Welcome Birthday Guest Annabelle Jacobs!

Thank you Amber for letting me be part of your birthday bash.

Today I’m sharing a birthday short featuring Ryan And Matt from Maybe This Time.




Ryan sighed in contentment as Matt pulled onto the drive and turned the engine off. “Home at last.” He patted his belly. “I love my mum’s cooking, but Christ, she makes enough for about forty people.

Matt turned to look at him, eyes full of amusement. “Just because she makes loads, doesn’t mean you have to try and eat it all.”

“But it’s my birthday.” Ryan grinned at him. “I’m allowed.” Thirty-one. He struggled to believe it was only a year since he’d first met Matt. So much had happened since then. Glancing out the window at their new home, he reached over and grabbed Matt’s hand. “I still can’t believe we’re in.”

Matt squeezed his fingers. “Me neither.”

They’d been lucky and found their new home surprisingly quickly—after only a month of looking—and since the owners had already moved out, the process of buying it was relatively quick and painless.

“I know we’ve only been in a week, but it already feels like home.”

“That’s because it is.” Matt let go of his hand and reached for the door handle. “Come on, I’ve got one last surprise for you.”

Ryan grinned at him. “Well, why didn’t you say so?” He opened his door and was out before Matt, waiting by the front door, while Matt locked the car. When he gave Ryan a confused look, Ryan shrugged, “Forgot my keys.”

“Of course, you did.”

“Hey, I didn’t think I’d need them. You had yours.” He followed Matt inside and kicked off his shoes in the hallway. When he went to walk into the kitchen, Matt stopped him with a hand on his arm.”

“Just wait a sec.” Matt hurried to take his coat off and set his keys on the small table. “Right then.” He moved behind Ryan and put his hands over his eyes. “Now you can go into the kitchen.”

Ryan laughed. “It’s a little difficult since I can’t see.” Not that he minded having Matt’s hands on him. Especially not when Matt shuffled closer so that his front pressed all along Ryan’s back.

“I’ll guide you.”

Ryan allowed Matt to steer him slowly forward into the kitchen. “I like birthdays.”

“I’m sure you—oh fuck’s sake, Jinx.” Matt still had his hands over Ryan’s eyes, so Ryan had no idea what their cat had been up to this time.

A plaintive meow filled the kitchen, and Ryan chuckled. “What’s he done now?”

Letting his hands drop, Matt let out a half-laugh, half-sigh. “Happy Birthday.”

Ryan opened his eyes to see Jinx perched on the worktop, looking extremely guilty, with white icing stuck to his whiskers and nose. Next to him sat a boxed cake, with one corner of the box chewed open and some of the cake missing its icing.

“Oh, you bad boy.” Ryan fought back laughter, but when Jinx fixed him with his big blue eyes and meowed again, he couldn’t hold it in.

“It’s not funny.” Matt’s smirk said otherwise. “And I don’t know why you’re laughing, because that’s your cake he’s eaten.”

Walking over to him, Ryan scooped Jinx up, smiling when he automatically climbed up to perch across his shoulders. “It’s probably because we won’t let him out yet.” He tickled him under the chin, and Jinx began to purr. “And we can still eat the cake, just cut that bit off. It’s still a nice surprise, thank you.”

Matt came to stand in front of him, his hands finding their way onto Ryan’s hips. “I suppose we can do that.” He leaned closer and brushed a kiss over Ryan’s lips. “And that’s not your surprise.”


“Nope.” Matt shuffled closer, pressing their hips together. “I’ll give you that later, when we’ve not got company.” He looked pointedly at where Jinx was almost asleep on Ryan’s shoulders, then smiled and gently stroked between Jinx’s ears.

“Right! Let me just go put him on the sofa.” As much as Ryan loved their cat, the thought of Matt’s birthday surprise was impossible to ignore. “I’ll make it up to him later.”

“No, let him stay where he is for a bit longer, we’ve got the rest of the afternoon and all evening.”

Ryan liked the sound of that even more.

“Stay there.” With a kiss quick, Matt let him go, and retrieved a bottle of champagne from the fridge. After pouring out two glasses, he handed one to Ryan and raised the other in a toast.

“Happy Birthday, Ry.”


Moving into a new home starts with a bang when Ryan Blackwell celebrates turning thirty. Being hungover means he’s bleary-eyed and clumsy the next day, but even in that state, he can appreciate how sexy and fit his neighbour is.

Matt Thomas isn’t looking for anything long-term—one and done is usually his life rule. Why settle down early, like his sister, when casual relationships are so easy? With Ryan living in the same building, chance encounters are inevitable. When one night together becomes two, a friends-with-benefits deal seems a natural progression.

There’s only one problem: sex with no strings relies on matching expectations, so Ryan can’t help worrying. His huge heart always wants more, but Matt’s been clear about his limits. As passion leads to caring, they’ll have to make some tough decisions—maybe this time, breaking some rules will be worth it if that means they’ll get to share a future.

23 thoughts on “Welcome Birthday Guest Annabelle Jacobs!

  1. Thank you for the sweet story, Annabelle. My kitty Lula loved to eat cake as well. None was safe from ther… 😉

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