A love worth fighting for.
Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright room together as Harvard undergraduates. An immediate friendship forms, but as the years pass it deepens into something neither man understands. As attraction simmers under the surface, lines begin to blur. When they move back to Manhattan, they gradually slip into the lives their families have envisioned for them.
Both men marry, but in time, Riley realizes he’s ended up in a passionless relationship like his parents’ while his career takes center stage. Although he loves his wife, Carter misses the emotional and physical connection he shared with Riley.
The weight of Riley’s feelings and his growing discontentment with his life eventually push him to tell Carter the truth about how he feels. Shocked and unable to face his own feelings, Carter rejects Riley.
As each man comes to terms with the lies they’ve told themselves, each other and the people around them, they find their lives changing in ways they never imagined. They soon discover that the truths they’ve been longing to tell shake the foundations of their friendship.
“’m I doin’ the right thing?” Carter slurred, while Riley lowered him onto the bed. Riley froze with Carter’s arm locked around his neck and their faces inches apart. God, how many times have we been in this position? Riley wondered. He reached up, unwound his friend’s arm and sat back, but left his hand pressed against the front of Carter’s shirt for a moment, enjoying the heat of his body underneath.
“What do you mean?” he asked hoarsely.
He started to pull away, but Carter reached up and covered Riley’s hand with his own, his long fingers holding it in place.
“Mar-marrying Kate,” Carter said thickly, hazel eyes dazed and glassy. They appeared especially dark right then, more brown than their usual greenish hue. Riley breathed shallowly, the words heavy on his tongue. He wanted so badly to tell him no, make him doubt what he was doing. The sight of Carter sprawled on his bed and the feel of their clasped hands made a spot in Riley’s chest ache. All night he’d been fighting his feelings for Carter, struggling to be happy for his friend, trying not to let anyone see his secret.
Here in private, Carter was giving him the chance to speak up. Perhaps Carter was ambivalent on some level about marrying Kate. He knew Carter loved her, but maybe some part of him was as conflicted as Riley. Riley could feel the words on his tongue and knew his friend well enough to suspect that if Riley told him he shouldn’t marry Kate, he wouldn’t go through with it the following day. But wasn’t that delaying the inevitable? Because Carter would marry. Eventually he’d give in to the pressure of his family’s expectations and marry someone.
Why not Kate? His toast to the couple at the rehearsal dinner earlier had been true. There was no woman in the world better for Carter than Kate. As much as Riley wanted to return to the times when they’d been in college—when they’d been friends who lived together and shared a woman between them—they could never go back. The vague, nebulous want inside Riley never seemed to coalesce into something concrete. He wanted Carter, but what did that mean? And what did he have to offer him?
Riley stared at his friend, watching Carter’s unfocused, almost hopeful gaze. Riley felt the beat of Carter’s heart through the soft, polished cotton shirt under his palm and he ached, wanting to tell his friend to call off the wedding.
But the answer to his earlier question was nothing. Riley had nothing to offer Carter. He couldn’t give him the life and family he wanted, couldn’t give Carter the chance to make his family proud. Hell, Riley didn’t even know what he wanted or if he could ever give Carter what he deserved. With his fucked-up family, maybe he wasn’t even capable of caring about Carter like Kate would.
Carter would be happier married to Kate and Riley knew it was the right choice for his friend. For both of them. With Carter married, Riley could make his parents happy by finally settling down with a woman. He could stop wasting his life wishing for something that would never happen.
“Yeah, buddy, it’s the right thing,” he lied, feeling the weight of the words close over him, like the thud of a door slamming shut. He could never take them back.
Length: Novel (95,425 words/261 pages)
Length: Novel (95,425 words/310 pages)
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