Leo parked his rental and stared ahead at the crazy scene in front of him. His vision of a quiet, romantic holiday was rapidly disappearing.
What the hell?
Andre’s place looked like it was overtaken by a hive of bees. A TV camera truck, a catering van, people running in and out of the house shouting orders, and ladders leaning against the front of the house with workers hanging Christmas garland.
Andre’s home was usually quiet, as it was nestled among the woods with a huge manicured lawn sloping down to the lakeshore. Leo loved coming to Andre’s home after a gig, a place where he could relax with his lover and shake off his rock ’n’ roll persona.
Not this… This was chaos of mass proportion, and not what Leo had expected…or wanted.
A shiver coursed through him from the bitter cold, and he buttoned his fur coat, turning up his collar for extra measure. After deciding to catch an earlier flight, Leo had no time to change out of his concert duds. He was rumpled and grumpy, wearing a damn sheer shirt underneath his coat and tight satin pants with soft leather knee boots. Not exactly skiwear.
He glanced in the rearview mirror and wiped a smudge of eyeliner from his face. A long sigh escaped him as he got out of the car, shaking out his hair, matted from sleeping on the plane.
Andre had promised a quiet few days, just the two of them. With their tight schedules, they rarely saw each other, even between concert tours. It had been almost a year since they reunited, and Leo thought… Fuck, he thought their relationship would be different somehow, better. But their schedules almost never crossed except on the occasion when they played in the same city. Finding time to be together was difficult. Leo had a better chance of flying to the moon than spending an uninterrupted week with Andre.
Leo removed his duffel and a large gift-wrapped package from his trunk and sloshed through the snow. Water seeped into his boots and socks, and he cursed under his breath as his toes grew numb. From the corner of his eye, he spotted a short, thin man in green hovering near the edge of the woods. Strange, but the dude wore a cone hat, the pom-pom on the end of it drooping, and pointed shoes that wouldn’t survive two seconds in snow. The stranger grinned and winked at Leo, then lifted his hand, and suddenly the air was filled with shimmering dust.
The glitter cloud drifted to where Leo stood silently spellbound by the odd event. Before Leo could approach the green-clad man, he foolishly grinned and skipped into the trees and disappeared.
Leo brushed off his coat, wondering what the heck just happened, but then noticed there wasn’t one speck of glitter on him. If he didn’t know better, he would have thought he just saw an elf, but that was ridiculous. It had to be some nob in costume or one of the workers playing a practical joke.
Relieved when he reached the shoveled brick path to the front door, he was then pushed and shoved by workers bounding in and out of the house.
Leo growled at the next person who bumped his shoulder. “Hey, watch it, man.”
“Sorry,” the woman muttered as she walked by, carrying a handful of pine garland with pinecones the size of oranges. She barely acknowledged him as she hurried to one of the extension ladders leaning against the side of the house.
Leo strode through the living room, kitchen, and out onto the back porch, but Andre was nowhere in sight. Between jet lag and needing a shower, Leo’s agitation was beginning to peak. He took the steps two at a time and approached Andre’s bedroom. Then froze. Two male voices came from within the room.
Leo recognized Andre’s voice but not the other man’s thick Italian accent. Then it struck Leo. Hard and swift and to the heart. Andre’s ex-lover had been Italian. What the fuck was Andre’s ex doing in his bedroom?
Shifting the package in his arm, Leo pushed open the bedroom door and almost fell inside the room. He looked up, his mouth twisted in a scowl, as he spotted Andre standing in front of a handsome dark-haired man, his hand on the ex’s broad chest.
Quickly, Andre stepped back, his eyes growing wide.
Yeah, man, just like a deer caught in the headlights and ready to meet his maker.
Leo dumped the present on the bed and then his duffel. Narrowing his eyes at the man standing way too close to Andre, Leo lowered his voice. “Are you going to introduce me to your friend
Andre picked at his top button of his crisp white shirt. “Ah, yes, this is Caesar Masetti. He’s performing tonight.”
Leo fisted his hands as he recognized the name. This was the famous tenor who had struck Andre in a fit of temper. “What the fuck are you doing in my boyfriend’s bedroom?”