Release Date: January 26, 2023 Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance Tropes: friends to lovers, oblivious to love, small town, demisexual awakening, new adult Themes: figuring out where you belong, home/community, friendship Heat Rating: 3 flames Length: Novella / approx 31 500 words / 130 pages
Two Truths and a Lyle is part of the Games We Play series, but it works as a standalone. It does not end on a cliffhanger.
What happens when drunken idiots, aka your friends, use a silly drinking game to sideswipe you and your BFF with the truth bomb that you’re actually in love with each other?
Truman: You impulsively kiss the best friend you’ve been in love with for ages…then wake up with a hangover—and regrets.
Lyle: You freak out because you’re not gay or bi, before realizing the kiss wasn’t *actually* bad. Then you begin to wonder…should we do it again?
Two Truths and a Lyle is a cute, low-angst M/M romance with two oblivious best friends who are perfect for one another, a town full of quirky residents who get in everyone’s business, and a sweet sexual awakening.
This novella was previously published as part of a promotion, but some new content has been added.
“Okay, the game is Two Truths and a Lie,” Kevin announced. “Who’s first?”
Calista and Darren put their heads together, conferring quietly. Then Darren straightened, gesturing to Calista. “Ladies first.”
“I’ve never been accused of being a lady before,” Calista said to a round of laughter. She was gorgeous, with curly hair that was a little wild and curves that attracted her a steady number of boyfriends. But she was also one of the crudest people I’d met, always down for a dirty joke or reckless adventure. “But sure, I’ll go first. Okay…two truths and a lie. Hmm. Oh, I’ve got it! Here goes: I’m a Scorpio. I once wrecked my dad’s car. And my two best friends are in love with each other.”
“You’re not a Scorpio,” Tru said.
“Wait, aren’t all the truths supposed to be about yourself?” I asked.
At the same time, Evan said, “I thought I was your best friend. I’m not in love with anyone!”
And that’s when it hit me.
She was talking about me and Tru.
“Drink up, Calista!” Kevin called. “They busted you on the lie. You’re not a Scorpio.”
I noticed no one was suggesting she told more than one lie. Or calling her on the fact she’d told a supposed “truth” that wasn’t her own.
“I’ll go next,” Darren announced gleefully.
My gut clenched. Somehow, I knew what was coming. I glanced around the group playing the game, all ranging in age from about eighteen to twenty-two, all long-time acquaintances or friends. Was this some type of organized effort? Evan hadn’t seemed to know it was going down. So maybe it was just Calista and Darren. But that was still too much.
“Maybe we should head out,” I said to Tru.
“Why? We haven’t even played yet.”
Before I could answer, Darren was announcing his truths and a lie. “I’m a Scorpio. I’m a virgin. And my roommate and his best friend totally need to bone because they are in luuuurrrve.”
There were shouts of laughter, and Calista smirked. “I know you’re not a virgin.”
Hold up now. Calista and Darren? Surely not. At the ooohs and ahhs they started to get, Calista flipped off the room. “Dude, he’s a slut. I don’t need to screw him to know.”
I dragged a hand down my face.
“Wait, hold on,” Tru said. “Ly is your roommate.”
Darren smirked. “Yep.”
“And…his best friend is…?”
Darren raised his brows. “Don’t you already know the answer to that?”
Tru frowned, glancing between me and Darren. “I thought I did. Now, I’m just confused.”
“Join the club,” I muttered, though I suspected we were confused about different things. My stomach was squirming with discomfort as half the eyes in the room fixed on Tru and me. Fucking Darren. I knew he was behind this. I didn’t know why, but I’d find out.
Part of me wanted to jump up and tell him to knock it off. The other half wanted to sink into the sofa and disappear rather than draw more attention to myself.
“Ah, I think I get this game now,” Evan said. “Can I go next?”
Sweet Evan. Sweet, naïve Evan. I sighed with relief. Finally, the game would move on, and everyone would forget Darren and Calista’s entirely deluded suggestions that Tru and I were anything but good friends.
Hell, I wasn’t even gay. Or bi. So how could I be in love with my male best friend? I barely dated women, much less men. I was too busy working my ass off, trying to prove myself at the construction company Truman’s dad had built from the ground up while my dad did his best to drink himself into an early grave.
I’d always thought Truman would be right there by my side on the crew, making the back-breaking labor more fun. He had a way of turning everything in life into a big laugh. I hadn’t even realized how much he made me smile until he was gone and every day was just one dreary slog after another.
“Two truths and a lie,” Evan said. “Okay. I’m creating my own app.”
That was undoubtedly true. Evan was a classic tech geek, and at eighteen, he already did freelance work for a handful of companies. He didn’t need a degree, evidently, because he’d taught himself everything he needed to know in his spare time.
Evan continued, “I’m dating a girl.”
There was an immediate snort of laughter. Evan had been out as a gay boy for years.
“And…” He glanced guiltily in my direction. Oh no. Not him too. “Lyle and Truman are totally couples goals. If they could only see it for themselves.”
“Et tu, Evan,” I said.
Beside me, Truman gasped. “Evan, you’re dating a girl?”
Evan looked floored. “What? No?”
“The game is two truths and a lie,” Tru said. “If you’re not dating a girl, you told two lies.”
Evan shook his head. “Sorry, guys. But I’m still gay.”
“Well, I’m not,” I said shortly, standing and dragging Truman up by the arm. “I think it’s time to call it a night.”
About the Author
DJ Jamison writes romances about everyday life and extraordinary love featuring a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, one snake, and a sadistic cat named Birdie.