Excerpt for The Elevator by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Published by EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING ® at Smashwords


www.evernightpublishing.com




Copyright© 2018 Erin M. Leaf



ISBN: 978-1-77339-733-7


Cover Artist: Jay Aheer


Editor: Karyn White



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.


This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.





DEDICATION


For my readers—I love writing, and you make it possible.



THE ELEVATOR


Close Proximity, 1


Erin M. Leaf


Copyright © 2018


Chapter One


“Come on, come on,” Adrian said, pressing the key for the elevator. While he waited, he loosened his tie and sighed, relieved that the workday had finally fucking ended. He’d had to stay late. Again. And he’d had to handhold the team, talking them through the revision control process again. They’d managed to screw it all up anyway, hence his late night, fixing all of their mistakes. And where was his boss? Out playing golf on Long Island somewhere. Again.

He looked at his phone, then growled when the damned battery beeped and it died right there in his hands. He glanced back up the hall to the double doors that led to the open concept office of his company. He kept a charger at his desk, but he’d forgotten to plug his phone in, and he really didn’t want to go back and wait around for it to come back to life.

“Screw it,” he muttered, shoving it into his pants pocket. He didn’t need to know the exact time. He knew it was after eight on a Friday night. Sure, he could hit a bar, or call up a friend or two and hang out, but honestly? All he wanted right now was his bed. And maybe a quick hand job so I can sleep well instead of tossing and turning, he thought, grimacing. At least I have the weekend off, for once.

He stared at the brass doors, but they didn’t open. Do not press the button, he told himself as his hand twitched. It wouldn’t help. It never helped. It was simply human nature to keep pressing the button over and over again, but he’d be damned if he’d be one of those people. When the down arrow finally binged, he rolled his shoulders and waited. When the doors slid apart, he hurried inside before they fully opened and stabbed his finger at the lobby button. “Time to go,” he muttered, already thinking about how good it would feel to take off his shoes and sprawl on the sofa with his air conditioner turned on full blast. Manhattan’s latest heatwave was making everyone irritable.

“Late night?”

The hair on the back of Adrian’s neck prickled. Was that— He spun around. Oh, yeah, it was Mr. Hottie Lee from the top floor. Adrian willed his dick to stay the hell down, but it was a close thing as he took in the twinkle in the older man’s warm brown eyes. They’d said “hello” on the elevator often, and he’d seen the man here and there in the building, but they’d never managed a conversation. From the rumors Adrian had heard, Mr. Greyson Lee was a nice guy, but stern if you crossed him. Given that he dressed like a billionaire, Adrian could understand how Mr. Lee’s demeanor might intimidate some people, but he’d always found the guy absurdly hot.

And he’s waiting for you to respond, so stop daydreaming about taking off all of his clothes and focus, he told himself as he cleared his throat. “Hey, Mr. Lee. I didn’t see you,” he said, wincing when his voice cracked.

Mr. Lee smiled. “I can be stealthy when I have to.”

Stealthy? Adrian had no idea what the man was talking about. Mr. Greyson Lee was the man who’d occupied most of Adrian’s jack-off fantasies for the past year, ever since they’d first met in this very elevator. The man had to be at least forty, given the hint of silver in his dark hair and beard, but he certainly didn’t look like he was fifteen years older than Adrian. Greyson Lee’s height and bulk always surprised him. Weren’t Asian dudes supposed to be short? But then, rumor had it that Greyson Lee was biracial, so perhaps that explained the man’s height. You need to stop listening to every rumor you hear, he reminded himself. And stereotyping people isn’t cool, either. He felt his face heat up. He hated feeling this awkward.

Mr. Lee leaned back against the railing and crossed his arms, showing off his bulging biceps. He had his dark button-down shirt open at the throat and rolled to his elbows. “You should tell your bosses not to work you so hard.”

With difficulty, Adrian tore his gaze away from the hint of a tattoo he saw on Mr. Lee’s forearm. “Ha, yeah. As if. I’m the only one who seems to understand revision control,” he said, rolling his shoulders again, more from frustration than anything else. He’d been riding this very elevator with this guy at least once a week for the past year, and they never got beyond small talk. Even if he’s queer, he’s way out of your league, Adrian. He swallowed, feeling like a fourteen year old. He reminded himself that he was a twenty-five-year-old professional software engineer, but it didn’t help.

“Ah. That’s tricky stuff, Mr. Hughes,” Mr. Lee said, half smiling. He looked like he had a secret.

Adrian grimaced. “Please. It’s not that difficult. All they need to do is follow the process I wrote out. In great detail.” He shut up and forcibly pushed away thoughts of work. If he didn’t, he’d be up all night worrying about what the others on his team would break next. “What about you, Mr. Lee?” he asked instead, wondering yet again if the guy was straight or gay or what. Mr. Lee had great hair, and amazing taste in shoes, but that didn’t mean diddly. He should know. Adrian was as gay as you could get, and if his sister hadn’t helped him pick out his clothes, he’d probably go to work wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. He had zero fashion sense. “It’s Friday, and it’s late, and yet here you are.” He smiled. “Stuck on an elevator.” From the corner of his eye, he watched the numbers on the display count down. Thirty-one, thirty, twenty-nine…


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