Woot! Woot! TGIF! How about five more first pages? This time…let’s go spicy, m/m/f menage with Everything Nice.
Allie Brooks leaned back against a log, gazing into the bonfire and enjoying the pleasant buzz of the alcohol flowing through her body. Travers, Taylor and Anderson were throwing an end-of-summer bash out by the river to celebrate the first anniversary of their successful engineering firm, and Allie was having a great time although she was fairly sure she’d be sorry about the number of beers she’d consumed tomorrow. She glanced down at the pile of empty bottles by her feet and tried to remember if they were all hers.
While she was happy for the group of men and her sister—who was serving as their office manager—she couldn’t help but feel a bit envious. She’d been hanging around since her high school graduation four years earlier, waiting for her life to begin, while her sister Ginny seemed to have her future all mapped out. Allie was still living at home and working at a job she hated, despite the fact her mother’s cancer had gone into remission ages ago.
Just last night, she’d been offered a new job, a better job. Shit, the world’s greatest job. Yet instead of being thrilled, she sat alone, watching the flames and contemplating the idea of moving away from the only home she’d ever known to take a chance at fulfilling her dream of seeing the world. She should be screaming her excitement from the rooftops, but something seemed to be holding her back.
Glancing across the bonfire, she watched Charlie Anderson talking to Travers. Anderson looked especially hot tonight in his cut-off jean shorts and dark green T-shirt. She admired how the T-shirt was just tight enough to accentuate his perfect pecs. He was wearing his light brown hair longer these days and she admired the tousled look as he ran his fingers through it, pushing it off his face. At some point, she supposed she would have to get over her schoolgirl infatuation with her sister’s friend, but—like everything else in her life—that plan seemed to be on hold too.
She’d been sitting here for nearly an hour studying the man’s perfection in relative anonymity. “Relative” being the operative term, as Alex Taylor came and planted himself beside her on the ground and she realized she hadn’t been as careful as she should have.
“So how long have you been in love with Anderson?”Taylorasked.
Allie turned to look at him briefly before letting her gaze drift back to the man in question. “Forever,” she confessed, the alcohol loosening her tongue. “How long have you been in love with him?”
Her question was nothing more than a taunt, a petty way to strike out against the man, and she expected him to ignore her challenge, offer a flat-out denial, call her a fool.
She’d only come to suspect Taylor’s feelings toward his best friend since they’d moved home from college. For some reason, after their return, she’d begun to watch Taylor as much as Anderson. A fact she couldn’t even begin to explain to herself as the man had been a thorn in her side for most of their childhood. To say they butted heads often was an understatement. Ginny had teased her about her volatile relationship withTaylor, once claiming that they were both too much alike.
She was surprised to hear his heavy sigh of resignation.
“How did you know?” he asked.
Allie offered him a light laugh despite the fact her heart felt far from happy. “I’m not blind.”
Taylor nodded as if her answer were enough. “It would seem that blindness only affects Anderson.”
“He doesn’t know?”
Taylor chuckled, though the sound offered no mirth. “Never came up in conversation.”
“In twelve years?”
“He’s not gay, Allie.”
She raised her eyebrows at his words. “I wouldn’t have said you were either, if your list of female conquests was any indication.”
“You’re right. I’m not gay,” he admitted. He turned away from watchingAndersonand moved closer to her. His intent gaze, while making her uneasy, drew her toward him like a moth to a flame.
“Care to explain that statement?” she asked, the alcohol in her system making her say things she’d never have had the nerve to voice otherwise.
“Ever heard the term bisexual?” he replied sarcastically.
She scowled, but before she could chastise him for being such a smartass, he grinned at her and ran his hand down her cheek in a more-than-friendly way. “Allie, I love women too. I love being with women, making love to them, tasting and touching them.”
“But you’ve been with men as well?”
“A couple in college,” he confessed.
“Neither of them stole your heart?” she asked, silently wondering why it felt so natural to be having this far-from-normal conversation with a man she’d always suspected detested her.
“My heart’s not available,” he answered simply.
“It belongs to Anderson?”
Taylor glanced back at his friend. “He’s the only man I’ve ever truly found myself attracted to—in a forever kind of way. I can’t help wondering what it would be like to be with him.”
She nodded. “Well, that certainly explains why you hate me. I never realized it before, but I suppose I’m the competition.”
Taylor’s eyebrows lowered, furrowed. “I don’t hate you, Allie. I never have.”
Allie was surprised by his answer. “But I thought—”
“Allie,” Taylor interrupted, moving closer to her. “You aren’t the competition. You’re part of the equation.”
Before she could respond, his lips lowered to hers, taking them in a kiss that was gentle and hard at the same time, tentative and possessive in the same breath.
She tried to understand what was happening, but the alcohol left her brain feeling fuzzy while Taylor’s kisses and roving hands left her body feeling very warm.
When he pulled back, Allie opened her eyes. “I’m drunk. And confused,” she admitted, and Taylor laughed, drawing his finger softly down her cheek again.
“Soon, hellion. Soon it’ll all work out. You’ll see.” And with that enigmatic comment,Taylorgot up and walked around the bonfire, joining in the conversation with Travers and Anderson.
Allie took a deep breath and struggled to understand what just happened. She looked around at the other people at the party. No one seemed to have noticedTaylorkissing her, everyone engrossed in their own conversations.
What the hell am I doing?
Kissing Alex Taylor—a confessed bisexual who happened to be in love with the same man as she—was not smart.
Shit, she was drunk and depressed about her life. Her mind was playing tricks on her. There was no way she could have possibly understood Taylor’s intentions correctly. He couldn’t have meant that he intended to have her and Anderson, could he?
She struggled to take a deep breath and a feeling of claustrophobia closed in on her as she realized she could give in to his desires far too easily. Apparently Ginny had been right. She and Taylor were similar people with similar hopes and needs.
But if she succumbed to Taylor’s invitation, where would that leave her?
Here, she thought sadly. Stuck in this same godforsaken town, waiting tables at the fucking diner. The image of her exciting new job offer floated before her eyes.
Stay or leave?
Stay or leave?
She felt someone watching her and her gaze traveled to Anderson. She saw him studying her, his eyebrows lowered. So many emotions seemed to be controlling his face, she couldn’t tell what he was thinking or feeling. Curiosity, anger, jealousy, concern?
So she’d been wrong. One person had seen the kiss. One person had seen it all.
Everything Nice is available at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo and All Romance Ebooks. It’s also available in print in Sugar and Spice, Everything Nice at Ellora’s Cave, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
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