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Carly Marie's Author Page Posts

Coming Home Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Declan

I walked across the parking lot, my leather boots making virtually no sound as I zeroed in on my baby, a silver Nissan 370Z. It had been six long months since I had seen it. Hearing the click of the door unlocking settled an unease inside me. I unbuttoned my uniform shirt and tossed it onto the passenger seat.

I finally sank into the driver’s seat and sighed. My team had only been back on US soil a handful of hours after a fairly cut-and-dry deployment turned into anything but. Thanks to weather, terrain, bad intel, equipment malfunctions, hostiles, and injuries, our deployment lasted every single day of six months.

The inside of my car smelled stale. Sitting in the baking southern California summer heat was certainly to blame for that. I turned the key in the ignition and took a moment to enjoy the air, albeit hot and pungent, blowing on my face.

I plugged my phone in, allowing it to charge for a few minutes before I powered it on. The other guys had charged their phones as soon as they were handed back to us on the plane. They were all checking in with their families, their wives, and their girlfriends. I hadn’t seen my family since I’d moved in with the Scotts nine years earlier. Ty Scott had been my best friend since childhood and when my family situation had turned sour, his mom had been there to put my pieces back together.

I hadn’t spoken to my biological family since I moved into off-base housing when I was twenty. The only people I spent time with were my teammates, Ty—who’d lived with me for the last six years—and some of his friends from college. When I was deployed, the only texts I got were from Ty and his family.

My phone finally got enough charge to turn on and I saw hundreds of missed texts, almost all of them from Ty. I swear, the guy texted me at least twice a day, sometimes more. He always texted me to tell me if he was going somewhere, just in case we got home. After six years of living with me, he knew I could be gone for days, weeks, or months at a time whenever my team was called.

I found the last text time-stamped only a few hours earlier. He was headed to a bar that evening. I knew what that meant, so I pulled out of my parking space and instead of turning right toward our condo, I turned left toward downtown San Diego and the popular night clubs.

I knew Ty would be at Bump. It was his favorite gay bar in San Diego. Personally, the place always made me feel weird. I felt like a piece of meat up for grabs. It would have been easier to text Ty and tell him I was back and going home to sleep, but I wanted to surprise him, and I didn’t want to risk him walking into the house with a hookup. That shit was awkward, and yeah, been there, done that—more than once.

Thinking about it, I realized Ty hadn’t been bringing guys home much in the last few years—not that I was complaining. Then again, I spent a good portion of the year away from home and we had long ago decided to keep the finer details of our sex lives away from one another. Not that I had much of a sex life.

I found Bump almost by muscle memory and was able to find parking not even a block away. After paying the parking attendant, I headed down the block to the bar. After months in the jungle, I still wasn’t sure what day it was and it wasn’t until I saw the line stretched around the block, that I realized it was a Saturday night.

“Christ on a cracker,” I groaned when I saw the line. My idea to surprise my best friend was seeming less than likely. I wasn’t going to have the energy to wait in line for that long. I’d be asleep before I made it to the door.

“You looking to get in?” the bouncer asked, eyeing me up and down.

I shrugged. “I thought about it, but I forgot it’s Saturday night.”

The guy winked at me. “Come on, I’ll let you through. The guys inside will eat you up in that uniform.”

I groaned. I was obviously sleep deprived. I’d forgotten I was still in my work uniform, right down to my boots. Thankfully, the guy was giving me an in, so I pulled out my wallet and paid the cover charge. I opened the door and music poured out, causing me to wince at the assault to my eardrums.

Conversations stopped and eyes followed me as I made my way from the entrance to the bar. I wasn’t blind, I knew I had a nice body. Growing up in Oklahoma and working on the Scott ranch had given me well-defined, lean muscle when I was a teen. Now after eight years in the Navy and almost seven as a SEAL, I was a twenty-six-year-old with a chest and biceps that bulged under my t-shirts and powerful legs that filled out my uniform pants nicely. The thousands of squats I did at the gym and during training drills had given me a firm, round ass even I could appreciate.

I scanned the room, ignoring the offered drinks and requests to dance. I had one goal only, to find Ty. I spotted him by the bar, chatting with some tall, young guy who didn’t even look old enough to drink. Even in a crowded bar in San Diego, I could pick Ty Scott out without ever seeing his face. Like that mop of unruly blond hair that was uniquely Ty, so was his outfit of worn jeans that fit him like a glove, brown leather boots, and a white and black plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. He was, hands down, the best-looking guy in the bar.

