Forever Better Together
by A.D. Ellis
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Print Length: 238 pages
Publication Date: October 11, 2019
Can best friends find true love? What if your best friend is your adopted brother?
Griffin can’t fathom his life without Quincy, but he also can’t ignore the crazy sexual attraction buzzing between them.
When Quincy offers up a contract to determine if the sexual tension brewing between them is worth jeopardizing their nearly decade-long friendship, Griffin finds himself helpless to say no.
Will they lose everything they’ve found in each other, or will they seize the opportunity to turn their friendship into something even better?
Forever Better Together is a male/male opposites attract, friends-to-lovers story with delicious sexual tension, a sizzling hot striptease, and emotions guaranteed to punch you in the gut.
I grabbed my phone from the pocket of my hoodie. Empty Chinese containers littered the coffee table as Dad and I watched a movie, but he was absorbed in his computer, and I had no idea what the movie was even about. I pulled up Griffin’s number and sent him a text.
Me: You having fun, bitch?
Griffin: Yeah, where are you?
Me: My dad’s.
Griffin: Again? Damn, man, sorry.
Me: Yeah, for the week. It’s not bad.
Griffin: Awww yeah, I get the room to myself.
Me: Jack off all you want.
Griffin: Nah, it just means I get to watch Disney movies and cry without you making fun of me.
Me: And jack off.
Griffin: Okay, and jack off.
Griffin was my brother and best friend.
Okay, he wasn’t my blood-related brother, but that didn’t matter to me. He was my brother in all the ways that mattered. We were sixteen, but we’d known each other since we were ten. He became my brother when we were twelve.
“What are you over there snorting about?” My dad, Max, removed his glasses and looked away from his work like he really was interested. He was a great guy, and I loved him, but he had a bad habit of getting too involved in his work and forgetting his family.
“I was talking to Grif, and got to thinking about how much we clashed when he first moved in.” I shook my head.
“Oh, Momma and Pops told me how terrible you guys were at first.” Dad laughed. “Glad you finally decided to get along. Pretty sure Momma would have kicked both your asses if you hadn’t.”
“It wasn’t like we hated each other; we just clashed. We had absolutely nothing in common and Momma threw us together and basically expected two ten-year-olds to work out their differences.”
“Well, you two must have done a pretty good job since he’s your best friend. Momma usually knows what she’s doing.”
“Yeah, she sure called it right. I never would have believed it then, but it worked out.” I smiled at the thought of when I first met Griffin.
Six Years Ago
Momma, that’s what everyone called my grandma, held the hand of the tiny, fragile looking boy, who was about my age.
“Quincy, this is Griffin. He’s going to be staying with us for a while,” Momma said. “Griffin will share your room; there’s plenty of space.” This was said in her no-nonsense way that meant no arguing or backtalk.
Griffin barely glanced at me, but I saw tears in his big blue eyes.
Damn it. I didn’t want to come across like an asshole, and Momma would have my ass if I did. But I didn’t want to share my room.
Bad enough my mom was dead and my dad was overseas building business startups for years at a time then add in the fact that my grandparents, Momma and Pops, took in foster kids and I never had any privacy. Then Momma introduces me to this kid who looked like he would faint if I said anything to him. Damn it.
I loved my grandparents and knew they had huge hearts to take care of those less fortunate. I just would have liked it to be in a way that didn’t require me to share my room. The last time I shared my room, Momma had rolled in two cribs and I’d spent six months sleeping with babies who’d cried at every hour it seemed.
“Quincy, say hello,” Momma urged and raised her brows.
“Hi, Griffin. Nice to meet you,” I mumbled and held out my hand.
Griffin hid his head in my grandma’s side.
“He’s been through a lot. Let’s get him set up in his room.” Momma left no room for discussion.
Griffin and I followed her up the stairs and down the hall.
“Here we go. This is where you’ll sleep. The bed is very comfortable.” Momma pointed to the far side of the room where the spare bed was positioned. “The closet is huge so you both can put your clothes in there.”
“I don’t have no clothes anyway,” Griffin mumbled.
“We’ll get you all set up, sweetie,” Momma assured. “Now, I’ve got to see about the other children and get dinner started. You boys get to know each other. I’m sure you’ll be the best of friends.”
