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Office Romance Box Set

22 Gay Romance Stories in 1 Box Set!

By J.M. Snyder

Published by JMS Books LLC at Smashwords

Visit jms-books.com for more information.

Copyright 2017 J.M. Snyder

ISBN 9781634865777

* * * *

Cover Design: Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com

Image(s) used under a Standard Royalty-Free License.

All rights reserved.

WARNING: This book is not transferable. It is for your own personal use. If it is sold, shared, or given away, it is an infringement of the copyright of this work and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review.

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantial sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers. Please store your files where they cannot be accessed by minors.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published in the United States of America.

* * * *

Office Romance Box Set

By J.M. Snyder

Table of Contents:

At Your Service

Blurring the Lines

Café de l’Amour

Car Trouble

Closing Time

Easily Addicted

Hot Merchandise

Knocking Boots

Lunch Break


Makin’ Copies

On the Job

Opening Day at the County Fair

Order Up

Out for Delivery

Pleasure Cruise


Rub Me the Right Way

Speed Trap

Summer Kisses and Ice Cream Dreams

Tech Support


* * * *

At Your Service

Jen drives like she’s looking to hurt someone, but I haven’t decided yet if it’s herself or me she’s trying to kill today. She’s off from work and because her boyfriend Greg isn’t, she called and asked if I’d take her to the movies, though we both paid our own way and she drove.

But sure, why not?

We caught a late matinee, one of those shows that starts a few minutes before six so we only had to pay the cheaper afternoon price. Now we’re cruising down the boulevard, looking for a place to eat, because she’s hungry and she’s got some money left to burn.

I point to Taco Bell. “How about there?”

In all honesty, I don’t care where we eat; I just want her to stop the car. I’m already thinking I’m going to ask if I can drive home, just to make sure we get there in one piece. How she ever got a driver’s license, I’ll never know.

But she shakes her head. “Something that isn’t fast food.”

Though there are a dozen restaurants that fit that description up and down this whole street, she can’t seem to find one she likes. When the light in front of us turns red, she hits the gas and shoots through the intersection while the other cars around us slide to a stop.

I check my seat belt to make sure it’s secure. It’s not going anywhere—I only checked it five minutes ago.

Jen keeps her gaze ahead, as if she’s really concentrating on the road. “You need to get out every now and then, Danny, if you think Taco Hell is eating out.”

I stifle a groan. Here it comes, her ‘you need to find someone’ speech.

Before she can launch into why she’s so damn happy with Greg and how she worries about me because I don’t have anyone like that in my life, I point out the sign for TGI Fridays up ahead. “There’s a place to eat.” I see her frown, unsure, and I sigh. “Jen, I’m starving. Do we have enough money left over for Fridays?”

“I got money.” She’s wavering and a few seconds more we’ll be past the restaurant. “Not much—”

“I have enough.” I just want to get out of the car. “I want to eat there.”

Too late, I realize I shouldn’t have said that. Without so much as a glance in the rearview mirror, she yanks the steering wheel hard to the right, throwing us across three lanes of traffic to glide into the turning lane, so fast I’m sure we take the corner on two wheels. She flashes her sweet smile at the drivers who lay on their horns as we pull into the parking lot. “Damn assholes,” she mutters, slamming on the brakes into the first empty spot she finds. I’m not even sure it’s a legit parking space—yellow lines run through it—but right now I don’t care. “They give anyone a license nowadays, don’t they?”

They gave you one. At least the car’s finally stopped. When she turns off the engine, I jump out so she doesn’t see my hands shake. I’m definitely driving home.

Even though it’s Saturday, it’s still early enough that we’re seated as soon as we walk into the restaurant, and when I slide into the booth across from her, she starts up where she left off back in the car. She looks at the menu like she’s going to order up a boy, made special just for me. “You really need someone, Danny.”

Make him cute, that’s all I ask. With a body to die for and eyes that shine like stars, and while we’re at it, make him madly in love with me. That’s what I want. Is that asking too much?

I don’t think so, but then again, I haven’t dated anyone in a long time so maybe I’m too picky. It’s that madly in love part I stumble over every time. I’ve met guys I like and guys who like me, but they all seem to be looking for nothing more than a good time and a few kisses, a grope in the back seat of the car, maybe a quick fuck. That’s not what I want. Is it too much to ask for someone who will still be there the morning after? Someone who wants more than a warm body, someone who wants me? Specifically me?

I glance over the appetizers. “I don’t need anyone,” I lie. “What do you feel like eating?”

She shrugs. “I don’t know. You’re trying to change the subject.”

“I am.” I don’t want to talk about how alone I am, or how I stay awake some nights and ache for someone to hold me. She has Greg, and the three of us are best friends but she doesn’t need to know that much about me. “You think we should go for the potato skins?”

Without looking up, I see her mouth pull into a tight little bow of consternation, and I add, “Don’t start with me, Jen. I’m not in the mood to argue with you about guys. I barely got here alive—”

“Hey!” she cries, indignant, as our waiter approaches the table. He’s around my age, with dark hair and a bored expression in his eyes that says he’d rather be anywhere but here. His nametag reads Evan. Barely glancing at him, Jen says, “We’re not ready yet.”

He turns and walks away without another word. “Nice guy,” I mutter. “Do you think it would look bad if we move to another table?”

Jen laughs. “Stop it. Find something to eat.”

* * * *

The waiter comes back a few minutes later, glaring at us as if he thought we were going to leave and he’s mad we didn’t. With a sigh, he sets out silverware. “I’ll be your waiter tonight. My name is—”

“Todd,” someone behind him says.

