To Live Again

By: L. A. Witt

At the edge of the room, the bartenders all wore tux shirts and cummerbunds, and against a colorful backdrop of top-shelf liquor, every last one of them could’ve graced an ad for something strong and expensive. A stunning blond deejay kept the dancefloor lively, though I was pretty sure the men moving together on that crowded floor would’ve done just fine without him. Or maybe they would’ve given up on dancing and started fucking right there in the middle of the club—some of them looked like they were close to it already.

I swallowed. Ethan and Rhett had insisted this was the best club in Capitol Hill, Seattle’s gay neighborhood. Ethan said the men were hotter. Rhett said there were fewer illegal activities going on here. I took their word for it.

As I looked around, I couldn’t say one way or the other about Rhett’s comment, but I definitely believed Ethan. The men here were stunning. Absolutely stunning.

And intimidating as fuck.

It wasn’t just that most of them looked like they were half my age and had recently leaped off the pages of a menswear catalog or a porno. That part didn’t help, but it wasn’t what had me standing at the sidelines, wondering what the fuck I was thinking by coming in here.

They were all so…comfortable with each other. Physically. Those who weren’t dancing or making out stood close—some touching, some nearly so. Without flinching, they made the kind of eye contact I’d been terrified to make with a man ever since the first time a stubbled jaw and a wicked smile had given me a hard-on.

Jesus. I didn’t think I’d be comfortable enough to get that publicly intimate with a woman. A man? Forget it. I was definitely attracted to men, but I’d never gone further than fantasizing about them or staring at them on a screen or a page. How the fuck was I supposed to put myself on someone’s radar? And what was I supposed to do if I did?

There was no way in hell I could be that bold, or not freak out if someone was that bold with me. Not even if I would’ve sold my soul to be that guy pressed up against the wall with another man’s lips exploring every inch of his throat. Or the one at the bar who’d clearly made a connection with the guy next to him. That kind of eye contact was unmistakable even without a hand on a knee.

Those guys were all getting laid tonight. No doubt about that.

Me? I didn’t belong here.

Some of the guys here were my kids’ ages, for God’s sake. I was ninety-nine percent certain all three of my kids were straight, but I prayed like hell that if either of the boys weren’t and they hadn’t yet worked up the nerve to tell me, they didn’t walk in here while I was making a feeble attempt to get over their mother with some young leather-clad guy.

Yeah. This was a mistake.

“Greg?” Ethan touched my arm. “Why don’t we grab a booth, and Rhett can get us some drinks.”

“What are you drinking?” Rhett asked.

How about a huge glass of Get Me The Fuck Out of Here?

I swallowed. “Um. Uh…you said…”

“Kieran’s working tonight.” Ethan gestured toward the bar. “You want to try one of his Kamikazes?”

I looked at the bar, and my God, there must’ve been some trick lighting in this place. Kieran had always been attractive—going to house parties always meant struggling not to ogle him or Alex—but something about the tux shirt, the light, the bottles behind him, the flirty grin…wow.

“Greg.” Ethan elbowed me. “Kamikaze? Or…?”

“Yeah. Yeah. A, uh, Kamikaze sounds great.”

Rhett took off toward the bar, and Ethan led me to a booth that was far enough from the stage for us to hear each other. A little closer to the cackling bachelorette party than I would have liked, but I’d live with it.

“This really is your first time in place like this, isn’t it?” Ethan shouted over the music.

I laughed dryly. “You noticed?”

“Relax.” He smiled. “If it helps, most of the guys here are after the exact same thing you are.”

I looked out at the crowd of undiscovered supermodels and porn stars. “Something tells me most of them aren’t looking for a guy like me. If they’re into someone my age, I doubt they’re after someone with my level of experience.”

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