Bryan & Jase was originally just a short story idea that I wrote to give a real-life friend a happier ending with a friend of his. But, the short story turned into a full-length novel idea. Bryan & Jase can be found on ALL platforms (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, ARe, Nook.) Find it at Amazon at getbook.at/BryanJaseAmzn
(Note from the author: if you haven’t read the FREE short story of Bryan & Jase’s beginning, I suggest you grab it HERE and read it first. Happy reading!)
I walked through the terminal of the Austin airport, just taking my time before I headed to baggage claim. I was very happy with my life in Indiana, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to be back home in Texas for a long visit.
I was looking forward to meeting up with old friends, seeing former military buddies I hadn’t seen in over a year, and especially spending time with my family. Getting my fill of my momma’s home cooking was at the top of my list of must-dos.
The voice behind me startled me from my thoughts of mom’s biscuits and gravy.
I knew that voice, but there was no way it was him.
Turning around slowly, bracing myself for disappointment when I saw a face other than the one I hoped it would be, I scanned the crowd.
And there he was.
It had been over a year since I’d seen him.
Things had been pretty intense between us before we’d parted ways, and it was obvious my heart and body recalled that intensity.
He looked good. Really good. Dark hair still cut military short, muscles visible under his shirt, bright blue eyes, and a smirk I swore was just for me.
He stood off to the side of the crowd, waiting on me to make my way towards him. I was almost halfway there when I realized someone was standing with him.
His wife. I thought they were getting divorced? Last time I talked to him, right after we’d returned from deployment, she’d served him with divorce papers.
The sight of his wife startled me.
But the green and gray baby carrier at their feet nearly brought me to my knees.
Jase. The man I’d become intimately acquainted with during our short time together over a year ago. Jase. Still married. With a baby.
All of this went through my mind as I covered the remaining space between us.
“Rafferty.” I think I pulled off a pretty convincing bro hug.
“Keating. Man, it’s good to see you. What are the odds?” His eyes sparkled.
Um, about as good as the odds of you still being married and now having a baby?
“You’re here for Mac’s wedding?” I’d flown in from Indianapolis to spend two weeks at my parents’ house and attend the wedding of a former military buddy. The wedding was scheduled for the coming weekend, but I’d taken my vacation time from work to coincide with my break from school and the wedding so I could stay and visit longer.
“Yeah, didn’t want to miss the nuptials. Never thought that guy would settle down, figured I’d better see it with my own eyes.” Jase smiled.
I glanced quickly at his wife and realized I had ill feelings toward her now just as much as I did over a year ago. She had treated Jase horribly, cheated on him, rubbed it in his face while we were deployed, taken tons of money from his hard-earned paychecks. I didn’t like her then, and I found I still didn’t.
Hiding that, I raised my brow at Jase.
“Oh, yeah. Bryan, you remember my wife, Sierra. And this little man is our son, Grayson James Rafferty. He’s about three months old. Bringing a baby on an airplane makes flying a whole new experience, but luckily he slept almost the whole way.”
It appeared to me that Jase was rambling, but I just smiled and offered a hand to Sierra.
“Nice to see you again.” The words felt sticky in my mouth.
“We’re heading to pick up our bags, you going that way? We can walk together.” Jase picked up their carry-on bags and Grayson’s carrier while Sierra started off towards baggage claim.
With her walking ahead of us, I turned my head to look questioningly at Jase. The question I wanted to ask must have been clear on my face, but I didn’t feel it was the right time to voice it.
Jase shut his eyes briefly, then sighed deeply. “Long story. Long, shitty, bad story. Maybe we can get a beer and catch up while we’re here. I’ll tell you all about it.”
He glanced down at the baby sleeping in the carrier. “But, no matter how shitty the story, I don’t regret it. Screw up after screw up brought me to where I am and gave me Gray, I could never regret this little guy.”
The love in his voice for his son caught my heart.
Swallowing against the emotion, I smiled slightly, “You look good as a daddy.”
He smiled back.
The chemistry crackling between us made me feel like we were back a year in time. Nothing had changed as far as our attraction to each other. But it appeared that was the only thing remaining the same. Everything else had changed.
Jase already came equipped with plenty of baggage in regards to his closeted sexuality. Add in a supposed-to-be ex-wife who was still very much a wife wife, and a precious baby boy, and he had enough emotional baggage to fill a cargo plane.
Well, running into Jase after we parted ways last year hadn’t been on my itinerary for this trip, but I’d be damned if I didn’t plan to enjoy my time with him while I could. Even if all that came from it was the telling of information I couldn’t piece together myself.