I look up to find another waiter pushing Evan aside. Now this one is cute, with wispy blonde curls and tan skin and dark eyes that light up the room when he smiles. And he’s smiling now, smiling at me, as he takes our napkins from Evan.

“Todd, at your service. I’ll be your waiter tonight.”

“This is my table,” Evan starts, but Todd kicks him in the shin and he bends down to rub his leg. “Ow! Fuck, Todd.” When Jen giggles, he frowns at us. “You’re working the other side of the room, remember?”

Todd lowers his voice and turns away as if he doesn’t want us to overhear. “Take one of my tables.”

Evan’s still frowning like he thinks it’s a bad idea to switch.

Do it, I want to say, because Todd’s a cutie and he smiled at me. I want him to smile again. He’s so close, my menu brushes his wrist, and I watch the way the fine hairs on his arm stand up beneath the laminated paper when I move my hands.

In a heated whisper, Todd says, “Just this once, Evan. Please.”

“Fine.” Evan glares at us one last time like we’re to blame, then stalks away.

When Todd turns to us again, that smile is back, and I can’t help but grin at him. He’s got a sexy way about him, and me, I’m glad Evan is gone.

Rolling his eyes, Todd leans down over the table and says, “Sorry about that, folks. You two ready to order?”

Jen points at the Jack Daniels chicken. “Can I have this?”

“We’re out,” Todd deadpans.

Jen’s eyes widen and I think, Great. Out of chicken. There goes half the shit on the menu.

Then, in the same voice, Todd tells her, “I’m just kidding.”


I laugh at the confusion on her face and Todd smiles again. He waves the question away. “Nothing.” Still grinning, he winks my way. “You want the JD chicken?”

She nods and he turns to me. “What about you, handsome?”

My face heats at his words and I stare at the menu, unsure what it is I want. Him, I think, but he’s not on the menu. “You had me for a minute there about the chicken. That was a good one.”

“I can be better,” he says, coy.

Clearing my throat, I glance at Jen, who’s got this goofy grin on her face and I already know what she’s thinking. It’s her ‘I’m going to hook you two up’ grin, the one I hate to see. She means well, but God, I don’t need her to find me a boy. So I look at Todd and almost drown in his blue gaze.

“What do you recommend?” My voice is throaty and low—there’s something about him that makes me want to gawk. He probably thinks I’m an idiot, sitting here staring up at him. “I mean, what do you think I’d like?”

His grin says he knows exactly what I’d like and he thinks he’s got it, he wants to serve it up and see if it’s what I’m looking for, and part of me wants to taste whatever it is he wants to give me.

In that deadpan delivery of his, he asks, “My phone number?”

I feel my cheeks heat up and I bury my head in the menu. “Oh, is that on here?” I ask innocently, hoping he doesn’t see how flustered he’s making me.

Did I mention he was cute? And sexy, so damn sexy. I can almost imagine what he’d feel like in my arms, his body tight against mine, that striped shirt and those stupid suspenders he’s wearing on the floor and our flesh pressed together like the pages of a love letter, folded into each other between the sheets of my bed.

Stop it.

I know when I look at him again, he’ll see these thoughts in my eyes, he’ll know I’m not interested in the food anymore. Wasn’t I just saying I don’t need anyone?

I don’t. I don’t.

But I know I’m crushing and I can’t even stop myself. It’s his smile and his eyes and those curls… I want to just fist my hand in them and pull him down for a kiss. I already know those ruddy lips would be sweeter than any dessert they have on the menu, more intoxicating than any of the mixed drinks on the list.

I don’t know why he switched tables with Evan but I’m glad he did, though now I’ll be thinking about him all night.

Did I mention those curls?

* * * *

“He likes you,” Jen announces once he leaves.

I watch him walk away—there’s a certain lope in his hips that turns me on. Toying with the straw in my soda, I wait until he disappears into the kitchen before I say, “He’s probably married or seeing someone. They always are.”

“No wedding ring.”

Leave it to her to be looking.

“And if he’s got a girlfriend, then honey, my gaydar is way off tonight.”

I laugh at that. She’s a self-proclaimed fag hag—all the guys she knows are gay, and sometimes she even jokes that Greg must go both ways because he’s with her, isn’t he? So he has to have homosexual tendencies. She thinks it’s something in her genes that makes her attractive to gay men.

I tell her it’s her bubbly personality and the fact that she’s fun to be around—that’s why I like her. You need a girl to talk to? Call Jen. Someone to tag along with you, shopping or a show or dinner? Jen’s there. A shoulder to cry on when you wake up alone and you don’t even have his number… she’ll hug you and tell you it’ll be okay, and when you’re all cried out and sniffling, she’ll bring out a tube of ready-made cookie dough and two spoons, and you’ll sit in front of the TV eating raw dough until she gets you laughing again. I know—been there, done that. That’s why I like her.

She rolls her straw wrapper up between her fingers and grins. “He’s cute.” Leaning across the table, she lowers her voice to a loud stage whisper. “Why did he switch tables?”

“I don’t know.” My heart hammers in my chest—damn her for getting my hopes up. “The other guy wasn’t exactly Mr. Personality.”

“They don’t switch tables because one guy doesn’t know how to smile.”

She sits up straight so she can look around the room. Her gaze wanders over to the bar and then behind it, where the computer is, and a handful of employees huddle around the terminal, waiting to enter orders and print receipts.

I follow her gaze and see Todd at the screen. A short woman with long blonde hair and too much glitter on her face pushes him playfully aside. Her ruby lips sparkle in the dim lighting and she says something that sets everyone laughing, even Todd, who ducks his head as if embarrassed. Then he glances over at our table, at me, and his smile stays in place when our eyes meet. I know they’re talking about me.

I turn back to Jen and sigh. “God.”

