More Than A Friend by Nic Starr

MoreThanAFriendLG

Buylinks: Dreamspinner Amazon | All Romance

Blurb:

More Than: Book Two

Tim Walker is a free man. He’s broken up with his girlfriend and is ready to move on to a new relationship. But the relationship he wants to pursue is fraught with challenges. Firstly, Scott Richardson is a man, and only Tim’s closest friends know Tim’s bisexual. Secondly, everyone knows Scott relishes the single life. And then there’s the big one: Scott is the younger brother of Tim’s best friend, Paul.

Scott can’t deny an attraction to his brother’s friend Tim. Lean, dark blond, and blue-eyed, Tim is hot and hard not to notice—especially since Scott and Tim work together. Too bad the man is straight, and too bad Scott worries how Paul will react if Scott hooks up with his best friend.

Tim and Scott want to see if there’s a chance for more than friendship between them, but neither of them wants to lose Paul. Together, they must find the courage to follow their hearts and find a way to have it all.

Nic’s Bio:

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

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Excerpt:

Chapter One

“FUCK!” THE clatter of the pan hitting the floor reverberated around the tiled kitchen, as did the profanity that automatically fell from Tim’s lips. He dropped into a crouch and surveyed the damage as Sam came running into the kitchen. The door leading from the office to the kitchen slammed, announcing Sam’s presence.

“Are you okay?” Sam asked as he came to a stop and dropped to his haunches next to his friend and head chef.

Tim looked at Sam and took a deep breath before answering. “I’m fine. Shame I can’t say the same about the cupcakes.” He indicated the dozen or so cupcakes scattered across the floor. He was slightly embarrassed at his own clumsiness but more pissed off than anything.

Sam glanced to the floor, then looked at Tim. “The floor might be clean, but definitely not clean enough to eat off,” he chuckled. “C’mon, I’ll give you a hand. No point crying over spilled… cupcakes.” Sam stood and walked to the broom closet to grab a broom while Tim started picking up the damaged cupcakes and dropping them back into the pan they’d fallen out of. Sam swept up the crumbs while Tim took the tray to the trash and tipped the offending goodies in.

“Damn, I can’t believe I dropped the whole pan of them. Now I’ll have to stay back and make another batch.” Tim looked at the clock. It was already past five and the rest of the crew had finished up for the day, since there were no functions booked for that evening. Tim looked at Sam as he came back from putting the broom away. Sam didn’t show any of the annoyance Tim himself felt. “The cupcakes are for the Ferguson lunch tomorrow. I was baking them tonight so I’d have plenty of time to frost and decorate in the morning. I’ll have to get the replacement batch done tonight so they’ll have time to cool. It’s either that or come in extra early, but I don’t feel like getting in any earlier than I have to.”

“I’ll stay and give you a hand. We’ll get it done in no time,” Sam said.

“Thanks. I appreciate the help. More for the company than anything else,” Tim said before walking to the storeroom.

Together they gathered ingredients—flour, sugar, eggs, milk—and began making the batter.

Tim glanced at Sam, who was quietly humming as he cracked the eggs into a bowl. If Tim wasn’t mistaken, it was one of the Bad Boys’ songs, although it was somewhat hard to tell, as Sam really couldn’t carry a tune. Sam’s cheerfulness brought a smile to Tim’s face, though.

“Are you sure you’re okay to stay back? You don’t have any plans for the night? Something better to do?” Tim asked with a smirk.

“Something better than baking?” Sam said as he tossed an eggshell into the trash. “No, nothing planned. Plus it’s quite fun being out here with you in the kitchen. Much better than being stuck in the office.”

“You wouldn’t rather go see your man?”

“Sure I would,” Sam said, “but he’s not back in town until Sunday. The band is working on a new album. Four more days until he returns. Not that I’m counting or anything.” Judging from the smile on Sam’s face as he spoke of Rob, he was definitely looking forward to Rob being back in Blue Point.

Tim was pleased to see his friend and boss so happy. Sam was one of the most open and caring guys Tim knew, and he deserved all the good things that were coming his way. Sam and his boyfriend, Rob, had been through some rocky times over the past few months, with events happening that had placed a real strain on their new relationship. But things had changed for the better since just before Christmas, when Rob and Sam had sorted a whole lot of things out. Rob had come clean about his health issues and shared the circumstances surrounding his ending up working at the hospital as part of his community service. Once the air was cleared, there was no stopping them, and they were really good together. Not that Tim was an expert in relationships, given his disastrous last one. Even thinking about Erica made him cringe.

“Things are going well for you two, then? Rob’s doing okay?” Tim asked.

“Rob’s great,” Sam replied. “Since he got the all clear and hasn’t had to have any more treatments, he’s improved out of this world. There hasn’t been any nausea or tiredness these last few weeks. It’s like he’s a different man.”

“I’m glad,” Tim said, genuinely relieved things were looking up. “I guess I’ll see more of him around the place now we’re sharing a house.”

