“Look here, everybody!! See my sexy new slippers? I think the boys in Mia’s Guest Room are REALLY gonna appreciate them!! Super hot—and useful—at the same time, huh? NO!! Not Alex and Tyler- MY SLIPPERS!!”
(slides down the hall)
“I call these killing-two-birds-with-one-stone slippers.”
(accidentally skids into the wall beside the guest room door, and once back on feet re-adjusts robe so all vital parts are covered)
“Well, anyways, this morning, in MIA’s GUEST ROOM, I am hosting Alex and Tyler from the M/M romance novel Back to You, in addition to their creator, the lovely Ms. Leighton Rose. And let me tell you, last night was quite an evening with these three—popcorn and M & M’s and a movie! I must admit that I didn’t know how…um, how creative… two men could get with a pile of M& M’s…. just sayin’.”
(giddy smile and girlish blush, remembering last night)
“And those boys certainly know how to cuddle… I accidentally got ‘caught in the middle of them’ a couple of times. I have NO IDEA how it happened, but I’m certainly not complaining…”
(clears throat to regain composure)
“As the hostess of a loving couple, I feel it is my duty to avoid walking in on anything that might be…you know, unseemly for your innocent eyes, my genteel blog-following, M/M romance-appreciating audience.”
(approaches guest room… places juice glass sideways against guest room door)
“As I said, this is my duty—after all, one of us has to do it! Eavesdropping through this door will NOT be any fun for me, but it is my duty to you all. And I take my responsibilities quite seriously.”
(presses ear to bottom of glass)
“Shhhh!! Can you people please keep the volume down? I can’t hear a thing with all of you jabbering like that. Hmmm….no morning friskiness seems to be occurring behind this closed door…”
(frowns slightly, clearly disappointed, and removes ear from glass)
“You know what? It sounded to me a bit like they might be bickering in there. I really should check this situation out. I can’t have unhappy guests, now, can I? Mia’s Guest Room is supposed to be a happy place.”
(pushes the door wide open and enters room)
“Good morning, happy fictional couple, Alex and Tyler… oh, and…Leighton… So Leighton, I’m truly quite surprised to see you still in here. Still in your sweatpants and Pioneers basketball T-shirt. Still on the VERY SAME BED—with the boys!! Didn’t you notice the chaise longue I placed at the foot of the big bed—which has your name on it, Leighton!! Jeez!!”
(examines Leighton in her loose T-shirt and baggy sweats)
“Why, yes, guests…and thank you for noticing. I did redecorate!! Quite tastefully, wouldn’t you agree?”
(shakes head, once again frustrated)
“But, really, Leighton, don’t you think we should afford the boys a small measure of privacy before the interview begins? We wouldn’t want to stifle their creative energy now, would we?? Come on, Leighton, we can wait for them to be, uh, finished with whatever needs to be taken care of out in the hall…”
(glances hopefully at juice glass in hand)
“So, go right on ahead, gentlemen, and …and feel free to, uh, to take care of business…yeah. Leighton and I will be right outside the door.”
(takes a backward step toward the doorway)
“What’s that, ‘Ms. Rose’? You want to start the interview RIGHT NOW? What’s your big hurry? The boys clearly need some ALONE TIME… hehehe…”
(upon seeing Leighton shaking her head sternly with refusal, sighs audibly)
“Whatever!! Some people are no fun at all! Can you say ‘ALL BUSINESS’, and not the fun kind?”
(slides delicately to the bed, retying bathrobe while skating right past the untouched chaise longue)
“Boys, you don’t mind squishing over a bit, do you? Oh, yeah…that’s right… just like that… Well, this is nice and cozy, isn’t it?”
(snuggles deeper under quilt in the now-crowded bed)
“Leighton, is that your foot? Could you kindly remove it from my armpit? Thank you very much!”
(reaches over and places juice glass on side table)
“Leighton, did you just say that you’re almost ready to start the interview of your characters? You’re gonna stay dressed in those baggy sweats and that athletic T-shirt? Hmph!! Not to be snide, but I figured you’d want to go put on a business suit—seeing as your mind is so fixated on the task at hand!”