I sighed and weaved my way toward them. The guy he was talking with looked even younger up close than he did from a distance. His face still showed residual acne marks and his muscles were barely visible through his tiny shirt. Ty may have been shorter than him, but the guy didn’t stand a chance with my best friend.

The growl that emanated from deep in my chest surprised even me. I could tell by the way the guy was flirting with Ty, he was looking for a quick fuck and that wasn’t what Ty wanted. Ty was looking for his prince charming and even from ten feet away, I could tell this guy wasn’t going to sweep Ty off his feet. Hell, the kid probably wouldn’t have been able to lift a spare tire. Ty deserved everything he wanted and more.

Where did that thought come from?

If I analyzed it enough, I would be able to admit where it came from. The same place in my soul that had been in love with Ty since we were teenagers. I buried those feelings for him when my parents kicked me out at seventeen, though lately, they never seemed to be far from the surface whenever Ty was around. I could feel how pinched my expression was as I walked up behind Ty. Of course, Ty never even registered my presence until the scrawny guy stopped talking to him and stared at me with wide eyes. Scrawny seemed so shocked I almost laughed, but then I remembered he was hitting on my best friend and my lips pursed.

Ty turned around to follow his companion’s wide-eyed gaze. It took all of a half second for his blue eyes to widen and for Ty to make a squealing sound that shouldn’t have been able to be produced by a man past puberty. That was all it took for my scowl to soften into a smile.

One second, Ty was standing with his arm resting on the bar, the next he was clinging to me like a monkey. Not only was I thankful for the four inches I had on Ty’s five-nine frame but also for the extra sixty or so pounds of muscle I worked hard to maintain, as Ty jumped up and wrapped his legs around me. I wrapped my arms around his back and smiled. After six hours in California, I finally felt like I’d made it home.

I put Ty down on the ground and he bounced slightly with excitement. “When did you get home?”

“A few hours ago. Haven’t even been back to our place yet,” I admitted. I hated having to yell to be heard over the music. I shot a glance at the guy standing behind Ty who seemed to cower slightly.

“Uh, I think I’m going to get out of here,” the twink said uncomfortably.

Ty managed to look embarrassed. “Oh, uh, yeah. Sorry. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

I rolled my eyes as the guy made a hasty retreat. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to end up giving away too much about my feelings toward Ty. Despite my ever-present attraction toward him, I didn’t know if I was ready to admit I was gay. I didn’t even know for sure that I was gay. How could I know if I’d never done anything with another guy? Yet, in a bar full of men who were offering to buy me drinks and dance with me, the only guy I had eyes for was Ty.

“What’s got you so scowly?”

I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t know, really. But once the little thing who was hitting on Ty had left, I didn’t feel quite so unsettled. “I don’t know. I must just be tired.”

Ty finished his brightly colored drink and looked over at me. “Are you ready to head home?”

“God, yes, please.” I said, barely containing a yawn.

Be My Home Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Derek

I sat on an uncomfortable stool impatiently tapping the music stand in front of me with the pencil in my hand. We’d been locked in the studio for almost a week and I was exhausted. Okay, maybe I was exaggerating just a little. But not much. Hometown had been in the studio for upwards of eighteen hours a day for the last six days.

I needed sleep.

I needed Daddy.

Gina, our other vocalist, was arguing with the producer over something related to mixing the last song we’d recorded… for the fifth time. Harrison was sprawled out on the couch, his bass guitar clutched to his chest. Neil was sitting on the floor, his back against the couch, a long leg stretched out in front of him, his head resting on a bent knee, and a hand placed gently on Harrison’s shoulder.

Seeing Harrison and Neil being openly affectionate was long overdue. They had danced around telling anyone they were dating for months. Even after I’d come out to the entire world, they had still kept their relationship quiet for almost six more months. Even though the entire band had known, without really knowing, they’d refused to tell anyone for an infuriatingly long time. I’d been both relieved and incredibly happy for my best friend and our fiddle player when they had finally come out to us. But their little touches and stolen kisses when they thought no one was looking made me miss Colt that much more.

After a week of mornings that started before sunrise, and nights that ended after Colt was already in bed, I was officially spent. We were all teetering on the verge of collapse. I needed time to decompress.

I needed to see my boyfriend.

“Good news!” my assistant, Madeline, announced from the doorway, causing everyone to jump. “There’s a snowstorm barreling toward Nashville. Effective immediately, recording has been put on hold so we can all get home.”

