Get Closer, Working It In Book 1




Nothing ever looks better in the fridge than a cold beer after a long day at work. I took one out and leaned against the kitchen counter, scrolling through a blur of sports updates. Really, I was only looking for something to pass the time while I waited for Russel to finally come home so we could kick back together that evening, like we did most evenings. But, a part of me was a little nervous.

 I’d touched him earlier, practically stroked his face. What the hell was wrong with me?

Bros don’t do that kind of shit, especially in the office. It was out of bounds even for someone like me who was completely comfortable with every aspect of my sexuality. And this was Russel. Straight, sexy, manly-man Russel. I took a deep swig of beer and grinned just a little remembering he didn’t exactly back away, either…not at first.

It hadn’t gone unnoticed that things had been weird since I moved out to Long Island with him. The favor was only supposed to last a month, yet the renovations on my money pit of a fixer-upper were way more complicated than originally anticipated. Already, it had been three months and I was thankful Russel was so generous, because that was a long time to be loaning out your guestroom.

And man, was it getting difficult.

So yeah, maybe our bromance started out with a secret crush I had on him, because I mean who doesn’t have a crush on the star quarterback on some level. In college, people either wanted to be Russel Darden or they wanted to fuck him. There was no in between. But in spite of me landing on the second half of that equation, we became friends. Good friends and I was satisfied with the way we hung out together and looked out for each other. So he wasn’t bi like me. So what, I thought. I had the best parts of him and both of us could get our rocks off with whoever we wanted. Hell, sometimes it was the same whoever we wanted and it suited both of us just fine.

But lately…

Lately, he looked like home to me, even though I’d only recently bought that old rickety house to help me feel like I belonged somewhere. Lately, the crush was crushing me.

I shook my head. He was straight; kinky as fuck and a hell of a flirt, but straight. Not even close to being bisexual or even bi-curious.  Maybe I had a backup in my balls and it was causing a fucking mental episode.

My tablet rang, jolting me back to Earth. I answered the video call with my best sexy smile when I saw the name slide in on a notification. Chloe Pierce was definitely a good start.

“Ms. Pierce,” I felt giddy just seeing her there, sitting behind her desk, still in her office. “What a pleasure.”

Chloe leaned back in her chair, smiling as she ran her hands through her long brown hair. She wore a pinstriped suit that reminded me of a mafia boss’s daughter. “What did I say before, Martell?” She shook her head. “You can call me, Chloe. Say it with me: C-H-L-O-E.”

I chuckled. “Where’s the fun in that?”

She leaned forward, her green eyes twinkling at me through the screen. “So…I will be arriving in New York tomorrow and I was wondering if you would like to meet up for dinner? Possibly help me prep for the presentation I’m giving on Friday.”

“Ah, yes,” I said, stroking my chin, “well, let me check my schedule.” I grabbed a pad of sticky notes and flipped through them, chuckling at her eye roll. “Hmmm, well, I see I’m free. How does seven sound to you?”

“Sounds perfect.” Chloe turned to her computer, typing away at the keyboard, likely making a note of our dinner meeting in her calendar. “Send me an email with the location and I’ll meet you there.”

“Great. See you tomorrow at seven. Safe travels.”

“Thank you,” she winked before her screen went black.

I sighed, opening my calendar and typing in my very important meeting with Chloe Pierce. We’d had several zoom meetings before regarding her big consultation on Springdale Rail and Logistics, a smaller freight company she was brought in to advise on ahead of a possible merger. How many of our meetings over that past six weeks had lasted well past quitting time? Most of them. Once on a last-minute weekend call, I even got the treat of seeing her without makeup in an old Northwestern University sweatshirt. Chloe was a natural beauty, and more than that, she was just as attractive on the inside.

We’d done a decent amount of flirting, me being an expert in that area. Chloe kept me on my toes though and I liked that about her. But, by the time we ended our calls, there was always something left unsaid, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

 The familiar jangle of keys at the front door drew me back from my thoughts. The door opened, revealing a very tired Russel, a little disheveled with his tie pulled loose. He kicked the door shut, dropped his briefcase and workout bag in the foyer and slumped against the door. He groaned and rolled his head back and forth, his halfway open gaze fluttering to mine, his lips slightly parted.

I couldn’t deny it, there was definitely a part of me that wanted to go over there, cup his face in my hands and promise I would make it all better. One kiss. What would he say?

“Don’t let me go back tomorrow,” Russel groaned, kicking away from the door while yanking off his tie. He chucked it at the couch on his way to the kitchen counter.

I laughed awkwardly, opening the refrigerator to hide my budding arousal. The chilled air calmed me a bit. But only a bit. “I’ll call you in sick,” I said, grabbing another beer and bringing it to him. He’d been scrolling through his phone, while his hand absentmindedly unbuttoned his dress shirt.

“Perfect,” he said, opening the can with the one-handed trick he mastered freshman year. He took a few large gulps.

The dagger tattoo on his chest was visible now that his shirt hung open. With his eight o’clock shadow and the evidence of his fingers raking through his hair, Russel looked like the Russel of the old days.

No comments: