Inside the Beltway is released in 10 days! As promised, here’s an excerpt from the novel. Enjoy!

Kurt laid his bag on the kitchen table and strode into the kitchen area. Leaning backward against the rim of the sink, he raised his eyes to meet Davis’s. “Look,” he said, “I didn’t want to say anything in front of your driver, but I thought that I ought to apologize.”

Thrown for a loop, Davis frowned. “Apologize? You don’t have anything to be sorry for.”

“Yeah, I do.” Kurt sighed. “I shouldn’t have sent that text. I shouldn’t have told you I thought about you. It was a stupid thing to do. I got the feeling I made you uncomfortable, and that wasn’t my intention.”

Davis kept watching the flex of his elbows, the way his wrists wrapped neatly around the edge of the counter and extended into those long, nimble hands.

Kurt was still talking. “I honestly like you, Davis. You’re just an amazing man, and I do have to admit that if things were different I might not hesitate to be a little more forward.”

The way those hands had felt, familiar and warm, against Davis’s face….

“But I’m aware that things are the way they are, and I don’t want you to think that I’d do anything to jeopardize our friendship or to make you feel like I was making a move that wasn’t welcome—”

Davis strode across the kitchen. Kurt’s breath, mid inhalation, became a quick gasp. Davis tipped his chin up quickly and brought Kurt’s still open mouth to his.

His lips on Kurt’s were a revelation, and Davis was hungry all of a sudden, drowning all of a sudden. He couldn’t breathe, didn’t ever want to break the surface. Kurt’s eyes closed sometime before Davis’s did, because Davis remembered seeing his eyelashes bob and droop. But then the world was dark, and all he knew was that there was a chest against his, strong hands on his arms, the counter a cold bite against his own hands. And Kurt was opening up to him, lips sliding apart beneath his, a small sound slipping out from his throat in the sudden devastating quiet of the small kitchen.

Kurt had been the one to gasp, but now Davis couldn’t breathe. He was taking in little sniffs of air through his nose, but they weren’t enough to fill up his lungs. Nothing was. Kurt’s lips were drawing out every inch of breath and life from him.

I’m going to die, he thought wildly. This man is going to kill me.

His fingers scrabbled hard for a place to hang on and found it in the collar of Kurt’s shirt, green and still damp and smelling of makeup. Kurt’s lips were warm and giving, utterly selfless. They didn’t demand a single thing of Davis, just gave and gave, and Davis was sure no one had ever been so generous to him in his life.

He broke off, staring at Kurt, lips swollen, eyes wide. “Oh my God,” he heard himself say briefly before his lips found Kurt’s again.

Kurt lifted his hands to Davis’s hair, brushed fingernails over his scalp. “It’s okay,” he whispered, words breaking against the assault of Davis’s mouth. “It’s okay. I’m right here.”

“Why—” Davis fought for breath. “Why are you saying that? Why—” He couldn’t stop kissing him, couldn’t stop taking in those lips, the lips that always gave.

“Shh.” Kurt’s hands tightened, held him still. He brushed his mouth against Davis’s once more. “You’re kissing me like I’m going to disappear. I’m not. I’m staying right here. Relax.”

“You don’t understand.” Deprived of the oxygen of Kurt’s touch, Davis wheezed. “You don’t. Once this stops, it can never happen again.”

“Sure it can.” Kurt was grinning, redness painting his cheekbones. He ran his hands across Davis’s neck to his jaw, dancing them across the subtle fuzz of his five o’clock shadow.

It felt good, too good. Davis shuddered head to toe. A sick feeling lurched in his stomach, and reality broke over him like a wave. He pushed away. “No, it can’t,” he said loudly, very nearly shouting. “This is a one-time mistake, and that’s all it can ever be.”

Kurt’s shoulders dropped back, and he pushed himself forward from the counter as though about to throw a punch. “A mistake?”

“Yes.” The hurt in Kurt’s face might as well have been the punch. Davis turned away. “No, I mean… it can’t be anything else, not with me.” The world swam before his eyes. “I can have this. I can have a one-time indiscretion and that’s all I can have. I can’t even see you after this—”

“Yes, you can.” Kurt took a breath, grabbed Davis’s hands, and held them firmly, a knot of connection between them. “You can, and you have a choice. You do.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” The words were stupid in his mind, stupid on his tongue, and utterly stupid as they hung there before clattering uselessly to the floor. Kurt watched them go, staring down for a long mournful moment before lifting his eyes to Davis’s again.

“You’re Davis,” he said.

“I’m a senator. A senator.” Helpless flailing.

“And that’s all?”

Davis paused. There wasn’t an answer he could give to that question. Of course he wasn’t just his job, but his job defined in him a way few other jobs did. Did Kurt not understand that? It didn’t seem possible he did. No, Kurt knew. Kurt was asking him to reject it. Knowingly.

“You just told me,” Davis said. Outrage was flooding his system. Kurt was betraying him, pulling out the rug he’d so carefully laid before Davis had lost control. “Just now, you told me you understood my position. You can’t take that back.”

“I can and I will, because I thought you didn’t care,” Kurt said. “Jesus, Davis, I thought I was the only one feeling this way. I thought I was going to keep on with some ridiculous crush and the best I could have was your friendship, but if you’re feeling the same way…!” He laughed, a bit desperately, like a madman. “There’s something here, something incredible, Davis. We would be so stupid to let this pass by.”

Davis shook his head. “No, what would be stupid would be throwing away my career for some sort of weird curiosity—”

“Curiosity? Indiscretion? Stop talking like I’m some sort of hooker you booked at the Watergate!” Kurt slammed his hand on the rim of the sink. Dishes rattled. Davis was shocked into silence.

A beat, and Kurt went on. “Don’t you dare insult me like that, Davis. Don’t you dare insult this.”

He stepped toward Davis and slid his hands up onto his shoulders. “Don’t you get it?” he said. His voice dropped to almost a whisper, quavering as he spoke. “I could fall in love with you.”