A chorus of cheers erupted throughout the room as we began to pack up our stuff. I grabbed my guitar and put it in the case amidst the clattering of guitars, drums, violins, and other random instruments being moved about.

“Thank you,” I said as she came over to me grinning like the cat who got the canary.

“Thank Mother Nature. I’m just the messenger. Though your Daddy may have been texting me for the last hour wondering why you were all still here when Nashville is shutting down.”

I laughed as I snapped the latches of my guitar case shut. “I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t made his way here already.”

“I think he was about ready to by the time I let him know I’d already called a car for you. He was getting kinda growly. You’ve earned this time off, get out of here before the roads close and you’re stuck in Nashville instead of at home with your man.”

I bent down and kissed her on the cheek. “Thanks, Maddie. I’ll talk with you later.” I called a quick goodbye over my shoulder to those remaining in the room and practically ran out of the studio.

Looking around, I was shocked to see how white everything was. Snow covered everything in a heavy blanket. Even the roads weren’t recognizable except for a few tire tracks. Aside from a row of large black SUVs lining, what I knew to be the large semi-circular driveway of the recording studio, everything was white. I scanned the row until I found the SUV with a piece of paper in the window with my name on it and hurried over, trying to pull my coat more tightly around me.

“Mr. Edwards,” the driver jumped slightly as I pulled the back door open and shoved my guitar in before climbing in and slamming the door. “I would have opened the door for you if I had seen you.”

I smiled. “I’m perfectly capable of opening and closing doors for myself. And there’s no point in both of us being covered in snow and freezing cold. Can you get me to Kingfield?” I asked. If Nashville already looked like this and the storm hadn’t fully arrived, I didn’t want to know what was going to happen in a few hours. Kingfield was a small area, the odds of plows having been through were slim to none.

The man nodded. “Yes, sir. The roads are slow going, but we’re getting out before the worst of it hits. In a few hours it will be a very different story. The news is saying it’s going to be a doozy.”

I sighed and leaned back into the seat. “Well, take your time, no point in rushing. I’d rather make it home late than end up in a ditch.”

“You and me both,” he agreed as he eased onto the road.

My phone pinged in my pocket and I fished it out to check the text.

Ty: Hey how’s it going?

Me: Hey, just left the studio. Nashville’s getting a massive snowstorm tonight.

Ty: Snowed in for Valentine’s Day?

Me: Valentine’s Day?

Ty: Tomorrow… Did you forget?

Me: Fuck! I’ve been stuck in the studio for the last week! I totally forgot!

Ty: That sucks. Colt won’t care, he’ll just be happy you’re home.

Me: I need to let him know I’m on my way. Have a good one.

Ty: Stay safe! Later.

I sighed and smacked my head against the back of the seat. How did I forget Valentine’s Day? Easy. I’d been burning the candle at both ends. I’d slept in the studio two of the six days we’d been recording. I’d had no more than four or five hours of sleep a night since the day we’d started. No wonder Colt was getting growly.

I stretched my back and moved to sit up straighter in my seat when I felt my thick briefs hug my balls a little tighter. A year ago, I’d had a hard time imagining giving up my skimpy briefs for thick training pants. Now here I sat leaving Nashville, and my life as one of country music’s biggest stars, to spend a few days snowed in at home with my boyfriend—my Daddy—while wearing a pair of training pants with airplanes on them.

Being Daddy’s boy helped me relax and gave me the ability to deal with the more insane, crazy, and hectic parts of my life—Nashville, paparazzi, touring, and fans. Without the ability to regress from time-to-time, I would’ve burnt out before my career had truly taken off. There was something freeing in giving up control to Daddy, even for short amounts of time, that made the chaos melt away. It didn’t hurt that Colt was unable to turn his Daddy side completely off. He tended to make more decisions than not and was able to read my moods better than I was most days.

Thinking back over the last week, I knew why I was feeling so depleted. Working insane hours had me going home, collapsing into bed, and starting over a few hours later. I’d not even pulled my crayons out of the drawer in the coffee table since the night before we’d started recording. I was overdue for some little time, but as I started yawning I knew it wasn’t going to happen that night.

I opened the messaging app on my phone.

Me: Heading home.

Daddy: Good. Is your driver being safe?

Me: Yes. Very. We’re taking it slow. On the highway, but snow is coming down hard. It’s going to be a while.

Daddy: Just be safe. Love you.

Me: Love you too.

