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The riskiest games are played from the heart.
According to the tabloids, Kasper Rein is a player on the prowl. Sturdy and sexy, with a voice of pure seduction, he's seldom alone. The fans love him. Men and women want him. The paparazzi stalks him. He's living a rock star's dream -- until someone wants him out of the spotlight.
The new man in Kasper's life wants more than his fame. Mat wants his heart. He's willing to battle his own trust issues for a chance at real love, but someone else wants Kasper out of the way. Cryptic threats and attempts on his life leave Kasper with a charred house, too many visits from the paramedics, and no answers. Kasper must uncover the person behind the violence before it's too late -- and they're closer than he thinks.
The door closed behind them, muffling the music, the sudden silence startling. They walked down the sidewalk without touching.
It should have been an amazing moment out of a romantic movie. Instead, Mat had screwed it up by getting distracted over something that shouldn't matter. He felt like an idiot.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"For what?" Kasper unlocked the car.
"I didn't handle that too well." Mat nodded back toward the bar.
"No, I'm sorry. We're not really at the love song phase yet. I was so into performing, I didn't think."
"It wasn't the song." Mat folded his arms. "I should have been flattered that a guy I really like was singing to me about how he feels, but I was too busy thinking about other stuff."
"Like how a rock star with a collection of gold records was on stage singing to me and how that instantly made me the coolest person in the room." He closed his eyes and sighed. "One public performance and it all went to my head. What does that say?"
Kasper didn't reply. Mat opened his eyes, expecting a somber expression full of disappointment. Instead, he saw a grin.
"Is that why you're upset?" Kasper asked.
"Yes. I've been telling myself that your fame doesn't matter, and the first chance I have to prove it, I focus on nothing but that. What if I've been lying to both of us this whole time?"
"You're being too hard on yourself." Kasper stepped closer and rested a hand on Mat's arm. "Trust me. You haven't lied to either of us."
"How do you know that? I don't even know that anymore."
Kasper tugged one of his hands from the knot. "Because I know how it looks when all someone wants from me is bragging rights." Kasper caressed his cheek. "This is my fault. I made a public display of what I feel for you. What I should have done was hold you close," Kasper wrapped an arm around his back and pulled Mat against him, "taken advantage of the dance floor," Kasper held their tangle of fingers to his own chest, "and sung it in your ear." Kasper danced with him there on the sidewalk.
Kasper quietly crooned the chorus to him again. This time when he melted, there was no self-absorbed burst of frivolous pride to mangle it. Eyes closed, he heard footsteps pass nearby and ignored them. That was their moment. It had nothing to do with anyone else.
Kasper punctuated the song's last word with a kiss to Mat's ear, humming the final few notes. Mat couldn't help smiling.
"Better?" Kasper asked, his voice still soft.
"I'm sorry. That whole thing was dumb. I don't want to be a rock star tonight. All I want is to be the man who means something to you."
"So do I." Mat rested his chin on Kasper's shoulder. "You might be wrong about us not being at the love song phase."
"It looks that way, doesn't it."
"Is this moving too fast?"
"Maybe, but what can you do when you see a smile in the back of an ambulance and know it just changed your life forever? You either go with it, or you run. I don't want to run. Not this time."
Mat raised his head and looked at Kasper. "Me either."
"Why don't we take this somewhere less public?"