~oOo~

 

After Anna, 2nd ed (book one)

by Theda Black

artwork by Sonja Triebel

ISBN #9781452430935

debuted as the #2 bestseller for March 2008 at eXtasy ebooks (1st edition)

 

AFTER ANNA (book one)

 

When Will’s girlfriend dies, Tyler supports him in every way he can, even when Will’s increasingly self-destructive behavior endangers them both on the job. And as Will withdraws further, a desperate Tyler can’t keep his feelings hidden anymore.

But Will doesn’t turn his back on him. In fact, Will might have some feelings of his own he’s kept hidden.

The trouble is, Tyler’s kept more than one secret. He knows something about Anna’s death—something that could end their relationship for good.

 

Excerpt #1

 

“Actually, I think I've heard of this before.”

“Really.”

“Yes, really. Copulatia fuckititus, pal. I remember it from college, now you mention it.”

“I'd hate to waste good whiskey, but I'm about to throw it at you.” Tyler stood and followed Will, swaying, still trying to use a napkin to pat at Will's blue shirt. He managed to slop some more on Will from his glass in the process.

Will glared at him. “If you don't mind, I'm trying to pontificate, here.”

“So poontang all you want. I'm trying to wipe the booze off you.”

Will laughed. “Shit. You said that on purpose.” He bent over, holding his stomach, and laughed some more. “Poontang.”

Tyler grinned hugely and gestured at Will's bent-over posture. “You have to take a piss or you getting friendly on me?”

Will laughed again and collapsed on the couch and then, just like that, the laughter was gone because all the fucking in the world, all the drinking and all the jokes weren't going to fix this. It hit him like a bag of sand right between the eyes.

“Will?” Tyler finally asked, a little thickly. Will sat there, head lying at a steep angle, resting it on the back of the couch. His throat moved as he swallowed. “Hey. Hey, Will. Talk to me.”

“I had no idea about Anna. None.”

“She didn't want you to know.” Tyler slouched down beside him.

“There was this whole other part of her that I didn't know. Some detective, huh." Will shook his head in disgust. "Shit, I've been on the streets enough to recognize the signs. I didn't. That bastard fed her all the drugs she wanted and had himself an easy piece of ass for his troubles, didn't he? And I was oblivious, walking around with my head in the goddamn clouds. What an idiot.”

“You weren't an idiot. I never saw her high, either. So you trusted her. Something you do with people you love,” Tyler said with a gentle sarcasm.

“Love is blind, huh? Only if you're a fucking idiot.”

Tyler tapped the back of Will's hand. “Do not do this.”

Will raised his head up and blinked, trying to meet Tyler's eyes. “Do what?”

“Make me stare at you. I'm too drunk to hold my head steady.” Will smiled a little. “C'mon, don't blame yourself. You know better.”

“You have this idea of me, Ty, and I don't know who you're seeing, but it isn't anybody who knows better.”

“The hell with that. I know what I see. It's you who's too busy blaming yourself to see how things are.”

“Oh, really?” Will asked listlessly.

“You don't have any fucking idea how I see you, Will, so shut up.”

“Just where the hell is this coming from?”

“Maybe you're right. Maybe you don't see things sometimes.”

Will raised his voice. “I fucking know I don't, that's what I said. Why the fuck are you on my case?” Tyler didn't reply, his lips set in a tight line.

Will sat back again slowly and shrugged. Forcing his body to relax, he leaned back and dropped his head against the top of the couch again. The sofa creaked and the seat cushion next to him rocked downwards. Will's eyes flew open and Tyler's face hung over his, angry and determined and almost scared. His mouth lowered, touched Will's, soft, then harder, something unleashing from inside him, and he drove Will down into the cushion, pushing his weight into him.

 

Excerpt #2

 

Beautiful men, opposites, the two of them. Light and dark. There was an intensity in Tyler’s face, watching Will and Sandra. Predatory, dangerous. Sandra leaned over and brushed her lips against Will’s, testing, then looked directly at Tyler in the flashing lights of the bar. His fingers tightened on the edge of the table—she saw them whiten. He smiled at her, a twitch of his mouth upward, but she wasn’t fooled. True predators don’t know how to smile.

