Moments in Time: Book Three
Spending the summer together on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, challenges confront them at every turn.
As they search for their new normal in their old environment, Collin's brother Sean surprises them with help when they need it most. But when word about their relationship gets out, trouble erupts with friends and family. When Collin's relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother's custody battle and Tanner struggles with his feelings for a heartbroken Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone he cares about would be better off without him in the picture.
In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear to Collin that their love for each other is all that matters.
I HADN’T particularly been looking forward to the dinky twin beds in the dorms, but I’d at least expected them to be indoors.
“What the fuck?” Tanner stared out one side of the cab while I gaped out of the other. Mattresses and dressers covered the quad as far as I could see. Then I saw the fire truck.
We paid the driver, unloaded our bags from his trunk, and made our way toward the crowd by the main entrance of Downing Hall.
Eric was sitting under a tree with a pile of suitcases alongside him. I knew Tanner had talked to him after Eric saw us holding hands on Fire Island. Eric had said he was cool about us being a couple—he’d agreed to keep it quiet—but my instinct was to avoid him. No such luck.
He stood and yelled over to us. “Can you believe this shit?”
I set my bags next to Eric’s. “Dude, what’s going on?”
Eric rolled his eyes. “Some dipshit on the second floor put a Pop-Tart in the illegal toaster oven in his room, then went to take a shower. It started smoking and set off all the water systems on the second and third floors.”
Fuck. We’re third floor. “How bad is the damage?”
“All I’m hearing is rumors, but it sounds like it’ll be a few weeks before we can really move in.”
“Shit.” I scrubbed my hand through my hair.
Tanner came over and dropped his duffel alongside mine. “I just talked to the RA. He said we’re going to be temporarily housed in the gym, on cots.”
Eric grumbled. “Perfect. A $45K-a-year shelter.”
“At least there are showers. Did they say how long?”
Tanner took a seat on the grass and started plucking out random leaves and shredding them. “Nope. Could be a week, could be two or more. There’s a long line of parents busting a gut over there yelling at people.”
I didn’t want to cause problems. I just wanted to be with Tanner. We’d spent our last week of summer break at his mom’s, and it had been great—sleeping late, going out to shows, eating takeout on the roof—but it had once again been a chaste week. I still wasn’t comfortable with us doing anything with his mom right down the hall. She’d been so kind to us, I didn’t want to do anything to offend her. But I was horny as fuck and looking forward to getting Tanner all to myself behind the closed door of our dorm room, not sleeping on a cot next to him in a room with fifty other displaced students.
“We’re supposed to check in over there.” Tanner pointed to two makeshift tables that were propped by the far side of our building. “They’re giving out the passes for the gym and some sort of credit from food services for our inconvenience.”
“Guess we better go check that out.”
“I’m gonna wait for Tim to get here,” Eric said. “He was stuck in traffic, and his phone died, so he doesn’t even know. You think you two could save us cots?”
I looked Eric in the eye, searching for any sign of disapproval or fear, but I saw neither. It either didn’t matter to him, or he was going to pretend it hadn’t happened. Either way, maybe this wouldn’t be as bad as I thought.
“Sure. We’ll try to get a good spot.”
“Thanks. See you there in a bit.”
I joined Tanner in line at the tables. He shifted his duffel from arm to arm, and I stared at the muscles of his back as they flexed and rippled under the thin fabric of his T-shirt. Goddamn he’s gorgeous. I already missed seeing him walking around barefoot and shirtless in his board shorts. Thinking about that made me want to get him anywhere we could take off our clothes and spend some quality alone time getting reacquainted. As we were handed our gym pass and a set of industrial blankets, I realized naked time was going to be a long way off.
“Want to go check this out?” Tanner asked.
“Might as well.”
The gym was as loud and dreary as I expected. With the extra-high ceilings, any sound echoed all around. Everyone was complaining. Parents who’d stuck around were bitching loudly to staff, who were apologizing and looking more stressed by the minute. What a mess. And what an ass to have burned food and caused such havoc. Lots of people had illegal appliances, but usually that made them more careful not to get caught with them.
