Holding the Edge Excerpt

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Gay figure skaters keep their relationship secret—and end up on thin ice

Misha Reznikov has an Olympic gold—and a secret lover who just happens to be the silver medalist. Now that their competitive days are over, Misha and former rival Dev Avira are setting up house in LA and giving their relationship a shot in the real world. They agree that keeping their romance strictly under wraps is best for their pro careers and Misha’s family back in Russia. So what if Dev hasn’t told his parents, and they never eat out for fear of being spotted? It’s not perfect, but they’re together.

But as they prepare for a special holiday skating show on Christmas Eve in Dev’s hometown, tension builds. How long can Misha and Dev keep their love secret—and what happens if one of them wants to stop hiding?

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Read an excerpt from Holding the Edge

In the barest glimmer of a crescent moon, the dark waves broke and rolled to shore. Misha leaned his forehead against the cool glass of the floor-to-ceiling window. He could watch the ocean for days and never tire of it. Behind him, Dev stirred with a snort and mumble.

Dev’s voice was sleep slurred. “You okay?”

“Yes. Only thinking.”

There was a smile in Dev’s voice. “That only leads to no good.”

After the whisper of sheets and creak of the mattress, he was there, lips soft on the nape of Misha’s neck. They were both naked, and Misha shivered as Dev caressed his ass while his other hand stole around to stroke Misha’s chest and he pressed close.

“What’s up? Aside from you at three fifteen in the morning.”

Leaning back into Dev’s warmth and the security of his arms, Misha closed his eyes to the sea. “It feels like such a dream sometimes. Being here. Being with you. Some nights I think when next I open my eyes, it will all have vanished and I’ll be back in Moscow in that tiny apartment. With only practice, practice, practice. Nothing but ice forever.”

Dev’s hands were gentle. “It’s over now. You’re here. You’re safe.”

Misha sighed. “Da.”

After a silence, Dev spoke softly. “It’s still strange sometimes. After all those years, the same routine every season. Right now we’d be exhausted from the Grand Prix circuit, and you’d have Russian Nationals next week while I’d try to squeeze Christmas into my training schedule. Sometimes I wake up and for a moment I panic because I think I must have slept in and my coach is going to kill me.”

Misha chuckled. “Yes. Very strange at times. As though we are playing make-believe. Hiding from our true lives.” Misha shuddered as the vestige of a dream whipped through his head. “Sometimes I fear a bang on the door. That they will come to take me away.”

“But you kept up your end of the bargain. The KGB or whatever the hell they’re calling themselves these days don’t have any power over you. Not since you won the gold.”

Opening his eyes, Misha tried to see Dev’s face in their moonlit reflection on the glass, but there were only the waves. He caught Dev’s fingers in his own and raised his hand for a kiss. They’d barely spoken of it since the Games, but he knew the silver medal would always be a disappointment for Dev. He had a passion for skating that had died in Misha years ago when officials had forced him back to train in Russia. “I wish you could have won.”

Dev’s laugh was a harsh burst of warmth on the back of Misha’s neck, and his body tensed. “No you don’t.”

He held onto Dev’s hand and sighed. “Perhaps not. But part of me wishes it. Truly.”

“And part of me is glad you won.” He wrapped his arms around Misha’s waist, the tension dissipating as quickly as it came. “And a big part of me still can’t believe we’re here together. A year ago I would have said the odds of me living with Mikhail Reznikov in a beach house in Santa Monica were about a bazillion to one.”

“Is that more than a billion?”

“Clearly.” Dev nipped Misha’s shoulder.

“Will I meet your parents in Boston?” Misha blurted out the question before he could stop himself.

Dev went still, his arms around Misha’s middle. “Do you want to meet them?”

“Yes. Perhaps. I don’t know.”

“I thought we agreed. We both said it was better this way. At least at first.” His hands dropped away as he stepped back.

Misha faced him and reached out to brush a wayward curl from Dev’s forehead. “It’s getting long again.”

“I’m getting it cut next week before the show. Misha, don’t change the subject.” Dev frowned. “Am I wrong? We said we’d keep this private until…until I don’t know when. I just don’t know if my parents are ready for this yet.”

“My parents know about you.”

“I know.” Dev blew out a long breath. “It’s not that I don’t want to tell them. I just want to make sure it’s the right time. Which I realize sounds incredibly lame. But it’s…complicated.” He rubbed his face. “There’s so much to learn at work, and we have the show coming up. It makes me nauseous to think about telling my family right now.”

“It’s all right. It’s your choice.” Misha petted Dev’s hair. “Don’t be upset.”

“It feels so safe here with you. I don’t want everyone else and their bullshit to ruin it. Not while we’re still figuring everything out. You’re not even sure what you want to do.”

“I thought I might…” He shook his head. “It is silly, really.”

“What is it?” Dev ran his hands over Misha’s sides. “Tell me. Please?”

“The other week I started writing. I brought my laptop outside to answer e-mail, and I found myself with words to say. A story about a boy in a castle with dragons and giants. See? It’s foolishness. I have always made up these stories in my mind, but who would want to read about such things?”

“Me, for starters. And lots of people. If you want to be a writer—write. Go for it. What do you have to lose? I think it would be amazing.”

“Yes?” Excitement sang in Misha’s veins. “Although I will have to write in Russian. My English spelling is not so good. You really think this would be a worthy thing?”

“Absolutely.” Dev kissed him. “And about my parents…I do want you to meet my family. Once my mom gets over the fact that she’s resented you for years, she’s totally going to love you.”

He chuckled. “Hmm. Yes, perhaps we wait. It is as you said—complicated.”

“They’ll be at the show on Christmas Eve. You could meet them then. Show them what a nice guy you are, so when I do tell them, it won’t be such a shock. So that means you have to be the real you. Not skating you.”

He frowned. “I am real as a skater.”

Dev rolled his eyes. “You’re aloof and cold and perfect as a skater. There’s a reason we called you Robot Reznikov.” He ran his hands over Misha’s ass. “If people only knew what you’re really like.” He nipped Misha’s neck, his breath hot. “How you are when we’re together. I love being here with you. It’s better than I ever dreamed.”

“Truly?” Misha’s chest felt so full of his heart he could hardly breathe.

“Of course.” Dev kissed Misha gently. “I love it here. I love my new job.” He huffed out a laugh. “It’s funny, you know. Only Bailey knows about you, but I’ve never been so committed to someone. We live together. We don’t see anyone else. I don’t even know why we use condoms anymore.”

Excitement bolted through Misha, everything else forgotten. “You want this too? Sex with…only us? No rubber?”

Dev nodded, his breath coming shallowly. “I know I’m clean. Had all the tests for the tour insurance. You did too, right?”

“Yes. It is safe.” Misha’s fingers tingled and he licked his lips. “I want this very much. I wasn’t sure if you…if you would…” It had been part of their fantasies when they’d had phone sex, but the real thing was different.

Dev brushed back Misha’s short hair where it swooped over his forehead. “I’ve never trusted anyone the way I trust you.”

Ya tozhe,” Misha murmured. “Me either. How I would love to feel you come.” He grazed his teeth over Dev’s earlobe. “Love to have you fill me with nothing between us. Love…”

Yet he hesitated to say the words properly. He loved Dev. This he knew without doubt. He thought Dev loved him as well, but neither of them spoke it.

Then Dev was kissing him, and Misha stopped thinking.

Copyright © Keira Andrews

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