No Holding Back
(Dodge Cove #2)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston…Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But… what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had?
Nathan reluctantly took a seat. Every inch of his body seemed aflame.
“Now, will you let me order for you?” Gwen asked. “I have a special meal I have planned for lovebirds.”
Nathan barely stifled a flinch at the word lovebirds as Preston nodded, thanking Gwen. It was ironic that the glass windows depicted couples in amorous embraces while Nathan inwardly freaked out about Preston pretending to be his boyfriend. Where had that come from? It was like the universe was mocking him.
When the words “green beer” left Gwen’s lips, his attention returned to the conversation. “I’m not drinking tonight, thank you.”
“We can make it out of ginger ale if you prefer.”
He nodded as she finished jotting down the order, then sauntered away. Preston shrugged out of his jacket and leaned back, taking in the place.
Not knowing what to do with the silence between them that wasn’t exactly awkward but wasn’t entirely comfortable either, Nathan asked, “What did Gwen order for us?”
A delectable smirk gave Preston’s features a roguish edge. “Steak and Guinness pie, of course. Then Irish coffee and Guinness cake for dessert.”
At the mention of Guinness, Nathan groaned. “You’re trying to get me drunk, aren’t you? Just admit it.”
“It’s just the Irish coffee. The alcohol in the Guinness is burned away in the cooking process. You won’t get more than a buzz.” Preston reached across the table and brought Nathan’s knuckles to his lips.
Nathan pulled his hand away as if burned, despite the ripple of pleasure running all over his body. “Stop it.”
“What?” he asked.
“Stop making an ass of yourself.”
“Here yah go,” Gwen said, interrupting the rest of what Preston was saying as she set down two heaping plates of her famous steak and Guinness pie and what looked like gallon-sized pints of the green beer and green ginger ale.
“Enjoy,” she said jovially, and left them to their dinner.
Nathan waited for Preston to finish what he had been about to say, but the other boy’s attention was fully captured by all the food.
Preston brought a forkful of beef into his mouth and closed his eyes. “Mmm. This is so good.”
Amazed by his reaction, Nathan brought his own spoon to his mouth. He all but forgot that their previous conversation had been left unfinished. The meat was so tender it almost melted on his tongue. The stew was thick with the taste of onions and rosemary and thyme. His eyes practically rolled to the back of his head the moment he tasted the robustness of the Guinness. Preston was right, damn it! The alcohol was gone, but the creamy, spicy flavor of the brew remained. It was like coffee and chocolate mixed together with Worcestershire sauce. Sounded disgusting, but was actually good.
“I wasn’t making an ass of myself.” Preston took a long draft of his beer.
“I’m sorry?” Nathan tilted his head.
“Earlier, you said I was making an ass of myself.”
Ah, what was left unsaid before the food came. “And what do you call all that?”
“An attempt to make you smile.”