Isle of Waves
The Isle Series: Book Three
Wig Tobias and Nibs Tyler have been together for a long while, but this year their love is about to be tested. Their business, the Blue Lagoon Restaurant on the Isle of Wight, is vandalized, and it may or may not be a coincidence that the neighbors want to buy them out. Making matters stickier, the police don’t seem interested in investigating until a friend of the couple, an out of town copper, prods them to take action.
Their friends, Paul and Olaf, Liam and Sam, and the whole Owens family come to help Wig and Nibs in their time of need. But Paul and Olaf may need a nudge from Wig and Nibs to keep their relationship alive. Meanwhile, a dear friend falls gravely ill. And if that’s not enough, Nibs has been hiding his own medical problems from Wig. When a gale strikes the Isle of Wight, the Blue Lagoon and its owners could be facing the end—unless they and their friends can unravel the knot of misfortune one hitch at a time.
“ANOTHER ONE of your ex-boyfriends married off.” Wig Tobias grinned at his partner, Nibs Tyler. “One less for me to worry about.”
“Like you’ve ever been worried about Sam Owens.”
Wig laughed at Nibs who was rolling his shoulders in an effort to relieve his tired muscles. “You’re right. Sam’s a doll. Tense muscles, babe?”
“Every part of me hurts.” Nibs groaned. “Why did you drag me into providing the reception?”
“Don’t give me that. You loved every minute. It’s not often we get a chance to be with friends.”
“It was fun,” Nibs agreed. “But the Owenses can be too much at times. Sam or Paul on their own are bad enough, but all seven of them in one room, plus Rose and Mattie…? Christ, it was like a tsunami. I kept running away to avoid the woman in the pink dress who wanted to squeeze my arse. Who the hell was she?”
“An aunt, I think. She could obviously see what a fine arse you’ve got,” Wig said and slapped it to make the point.
“I don’t mind you touching my bum, but she was like an octopus, all over me.”
“You should have told her you were taken.”
Nibs snorted loudly, the sound echoing around the cul-de-sac in the quiet of the night. “I did. I even pointed you out. She said I should look for a real woman. I told her if I wanted a woman I would have found one, and you were all man—my man.”
As a man fully in touch with his masculine and feminine sides, Wig gave a satisfied chuckle and slipped his hand into his partner’s as they walked toward the van. “And that’s why I put up with your farts.”
Nibs made a sound like a grumble and pulled Wig closer to him. Wig sighed happily as he sank against Nibs’s solid body. At six foot two, his partner was nearly half a foot taller than Wig and almost as wide. He grinned at the thought of Nibs being mauled by a woman. Nibs didn’t mind women, he was very fond of them, in the abstract, but he wasn’t keen on being touched by anyone except Wig.
“You’re laughing at me.”
Wig giggled. “Busted.”
“I don’t know why I put up with you.”
“Because you love me.”
Nibs huffed loudly. “Take me home, and I’ll show you how much I love you.” He made it sound like a threat.
“Oooh, will it involve whips and chains, master?” Wig fluttered his eyelashes.
“Stop that, otherwise I’ll put you over my knee and spank your arse red.”
“You know how to make a boy happy.” Wig walked around to the driver’s side of the small van they owned. He was more than happy to take Nibs home if there was playtime at the end of the drive. They were usually too tired to do more than sink into bed after a long working day, but tonight was different. Nibs’s playful demeanor suggested he wanted more than a kiss and a cuddle before rolling over to sleep.
Tonight had been a rare night off from the restaurant for both of them. They’d provided the catering for Liam and Sam’s wedding but afterward had stayed as guests and old friends of the family. Although the party was still going, Nibs and Wig left early because they had to set up the restaurant for breakfast in the morning.
“We should do this more often.” Nibs squeezed Wig’s hand once they were in the car.
“Cater for weddings?”
“Have a night away from the restaurant. We don’t get enough time free just to be together.”
Wig said nothing, because this was the booze talking. Nibs loved his restaurant with a passion that bordered on obsession, and Wig had long since given up trying to get him away from the place. In his darkest moments, Wig mused on the fact that there were three in their relationship, and if he pushed Nibs too far, Nibs wouldn’t hesitate to pick the restaurant first.
Wig gunned the van and drove down the road. Nibs was quiet, brooding over something as they drove toward Sandown Beach.
“What are you thinking about?” Wig asked after five minutes of silence.
“We ought to get married.”
Wig nearly drove the van into a gatepost. “What? You always insisted that getting married is for straights, and gay people don’t need to celebrate heteronormative traditions.”
“Yeah, well, it seems to work for others. Maybe we could wait until it’s an actual marriage.”
Wig chewed on the inside of his cheek. He’d spent years suppressing his yearning to get married—or civil partnershipped—and now just because their friends had done so, suddenly it was okay and Nibs would consider it? He would thump Nibs if he didn’t shut up.
“Why aren’t you talking?” Nibs asked. “I’d have expected you to be all over me like a rash.”
“One, I’m not some STD, and two, yes, I want to get married. You’ve always known that. But if you think this is a decent proposal, you’ve got another think coming.”
Nibs groaned. “Don’t tell me you want me down on my knees and showering you with red roses.”
“That’s a start, although I was thinking Paris by candlelight or a flash mob in B&Q.”
“Sam should never have shown you that video.”
“Baby, they set the bar. The only way is up, now.”
“Christ.” Nibs smacked his forehead. “What’s wrong with a date and a quick wedding at the register office with a couple of witnesses?”
“What’s wrong?” Wig asked.
Nibs obviously caught the dangerous tone in Wig’s voice, because he said, “Ignore me, I’m being stupid.”
“You think it’s wrong that I want a decent proposal and a big white wedding after waiting all this time? Good God, next you’ll be proposing a fish-and-chip supper at the local van.”
“I like the chippie.”
“At the very least, Chrissie does the catering.” Chrissie, yet another Owens, ran a pub on the island. “But first you’ve got to propose, and until you’ve got that right, you can forget everything else.”
Nibs sighed and shook his head. “You’re a real fucking diva. You know that, don’t you? I don’t know why I put up with such a high-maintenance brat.”
“Because you love me.” That wasn’t a question. Wig knew how much Nibs loved him. After a decade they might not have been as passionate as they once were, but the love was still there, stronger and deeper than ever.
He pulled in to their parking space behind the restaurant. As soon as Wig cut the engine, Nibs pulled him into a deep passionate kiss. Wig leaned in, happy to give as much as he could back to his lover.
“Time for bed,” Nibs said as he pulled back.
“Time for play?” Wig asked hopefully.
“Get to bed. I want to see you naked and waiting for me,” Nibs ordered.
“Yes, sir.” Wig scrambled out of the van, locking it as soon as Nibs was out and running toward the door. He stopped on the doorstep to the back room, the overhead light emphasizing the fact that something was dreadfully wrong.
“I thought you had an order, young man.” Nibs came up behind him and nuzzled his neck. “Mmm, you smell good.”
Wig turned to Nibs and pushed open the back door, showing him the splintered wood and damaged lock.
The amusement and lust slid off Nibs’s face. “What the hell?” He pushed past Wig and went inside.
Wig grabbed his arm. “What if they’re still in there?”
Nibs shook him off and rushed into the restaurant proper, flipping the switch so that the room was flooded with light. Wig followed him in time to hear the choked sound from Nibs.
“What’s happened? What have they done?”
Wig stopped, a wave of sickness overwhelming him as he surveyed the devastation in front of him.
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Read Paul and Olaf's story in Isle of Wishes