“Stop mumbling, Tyler, and speak up–I mean, I don’t bite! (unless you want me to- LOL!!) What’s that, you want to move in with me? I know the bed is comfy… I’m rather enjoying it too! Oh, and you liked your breakfast? Well, I must say I broke my ass—uh, rather I slaved over a hot stove all morning whipping up those ham and egg burritos. After all, Alex is a chef and I must not let him think he can outdo me in the kitchen!”
(gasps and pulls comforter up to chin defensively)
“Calm down, Alex—and I’m talking about every single tall, dark, and handsome six feet of you!! Get back on the bed this instant!! Please!! I don’t think Tyler meant that he literally wanted to move into Mia’s Guest Room… Leighton, could you please control your characters?”
(watches as Leighton sends a warning glare at Alex, sticks her pencil behind her ear, and removes her notes from beneath her pillow)
“And without further ado, here is my guest, the fabulous Leighton Rose, conducting an interview of her fictional—and I must say, quite hot—characters, Alex and Tyler. Try to keep it clean, people. Young Adults are paying attention.”
Leighton: *yawns and stretches* Good morning, everyone! I’m here with a couple of special guests today in Mia’s guest bedroom. Tyler and Alex, from my debut novel Back to You, have graciously agreed to let me interview them. We all spent the night here and had a fabulous time with Mia last night at our slumber party. Thanks for inviting us, Mia!
Tyler: Morning guys! Can I just say how amazing this bed is? I really want to get one just like it for the house. Can we do that, Alex? I need this bed! *looks at Alex and gives him a puffy lipped, pouty face*
Alex: Suck that lip back in, you big baby. *leans over and gently kisses Tyler’s pouty lips* We’ll talk about the bed later. I’ve never had so much fun at a slumber party! Mia is the best host! She fed us dinner, popped some popcorn and mixed in M&M’s to eat while we all snuggled and watched Magic Mike. Then she brought us coffee and breakfast this morning. Seriously, I’m thinking of moving in here.
T: *looks at Alex sternly* I don’t’ think so, mister; you live with me.
A: Okay, but I’m coming back to visit. *grins*
L: Alright, boys. That’s enough bickering for now. You’ve agreed to answer some questions for our lovely readers and have promised to answer the questions honestly. Isn’t that right, boys?
T: Yes, of course!
A: Honesty is so important! We’ve both learned that lesson the hard way. Thanks for having us!
L: Well, I’m so glad to hear that you guys have learned your lesson! Shall we get right into it, then? The first question is for Tyler. How are you and Donny getting along now? Is there any animosity between you two anymore?
T: That’s a great question. When Alex and I first got back together, Donny was sort of hot and cold toward me. I can’t blame him, I mean, Alex is a great guy and it was clear that Donny loved him. Then we went to Texas to pack up their things and I think that’s when Donny and I started to get along. We all three talked in detail about the situation on the way back. It was a long and awkward conversation but we worked out a lot of hurt and anger and really got to know each other. I think, well I hope, he finally sees how much Alex means to me and how much I love him. We work really well together, though, and I think it was one of the smartest moves I ever made. So, while everything isn’t perfect, we’re getting there.
L: Well, I’m certainly glad to hear that you boys are working things out. Next question is for you, Alex. Our readers want to know if Andrew has let up on his attitude toward you at all?
A: *laughs heartily* Andrew without an attitude? I don’t think Andrew will ever not have an attitude with me, but now I think it’s more out fun than animosity.
A: He’s a really good friend to Tyler and I’m so grateful to him for being there for Ty when I was off being a selfish prick. As much as I didn’t like Andrew to begin with, he’s growing on me like mold and I think I’m getting under his skin. We still bicker but when things start to go to a not-so-fun-place, Robyn smacks him and Tyler smacks me and we re-direct. He still doesn’t think I’m good enough for Tyler, and quite frankly I agree, but Tyler wants me and I’m not giving that up again. *squeezes Tyler’s thigh* Plus, I’m afraid that no one would ever find all the pieces if I hurt Tyler again, Andrew would make sure of that.
