Danny & Jude, Barista Boys by A E Ryecart
Life gets complicated when the thing you want most in the world is for your best friend to be your lover.
For Danny Spears, sex is like fast food: cheap, convenient and ultimately unfulfilling. There’s only one man he really wants and that’s his best friend, Jude Greenwood. That’s never going to happen. As far as Jude’s concerned Danny’s not only his oldest and closest friend, he’s the big brother he never had. The trouble is, they’re no longer boys and Danny’s feelings for Jude are anything but brotherly.
Falling for one dead-end man after another in his search of his happy ever after, the only thing Jude ends up with is a broken heart and shattered dreams. Always there to pick him up and make things better, Danny could be Jude’s perfect man. There’s one big stumbling block: Danny doesn’t do boyfriends or relationships. Any fantasy Jude has about them ever getting together will have to remain just that – a fantasy.
A passionate kiss leads to a night together that was never meant to happen, and the shockwaves rock them both. Should they seize the chance to take their lives in a direction neither dreamed possible? But the stakes are high, and it takes courage to cross the line from friends to lovers. If they take that step, there’s no going back for either of them. Their lives will change forever, but will it be for better or worse?
Sexy, sweet and with a serious case of undeclared love laced with a healthy dose of angst, Danny & Jude is the first in the Barista Boys contemporary gay romance series.
Each story charts the loves and lives of the men who work in a quirky little café in the heart of London’s Soho: Barista Boys, where it’s not just the coffee that’s hot.
“Do you fancy going to the cinema tonight?” Jude asked as he finished unpacking the shopping.
Danny was pouring boiling water into two mugs, the teabags bobbing up and down. He put the kettle down and turned to Jude, surprised at his question.
“Aren't you seeing thingy tonight?”
Hope surged through Danny. Jude had spent all his free-time with Mike ever since the pair of them had become an item. If they weren't seeing each other tonight then perhaps things had cooled down. . .
“Mike, not thingy. No, not tonight. He's seeing an old school friend who's down from the north.” Jude pulled a carton from the fridge and poured milk into the two mugs.
Danny gave him a sideward glance.
Yeah, likely story. Danny didn't believe that for a minute. But Jude obviously did because he didn't look as if his world had collapsed around his feet, which was how he always was when his latest romance had crashed and burned.
Do I want to go to the cinema with you, Jude? The two of us sitting close together in the dark where nobody would see me put my arm around your shoulders and pull you in and kiss—
“Er, what?” Danny blinked hard, as if he'd been dragged into a bright light.
“The cinema. Are you alright?” Jude squinted at Danny.
“Mm, okay. That'll be good.” Danny took a gulp of tea, screwing his eyes up as the scalding liquid burned its way down his throat.
A film would be good, though. Maybe add dinner into the mix. It felt like an age since they'd done anything like that.
Jude answered with his big, bright, sunny smile that never failed to melt Danny's heart and make the world seem a better place.
Minutes later they were pulling on their jackets and heading out of the flat, towards the cinema on the high street. The romantic comedy that Jude wanted to see, and Danny huffed at, was sold out, so they opted for the zombie-apocalypse. Armed with buckets of popcorn they found their seats in the gloomy auditorium and settled back. Other cinema goers drifted in as the advertisements played, but it didn't fill up and Danny and Jude had plenty of room to spread themselves out.
By the time the zombies had eaten their way through half a small town in the American Mid-West, Jude was peeking through splayed fingers and cringing into his seat.
“Oh God, this is horrible. Why did we decide to see this?” He winced as a wet chunk of flesh was pulled from another screaming blonde.
“It's so bad it's great. C'mere.” Danny wrapped his arm around Jude's shoulder. Jude leaned into him and buried his head into the crook of Danny neck.
Danny could feel Jude's warm breath. He sighed, happy that it was just the two of them. It felt as if it had been ages since they'd had a date night. Not that he called it that out loud because it wasn't a date, it was just two really good friends spending an evening with each other. They would have to be going out with each other for it to be a date. Danny was violently bumped out of his thoughts when Jude climbed into his lap.
“I can't watch it, it's making me feel sick!” Jude whispered as he clung to Danny.
Danny glanced around. A few people were looking at them, more interested in what was happening in seats J8 and J9 than in zombies but Danny stared back at them in a silent challenge and they turned their attention back to the film. Danny tightened his arms around Jude and hugged him close.
“You are one fucking wuss,” Danny whispered into Jude's hair. He felt the shake of Jude's laughter.
“I wanted to see the rom-com but instead I'm watching guts being wrenched from living bodies and waved around like lassos. Why did we decide on this?” Jude said again, looking up at Danny.
“Because it was all we could get tickets for. Don’t worry, I'll protect you from the flesh-eating zombies.” Danny looked at Jude and grinned. He'd meant to turn his head back towards the screen and follow the brave, but ultimately doomed, bid for escape from zombie-town. What he didn't mean to do was to stare into Jude's eyes that glittered in the dark auditorium. He didn't mean to dip his head and bring his lips to Jude's and taste the warm, buttery sweetness of popcorn on Jude's mouth. Danny never meant to do any of those things. But he did. Danny didn't know if Jude invited him, or if he pushed his way into the damp heat of Jude's mouth. It didn't matter. What mattered was that he was kissing Jude, and Jude was kissing him back. This wasn't an affectionate kiss of two old friends, this was all teeth and tongues, wet, sloppy and noisy.
Danny's head swam as Jude pulled him tighter into the kiss. His heart hammered hard against his ribcage, so hard it felt as if his bones would break. Danny squeezed his eyes tight but instead of blackness he saw starbursts of brilliant white. He was dizzy and disorientated. He needed oxygen, he needed to breathe. But he didn't care, because he needed the kiss more.
“Oi, you two. What the fuck do you think you're doing?” The angry words were accompanied by a swat around the back of Danny's head.
A bulky middle-aged couple glared at them over half-eaten hot-dogs from the row behind. Danny didn't think now was the time to tell the slobs that they had tomato sauce dripping down their chins. He glanced around, seeing others nearby enjoying the little side show that was taking place, the film on the screen forgotten for a minute or two. Danny decided it was time to leave.
“Come on, let's go.” Danny pulled Jude up and they stumbled past the few other customers in their row, ignoring the tutting and exaggerated sighs, as they made their way to the exit.
Born and raised in London, the city is part of A E Ryecart’s DNA so she likes to set her stories in and around present-day London, providing the perfect, metropolitan backdrop to the main action. Writing at home, in the gym, in cafés, A E can be found wherever she can plug in the laptop and get herself a good coffee!