar M. Cates

May 27 Lou Sylvre

May 30 Ki Brightly

May 31 Shira Anthony


New Release: Hat Trick


Cover art by Ginny Glass

Published by: Loose ID


Find it at:


All Romance Ebooks

Loose ID

Blurb: Nathan Barres has always loved hockey before anything else. When a one-night stand with Felix Moore gives him emotions, he flees the scene. He’s not expecting to see Felix ever again. So when an injury knocks him out of the game for several weeks, he’s less than pleased to see the Winnipeg Wolves’ newest trainer is none other than Felix.

Almost two years later, the feelings are still there. Nathan does his best to shove them to the back burner and ignore the temptation Felix presents. That is, until Felix makes him an offer that’s just a little too tempting–with amazing results. He’s a hockey player after all, and they’re nothing if not superstitious. If Felix is his good-luck charm, who is he to resist?



The team sends babysitters after his surgery. Nathan isn’t sure how they decide who gets to come take care of his bitchy ass, but he thinks they might be drawing straws. He’s loopy for the first couple of days, high on pain meds and vaguely aware that he’s probably being videoed. His suspicions are confirmed when he finally takes a look at Thor’s Instagram and sees a ten-second video of himself singing “Wrecking Ball.” He has no recollection of it and wishes he’d never gone looking. The likes are in the thousands. He has enough self-preservation not to Google his name and see how popular it is on other sites.

Unfortunately for his babysitters, he gets crankier once his pain medicines are reduced and the surgery is almost a week behind him. He wants to be up and moving, back on the ice and striving for the playoffs. He can’t watch the games in person at this point. Still has a couple of days at least to go before he can be out and about. He’s stuck in his house, on the couch or his bed, watching TV for endless hours. Nathan thinks his brain might be melting.

Sasha comes over and tries to play video games with him, but it doesn’t work with Nathan only being able to use one hand. It’s a venture that ends with Nathan angrily chucking the controller across the room and Sasha going to get him some apologetic chocolate chunk ice cream from the nearest supermarket.

Nathan is not a good injured person.

Renner’s with Nathan when the doorbell rings two days later, and he’s up like a shot. “Oh thank God,” Renner says. “Maybe it’s somebody to rescue me from this hell.”

They’ve been playing Scrabble for the last three hours, and it’s possible Nathan has been a bit of a stickler. There’ve been a few arguments. Renner might have pelted his face with some tiles. It’s not his fault that Renner keeps trying to use fake words. Neither of them is winning when it comes down to it. Nathan has slightly more points, but only because he’s been hitting the bonus tiles. He’s all about strategy. Renner would do better if he had some.

This, he thinks, is frustration at its highest level. He’s tempted to flip the board, but that would be childish.

He can’t hear who’s at the door, though he’s straining to. He only hears a soft murmur of voices. It’s probably someone trying to sell something. Maybe Girl Scouts. Renner is a sucker for their cookies, though they’re definitely not part of his approved diet. Nathan takes the opportunity to pull out his phone and Google his options for the tiles he has.

He hears the door shut, and he looks up, about to ask Renner who’s there, but he shuts his mouth abruptly when he sees Felix trailing Renner. He’s been trying to avoid having to deal with this, blocking even the tiniest whisper of a thought about Felix from his mind. Having the man in his house definitely doesn’t help him. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but he remembers the ache he got in his chest when he looked at Felix sleeping that night, and the way his stomach felt all fluttery. He remembers thinking it was the best sex he’d ever had, and he didn’t want it to stop. He wanted to stay in bed with Felix and never leave.

Felix doesn’t look any different. It’s almost two years later, and he’s wearing his hair the same, his posture is the same, his clothes are more casual—jeans and a blue V-neck—but that’s it. Nathan hadn’t ever expected to see him again, yet here he is, looking just as perfect. Just as irresistible. Nathan feels warmth bloom in his stomach, the familiar ache that signals he’s about to start chubbing.

Felix makes him want, and he can’t want. Not right now. Not with hockey.

The fact that he feels this way long after the fact is a flashing neon warning sign.

Renner points his thumb at Felix, oblivious to the struggle going on in Nathan. “He’s here to make sure you don’t stay a cranky asshole.”

Felix cracks a smile at that, and Nathan’s breath hitches. Of course Felix’s dimples haven’t disappeared. His cock is definitely starting to stir. He’s going to blame it on the painkillers. They’re fucking with his body. That’s all this is. “You’d be cranky too if you couldn’t play hockey,” he mutters sullenly, feeling his face heat up.

“I’m always a ray of sunshine,” says Renner, laughter in his voice, as he drops down into the armchair opposite the couch.

Felix takes his vacated seat on the couch next to Nathan. “Mind if I take a look?” he asks, motioning at Nathan’s shoulder.

“Sure,” says Nathan, sounding shorter than he wants to, but what else can he say? They’ll think it’s from the meds and pain anyway.

Cool fingers touch his neck, and he winces. “Sorry,” says Felix, tugging Nathan’s collar aside and leaning close. “Have you been icing your shoulder?”

“Ten minutes on, ten minutes off,” recites Nathan dutifully. He can feel Felix breathing on him, and his hair is tickling the side of Nathan’s face. Felix smells like fresh apples and cinnamon. He wonders if it would be too conspicuous if he dragged a pillow into his lap.