L: I’m pretty fond of Andrew myself. He’s just doing what a good friend does to protect his friends. Here’s a question directed at the both of you. Your readers want to know if you have been able to put the two years of separation firmly in the past, or does it still affect your relationship sometimes?
A: I think I can field this one. For the most part, it’s firmly behind us. We talked about it so much when we first got together that eventually we agreed it was done and there was nothing we could do to change it. The thing we have to do is change ourselves and our actions so it doesn’t happen again. We did decide to go to counselling so we could learn how to talk things out.
T: Sometimes Alex still gets to feeling really, really guilty about leaving and brings it up, so we have to go through the whole talking process again, but yeah, for the most part we’re just focusing on our relationship now. *grabs Alex’s hand* We’re good now, though.
L: I’m so glad you guys are good now. It makes me so happy. Another question for the both of you, have you set a wedding date yet?
A: Nope, not yet. We’re still building our relationship and settling in. We’ll have a commitment ceremony and a major party someday but right now, as long as I’m with Ty, I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
T: Same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Nebraska but it is legal in Iowa which is only an hour away. We could always get married in Iowa and then come back to Lincoln for a party. It’s an idea but I’m with Alex on this one, as long as we’re together, we’re happy.
L: You boys make me smile. This question is for Alex. How has your relationship with Ashton improved?
A: *sighs* Ashton is one of the best people I know. Seriously, besides missing Tyler like crazy while I was in Texas, being away from my brother was the hardest part. Since I’ve been back, Ashton and I have quality brother time every week and I go to every game that I can make it to. My family and I are closer than ever and they all love Tyler, so that makes it even better.
L: Here’s another burning question from our readers for both of you. What is it about the other that attracts you to him?
T: *gazes starry-eyed* For me, I was attracted to him immediately upon seeing him at his grandparents’ house. I mean, look at him, but really, one I got to know him, it’s his heart. Alex has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met and he’s this big guy, right. His size can make him intimidating but I know he’s a big cuddlebug. Oh… and then there’s his…
A: *leans over to cover Tyler’s mouth with his hand* TYLER! This is a young adult blog! Stop! *Tyler laughs* Okay, for me, it’s everything about him. His personality and what a sweet, caring person he is. He loves to laugh and he teases me relentlessly about things. He is stubborn and the most loving person I could ever ask for, and he choose me. Which means he has questionable standards but I’m reaping the benefits so… *waggles eyebrows*
L: *laughs* Okay, boys, that’s enough. I think we get it. You two love everything about each other! Here’s a fun question, if you had to compare the other to a famous person or movie star, who would you say the other reminds you of?
T: For me, Alex reminds me of Matthew McConaughey, you know, when he was young and blond and not so creepy. I mean, we watched Magic Mike last night here with Mia, and he’s just old and creepy in that movie. Give me the Matthew from How to Lose a Guy. Yeah, that’s my Alex.
A: *laughs* I’m so glad you don’t think I’m old and creepy! I love you. *kisses Tyler* I’d say for me, Tyler is my version of Zac Efron. Youngish, toned, dark brown hair, and just sexy. I mean, have you seen this man? Gah, sometimes I just can’t keep my hands to myself.
L: Alright boys, so we’ve got ourselves a Matthew McConaughey and a Zac Efron. Sexy… I can totally dig it! Now, another lovely reader wants to know why you two think your relationship works this time around?
T: Communication is key, honestly. Before, we were young and naïve and not very good at communicating. It was more about the sex and carnal feelings than building something long-term, I think. Now, we talk about our day together before we go to sleep, because some days that’s the only time we see each other. Between Alex’s night shifts at the restaurant and my day job, but we make time for each other.
A: Yeah, talking to each other is a big part of it. The other thing is we make sure that we get quality time together every week. Date night, either going out or staying in, is important to us. We never want to stop dating each other. Even when we get married. We also make sure to spend time apart. That was part of the problem before, I think, we were obsessive about spending time together and that always ended in bed. This time around, sex is important for bonding but it’s not everything to us. I’ve always loved him but when I left, I was lost. I didn’t know any other option.
T: We grew up. I think that’s the biggest part. We were basically still kids when Alex left, now we’re more mature and can think things through rationally. We’re not as impulsive and that’s huge.