Tears pricked at my eyes and I had to blink them back. I needed to be home, not stuck on the highway in a snowstorm. I wouldn’t have cared if we were in our house, in a hotel, or stuck on a tour bus. Wherever I was, as long as Colt was there, I felt like I was home.

At Home Chapter 1

Derek

“Hey, Derek, we’re going to the bar. You coming?” Harrison called to me, as I headed to the dressing room at the back of the arena.

We were the founding members of the country music band, Hometown. Harrison was the bass guitarist and  had grown up with me in Oklahoma. I was lead vocals for the band and played acoustic guitar as well.

I nodded. “Give me twenty.” An evening at the bar would be just what my frazzled nerves needed, but first, I needed a shower. My hair was soaked with sweat and my black t-shirt clung to my body. Another two-hour set was in the books and we were almost halfway through our first headlining tour.

Harrison and I had spent a few years playing small bars for a little pocket change while we were in college. We had never intended to become famous or to end up with a number one album. But that is exactly what happened. We were approached by a talent scout after playing at a honky-tonk in Tulsa. In the blink of an eye, our little side gig turned into our livelihoods.

Within a few months of that chance encounter, we were in a studio in Nashville recording our first album. Our current headlining tour followed a six-month tour opening for one of the hottest country artists in the nation.

Since playing that bar in Tulsa, I had gone from Derek Edward Scott, a twenty-two year old ranch hand on my family’s ranch, college student, and struggling artist and songwriter, to twenty-four year old Derek Edwards. Derek Edwards was a country music sensation, playing sold-out arenas, various music awards shows, and oh yeah, a Grammy award-winning artist.

How the fuck did that happen?

Our first single had shot straight to the top of the charts and our lives had been an insane roller coaster ride ever since.

There was a part of me that missed just being a college student and working on my parents’ ranch in the summers. As quickly as that thought entered my mind, it was joined by memories of the uncomfortable Christmas I spent with my family three weeks earlier. I’d been dragged to church to listen to the pastor drone on about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I’d heard the same sermon so often I could practically recite it by heart.

What I hadn’t expected was the extra fifteen minutes of the pastor lecturing the entire congregation about how the “gay agenda” was threatening Christianity and the sanctity of this holy time. I’d sat in the pew with my mouth hanging open, wondering how the gays were killing Christmas.

Okay, so, maybe being a chart-topping country artist who only had time to go home for a couple of days every four or five months wasn’t so bad after all.

I showered as quickly as I could and headed to find Harrison and whoever else was going to join us at the bar. We had just finished playing in Nashville which proved to be every bit as insane as we expected. We knew we couldn’t go to a bar anywhere in the city because we’d be mobbed by fans. Instead, Harrison was on his phone searching for bars off the beaten path to hopefully give us a bit of anonymity and allow us some much needed time to relax.

“Where’re we going?” I questioned, as I pulled on a black and white plaid button-up over a white undershirt. I rolled the sleeves halfway up my forearms and grabbed an old college ball cap before being satisfied with my appearance.

Harrison grinned. “Franklin. It’s about thirty minutes from here, kinda the middle of nowhere.”

Gina, one of our backup singers,turned vital member of the band, clapped happily. “Night out!” She was a petite little thing, topping the scale at maybe one hundred and ten pounds soaking wet and was no more than five-foot-three. Her hair was purple, at least that week, by the next week it would likely be a different color.

The first few weeks of the tour, Gina had flirted with me almost constantly, but after pulling her aside one night and telling her I wasn’t interested in her, or any woman, she backed off and became a friend and fierce ally.

I’d been out in college and our management team had been quick to separate Derek Scott and Derek Edwards. The thought was if they could bury the existence of Derek Scott, an out gay man, then there wouldn’t be much dirt on me. I hadn’t been all that comfortable with the idea at first. I’d just gotten comfortable enough with my sexuality to come out to friends. The last thing I wanted to do was go back into the closet. A number of worst case scenarios had been thrown my way before I finally agreed to the name change.

It had been over a year and there didn’t seem to be many, if any, people who had figured out we were the same person. The media finding out had quickly become my biggest fear. Country music wasn’t ready for a gay musician, yet.

I had reluctantly agreed to go back into the closet with the understanding I would be able to tell the band. When we signed the contract, I didn’t want my personal life to be public knowledge anyway. I’d always been a private person and I prefered to keep it that way. In private though, I didn’t want to hide my sexuality. I needed the band to know I was gay because it was a part of who I was. Unfortunately, the fear management had ingrained in me made it hard to be open, even with the band. It had taken me months to come out to everyone on the tour with us. We were a tight knit group and so far nothing about my sexuality had been leaked online or to the media.

