Thirty-four year old Cannon Rake, a wedding photographer for the cyber company Wedding Peeks, is not getting along well with his boss Lori Banter. When she learns through the grapevine that he’s socializing with her nemesis Patrick from Always a Groomsman, Lori decides to terminate Cannon's employment.
What isn’t there to like about Patrick Brogan? He’s handsome, Spartan-like, and runs his own wedding consultant company, which just happens to compete with Lori’s cyber startup. After Cannon dates the stud, he learns the truth behind Lori’s hatred for Patrick.
When tempers become heated and kisses sinful, Cannon starts to fall for Patrick and his little brother Jesse, who suffers from autism. But will Cannon forever be a groomsman wanting to be the groom? Or is there a Mr. Right out there for him in a world full of so many Mr. Wrongs? And is that Mr. Right Patrick Brogan?
I hadn’t expected company on Pod Street. There was a forest green Dakota truck parked in my asphalt drive when I returned home from an hour-workout at Mike Muscle’s Gym. A man sat behind the Dakota’s steering wheel with his head leaned back, but I couldn’t make out exactly who it was. I climbed out of my Volvo, walked up to the passenger side door of the truck, looked inside, and saw the grinning ginger napping. A few taps on the window’s glass stirred him awake. After a jump of immediate fear and turning his red head in my direction, he bloomed with an intoxicating smile, excited to see me.
I smiled back; good people usually do. A quick wave was executed and I watched him unstrap his seatbelt. He then climbed out of the truck, circled its front, walked up to me, and said, “Cannon Rake, I hope I’m not bothering you.”
We shook hands. “You’ll never be a bother to me, Patrick.”
“Trust me, I can be,” he admitted, and surprised me with a manhandling hug after releasing my hand from our polite handshake.
He growled while embracing me, pressed his T-shirt covered chest against my own, and breathed on my neck, “You are one sexy man, Cannon. I just need to say that.”
“Why are you attracted to me?”
He pulled away from me, which bummed me out a little, rubbed my chest with his left palm for no reason that I knew of, and said, “What isn’t there to like about you, Cannon? You’re a professional, cute, and sane. Why wouldn’t I like you?”
“But you hardly know me,” I said, shaking my head. “I could have bodies hidden in my basement. I could be a terrorist.”
“Something tells me that you’re a complete gentleman.”
I laughed. “You’re right. Or so people in Templeton tell me.”
“Which brings me to my next question.”
“Ask away, Patrick. I’m ready to hear what you have to say.”
He removed a light blue and white piece of vellum card from the front pocket of his tight jeans, passed it to me, and said, “Two cowboys are getting married this weekend. I was wondering if you wanted to be my plus one. What do you think?”
I fingered the vellum card and studied its information, which clearly suggested that it was an invitation. According to the invitation, a Mr. Tanner Miles was going to marry a Mr. Bill Thrower at The Tuckerton Orchard in Espy, a city southeast of Templeton. The date and time were printed on the invitation. “You need a plus one then?” I asked, fidgeting with the vellum card, nervous in the guy’s presence, but not really knowing why.
“I want you as my plus one, Cannon. The two of us will have a good time. It’s a small wedding party and my responsibilities are minimal as the groomsman. I’ll be able to spend some quality time with you. Something tells me that you’ll be interesting to get to know and learn things about.”
“What kind of quality time are you talking about?”
He moved a palm forward, brushed it against my left pec, rolled fingers over the pec’s firm nipple, and said, “That’s up to you, of course. I’m not the type of guy to push anything on someone.”
Something told me that he liked to push men around, in a sexual and good way, no doubt. When he removed his palm from my chest, I said, “I’ll tell you what. Let me think about this overnight. I’ll give you a call tomorrow.”
“I have a better plan. You tell me your number and I’ll call you. I’m sure you can make up your mind by tomorrow around noon.”
“I’m sure I can.”
We shook hands and he thanked me for my time.
“Good to see you again,” I said.
I was pretty sure our contact was going to end there and then, but it didn’t. Patrick became more friendly with me, drew me into his arms for a chest-clinging hug, rocked me against him, and said, “This is going to be a fun date if you say yes.”
Something told me he was right, but I wasn’t sure why. All I knew is that it felt great being against a man again, close to his firm nipples and solid abs, and breathing his strong musky scent into my lungs. I missed that warm and tender emotional contact with a man and couldn’t remember the last time that I felt elated inside by it, close to the same gender.
“I like you, Cannon Rake,” he said, squeezing me.
Being liked was nice, but being hugged by someone who liked me was even better. Amen to that.