Chapter 5 - 2017 Top Ten Gay Romance

“A good chunk of it, yes.” I deliberately took a bite of food and Chase followed suit. As soon as he did, surprise brightened his features as if he’d forgotten it was tasty, and he dug in with gusto and motioned for me to continue.

“He left a great deal to his favorite charities. But the rest came to me. Of course, then he suddenly had family pouring out of the woodwork. Distant relatives claiming they deserved a portion. The estate was tied up in probate for more than five years. But eventually the judge determined the will was valid.”

I shook my head, remembering the drawn-out legal battle that had taken up the better part of my life for five years. I was fortunate to have found an outstanding attorney who knew the law inside out and backward, and was tenacious to boot. It wasn’t so much that I wanted the money for myself as that I wanted to honor Josef’s wishes. He knew of my struggles with myself and with the world at large. And I knew that Josef trusted me to do good things with the money, to help create safe places.

“So, anyway,” I said after I finished my sandwich and pushed the few remaining fries to the side. “That’s what happened. I have a lot of money. Some of it is invested so I will always have an income. Most is going to buying and renovating buildings that can be used to protect people, so they can find their happiness. I quit my job as a marketing exec and now focus solely on the shelters and building projects. And I’m doing my best to live by Josef’s example.”

Chase stared, then smiled, then took my hand. His skin was warm and dry, and when his finger skated over the inside of my palm, I shivered.

“Thank you.” His voice was low and filled with emotion. “Thank you for sharing that with me. And thank you for everything you’re doing. Do you have any idea how amazing you are?”

I averted my gaze. “I’m just doing what’s right.”

Chase squeezed my hand. “Yeah, I know. But, dude, people don’t do what you’ve done. They don’t. And that’s awesome. Don’t downplay it, okay?”

d up at him through my lashes. Chase smiled b

ning se

ed the vehicle, no aggression, just a gentle confidence that made me want his hands on me instead. I swallowed hard an

ard to believ

e thought of you doing. What made yo

ked about what he did for a living until now. I stared in silence for a good minute


I could even work out what was going on. His chivalry touched me, and I took his hand when he offered it. Chase didn’t let go once I stood

rage, and it took me a moment to realize he was answering my earlier question. I leaned into him

I found the job cleaning office buildings, it was perfect. Of course, we weren’t treated that great. But I realized I really liked cleaning stuff. Got satis

Mr. Prinsen.

he front desk security guard with a big grin. “

of a smile. The firm I’d hired to handle the security here and at the shelter and youth center was the bes