The past year turned out to be anything but what Matt Jorgensen had anticipated. In his quest to better his life and find self-worth he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Going back home to try to right his wrong wouldn’t be easy, but he vowed to try.
When Matt strolls back into Jake’s life, a firestorm of emotions explodes between the two men. Amidst the betrayal and hurt lies an unrelenting love that refuses to go away. As they rekindle the fire they thought had blown out, a danger lurks in the surrounding mountains, threatening their lives and love forever.
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“Umm… second thought, maybe I should give you a ride home Dave.”
“Why? What’s going on?” Parker asked.
“Yeah. What’s wrong?” Jake seconded the question.
John blew out a breath and gave Jake a somber look. “The ahh…sheriff’s here.”
“He’s not alone,” John answered.
“What do you mean he’s not—?”
Jake wasn’t able to finish his question. It was stolen from his thoughts just as quickly as his breath was.
Standing in the doorway next to the sheriff was Matt Jorgensen, the sheriff’s brother, the man who left this town a year ago and never looked back. The same Matt who he’d fallen in love with and who had completely broken his heart.
All eyes had shot to Jake. He could feel them just boring a hole right through him. His face flushed as he looked at Matt. His jet-black hair was longer. Obviously he had done away with the buzz cut that Jake used to give him every Saturday. A few loose strands of wavy curl fell on his skin-tanned forehead.
There was probably something he should say to break the awkward silence which surrounded them, but he was coming up blank. Even in the dimly lit room he could see Matt’s striking green eyes staring back at him. He hated how much he still missed the vibrancy they held. So many nights he had stared into those same eyes, and now they stood across a room from him, looking back as though the past year had never happened.
He looked entirely too good for a man that Jake swore he’d never allow into his life again, much less his fantasies.
“Okay, since no one’s going to talk I’ll jump in and break the ice. Lord knows it can’t get any more fucking uncomfortable in here than it already is. Jesus, if I had a knife I’d slice a piece of this tension pie and hand everyone a slice,” Sheriff Jorgensen said. “So, John here tells me you had a problem here tonight, Jake.”
“Had a problem. Past tense. Thankfully the asshole is gone now. Just left,” Jake answered.
“Great. That makes my job a lot easier. That must have been that blue sedan I saw peeling down the road on my way in,” the sheriff said.
“Look, thanks for stopping by. But, I’m closing up for the night. It’s been a long day. And I’d really like to call it a night. Can you guys just show yourself out?”
Jake turned away, and walked back behind the bar to the kitchen entrance. He didn’t want to be in the same room with Matt, but even more so, he couldn’t stand by and watch him walk through another door again. He may have written Matt out of his life, but his fucking feelings for him still lingered like a damn cold that refused to go away.
He heard a few replies of various forms of goodnights and goodbyes and then waited until he heard the cars pull away.
Standing in the kitchen he rubbed at the ache in his chest. Damn if it didn’t still feel like he loved Matt. It had been a month since he’d allowed him to enter his thoughts. The days of having him seep back into his subconscious with ease no longer plagued him. It took him forever to be able to fall asleep at night without seeing Matt’s face before him. Now he was back, and Jake wanted to know why.
Actually no, screw that. He didn’t want to know at all. Matt was the one who had left him. He’d walked out and closed the door on their relationship long ago with little regard for how much Jake had pleaded with him not to leave. The last thing he wanted was to get caught up in that whirlwind of heartache again.
Lord only knew why Matt came back at all. He had no desire to talk to him. All he could do was hope it would just be a quick visit and he’d be gone sooner rather than later.
Feeling a bit calmer, Jake walked back out into the bar to lock the doors for the night. He barely made it through the swinging saloon-style doors when he saw Matt sitting at the bar. His fingers were laced together while his arms rested atop the counter. It was an image that Jake had seen a thousand times before over the years. Yet, as he stood there, looking back at the man who was once his whole world, he couldn’t help but feel like he was seeing a complete stranger.
Jake felt frozen. Both anger and hurt were riding just beneath the surface of his overflowing emotions, but he refused to let any of them show. He wouldn’t give Matt the satisfaction of knowing how much he still affected him.
“Hi.” Matt’s voice was soft, almost like a whisper.
Refusing to answer his former lover’s polite greeting, Jake remained silent. How Matt even thought he could just walk into his bar after a year and offer nothing more than a simple hello was beyond him anyway. The man he once loved had a bit more compassion than that.
Matt exhaled deeply. “You’re not going to talk to me are you?”
Jake cocked an eyebrow and crossed his arms. “What would you like me to say?”
“Shit, I don’t know. Anything. Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“Okay.” Jake took a few steps forward and leaned on the bar. “I’m thinking, what dumb luck. Out of all the bars in all the word, Matt Jorgensen walks into mine.”