Why do I feel like I’m back in high school and someone just told the guy I liked all year that I have the hots for him? The same dread curls in my stomach, the same sweat makes my hands clammy when I rub them together. Maybe eating here wasn’t such a good idea after all.

With a smile, Jen says, “That girl’s teasing him about you.”

“I figured that.” I look up again and he’s still watching me, staring like he’s thinking about something—about me, I hope—and he’s forgotten everything else around him. The restaurant has disappeared, the other patrons, Jen and that blonde with the loud laugh, they’re all gone and it’s just him and me.

Then he turns away, and the moment passes.

When was the last time I fell like this for someone I just met? I don’t remember, but when he comes back, I’m going to say something. I don’t know what yet, and I hope it’s something witty and engaging and coy. If I choke or freeze, I can always send Jen to get his number. She’s good at that. Another reason why I like her—she has no qualms when it comes to playing match-maker.

Yes, I realize with a certain irony, her match-making ability is also one of the reasons she annoys me at times. But that was before Todd.

* * * *

The blonde’s name is Catherine. “We had Geometry together,” Jen says, sipping her soda. “Tenth grade. Mr. Ford?”

I shrug. We didn’t go to the same school and I don’t know who she’s talking about.

That doesn’t deter Jen. “She was the lead cheerleader, class slut, you know the type. We weren’t friends but I knew her, I guess. I haven’t seen her since graduation.”

Somehow, I have a feeling she’s going to be talking to her again before the night is through. That’s how Jen works—she pulls any strings she can when she has her sights set on something, and right now that something is getting our waiter’s number. I don’t even have to ask—she’s already decided we need to be together.

You’re not going to call him. I’m not like that. I don’t go out of my way to meet people, especially guys, especially cute guys with sunshine smiles and sparkling eyes. You’ll never see him after tonight so just enjoy this while you can. How old are you again? Out of college and too damn old for schoolboy crushes.

“You’re not going to talk to her?” Part of me wants to be flirty with the guy—Todd, I remind myself, his name is Todd—but the other part of me is twisted into knots at the thought of actually talking to him. It’s that part that cringes at the way Jen smiles. “Jen, no….”

Her gaze flickers over my shoulder as someone approaches. “Hush up.”

It’s Catherine, our appetizer dish balanced precariously in both hands, and she flashes us a bright smile as she sets the dish down in the center of the table. “Potato skins,” she says, looking at me as if she expects a tip.

Then she turns to Jen and her smile widens. “Jen McElvey?” Her eyes widen in mock surprise. “God, girl, how long has it been? We had math together, remember?”

Jen’s face lights up in her patented fake smile, the one she reserves for people she knows distantly and doesn’t really care for, but she’s too polite to brush them off completely. Besides, she’s got an agenda. Hook Danny up with the waiter… her good deed for the day.

“Catherine!” Jen cries, half-rising from her seat to hug the other girl quickly, one of those fast, emotionless squeezes women seem to share whenever they meet someone they haven’t seen in a long time. “How you doing, girlfriend? Haven’t seen you in years.

Girlfriend, like they used to sleep over each other’s houses when they were little. I dive into the potato skins, wishing Todd had brought them to the table instead.

“I’m fine,” Catherine says, a little too loftily, and tosses her hair back over her shoulder. With a glance at me, she adds, “I heard you were seeing someone. This your boyfriend?” She smiles at me again, expecting an answer.

“This is Danny.” Jen laughs, and I force a quick grin around a mouthful of food. “He’s a friend. I’m dating Greg. You know, Steve’s brother?”

If it’s possible, I’d swear Catherine’s smile widens until it threatens to crack her face in two. “Dodson?”

At Jen’s nod, Catherine looks up and frowns. “I’ve got to go. Back to work. It was great seeing you.” Another quick hug and she’s telling Jen to call her sometime, they should get together, but as she walks away, I already know that isn’t going to happen.

I shove another potato skin into my mouth. It’s hot and dripping with cheese, but at least it takes my mind off the waiter for a little while. “What was that all about?”

Jen laughs at me.


“She was checking you out.”

I roll my eyes. “Great.” I frown. “Just what I need…”

But Jen shakes her head. “Not for herself, silly.”

My frown deepens and she sighs, exasperated. “She just came over here to make sure we weren’t a couple. Don’t you get it?”

Apparently not.

When I don’t say anything, she sighs again. “Someone,” she explains, “wants to know if we’re together. Like that. Since she went to school with me, she offered to come over and find out.”

Another sigh as she realizes it’s still not connecting for me. “Jesus, Danny! He sent her over here to see if we’re dating or not!”

“Who?” I ask, though I already know. “Todd? The waiter?”

She nods.

“How do you know?”

With a satisfied smirk, she replies, “I just do.”

* * * *

Two different servers bring our food, but this time Todd is right behind them, a smile on his lips that I fancy is just for me. “You’re lucky I didn’t carry it,” he jokes, replacing our empty glasses with refills. “I’m clumsy.”

“You?” He’s got a dancer’s grace when he walks, and I wonder how well he moves in bed. I blush thinking that, but now I can’t get the image out of my mind—the two of us lying on my narrow futon, him beneath me as his hips wriggle in maddening ways. “I wouldn’t have thought—”

He trips against the table and for a frightening moment the glasses in his hands threaten to slip free to dump melted ice into my lap.

Jen lets out a tiny squeal and I slide back against the far side of the booth, but then he laughs and catches himself. “I’m just teasing.”

Now Jen’s laughing, too, and when I look at him, I’m drowning in his gaze, scarcely able to breathe because he’s so close, watching me like he’s trying to memorize my face so he’ll never forget what I look like once I leave.

