Pinot & Pineapple Lumps - Jay Hogan

Prologue

As far as weddings went, Kurt was pretty sure the Cassidy Martin and Stefan Hamilton nuptials stood in a class of their own. Then again, with Stef holding the reins, it was never gonna be traditional or predictable, but it was always gonna be fun. And judging by the sickeningly sappy look on Cass’s face, his spitfire of a husband had nailed it.

Take one stunningly beautiful Otago vineyard backdrop, budding August grapevines trailing off in the distance toward the deep, crisp, emerald-green waters of the swirling Clutha River, and the snow-tipped mighty Southern Alps towering in the background. Add in a ridiculously charming barn-style function space; scatter the corners with hay bale couches strewn with blankets for breakout conversations; and then frame the entire room with billowing gauze curtains, leather saddles and bridles, and enough grounded love to give any young gay man hope.

It might be a little over the top for Kurt’s design sensibilities, but it was also kind of fucking perfect.

The icing on the cake was the appearance of each groom’s favourite horse at the ceremony itself—Arwen and Gandalf, appropriately dressed in matching scarlet bow ties. The job of wrangling the animals off to one side, so they didn’t steal the attention entirely, had gone to a grumbling Niall, which everyone knew was Stef’s form of righteous punishment for Niall’s and Adrian’s sneaky top-secret marriage two weeks before, beating Stef and Cass to the altar by the skin of their teeth.

“They look pretty amazing, right?” Max appeared at Kurt’s shoulder with his phone to grab a photo of Stef and Cass circling to “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” huge grins on both their faces.

“Another one for the Gram?” Kurt never quite understood how a big-name influencer like Max had ended up best friends with a grumpy property developer like Niall, but life was strange like that. “You sure you’re allowed?”

Max snorted and flashed him a smile. “My instructions from Stef were clear.” He waggled his meticulously groomed brows. “A couple of them up front before the ceremony; a few after with everyone cheering; followed by a couple at the dance. The photographer is handling the rest. So now—” He pocketed his phone. “—my job is done. My followers are gonna go nuts. I mean, just look at the two of them. Cass looks like a fucking cowboy wet dream in that sexy black suit and string tie. All bad boy, Wyatt Earp.”

Kurt snorted. “Stef made the silver belt buckle. It’s engraved with the twin mountains that sit behind the farm.”

“Yeah, well I’m still trying to wrap my head around his outfit,” Max said. “It’s been the secret of the damn century.”

Kurt nodded. “To be honest, I was kind of shocked at the white suit, even with the blood-red lipstick and black eyeliner. It seemed kind of restrained for him. But man, that sleeveless net crop and that black leather choker with the silver ring? Yeah, sexy as shit.” He laughed.

Max stared at the couple on the floor. “The man has style. You do realise those are white fucking lace Jimmy Choo’s, don’t you?”

“Really?” Kurt looked again. “Huh.”

“Goddamn, they are two lucky men to have found each other.”

Kurt raised a brow. “Wouldn’t have picked you for the marrying type,” he observed. Max was a self-confessed one-and-done guy.

Max kept his eyes on Stef and Cass. “Yeah, well. I’m not saying that I am. Just that for some people, it seems to work, right? Look at Adrian and Niall. Although I’d rather not most days; they’re too damn sickening. And what about your brother and Tanner?”

Kurt snorted. “Unfortunately true. I have to bleach my eyeballs on a regular basis.”

“Maybe I’m just too fucking old.” Max grimaced. “There’s been a lot of men pass through my bed, and none have turned my head for more than a few months, so I guess I don’t get it.”

Kurt snorted. “Maybe that’s your problem. They’ve been passing through your bed, not your heart.”

Max laughed. “Well, listen to you, oh wise one.”

Kurt kept his eyes on the dancefloor where Cass dipped Stef to a round of applause. “Not wise. Just . . . tired.”

An arm slipped around his shoulders. “You’ve had a tough year. A few tough years, hell, I don’t know how you’re still standing. You’ll get there, kid.”

Kurt bristled and stepped sideways. “I’m not a fucking kid.”

Max’s brow wrinkled. “Sorry. No harm meant. But you are only nineteen. All I’m saying is give it time. Things will come right.”

Something else Kurt was sick