Off-Season [Campus Cravings Series Book 4]
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by Carol Lynne
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Book four in the Campus Cravings Series After spending the past eight years watching the man he loved die, Demitri Demakis is a changed man. No longer will he open himself to the hurt of losing someone. Afraid to love again, Demitri leaves his home and job to start fresh in a small college town. When he locks eyes on Aaron Billings he knows he's in trouble. Aaron is a temptation that is hard to resist. Head soccer coach Aaron Billings wants Demitri and is willing to do almost anything to make him a part of his life. Problem is, the big Greek has encased his heart in ice. Aaron plans to subtly seduce Demitri with patience and perseverance and a good old dose of hot steamy sex. But come spring thaw, will his determination be enough to convince the gorgeous, sullen man to be his?
eBook Publisher: Total-e-bound, 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: September 2007
315 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [138 KB]
Reading time: 88-123 min.
Grabbing an ice cold beer out of the cooler, Demitri wandered over to the barbecue. It was an unseasonably warm day for this time of year. Demitri smiled to himself. Well at least that's what everyone around him kept saying. He'd never been to Idaho in the fall before this year. He'd spent most of the past eight years in Greece, but he also had a New York apartment where he lived when he taught the odd class or two at NYU. He'd left it all behind, Greece, New York, all because of a man.
Shaking his head, he found a seat on the patio.
So here he sat, in a lawn chair in Idaho, surrounded by a bunch of good-looking gay men, one in particular kept catching his eye. He'd told himself for the past couple of weeks not to follow through on his attraction to Soccer Coach, Aaron Billings, but damn. He watched Aaron move effortlessly through the crowd of people. Talking and laughing like he didn't have a care in the world. It felt like a lifetime since he'd had that feeling.
They talked on the phone most evenings until the nightly news was over. They enjoyed discussing the sports segment before saying their goodbyes for the night. Demitri thought they did it more out of a sense of mutual loneliness than anything else. The problem was, the more he talked to Aaron, the more he liked him and he wasn't ready.
So, as he watched Aaron mingle with his friends, he reminded himself of Basil, it seemed to help get his mind back on track. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see his brother, Theron standing over him.
"Someone sitting here?" he asked pointing to the empty chair beside Demitri.
"Does it look like someone's sitting there?" he answered rolling his eyes. Theron was the family psychiatrist and he just loved to poke into people's heads, which was exactly the reason he'd been avoiding him.
Settling into the seat, Theron eyed him a minute before the grin spread across his handsome face. "I just thought by the way you were laughing with that soccer guy earlier, maybe you were saving it for him."
"We're friends, and as you can see, he seems to make them easily," Demitri gestured to the laughing crowd surrounding Aaron.
"Sorry to hear that. It was nice to see you laughing again." Theron took a sip of iced tea, "So are you staying around here or are you coming back to New York?"
"I don't know, I thought about asking Alec if there are any positions opening up at the college." He looked at Theron. "We both know I don't need to work to support myself financially, but I'll never get out of this funk unless I find something to occupy my time." He looked around the pretty yard. "Maybe I'll buy a little house?"
Theron started laughing. "Really, Mr. High-Rise is going to buy a little house in the suburbs?"
"Look around, Bean Head. Do you see any high-rises here? The whole damn town is a suburb." He shrugged, "I like it, it's peaceful."
Shaking his head, Theron leaned forward and rested his arms on his knees. "Are you ever going to tell me what happened in Greece last year? You've spent every spare minute away from teaching there for the past eight years. Suddenly, you're back and withdrawn. What happened eight months ago that caused you to drop out of life and hide away in Idaho?"
Shrugging again, Demitri took a pull off his beer. He didn't want to talk about this stuff, but he knew his brother. He was like a dog with a bone when he smelled emotional upheaval. This was his problem and no one else's. He knew he had to tell Theron something though, so he simply told him what he needed to hear. "I had a very important relationship end. I guess it's prompted me to re-evaluate my life. I decided I'd had enough wandering, enough parties."
Narrowing his eyes, Theron seemed to be studying him. "I know there's a lot more to it, but at least I understand the catalyst now. Are you expecting to find true love here?"
"No, it's not worth looking for because it never lasts." Demitri set his beer down and slumped down in his chair. Crossing his feet at the ankles, he leaned back and closed his eyes, hoping Theron would get the hint.
"It may not be worth looking for, but it's worth having. Just look at Alec and Max. Have you ever seen our brother so happy? I'm sure if you'd asked him before he met Max if he'd ever find true love he'd have said the same damn thing." Theron reached over and squeezed Demitri's forearm. "The right man's out there. You just haven't met him yet."
Demitri opened his eyes and looked at Theron with raised brows. How the hell ... "What did you just say?"
Standing, Theron reached down and ruffled Demitri's wayward black curls, "You might fool some people, but you don't fool me. I've known since you were a teenager." He smiled in that damn smug way he had and walked off, leaving Demitri open mouthed.
Well damn, wasn't that just like Theron. He'd known all this time that he was gay and had never let on. He wondered if Alec knew. Oh shit, or his parents?
Demitri was so wrapped up in his thoughts he didn't even see Aaron until he plopped down in the chair beside him. "Hey," Aaron handed him a fresh beer.
Suddenly finding himself smiling, Demitri took the beer. "Thanks."
The two of them sat in companionable silence for a few minutes drinking their beer. "It doesn't look like my team's going to make it into the playoffs. So if you were still interested in catching a game, this will be our last week."
"Sure I am, when do you play?" Demitri asked sitting back up in his chair.
"Monday's an away game, but our last game's Thursday at home."
"Well then I'll definitely be there." Demitri finished his beer and set the empty bottle beside his chair with the other one.
Glancing over at Aaron, he noticed the man was fidgeting with the label on his bottle. Aaron looked up and caught Demitri's eyes. "Can I ask you something?"
"Yeah," Demitri replied.
"Would you be interested in going to dinner after the game on Thursday?"
Rubbing the back of his neck, Demitri frantically tried to come up with an excuse. Finding none, he nodded. "As long as you understand it's just a friendly dinner. I'm not looking for anything else right now."
"Oh, sure," Aaron said trying to smile, but Demitri noticed the sparkle in his eyes had gone. Hell, he hadn't meant to hurt his feelings.
"It's not that I'm not attracted to you because I am. I've just lost someone that meant a great deal to me."
"Yeah, love sucks. My last boyfriend thought it would be fun to break my nose." Aaron ran the tip of his finger across the small bump on the bridge of his nose.
Without thinking, Demitri followed Aaron's finger with his own. "It's still a nice nose." He caught and held Aaron's gaze for a few moments before removing his finger.