Will wasn’t oblivious to what passed between her and Tyler. There was a hard glint in his eyes belying the softness and warmth of his lips on hers. She whispered in his ear, a question, and he leaned his head against hers, his hair brushing her face. His lips touched her ear, his teeth bit her lobe. She gasped and his tongue followed, soothing the small hurt. She pulled back, flashing him an open challenge with her eyes. Will smiled. Not until he’d finished the last drop of beer and settled the bottle back down on the table did his eyes meet Tyler’s.

Tyler watched him with raised eyebrows. You really want to do this?

Will’s lips curled in a reckless grin. The lights flashed over his skin and clothing as he sat back against the wall in an elaborately casual manner, watching Tyler.  

Tyler’s smile spread slowly over his face. A challenge? Oughta know better by now. 

Will nodded at him and swallowed his thoughts in another beer.

 

****

 Will couldn’t help but flash onto Anna’s face as he pulled off his clothes. How she looked in the moonlight in his bed, her body pearly white, limbs long and perfectly shaped. He blinked the vision back and the feelings that came with it, willing it into the recesses of his mind, but not before a childish, angry question came. Is this what you wanted, Anna? 

But Anna was dead. 

The wildness in Tyler’s eyes almost matched Will’s of late, as if he’d tried to take his anguish into himself when nothing else made it fade. Tyler didn’t leave Will alone much lately, didn’t allow him to be unaccountable, and so they argued. Tyler was unyielding in a charming, irritating way, a puppy pulling a trouser leg in his usual relentless fashion. It irritated the hell out of Will—the man might as well move in with him. As a matter of fact, Will wasn’t quite sure he hadn’t.

Will wanted something, anything to get away from the stench of failure with a woman he loved, trusted, wanted only to make happy, and so the drinking became more and more a regular part of their nights, that and picking up women. Didn’t help, but then it didn’t hurt. He didn't care if it did. Too many failures and not enough reasons why left only himself to blame.

Sandra pulled off her blouse slowly, Tyler a dark shadow standing beside her, and Will’s mind came back to the present. Her long hair settled against the smooth skin of her back and shoulders. One of her hands dipped beneath the waistline of her pants, rubbing, touching herself. She was lovely.  

She’s not Anna, his mind insisted helplessly, so he strangled the thought to a slow death. Just another night spent wiping out the memories. Everybody’s a user tonight. He lay down on his back on the bed and watched the show, blanking his mind.

****

  Sandra’s eyes moved over their faces. Two pairs of eyes, pale green and warm brown, drilling holes into her as her shirt came off. Her skin broke out in goose bumps and her nipples rose hard and pebbled.

Will wouldn’t dance at the bar, but his clothes came flowing off him like water, quick and graceful, his own kind of dance. His legs were long and muscled, and his chest gleamed in the low light from the street lamps outside, a marble statue, smooth. She wanted to touch him, his clean lines. He lay down on her bed and folded his arms behind his head. His cock jutted upwards but he didn’t move, didn’t touch himself. 

Tyler stood there, only watching until Sandra turned to him. She tugged at his shirt and he pulled it over his head, his hair going haywire. His chest was furry and she reached out to touch it, rubbed it, muscles rippling beneath her fingers. Then came the jeans. He was so dark—midnight to Will’s moonlight. His eyes were hungry, primal.

Will wants the moment, nothing more, she thought. Tyler wanted…her? Maybe. But she noticed his eyes on his friend’s long body as well.

She didn’t know them. Getting to know them wasn’t high on her list. But even she felt their connection, instinctively, emotions feeding off each other, Will’s craziness winding into Tyler. And he let it in. Which meant he was almost as crazy. But it was all more than she really cared to know.

She reached out and ran a hand over Tyler’s ass, beautifully shaped, compact. His skin was hot, and muscles bunched beneath her fingers. She traced the shape of his buttocks around to the tops of his thighs, brushing the hair there lightly. He reached for her, breath hitching in his chest, but she turned around and sank to the bed on all fours. His fingers trailed over her bottom, down her legs as she moved away. 

****

What, no underwear? Will grinned in the dim light. Are you really ready for this, Ty? Then, as Tyler’s jeans sagged to the floor—guess you are. Will’s smile grew and he smothered a laugh.