Suddenly I wish Jen wasn’t here with us. I wonder if he’d dare to sit down across from me if she wasn’t already there. I wonder if he’d talk more, maybe ask my name or give me his number like he hinted at before when I couldn’t decide what to eat.

Because I don’t know what to say, I pick up the fork and knife and cut into the chicken I ordered. “Thank you,” I say softly.

“You’re welcome.” He stands there a moment longer before moving away.

Once he’s gone, Jen winks at me. “See?” she says, as if proving a point. “What did I tell you? He likes you.”


I’m not going to get my hopes up, no matter how cute he is or how irresistible his smile. What if he’s just being friendly? What if I give him my number—heaven forbid, I could never do that—but just saying I did give it to him, or Jen gave it to him… what if he never called? I’d feel like an idiot.

But right now I’m high on his smile, so lost in the thought of him and the images of the two of us pressed together that I devour my food without even realizing I’m eating. When the plate is empty, I stare at it for a long time. Something’s stirring inside me, something akin to hunger that has nothing to do with second helpings and dessert, something that makes me feel flushed and eager and a little clumsy myself.

He likes you…

God, I hope she’s not just saying that.

When Jen’s finished, she pushes her plate away and slides out of the booth. “Be right back,” she tells me, then disappears in the direction of the restrooms.

I pick at the remaining vegetables on her plate and wonder if I should ask for his number when he comes to clear our table. Can I sound casual about it? I don’t know. If he asks me what I want for dessert maybe I can say—

“You finished?”

I look up and Todd’s there, standing by my side again. Without Jen here, he’s got one arm draped around the back of the booth, the other resting on the table near my hand. His fingers brush against my wrist like live wires, his touch electric on my skin. “Where’s your girlfriend?”

“She’s not.” I choke down a green bean lodged in my throat. I’m intensely aware of him and can’t take my gaze from his hand where it touches mine.

“Not what?”

I jump when his other hand smoothes across my shoulders with the softest caress. “Not my girl.” Daring to meet his eyes, I look into their oceanic depths and breathe, “But you already know that, don’t you?”

He laughs, and his hand moves across my back again as he leans closer. “I want to ask you something.”


Ask for my number.

Would I give it to him? Hell, yes.

But he doesn’t ask for that. Instead, he stares at me until it’s just us. The restaurant around us is gone, and I strain to hear his low words. “Do you believe in love at first sight?”

I swallow hard, not trusting myself to speak.

With a wink, he adds, “Or should I walk by again?”

I’m struck dumb. Before I can figure out if he’s joking or not, if he expects an answer, if he wants one, Jen’s sliding into the booth across from us, that ‘I told you so’ look of hers already in place.

With fluid grace, Todd takes our plates and hands us a dessert menu, professional waiter once again. “You guys want something sweet?”

I feel as if he’s only talking to me. I take the small dessert menu, which is still warm from where he had it stuck in his back pocket. I do, but I guarantee what I want isn’t on these glossy pages.

I wish I had the guts to say that out loud.

* * * *

Jen wants dessert. She picks out something decadent and says we’ll share, and when Todd walks away with our order, she says casually, “I have his number.”

My hand jerks, knocking over the salt shaker and spilling salt in a white fan across the table. “What?” I scoop up the salt and drop it into my empty glass. “Who’s number? How? You went to the bathroom, Jen—”

“And ran into Cathy.”

So it’s Cathy now, is it?

Jen leans across the table, excited. “She said he likes you—told you, didn’t I? He wanted to give you his number but he’s shy.”

I laugh. “You’re joking,”

We must be talking about two different Todds here, because the guy who leaned over me and asked if he should walk by again was anything but shy; he’s raw sensuality pouring out of every pore and he was practically in my lap. I can still feel his hand on my back… that boy is not shy. “She gave it to you?”

Jen nods. “His pager number.”

“Give it to me.” I hold out my hand. I can’t believe it. I have his number.

To my surprise, Jen shakes her head. “No. I know you, Danny. You’ll stick it in your pocket and forget all about it. It’ll go through the wash and when you find it again, it’ll be all smeared and torn apart and impossible to read.”

“Please, Jen.”

I’m afraid I sound like I’m begging but I want that number and she has it. Didn’t Cathy say to give it to me? So it’s mine. I want it now.

She shakes her head again. “Or you’ll never call him. I know you too well. Tonight you’ll think about it, but you won’t call because it’ll be late and you won’t know when he gets off work. And by tomorrow you’ll have talked yourself out of calling him and just throw his number away. So I’ll keep it for you. I’ll remind you to call him.”


Right now I hate her because she’s right—that’s exactly what I would do. Or rather, what I used to do.

It’s different this time. Todd is different. I can’t not call him. With or without that number, I’m going to think about him all night long. If I’m lucky, I’ll dream about him, too, so he’ll still be fresh in my mind tomorrow. “Give me his number. I’ll call him, I swear it.”

“Here you go, guys,” Todd says, coming up behind me.

I duck at the way he grins like a damn cat because he heard that last bit, I know he did, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who I’m talking about.

“Thanks,” I mumble.

Jen laughs as he walks away. Of course she’d find this funny.

* * * *

When Todd brings the check, Jen asks if he has a pen.

“What for?” I want to know.

“You’ll see.”

Todd grins faintly, hovering to one side as I pull out my wallet to pay the bill. We both watch Jen scribble on a napkin, but she has her head down over the table and her hand up to hide whatever it is she’s writing so we can’t see it. Pointing at the money, I tell Todd, “Keep the change.”

“Thanks,” he says, picking up the bill. He looks like he wants to say something more, but Jen’s here and he doesn’t.

