When Kane Harris’s world turns upside down, his lifelong best friend is the only one to catch him.
Years ago, Ian Kelly accepted Kane would never return his love, since he knows Kane believes he’s incapable of it. Ian is willing to settle for what he can get—a best friend, sometimes casual lover, and occasional submissive. He's learned he can’t live without Kane, but he can’t let Kane know. Because when, not if, Kane confirms that Ian’s love will never be returned, Ian won’t be able to take it. But when Kane loses his job and asks Ian to step up their play to help him deal, Ian’s ability to hide his feelings falters. Then Kane starts his own computer security firm and asks Ian to join him, and Ian struggles further.
It’s not until they visit the exclusive BDSM club the Iron Door that things come to a head. Kane screws up big time, and he’s afraid he can’t fix it. He’s sure he’ll lose his best friend, his Dom, his everything… forever.
IAN COAXED his ancient Toyota into the parking spot next to Kane’s Accord and shut off the engine. He was exhausted. He’d gotten into a fight with the IT director again, was given another project to work on with the database developer whom he hated with a passion, and had been forced to sit through no less than three completely useless meetings in the afternoon. All he wanted to do was eat something and go kill something. Not necessarily in that order.
He dragged himself out of the car and locked it, tossing his bag over his shoulder. He trudged up the steps, giving a halfhearted wave at their elderly neighbor, a sweet old lady not entirely with it anymore. She was out on her balcony in little more than a nightgown, watering nearly dead plants. She smiled a wide, toothless smile and he gave a weak smile back.
He finally made it to the apartment door on the third floor. He slammed the door deliberately so Kane would know he was home, then kicked off his shoes, hung his keys up, and shed his jacket. He put it in the closet before heading down the hall.
Their living room wasn’t all that big, but they didn’t care. Half of it was taken up with their computer desks, stuffed next to each other and covering one entire wall. Opposite them was the large flat screen TV and entertainment center, complete with all three major gaming consoles, a home theater system, and large collection of movies and games. In front of the TV, between it and their desks, was the one piece of furniture they’d spent any real money on: their couch. They’d had more than a few friends crash with them, and they’d finally broken down and bought a decent one for them to sleep on. It had certainly come in handy a few times when they’d decided to fuck there in the living room too.
Ian shook his head at the thought and turned his attention to Kane. He had his headphones on and there was a battle going on the screen, one hand was on the keyboard, and the other was on the mouse.
“No, goddammit! He was… fuck. What do you mean you’re out of power? That’s not what I see! Just… send in the pet. Fine. Look, we’re in the bottom of fucking Moria. You can’t fuck around like that!”
Ian leaned against the wall, crossing his arms, and watched the battle. There were way too many enemies for Kane’s group—he could see that from there.
“Goddammit!” Kane shouted, ripping his headphones off and throwing them onto the desk.
“Pick-up group?” Ian asked.
Kane spun around, and Ian glanced over Kane’s shoulder to see his character’s corpse lying on the ground. “Yeah. Why do I get into them again?”
Ian shook his head. “I don’t know. They’re not usually that bad in Middle-earth, though, are they?”
“No, which is why I’m so pissed.” He sighed. “Must be the daytime players.”
“Want to order in tonight?” Ian asked, crossing the room to stand next to his friend.
“Chinese?” Kane looked up hopefully, and Ian laughed.
“Sure. If we can order from the place that does the sushi too.”
“Done!” Kane grinned and snatched at the menu he kept pinned to the small bulletin board over his desk. “How was your day?” he asked as he looked over the menu.
Ian sighed. “Long. Meetings all damned afternoon. I hate meetings. I hate people. And, um, don’t you have to deal with your group?” He pointed at the screen.
Kane shook his head. “No, I dropped it. I should port back, though.” He turned back to the computer and clicked a few things. His corpse revived, the pretty green swirls surrounded him, and the loading screen came up, complete with a twenty-four-inch version of a spider.
Ian shuddered and looked away. Instead, he turned to inspect his friend. He could tell something was bubbling under the olive skin and nearly black eyes. He knew it was very likely the old job, the new job hunt, and the frustration Kane was likely feeling over it. Kane always thought too much, spent way too much mental energy worrying about things.
“Did you work out today?” he asked, giving in and playing with a bit of Kane’s shaggy ebony hair.
“Yeah,” Kane said, and that one syllable told Ian enough: that while the workout might have done some, it most certainly wasn’t enough. He knew Kane would have gotten started on what he had to do, would have done what he felt he needed to, and hated every second of it. He was likely worried about money and not looking forward to working for another bullshit company with bullshit politics and bullshit people.
He knew his friend well.
They’d been friends since they were six. He’d met Kane one hot summer day behind his house, and from that point on, Kane had just always been there.
Kane spun back around in his chair and surprised Ian. He wrapped his arms around Ian’s waist and pulled until they were tight against each other, burying his face in Ian’s stomach.
It’s not that they never hugged or touched. They did—quite often, in fact, for two people who weren’t committed lovers, but this was… different.
“Sorry. Just….” He didn’t continue, instead shook his head a little.
At a loss for what to do, Ian wrapped his arms around Kane’s shoulders.
They stayed that way for a few moments, and then Kane pulled back. “I’m sorry. Just overthinking things today.” He peered up at Ian. “And you’re tired. Let’s get dinner ordered. Want to play for a while?”
Ian considered him for a moment. As much as he wanted to log in and play too, he knew Kane’s current state of mind was not conducive to making any kind of progress. They’d end up dying more than once; then they’d get frustrated over it. Death in the game was relatively painless, but it was still annoying and inconvenient. Which would only serve to make things worse.
Maybe what he needed was another type altogether. “Maybe. Maybe what you need is a different kind of play tonight.” Ian watched Kane’s eyes. His pupils expanded just a bit and his breathing quickened. “Would you like that, pet?”
“Yes, Sir.” Kane’s voice was clear and deferent, his eyes dropping away.
Ian’s own breath quickened and he worked to get hold of himself. “Very well. Strip, get the cushion, and get on your knees. Wait here for me.”
“Yes, Sir,” Kane answered, voice already rough with anticipation, and as Ian stepped away, he hurried to obey.
Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.