“I hope so. When he’s in town, anyway. It’ll depend on the recording schedule and tour plans. By the way, I don’t think I said thanks for helping with the move.” Sam began placing the paper cases into the baking tray while Tim stirred the batter.

“No worries. It wasn’t like you brought much with you anyway.”

At the beginning of January, Sam had decided to move out of the small cottage he shared with his aunt Poppy and into the house Tim shared with his best friend, Paul.

“Yeah. Lucky for me, I didn’t need to. You guys had the place well set up. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have a bit of privacy.” Sam and his aunt were co-owners of Poppy’s Pantry, a catering business that was growing by leaps and bounds. But living with his aunt, now that Sam was involved in a relationship, hadn’t been working so well.

Tim barked a laugh. “It’s not like you’re going to have much privacy in a house full of guys.”

“Maybe not,” Sam replied, “but at least I won’t be worried about Poppy overhearing what goes on behind closed doors. There’s no better mood killer than imagining your aunt listening to you making out with your boyfriend.”

“Oh God, enough!” Tim laughed. “I don’t want to be picturing that either, thanks. We might need to send you back to Poppy’s.” Although he was teasing, he knew there was a touch of jealousy rearing its head.

Sam looked up from the cupcake liners he was filling. “Seriously, though, I don’t know what I would have done without the support of you all over recent months, what with Poppy and her broken hip meaning she wasn’t able to work, and it all happening over the holiday season.”

“Hey, that’s what friends are for. You’d do the same for me if I needed help,” Tim said.

“I would.” Sam nodded seriously before bursting out laughing. “Oh God, look at us. Getting all mushy.”

“Here, give me that.” Tim took the tray, balancing it with a practiced hand as he carried it to the oven and slid it in.

By the time he’d turned around, Sam was seated on a stool at the workbench with a couple of bottles of water. “Here.” Sam pushed one of the bottles his way. Tim twisted the cap off the bottle and enjoyed a long drink. He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was until the water hit his mouth. It was hot in the kitchen with ovens going, and Tim had been on his feet all day. He nearly finished the bottle before placing it on the counter.

Tim surveyed the mess in front of them—bowls, beaters, and containers of flour and sugar, evidence of the batch of cupcakes in the oven—but it wouldn’t take long to clean up. Within five minutes, the kitchen was returned to its spick-and-span state. Tim finally pulled up a stool next to Sam and looked at the large clock on the wall. “Ten to fifteen minutes and they should be ready.” He rested his forearms on the counter and let out a sigh as he laid his head on his arms.

“How’re you doing, Tim?” Sam asked. “We haven’t had a chance to talk properly, with you working so many shifts.”

Tim tilted his head to look at Sam. “Just tired. Nothing I can’t handle.”

“I don’t mean that,” Sam said, “although I don’t want you working yourself into the ground. I meant, how are you coping since the breakup?”

Tim lifted his head and sat up straight. He turned to face Sam. “In all honesty, I’m doing great.” He raised the water bottle to his mouth and downed the last of its contents.

Sam raised an eyebrow.

“I mean it,” Tim said. “It was a long time coming, damn overdue. You were right when you told me ending it was the right thing to do.”

“But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. You’re bound to feel regret, loneliness—hell, I don’t know—it may not have been the best relationship, but that doesn’t mean ending it has to be easy.”

Tim stopped twisting the empty water bottle and put it down on the counter. “Look, I’m really okay, Sam. The main thing I feel is relief. The thing with Erica and me, it was a relationship we just fell into. Erica didn’t love me any more than I loved her. Fuck, you know we reached the point where we didn’t see eye to eye on anything anymore. I certainly couldn’t do anything right in her eyes, and she was happy to move on to bigger and better things.”

“Yeah, sorry about that, man.” Sam sympathized.

Tim laughed but without humor. He may not have loved Erica, but it didn’t make it any easier to see his then-girlfriend flirting with the lead singer of Rob’s band and disappearing with him later in the evening. The only good thing about the events of that night was that it simplified the decision to end things then and there and not drag it out any longer.

“Thanks.” Tim stood and moved to the oven to check the cupcakes. A quick touch to test for springiness determined they were ready. He pulled the tray out and let the oven door slam shut. He used two hands, protected by oven mitts, to carry the tray to the counter, not wanting a repeat performance of dropping the hot tray onto the floor. “These can cool overnight, and I’ll frost them in the morning.” He draped a clean tea towel over the cupcakes.

“So I guess the benefit of you being single is I don’t have to feel guilty about scheduling you to work Valentine’s,” Sam said as he threw their bottles into the recycling container.

“Sure. No worries, buddy. You enjoy your Valentine’s with your man.”

“Oh, I intend to,” Sam said and waggled his eyebrows, causing Tim to laugh.

Tim did a last check of the kitchen to make sure everything was turned off while Sam shut down his computer and retrieved his messenger bag from the office. Tim grabbed his own bag on the way out. They switched off the lights and locked up before heading to their cars. As they walked their separate ways, Tim counted his blessings: good friends and a job he loved. Love life be damned.

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