Maybe she was right; maybe he is shy. I force a tight smile, more than a little shy myself, and when he smiles back, I almost melt. He doesn’t have to talk—just keep smiling like that and he’s got my full attention.

But Jen is here, and she’s still writing. I have a pretty good idea what she’s doing so I clear my throat. “Jen?”

I say it like we’re in a hurry and have to get moving because I’m going to die from embarrassment if she gives him my cell phone number while I’m sitting right here.

Finally she hands Todd back his pen, but she holds the napkin against her chest so we can’t read it. “Thank you,” she tells him, smiling at me until he takes our money and leaves. Then she snatches up her purse and slides out of the booth. “Let’s go.”

I follow behind her. “Can’t we wait for him to come back?”

Then I remember I told him to keep the change, so why would he bother? He’s working and I already tipped him with the bill. He has no reason to return. From the corner of my eye I see Jen drop the napkin onto the table. I turn to read it but she pushes me towards the door.


Then I see Todd heading back to our table, and I don’t want to go home now—I want to stay here and get to know him better and see that smile again. “Hey,” I call out. “Thanks.”

Todd looks up and smiles at me. “No problem.”

Before either of us can say anything else, Jen pulls me away.

Outside it’s getting dark, and I sigh in this pathetic, lovesick way that makes Jen laugh. “He was cute,” I announce.

Now that he’s not around, I feel like I should’ve said something more. I think of a dozen ways to say goodbye, and I should’ve given him my number but Jen has his, doesn’t she? That’s something. Even if I didn’t get it myself, at least she has it.

Opening her car door, Jen sinks down into the driver’s seat. “He likes you.”

It’s too late to tell her I wanted to drive home. I totally forgot about that—the only thing on my mind right now is Todd. Climbing into the passenger side, I fasten the seat belt as tight as I can to make sure I get home alive. “What did you write on that napkin?”

The engine purrs to life and she giggles as she backs out of the parking space. “You’ll see.”

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

We’re almost a mile away when my cell phone rings. She laughs again, and I look at her as I dig the phone out of my pocket. “Tell me you didn’t.”

She just shrugs.

The phone rings again, insistent in my hand. “Jen—”

“Aren’t you going to answer it?” she asks sweetly.

Glaring at her, I thumb open the phone. “Hello?”

From the smirk on Jen’s face, I know she wrote my number on that napkin, and she probably told him to call me—it’s been ten minutes since we left the restaurant and that’s something she would do, give him an exact time to call, just so she could be there to make sure he did.

Light breathing fills my ear. It is him. “Hey.” His voice is so much softer than it had been at the restaurant.

“Hi.” I’m grinning like an idiot. Jen’s watching so I turn and look out the window, away from her prying eyes. “Todd, right?”

“Yeah.” He laughs, and when I close my eyes, I see that sexy smile of his. “Danny. Your girlfriend gave me your number. Do you mind?”

“No,” I say, a little too quickly. “Not as long as you’re going to use it. And I told you, she’s not my girlfriend.”

“I’m on break,” he says. “I get off at eight. I know this is sudden—”

“It’s not,” I assure him. God, it’s not.

He laughs again. I love the sound. “Are you busy tonight?”

Am I busy? Does he even need to ask? “Are you asking me out?”

“If you’re interested.”

I wonder if he’s holding his breath, waiting for my answer. I know I stopped breathing when he said my name.

“Oh yeah,” I say with a grin, “I’m interested.”


* * * *

Blurring the Lines

I meet him the way I meet all guys—online. His e-mail stands out from the rest because he doesn’t use a name but initials. RC, like the cola. Who goes by that?

The message is short and almost formal. I want to inquire about your services.

As if my ad online doesn’t spell it out. But I get this a lot—guys putting out feelers, curious and interested but not quite ready to commit. For every e-mail I get asking me to pencil in a date and time, I get another three or four with questions. It’s almost like they’re trying to talk themselves into an appointment.

That’s what I call it, an appointment. Like going to the dentist—it’s nothing I really want to do, and if I could avoid it, I would, but I can’t, so I just get it over with as fast as possible. I’m a broke-ass guy in my mid-twenties with a college degree who can’t get a damn job that pays above minimum wage, so I have to make ends meet somehow, right? I can think of worse ways to pay the rent.

So I cut and paste the body of my ad into the first message I send this RC character. I don’t even try to pretend I don’t by adding something new. In its entirety, it reads:

Straight white guy, disease-free, looking for donations from gay men interested in hooking up. Seven inches hard, circumcised, nice ass. See photos. Suck me for $50. I suck you for $100. No ass-play. No BDSM. No weird shit. Full nudity OK.

I hit send and don’t think about him again. I have a half-dozen more messages in my inbox to respond to, and the night is still young. On a good weekend, I earn more getting blowjobs from complete strangers than I do bagging groceries down at Shay’s. Any guy can do it, just lie there and let someone else suck his cock. Maybe let him fondle my balls a bit, or bend over so he can stare at my butt while he jerks off.

It isn’t sex. I’m not gay.

* * * *

My ground rules are simple. I don’t tell anyone my real name. I don’t ask for theirs. I don’t meet them in public, and they don’t come to my house. I go to theirs, and I see the money up front before either of us undress. We do whatever it is they’re paying me to do, and I don’t stay any longer than an hour.

Some contact me again. If they didn’t gross me out or aren’t too weird, I agree to another appointment. But I don’t like to meet anyone more than three times. After that, it’s harder to stay strangers. By then we sort of know each other, and some start asking for a discount—like what, frequent fucker miles or something? No.

I can always find another guy eager to pay for my services. My inbox is full of e-mails waiting for replies.

