Red Rose Publishing
A college professor gets a second chance at love with a much younger man. Will he take it?
Forty-five-year-old college professor Vincent Norton expects to spend the rest of his life alone. After all, he had more than twenty years with the love of his life before losing him to an accident.
When he meets his 21-year-old neighbor, Vince is shocked and upset to find himself once again attracted to someone, but this time, it’s a man half his age.
College student Rob Bridges has always liked older men, but even he’s a little surprised at how attractive he finds his much older neighbor. Once he realizes he wants Vince, Rob sets his mind on catching him.
Will Vince let himself be caught, or will his indecision ruin their chance at happiness?
The sounds of loud laughter and pounding bass greeted Vincent Norton as he reached the second floor of his apartment building. His neighbors across the hall, college kids, must be having a party. The young men had moved in a few months before, in August. So far, they hadn't been bad to live near. They kept the noise level to a minimum, for the most part, and they didn't bother him, which was pretty much all he asked for.
He'd nearly reached his apartment when he saw a young man sitting on the floor a few feet away from his neighbors' door, his head resting against the wall and his eyes closed. Having not seen much of the four young men who lived in number 203, Vince wasn't sure, but he thought it was one of them.
"Are you all right?"
The brunet's eyelids lifted, revealing a pair of liquid brown eyes. "I'm fine. I needed a little break from the party."
To his surprise, Vince found himself stopping and smiling at the young man. "What's the occasion?"
"It's my birthday."
Oh, to be young enough to look forward to birthdays. His smile widened. "Happy birthday."
"Thanks. I think my roommates just wanted an excuse to have a party, though." The boy shrugged, his expression rueful.
At that moment, the door opened and another young man poked his head out. This one, a lanky redhead, was definitely one of the neighbors. His eyes narrowed when he saw his roommate on the floor. "Rob. What are you doing, dude? Get in here. You're missing your own party!"
"I'll be there in a minute." When the door closed again, the brunet—Rob—rolled his eyes and stood. "I'm surprised they noticed I was gone."
Looking at the way Rob's tee shirt clung to his tall, well-built frame and slimly muscled arms, Vince found it hard to believe that anyone could not notice him. "How many candles on your cake?"
"Twenty-one. Woo." By the expression on Rob's face, he wasn't all that enthusiastic about his birthday, or maybe just the party.
Great. I was checking out a kid less than half my age. His own students were the age of this young man. Vince covered his discomfort with another smile and a shooing gesture. "You only turn twenty-one once. Go enjoy your party."
"I guess I'd better, or Dustin'll be out here looking for me again." He sighed. Then he stuck out his hand. "I'm Rob Bridges."
Vince accepted the handshake. "Hello, Rob. I'm Vince Norton."
"You're a professor over at Washington University, aren't you?"
Surprised, Vince nodded. His occupation wasn't a secret, but he didn't go around announcing it to everyone in the building, either.
Rob gave him a wry grin. "I saw the faculty parking permit on your car a few weeks ago."
"And you and your roommates are at Saint Louis University."
"Yeah, we're all seniors this year."
For a moment Vince thought back to his own senior year in college, so many years ago. His senior year had been the year he'd finally gotten up the courage to come out. Although his parents had never accepted his sexual orientation, he'd never regretted the decision. After all, he'd met Dean that same year.
Thinking of Dean brought up a lot of memories, most of them more sweet than bitter after three years. He smiled, shaking his head at his own sentimentality. His neighbor probably thought he was odd. Turning the smile on Rob, he said, "Good luck with the rest of your senior year. And with the party."
"Thanks. It was nice talking to you."
"I've enjoyed talking to you as well."
With a quick grin, the younger man turned and went back into his apartment. Vince tried, and failed, to keep from glancing down at Rob's ass. Feeling like a dirty old man, he unlocked his door and went into his empty apartment.