M/M Erotic Romance
Stories that always promise a happy-ever-after.
DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL
by Cassie Stevens
M/M Erotic Romance - Short Contemporary
Cover Art © 2007 Trace Edward Zaber
Amber Quill Press - Amber Allure www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
They loved each other more than life...twelve years ago. If only they'd been more worldly, more sure of themselves, and less inclined to bow to parental dictates and society. They'd followed the paths laid out for them -- Elliott Baldwin as a Marine Corps officer, Neal Cassidy toward a career in politics and a shot at Congress. Never did they realize their college love affair would be exposed on nationwide television...or that it would thrust them back into each other's arms. They are men now. Men who know what and who they want, know the risks involved, know society hasn't matured with them. And they know choices have to be made even as they realize some secrets are best left hidden.
What The Reviewers Are Saying
FIVE ANGELS! Cassie Stevens writes a wonderful romance! The love between Neal and Elliott truly does transcend time. This fact alone makes Don't Ask, Don't Tell well worth reading. Couple this with two well-written characters and you have a wonderful story. Neal is the perfect politician and proves to be extremely charismatic and definitely a likeable character. In contrast, Elliott's quiet, strong presence is almost felt through the words. The story takes some unexpected twists and turns, which also keeps the pages turning. I won't give too much away, but I'll only say that families sometime stink. I've been a big fan of Cassie Stevens for a while now and Don't Ask, Don't Tell proves why I'm so absolutely crazy about her work! ~ April, Fallen Angel Reviews
The odds that one can hold onto love from afar over more than a decade and find it again with the love of your life is the stuff dreams are made of. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is just that…..a dream come true. Cassie Stevens unravels the tale of deception in the telling of Elliott and Neal’s love story. I could not help from falling in love with both these strong men in their actions and the love and respect they show one another. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a truly heart warming story all M/M fans will love. ~Raine, Joyfully Reviewed
Funny how the past could sneak up on a guy when he least expected it. Funnier still how all the emotions that came with it could be dredged to the surface with a single glance.
Elliott Baldwin leaned closer to the giant bowl of popcorn on the coffee table and prayed his fellow officers couldn’t see the erection swelling his jeans. But his eyes remained riveted to the big screen plasma TV and the smiling face emblazoned over it. The face of the man he’d once loved…would always love—Neal Cassidy.
Elliott stuffed his mouth full of popcorn, chewing slowly, trying to swallow past a throat gone dry. The guys around him were bullshitting about something—probably politics, maybe the upcoming football game. The conversation came to him from a distance, as if he were under water. All he could hear was Neal’s voice against his ear. “I love you more than life itself.”
He choked up at the memory of those words and blinked his eyes against a rush of tears. They’d been young, idealistic…stupid, as their fathers would say—did say. Elliott’s father wouldn’t talk to him until after he finished Officer Candidate School, figuring the Marine Corps had worked that out of Elliott’s system. His mother said nothing about it to him, though Elliott understood from his sister that she often wondered where she’d gone wrong “to have Elliott turn out that way.”
At least his brother and sister were supportive, even if they admitted they didn’t exactly understand. They wanted him happy. It was an elusive emotion at best.
Judging from the path Neal’s life had taken, Elliott had no doubt Neal’s father not only talked to him, but also still controlled those strings upon which Neal dangled. He wondered, not for the first time, if they could have made it if either of them had been any stronger, more mature, more worldly. Neither of them would have had the careers chosen for them if they had.
Neal might have afforded law school with the help of his mother’s family, but Elliott wouldn’t have without student loans and working two jobs. He didn’t have a problem with that, but his brother and sister sure wouldn’t have been able to get their masters degrees without the Cassidy legacy from Elliott’s “escapade,” as his sister called it.
But then, would that have mattered if he and Neal were together, if they’d been allowed—if they’d fought for—the undying love they’d professed to each other? Wouldn’t they have found a way to make it work, to have it all? Now, yes. Then, he doubted it.
God, Neal looked great. The camera had always loved the man. Neal’s father’s goal was clear—his son in the White House. Neal had been put on the fast-track early on. Gaining a seat in Congress would put him in line for the ultimate prize. Though his smile was bright, his wave to supporters and constituents big, Elliott couldn’t see the joy reflected anywhere in Neal’s light brown eyes. Determination was there, but no joy. Not even when he looked at the future trophy wife constantly at his side, or curled those long fingers around her shoulder. It made Elliott want to wrap his arms around the man and give him sanctuary. It made him crave to have Neal’s nimble fingers caressing his body as they had all those years ago.
He gave a silent laugh. That would be a career buster for both of them. Elliott wasn’t sure he cared anymore. The Marine Corps had been good for him, more or less. But he hated the subterfuge, hated not being able to live how he wanted, of having to hide all the time. Someone had to suspect something when he quietly rebuffed attempts to hook him up with the latest friend/sister/cousin. If anyone was suspicious, the whole policy of don’t-ask-don’t-tell kept them silent on any speculations.
