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Quinn Monahan and Grayson Page have been friends since high school. Despite their differences, they’ve been there for each other through thick and thin. Opening Last Call together, a bar tucked away in the small town of Heartsville, PA seemed a natural progression—even if it makes it harder to live with the secret longing they’ve always had for each other.
Hoping to score an easy buck and a place to sleep, unemployed circus roadie Emery Woods chooses Last Call to run a few bets and enjoy a decent beer before moving on. When he finds himself stranded, the unexpected kindness Quinn and Gray show him leads to temporary work and a couch to lay his head. Sensing unresolved history between Quinn and Gray, he squashes his immediate draw to the men, opting to avoid trouble. But as days turn into weeks, denying the attraction is easier said than done.
When the men finally give in to the simmering sexual tension, it quickly develops into more than a way to pass the lonely nights. And as they begin to lean on each other for emotional support, it becomes nearly impossible to think of one man without the other two. But while Quinn and Gray are afraid to cross the line of friendship between them, Emery fears once they do, he’ll quickly be cast aside. A real family is finally within their grasp, but unless the men can learn to trust each other, they just might miss their hearts’ last call home.
***PLEASE NOTE: This is an MMM romance.
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I watched him enter Last Call, eyes darting side to side, and my antennae zinged to full alert. Not only because I’d never seen him before but because the wariness rolled off him in waves.
Keeping his head down, he made his way to the bar, found a seat, and raised his gaze to meet mine. I had to suck in a breath; the depth of loneliness and despair in those cat-green eyes hit me like a punch in the gut. It sent warning signals clanging through my brain, but my body shut them down in favor of my heart, which started beating faster. If he were here, Gray would be elbowing me in the ribs, already sensing my need to reach out and take care of the stranger.
Yeah, he looks like trouble in a whole lot of sexy packaging, but damned if I know what to do about it.
“What can I get you?” My voice huffed out, unexpectedly soft, leaving me a bit breathless with uncertainty. He looked skittish and weary, and I wanted to see him smile.
Get a grip, Quinn.
“I’ll have a Bud.” He smoothed out the bills laying under his palm.
I slid him a cold bottle across the bar but didn’t walk away. Instead, I stood there and watched him take that first thirsty swallow, the strong cords of his neck standing out. This was nuts. I couldn’t stand there watching him. Yet I did exactly that.
“Thanks.” He gave me a faint smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Long drive.”
“Oh? Where’re you from?” The rag in my hand gave me the perfect opportunity to stay and talk to him while I pretended to clean the bar top.
“Here and there.” His lips tightened, and I sensed a story but not the willingness to talk.
“Have a place to stay tonight?”
The guy stopped drinking and placed the bottle back on the bar, making wet rings with the bottom and not meeting my eyes. “Uh, yeah, sure. I found one down the road a bit.”
Sure, you did. The nearest motel was over ten miles away. No way did he happen to wander in here for a beer with a few crumpled dollar bills I’d bet were his last.
“Yeah? What brings you here?”
“What are you, the CIA?” Green Eyes huffed out a nervous laugh. “What’s with all the questions? I came in for a beer, is all, not to tell my life story.”
Instead of getting angry at him, like Gray would, I wanted to know why he was so skittish. Was he running away from something? Or maybe someone? I doubted it was from the cops as he wasn’t trying to hide his face. Maybe he split with his wife and was starting a whole new life.… I had to chuckle at the fantasy I’d built up around this stranger. I could hear Gray lecturing me to leave the guy alone and let him drink his beer in peace.
I scanned his long, rangy body, noticing his raggedy clothes and hair badly in need of a trim, yet…something about him was mighty appealing. Knowing further questions might get me into trouble, I put on my most charming smile, the one I had used to wheedle clients into signing with my advertising firm and not the competition, and tried a different approach.
“I don’t mean to pry. We don’t get many strangers here, so when someone new shows up, it’s almost like a celebration of sorts. I’m sorry if I pushed.”
Green Eyes weighed my words solemnly like he was trying to figure out if I was pulling his leg or had something to gain by him giving up any information.
“Uh, well, I’m not the partying type. All I wanted was to find a place to sit for a while and have a cold one.”
“You got it. I didn’t mean to get so personal.” I withdrew to the other end of the bar to stack the glasses but still kept an eye on him. He never looked up once, just kept sipping his beer, making it last.
The door opened, and Gray walked in. I immediately knew he’d tell me I was being an idiot for spending my time thinking about some ragtag stranger who’d probably never come back after today, so I prepared myself.
“Hey, did you meet with the new distributor?”
A twinkle lit Gray’s normally serious brown eyes. “I sure did. He thought he’d put one over on us by changing the price on the imported beer, but I pointed out the error of his ways.”
That was why Gray handled the supplier side of the business. He trusted no one, and that made him the perfect one to hammer out the deals.
In addition to handling the books and paperwork, which Gray hated, I was the friendly face people opened up to behind the bar. I loved listening to their stories and offering advice. Too many years had been wasted with me listening to my father tell me the people didn’t matter, only the bottom line.