Griffin stood in the middle of the room looking scared to death.
“Look, this is a nice place. Momma and Pops will take care of you.” I felt the need to reassure him.
“I know you don’t want me here. No one ever wants me anywhere,” Griffin whispered. “I’m sorry you have to give up your room to me.”
My heart hurt for the kid. But damn Momma for putting him in my room. He would have been better with the little ones. He seemed like he was scared to death of me.
Griffin was short. He likely weighed less than me by at least twenty pounds. His skin was fair; my skin was dark. His eyes were blue; my eyes were deep brown. His hair light brown; my hair black. He had a look of perpetual fear and fragileness; I was sturdy, strong, and not afraid of much.
“Nah, you keep out of my business and don’t bother me, we’ll be fine roommates.” I plopped on my bed. Did Griffin want to tell me what brought him to Momma and Pops? Probably not. Most foster kids didn’t have great stories to tell. “You got questions?”
Griffin sat gently on the side of his bed. “Are Momma and Pops your parents?”
I laughed. “Not really. They’re my grandparents officially, but they might as well be my biological parents. My mom died when I was born. My dad, his name is Max, he’s great. But he works in other countries setting up businesses. I’ve lived with Momma and Pops since I was about three. I go visit my dad any time he’s back in the United States.”
“What’s the school like here?” Griffin whispered.
I immediately hated the thought that he’d be going to the run-down trash public school down the street. He’d either be eaten alive or he’d be such a non-threat that no one would pay him any attention. I prayed for the latter. I’d have to tell the few remaining neighborhood kids who went to the public school to keep an eye out for him.
“Well, it’s not the best school ever,” I hedged.
“Figures. None of the schools I’ve ever been to have been good.” Griffin ran a hand along the comforter. “Do you at least like it a little?”
I swallowed hard and tried not to feel guilty. “Um, I don’t go to that school. A lot of kids in this area go to private schools.”
Griffin’s eyes were wide. “Wow, private school.” He shook his head. “We are probably the most different kids to ever share a room.”
I laughed. “Possibly.”
“Is there a washing machine? I probably need to get these clothes washed; I’ve had them on for a few days.” Griffin picked at a spot on his shirt.
“Momma will do your laundry. She’ll get you some clothes for now. She’s always got all kinds of clothes in different sizes. Then she’ll probably take you shopping and get you all set up for school.” I glanced around the room. “You can do your homework at the kitchen table or on your bed. Use that little table if you want.” I gestured toward the small table. “I use the desk for my homework.”
Griffin nodded. “I like to do homework. Keeps me busy and out of the way.”
I frowned. “You like homework? Gross.”
“What else do you like?”
“I like to read and watch movies. Dancing is fun. I like makeup videos.” He added that last part almost as a challenge.
“Like Halloween haunted house type makeup?”
He shrugged. “Any kind. You think that’s girly?”
I shook my head. “Whatever floats your boat. Momma and Pops don’t allow us to judge others for what they come from or what they like.” I glanced at my collection of DVDs. “What kind of movies?”
“Mostly Disney if I can find them,” Griffin said.
“I think I’ve got some Disney down there. I’ve also got a ton of movies on my computer.” I got up and pulled out the laptop I used only for watching movies. “I don’t use this for homework or anything. You can use it to watch movies if I’m not using it.”
The way Griffin’s eyes lit up made me feel guilty for being mad about sharing my room.
“You like dancing? What about singing?” I asked.
Griffin nodded but looked suspicious.
“There are two girls here who love to dance and sing and put on shows. I bet they’d be thrilled for you to do their makeup and help with dancing and singing.”
Griffin didn’t say anything, but I thought he looked pleased with the idea.
A.D. Ellis is an Indiana girl, born and raised. She spends much of her time in central Indiana as an instructional coach/teacher in the inner city of Indianapolis, being a mom to two amazing school-aged children, and wondering how she and her husband of nearly two decades haven’t driven each other insane yet. A lot of her time is also devoted to phone call avoidance and her hatred of cooking.
She loves chocolate, wine, pizza, and naps along with reading and writing romance. These loves don’t leave much time for housework, much to the chagrin of her husband. Who would pick cleaning the house over a nap or a good book? She uses any extra time to increase her fluency in sarcasm.
A.D. uses she/her pronouns.