With his ear pods in, he was completely unaware of my approach till I was virtually up in his face, and those few seconds gave me precious time to drink him in. Wearing soft, dark jeans that hugged every curve of those long legs, a tight black T-shirt with The Clash in neon green across the chest, a cropped black leather jacket, metal-studded biker boots, and thick strokes of emerald guyliner highlighting those gorgeous tawny eyes, he looked good enough to lay out on the tarmac and eat there and then. That I didn’t simply keep walking and press myself hard up against him, demanding to be fucked senseless right there over the bonnet of his BMW, deserved a fucking gold medal.
He caught sight of my shoes first before his gaze flicked up to my face. The evident irritation when he saw who it was had me wincing. Sure, there might have been a flicker of interest to start, but nah, mostly irritation.
“Hi.” Yep, I was a charmer.
His face gave nothing away. “Hi?”
As in, “What the hell are you doing here,” hi? Well, okay, then. “I just wanted to say thanks again—for saving Cory the other day.”
His gaze remained steady. “You’ve said that. Several times, in fact.”
Right. Not much to work with there. But since when had common sense ever stood in the way of stupidity and raging attraction? “I know, but I’d like the chance to explain… if you’ll hear me out.”
He glanced over my shoulder, and I couldn’t help but follow his gaze. A few more of my teammates, including Mathew, were now shooting the shit in a group by the entrance. None close enough to overhear our conversation, thank God.
“No need.” His tone was flat, his gaze fixed on the group of players.
“Nothing to do with me.”
Jesus, talk about pulling teeth. “Maybe not, but I’d like to. Don’t want you thinking badly of me. Let me buy you a coffee, as thanks.”
He looked at me and sighed. “What do you want, Reuben?”
My mouth opened but nothing came out. Excellent question. What did I want?
“You do realise this isn’t happening?” His finger flicked back and forth between us. “Anything… between us… Is. Not. Happening. So what are you doing? If you want to keep your gay undercover, it’s maybe not the best idea to be seen talking to the guy wearing eyeliner, and who may as well have ‘I love dick’ tattooed on his forehead. I’m hardly a shrinking violet, yeah?”
A valid point and one I had no reasonable answer for. I couldn’t help a cagy glance around the car park once again, and he noted it with impatience. But I couldn’t bring myself to walk away either. Couldn’t do anything more than just stare at him, as it turned out.
His gaze softened. “I don’t… think badly of you. I’m sure there’s a story there, but it’s just not one I need to hear. Got it? So maybe it’s best if you leave.”
I sighed. “Okay.” And yet I didn’t. Shuffled my feet, sure, but no actual walking involved.
He stared at me as if I was just shy of a fucking lunatic. Then he rolled his eyes and sighed. “Fuck. All right, one coffee.” He held up a finger. “One.” He cocked his head and narrowed his gaze to drive the point home.
My heart skittered in my chest, and I nodded vigorously. “Absolutely. One coffee.”
He dropped his head back and groaned. “I cannot believe I’m doing this.” He pushed off the car. “Grind It Out. You know it?”
I nodded. It was a hip little café in St Heliers, right on the beach. I’d been a couple of times with Georgie, not a place the team frequented, a deliberate choice on Cam’s part, I suspected. Wasn’t sure how I would’ve explained it to a teammate, not when I couldn’t fucking explain it myself.
“Be there in an hour.” He strode around to the driver’s door. “Christ, I need my head read,” he said, not quite under his breath. “Now get lost before my brother reams my arse for chatting up the talent… again.”
I spun to find Mathew Wano barely metres away, wearing a scowl the size of the blush on my cheeks. “Hey, Mathew,” I greeted him a little too cheerfully. Nope, nothing suspicious here. “I was just thanking Cam for helping with Cory the other day.”
He glanced slowly between the two of us before throwing his kit in the back seat. “Yeah, he’s good like that, my brother.” He eyeballed Cam. “Always keen to give a guy a hand.”
Cam snorted and slid into the driver’s seat.
Mathew turned and slapped me on the shoulder. “See you Thursday, Taylor. And bring your talent with you this time, huh?” He grinned.
I took the ribbing without offence. Mathew was one of the good guys. I waved them off and headed for my car, doing everything in my power not to fucking skip. I was an hour away from having coffee with
Cameron fucking Wano. Ugh. Crap. I was in so much trouble.
Cover Design: Kanaxa
Length: 119,000 words approx.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
An Auckland Med. Story
What if you’ve worked your whole life for a dream, to play rugby for the most successful sports team on the planet, the New Zealand All Blacks?
What if that dream is so close you can smell it?
What if you meet someone?
What if you fall in love?
What if your dream will cost the man who’s stolen your heart?
And what if the dream changes?
Reuben Taylor has a choice to make.
Cameron Wano is that choice.
Jay Hogan is a New Zealand author writing in m/m romance, romantic suspense and fantasy. She has travelled extensively and has lived in quite a few countries. She has a BA degree in Nursing and in Theology, and in another life, she was an Intensive Care Nurse, Counselor, and a Lecturer.
She is a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). She loves to cook- pretty damn good, loves to sing – pretty damn average, and as for loving full-time writing -absolutely… depending of course on the day, the word count, the deadline, how obliging her characters are, the ambient temperature in the Western Sahara, whether Jupiter is rising, the size of the ozone hole over New Zealand and how much coffee she’s had.
She has complex boys telling stories in her head that demand attention and a considerable number of words to go with them. Their journeys are never straightforward and even surprise Jay. She does her best to plot things out ahead of time but those pesky characters seem to have a mind of their own. Go figure.
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