The Story of Love will be out on 19 May, so before launch day I thought you might like a little taster. In this snippet, Archie and Zack are in a local café where they are joined by their old friend Jake...
The scrape of a chair being pushed back from the table was heard, and seconds later a pair of thin arms, full of wiry strength, hugged him from behind.
“Sorry.” Zack nuzzled into Archie’s neck. “It was meant to be a comment on my sad excuse of a family, not yours. Your mum’s great, and so’s your granddad. You’re lucky to have them. Forgive me, big man?” Zack’s voice had dropped so his last words were barely more than a whisper. The nuzzling progressed to licking, then biting as Zack’s hands slipped under Archie’s T-shirt and up to his chest, plucking and squeezing his nipples.
Archie groaned. Through half-closed eyes, he could see they were attracting attention. Some stared openly, others looked everywhere else as they pretended not to notice. We really should stop this. But when Zack touched him like that, he was helpless.
The sound of somebody dropping into the seat Zack had vacated moments before forced Archie’s eyes open. His friend Jake grinned at him across the table.
“I reckon you need to get a room, lads.”
Archie felt the skin of his neck stretch and then the wet pop as Zack pulled his lips away. He’d have a mark, but he wasn’t seeing any clients for a couple of days, so it didn’t matter.
“Wanna join in?” Zack asked, in between lapping at the already bruising skin on Archie’s neck.
“Rather watch, thanks. You two always put on a good show. Don’t think Joe’s quite so pleased, though.”
All three turned towards the counter, where a stocky man with short dark hair glowered at them. He put down the trays he was holding and came out from behind the counter.
“Gents. Modify your behaviour, please.”
“I’m just kissing my boyfriend. Nothing wrong with that.” Zack turned Archie’s face towards him and kissed him full on the mouth. Archie pushed him off.
“Joe’s café, Joe’s rules,” Archie muttered. It was just as well Joe had asked them to tone things down. The hard-on he was sporting was threatening to bust the zip on his jeans. Not ideal, as they were surrounded by mainly young mums with babies and toddlers.
“Homophobe.” Zack flopped down onto Archie’s lap and glared up at Joe.
Joe raised his eyebrows but said nothing.
“What are you doing here at this time of day? Are you throwing a sickie?” Zack asked, turning his attention to Jake. Curled up like a cat, Zack leaned back into Archie.
Jake laughed. “No. I am far too responsible to do that sort of thing. I’ve got things to do this afternoon.” He glanced up at Joe.
“Oh yes?” Zack looked from one to the other. “Would that include doing each other?”
“Don’t forget what I said.” Joe glared down at Archie and Zack before he returned to the growing queue at the till.
“Awww, he was blushing. Something you want to tell us, Jake?” Archie asked.
“No.” Jake picked up the last piece of bacon from Archie’s plate and looked his friends square in the face.
Archie and Zack both quirked their brows at him.
“Speculate all you want, lads. My lips are sealed.”
“Yeah, around Joe’s big fat cock,” Zack said.
The middle-aged woman with a baby bouncing on her knee at the table next to them gasped as the young woman who sat opposite her smirked.
“Sorry, ladies. My friend has Tourette’s. He can’t help what he says,” Jake said, turning on his million mega-watt smile.
The older woman’s eyes slid between Jake, and Zack, still curled up on Archie’s lap.
“Shit, yeah, sorry. Can’t fucking help it. It’s a right bastard, not being able to control my mouth. It’s bollocks, it really is. Cock, dick, arse. Bollocks.” Zack unwound himself and slid from Archie’s lap. He tugged on Archie’s hand.
Archie suppressed a laugh. He loved it when Zack was in his playful mood, but sometimes his boyfriend’s grasp of socially acceptable behaviour could, at best, be described as tenuous. Perhaps it was time to go.
“Let’s go home where you can stick your dick up my arse. Bollocks deep. Bollocks,” he shouted, dragging Archie behind him. “Oi, Joe!” Zack called out as he opened the door onto the busy street outside. “Jake said that your sausage is the—”
Archie shoved him outside, and the door swung closed behind them.
A E Ryecart
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