L: I think that’s a great answer. I know that it was hard for you two to be apart, but can you tell me what about your separation made you better people?
T: I learned that Alex is the only man I ever want to be with. Riley is an amazing person, a great friend, and sexy as hell, and if he couldn’t make me forget about Alex then no one was going to be able to. It was a hard two years but I made it through and came out stronger on the other side.
A: As hard as it is to admit this with Tyler sitting right here, I can’t say I would change it. Donny is important to me and I never would have met him if I’d never have gone to Texas. *hangs his head*
T: *lifts Alex’s chin* Hey, stop. We’ve talked about this. Everything that happened, happened for a reason. Stop beating yourself up over it. *kisses Alex* I love you.
L: Aww… so sweet. One of the readers wanted to know what caused your fights before but I think you may have covered that.
A: Immaturity and basic lack of respect for each other. Sometimes love doesn’t conquer everything. You have to work at it and we weren’t working hard enough. If love is worth having, it’s worth fighting for. I realized that too late but we fixed it.
T: Pretty much!
L: Good to know. What is a typical date night for you two?
T: We do all kinds of things. Sometimes we go out to eat and either see a movie or go bowling or just walk around a park and talk. If it’s a weekend then we will sometimes go to the club and dance.
A: Or sometimes we just stay in. Order pizza or I cook, watch a movie and just cuddle on the couch. It’s nice as long as we are together.
L: Can you guys give us a little insight on what’s going on with Riley and Donny? There seems to be a little tension going on there.
A: *looks a Tyler questioningly*
T: I… I really don’t think that’s our story to tell. They will tell it when it’s the right time for them. If there’s anything to tell, we aren’t totally sure. They haven’t been around much lately.
L: Ah, well there you have it. We’ll find out when it’s time to find out, we’ll know! Okay boys, this is the final question of the day, but it’s the one that I was asked the most. Our readers want to know what you think Grammy Bea would say to you both now if she were here?
T: Oh, I can tell you easily. She’d say, “It’s about time you got your heads out of your asses and worked it out. Took you long enough. Now, don’t ever let it happen again. You love each other and you fight for each other.” That’d be it. She was never one to beat around the bush.
A: I think she’d tell me she forgives me for hurting her Tyler, but if I ever did it again she’d beat some sense into me. We are meant to be together and nothing can keep two hearts that belong together apart for long. She was a wise one, that Grammy Bea.
L: Yes she was. She was the force that brought you two back together. I love it. Well, that’s all the questions we have for you two today. Is there anything you want to say before we leave?
A: First of all, thanks again to Mia for letting us crash in her awesome guest bedroom. Seriously, this place is awesome. Second of all, thanks to our lovely readers for reading our story and being interested enough in our lives to ask us these questions. We really appreciate all of you!
T: And lastly, we need to thank Leighton for telling our story. She had an idea of how our story was going to go, but she let us tell it the way it needed to be told, even though it wrecked her plans. Sorry about that! *Shit eating grin* And one last time, Mia, can I take this bed home? Please??
L: Yeah, boys, I’m sure you’re really sorry about that and Tyler, seriously, stop trying to steal the bed.
T: *Whines* But it’s HUGE! *sighs* Okay, Mia can keep the bed but Alex needs to buy me one exactly like it.
L/A: *laughing hysterically*
Okay everyone! Thanks for joining us for a look into Tyler and Alex’s life now. We appreciate all the support you’ve given us.
(wrinkles nose when Leighton removes her reading glasses)
“How sweet…not to mention informative. I feel that I know these young men better already. And Leighton, do you happen to have ways for our lovely audience to contact you, should the need arise?”
“Oh, dear, Tyler, did you just spill your coffee, young man? Why, thank you for volunteering to get a dish towel from the kitchen, Leighton…and no, please don’t worry your pretty face about the spill, Tyler. I redecorate so often I’ll hardly miss this quilt at all.”
(hops up out of bed and slides around, functional new slippers easily absorbing the puddle of coffee on the floor)
“My new slippers can mop up this mess—no problemo!”
