My buddies made me do it. I swear.
I didn’t plan to bid big on a date with my baseball player best friend at the auction. But he looked really good in that tailored suit, and I can’t resist a dare.
The media jumps all over the story – the city’s new quarterback nabs a date with the bigshot star shortstop.
Not so fast – we’re just friends.
Until we hit the links for the strictly platonic date I won. Suddenly I’m looking at my silver-tongued, devilishly handsome best bud in a whole new light–and it’s dark and dirty.
We cross way over the friendship line at my place that night, but in the morning we agree it can’t happen again. Trouble is, we can’t keep our hands off each other, especially not when we’re stuck in the same hotel room at our friend’s wedding.
But Tanner wants a real relationship, and I’m only serious about football. So when my second season as a starter begins next week, our late-night games (and talks, and sleepovers, and morning coffees) will have to end.
Except, as the cutoff looms closer, I’m feeling a whole lot more than friendship and that’s a big problem for my career…
*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************
PROLOGUE: MEET MISTER MORECOCK
In my defense, I couldn’t resist. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
And Luke made it easy. Some men talk a big game, but when push comes to shove, they don’t put their money where their mouth is.
My brash buddy Luke is not one of those guys.
Case in point—the night the whole crew went to this club in Tribeca after my team had just destroyed the San Francisco Dragons in a three-game sweep at my home ballpark, thanks in part to six runs batted in by yours truly.
A few drinks with the guys, some trash talk and adrenaline later, and, well, you know how things go.
When Nate and his husband went to the bar for a refill, Luke leaned back in his blue velvet chair, tipped his chin toward the stage where the amateur dance contest was underway, and waved a hand carelessly at a trim, shirtless guy showing off a body roll.
By all accounts, it was a damn fine body roll—not that I’m a judge of stripper moves.
Luke had other opinions. “I’ve got better moves,” he declared.
And then, right there, I had no choice.
The dare formed in my throat as Luke crowed some more to the guys still at the table, Gunnar and Zane, who play for the Dragons.
“Hands down, I can handle the dance floor,” Luke continued. Confidence, thy name was Luke Remington. As the new starting quarterback for the New York Leopards, he needed a healthy dose of it to face down opponents intent on damn near killing him on Sundays.
“That so, Remington?” I asked, keeping the smirk I felt off my face.
“Tell us. Are you a secret stripper?” Gunnar asked.
“Or maybe not so secret,” Zane suggested, goading him too.
Yup. The chorus was growing louder. This was going to be a fastball down the middle.
“I’m more magic than Mike,” Luke said, squaring his shoulders.
I cleared my throat and raised my voice, just loud enough over the thumping beat of the dance music that Body Roll guy was grooving to. “Why don’t you show us?”
Luke ran a hand through his golden blond waves, tousled. Always tousled. “I would, but I reserve those for a paying audience.”
Oh, Luke. Did you think I didn’t see that coming?
I made a show of reaching for my wallet, opening it, and fishing out some big bills. “I’ve got money.”
For a few seconds, Luke’s bright green eyes flashed with holy shit, he’s serious worries, but then they quickly disappeared, replaced by that familiar ringmaster attitude he wore so well. “Yes, you do have money, Sloan. It’s green and you use it to pay for things.”
I smiled. A little crooked, I suspected. I took those crisp bills from my wallet and slapped them boldly on the table. I wasn’t backing down. “Show us. Show us all your moves,” I said as the emcee trotted to the stage again and Body Roll neared the end of his dance.
Luke scoffed, but he also shifted in his chair, like maybe he knew what was coming next.
And so, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I did what a man had to do.
I met Luke’s cocky gaze with one of my own. Fire for fire. Then I unleashed the three words no man could resist. “I dare you.”
Luke was off like a shot, up and heading for the stage in no time.
After the body roller exited the stage, the saucy emcee gestured to Luke and called out: “And we have the next tribute. Tell us, hunk. What’s your name?”
Maybe the emcee recognized Luke. Maybe not. Either way, since Rapture caters to the city’s out men, from bankers to bartenders to rockers to athletes, it is an unwritten rule—don’t make a big thing of who’s who.
Luke is a definite who.
He leaned into the mic, towering over the emcee with his impressive frame. Then he said, “Johnny Moorcock. And that’s spelled M-o-o-r-c-o-c-k. Because I’m subtle like that.”
“Ah, you’re so classy,” Gunnar shouted.
“You know it,” Luke catcalled back.
As for me, I just crossed my arms and smiled. This guy. I’d known Luke for years. He’d become one of my closest friends, but even though I’d come to expect bravado from him, he never ceased to surprise me with said bravado. Or rather, with his Moorcock-iness.
The emcee chuckled. “All right, Moorcock is good, but I’m changing your name a little bit. You’re Mister Morecock, and I’m spelling it with m-o-r-e,” the emcee said, “because that’s what we all want.”
The crowd cheered. Arms were thrust high in the air. Drinks sloshed. It was a toast to dick, and what better toast was there?
“Let’s see what you’ve got. Take it away, Mister Morecock,” the emcee said, then strode off the stage.
Luke took his sweet-ass time. He swayed his hips to the music as the beat thrummed louder, hotter, dirtier too.
Smoke rose around him. Lights shone on him. He teased at the hem of his tight shirt.