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Watching and Wanting (Housemates #4)
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Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied…
Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth—going nowhere.
Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction.
Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated—and kinky—fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.
Length: 52,000 words approx.
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Shawn lay on his back and stared unhappily at the ceiling. Cracks were visible where the grey morning light filtered through a gap in the curtains. He sighed, still flooded with shame from the night before.
Beth shifted beside him. The space between their bodies was new; they used to sleep curled around each other. Shawn wasn’t sure which of them was pulling away—maybe it was a bit of both.
“Are you awake?” Her voice cut through the early morning silence.
“Yeah.” His voice was rough; he wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. Talking wasn’t going to lead anywhere good.
Last night had been weird.
Their relationship had been shaky for a while. Even before Beth had left for her new fancy job in London—while Shawn stayed in Plymouth stacking shelves—things had slipped into an uncomfortable semi-platonic state. Beth wanted more than he could give, but he didn’t want to lose her. What would he be without her? He didn’t mean that in a soppy, romantic way, but in an entirely literal way.
His mates had all moved away after graduation, most going on to training or jobs they were excited about. Yet despite getting a decent degree in Business Studies, Shawn had no idea what he wanted to do. Yes, his job in Boots the chemist paid the bills, but it wasn’t exactly his life’s goal. He should be applying for things, putting himself out there and looking for opportunities. But he was frozen by inertia, unable to work up the energy to try. It all seemed so pointless.
Beth was his anchor in a sea of uncertainty. But for how much longer?
She rolled onto her side and put a hand on Shawn’s chest. The tender caress lulled him into a false sense of security before her words stripped it away.
“We need to talk.”
Shawn’s stomach lurched. Here it comes. Everyone knows what those four little words mean. “What’s up?” He tried to keep his tone light.
“This isn’t working.”
Ouch. Straight to the point, then. “Yeah.”
There was little point in trying to deny it. She was right. They were friends; they liked each other, but the sexual spark had died out fast, and they both knew it. At first, Shawn had been happy to be in a serious relationship. After two and a half years of working his way through girl after girl, it had been a relief to slow down, stop the exhausting cycle of trying to impress, and focus on building something meaningful. He’d had high hopes, but soon found that without the thrill of the chase, it was difficult to maintain his interest.
Finals had given him the perfect excuse to see less of her, and then, at the end of August, she’d moved away to start her new job. They’d seen each other several weekends since then, taking it in turns to visit, but they’d never managed to rekindle their sex life. It had been perfunctory even on a good night.
“I hoped that maybe if we tried something different, spiced things up a little, it might help. But it didn’t work, did it?”
Shawn’s face burned with humiliation. “I think that was obvious.”
When Beth had presented him with the novelty handcuffs, he’d felt an unexpected thrill of excitement, until he realised that she wanted to be the one who was restrained.
He’d tried. He really had. He’d done what she wanted, cuffed her to the bed, teased her, made her come—twice. But all the time he’d been wishing he was the one in her place, imagining how it would feel to be on the receiving end. Then, when she’d finally begged him to fuck her, he hadn’t been able to stay hard. He’d done his best, but it had been painfully obvious that he only had a semi. Eventually he’d given up, claiming tiredness and too much booze, even though he’d only had a few beers and she knew it.
Afterwards, they’d lain in uncomfortable silence until they both fell asleep.
Beth’s hand still lay on his chest, resting over the thud of his heart. She said, “Maybe if we still lived in the same city, we could try and work things out. But given the distance….”
“Yeah. No. I mean… you’re right. We should probably call it quits.” Saying the words out loud made Shawn feel a tiny bit better. Agreeing with her made it feel less like being dumped.
“I’m sorry.” Her voice was small and soft, like Beth herself.
It was stupid to mourn a relationship that had died months ago, but Shawn felt like shit anyway, guilty for letting her down, angry with himself for not being able to make it work. But under those emotions lay an undercurrent of fear. Unacknowledged wants and desires swirled, threatening to sweep him away to a place he didn’t want to go.
He gently moved her hand from his chest and sat up, scratching his belly. “What time is it?” He answered his own question by picking up his phone. “Nearly eight. What time are you going back?”