The Other Team, Book 1
Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.
Copyright © 2016, G.R. George.
All rights reserved.
1 ounce of vodka
1 cup of orange juice
1 ounce of Galliano
1 orange slice
Mix vodka and orange juice in a Cocktail shaker. Pour into a highball glass full of ice.
Float Galliano on top and garnish with orange slice. Enjoy The Wallbanger!
Harvey Grace swigged down the last bitter dregs of his domestic beer. He pushed his knee into the bar, leaned forward, rubbed his eyes, and scratched his chin. The night was still young, but he certainly wasn’t. It was his birthday. The big four—five. So how did he plan to spend it? With a stranger. A stranger who had arranged to meet him at The Other Team—a gay sports bar that had recently opened in the city. A stranger who he’d found on an online dating site. The profile read “GWM, 32, tired of all the bullshit. Looking for stable guy, late 30s to late 40s, D/D Free, for fun and possible LTR.”
Tired of all the bullshit. He’d responded to that line the most. Especially today. It pretty much summed up his feelings in a nutshell. But using a dating site at his age? Ridiculous. His best friend Mark had said so. Multiple times.
He looked around the busy bar, loud with conversations surrounding the sporting events playing on eight different flat screens.
“What am I doing here?” he asked his empty bottle. He tapped on the bar for another.
Jay aka GWM had asked Harvey for his picture, and Harvey had uploaded the only recent one he had—a shot of him at the hospital’s Christmas party with a Santa cap on his head and a highball glass in his hand. He’d had a big, drunken smile on his face. Gray peppered his hair. The crow’s feet around his eyes, his “laugh lines,” clearly showed in the picture.
Sometimes when he looked at all those grooves fanning out from the edges of his eyes, he wished he’d laughed a little less in his youth. What an awful thought, to be so vain to wish away the joy of being young. Even so, he’d resisted sending a “younger” picture of himself. No false advertising.
Jay had responded quickly and asked to meet. The immediate invitation startled Harvey enough, he hadn’t asked for a picture back. Instead, he’d agreed to the date without hesitation. Mark had harangued him for being stupid, but asking for a picture after the fact would have made him feel like a douche. He just hoped Jay wouldn’t take one look at him, leave, and Harvey would never know.
The noise level grew to an excited roar around one of the televisions. Some team must have scored. It was 7:55 p.m. according to his watch and Jay—God! If that was even the guy’s name—still hadn’t shown. They’d made the date for 8:00 p.m., but in Harvey’s world, he considered “early” on time and “on time” late. His mood darkened.
The bartender placed another bottle in front of him. “Troubles?”
“No.” Harvey shook his head. He took the beer without making eye contact. He was tired. Forty—five years of tired. Moreover, to make this kind of date on his birthday was an act of desperation. What kind of bonehead makes a blind date with a stranger on his birthday?
His phone beeped. He lifted it from his coat pocket and glanced down. Fifteen messages, the last one from Mark. At one time, they’d been lovers. They’d almost moved in together. Harvey knew, even then, it couldn’t work. They’d split up two years ago, but they’d somehow managed to stay friends.
Normally, he would have answered Mark, but tonight he didn’t feel like dealing with him. Mark had moved on quickly, and he and his partner Brian apparently completed each other. The thought made Harvey nauseated.
“Scotch,” a young man said, filling the empty seat next to him. The kid, barely over twenty—one, was tall with a crop of messy blond hair hanging just past his ears. He wore a gray leather jacket that fit snug over his thin frame. Was this the elusive Jay? If so, he’d lied about his age.
The young man glanced at Harvey and nodded before turning his attention back to the bartender.
Wow. Navy blue eyes framed by long blond lashes. Gorgeous.
Harvey sucked in his gut and pulled his shoulders back, sitting a little straighter on the stool and hating himself for caring. He ran four times a week, swam a bit, and did some work with free weights, but forty—five years takes a toll on a body no matter how good its cared for.
The young man leaned over the bar, his ass a rounded perfection in tight jeans. “What time do you get off work?”
Harvey’s gaze snapped to the blond’s face, but the kid wasn’t talking to him. Instead, he stared hungrily at the bartender, taking the wind out of Harvey’s sails.
The bartender—a lanky fellow in his late twenties, early thirties with short—cropped light brown hair the color of wheat—narrowed his eyes at the blond and smiled. He pushed a rocks glass filled with amber liquid to him. “That’ll be $8.50.”
