Read Love Ahead: Expect Delays Online
Authors: Astrid Amara
Tags: #erotic MM, #Romance MM
Love Ahead: Expect Delays
Love Ahead: Expect Delays
Copyright © November 2010 by Astrid Amara
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Cover Artist: Marci Gass
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Wednesday, December 1
The 1989 Geo Spectrum was not a car of beauty.
Neither roundish nor boxy, it had a blunt-nosed front and a saggy-diaper back.
Despite being a hatchback, it lacked storage space, and as a two-door, it proved
difficult to get in and out of the rear seats.
It was, frankly, an embarrassment to drive, which was why it had ended up in
the ownership of Zachary Roth’s eighty-seven-year-old grandmother. The problem
was Zach’s Bubbie didn’t want to drive it cross-country to Zach’s parents’ new home
in Boulder, Colorado. She wanted Zach to drive it.
The car smelled like Pine-Sol, decaying foam rubber, and World War II. The
brown seats were sun bleached, which Zach hadn’t known was possible with vinyl.
The entire car was immaculate in that grandmotherly way that meant it was clean,
but brittle and old. Even the fabric on the roof seemed crackled and stretched too
Zach’s boyfriend, Austin Jenker, didn’t know they were going to be traveling in
the Spectrum. It was one of the facts Zach had strategically omitted while
presenting the idea of the road trip. All Austin knew was they were driving to
Colorado to visit Zach’s family for Hanukkah. But when Austin emerged from his
apartment complex, duffel stuffed and swung over one large shoulder, backpack
over the other, and in his hands the toolbox he seemed to take with him
everywhere, he did not look pleased.
“You’re kidding me, right?” were his first words.
Zach leaned against the car door and crossed his arms, trying to look tough. It
was hard. The car was tiny and white. It had crocheted beige seat covers, and a
dream catcher hung from the rearview mirror.
“There’s no way we’re going fourteen hundred miles in that piece-of-shit car.”
Austin glared at the small tires as if they were to blame.
“Come on,” Zach said, giving Austin his most winning smile. “It’ll be an
“This is your grandmother’s car, right?”
Zach nodded, surprised Austin had noticed such an insignificant detail the one
time he’d been around when Zach’s grandmother stopped over. But then again,
Austin was always attentive to detail, especially when it came to anything on
“That engine barely turns over,” Austin said.
“And because you know things like that, you’ll be a perfect companion.”
Austin gave him a sharp look. “You just want me along because I’m a
“No,” Zach said. “I want you along because I like your company, I like screwing
in cheap motels, and most of all, I want my parents to meet you.”
Austin studied Zach’s expression carefully. He still had his duffel bag slung
over his shoulder. He looked tired, rough, and angry, and if anything, it added to his
roguish attractiveness. His dirty-blond hair was getting too long, so he pushed back
his bangs to better glower at the vehicle.
His skin was red, no doubt from the vigorous scrubbing he’d just given himself
in the shower. Austin owned an automotive shop. He came home oil stained but was
adamant about appearing clean anytime he wasn’t at work.
Zach didn’t care either way. Austin was different from anyone else he’d ever
dated; the oil stains only added to his charm.
Love Ahead: Expect Delays
“Last month you said you wanted to spend time away from the city,” Zach
“I was thinking somewhere sunny. With gay bars.”
“I bet Boulder has a gay bar,” Zach said, although he wasn’t 100 percent sure
about that, because he hadn’t been there before. He knew Boulder had
environmentalists. It also had strict development policies and a city planning
department that had the kind of power land-use planners like Zach could only envy.
Zach shook his head. Progressive zoning enforcement was not going to win
Austin over. “Look, I
to take the car to my grandmother. I’m just hoping we
can make something enjoyable out of the burden.”
“Your parents know you’re gay?” Austin asked at last.
Zach rolled his eyes. “Of course.”
“Just checking.” Austin frowned. “I don’t feel like being the announcement.
That’s all.” He threw his duffel into the back of the car. He turned Zach by the
shoulder and kissed him. Zach wasn’t used to public displays of affection, but he
liked how Austin never gave a shit. Austin pushed Zach against the car and ground
his hips into him as he kissed him deeply, then let go.
“We’d better go now if we’re going to avoid traffic.” Austin sauntered over to
the passenger side, and it took Zach a moment to recapture his equilibrium before
he sat behind the wheel.
Austin studied the dashboard. “There’s no CD player?”
“Yeah, only a cassette player. I hoped you’d bring your iPod. We can use one of
those cassette adapters. Otherwise we’re stuck with”—Zach fumbled through his
grandmother’s cassettes in the console—“
Million Dollar Polkas
Austin groaned. He rustled through the backpack between his boots. “When
was the last time the old lady had the oil changed?”
“I’m sure exactly when scheduled,” Zach assured him. “Bubbie is a firm
believer in regular maintenance.”
Austin pulled out his iPod and hooked it to the cassette adapter. He shook his
head. “You know, it wasn’t easy taking eight entire days off work. I left everything
up to Rick. And Rick is a moron. I wouldn’t be surprised if my shop is burned to the
ground by the time I get back.”
“Your shop will be fine. I trust Rick.”
Austin raised an eyebrow at that. “If I’m going to miss this much work, I
should be heading somewhere warm. California. Florida.”
“I’ve never seen you in a Speedo,” Zach said.
“Yeah, well, I look fucking hot.”
“I believe you.” Zach grinned. “Next holiday, sunshine it is.”
Austin yanked at the seat belt, which creaked as it stretched around his broad
chest. He had to push the seat all the way back and recline it in order to fit his large
body in such a limited space. “We live in a rain forest, and we go on vacation
Zach’s heart hurt a little at all the complaining. “Then why’d you agree to
“Because I love you,” Austin said. “And I’d never forgive myself if you went