I don’t think about RC again until he sends a second message. Like his first, this one is almost old-fashioned. May we schedule an appointment? An afternoon would work best for me.

He doesn’t give a date, so I suggest Tuesday at two. I include my cell number in the e-mail, and tell him to text me his address. Then I promptly forget about him until our appointment.

* * * *

The part of town he lives in is called Windsor Farms. If it sounds upscale, that’s because it is. I inch my battered 1982 Toyota Corolla down the leaf-covered streets of his subdivision and feel like one of the Beverly Hillbillies. These homes are on two- and three-acre lots, sprawling mansions set back off the road with landscaped lawns and cobbled driveways. Not for the first time, I think maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to quote my prices to new clients. I should get their addresses first, look them up on Google Maps, and hike up the rate if they live like kings.

RC’s home is tucked away in a cul-de-sac that is probably considered little in his neighborhood, but my whole city block would fit in his front yard. I pull into his driveway like he instructed in his text—all the way in, easing my car down a narrow lane between his house and a privacy fence, then turning into the paved space behind the house so no one will see me from the street.

When I get out of the car, I lock it out of habit, then chuckle at myself. Who’d steal it? Some of the people who live around here drive vehicles that cost more than what I paid for all four years of college. No one’s going to look twice at my piece of crap.

A long porch leads to a screen door. I can see inside—an island in a kitchen, marble countertops, steel appliances that look brand new. Down a short hall is a flat-screen TV larger than the longest wall in my living room. A leather sofa faces it, and I catch a glimpse of the back of a man’s head. Short-cropped dark hair, and when I knock on the side of the door, he turns and I see a trim beard, a very manly look. He sees me and grins, his eyes sparkling.

He sent a picture in his e-mail so I already know what to expect, but to be honest, I thought he’d used a photo of a sexy model in some luxurious country home. I didn’t think he’d really be so…well, so perfect.

When he stands, I notice he’s bare-chested, and the hair on his muscled pecs is the same brown-black as that on his head and face. He wears a low-hanging pair of sweatpants that leave little to the imagination and nothing on his feet. As he approaches the door, his grin is contagious and I can’t help but return it. “Hey,” I say as he opens the screen door wide. “RC?”

Of course he is. “You must be Mike,” he says.

Up close, his eyes are the palest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. I almost correct him—actually no, it’s Greg—but then I remember my rule about never telling them my real name and I just nod instead. He holds the door for me to step inside. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. This dude is rich.

Still, I’m pleased I manage not to sound awestruck when I tell him, “Nice place you have here.”

“It’s home,” he says.

Must be nice.

He closes the screen door behind me, then shuts the back door for good measure. For a moment I almost believe I’m just here to visit—we’re friends and he’s invited me over to watch the game, maybe, and we’ll eat pizza on his leather sofa in front of that big-ass TV. Then his smile widens and his eyes heat up as he looks me over, and I remember we’re not friends. The lust I see when he looks at me says as much.

But he’s a gracious host. “Are you hungry?” he asks. That’s a first. “Or do you maybe want something to drink first?”

I shake my head. “I’m good. We can just go in the…I don’t know, the bedroom or something? Unless you want to do it here…”

“What? No, no.” He laughs, a throaty sound that reminds me of summer thunder. One hand runs through his hair, but it’s too short to really muss up. It rises up off his forehead in a sensual sweep. “This is sort of my first time doing this.”

I find that hard to believe. “Come on, really? A hot guy like you—”

“I thought you said you were straight.” His eyes cloud over, suddenly wary.

“Straight but not blind,” I assure him. “You must look in the mirror. You know you’re hot. Don’t tell me you’ve never…”

He laughs again, and his eyes crinkle into half-moons I’m sure women and men alike swoon over. “I’ve never paid for it,” he says. “But it’s hard to meet people, you know? And things always get so damn complicated. I thought hey, this is a one-time thing. You need the money, I just want to fool around. What’s the big deal?”


He heads out of the kitchen but takes a left instead of a right, which would put us in the living room. I follow him down a dimly-lit hall, past closed doors that lead to who knows where, to the single open door at the far end. He stands aside, arm outstretched to let me go first.

A perfect gentleman. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I’m liking this.

This is obviously a guest bedroom, and from the looks of things, it hasn’t been used in some time. There’s a loveseat and dresser against one wall, and a full-size bed takes up the bulk of the room. The bed is elaborately made, almost like in a hotel. Downy comforter over the sheets, extra pillows propped up against the headboard—there really is a headboard, and one of those long, funny pillows that looks like a Tootsie Roll. A nightstand beside the bed has a small lamp on it, and a digital alarm clock that blinks 12:00 as it counts the seconds.

“So,” he says, clapping his hands. “Where should we begin?”

* * * *

I know he has money—a house like this? He’s loaded. But rules are rules, and I have to see the cash up front. I can tell he doesn’t have it on him because his sweatpants highlight the bulge at his crotch and his round, bubble butt, and there isn’t a wallet in sight. So when I ask for the dough, he ducks back out into the hall and disappears for a few moments, leaving me alone in the guest room. This all feels strange to me for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on. Whenever I’m at a client’s house for an appointment, it’s all business. Wham, bam, thank you, Sam.

But this? This feels like I’m not here for the money but for him, and it shouldn’t. I don’t know what to do about that.

Less than a minute passes before he’s back. He has a leather wallet in his hands, and when he opens it casually, I see a wad of fifties the same way other guys carry fives or tens. He peels one off and hands it over. I never take the money first, so I set it on the dresser in plain sight. He starts to leaf through the other bills. “Do I tip you, or something?”

“Fifty’s fine.” Facing him, I unbuckle my belt and unbutton my jeans. Before I unzip, though, I ask, “You just want me to strip? Or do you maybe want to undress me? Some guys like to do that.”

