Joshua Dayton met the man of his dreams as a sophomore in high school—his mentor and biology teacher, Mr. Cayden. Fearing his love would be considered forbidden and rejected, he ran away to college, determined to move on and forget. Three years later, he is summoned home and comes face to face with the man he tried to leave in the past. The same man he never stopped loving.
Samuel Cayden was looking for a fresh start and an escape. What he was not expecting was to develop feelings for his student, Joshua. Yet when the boy returns home a man, Samuel can no longer pretend the pull between them doesn’t exist.
Will the student become the teacher, showing Samuel how to open his heart? Will Samuel be able to prove to Joshua that things are not always what they appear? Or will the spark fizzle before it has a chance to ignite?
It’s time they got a lesson in love and temptation.
One more deep breath when I reached the porch, and I opened the door to step inside, and stopped with only one foot in, frozen in my tracks. Across the living room, in the kitchen, leaning against the island, stood the one man I had been trying to get away from.
We stared at each other, both too shocked to move. I pulled my other foot inside and dropped the bag in my hand. It landed with a loud thud. Yes, Imperial was probably one of the smallest towns around. Yes, Sam lived in the same small town and taught at the local high school, but that did not mean I expected to see him in my house, standing in my mother’s kitchen. If I managed to run into him, I would’ve sworn it’d be around town or at a restaurant, not here.
Neither of us broke eye contact. I hadn’t seen him in three years, but right now, it felt as if that time had not separated us. All I could think about was the letter I wrote him, the one I shoved in his hands after graduation had come to a close. I left for Florida the next day. Had he read it? I wanted to know, and yet, at the same time, I wanted to pretend I was never that bold.
Much like the house, he hadn’t changed. His white t-shirt pulled tight across his chest, and I could see his tattoos disappearing underneath his sleeves. The tattoos covered one arm completely, while the other one only had a half-sleeve. I also knew that he had ink that covered his back and one leg. There was something sexy about a man covered in color. Actually, it was only this man. Others with tattoos did nothing for me. It was only Sam.
In my dreams, I could picture it all so clearly. The colorful swirls of pictures flowed over his skin from his upper back to his ankles, his skin alive with vivid color. I’d dreamed of kissing every inch of paint.
Samuel Cayden appeared as if my magic in my life as a sophomore. This was the man I had been thinking about yesterday, the reason I pushed Jacob away. And now he stood less than fifty feet from me.
“I’m…I’m glad you came,” he said, his voice gruff and tight.
I pondered his words for a moment. Had he expected me to abandon my only family, my mother? “My mother needs me, where else would I be?” I swallowed hard and then dismissed him, “Thank you for helping out, you can go now.” I had to get away from him so I could breathe again. Being around him, seeing him again after I left without a backward glance, messed with my equilibrium. My emotions intensified and crashed down upon me with a vengeance. Leave, please leave. I silently prayed. I didn’t know why he was here. I couldn’t occupy the same space as him right now.
“I uh…” he started to say. His lips turned downward and his eyes appeared haunted and sad.
“Samuel,” a soft, muffled, feminine voice called out from somewhere to my left. I knew that voice: my mother. It sounded weaker than I remembered. And it had called for my old teacher.
“I’ll be right there,” he answered loudly, never taking his eyes off me.
Samuel? I’d like to know when my mother started calling my old teacher by his first name. Up until the point I’d left, it’d always been Mr. Cayden, but then again, I hadn’t been aware that they’d kept in touch.
A soft knock startled us and we finally broke eye contact. Sam cleared his throat. “Why don’t I get that? Your mom will want to see you,” he suggested. His voice still sounded tight and unsure. His forehead was wrinkled slightly from his small frown, and his eyes darted from me to the direction of my mother’s bedroom door.
“You know what my mom wants?” I asked snidely.
“I—” Another knock at the door interrupted him. “Go and check on your mom,” he directed as he came toward the door, his hand raking through his thick hair.
Moving away from the door to give him space, our chests accidentally brushed, and the spark of electricity I tried to forget, ignited, stopping me in my tracks. Three years apart and I still craved him like no other. My breath caught and my skin felt alive as my heart thumped harder and louder. I wanted to reach out and grab him and at the same time, shove him out the door so that I didn’t have to see him, didn’t have to be around him.
His Adam’s apple bobbed and my eyes zeroed in on that part of his body. I wondered what it would be like to lick it, to suck on it until we were both writhing with desire.
Maria Vickers currently lives in St. Louis, MO with her pug, Spencer Tracy. She has always had a passion for writing and after she became disabled, she decided to use writing as her escape. By the Book is her first MM romance, but she has three other published contemporary romance books.
Life is about what you make of it. You have to live it to the fullest no matter the circumstances.
I have always loved books. Not only creating the stories, but reading them as well. Books transport me, and when I was younger, I would run into walls because I refused to put my books down even for a second. Take note, walking with books is not advised. LOL.
With my books, I just want to share my stories with the world. I want others to be transported or to feel the emotions my characters feel. That is my goal with my writing. If I can do that for one person, I succeeded.
Getting sick changed me and my life, but it also opened doors that I thought were closed. Today, even though I cannot do much, I still have my mind and I can write.