Page 3 of Blended Whiskey

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“Right before Christmas?”

Jamie nodded, rolling the ball under his palm.

Cam slid a bottle across the table to him. “Special occasion,” he said, since Jamie didn’t drink often.

“That it is.” Jamie tipped the bottle back and took a long swallow, humming in approval. “It’s good.”

“Nic makes a good brew.” Cam rotated the bottle between his hands, admiring the artistic label with the brewery’s falling apricot logo. Nic had a whole other second job in addition to his important first one. He had his shit together, for real, whereas Cam’s life and shit felt more scattered than ever.

“Where was he tonight?” Jamie asked, cutting off Cam’s spiraling thoughts.

“What am I, his keeper?”

Jamie held up a hand. “You’re the one who arranged this house with him.”

Cam lowered his hackles. “His idea, actually, when I said you should have a proper wedding eve apart from your future husband.”

An attractive blush streaked across Jamie’s cheeks, his lips turned up in a shy smile, like he still couldn’t believe what was about to happen. “I’ll thank him tomorrow. He’ll be at the wedding?”

“Said he’d do his best to make it. There was a break in one of his and Aidan’s cases.”

“Ah,” Jamie said. “That explains the call Aidan stepped away for. He came back smiling like he’d won the lottery.”

“Dammit,” Cam cursed. “Thought I’d finally found a wedding present. I mean, what the fuck else can I get you two that you don’t already have?”

“Hey,” Jamie said, voice dropping into his coaching-moment register. “You left Boston and moved out here for us. I couldn’t have left the Bureau, voluntarily or otherwise, and taken my dream job coaching basketball if I didn’t know you were here to have Aidan’s back. That’s all the gift you needed to give us.”

Cam hoped the sheen in his eyes wasn’t visible in the dark. As it was, he had to take a long swallow of beer to force the lump down his throat. A comfortable silence settled as they nursed their beers to the sound of crashing waves, Jamie’s gaze repeatedly straying up the beach.

“Don’t know what to say here, brother,” Cam started after another few minutes. “There’s no need to do the best man thing and ask if this is what you really want. Know that. Also know it’s the right decision for you.”

Jamie smiled, tilting his bottle toward Cam. “Congrats, then?”

“Congrats,” Cam said, clinking their bottle necks. “Proud of you, Jameson.”

“For bagging a hot-as-hell Irishman?”

Cam waggled his eyebrows. “You could’ve had me for that.”

Jamie’s own brows raced north, and Cam snorted, expecting that reaction. Even though Cam was bi, and even though Jamie was one of the most handsome men Cam knew, their relationship had never been sexual. Jamie had been his brother from day one.

“Yeah, no,” Cam said. “You’re totally not my type.”

“Too handsome?” Jamie waved a hand around his face like the fucking model he could have been.

“Save that”—Cam mimicked the gesture—“for your husband. As for me, you’re way too fucking sweet.”

Jamie picked up the stress ball and tossed it at his face. Cam swatted it away, laughing.

Cam couldn’t help but be happy for his best friend, who was grinning like a fool. A lot, these days. “You fought for what you wanted, for who you love,andyou had the patience to hang on. Don’t know if I could have done the same.”

Jamie’s gaze snuck up the beach again. “You love someone as much as I love Aidan, you’ll do anything to hold on to that. He was worth it, all of it.”

Cam kicked his shin under the table, damn mooning fool. “Even missing the Final Four?” he teased. It had been their annual ritual, Jamie a two-time national champion who’d always gotten them the good seats. But this year, Aidan and Jamie would still be on their honeymoon during the Big Dance.

“I am sorry about that.” Jamie looked genuinely contrite—that too-sweet thing again—and Cam regretted the teasing.

“San Antonio versus a honeymoon in Dublin. Don’t blame you one bit,” Cam said, letting him off the hook. “Though I am disappointed you didn’t get the Gaels into the Tourney.”