“Damn, you’re cold, Julian.” The blond fished a ten out of his pocket and placed it on the bar. “Can’t blame a guy for trying, though.”
“Nope.” The bartender, apparently named Julian, took the cash, made change, and placed the left over buck—fifty into a tip jar. He glanced at Harvey and winked. “Can’t blame a guy at all.”
His eyes, the same color as his hair, sparkled with mischief. Not classically handsome, but his full sensual mouth softened his narrow face, making him startlingly attractive. Under the black apron and the black long sleeve shirt, Harvey could tell the man had a long, lean frame. Why hadn’t he noticed before now?
Harvey’s cell phone played the chorus from “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. The song seriously dated him, and a warm flush of embarrassment crept into his cheeks. He groaned, pulling the phone from his pocket. Mark. Again. His ex was not giving up.
Harvey swiped the Ignore button. After he put the phone back in his pocket, he glanced up, startled to find the bartender staring at him. Under the gaze of those perceptive golden eyes, he felt naked and exposed. Making the situation worse, he rambled to fill the void. “My friend,” he explained. “He’s worried about me.”
When Julian didn’t reply immediately, Harvey continued. “You see, it’s my birthday today, and he thinks I should spend it with friends and family, but most of my friends and family are in relationships. I’m forty—five—fucking—years—old and the idea of spending my birthday with a room full of happy couples makes my teeth hurt.”
Julian puckered his lips into the sexiest pout. He rested forward on his elbows. In a soft, low voice, he said, “I didn’t know. Happy birthday.”
Harvey’s cock responded instantly creating an uncomfortable bulge in his slacks.
“You’re blushing,” Julian said, still just inches from Harvey. “It’s a good look on you.”
Wow. Did the bartender pass on the young stud just to flirt with me? “Uh, thanks.” Having Julian wrapped around his waist would also be a good look on him. He smiled at the image forming in his mind.
“Uh, yeah.” Jesus, pull yourself together! His date, if he was going to show, would be arriving in…Harvey looked at his watch. 7:58 p.m. In two minutes, he was going to blow off this Jay character, and set his sights on a certain charming bartender.
As if reading his mind, Julian asked, “Are you alone tonight? Or waiting on someone?”
“I’m…” Did he really want this nice looking man to know he was waiting for a date? Chances were, at this point, Jay wouldn’t show and Harvey would look like a total loser. Or worse, he could lie and say he was alone for the night, then have Jay show up and he would look like a lying ass. He sighed. Loser it was. “I’m meeting someone, maybe. It’s a blind date. One of those online things.”
Oh, Lord. Julian might have thought he was a loser if his date didn’t show, but now Harvey seemed determine to prove just how far of up the loser meter he ranked.
“I mean, I never do this, you know.” He rubbed his hand through his hair. “It’s just, I’m at that point in my life where I’m tired of fucking around. Not that I fuck around.” He kept stealing glances at Julian.
The bartender wore a sweet smile on his face while he washed up a few glasses behind the bar and waited for Harvey to finish.
“I’m just tired of…Well, just tired. I don’t want to play games anymore, you know?” He checked his watch again. 7:59 p.m. Had someone frozen time? “I don’t know if my date’s going to show or not. We’d arranged for eight sharp, but he can’t be terribly excited about meeting me, or he would have been here a little early. Right?”
“I don’t know about that.” Julian’s grin widened. He took off his work apron, folded it on the side of the bar, and motioned to another young man in his mid—twenties who came over to take his place. “You’re on until close, Chris.”
“Yep.” He nodded. “Have a good night, Jay,” the guy said.
“I will.” The bartender held out his hand to Harvey. “Hi, I’m Jay.” He put his hand on Harvey’s arm, slid back his coat sleeve and checked the watch. “Exactly on time.” He grinned widely. “And I’m excited to meet you, Harvey. You’re even better looking in person. Do you want to get a booth or a table?”
Flustered, Harvey gulped and said, “Booth.”
Jay Makes His Move
Jay Lincoln already liked Harvey. The man certainly knew how to dress, even if it was a little much for a sports bar. The suit was a great cut, tailored to fit his broad shoulders and tapered waist. The older man’s hair was a mixture of steel gray and slate. He had an angular face, slightly square, and almost heart—shaped lips with the upper just a tad broader than the lower. The color of his deep-set eyes were so light blue, they almost glowed in the dim light of the bar. Jay had thought the man was cute in his tipsy holiday picture, but in person, Harvey looked like the love child of Johnny Depp, Anderson Cooper, and Hugh Jackman all rolled into one hot man.
