The world of the future is starkly divided. Those with the money to afford it can become Alphas, people with superhuman IQ. The rest? Mundanes, unable to get a job beyond being a mechanic or working in food service, if they can get work at all.
But Nick, a mundane, disagrees with the system, and so does his dangerous friend Riki. Their dream is to build their own machine to raise IQ and give people the equal opportunity they deserve. The penalty for this, however, is death, and it must be done in secret.
Unfortunately, Nick is new to crime, and he meets a handsome man in a bar after a hard day at work. When he finds out Julian is an Alpha, he’s nervous, but continues with the flirtation, resulting in a hot couple of nights. When he finds out that Julian is an investigator, he realizes he has put his dream at risk.
A noble goal, and a stupid risk, but will it pay off?
Nick nearly rolled his eyes. What kind of idiot just ran down a mostly abandoned street after someone? For all Julian knew, Nick could be leading him out somewhere to stab him. For an Alpha from a big city, he certainly didn’t understand potential danger.
Metal jingled as Julian caught up, breath fogging in evaporating clouds. “What did I say? I only agreed with you. I’m ignorant. I don’t understand your life and never will.”
Nick stared down the dark street, the wind still whistling around the corner to M’s. “You came after me to say that?”
“No. I came after you because I want to know your name.”
Nick sighed, breath like smoke dissipating. “It’s Nick. Short for Nicholas.”
“Well, Nick, let me give you a ride home.” Julian held up car keys, the source of the jangling from before.
Nick narrowed his eyes, staring with some incredulity at the man in front of him. Was this some charity crap? “I don’t need one.”
“You have a car?”
“I live close by. It’s only ten minutes.”
“In this cold?”
“I’m used to it.”
“C’mon, what reason do you have not to take the offer? Some mundane pride?” He smirked.
Nick curled his lip. “That and the fact that just because someone has a pretty face doesn’t mean they can be trusted.”
Julian smiled wider. “So you admit to finding me attractive. I knew you were staring.”
“What of it?” Nick snarled.
“Well, why don’t you let me give you a ride and we’ll see where things go? You’re not exactly Hephaestus, you know.”
Nick tossed his head, cheeks heating as he thought back to English classes from high school. Right—the ugly deformed son of Zeus. “So I’m not hideous. That’s supposed to convince me?”
“Is it working?” Julian tilted his head, white teeth flashing in the dark.
“Fine.” It wasn’t worth arguing any longer. Nick wondered what Riki would think of Nick, notorious for his hatred of the inequalities that Alphas represented, getting a ride home from one who obviously wanted something out of it.
“My car is this way.”
Nick walked slightly behind Julian. He felt reasonably sure this man didn’t represent any danger, but he wasn’t about to let himself get caught too off guard. He put his hand in his pocket, fingering the wicked knife Riki had given him. If this man didn’t follow his directions to the letter…
“After you.” Julian opened the passenger door.
Nick stared. This was the back of the car…
Oh. An automatic. Great. Not only an Alpha, but a rich one. At least it wasn’t a Mercedes.
“Just tell it the address.” Julian slid in beside him, knees nearly touching. “It will know the way.”
And probably remember it forever. But he knew how to circumvent it. “Fourteen Chestnut Avenue. Post delete.”
“Just in case you forgot, I am an Alpha. We’re known for our good memories.” Julian chuckled.
Nick’s cheeks flamed, but he didn’t say anything as the car pulled smoothly out of the lot. It would take them no time at all to get there and then he could stop worrying about this man. And he had to admit, it was far more comfortable than walking in the cold would have been. He leaned back in the seat, breathing in the warm air.
A hand ghosted on his thigh and he sat up immediately. “What the hell?” he yelled, even as heat began to pool.
“C’mon,” Julian whispered now, his voice sultry in the dark. “I’ll stop if you want, but don’t lie and tell me you weren’t thinking about things like this in the bar. Again, I saw the way you looked at me before. Did you know your pupils dilate when you’re aroused?”
No, he hadn’t known that, and it sounded like bullshit to him, despite Julian being right about what he had been thinking. “We’ll be there in two minutes.”
“It doesn’t mean we have to get out the car immediately.” Julian’s hand stroked his leg again. “Your choice. I’ll stop if you want.”
Silence followed the statement, and Nick’s mind buzzed in the dark. Sex seemed to be the great equalizer—even Alphas wanted random flings. Considering the number of prostitutes some of Riki’s companions employed, Nick knew he shouldn’t be surprised.
But is that what he wanted? His body certainly did with the way it thrilled to the man’s touch. Images filled his mind, predictions of how powerful it would make him to have an Alpha writhing beneath his hands. But it only made him return to the original question—is that really all he wanted? Would he ever see Julian again?
One way to find out. “Alright, fine. Let’s see if you can make me come.”