Excerpt: Love You Like a Romance Novel

Track 01: Family Reunions Are Played to a Dirge

“I’m going to murder you. Slowly. Give me one more reason and it’s done.”

Jet rolled his eyes. “According to the world and his mother, there are already more than enough reasons to murder me. Also, fuck you.”

“Fuck you,” Dai retorted, raking a hand through his hair in frustration, sending the gold-sparkle spikes in every direction. Jet thought about telling him he looked like Metro Ken, then decided against it—for the moment, anyway. “What’s with you, anyway? You’ve been bitchier than usual today.”

“I have not,” Jet said, even though he knew very well he had but he would sooner give up music forever than tell Dai that he was fucking Dai’s much-despised big brother. It was not Soap Opera day, and would not be for a long damn time.

He rubbed irritably at his aching head and tried to remember where he’d put his aspirin, half-suspecting he’d already polished off what was left of it. Jet dropped his hand and looked up, and inwardly winced at the pensive look on Dai’s face. “Look,” he said, before Dai could start to prod him about his goddamn feelings, “It can’t be that fucking hard to rhyme ‘bird’.”

“Which is why we’ve been sitting here for three hours not rhyming bird,” Dai said, giving him a look that said Jet was fooling nobody. “We’d probably do better if you’d stop moping.”

“I’m not moping,” Jet muttered. His fingers twitched as he fought an urge to seek out the bruises on his hips, suddenly feeling too hot as he remembered the way Jason’s fingers had felt putting the bruises there as he fucked Jet so hard he forgot how to speak, left him breathless and sore and desperate for more.

The way he’d been gone when Jet woke up a couple of hours later, only the mussed sheets and the lingering scent of Jason’s expensive, I’m a goddamn lawyer cologne to prove anyone else had been there at all. “I’ve got it,” Jet said sourly. “Turd. That rhymes with bird.”

Dai rolled his eyes that Jet was surprised they stayed in his head. “You are—” A deep laugh cut off whatever Jet was, and their attention snapped around to the door. Dai shouted in surprise and shot from his seat, dashing across the room to throw himself into the arms of his lover, Cooper Stone. “Coop!”

Jet turned away, an ache in his chest, jealousy coiling in his gut. No one was happier for Dai than he, but he wouldn’t mind a lover of his own he could greet like that. He and Jason were way too complicated for that—and also vaguely illegal, depending on the state, but law-breaking was the least of his concerns.

Lover. He almost laughed. Jason would never call Jet a lover, and most days Jet was able to ignore that and keep positive—keep trying. But he was wrung out from the European tour, ready for a real break, and whatever equilibrium he’d managed had shattered last night when Jason had shown up on his doorstep at two in the morning and fucked him hard without even going through the usual rigmarole first.

It made Jet wonder what the hell was really going on, but it was nearly five o’clock and—

He yelped in surprise as someone pounded on his front door. Dai cast him a look. “Shut up, Metro Ken,” Jet muttered, and fled amidst squawks of outrage to open his front door. He stared, surprised and resigned all at once.

Jason was beautiful, and it was the part Jet hated most about him. Tall, collected, black hair and blue eyes, wearing a black three-piece suit with a green paisley tie that glinted with silver threads. He had Dai’s face, but older, sharper, cooler. Dai tended toward pretty; Jason was flat out beautiful. “What the hell do you want?” Jet asked

Ignoring him, Jason stepped inside, brushing up against Jet until he was forced to step back. Inside, Jason closed the door and looked at him, then at Dai. “We need to talk, now.” He didn’t wait for them to reply, just strode off like a lawyer leading his paralegals to the boardroom.

In Jet’s living room, he navigated around the luggage and equipment dumped there the previous day. He stopped in front of the fireplace, then turned sharply and faced them, eyes locked on Jet.

Jet felt suddenly cold, because Jason had never looked at him like that—seriously, somberly, like he was actually sorry about whatever he was going to say. “Your father died yesterday,” Jason said. “I’m sorry.”

“Uncle Matt is dead,” Dai demanded, then winced at his own outburst as Jason glared witheringly at him. “Jet—” he said, stepping toward him. Jet jerked away, turned on his heel, and slammed his fist into the nearest wall.

Dead. His father was dead. The bastard—

He couldn’t think. Jet raked his hands through his hair and fled the living room, making a beeline for his bedroom, nearly killing himself as he took the winding stairs to the second floor three at a time. In his room, he slammed the door shut, then collapsed on the nearby couch and buried his face in his hands.

The smell of Jason’s cologne lingered still, and it was—however stupidly—all that kept him from screaming. His stupid fucking father was dead. Jet made a rough noise. That was fucking cheating. “You stupid goddamn bastard,” he said to the carpet, and refused to cry, because he wouldn’t give his father that much satisfaction.

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