I was happy to keep it that way.

Gina, Harrison, and I were joined by Clayton, Vance, and Neil, all backup musicians hired by the label, but we had quickly become friends. We climbed into a black SUV and Harrison leaned forward to input the address into the driver’s phone. “Please, keep us under the radar. We just need a night out,” he said to the man.

The driver nodded and began to follow the directions on his phone while we laughed and chatted in the back. The farther from Nashville we got, the more I was able to relax. It had been too long since I was Derek Scott and I missed going out with friends. The last eighteen months had been a whirlwind and it was nice to be able to take a step back.

“We’ve just snuck out,” I said with a laugh. “Sneaking out of Nashville is a lot harder than it was to sneak out of our houses growing up.”

Harrison laughed too. “Remember that night in high school when we snuck out of your house to go to the movies with our girlfriends and your dad was sitting on the front porch as we rounded the house?”

We dove into a row of bushes on the side of the driveway, both forgetting they were my mom’s roses. By the time we got ourselves untangled from the bushes, we were scratched and our clothes were torn from the thorns. Thankfully, we were able to keep our pained screams muffled and got away before my dad found us.

Gina shot me a mischievous grin. “Girlfriend?”

“You didn’t grow up in an Evangelical household. I faked it until I was in college. I didn’t come out to my immediate family until just before the tour started. I’m still not out to our fans. At this rate, we’ll be retired before I find a guy to be with.”

I was on track for the longest dry spell ever.

Harrison bumped me with his shoulder. “There’s no reason that has to be the case. You’ve made enough money on this tour to never need to go back to Oklahoma again. Be happy for once.”

I rolled my eyes at him as the SUV pulled into the parking lot of a small bar in the middle of a tiny town. “Good job, Harrison, you found a bar off the beaten path!” Clayton said, his voice laced with sarcasm. There were two SUVs with Sheriff Department markings in the lot and maybe ten other cars and trucks. We piled out of the back and headed into the bar.

There was a slight lull in conversations as the six of us walked in the front door of Steve’s Tavern. The most generic bar name in the most generic looking place ever. Thank you Harrison! I had to refrain from turning and hugging him in the middle of the bar.

Most of the bar’s occupants allowed their eyes to sweep over the five men in our group when we first entered. It was clear this was a local bar and outsiders were uncommon.  And none of us were small guys, Neil was the shortest and slightest built of all of us, but even he was almost six feet tall and solid muscle. Once they took us in, they all seemed to notice Gina standing behind us and more than one set of male eyes appraised her. I pulled my ball cap down farther to avoid recognition.

“I’m here to have fun,” Gina whispered, “and so help me, if any of you pull the big brother card and gets in the way, I’m going to have your balls.”

We all laughed and headed directly to the bar. Gina already had a man approaching her, offering to buy her a drink, so I grabbed a beer with the other guys and we headed to a table in the corner.

An hour later, I excused myself to use the restroom in the back of the bar. On my way out, I was distracted by a text from my brother and I ran face first into a solid wall of muscle, knocking my ball cap to the ground. My six-foot frame was nothing compared to the tall, dark, and handsome man standing in front of me wearing a dark green uniform shirt that read “Sheriff Westfield.” His sleeves were rolled up over his elbows and his exposed arms were thick with sinewy muscles that moved hypnotically. He put his hands on my shoulders to steady me as I took a few steps back. I felt electricity zing through the spots where our bodies touched. “Sorry,” I muttered, as I bent to pick my ball cap up off the ground and slid my phone into my pocket. My brother could wait.

I had a hard time looking the gorgeous man in his piercing green eyes.

“No problem,” the guy, Sheriff Westfield I presumed, said in a deep voice with a slight tip of his own hat.

He walked into the bathroom and I had to pull myself together, quick. “Not now, Derek,” I scolded myself. “This is not the time, or the place. Jesus fucking Christ, you are on tour.

My growing arousal was going to be a problem, so I started thinking of mathematical equations, the next tour stop, anything to make me stop thinking about the Adonis who had just walked into the bathroom. I finally pulled my phone out of my pocket again, thinking maybe returning my brother’s text would distract me enough my cock would stand down, and I could go back to my friends without a hard-on in my jeans.

“Can’t seem to get away from you,” a deep voice said from in front of me, causing me to jump slightly.

So much for distraction.