Shit, he was fucking dreamy.
It was hard to concentrate on what Harvey was saying when all Jay could do was think about was how it would feel to fuck that pretty mouth. He was tired of immature guys who only wanted sex and nothing else, so the X—rated thoughts made him feel like a hypocrite. When Todd, who worked as a bouncer at the bar, hit on him in front of Harvey, he’d wanted to punch the blond kid in the face.
He hated being called Julian. He’d always gone by Jay since he was little. The only reason Todd had known his first name was because he’d rifled through Jay’s wallet after they’d fucked in the storage closet a couple of weeks ago. Todd was nice enough, but emotionally unavailable.
He wanted more. His sex life had been a revolving door—never taking time to get to know the guys he shared his body with. He wanted a relationship with substance. And the first opportunity he had to meet a man who might fit the bill, what was he doing? The same thing he always did.
Jay forced himself to stop fantasizing and pay attention. “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m an orthopedic surgeon.”
If his cock hadn’t already been pressing against the seam of his jeans, finding out Harvey was a surgeon would have done it. There was something so sexy and rock star—like about surgeons. Not just doctors. They were doctors who cut people open and put them back together for a living. The stress of having someone’s life in his hands would have killed Jay. Harvey had to have balls of steel. Balls of steel that Jay wanted to lick and nibble and…Distractions! “That sounds really interesting.”
“It can be. Some surgeries can take eight to ten hours. It’s a young man’s game.”
“You’re not old,” Jay insisted.
“You should see me with my clothes off,” Harvey joked.
Jay didn’t laugh. “I’d like to.”
Harvey stiffened, and Jay immediately regretted coming on so strong. After all, he was the one who’d said he was looking for more than a one off. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. At least not out loud.”
It took a second, but Harvey laughed. It was rich and warm and vibrant. When he stopped laughing, he leaned forward, his blue eyes gazing directly into Jay’s soul. “I’d really like to kiss you.”
The unexpected request made Jay’s stomach flutter. “I’d like that very much.”
Harvey stood from his side of the booth and scooted in on Jay’s side. “Is this okay?”
“Yes,” Jay said, a little breathlessly.
Harvey placed his hand on Jay’s face, caressing his cheekbone with his thumb. “Your eyes are amazing. I’ve never seen anyone with quite the same color.”
Jay replied by leaning in, pressing his lips to Harvey’s for a brief, but tender kiss. The older man’s lips were supple, but dry. Very nice. No sloppy kissing there. He smiled, appreciating the hungry desire in his date’s expression. He slid one hand inside Harvey’s jacket, copping a feel of his toned abs. “You have a great body.”
Harvey responded by running the back of his hand down the front of Jay’s shirt.
Jay trembled. The intimacy of Harvey’s touch—light, seductive, and teasing, even over the thin fabric of his shirt—made Jay’s heart race. What they were doing—this slow play—was so much sexier than the chaotic, frenzied rush he usually experienced with his horny hook ups. This wasn’t random, though, was it? It was a date. Scheduled and arranged. Two people taking time out of their busy lives to make a connection.
“Wow, this is intense,” Jay whispered as he leaned in and licked Harvey’s lower lip.
This time, Harvey trembled. His tongue snaked out to taste the bit of saliva Jay left behind.
Damn! Jay wondered what that sweet mouth and tongue could do in a private setting.
Did Harvey have a hairy chest? God, he hoped so. He’d be disappointed if he found out the silver fox waxed or shaved.
Harvey’s cheeks were rough with a five o’clock shadow. Jay brushed his lips against the coarse texture. Harvey smelled like spice and vanilla. Jay drew a long pull of the scent through his nose. “Fuck, you smell so good.” He kissed Harvey chastely, but firmly.
“You’re amazing.” Harvey leaned back and put a small space between then. “Why did you do this tonight? You know, with me. It’s obvious you don’t have any problems finding a date.”
He answered Harvey’s question honestly. “Yeah. I won’t lie about it. But I’m fucking lonely. I don’t want to keep living that way.”
“Yes, but you could have a relationship with someone your own age, or younger even. Not someone over a decade older than you. Not my old ass.”
