Today’s 25% excerpt is from my contemporary novella, ONE SMALL STEP:
“Yeah,” Gary said, absently watching his friend as he moved towards the coffee maker, his mind going over Stephen’s words. They’d been dating? That wasn’t true, was it? It was true that their relationship was special, always had been. He’d never had a friend like Stephen before. No one else had ever challenged him the way Stephen did. They argued like cats and dogs, yet they somehow managed never to allow their disagreements to interfere with their friendship, which remained deep and true. Not for the first time he wondered what a man like Stephen saw in him – not as a potential lover, that was even more mysterious to Gary – but as a friend, as the man Stephen called his best friend.
Gary turned his gaze on his friend, pondering this question, just in time to watch as Stephen reached for another mug from the top shelf. Stephen’s tee shirt rode up, showing an inch of flesh above his pants, and Gary found he couldn’t take his eyes off it. His gaze seemed drawn to the slim patch of pale golden colored skin. He forced his eyes lower, away from that alluring sight. Abruptly he realized his mistake. His gaze was now centered on Stephen’s ass, which suddenly seemed very well defined in the tight jeans. Surely his pants weren’t usually that tight?
Stephen turned back just then, “Gary, do you…?” he stopped, frowning slightly, “You look flushed, everything okay?” A slight smile curved his mouth.
Gary stared at him. Had Stephen set this up just to make him squirm? No, Stephen wouldn’t do that, it was just… just what? Proof that Stephen was right and he was fighting his own body’s natural inclination to take his friend where he stood? Oh, God, where had that come from?
“I’m fine,” he replied, purposely not meeting Stephen’s gaze. He was afraid Stephen might be able to guess what he was thinking and he wasn’t ready for that yet.
Stephen handed him the coffee and returned to his desk. Gary sat opposite him.
“You’re in earlier than I expected. Had a good night?” Gary asked.
* * * *
“Yes, thanks, slept like a log.” Stephen lied
“Ah.” Gary nodded, a slight frown creasing his brow. Stephen wondered if Gary had seen through his deception.
Gary got to his feet and finished his coffee. “I’ve got a meeting with Jameson over that new project. I’ll see you later.” Gary moved to the door, turning at the last moment, “Have you thought of anything for our date yet?”
“Nope, not decided yet. I’ll call your secretary and leave a message shall I?”
“Tell Hester?” Gary voice was hoarse. “You can’t do that!”
Stephen laughed. “I meant I’ll tell her that I need to speak with you.
“Oh right.” Gary frowned and left.
Stephen smiled. For such a man of action Gary was already off balance. By the time Stephen had finished, he’d see some action.
* * * *
After work, Gary went to the gym for one of his usual twice weekly work out sessions and was surprised to find Stephen there. He was well aware that Stephen occasionally spent time in the gym, though Stephen only rarely attended when Gary was present. At that moment he wondered why he had never really thought about inviting Stephen to join him at the gym before. It was odd that it was the one activity they never seemed to enjoy together.
Gary made as if to join Stephen on the mat but was stopped in his tracks when Stephen ceased his warm-up exercises. Rising gracefully, he proceeded to perform a kata, a beautiful and complex sequence. He wasn’t surprised to see Stephen make the movements with concentrated precision; that was just the way he did everything.
The slow sure movements delineated the muscles of Stephen’s back and shoulders very clearly. Gary had an uninterrupted view since Stephen’s top had very narrow shoulders, cut low in both back and front. Gary’s eyes were glued to the sleek skin shining with perspiration. Stephen then slowly twisted from the waist, leaning first left and then right, sliding both hands down the outside of one leg at a time before slowly straightening again. Next he bent forward, again sliding his hands downwards. This time he put one hand on each thigh, moving over his knees and down his shins to his ankles, making the gluteal and thigh muscles flex and tighten.
Gary had a perfect view of his ass as the material of his shorts stretched taut over his buttocks. His mouth felt as dry as a desert and his body as hot as if he were indeed under a burning sun. At the same time he felt a definite interest in his groin.
Gary suddenly became aware that his were not the only eyes drawn to his friend’s body, and he didn’t like that one bit.
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