He grins and sets the wallet on the dresser with the fifty dollar bill. “Yeah, that’d be good.”

So I lean back a little, hips jutting forward, and he comes closer. Snagging my zipper, he eases it down with just enough pressure against me that I feel his fingers against my dick the whole time. He’s looking at me, but I’m watching his hands—I don’t want to look in his face, I don’t want this to become intimate. It’s a quick blowjob, nothing else. We aren’t friends, I remind myself. He’s paying me to be here.

His hands rub around my waist and, gently, he pushes down my jeans. They fall to my knees. I push my shirt up out of the way so he can see the front of my briefs—I’m already half-hard, not because I’m into him but because I’m about to get sucked off, and no matter who’s doing it, I always come. I like the warm feel of a hot mouth around my cock, tender hands massaging my balls, a wet tongue licking down my length. As I watch, my dick twitches in anticipation, and RC’s fingers hook into the waistband of my briefs to tug them down.

The moment my dick slips free, it stands up to greet him and he sinks to his knees like an acolyte kneeling before a temple god. “Gorgeous,” he sighs. His breath tickles the sensitive skin on my lower belly, making it flutter.

He kisses my bulbous knob first—not a quick buss or a hurried peck, either, but a deep, sensual frenching that actually makes the bottoms of my feet tingle. That’s never happened before. My ass clenches as his lips rub over my slit. He definitely knows what he’s doing.

Then his tongue licks out and traces the shroomy tip in a counter-clockwise motion, from the slit around to the left, over the top, then back up underneath, ending where it began. With a final little kiss on the underside, he trails his tongue down my length as if it were a lollipop. His mustache and beard tickles where his hair brushes against me, and my dick stiffens against his cheek. At the base, he sucks one of my balls into his mouth and rolls it around a bit before he lets it slip free. My other nut gets the same treatment. Then his lips are kneading back to the tip of my dick, which has already begun to weep a thin, clear liquid.

God, he’s good.

My knees feel weak and I stagger, hitting the back of my knees against the side of the bed. I drop to the mattress and prop myself up on my elbows, spreading my legs as far as I can. My jeans keep them from going too wide, though, so RC pushes the pants down farther, to my ankles, before he slips his sweats down, as well. His cock is rock hard and curves up towards his navel, as if reveling in its sudden freedom. With one hand, he strokes himself as he kneels between my legs again. A second later, he encircles my dick with his other hand, opens wide, and swallows it down to the root.

I feel his throat constrict around me as his tongue and cheeks and mouth work to bring me to release. His fingers massage my hardness, teasing and kneading and squeezing me, sending shivers down my spine. I’ve never had anyone pay such loving attention to every single detail, every inch of my dick, every nerve, every fiber, every little piece of me. In all the appointments I’ve had, most men were closet queers looking for a real-life cock to suck, but they didn’t really know what they were doing. Or they were trying to please themselves more than they wanted to please me—they spent more time fiddling with their own joysticks while slobbering over mine. One guy literally took forty-five minutes to make me come, and just before I busted a nut, I was almost ready to call it quits. Enough already, you know? Just quit yanking on it.

But RC knows how to please a man. His lips and tongue do things I didn’t think were possible, and when one stray finger tickles down below my balls, I almost don’t realize how close he is to my no-go zone until his nail scrapes over the puckered skin of my anus.

Suddenly I sit up, scooting back on the bed out of reach. “Whoa, man.” I’m a little unnerved by how shaky my voice sounds. “Blowjob only. That’s all you paid for.”

His hand’s still around my shaft, his middle finger still tantalizingly close to my a-hole. “How much do you charge for this?” he asks, brushing between my cheeks again.

“More than you can pay,” I tell him. Though, really? I mean, look at this place. I clench my buttocks to deter any further exploration. “It’s off-limits, dude. My e-mail said—”

“All right, all right. I get it.” In one fluid motion, he stands and I see he still has his cock in his other hand, pointing it at me like a loaded gun. “Mind if I rub us together to get off?”

I hesitate. That isn’t part of the deal. But I can’t see anything wrong with it—it isn’t sex, after all—so I shrug and lay back on the bed. “Sure, fine. Just no ass stuff. I’m not gay.”

He sort of grunts at that but doesn’t say anything. It sounds all right when I’m home alone typing it into a message, but here it comes off a little hollow. Both of us half-naked, both of us hard as steel, him leaning against the bed between my legs with one hand on his dick, the other on mine. But I’m not gay. I’m not.

Still, I can’t deny the pleasure that spikes through me when he holds his cock alongside mine. He clasps his hands together, encircling us both at the same time, and starts to thrust towards me. His dick slides against my spit-slathered shaft with ease, his fingers working us at the same time, from root to tip and back down again. I close my eyes and find my hips arching up off the bed of their own accord. For the first time ever while at an appointment, I feel lust rising within me. Each thrust, each fuck, each squeeze, I have to bite back a litany of words pressing in my throat. Yes, and God, and please. I’m no longer getting paid to come. I want to, and not just because I want to get this over with.

Surprisingly, I don’t want it to end.

But it does, in a hot rush that leaves RC’s hands slick with our mingled juices. I spurt first, a high-arcing shot that beads in his trim beard. Then he grunts as he comes in thick, ropy bursts that splatter my belly with his jism. “God,” he sighs. “You’re good.”

Before I can sit up, he leans down and kisses my cock again, almost lovingly. He licks the tip of it clean, then catches the overflow running down my length. Without looking up at me, he asks, “When can I see you again?”

I’m wondering the same thing.

* * * *

We set another appointment a week away, so I’m surprised when I get a text from him Friday afternoon. U busy?