(slides over to edge of bed and leans into Tyler’s personal space)
“Now, let Momma Mia take a look… Poor guy, did you burn yourself? You splashed hot coffee all over your bare chest—it’s a good thing you’re wearing those plaid pajama pants, if you catch my drift.”
(reaches out to wipe off Tyler’s six pack, or rather, his belly, with sleeve of robe)
“Well, of course I’ll unhand him—I just forgot myself for a split second. You go ahead and wipe off his belly, Alex… Um, someone’s a little bit possessive!”
(blushes very slightly and then lifts papers off Leighton’s pillow)
“Alex, I have an idea—while you wipe off Tyler’s tummy, I’ll read this blurb about your book Back to You by Leighton Rose. Sound like a plan, big fella? And don’t miss Tyler’s belly button. It’s an innie… and it looks like some coffee is pooled up in there.”
Blurb for Back to You:
When two stubborn boys fall in love there are bound to be fights, but when those fights become the norm and there are more bad times than good, is love enough of a reason to stay?
Alex Parker thinks the best way to save himself and his boyfriend, Tyler Matthews, from any more pain is to leave him and his hometown behind. He finally settles down in Texas and as they both try to move on, it seems like a lost cause.
A tragic turn of events causes Alex to drop everything and head back to Nebraska where he winds up face-to-face with Tyler for the first time since he left two years ago. The spark of attraction is still there, but will these two now grown men be able to overcome the years of guilt, hurt, and broken trust without breaking the bonds of friendship they’ve formed during their time apart in order to get their second chance at love? Only time will tell if their hearts can find their way back to each other.
“Oh, lookie here!! Leighton certainly is organized. She has her buy links all set up…she even wrote you a sweet little note.”
You can buy Back to You if you want to read more about Tyler and Alex at these places:
“Can I interest my wonderful 41 followers, yes, I checked this morning, along with this morning’s dear guests, in hearing an excerpt of Back to You? Wonderful— I had a feeling you’d say yes.”
From Tyler’s POV
When we got back to the house, we showered quickly (which was always such a test of my own restraint when I had a wet, naked Riley in front of me) and decided to take a nap. I had settled into the most perfectly comfortable position with Riley in my arms and was almost asleep when my damn doorbell rang.
“Fuck,” I muttered as I reluctantly got back out of bed and went to answer the door wondering who in the hell it could be and incredibly irritated at having my nap interrupted.
“Can I help…” I started to snap at the intruder as I opened the door but stopped dead in my tracks when I locked eyes with the person standing on my porch. “Alex,” I whispered, stunned out of my goddamned mind.
I stood there and stared at him staring back at me. I was dreaming; I had to be dreaming. There was no way Alex was standing on my porch in the middle of the day. He lived in Texas.
“Hi, Tyler,” he said softly, breaking the trance I was in and surprising me by pulling me to him and hugging me so tightly that it took me a second to respond. As soon as my brain started functioning again, I latched on to him, grasping desperately at his shirt, trying to get as close to him as possible. It was so surreal to feel his hands on my skin again, and since I’d thought I’d never have the opportunity to touch him again, I decided I was going to revel in that hug for as long as I could, consequences be damned. I inhaled deeply. He smelled exactly like I remembered him and my heart began beating so fast I thought I might pass out.
Oh. My. God. He was really there.
After a couple too-short moments he let me go and I stepped back into the doorway again. “W-w-what are you doing here?” I asked stumbling over my words, still in complete disbelief at the sight in front of me.
“Austin called and told me about Grammy. I’m so sorry, Tyler. I know how close you two were,” he said gently.
Had I just heard that correctly? “Wait… my brother called you?”
“Yeah, yesterday afternoon. We drove straight through to get here.”
“Well, I guess that sheds a little light on why he’s been acting so fucking peculiar around Riley and me since yesterday.” I couldn’t decide if I wanted to kill my brother for doing that or thank him for making the call. “So, I guess that explains why you’re in Lincoln, but it doesn’t explain why you’re standing on my porch right now.”
“I didn’t want to ambush you at the funeral home tomorrow night, Ty. I wanted you to know that I was here so that I didn’t cause you more stress than you’re already going through, and I doubted that calling you was going to do any good.” Alex shifted his weight from one foot to the other, leaning up against the door jamb.