Elliott was grateful they left him alone. It eased the pressure of trying to fit in. Oh, he tried the female dating thing. Most of the women he’d met were very nice, but anything further than dinner or a drink wasn’t going to happen. He had his friendships, his work, his family—his father chalked up Elliott’s college affair with Neal as a rebellious phase and entertained no further discussion. A nice life…a lonely one, despite its richness. Seeing Neal splashed over the big screen reminded Elliott of just how lonely.
He was tired of vacation liaisons and hook-ups at bars. He wanted someone. No…he wanted Neal.
He remembered their first kiss and how he’d lost himself in the wonder of it. The first time they’d made love, hot hands roaming over each other, desperate to come, to please. They’d both been shaking with a combination of lust and fear. He remembered how well they fit together. The taste of Neal on his tongue. The molten heat of Neal’s mouth around him. The way they’d clutch each other and thrust, their cocks so hot they felt on fire.
They’d been so skinny then. It looked like Neal had filled out as well as Elliott. The press indicated the man worked out, ran five miles a day. He’d love to feel those muscles moving in tandem with his own. To trace them with his fingers and tongue. To drown in the taste of Neal’s skin.
Elliott’s heart clenched. His cock throbbed and he knew he was leaking pre-cum. How was he going to explain that spot on his jeans? Maybe if he dropped salsa…
He grabbed a taco chip and scooped up a healthy portion of salsa. Now all he had to do was hit his jeans and not the carpet. Patty Carter was pretty laid back about everything, especially the Marines crowding the Carter house, but he hated leaving a mess. He leaned back, searching for that perfect angle without revealing his predicament.
Elliott jumped at the sound of Patty’s voice so near him. His start jerked the chip out of his hand. It landed right where he needed it. She whipped a napkin over his lap—over his erection—with the flick of her wrist.
“Th-thanks. Sorry.” He balled the napkin over the salsa and blotted, smearing it over his jeans more than he presumably cleaned.
“No problem. Happens more often than you might think.”
Elliott glanced up at her soft smile. Did she mean the spill or the erection? The sympathetic hand she placed on his shoulder didn’t help answer the question.
“Whoa! What the fuck?” someone shouted. “I did not see that coming.”
Elliott snapped his attention back toward the TV, wondering if he’d missed the start of the ballgame. Dread crawled down his spine, straight to his balls. His erection deflated. There on flat screen, high-def-see-every-zit-TV was a candid shot of him and Neal—naked on the beach and fully…involved. The picture that had ruined everything and pitted two young men against forces they couldn’t beat—society and parental dictates.
Within thirty seconds his cell phone shuddered in his jeans pocket. Elliott sat frozen, unable to answer, while he waited for all hell to break loose.
Conversation ping-ponged around him.
“Oh, my God…he’s gay?”
“Are you sure that’s him. I can’t believe it.”
“It’s him all right. But that’s no guy with him. Looks like a skinny chick to me.”
Ken Bullock smacked Elliott’s bicep with the back of his hand. Elliott tensed, waiting for the attack sure to happen.
“You gonna answer that?” He pointed to Elliott’s buzzing phone. “You’re starting to remind me of my last girlfriend and her toy.”
“Only better looking,” someone snorted. That brought out howls of laughter.
Elliott plucked his phone from his pocket. “How the hell can I hear anything with you guys around?” He glanced at the display and felt more dread crawl down his spine. Dad.
The shock must have registered on his face. Elliott felt Patty’s hand on his shoulder and glanced up to her worried frown.
“You can take the call in our room if you like. Henry and I won’t mind. It’s quiet, and you’ll have some privacy.”
Before he could thank her, the call disconnected, only to be replaced by another call seconds later—this time his older brother. He punched the talk key, muttered, “Just a sec,” and followed Patty down the hall. Once behind closed doors, he finally felt safe enough to speak.
“I presume you saw.”
“I did,” his brother replied. “What the hell, El?”
“I don’t know.” But he did. Someone wanted to knock Neal out of the race for Congress and they weren’t afraid of taking others down with him.
“Do you suppose his father had something to do with this? I swear if he did, I’ll—”
The sentence went unfinished. There wasn’t anything to do. “He’d have too much to lose. You know that.”
“Where are you now?” Wayne asked.
Elliott gave a humorless laugh. “Getting ready to watch the game with some of the guys from work.”
Elliott could almost see Wayne scrubbing his hand down his face. He was a lucky guy, having siblings this supportive. Elliott didn’t know what he would have done if Wayne and Sally had shut him out.
“Yeah…but thank God for having extra long hair and being scrawny.”
“Good…it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out. You know how the press gets when they have a story.”
“I know.” It wasn’t like he didn’t have options outside the Marine Corps. He was a lawyer and could find work somewhere. He had money set aside so he’d be fine while he searched. But Neal—sensitive, sweet Neal—they were going to rake him over the coals. That hurt Elliott more than anything else right now.
“Hey…we could tell them it’s Sally,” Wayne said. “It’s not a great picture. We all look alike. With the long hair, we could pull it off. She’d go along with it. I’ll call her.”
“Then he’ll be accused of having sex with a minor.” Sally had been fifteen at the time.
“Oh…yeah. No good. So, what are you going to do?”
“I…I don’t know.” Somehow he had to talk to Neal without rousing more suspicion, and he had a pretty good idea of where to catch him alone. He just wasn’t sure of how long it would take him to do so.