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A brunch spread, overlaid with cover of Andre, by Jayce Ellis. Caption: Sunday Brunch Bites

You know the journey Marcus went on emotionally in André. If you don’t, haven’t plucked it from the depths of your TBR yet, or (gasp!) haven’t gotten your copy yet, do that here. But decisions like the one Marcus made are never easy, set in stone ones, and sometimes what you think you want wavers in the face of what it means in reality. Which just gives me more to work with. So enjoy this excerpt of Marcus catching up with Brian before going home to his man.

I wanted to help. I wanted André to have everything he wanted. I wanted him to have the fucking world. But I didn’t want to have to help. I wanted to assist on my own terms, because anything else would be a job. The only difference would be the pay. Goddammit.

“You’re right,” I finally said, taking a long sip of my drink and settling into my chair. “You’re absolutely right.”

“Have you offered to come in and help?”

“I ask him every morning if there’s anything he needs me to do.” Except this morning. I hadn’t this morning.

Brian waved me off. “You know he’s going to say no. He’s not going to ask you for anything because he respects your decision.”

Once again, the white boy was right. My mind traveled back to the time before we were together, when I was interning for him and we were dancing around each other. Coming to the office after hours to feed him. Showing up the next week and telling him what we were going to do, because I could see how the strain of doing it all himself without help had worn on him. It was even more clear now, those deep sighs and weariness that followed him around like a cloud. It wouldn’t take much to help with that burden, and it didn’t need to be full-time. And, yes, now that I’d stopped pouting, an assistant would be a godsend.

“I haven’t,” I said, finally responding to Brian’s question, “but I will.”

Brian’s grin was so wide it was almost like he’d won something for himself, rather than just being happy for me. Okay, maybe this friend thing wouldn’t be so bad. I basically only had Jake. I could handle one more.

“That’s great,” he said, and looked like he really meant it. He looked at his watch and winced. “I gotta get going. Fiona said she had something special planned for Valentine’s Day, and I don’t want to be late.”

I blinked. Then again. How the fuck had I forgotten it was Valentine’s Day? Then I shook my head. I hadn’t. I’d bought scallops and even some chocolate to make truffles for André for tonight. I needed to get off my ass and get to it.

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