Publication date: March 4th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Michael Pietersen isn’t up for complications. He’s one of Sydney’s fastest-moving career-focused corporate realtors, and the only thing he has time for is one-night stands with zero fuss.
Bryson Schroeder’s back home from two years overseas with plans to leave his family’s hotel empire and begin his own business ventures. Out with his friends to celebrate his return, he sees a gorgeous blond man across the bar, and with barely a smile and a raised eyebrow, they leave together for a night of incredible chemistry.
But the rules are clear: no names, no details, no complications.
But one night becomes one more night, and eventually the arrangement suits them both for weeks . . . until their professional and personal worlds collide. With their hearts already on the line, Michael and Bry need to decide just how complicated they want to get.
It was Friday night, the bar on Sydney’s George Street was busy, the music loud, the vodka and limes were going down a little too easy. There were so many suits and egos, it was hard to tell where the corporate world ended and the supposed night off began.
It was Friday night, for God’s sake, and all around me were conversations about commissions, clients, contracts, cases, and codes.
I mean, I loved it.
It was what I did. Corporate deals, high-end clients, prime real estate. Fast-talking, smooth and savvy, high-pressure, high-stress. Location, location, location.
But after an excruciatingly long week, I wanted to leave work behind, if only for a few hours. I wanted to not talk about business.
I wanted to let it all go, just for a night.
I wanted to find some guy who could make me forget. A guy who could take me home, forgo all manners and small talk, and take me to bed. I wanted to destress and detangle.
I just wanted uncomplicated sex.
But not just any sex. Oh no. I wanted really, really good sex. I wanted to get dicked so hard and so completely, I couldn’t remember my own name.
So, while some Friday nights I did come here to network like most of the other suits, tonight I was looking for a different kind of working relationship. A physical relationship with mutual benefits.
A lot of the faces were familiar. This was the finance district after all and we all moved in the same circles. I’d been with a few of these guys as well, and yes, sure, I could have given Brad a nod or Hunter a smile, and I knew damn well how the night would end.
But I wanted something new. Something fresh and exciting and someone I didn’t have to ever see again.
And that’s when I saw him.
Tall, dark hair, solid build, dark eyes, and a nervous smile. The way he looked around the bar told me he was new here, and he wasn’t sure he fit in. Call me superficial, but I could tell by his T-shirt that he didn’t fit in here.
Don’t get me wrong. Don’t misunderstand. I wasn’t judging him. But in my line of work, I could spot money when I saw it. Or when it was missing. Like telling the difference between a thousand-dollar suit and a ten-thousand-dollar suit. Or real Italian leather shoes. Or the difference between a Canali and a Charvet necktie.
It’s what made me good at my job. I could tell the serious buyers from the players by the way they walked.
Like the four guys he’d walked in with. They were just four more suits and egos, but this guy was different. And his T-shirt was cool, as was the way he wore it. But in a room full of Armani, Brioni, and Gucci, he wore a vintage The Clash tee, black skinny jeans, and— Wait . . . Those were Alexander McQueen boots.
I liked it.
I liked it a lot.
Maybe I stared one too many times for a touch too long while he drank his beer, because one of his friends nodded toward me and shoved his arm. He met my gaze and I held it until he smiled and looked away. One of his other friends laughed and said something, giving him another shove, and after replying something that made them laugh, he made his way through the crowd toward me.
I was leaning on the bar and he just walked right up, half-pressing against me, to put his empty beer bottle on the counter. He smelled so good. “Evening,” he said, his voice deep.
I smiled because that was kind of direct, and I was glad we were on the same page. “Evening,” I replied. “Love your shirt.”
His eyes never left mine; his lips pulled up on one side. “Thanks.”
“Can I get you a drink?” I asked.
I signalled to the barkeep for another two. Two of what? I didn’t care. I turned back to him. “I’ve not seen you here before.”
He smirked. “I’ve not been here before.”
Mmm. Playful, then.
“Can I be frank?”
“You can be whoever you want.”
The server put two vodkas and lime on the bar, and I handed over a twenty before passing The Clash his drink. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t want to know his name. “Your friends are watching,” I said.
He didn’t turn around. “They’re taking bets to see how long it takes.”
“How long what takes?”
“For us to leave.”
He stepped in a little closer. His eyes smouldered. “Did you still want to be frank?” His voice was like velvet.
“Depends,” I replied.
“Depends on what?”
“On how much you have wagered on us leaving right now. I mean, how much will you win if we leave right now as opposed to twenty minutes from now? I’m all for enterprise bargaining and helping a guy out. I hope you backed yourself.”
He chuckled, warm and throaty. “That’s very considerate of you. And out of interest, when we do leave here, where do you envisage us going?” He glanced at his friends then, giving me a wonderful view of his jaw and neck before turning back to me. “Should I tell them to wait up for me?”
I sipped my drink, trying to hide my smile. “I live just two minutes from here, so the walk won’t take long. But, that being said,” I hedged, locking eyes with him, “I can’t see us being done until morning.”
His smile became a grin, he threw back his drink and again pushed me against the counter, closer this time, so he could put his empty glass down. With his strong body against mine, he grunted softly, and the sound sent a shiver through me. Warmth pooled low in my belly.
“I’m ready when you are,” he murmured.
Fucking hell, I was so ready.
“Then let’s go.”
His friends laughed as we walked out, and I couldn’t even be pissed about it. So what if he’d come out tonight to pick up. So had I. It was my one and only mission tonight, and it had taken all of five minutes. From locking gazes with him across the room to walking out.
Five minutes, tops.
I liked that there was no small talk. There was no ‘come here often’ bullshit. Hell, I still didn’t even know his name.
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…