Copyright © 2016 Charity Parkerson
Noah’s career means everything to him. That is, until he loses his true everything.
Noah has been in love with his best friend, Troy, for as far back as he can remember. There is no one else he can picture spending his life with. After signing a contract with the Blue Fires, Noah heads to New Orleans, ready to start his new life as a pro hockey player. With the career he’s always dreamed of having in his hands and the man he’s always loved in his bed, Noah thinks everything is golden.
But nothing could prepare Noah for how being the star player would change his life. Each time he finds a reporter’s mic underneath his nose, Noah can’t stop himself from pushing Troy farther away, making Troy the dirty secret. That is, until the day Troy has had enough.
With Troy gone, Noah can’t find his footing, but neither does he have the words to fix the things he’s broken. No matter how many times Noah picks up the phone, fear stops him from saying all the words he’s avoided. Until a single call and a tragic accident changes everything.
“He arrived at St. Luke’s Medical Center… Labels no longer counted. Opinions were out the window. Nothing mattered any longer.”
Hurt, anger, and bitterness have Noah throwing back the curtain, showing the world his every secret. But is it too little too late?
Falling across the couch, Noah stared at the face of his phone, attempting to will Troy into texting him. The device stayed black. After twenty minutes passed, Noah growled into the darkened room and tried calling once again. To his surprise, Troy answered on the second ring.
Noah ignored Troy’s tired-sounding tone. “Where are you?”
“Does it matter?”
“Yes,” Noah answered, drawing the word out and not bothering to hide his ire. “You’re supposed to be here.”
“Things were supposed to be different this weekend. I guess neither of us got what we wanted.”
“So you left with another man?”
“Do you really want to get self-righteous on that point?”
“Just tell me what you want from me, Troy.”
“You can’t give it,” Troy shot back without missing a beat.
Noah sat up, feeling at a disadvantage even without Troy being in the same room. “This is my dream. You’re right. I can’t walk away from it.”
Troy blew out a sigh. It sounded ridiculously loud through the phone. “I would never expect you to give up your career. Hell, if you ever hinted at such a thing, I’d beat the shit out of you. When you signed that contract, I felt like it was happening to me. That’s how happy I was for you.” An aggravated growl sounded over the line, making Noah wonder if Troy was running his hands through his hair, the way he always did when he was irritated. When he spoke again, Troy sounded calmer than Noah had heard him in a long time. It was oddly scarier than Troy’s fury. “Until you, I’ve never hidden from a damn thing in my life. Part of me wants to cling to whatever scraps you give because I love you that much, but my lungs burn from suffocating for too long beneath your ego. I can’t do this anymore. If you care about me at all, you’ll let me go.”
Noah’s eyes stung. Each breath came harder than the last. “How can you tell me you love me in one breath and say we’re over in the next?”
“Easy,” Troy answered, as if it truly was the simplest thing in the world. “You don’t love me too.”