“Man, you don’t have a fucking clue how incredibly hot you are, do you? Harvey, you’re not a consolation prize. You are a first place catch.” Jay watched Harvey’s face color. “You keep blushing like that and I’m going to fall in love with you.”
Harvey stiffened again. Jay laughed.
“Don’t mess with me,” Harvey said.
“I’m only teasing, but that’s not to say it couldn’t happen.” Quickly, he leaned toward Harvey again and tugged his lower lip between his teeth in a quick nip. “I could totally eat you up.”
“Oh, shit,” Harvey muttered and pulled away. He pointed to a large, muscular, dark-haired man who’d just walked into the bar. “That’s my friend, Mark.”
A brown-haired guy, slightly shorter and less broad, followed closely behind. They were both attractive, Jay thought. Harvey had said Mark was his ex—boyfriend. The man looked like he worked out to obsession. Was that the kind of guy Harvey went for? Jay was thin, certainly not overweight, but he couldn’t compete with that kind of brawn and muscle.
Harvey’s Ex is a Dick
Mark was being a complete dick! Why would he show up at the bar with Brian, his boyfriend, in tow? Harvey had made it clear to him earlier in the day that he had no intention of celebrating his birthday with him. Since their break—up, Harvey had only been with one other guy, and it had been awkward and miserable. After the event, he’d thrown himself into work, taking more “on call” shifts, even when he’d maxed hours for the week.
He knew Mark still cared and worried about him, but he could get really crappy when it came to dolling out his opinion. Mark called it playing “Devil’s advocate.” Harvey called it the epitome of douche baggery. He didn’t even want to think about what Jay thought at this point. He hadn’t had this kind of chemistry with anyone in a very long time. Not since Mark.
He could smell the bourbon on Mark’s breath. His friend had started early on the drinking, something he rarely did. A drunk Mark was an unpredictable Mark. He didn’t want his craziness to spoil his date. Not when it was starting so well. “Look. I know you’re worried about me, but don’t. Jay isn’t a serial killer or anything nutso.”
His stomach fluttered as he remembered how perfectly Jay fit against him when they’d kissed. “I really like him,” he said, following Mark, who was making a bee—line for Jay.
Mark was a gym-freak. Harvey knew from personal experience that his friend had amazing abs, a thickly muscled chest, and thighs and arms to match. He had an incredible body—one he liked showing off. Tonight was no exception. Mark had on a tight black T-shirt with a deep V—neck tucked into his very tight mid—rise jeans. Brian intertwined his fingers with Mark’s. Staking his prior claim.
Mark smiled at Brian and kissed him. He wrapped his free arm around Harvey’s shoulder and steered the three of them toward the booth. Harvey didn’t miss Mark’s ego, but sometimes he missed the easy intimacy they used to share.
He stepped away from him. “Don’t blow this for me, okay? You have Brian, remember.”
“I’ll be nice.” His words held a slight slur. “Promise.” He crossed his heart. “But I’m not leaving until I’ve at least met this Jay of yours. I want to be able to describe him to the cops if they pull your body out of the Missouri River.”
Harvey rolled his eyes. “I don’t know how Brian puts up with you.”
Mark leaned over and whispered in Harvey’s ear. “Well, my friend, unlike you, he’s a very dedicated bottom.”
Harvey smacked Mark’s chest and stepped away from him. “Asshole.”
“Yes, a very willing asshole.”
“You’re insufferable!” The subject touched a nerve with Harvey. Their incompatibility in bed had been part of the reason for the break up. Mark was a total top, and while Harvey didn’t mind a good pounding occasionally, he liked to top just as much. Mark wouldn’t even consider letting Harvey fuck him. It became a huge point of contention between them.
Now he really didn’t want Mark talking to Jay. His ex was in a mood, and he was going to ruin yet another night for Harvey. When Harvey had made the date, Mark had said all kinds of stuff, about why a young guy might want to date someone so much older. A serial killer or looking for a bank, had made the top two on Mark’s list of reasons. Mark had convinced himself that the young man only wanted a sugar daddy.
Was it possible? After all, Jay was thirty—two and still working as a bartender. Yes, it was possible, but Jay hadn’t been faking the attraction between them when they’d kissed.
By the time they’d reached the booth, he’d made up his mind to nip this disaster in the bud. “Jay, this is Mark and Brian. Can Brian hang out for a minute? I need to talk to Mark alone for a minute. Is there some place private we can go?”
Jay looked startled and a bit confused, but he nodded. “You can use the office.”