The Belgian Chocolate Remedy
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Julie Lynn Hayes
Word Count :7625
Publication Date :2015-01-27
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-0221-1
Love is sweeter the second time around…
Milan, a Belgian chocolatier, has lost his beloved brother. Yet life goes on, and he must ready his booth for Outfest—Ludolf would have wanted him to carry on. Jesse is a rudderless soul, unable to cope with the rejection of his lover. He comes to Lafayette, Indiana at the request of his best friend, Reggie. She inveigles him into helping her friend Milan… a way to pass the time, or something more?
The couch wasn’t uncomfortable, as couches went. Black leather and fake wood, it creaked whenever Jesse rolled over. The light cotton blanket he draped across his lean form proved itself to be more than adequate for warmth. August in Lafayette, Indiana was pretty much the same as August in his hometown of St. Louis—hot and muggy. Air so thick you could almost slice it with a knife.
It wasn’t the incessant flashing of the intersection’s traffic light that kept him awake, blinking red through the window of the living room doubling as his bedroom. He had no problem with the noise of the traffic rumbling by—from purring car engines to vehicles whose mufflers were louder than the law allowed—punctuated by the occasional blast of a car horn, or the wail of an urgent ambulance. These sounds were simply the backdrop to his jumbled thoughts, the ones he couldn’t seem to shake, no matter how he tried. He felt stupid for thinking about him so much.
Kendrick was gone, end of story. Jesse tossed restlessly onto his side before ending up on his back once more. His ex wasn’t worth the effort Jesse put into keeping his memory alive, he’d be better served by torching it, roasting Kendrick in mental effigy and scattering the ashes in the past where they belonged. But somehow he couldn’t make himself do it. Actually, he couldn’t rouse himself enough from his emotional torpor to do much of anything. That was why he was here, why Reggie had sent for him three weeks ago.
Reggie and Jesse had been friends all during high school. She’d been the person he’d first come out to about his sexuality, the one he turned to whenever life threw him a curve. They had even worked together briefly for the same telemarketing firm. Then along came Grant, Reggie’s husband of two years. Almost thirty years older than her, she’d met him on the Internet. He was the reason she’d left St. Louis for Lafayette, to Jesse’s dismay.
They’d kept in touch after her move, through all the vicissitudes of his relationship with Kendrick, as well as the aftermath—Jesse’s withdrawal from his family, his refuge behind a shell of indifference. He did nothing and cared about nothing. Finally Reggie put her foot down and demanded he come to Lafayette, so here he was.
Jesse felt the couch shake slightly. A black form shifted into view, standing imperiously upon his chest before curling up in a ball with a mew. Jesse managed a small chuckle, laughed at himself as he relaxed back into the cushions. It was only Bootsy, Reggie’s cat, a wiry stray she’d taken in and saved from a life on the streets. Like him, he thought, as he wrapped a protective arm about the feline, closing his eyes. His last conscious thought before sleep claimed him was that Reggie should’ve been a social worker.