Put a Ring on It
Ready or Knot
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date of Publication: September 9, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-63476-380-6 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-63476-381-3 eBook
Number of pages: 204
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed-slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet, until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via an NYC Times Square flash mob. Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms….
KIERAN’S PHONE buzzed incessantly in his pocket, and he glared at his khakis as if he could see through to the caller. What part of ‘away from my desk’ is confusing to you people?
It was his own fault for violating his core principle: Success invariably leads to diminished returns. He’d done one job well because it was interesting, and now everyone in the building wanted the Korean IT Guy With the Hair to be the one who showed up when they yelled for help.
He sank down against the wall until he sat folded, head on his knees. He’d hide out in the server room, at least until the afternoon sleepies hit around two and they all started playing their Facebook games. In fact, as long as they could get online to Facebook, probably no one would notice if everything else on the servers went dark.
This room had a consistently cool temperature, perfect humidity control, and top-of-the-line filters. His nose and eyes never itched when he was in here. The constant rush of the fans blotted out any outside noise.
The phone buzzed again, a steady rhythm. He should have put it on silent.
Just audible over the white noise of the fans, keys jangled outside, then scraped against the door. Not a lot of people had keys to the server room, but most of the ones who did could fire him. He rolled onto his knees and slid across the floor, pulled out a screwdriver, and prepared to look busy.
A voice came to him now—Shanara, the office manager. As bosses went, she wasn’t a bad one, but Kieran still figured hiding and ignoring his phone would probably get him reported to the head of IT, who was a total dick.
“Someone said they saw him headed this way.”
“Thank you for all your help, Shanara.”
Kieran dropped the screwdriver. What the hell was Theo doing here, thirty blocks away from where Kieran thought he was? His brain raced through multiple possibilities. Theo had met Kieran’s family, but why would Theo have been the one to come if something had happened to one of them?
“My pleasure, Mr. Medina.”
The door opened. Kieran straightened from picking up his screwdriver and caught Theo’s wink square in the chest.
There it was again. That funny jolt that Kieran was sure his sister, the epidemiologist, could explain resulted through neurotransmitters, conditioned responses, and hormone dumps. But since Siobhan had been in Sierra Leone for the past eight months working to contain the latest Ebola outbreak, she was a little busy for stupid questions about why Kieran’s heart jumped when his boyfriend looked at him like that.
As cheerful as Theo usually was, Kieran was pretty sure Theo wouldn’t wink if something bad had happened. It didn’t explain why he was suddenly next to Shanara in the door to the server room.
Hi seemed like a safer bet than What the fuck are you doing here? so he went with that.
“Hey, I wanted to take you to lunch.” Theo’s smile didn’t affect Kieran’s nervous system like that look could, but it was definitely an autonomous response that made Kieran smile back. “I planned to do it tomorrow, but it’s the understudy’s first matinee and I need to be there.”
“You’re so lucky, Kieran.” Shanara had a smile a bit brighter than her usual professional one. Theo had the same effect on other people. “My boyfriend probably won’t even remember.”
Kieran was already in the same boat with Shanara’s boyfriend. Then he saw the rose Theo produced from behind his back, and Kieran’s brain latched on to the significance. Valentine’s Day was this weekend.
Theo turned and offered the rose to Shanara. “If you can spare him.”
She held the paper-wrapped stem in the space between them. “I thought this was for Kieran.”
Theo sighed. “He’s allergic to flowers. And romance. But I’m working on him.”
Kieran shoved his glasses up on his nose and glared, only to get smacked with another Theo wink, which induced a helpless shake of his head.
“It might take some time….” Theo trailed off and glanced at Shanara.
Her smile was broad, sharpening her cheeks. “You have personal leave banked, right, Kieran?” Barely pausing for his agreement, she said, “I’ll write you as out for the afternoon, let Todd know.”
Kieran nodded. The less he had to deal with the asshole director of IT, the better. Especially now that Kieran was in high demand.
“Thank you so much, Shanara.” Theo handed her a business card. “Just present that at the Will Call window any time and they’ll take care of you.”
“Thank you, Theo. Be sure to lock up the server room, Kieran.”
Shanara shut the door, which had an auto lock, so Kieran was puzzling over her order when Theo put his hands behind Kieran’s neck and kissed him.
A typical Theo kiss, warm, open, inviting Kieran to decide if it was going deeper.
Kieran put his hands on Theo’s back, under his coat, touched the velvety fleece, and breathed in the rich leather scent from his shoulder. The heavy wool coat Theo had been wearing when they met vanished immediately when Kieran confessed his allergy to it.
When Kieran drew back, Theo released him with a leer. “Cozy in your little den, here.”
Kieran shook his head. “The servers are sensitive to humidity. I’m pretty sure that includes jizz.”
“I’m insulted. I never spill a drop.”
Theo said it mockingly, but the reminder of how incredible Theo was at sucking dick stirred a tingle in Kieran’s balls.
“Yeah.” Theo leaned to brush his forehead against Kieran’s. “You’re thinking about it now.”
He was right. Because Theo was damned good at reading Kieran. The first person ever who bothered to pay enough attention to figure out—and offer—what Kieran wanted.
A nooner sounded interesting, but they certainly weren’t doing it in the server room.
“Thought you said we were going to lunch?”
“I did. Are you hungry?”
Kieran shrugged. He could eat, but he didn’t want Theo to think Kieran expected a lobster dinner just because he was peckish. Theo liked making people happy. He wasn’t a pushover or anything. Kieran had heard him get pissed enough to snap at people on the phone. Once when he met Theo at the theater, Kieran had heard him go off in a rage about a delivery of light bulbs. So scratch that. Theo was nice to most people, but he liked trying to make Kieran happy. And that didn’t suck at all.
The look in Theo’s eyes did that thing to Kieran’s circulatory system again as Theo tugged him toward the door. “Come on, then.”
About the Author:
K.A. Mitchell discovered the magic of writing at an early age when she learned that a carefully crayoned note of apology sent to the kitchen in a toy truck would earn her a reprieve from banishment to her room. Her career as a spin-control artist was cut short when her family moved to a two-story house and her trucks would not roll safely down the stairs. Around the same time, she decided that Chip and Ken made a much cuter couple than Ken and Barbie and was perplexed when invitations to play Barbie dropped off. She never stopped making stuff up, though, and was surprised to find out that people would pay her to do it. Although the men in her stories usually carry more emotional baggage than even LAX can lose in a year, she guarantees they always find their sexy way to a happy ending.
K.A. loves to hear from her readers.
She is often found talking about her imaginary friends on Twitter @ka_mitchell
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