Kyle already had on shorts and a tight gray T-shirt when Forrester entered the bedroom.
Water from his hair trailed down Forrester’s back, dripping a little on the floor. Dang it. I left my towel downstairs. “We really need to put a second bathroom up here,” he remarked, plucking a tissue from the box and drying the wet spot.
Forrester froze, halfway bent over, when he realized what he’d said. Straightening back up, he looked at Kyle. “Well, I mean, you do, I guess.”
Kyle sat on the bed, looking at Forrester thoughtfully. Like a rocket, Jasper shot onto the bed and into Kyle’s lap. He patted him the best he could with Jasper spinning, jumping, and licking in no particular order.
Finally, Kyle nodded. “Yeah, I do need another bathroom.” He pointed to the spacious closet on the inside wall. “I don’t want to lose too much closet space, though. I haven’t had an architect out or a contractor, but I think that spot is the only place one could go. You know, without worrying about support walls and stuff.”
Relieved Kyle didn’t seem bothered by Forrester’s presumption that they were a “we” and this was their house, he walked into the hallway, taking a good look around. He assumed the supporting walls ran parallel to the stairwell. He opened the hall closet and looked up for an entry into the attic.
“Bingo,” he said when he spied a board acting as an attic trapdoor.
“What are you doing?”
“Seeing which way the trusses go,” he explained as he easily pushed it up and over. The musty scent of insulation and old house greeted him along with a faint rain of dust. “You got a ladder?”
“What? Can’t you see up there, Shortstack?”
Forrester laughed and brushed the dust off the top layer of towels. “Sorry, might have to wash some of these.”
“That’s fine.” Kyle retrieved a small step stool from the bedroom that obviously served as a catchall junk room.
He handed Kyle the towels from the top shelf, and using the stool, Forrester was easily able to pop his head inside. It was dark, only a little light coming in from the vent at the peak of the house. “Hey you got a—?”
“Flashlight?” Kyle supplied when Forrester stepped down. He already had one in his hand.
Grinning, he took it, then studied the layout of the trusses. “You could reconfigure all these rooms any way you wanted, really. They’re not tied in to the actual frame.”
“Far as I can tell.” Forrester rejoined Kyle and closed the attic door.
“You know construction?”
He flushed with pride at the impressed look on Kyle’s face. “A little. My dad was a plumber, but he could fix anything. Cars, water heaters, electrical. Even fixed Ma’s sweeper once. He made sure all us boys knew how to use tools and how to fix basic stuff. I’d bet me and my brothers could tear out a couple of walls”—he gestured with the flashlight to the two spare bedrooms—”move ’em farther out here and put in another bath. Maybe just a half bath or one with a small standing-only shower. Save you a ton of money if we did it too.”
“Of course. We wouldn’t charge you. And we’re pretty good. We built a big addition off the back of Dino’s house and added a second bath at Tony’s.”
Kyle whistled and folded the step stool. “I’m impressed.”
“I’m very impressive.”
Pausing on his way to put the step stool away, Kyle turned. He opened his mouth to say something but shook his head, obviously deciding against it, and headed into the junk room.
“What?” Forrester asked. “You don’t think we could do it?
“No, it’s not that,” he assured him.
“Tell me,” he insisted.
A sad smile pursed Kyle’s lips. “It’s real nice that you guys could do that for me and not charge me, but how would you justify why to your brothers?”
“Why what?” Then it hit him. “Oh, like why we would remodel some guy’s house for free.”
Brows up, Kyle pointed at him. “Exactly.”
A hot flush of shame went through Forrester. Indeed, how would he explain it? “Hey guys, you free the next couple weekends to remodel a house for a guy I know?” “No, you don’t know him. He’s a customer of mine.” “Actually he sucks my dick, and he’s really great at it.” “I think I’m falling pretty hard for him too.”
Yeah, like any or all of that conversation would go well.
Feet like lead, Forrester followed Kyle and leaned in the doorway. “I’m really sorry. Guess I was getting carried away.”
Kyle’s smile was forced—Forrester could tell.
“It’s okay, it was nice imagining,” Kyle said. “Picturing all you guys here, tearing out walls. Maybe teaching me some things.”
“I don’t wanna just imagine it,” Forrester all but whined, stepping closer and hugging Kyle tight. “But I just….”
Just what? Want something you might not be able to have?
Kyle returned the embrace, looking up at him, his smile more genuine this time. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We can figure out that stuff as it happens, okay?”
He let out a nasal breath. “I’m sorry. If I was out….”
Kyle shook his head. “No, you gotta do it on your timeline. I mean we just started… this.”
“Relationship,” Forrester corrected, feeling suddenly panicked by Kyle’s vague use of the word this.
His smile widened. “Relationship.”
“I’m serious about you, even if I’m not out. I hope you know that.” They hadn’t really labeled anything yet, but it felt like time to define things, especially after Kyle gave him a drawer. “Kyle, I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted a boyfriend. Like the settle-down-with kind of boyfriend, not a fling. I’m willing to give this a real honest go. You just say the word and I’m all in.”
His eyes twinkled. “The word.”
The relief that swept through Forrester was like the removal of a physical weight, and he wanted to laugh. “Okay, then. I’m glad that’s settled. It’s the Kyle and Forrester Show from now on.”
“I’ll have to set my DVR so I never miss an episode.”
“I think our show might be too hot for HBO,” Forrester joked, squeezing his boyfriend. “Lots of full-frontal.”
Kyle threw back his head with a laugh, slapping Forrester’s naked butt. “With the way you don’t bother to get dressed, I’d have to agree.”
Ecstatic, Forrester kissed Kyle, then hurried into the bedroom to get dressed. No, he wasn’t ready to tell his family about Kyle—hell, it had only been eight days—but he did not want to treat their relationship lightly. Kyle meant something to Forrester.
He meant a lot, actually.
Title: La Famiglia
Series: A Men of Gilead Novel
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Genre: M/M Romance Novel (standalone)
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Forrester Giordano comes from a huge, nosy Italian family, and with their homophobic jokes and slurs, he’s decided to stay in the closet. He finds respite in his bookstore in the quaint village of Gilead—where he has a huge crush on one of his customers, Kyle Benson.
Kyle is determined to live his dreams, and though life isn’t easy being deaf, one by one he’s making them come true. He’s scored a great job practicing law, bought a cute bungalow where he can finally have a big flower garden, and he has a dog he loves, Jasper. Now he just needs one thing to complete his happiness: a family of his own to make up for the one he never had.
Forrester and Kyle’s relationship starts off hot and heavy, and neither man can deny the depth of their connection. When Forrester’s little brother gets mixed up with their heroin-dealing cousin and his mother falls ill, Forrester has a decision to make—maybe the hardest of his life. For the first time, he’s found a man worth coming out for.
Unfortunately nothing ever goes according to plan with la famiglia.
Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions at her local RWA chapter and is the current President 2017 for Rainbow Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.