“No, probably not.”
I sighed and rubbed my temples. For as long as I could remember, I’d made a wish while blowing out my birthday candles but none of those wishes ever came true, but when I’d said I didn’t wish to see Alex again, I was lying. That was totally my wish and with him standing in front of me, within reach for the first time in two years, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to hug him again or punch him in the face. And I wasn’t a violent person at all.
The next words out of his mouth blew me away and then pissed me off at the same time. “And to be completely honest with you, there was no way that I could wait one minute more to see you again, Tyler. I had no idea if you still lived here or not, but we’ve been in Lincoln for nearly twelve hours and it’s taken every ounce of willpower I have not to try to find you sooner. I’ve missed you so much.”
Wow, he missed me that much? That’s so sweet. I started to smile at him before a thought hit me. Wait a minute. Did he just say we? He said we, right? “Did you say we?”
He looked unbelievably sheepish, which just irked me even more. “Yeah, I guess I did.”
“So, what? Did you bring your boyfriend with you to go to my grandmother’s funeral? How incredibly classy, Alex.” Seriously, why did people have to be so fucking dumb, and by people, I meant Alex.
He stepped forward like he wanted to touch me but I moved out of his way. “He’s not my boyfriend, Tyler.”
His denial about the subject just pissed me off more. “I think it’s time for you to go, Alex. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with this right now,” I told him.
“I’m sorry if you aren’t happy about that Tyler, but I just found out about Grammy yesterday and dropped everything to be here. He came with me for support because I had no one else to be there; he’s my best friend,” Alex explained to me.
I started to feel a bit sorry for being rude to him but, because I have the worst luck ever, two arms slid around my waist from behind and I felt Riley’s bare chest press warmly against my naked back. He made me shiver when he rested his chin on my shoulder so I could feel his breath on my neck. “What’s taking so long, babe? I’m exhausted,” he purred seductively.
I looked up at Alex, who seemed to be immediately seething in anger at seeing Riley wrapped around me. I couldn’t say I blamed him. If I’d seen anyone half as gorgeous as Riley wrapped around him, no matter what the circumstances were, I’d probably have gone out of my mind with anger and jealousy. Alex was glaring at Riley who seemed to be completely oblivious to the amount of tension in the air.
“And who is this?” Alex’s voice boomed loudly and deeply, something that happened when he got really mad. “Are you seriously giving me shit about bringing my best friend with me when you’ve got someone here hanging all over you?”
It startled Riley, who immediately shrank behind me in fear and began wheezing out short, fast breaths. I was sure he didn’t want to have an anxiety attack in front of a stranger, especially when he found out who that stranger was.
“It’s okay, Ri,” I assured him, wrapping my arm around him comfortingly and ignoring Alex’s question. “Just breathe, hun. There’s nothing to be scared of here because Alex was just leaving, weren’t you, Alex?”
Alex looked puzzled at Riley’s reaction, but then again, I still had no idea why Riley reacted the way he did to things except that I was sure something bad had happened to him back in Kansas. “Uh, yeah, I guess I am,” Alex conceded. He wasn’t a bad guy and he could see his presence was upsetting Riley in a way that wasn’t normal. “Can we talk later, Tyler? Alone, please? I have so much that needs to be said.”
I looked at Riley, who was trying to calm down but still breathing abnormally, and I was torn, but in the end, the greedy, selfish side of me won out and I agreed. “Tomorrow night, after the viewing, we can find somewhere and talk, but you need to go now. I’ve got to take care of him.”
Alex reached out and took my hand briefly, squeezing it gently and it was ridiculous how that one little touch erupted a thousand butterflies in my stomach. “I’m sorry for scaring him,” he told me then turned to leave.
“Well, Leighton is back now, and I can tell that she is more than ready to pack up the very adorable figments of her vivid imagination, Alex and Tyler, and get back home. Thank you all for spending the night in Mia’s Guest Room. And here, Tyler, I put the rest of the M & M’s in a ziploc bag—you seemed to enjoy then so much last night. I picked out all the green ones for you, not that you’ll need them..hehehe.”
(winks at Alex and giggles, then turns and slides to the door)