Right Street, Wrong House
Unrequited love sucks and after years of waiting and hoping in vain, Lewis knows he’s got to move on. An invitation to a Halloween party is the perfect opportunity to try to meet someone new and maybe get over his feelings for his best friend Dylan.
When Lewis discovers he's at a very different kind of party and bumps into Dylan there, he suddenly knows why Dylan keeps pushing him away.
But Lewis has secrets of his own and the two of them are more compatible than Dylan thinks. If only Lewis can convince him to give them a chance.
If there was a party in progress, it was a pretty quiet one. The house seemed silent, but the porch light was on and elaborately carved pumpkins lined the path, their flickering candles illuminating the walkway from the sidewalk to the front door.
Lewis smoothed a hand through his hair and walked down the path. Here goes. He gripped the plate of cookies in one hand and rang the bell.
The door was opened by a plump, pretty, older woman in a devil costume, most likely the hostess and owner of the house. She seemed surprised to see him.
"Hi. You don't know me, but I'm Lewis. Rob invited me." He gestured with the plate of cookies. "Rob said to bring snacks. I know I'm a little late, but I hope that's okay." Lewis gave her his best smile.
The woman smiled back and opened the door wider. "Well, aren't you sweet. I'm Nadia. Come in."
Nadia paused at a doorway just beyond the front door. The room was dark, but judging by the furniture and the unlit fireplace it seemed to be a small den.
"Leave your jacket in there." Nadia waited as Lewis slipped off his jacket and added it to the pile already burying the loveseat.
Lewis followed her down the hall. Nadia teetered on very high-heeled shoes and her dress was red and so shiny it looked wet. They passed a couple of rooms with low lights and soft music. Lewis glimpsed people standing in small groups, or sitting together talking quietly. The muscles in his shoulders relaxed. It looked pretty civilized so far.
The kitchen was large and expensively fitted with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Task lights shone on the counters and the large center island, which was covered with a variety of appetizers and snacks. Over in one corner of the kitchen three men leaned against the counter, eating and talking.
All three men wore black. Two of the men were dressed in business casual. The third wore leather pants and a leather vest with no shirt. The men stopped talking and glanced up as Nadia and Lewis entered the kitchen.
The tallest man, the one in the vest, was fierce-looking with piercing eyes and dark, thick brows. He stared openly, as if he was dissecting Lewis.
Lewis tried a smile and nodded hello. The man continued to stare, then smiled and nodded back. His smile softened his face and made him look almost friendly.
Nadia turned to Lewis, her sequined devil horns sparkling in the low light as she gestured to the island. "You can put the cookies here."
Lewis made small talk as he moved a few things around to make room. "You have a beautiful home, especially your kitchen."
Nadia reached out and stroked the counter. "Thank you. Do you like to cook?"
He nodded, aware the men were listening to their conversation.
"I'm sure your partner enjoys that." Nadia flicked a glance at the men in the corner.
Lewis frowned at her odd choice of words. Rob had said there'd be single gay men at the party. Maybe Nadia was trying to figure out his orientation? Well, if she was, it wasn't a problem. He straightened and raised his head.
"I don't have a boyfriend."
Nadia smiled. "Well. Perhaps that will change. I wasn't aware Rob had invited anyone and he should have told me, but if he vetted you then I’m sure you’re okay."
God. This was embarrassing. "Maybe I should go." Before I find and kill Rob. He took a step toward the hall.
Nadia held up a hand and Lewis stopped. "Don't worry. My parties are pretty informal and it's always good to have another unattached man present." She moved closer. "Especially such a handsome-looking young man."
"Er, thank you."
Nadia took his chin between her finger and thumb. Lewis froze in shock. What. The. Hell?
In her high-heels Nadia still wasn't as tall as Lewis and he had to bend his neck as she tilted his head to and fro, inspecting his face. Was she going to pinch his cheeks next, like a visiting aunt?
"Lovely manners too. You're going to be in hot demand." Nadia winked. "You will be a good boy at my party, won't you? Promise me you'll play nice."
Lewis’s face grew hot and he glanced quickly at the men in the corner. The tall man—Lewis dubbed him Leather Vest—watched with interest. "Of course."
Nadia released him and patted his cheek. "I thought you would. Now, would you like a drink?"
Lewis bit his lip. "I didn't bring anything since I wasn't planning on drinking."
Nadia beamed at him. "That's good. I don't allow alcohol at my parties." She leaned closer as if she was about to tell him a secret. "Safe, sane and consensual. Right?"Lewis stared at her. "Er, right." He glanced over at Leather Vest and swallowed. Shit. What the hell have I gotten into?