Felix hums as he looks. “You can start coming in tomorrow. We’ll take a scan of it to see. Work on some stretches.”

“How long before I can play?” asks Nathan, staring at a freckle on the side of Felix’s face. It’s tiny, shaped like a clover, and stands out against the line of his jaw.

“Six weeks at least,” says Felix, finally moving away from him. “You’ll be back on the ice for no-contact practice before then, but we can’t risk your shoulder.” He sounds like he understands how much this sucks, like he’s sorry Nathan has to deal with this.

Nathan thinks he can’t possibly understand how he feels right now. Nathan catches Renner’s sympathetic gaze over Felix’s shoulder, takes in the way his brows are lowered and he’s chewing nervously on his bottom lip. “Can you give us a minute?” he asks Renner, the words out before he can think about them. He wasn’t going to say anything, but he can’t not say anything. Not with Felix acting like there’s nothing to say.

Renner looks surprised and then confused, but he nods and points down the hall. “I’ll just go…do something,” he says. The look he shoots Nathan before he leaves the room promises there’s going to be questions.

Trying to have this conversation with Felix now is probably the height of stupidity, but he doesn’t want to have it at the rink. He doesn’t want to bring whatever this is into his safe space.

Felix doesn’t look at all surprised by Nathan’s request as he reclines against the corner of the couch and folds his arms.

They stare silently at each other. Nathan clears his throat, narrowing a pointed look on Felix. He doesn’t bite, and Nathan sighs. “I’m… Is this weird?” he asks finally. He kicks himself immediately. Of course it’s weird. He knows that. He doesn’t need it established.

Felix sighs. “It doesn’t have to be weird,” he says. “We’re going to have a professional relationship, and anything outside of that is irrelevant to the situation.”

Nathan blinks at the bland answer. It’s so precise, so unemotional. “That’s… It’s not going to be hard for you?”

When Felix laughs, Nathan feels his stomach curl unpleasantly. “It was a one-night stand, and you left without saying anything,” points out Felix. “It happened ages ago. I’ve slept with people I’ve known for much longer and not had it be weird.”

“Right,” says Nathan, trying to absorb that. His stomach is rolling. He’s been stuck with this ache in his chest and memories of a night that made him question his plans, and Felix has been skipping along merrily. “Right,” he repeats, nodding this time like that will make it sink in better.

Felix leans forward, dark eyes intent on his. “Are you going to be okay with this? I can ask one of the other trainers to take over if you’re not.” After a slight hesitation, he adds, “I’m not going to tell anyone about what happened.”

Nathan shakes his head and then hastens to add, “It’s fine,” when he sees Felix’s frown of disappointment. “There’s no need for that.” He coughs, grimaces when it moves his shoulder the wrong way. “I didn’t think you would tell anyone.” He probably should ask for a different trainer, but if Felix can be an adult about this, so can Nathan.

There’s one thing he needs to know. He picks at a loose string on his sweatpants. He’s careful to keep his tone even when he asks, “Did you know who I was?” He doesn’t know why it’s important, but it is.

Felix is already shaking his head, brown-blond streaked hair swaying behind his head, before he says, “No.” He cracks a smile, the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I didn’t know till I’d accepted the job.”

“How is that possible?” blurts Nathan, mortified by how full of himself that sounds once it’s out of his mouth.

He shrugs. “Truth be told I don’t watch hockey. I worked for a soccer team in Colorado before I got this offer.”

There’s a lot of things that Nathan hasn’t been able to truly grasp about this conversation, but the news that Felix doesn’t watch, therefore doesn’t like, hockey is high on his disbelief scale. How can someone not like hockey and work for a hockey team? He’s so shocked by the new tidbit of information he can’t think of anything to say.

He looks at Felix then, really looks. His skin is smooth, the angles of his face sharp, his eyes deep set and definitely made for the bedroom. His lips are plush and pink, his nose slightly crooked. His hair is pulled back, but strands of it wisp around his face, moving slightly with the air from the fan. Nathan feels the rush of heat, the clenching of his stomach, the stirring in his groin. He tears his gaze away. This guy doesn’t like hockey, and Nathan’s still got this weird pulling sensation for him. What’s up with that?

Oblivious to what’s going on with Nathan, Felix claps his hands to his thighs and stands. “I’m looking forward to working with you, Nathan. See you tomorrow.”

“See you,” says Nathan, forcing himself to stare blankly at the TV rather than Felix’s ass as he sees himself out.

“Dude,” says Renner from behind him.

Nathan closes his eyes. Of course Renner was eavesdropping. He’s such a nosy fucker.

“Dude,” Renner repeats and comes around the couch, sitting next to Nathan. “You slept with our new trainer?”

“It was a while ago,” he says, for lack of anything better to say. “A onetime thing.”

“I see,” says Renner, sounding like he does in fact see. Nathan thinks they’re probably not seeing the same thing. When he finally manages to look at Renner’s face, his expression is way too thoughtful. It makes Nathan uncomfortable.

“I don’t want this to be a thing,” he says.

Renner mimes zipping his lips. “No one will hear about this from me.”

He may be a nosy, interfering guy, but Renner’s not a liar. Nathan allows his posture to slump, letting the couch cradle his sore back. “How about we watch Breaking Bad?” he suggests, and just like that they’ve moved on.