Stolen Dreams is released this week on 31st March, published by Silver Publishing.
In a moment of madness, Morgan cheated on his best friend and lover, and Shae walked out without looking back. Five years on, and Morgan has a new life. He is engaged to a tempestuous and passionate Hollywood actor, Jase, and his career as an assistant movie director is thriving.
The last thing Morgan expects is for Shae to walk back into his life. It is clear from the start that he is still deeply attracted to Shae, and that feeling is returned. What is also obvious is that everyone else can see it, including his fiancé.
As Morgan and Shae get to know each other again, they discover the extent that friends meddled in their lives to keep them apart five years previously. Morgan finds that he cannot deny the fact he is still in love with Shae, but he is engaged, and Shae has secrets that he is not prepared to share. Morgan has some hard decisions to make as he struggles not to hurt the men that he cares about.
Morgan searched for something to say that wasn't "Why the fuck did you leave me and never come back? Why did you leave me?"
"I'm sorry to hear your dad is ill," he said eventually, when the silence stretched uncomfortably long.
Shae looked relieved at the innocuous topic. "He'll be fine but he needs an operation on his gall bladder. He's having some tests now." Correctly interpreting Morgan's surprised expression, Shae added, "Mom threw me out of the hospital. She said I was making her miserable."
That made Morgan grin, which Shae returned sheepishly. Of course, Peggy Delamere would send Shae off for coffee rather than have him fussing around her.
That seemed to be the end of that topic. Morgan was desperately casting about for another when Shae looked over, this time with a question in his eyes. "You own this place?" he asked, waving a hand around the coffee shop.
"Yup, all mine." The pride was evident in Morgan's voice.
A puzzled frown marred Shae's forehead. "I thought you were off making films these days."
"I am. I bought this in case I didn't get any work with the studios. I have a manager who runs the place for me.” He waved at Marilyn behind the counter.
"MC's.” Shae smiled, a genuine expression that reached his eyes. “I should have guessed. Angela dragged me in here bitching about wanting to sit down. I didn't pay much attention to the name of the place. When did you buy MC's?"
Shae seemed genuinely interested so Morgan answered, "About four years ago. I bought this place with the money my gran left me."
The expression on Shae's face softened. "I was sorry to hear about her death," he said, the sadness in his tone audible.
"You heard about Gran?" Morgan was shocked. After they split up no one would talk to him about Shae at all. He'd had no news in nearly five years, despite repeatedly begging their friends for information.
"Pete told me. He thought I'd like to know."
Morgan nodded slowly. "You always got on with her better than I did." He paused. "Pete never told me about you."
"I asked him not to," Shae admitted, "I didn't want you to know just how—"
He was interrupted by Jase and Angela coming over with four steaming mugs of coffee. Morgan did his best to smile at his fiancé but his timing was shit; he really wanted to know how Shae had been about to conclude that sentence.
Jase and Angela carried most of the ensuing conversation, with Morgan and Shae chipping in when they were prodded. The discussion was painful. In any other circumstances Morgan would have been amused, watching Shae retreat into sullenness in a situation that made him uncomfortable. Morgan wanted to talk, ask questions, and demand an explanation for Shae's disappearance. Instead he had to wait until Angela looked at her gold bracelet watch.
"Time to go, Shae. They said your dad should be awake soon."
Morgan stood up with them. "Do you want to take coffees back for your mom as well?"
"Cool. Peggy will be definitely cranky by now without some caffeine inside her," Angela agreed.
"Marilyn, get whatever Shae and Angela need. On the house," Morgan called. She nodded in response. He turned to the couple. "Nice to meet you, Angela." He gave her a smile, and although it felt forced she seemed to appreciate the gesture.
"Thanks, Morgan." Angela stretched up to give him a kiss on the cheek and then gave another one to Jase.
"I hope your dad is okay, Shae." Morgan held out his hand to Shae and this time the man shook it without hesitation. Maybe it was his imagination but he was sure Shae held his hand for a little longer than strictly necessary.
After the pair had left with their takeout coffees, Morgan sat back down, only to see Jase looking at him speculatively.
"What?" Morgan asked.
Biting his lip, Jase took a while as if considering his words carefully. "Tell me you don't still love that man and I'll believe you."
"What?" Morgan repeated, his brow furrowed in confusion.
"Look me in the eye and tell me you don't love Shae Delamere, and I'll believe you."
Morgan sighed, knowing he had always been shit at lying to Jase about even the small things. He wasn't about to lie about Shae. Taking Jase's hand, he replied, "I do still love him, but…" He made sure he was looking directly at his fiancé when he spoke again. "I am in love with you. Shae is my past; you are my present and future."
He could tell Jase still wasn't completely convinced so Morgan showed him in the best way he could, cupping Jase's face with his hands and kissing him tenderly.
"Ummm," Jase mumbled, and Morgan smiled as he watched Jase's blue eyes take a while to focus.
"Thank you," Jase murmured, and pulled Morgan over for another kiss.
As Morgan lifted his head, a movement outside the window attracted his attention. He looked over to see Shae staring at him, his lips pressed in a thin line as he watched the two of them kissing.
Immediately Morgan felt guilty, although why he should feel like that about kissing his own fiancé he had no idea. Shae looked away. Jase followed Morgan's gaze and saw Shae watching them through the front window. When Jase realized who stood staring at Morgan, his expression mirrored the anger and hurt on Shae's. He got up, muttering something about seeing Morgan at home later.
Alone on the sofa, Morgan watched his fiancé and the man who had once been his life walk away in different directions.