In matters of the heart, there’s no such thing as business as usual.
Thomas Stepford spent years building a very successful business and now at thirty-nine, he wants a quieter life. With his parents needing help, he decides to return home. He can’t get away from business completely and needs an assistant—but the man who is hired isn’t quite what he had in mind.
Brandon Wilson, the ink on his degree barely dry, needs a job, and his mother helps him get one as Mr. Stepford’s assistant. Thomas doesn’t seem to remember, but Brandon worked mowing the stunningly attractive older man’s lawn years ago. Thomas was Brandon’s teenage fantasy, and now he’s Brandon’s boss.
Thomas and Brandon are both determined to keep their relationship strictly business, but the old attraction is still there. They learn to work together even as the tension between them reaches the boiling point. But just as they start to surrender, Thomas’s old life in New York calls him. Even if he resists that pull, can their newfound relationship survive when Brandon receives the call of his dreams… from Hollywood?
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Edition/Format: 1st Edition/Format ~ eBook & Print
Brandon stepped inside and his eyes watered. He blinked to try to keep his reaction at bay, but it didn’t do very much. The house had been closed up because of the air-conditioning, and the dog dander had had a chance to really build up. All Brandon could hope for was that he wasn’t inside too long and could get out before his reaction became too severe and he was reduced to a sneezing mess.
Mr. Stepford closed the door. “What’s this?” he asked, looking at the plate Brandon was carrying.
“My grandmother sent these over for your mom.” He was about to hand the plate to Mr. Stepford when he sneezed loudly.
The dogs yipped and the plate went flying out of his hands. Brandon groaned as the plastic wrap gave way and cookies flew in every direction. The plate shattered on the floor, and bits of cookie ended up everywhere.
What a way to make a first impression.
Brandon wanted to crawl under the sofa and hide, but that would only send his allergies into overdrive.
“Buddy, Clementine, go in the other room.” They ignored him, and Mr. Stepford scooped both dogs into his arms and went out back to let them outside.
Brandon sneezed again and wondered how he could clean up the mess he’d made.
“Look, I’m sorry.” He could feel the job that he’d thought he had slipping out of his grasp. “Let me help clean this up.” He sneezed again, the sound echoing through the house.
“It’s all right. Give me a minute.” Mr. Stepford got a trash can and threw everything, including the pieces of the plate, in it. Then he got out the vacuum, which only seemed to add more dust to the air. Brandon left the room and sat at the kitchen table until Mr. Stepford was done. “Okay. I’m going to guess that you’re allergic.”
Brandon nodded. He turned to where two small doggie faces peered in the sliding glass doors. “Sorry. I didn’t know or I’d have taken some medication.” The stuff made him sleepy as hell and dried him out to the point that he felt like a desert, but it got him through when he needed it.
“How about we go outside?” Mr. Stepford said.
Brandon couldn’t get out of the house fast enough.
Mr. Stepford let the dogs back in, and they left the house. Brandon took as deep a breath as he could, sneezing a few more times as his eyes began to clear. He knew it would take a while for the rest of his symptoms to dissipate.
“Marjorie said you would be over.”
“She told me that you wanted to meet me and that you’d go over the kinds of things you thought I’d be doing for you.” Thankfully they stopped on the sidewalk out in front of the house. This was a strange place to conduct an interview, but Brandon was grateful he could breathe once again. “I graduated with an MBA a few months ago. I’m a hard worker, and I know I can do whatever you need me to do.”
Brandon took a good look at Mr. Stepford and had to admit that he was even more attractive now. The years had been generous to him. There was the slightest hint of gray at the temples of his otherwise jet-black hair, and his eyes were as piercing as they had been. He was broader and seemed stronger, more solid, and definitely as hot as the Mr. Stepford he remembered.
“An MBA, that’s very good,” Mr. Stepford said. “But if you have that kind of degree, why do you want to be my assistant?” His deep brown eyes stared intensely at Brandon, who forced his mind to stay on track.
“Well… shoot…,” he demurred, then figured honesty was best. “I need a job. I got my degree and I did very well in school. Marjorie has all the details and that. Right now, I’m living with my grandmother, and I can’t keep sponging off her. She and your mom are friends, and I got the word that you needed some help, so I applied.”
“I see,” Mr. Stepford said skeptically.
Brandon knew he only had once chance to try to salvage this entire situation. “I had one job all through high school, and then when I left, I spent all four years of undergrad waiting tables. I work hard and I don’t change jobs on a whim. Learning the business world from the ground up is important, regardless of the title. If you want someone who will do their best to be a good assistant, then that’s me.” He shifted his weight from foot to foot, meeting Mr. Stepford’s gaze with his own until he was wracked by a sneeze and wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere. “Thank you for meeting with me.” Not extending his hand because he had just sneezed all over it, he went back to his car, knowing he’d blown that interview so sky-high, it was pathetic.
About the Author
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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