Tyler didn’t seem the slightest bit embarrassed at facing his best friend with a hard-on, but then, neither had Will. Tyler smiled back at him, though there wasn’t much humor in it somehow. Too much intensity. A shiver rolled over Will’s skin and the smile died on his face as Sandra’s hands trailed over Tyler’s ass, light on dark skin, making their way front and forward.

Sandra turned around to Will just as Tyler reached for her, dropping onto the bed on all fours and crawling over the long length of him on the bed. Her breasts swayed as she moved. Will winked at Tyler, standing there empty-handed, and then her mouth came down, tongue curling over and around his. Tyler flew from his mind. Her body lowered onto Will, settled onto him, breasts and heat and smooth skin, and his arms came around her back. Eyes closed, his cock pressed upward, hardness against softness, their mouths exploring each other frantically.

Suddenly there was a cool draft of air between them as she lifted her body from his. Her mouth left him and his arms fell back over his head. He guessed she was going to Tyler.

Another thought of Anna advanced on him. He choked it off brutally and chased it away, eyes closed. Then the electric feel of a wet mouth traced its way up the center of his chest, and his breath caught in his throat. He arched into it, heart surging, pulse galloping. Teeth scraped across his bare skin, stopped at a nipple, lapping, urging it to a taut peak. He groaned. His cock throbbed. Fingers slipped into his own, overhead, and held him down. 

The mouth came down over his, hard lips claiming him, tongue tracing his own, gently but wanting, needing him, and he knew. Had known. Sandra wanted him but didn’t need him. Nobody needed him that way. So he’d told himself.

 His lips tingled with electric shock even while his body bowed upward helplessly to meet the tongue exploring his mouth, the lips roaming over his own, tasting, devouring. Tyler’s breathing was harsh, and his hands clasped Will’s roughly, pushing down into the pillows. Will’s body shook and hummed with the enormity of what was happening, but alcohol and reckless curiosity pushed it back. Tyler kissed him as if he might never get the chance again, his mouth ravenous, the dark beginnings of his beard scraping Will’s skin.

 He tasted good. He tasted like he’d always known Tyler would.

 These long nights after Anna died, all the drinking and the fucking, nothing, nothing was enough until now, Tyler exploring every inch of his mouth, the corners of his lips, worrying them with his teeth, burrowing into him, tasting of beer and warmth and wanting. Tyler’s groan was in Will’s ear, vulnerable, ragged, and Will thought for a moment that the sound of it alone could make him come.

 Where in hell is this coming from? He and the alcohol worked at subduing his runaway worries to mere flashes—the future, what they would do next, how they’d act with each other. He thought too damned much, anyway. Doesn’t matter, he kept repeating to himself. His mantra. It only mattered that it felt good, better than he’d thought even in the wildest wanderings of the imagination.

 He twined his tongue languorously around Tyler’s, experimenting. It was strange to have such heat and strength and fierceness clasping his hands so tightly, and in his mouth, and pushing him down into the bed. To have the fevered rigidity of Tyler’s cock pressing his hipbone. He rubbed against it, arching, experimenting, and Tyler moaned again, a low rumble in his chest. His nerve floated high and sweet above him and he made a noise he couldn’t help, then, so unrecognizable to him as to almost be a separate thing. Tyler’s dark eyes flew open, made more striking by the shadow-lashes lining them, and he smiled at the noise.

 Beautiful. I always knew that, Will thought, meeting his look but unable to hide the shock of what was happening to him, how it felt to have Tyler’s hands on his body—a still and numbed disbelief combined with the high-buzz of sex. Tyler saw it in his face, the glassy look in his eyes. Uncertainty overcame the passion and he pulled away, slightly. Then more.

Will couldn’t move. Couldn’t say anything until the guilt and anger in Tyler’s eyes turned away and it was too late.

Then Will screamed after him, a sound without words, unable to express what he wanted in any way that made sense, but Sandra was there, lips covering the sound, moving over him, cool, slender fingers sliding around his cock. For a second he wanted to strangle her while she pumped him. Her lips moved against him. He didn’t respond, opening his eyes. Tyler was behind her, his hands on Sandra’s breasts. His mouth on her ass. 

Will’s mind went white and he kissed her savagely. He touched her and fucked her, no gentleness to him, and knew that Tyler watched and wanted him. And that he wanted Tyler.

 

 

 

TOUCH LIKE BREATHING, sequel to AFTER ANNA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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