If he can pay, I can play.

I call to see what he has in mind. “I just want to see you again,” he says.

Uh-oh. This can’t be good.

“Nothing sexual,” he hurries to add. “Don’t you ever just go out with your buddies or, I don’t know, hang out and watch TV?”

I grunt, noncommittal. “I’ve seen yours. It’s huge.” I mean the TV.

Don’t I?

He laughs. “How about we grab a bite to eat? We didn’t really get a chance to talk much the other day.”

No, we were too busy getting off. I almost think having sex but that wasn’t what we were doing. Just to underscore it, I remind myself it was business only. I got paid for being with him. Out loud, I remind him, “I’m not gay.”

“I’m not talking like a date,” he says. “I’m talking maybe meeting up at this place downtown I know, great restaurant, Jules? You’ve heard of it?”

Enough to know I can’t afford it. “I’m a little low on cash.”

“My treat,” he says.

“Then it is a date.”

He laughs again, that throaty, sexy sound that seems to grab me by the balls and dares me not to laugh along. “No, man, I’m paying for the pleasure of your company. I just want someone to talk to and I think you’d be a lot of fun to get to know.”

I set my ground rules specifically so none of my clients would get to know me. But something about RC makes it hard to say no. I have nothing planned for the evening, and I’m surprised and a little unnerved to find that the idea of going out with him pleases me. He said no sex, I remind myself, so it’s just two guys palling around. Almost like we were friends, even if we aren’t.

Since college, I haven’t really met many people. I went to school here in Richmond and stayed after graduation, but everyone I knew packed up and moved out. Went back home, mostly, or moved onto new places with new careers. Everyone but me.

I don’t really fit in with the university scene any longer—I’m not on campus, I’m not a student. Men my age either have lifelong friends they still talk to or they meet new people at work. I don’t keep in touch with anyone I used to know, except for the occasional message on Facebook, and I don’t work. Or, rather, I’m not gainfully employed. I meet plenty of guys doing what I do, but none I want to hang out with later.

Until RC.

He stays quiet, letting me think. Finally, I draw in a deep breath and admit, “You realize I’ve never done this before. I don’t usually see the guys who hire me to…”

“So I’m your first.” There’s a smile in his voice that makes me grin to hear it. “Don’t worry, I’ve never gone out with a straight guy before. I don’t even know if we’ll have anything in common to talk about.”

“I’m sure we’ll find something,” I promise.

* * * *

I change my mind a dozen times. I shouldn’t meet RC outside of an appointment. But what will it hurt? But I can’t allow myself to become friends with a client—then he’ll want special treatment, or discounts, and things will get awkward between us. But an evening out would be fun. But it’s a date, and I’m not gay.

I’m not.

In the end, I convince myself to go. He’s paying my way, sure, but it isn’t a date. I’m a working stiff—literally, just thinking about seeing RC again gets me hard—and he’s paying for my company. In a way, I’m actually moving up the sex worker ladder, from prostitute to escort. If I’m not careful, I may find myself a kept man.

Which actually doesn’t sound all that bad.

Still, I tell RC I’ll meet him at Jules instead of driving to his house first. That way I’ll have my car and I’ll be able to bail whenever I want. I don’t have to rely on him for transportation, and I won’t have to go back to his house after dinner if I don’t want to.

Even if I sort of want to.

Jules is downtown, and though there isn’t a parking lot, I easily find a spot on the street a few blocks away. I’m wearing khakis and a button-down shirt, a step up from the T-shirt and jeans I wore to our first appointment. I clean up nicely, if I say so myself. My hair’s doing its own thing, and it’s still a little damp near the scalp from my shower. I smell good—a woodsy scent, not too heavy but strong enough to know it’s there—and I look good, too. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a darkened store window as I pass and nod to myself. Yeah, I look hot.

Then I remind myself this isn’t a date. I’m not trying to look good for RC, but you never know who else might be looking.

He’s outside Jules waiting for me, impeccably dressed in a blazer and black skinny jeans. He’s looking around and when he sees me, his eyes light up all over again. “Hey, Mike,” he says, sticking out a hand my way.

I shake it without thinking. It’s such a disarming gesture, so commonplace, so real, that before I stop myself, I admit, “Actually, it’s Greg.”

“Ryan.” His hand is warm and firm in mine, and he shows no signs of releasing me any time soon. “Greg suits you better. I like it.”

Before I can get uncomfortable, he lets go of my hand but claps my shoulder and keeps an arm around me as we head inside. “What’s the C stand for?” I ask as the hostess leads us to a table.

He laughs, a breathy sound so close to my ear, it makes my dick swell to hear it. To feel it, burning into me. “Carlson. My mom’s maiden name. Just what I need, two last names.”

The table is small and intimate. As the hostess leaves, Ryan pulls out a chair and offers it to me. I sit and let him push me in a little. So much for this not being a date, I think, picking up the menu. “What’s good here?”

“Oh, just about everything.” He sits down across from me and smiles. The menu on his plate stays closed. When I look up, I find him staring at me. His voice is so low, I have to lean across the table to hear him over the din of the other patrons. “I come here all the time. If you don’t really have something in mind, I can order for us. If you want.”

Closing my menu, I shrug. “Sure. What the hell?”

His smile widens. “Is there anything you don’t like?”

I don’t know if he’s flirting or not, but I don’t want things to get too comfortable between us. I want him to understand we really aren’t friends, no matter what it might look like to someone else. Things are strictly business between us. So I wink and remind him, “No ass play, remember? Most everything else is fair game.”

To my surprise, his smile doesn’t falter. “Well, I said nothing sexual, but if that’s where the evening leads, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.”

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