We picked out four beds in the far corner of the room, thinking maybe that would be quieter with fewer people walking by. Once our stuff was set, we headed to the cafeteria. By the time we got there, Tim had arrived and Eric was filling him in.
“This is bullshit,” Tim said. “My parents pay good money so I can have a room, not a spot in a homeless shelter.”
“Hopefully it’ll only be for a week,” I said.
Tim shoved a huge bite of macaroni and cheese into his mouth. “What are you two doing in the gym anyway? I assumed you’d crash at Wendy’s. I’ve seen her apartment. There’s plenty of room, even if she and Tanner are getting busy.”
Tanner poked through the fries on his plate, plucked out a thin crunchy one, and popped it into his mouth. “Yeah, that’s not an option.”
“You and the Wendster have a fight?” Tim’s eyebrow popped high.
“Something like that. She’s trying to work on things with her boyfriend right now, and that involves not talking to me.”
“Summer lovers cramping your style, eh?”
“Just giving them space.” He looked sad, which made me want to reach over to him. Knowing I shouldn’t touch him was making me crazy.
“You know the guy, right? Is he a douche or what?”
Tanner shook his head, and I could tell he was done with the conversation. “My opinion’s not relevant here. She’s the one who wants to be with him. It’s her call.”
Tim nodded, looking satisfied with the answer. “Sucks she wouldn’t even give you a piece of her floor. Even that would be better than those fucking cots.” Tim waved his fork at me. “You’ve got family nearby. Can’t you just live at home until this is settled?”
“Not exactly.” My stomach twisted as I tried to think of how to explain this without really telling him anything. “My mom and I don’t exactly get along, and my brother’s got some marital problems, so I don’t want to get in the way.”
“Maybe you could go stay at the convent with your other brother.”
I laughed. “They don’t keep priests in a convent. You’re thinking of nuns. And I’m not about to move to a rectory. No thanks.”
“Rectory. Sounds dirty.” Tim laughed and shoved another huge mouthful of food into his face. “Guess you’re doomed, then. I’m gonna ask some of my buddies if I can crash at the frat house. I bet they’ll let me. I helped a bunch of them pass statistics last quarter.”
“Good idea,” Eric said. He’d remained quiet the whole time we were chatting, and I got the distinct feeling he wanted Tim to stop talking to me as soon as possible.
Tanner stayed quiet, and I wondered what was going on inside that beautiful head of his. I bussed my tray, then got another soda and sat down next to him.
Leaning close enough that only he could hear, I murmured, “You all right?”
He smiled and nodded. “Just disappointed I have to go another night without you in my bed.”
His voice was low, but I still glanced around to make sure no one had heard. No one had. Except my dick, who wholeheartedly agreed about us needing a night together. In fact, fuck the night. Right now. In a roomful of people. My dick didn’t have the best judgment or sense of decorum. It was just hyperfocused on Tanner. Rubbing against Tanner. Being stroked by Tanner. Being sucked by Tanner.
I have to stop listening to my cock before I come right here in my jeans. That was the last thing I needed.
I managed to get my laptop connected to the cafeteria’s shitty Wi-Fi. Sean had sent an e-mail asking that we meet for breakfast after he dropped the kids at preschool tomorrow. I didn’t have to do anything but finish registering, so I said that was fine. I hoped at least something would get resolved from our talk. I was looking forward to having my brother in my life again.
Tanner clapped me on the back the way any two friends might, but we weren’t any two friends, and the warmth of his hand sank through my T-shirt and warmed me all the way to my bones.
“Everything all right?” he asked.
“Yep. Meeting Sean at the coffee shop for breakfast tomorrow.”
“Good. I hope you guys set things right between you.”
this book isn't as good as the other two. i liked most of it - i thought collin and tanner were great together at first. they seemed to have made it over the hump of finally being together and acknowledging that in public, mostly. i didn't like the tanner &wendy thing again. i thought collin's sister-in-law was a bit much. gino really came through in this as did sean. collin's self sacrificing was a little forced. i would have liked a little bit more meat to the story.
i understand there is going to be more to this series with other characters. i will definitely read them and hope we see more of collin and tanner a little in these future stories.
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