I'm very excited about this book. I love these characters! Greg and Randy are my favorite!
The scent of fresh cut grass wafted across the field, following the boys as they ran, chasing the soccer ball from one goal to the other, trying like crazy to score. Randy Williams wanted to join in, always had, but saying he had two left feet was putting it nicely. Awkward was his comfort zone, and if by some minor miracle he happened to have a moment of cool moves, it surely meant he was about to find himself face first in the mud. Ever since he'd started growing, his arms and legs had betrayed him, leaving him unable to coordinate his body without extreme effort. Of course everyone told him he'd grow into his height, but at seventeen, he didn't want to hear how he would eventually get used to his limbs, he wanted to be smooth and cool. Someone others would look at with attraction firing in their eyes, someone like Greg Scott.
No one used ungainly, clumsy, klutzy, gawky, or ungraceful to describe Greg. Of course the words other kids used to describe Randy weren't quite so nice, well except Greg. Greg was always nice to him even when he didn't need to be. Greg was the main reason he was here. If asked, he'd use the excuse of needing the sun, or maybe he was meeting a friend and he picked the soccer field, or it was peace and quiet—that was always a hard sell, but the real reason was Greg. It was always Greg.
The ball soared towards him and he ducked, covering his face and head with his arms, sure that if he didn't hide, the ball would smash him in the face. The thud next to him scared the crap out of him and he jumped, almost falling off the bench. He grabbed on tight to the metal seat, his breath coming in gasps as he looked up, searching for who had shot the ball at him.
The air grew thick and his lungs stalled as the object of his desire neared, coming closer with each passing second. The boys were playing shirts versus skins. Of course the beautiful Gregory Scott had been chosen for the skins team. The boy had muscles like nobody's business and all Randy wanted to do was make it his business.
"Hey Randy, sorry about that." Greg ran up the bleachers, stopping right in front of him, placing one foot on the bench next to Randy's foot, almost brushing their shoes together. The smile on Greg's face could light up a dark cave. The wind blew over his sweat soaked skin, sending the scent straight to Randy's nose. He groaned, praying Greg couldn’t see how turned on he was. Of course that made Randy blush, and unlike Greg the god, Randy's skin was about the color of cooked egg whites, maybe a shade darker, but he wasn't sure anyone else could see the difference. Unless of course he was blushing, then he turned redder than a shiny new apple.
"It's okay. Here you go." Randy picked up the ball and handed it to Greg. Their fingers brushed against each other and a thousand pinpricks danced over his skin. His heart hammered and his head spun. His eyes widened and their gazes caught, they stared at each other for a beat longer than necessary, long enough for Randy to feel like something special had passed between them.
Greg stepped back, glancing over his shoulder at the boys on the field. "Come on. Play with me."
"What?" Randy squeaked. His gaze darted around making sure no one else heard anything.
Greg's lips turned up in a lopsided smile, his eyelids closing halfway. "Soccer, come play soccer with me."
There was no mistaking the attraction sizzling between them. Real fear filled Randy now. No one could know. Fuck, they all suspected, but suspecting and knowing were two different things.
"Oh no, you don't get to say no. We need another player. Come on." Greg grabbed his hand, tugging him out of the stands and onto the field. Randy towered over Greg by a good four inches. "We're skins," Greg said as he grabbed Randy's shirt and tugged, exposing his belly.
Randy stiffened, his arms wrapping protectively around his sides, holding his shirt close. "No, I can't."
Greg looked up at him, batting his eyelashes in such an alluring way Randy would have done anything for the guy. Greg lifted one eyebrow, merriment twinkling in his eyes. Randy sucked in a breath and lifted his arms. Greg pushed Randy's shirt up and pulled it over his head. Randy swore he heard Greg suck in a breath, but he had to be imagining it. They were worlds apart. Greg had muscles that were tanned, his torso sloped into a V. His skin was beautiful and hairless. Randy bet that if he touched Greg, the guy would feel like silk. He, on the other hand, was a skinny stick, straight as a beanpole. He had a smattering of hair on his body and a thick patch of dark black hair that ran from his bellybutton down below his waistband and then lower. Randy wondered what Greg's hand would feel like running through that hair. He gritted his teeth and took a step back, trying like hell to get his reactions under control.
"Come on, let's play." Greg turned and walked away.
A bead of sweat ran down his back, his body already overheating. Randy kept his eyes on Greg's back as he stumbled out onto the field. He didn't want to embarrass himself so he looked away and gulped. Eleven other guys watched him, their eyes narrowed as he approached. No one said anything. His heart was in his throat and he thought tossing his cookies would be appropriate. Of course he'd not eaten since lunch so he had nothing in him to toss so he was safe on that account, but in terms of playing soccer, he was screwed.
He turned to Greg, ready to leave, when Greg shot him a magnificent smile that turned his body inside out. Almost blinded by Greg's radiance, he found himself smiling stupidly, waiting for Greg to tell him what to do.
"Let's play." Greg tossed the ball in the air and the other boys whooped and hollered.
