Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Eyes Only Series (Book 2)
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Oct 2016
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Marcello Bagnini has a history of falling for the wrong men, and it seems he’s done it again. Working out at the gym with his straight friend Jerry is becoming harder by the day—in more ways than one. Worse yet, Jerry isn’t the only one who notices Marcello’s wandering eyes. So instead of risking his friendship with Jerry and alienating the other guys at the gym, Marcello keeps his feelings to himself.
As much as they try to stay away from each other, their lives overlap, both at the gym and when Jerry is contracted to sell the home of one of Marcello’s friends. Friendship grows into more, but Jerry’s father has his own agenda, and it doesn’t include having a gay son.
Excerpt Rated X
“Are you coming here from now on, Bag?” Ronnie asked.
“Marcello,” he corrected. His last name was Bagnini, and for some reason Ronnie thought it cute to call him Bag. The kids in school had called him Bag to make fun of him, and it grated on Marcello something awful. To this day he ground his teeth in line at the grocery store whenever they mentioned the word.
“But I like Bag.”
“And I’d like to kick your ass into next week whenever you say that,” Marcello said, trying to keep the anger out of his voice. He didn’t want to make waves or enemies.
“All right,” Ronnie said and turned to Clay. “He’s touchy.”
“And sometimes you’re an ass,” Clay told him. “Maybe if you can’t make your mouth behave, I’ll have to keep it busy some other way.”
Marcello didn’t dare look at either of the men. The sultry tone in Clay’s voice left no doubt about what he was referring to, and when Ronnie broke stride, Marcello ended up ahead of them.
“Break it up, you two. The rest of us don’t need to watch you eye-fucking each other,” Bobby said as he approached with his bag in one hand, his other in the hand of a gorgeous brunette with beautiful wide eyes and a figure to turn anyone’s head, including Marcello’s.
“Where have you been?” Ronnie asked.
“Vacation. I was in Virginia for two weeks visiting some relatives with my family, and I met an old friend, Lesya. She’s going to Messiah for some postgraduate teaching work in education.” He smiled at her like she was the center of the universe.
“Good for you.” Ronnie shook her hand. “So you’ve known this guy for a while?”
“Yes. We live next door to his aunt and uncle, so we used to play together as kids whenever he came to visit, and when he visited, we got to talking and….” She turned to Bobby, and it was obvious his feelings were returned.
“Lesya, this is Ronnie and his partner, Clay. And this is Marcello, and the guy heading this way is Jerry.”
“It’s nice to meet all of you.”
Marcello shook her hand and was surprised at the strength in it. Most women shook hands very lightly, but she had a good grip. She did the same with the others, and Bobby told her he’d see her later. Lesya went down the short hallway to the ladies’ locker room, and the guys went into theirs to change.
Marcello found an empty locker in the middle bay and set his bag on the bench in front of it. He hoped like hell that…. Marcello clamped his eyes closed and blew out a hard breath. He didn’t have to turn around to know Jerry was behind him. Marcello inhaled deeply, and there it was, that scent, the one that always drove him to distraction. It was deep, musky, earthy, with just a hint of powder, probably from the deodorant he’d used that morning, the remnants of the scent still clinging to him.
Of course Marcello had to look; there was no way in hell he couldn’t. Jerry had already pulled his shirt off but had his back to Marcello. Thank God, though his back was enough of a view. Jerry was probably five five or so, but that was the only thing small about him, and he made up for it with wide shoulders. Otherwise Jerry was a compact man with corded muscle built from years of hard work, both in the gym and out. Marcello knew he couldn’t stare, but he had to take a few seconds to enjoy as Jerry put his shirt away, his back muscles flowing under tanned skin with each movement.
“Are you working out with us?’ Jerry asked as he turned around.
Marcello pulled off his shirt and kicked off his dress shoes before digging into his bag. He had to cover for his looking. Jerry wasn’t going to appreciate being perved on, and that was exactly what Marcello had felt he was doing. Having thoughts for a straight guy that just wouldn’t go away was most definitely perving. “Yeah. What are you working?”
“Wednesday is leg day,” Jerry pronounced to moans from the other guys. “No wimping out.”
The groans got louder. Jerry slipped off his pants and turned to his locker to grab a pair of shorts and tug them on over his boxer briefs. Marcello got his workout shorts, turning away in case there was any visible evidence from his imagination’s wanderings. He pulled them on quickly and shrugged into his T-shirt. He’d known Jerry for a while, but he hadn’t captured his attention until jerry saved a girl’s life during a drowning incident at the club.
“What’s HRC?” Jerry asked once he sat down to put on his shoes.
“Human Rights Campaign. I sent them a donation a while ago during the legal fight for marriage equality, and they sent me the shirt.” He hadn’t realized that was the one he’d put in his bag and hoped he wasn’t going to get grief for it.
“That’s pretty cool.” Clay’s voice carried over the bay.
“Why get married?” Ronnie asked, clearly not a fan of the institution.
“We deserve the same rights as anyone else,” Clay instructed. “Think about it. If anything happens to you, what do you want to happen to your money?”
Marcello didn’t hear Ronnie’s answer.
“Yeah, well, you can leave it to me, but the state is going to take 15 percent because we aren’t related. If we get married, that doesn’t happen. It’s the same for lots of other benefits.”
“Do you want to get married?” Ronnie asked, and Marcello tuned out, tying his shoes.
“Let’s get out there before the crowd arrives and we can’t get any of the equipment we want,” Jerry said, pulling at his collar and grabbing his weight belt and gloves before striding out of the locker room in half a huff.
Jerry had never said anything antigay in his presence, but Marcello had noticed he wasn’t completely comfortable either. That made Marcello’s slight obsession with him even more disturbing. Marcello got his things and closed his locker, checking the lock before heading out to the workout floor.
He found Jerry at one of the squat racks, warming up with light weights. Marcello stood back to give him room and watched as he lowered the empty bar on his shoulders. Jerry’s shorts tightened around his beefy legs and ass. Marcello would have groaned out loud if he dared make a sound. Jerry had an ass to die for, and as he went up and down, it was a feast for Marcello’s eyes. This was why he usually stayed away on Wednesdays. Not only was it leg day, but it was also the one day of the week Jerry always joined Ronnie and the guys for their workout. Jerry was there on other days, but his schedule often seemed to change, so he sometimes came earlier or after they had started.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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