“You sure we should be doing this?” Even whispers sounded like yelling when all was quiet.

Bryson slanted a look at Walt. “I’m sure,” he said with finality. “It’s time for him to come to grips with this.”

Walt snorted. “I haven’t known him near as long as you have, but I have to say, I don’t think he wants to.”

“Tough shit, then,” Bryson returned hotly. And it was tough shit. For Jared. He’d been in charge of their lives for too long and continued to muck it up. Bryson and Walt had wanted to give Jared time and thought for sure Jared would come to his senses on his own. Evidently not. Jared could give a mule a run for his money in the stubborn department.

“He’ll say it won’t work, the three of us.” The uncertainty and edge of quiet resignation in Walt’s voice made Bryson’s chest ache. Walt wanted things to work out for all of them just as much as Bryson did. In his own way, maybe more so. While Jared and Bryson knew everything about each other, there was still so much for both of them to learn about Walt and vice versa.

“He’ll be wrong.” Bryson didn’t want to think about Jared not being able to come to grips with his feelings and to get over his damn fears and jealousy. Jared had never really told them what’d happened to make him want to end things. Bryson hadn’t thought he’d have to hold on to his questions for months, aching for answers.

“Even you don’t know that.”

“True, but I know him. I know how he feels about me, regardless of what he says. I know how he feels about you too. And it’s time for this shit to stop.” They couldn’t let Jared win or push them away again. Bryson loved him too much to let Jared’s fears win. Life just didn’t make sense without Jared, and while Bryson had been living without Jared on a day-to-day basis for three months, he wasn’t willing to live any more days without him.

Out of the corner of his eye, Bryson saw Walt nod. They both knew this would be an uphill battle. Bry’s feelings for Jared hadn’t changed—not in the least?he just had feelings for Walt too. And he wasn’t the only one. Jared had feelings for the other man as well, which Walt returned in full measure.

Bryson turned the headlights off as he neared the house. He didn’t want Jared to refuse to open the door or greet them on the porch with a shotgun. Bryson stopped a good thousand feet or so from the front of the house and turned the engine off. They needed to be silent as the grave until the moment they knocked on the door. Or maybe…

“He might not answer the door, you know,” Walt said.

Bryson nodded at the other man’s whispered words, which mirrored Bry’s own thoughts moments earlier. “Hopefully he hasn’t started locking it.”

“Wouldn’t put it past him.”

They stepped quietly onto the wooden porch, and Bryson hesitated for just a second before opening the door and walking through as though he owned the place. He grinned in the darkness. Technically, he did. At least half of it. He and Walt had simply moved out to the small cabin when Jared refused to take the step that would have kept them all under the same roof and in the same bed. To tell them what was wrong.

The interior of the house was quiet, and save for the flicker of the television in the living room to the left, there was no other light. Three beer cans sat in a small pyramid on the coffee table, and Jared lay sleeping on the couch, one bare foot on the ground. He was shirtless, and his jeans were unbuttoned. He’d lost weight in the last few months, and the snoring he used to do had all but ceased. Something about that familiar sound being gone made Bryson sad.

Jared hadn’t been overweight, just a wall of solid muscle, but after Bryson and Walt moved out, Jared had worked himself just shy of exhaustion. It was how he battled being upset. Instead of talking things out or confronting what was wrong, he worked and slept and drank. It kind of pissed Bryson off, but in the past, given some time, Jared would usually get to a place where he was willing to talk. It seemed now that Bryson was going to have to force Jared into it.

“What’s the plan now?” Walt asked, quietly gathering up the beer cans.

“Wake his ass up,” Bryson offered to Walt’s retreating back. He leaned over Jared, unable to resist the other man’s lips. They were full and soft and split and bruised in the right corner where Bryson had punched him earlier. He tried to feel bad about it but didn’t.

He could kiss those lips now, though, and he did. The touch was tender, barely there, but enough that Jared shifted in his sleep.

Bryson missed sleeping with Jared in a way that sleeping with another man would never take the place of. Jared was his first love, his true love, his soul mate. Walt was as well, but it was a different kind of love. It was hard and rough and lustful. He could probably on some level live without Walt if he had to, but there was no way in hell he could ever live without Jared. That he’d tried to abide by Jared’s wishes for the last three months was testament to how much the other man meant to him. But Bryson was tired of it, tired of missing Jared, and he was going to make the stubborn cowboy see reason even if it killed all three of them.

Walt slipped silently back into the room and behind Bryson, his hands finding Bry’s hips. At this angle, with Bry bent over Jared as he was, he could continue kissing Jared, and Walt could slide easily into Bryson’s ass were they not dressed.

The ridge of Walt’s cock rubbed insistently against Bryson. “You want this?” Walt asked as his hand crept around and down the front of Bryson’s jeans to cup the cock straining there.

“Yes,” Bryson groaned, his mouth inches away from Jared’s lips. If the man woke up now, Bryson wasn’t sure what any of them would say. He had a fleeting image in his head that they would all be still as statues. Jared would be the first to move, erupting up from the couch in outrage, and Bryson wouldn’t be able to blame him. To keep that from happening, Bryson straightened and leaned back into Walt’s chest. Walt didn’t let go of Bryson’s cock, and Bryson didn’t ask him to.

“I know you love him,” Walt whispered against Bryson’s ear. “I know you love me too, but if it will—”

Bryson turned suddenly, nearly knocking them both off balance. He grabbed hold of Walt’s face in his hands and kissed the man soundly. “No,” he spoke softly against Walt’s lips, then pulled back, but stayed in Walt’s immediate, personal space. “No buts, no ifs. You aren’t leaving. I’m not letting you go. That’s not an option, Walt. Do you hear me? That’s not an option.”

“But letting me go was?”

Remember… Release day for this book is tomorrow, October 23.

~lissa