Randy had watched soccer, even played when he was six and his mother forced him out onto the field, but even then he was more interested in the other boys than the game. He tried desperately to follow what was going on, luckily the ball stayed on the other side of the field for the longest time. He was able to watch Greg move across the grass, his body honed to a perfect performance machine, bending and twisting when needed, perfectly balanced and totally beautiful.
Suddenly he found himself in the middle of the fray, the ball at his feet. He kicked the ball and ran up the field toward his goal—he'd been paying enough attention to get that right—his arms held loose at his sides as he raced forward, his long legs allowing him to cover a huge distance. Midway up the field to the goal another boy challenged him, but he skirted around him, the ball still under his control. A funny feeling hit him in the pit of his stomach as he approached the goal. Good lord, was he going to score?
He raced forward, his eyes darting to the left and the right, amazed that there was no one near. How had he outrun them all? Maybe his height was an advantage. He turned his head enough to look back over his shoulder. That had been his first mistake. Had he kept running straight, everything would have been fine. The first indication of failure came when he had to swing his arm wide to keep from losing his balance. Then he missed a step, his foot coming down hard in the wrong direction. His knees went wild and he felt all wobbly. The ball connected with his foot, but he wasn't ready to punt it in. Everything went to hell. He flailed his arms, but that didn't help.
Suddenly he was on his back, staring up at the sky, noticing for the first time that if he squinted he could see stars in the middle of the day. Greg was there, laughing above him. Then the rest of the boys gathered around, their laughter like tiny pinpricks on his skin, hurting enough to wound.
"Fuck, that was great Randy. You scored."
His brows pinched together as Greg's words sunk in. "What?"
"Game winning goal," one of the other boys shouted.
"You coming, Greg?" someone yelled.
"Go ahead. I'll be around in a bit."
The rest of the boys took off across the field and Greg plunked down on the grass beside him. Greg carded his fingers through his dark hair, his gaze everywhere but on Randy. Randy knew he should sit up but he liked lying on his back next to Greg. It felt intimate, almost like they were together and he wasn't just lying on the field because he'd had a Randy moment and fell on his ass.
He studied the object of his interest, noticing the thin scar on his right side below his ribs and another scar under his chin. The desire to touch the scars wove through Randy, leaving him gasping for breath.
Greg looked down, his gaze connected with Randy's. They stared at each other for a long moment. The world melted away as they shared secrets in that stare. A cold wind blew across the field and over his body, cooling him through and through. He shivered and Greg leaned closer, his hand almost touching Randy's arm. Greg flicked his gaze lower, licking his lips as he took in the rest of Randy's physique. Their gaze connected again and Greg quirked a smile, only the left side of his mouth curving up, leaving him looking more like a rakish devil than a high school boy.
"Come on. I'm starving." Greg jumped up and held out his hand, his fingers lingering longer than necessary on Randy's wrist before dropping the connection. Greg took off toward Randy's book bag, his gait confident.
Randy didn't know what to say or do. The whole reason he did his homework in the stands of the soccer field was to watch Greg run around half naked in his short yellow athletic shorts and Nike shoes. Never in a million years had he believed that the guy was interested in him. Randy glanced over at Greg, making sure he was still there. Greg caught his movement and winked, his fingers brushing over Randy's as they walked side by side.
He started shaking, wondering if Greg was playing him. Hell, he'd been hiding behind a wall of indifference, dating in groups but never kissing a girl. He always picked socially awkward girls, ones no other boys wanted to date. Another criteria he had for dating was the girl had to be a dedicated Christian. Not that her salvation was of any importance to him, but Christian girls wouldn't be as likely to want sex and there was no way he could do that with a girl. Of course thinking about sex with Greg standing right beside him made him feel funny and he feared embarrassing himself.
He looked away then ran the last few steps to his bag, trying to get away from the halo of allure surrounding Greg.
"By the way, thanks." Greg's voice slid over him, warming him from the inside out.
Randy fisted his shirt and turned, gasping as he saw the heat in Greg's gaze. "For what?"
"I mean you did score the game winning goal and with style like I've never seen." Greg snickered, his eyes twinkling with merriment. "I was just trying to get you out of your shirt."
The air grew too thin to breathe. Randy felt light headed. Then he remembered they were in public and he glanced around nervously, making sure no one had heard them.
"Relax, no one is out here. I've been watching you for a while, but I swear I thought you didn't like me at all."
Randy plopped down on the bench, his head between his knees as he sucked in air, praying that what Greg was saying was true and not just another boy trying to tease him.
Greg sat down next to him, his fingers skimming Randy's knee. "Hey, are you okay?"
Randy's head shot up which was a mistake. He was already dizzy and looking around half crazed wasn't good.
"Greg, I'm… Fuck." He screwed up his face, confusion filling him. "Are you gay?"
Panic filled Greg's face and he backed away. He glanced around nervously, his face going pale. "I thought you were."
Randy reached out, placing his hand on Greg's arm. "I am. I just didn't think…didn't dream that you would be… Are you?"
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