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(Boulder Brothers #1) No Tears with Him
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From USA Today bestselling author K Webster comes a gay interracial romance called No Tears with Him!
It’s 1999, and while being gay isn’t unheard of these days, it’s something my family absolutely will not understand. If they ever find out, there’ll be hell to pay. But, because I’m shy, awkward, and weird, I haven’t been forced to explain my sexuality to them. Guys don’t exactly beat down my door to date me.
My self-confidence is severely lacking.
None of that matters when I’m offered the career of my dreams. A handsome and charismatic guy who actually sees the value deep inside me. Each day, he teaches me how to be bolder, braver, and to take what I want out of life. He’s attractive, and for some crazy reason, he likes me too.
He makes me feel worthy.
There are no tears with him.
But, like the Y2K bug that threatens the world as I know it, time is running out. I’ll soon be forced to face my biggest fears and reveal the true me to my family.
I just hope I can survive it.
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Is the world ending on December 31?
I spin in my desk chair for the millionth time, flying high on Mountain Dew, before grabbing the edge of the desk to stop myself. Ask and you shall receive. Jeeves always has the answers.
Article after article pull up.
All about one thing.
My blood buzzes through my veins and I scrub my palm down over my face in frustration, nearly knocking my glasses off in the process. After straightening them on my nose, I squint at the screen. I have one year to figure out how to solve this problem or civilization as we know it will come to a screeching halt.
No pressure, dude.
“Yo, Mal, shut that shit down,” Madden barks as he limps past my bedroom door, slamming his meaty fist against the doorframe along the way. “No one wants to hear that. Especially me.”
Rather than turning down Destiny’s Child like he wants, I ignore my older brother and go back to my work. The real work. My résumé. If Mom knew I was in here trying to solve something that, and I quote, “Is some made-up bullshit,” she’d whip my ass.
She could do it too.
Madden got his meanness from Mom.
I hate when they gang up on me.
I shudder away the thought of her walking in on me doing everything but working on my job hunt. Anxiety creeps through me. It’s been almost a year since I graduated from high school. I’ve been mooching off Mom this whole time because I can’t do it.
College, that is.
Sure, I’m smart.
I’m just not cut out for…people.
My head throbs and I realize I’m frowning hard at the computer monitor. I rub at my temples and wonder if I’ll get this job. It’s entry level, but it’s for a production artist for an advertising agency that’s up and coming in the tech world. Everything about the job listing is a dream. I may not have the education it said that was preferred, though not required, but I do have hands-on experience.
And, that, I have Mom to thank for.
She works in computers at Lockheed Martin and has since Dad bailed on us when my sisters were young. Whenever they have something that’s no longer salvageable, her boss has always given them to her to let me tinker on. I’ve brought many a dead dinosaurs to life just by cracking them open and messing with them. If it weren’t for those computers, I would’ve never found Adobe Photoshop. Once I learned how to create art on the computer, the rest was history.
Letting out a heavy sigh, I print my one-page résumé and stand, stretching. I catch sight of my reflection in the mirror and cringe. Compared to Madden, I’m a shrimp. It’s annoying that I’ll never—literally—measure up to my ex-NFL brother. Madden probably used to eat guys like me for breakfast during football training season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
At five-foot-seven, I’m the shortest person in my family.
Even Melody and Mina are taller and they’re in ninth and tenth grade. It’s like they all have a different father than me. The idea of having a different father and truly not belonging to the Shaw family has my stomach knotting up. Not even TLC crooning in the background can lessen the ache.
This is why I wish I could stay in my room forever.
Away from people.
My mind gets away from me, worrying about anything and everything, and sometimes I just melt down. There’s nothing more humiliating than shutting down at school in front of hundreds of your peers all because you made a B on a test rather than an A. Crying over a B like it’s the end of the world in the middle of the hallway haunts you for a long-ass time. I know because it still haunts me to this day and that happened a few days into my senior year of high school.
I can still hear their laughter.
The muttered “Mental Malcolm” and “fucking freak.”
My stomach tightens violently at the memory.
“Mom’s home,” Melody sasses as she bounces past my room, jerking my mind from the past. “Better turn that shit off.”
Great. I’m being tag teamed by the baby and the dickhead of the family.
“I’m telling Mom you said shit,” I grumble, but hurry over to my radio to switch it off because Mom hates when I jam out.
Melody cackles from the other room and Mina tells her to shut up. Madden gripes at them both to cool it like the wannabe dad he is. I close my eyes and suck in a deep breath.
I love my mom.
I love my mom.
I love my mom.
I love my—
“Malcolm,” Madden bellows from the kitchen. “Get your ass in here. We’re eating.”
I flinch and chew on my thumbnail as worry eats at my gut. She’s going to want to know how the job hunt went today. And I’m going to have to lie to her. Except, I can’t lie. Madden’s big ass has been laid up on our couch for months since he lost his football career over a torn ACL. He’s the biggest damn tattletale and will rat me out since he’s hovering all the time these days.