The reason I rarely go home is three simple words: I"m a liar.
When the pressure to marry my childhood sweetheart became too much, I told her I was gay and then fled to New York like my ass was on fire.
Now, five years later and after a drunken encounter, I find myself invited to her wedding. And I have to bring my boyfriend"the boyfriend who doesn"t exist because I"m straight.
At least, I think I am. Meeting the guy I"m bribing to be my boyfriend for the weekend makes me question everything about myself.
When my sister asks me to pretend to be some straight guy"s boyfriend, my automatic response is to say no. It"s because of guys like him people don"t believe me when I tell them I"m gay.
But Maddox has something I need.
After an injury that cost me my baseball career, I"m trying to leave my playing days behind and focus on being the best sports agent I can be. Forty-eight hours with my sister"s best friend in exchange for a meeting with a possible client. I can do this.
I just wish he wasn"t so hot. Or that he didn"t kiss like he means it.
Wait " why is the straight guy kissing me"
*Fake Out is a full-length MM novel with a HEA/HFN and no cliffhanger.*Books in Series:Fake Boyfriend Series by Eden FinleyBooks by Author:Eden Finley Books
Fuck my life.
Staring at a ghost from my past is a slap in the face from reality.
What are the chances of my one and only ex-girlfriend walking into the very same bar as me" And in New York. Chastity-freaking-Wells.
Like any self-respecting twenty-three-year-old guy in this situation would do, I scan the room for an emergency exit.
I need to leave. Right now. I slip off my barstool and throw down cash on the bar, but Chastity and her three friends head straight for me.
Sweat drips down my neck as my gaze darts around the small space in search of an alternative route to freedom. Slasher movie music plays through my head when I realize I"m trapped. Not being melodramatic or anything.
Turning on my heel and walking toward the bathrooms as fast as I can, I get cut off by some drunk guy stumbling into me. He drops his glass and it smashes on the ground, the sound of breaking glass dashing any hope I had of going unnoticed.
When I glance over my shoulder, I lock eyes with the woman I almost married. Ironically, she"s wearing a tiara and veil. Along with a flashing badge and sash that read Bride to be.
Her eyes widen as she recognizes her past staring back at her.
I have to go say hi now, but I can"t get my feet to move. If I make a run for it, she"ll tell her mother, and then I"ll never hear the end of it from my Mom. Gotta love the suffocating gossip mill of small towns.
Chastity and New York do not mix. That"s what she told me when I said I was going to Olmstead University. Right before she begged me to stay.
Every step I take toward my ex-girlfriend, the more memories flash through my head.
Wear this, Maddy. Don"t go out with your friends, Maddy. Go to college in Pennsylvania so we can stay together, Maddy. Everyone expects us to get married when we graduate, Maddy.
Maddy, Maddy, Maddy.
With a deep breath, I plaster on a fake smile as my heart tries to hammer a hole in my chest. "Hey, pretty girl."
Tears well in Chastity"s eyes. "Maddy" Oh my God, Maddy." Her arms wrap around my neck, and I get a face full of veil.
She still smells like cherry blossom, and something familiar rips through my gut. Affection. Young love. Idiotic behavior on my part.
The truth is, Chastity didn"t do anything wrong back then. Granted, she might"ve turned a deaf ear to my concerns about our future and my attempts to break up with her nicely, but what I did to her when I left for college was unacceptable. I lied to her and ran away, and I"ve been running ever since.
I didn"t have it in me to be the guy she wanted. I was never the settling down type. I"m still not that guy. Probably never will be.
"Has Halloween come early or is a congratulations in order"" I tug on her veil. I"m proud of myself for sounding like a normal human when I"m freaking out on the inside.
She pulls back, but her hands stay on my shoulders. "It should"ve been us," she whispers.
The tightness in my chest twists. "You know why that wouldn"t work."
She wipes her nose with the back of her hand. "I know."
God, I"m still a shithead. And still lying to her after all this time. I should tell her the truth; I owe her that much. I"ve managed to avoid her every trip home for the last five years, but then I run into her at her bachelorette party"
"We need tequila!" her friend screams.
That"s an understatement. I think I need a silo full.
Chastity"s face lights up. "Stay and drink with us""
"Umm "" No, I should go. Tell her the truth, turn around, and leave.
But she pulls that face"the one I used to give into so well. Her bottom lip droops, and she stares at me with shiny, puppy-dog eyes.
"I can stay for a drink." One drink, I tell myself. But I obviously haven"t learned from old mistakes and I"m lying again, because twenty minutes and five tequilas later, Chastity falls into my arms and sways to an imaginary beat that doesn"t match the house music.
"I miss you, Maddy. Maybe this is, like, a sign. Some higher power. Of all the people to run into""
The walls start to close in. Suddenly I"m transported back to my eighteen-year-old self, and I need to run away. The pressure to marry the girl in front of me"not only from her but our whole hometown"was, and still is, too much.
More lies fly out of me without thought. "I have a boyfriend."
Chastity"s smile is warm. "Figures. I"d love to meet him." She gasps suddenly. "You should come. Bring him to the wedding next week."
Uh " what"
"I"ll text my mom right now."