Taste Excerpt



Grier barely made it home in time. Jillian was already standing in the driveway with Luca, glancing at her watch and looking irritated.

“Sorry,” Grier apologized as he navigated the V-rod into the garage. He shut down the powerful engine and pulled off his helmet, smiling at Luca who’d run up to greet him. “Hey, buddy, how’s it going?”

“Good,” Luca smiled widely. “Can I watch TV?”

“Sure. Take your stuff into the house and wait for me.”

“I’ve got twenty minutes to get to work,” Jillian fumed.

“You’re ten minutes away,” Grier pointed out, getting off the bike and sticking the helmet underneath his arm. “Who’s coming to get him?”

“Either Mom or Ali.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“Since when does Ali babysit?”

“What does it matter?”

“He doesn’t know the first thing about it.”

“He’s going to have to learn if he wants to be in my life.”

Grier saw his chance to get more information. “When did you start dating him?”

“Why? Are you jealous?”

“It just seems so sudden.”

“Ali’s always had a thing for me.”

“How come I didn’t know about it?”

Jillian shrugged. “Maybe because I never paid much attention, and he didn’t want to look stupid in your eyes.”

“And all of a sudden you’re interested?”

“He’s a nice guy.”

“So is the mailman, Jillian, but you wouldn’t want to date him.”

“Why are you being a bitch?”

“Don’t call me that.”

“If the shoe fits...”

“You’re the one acting like a total cunt.”

“I should have known you’d get all pissy about this. Ali warned me that you’d be territorial.”

“Does Ali know I’m Luca’s father?”

“Of course not!”

“He needs to know.”

“I don’t agree.”

“We can’t keep this secret forever, Jillian. I was wrong to let you get away with this for so long. I want to be officially recognized as Luca’s dad.”

“Forget about it.”

“Why?” Grier couldn’t keep the anger out of his voice.

“I don’t want Luca to know you’re his dad.”

“He loves me as much as I love him.”

“That’s all well and good for now, but don’t you think his opinion of you will change when I tell him that you’d rather be with a guy than with me, his mother? You think he’ll still love you then?”

“Yes,” Grier said decisively, although he really didn’t know for sure. How would Luca react when faced with the knowledge that his father was a homosexual?

“I don’t want him to be ashamed of his gene pool.”

“He won’t be if it’s presented correctly, but he’ll be unduly influenced if you subject him to Ali and his rigid moral code. Right now Luca doesn’t even know what the word gay means.”

“Ali’s not the only person in the world who thinks it’s wrong.”

“You’ve never had a problem with me before now. Why the sudden switch?”

“Seeing you with that queer made me realize how truly gay you are.”

“And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? You can’t accept that you fell for the wrong brother.”

“That’s not true.”

“The hell it’s not! Your damn pride won’t let you admit that you miscalculated and put all your eggs in the wrong basket. I never lied to you, Jillian. I told you I was gay as soon as I realized it myself.”

“I know and I’m sorry it’s come to this, but I want a better life for my boy.”

“Gay men are just as successful as the next guy. Who says I can’t give Luca a good life?”

“Look around you, Grier. You’re twenty-five, stuck in a dead-end job, and don’t even have your own place. Simply put, you’re a loser.”

“I’m here because I wanted to be closer to Luca,” Grier spat out, getting right in Jillian’s face. “You fucking well know that.”

“I want him to have a good role model, someone successful that he can look up to and admire, like Ali.”

“Tell me you’re not seriously thinking about marrying him.”

“He’s offered to adopt Luca. At least he’ll be a Dilorio, Grier. Your surname will be on the amended birth certificate, even though you won’t be listed as the father.”

“No!”

“Come on. It’s the next best thing.”

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this. You’re supposed to be on my side, Jillian.”

“I’m on Luca’s side.”

“Don’t you think he has the right to know that his real father loves him with all his heart and would rather die than see someone else make that claim?”

“You’re going all drama queen on me, Grier.”

He gripped her arms and shook her soundly. “I’m not going to give him up without a fight.”

“Let go of me,” Jillian shrieked. “Touch me one more time and I’ll call the cops on you.”

Grier released her immediately and stepped back. His eyes narrowed and he hissed, “Who are you?”

“Who the fuck are you!”

“I’m Luca’s father,” Grier said, “and it’s about time everyone finds out."

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