One day, Eason Wickham will push his next-door neighbor down the stairs. Nate Allen might be hot, but he’s the most annoying person Eason has ever met. He has no respect for the people living in the building, and night after night, he has a party. Whenever Eason rings his doorbell and tells him to keep it down, he flirts and tries to get Eason to come inside.
Calling the cops does not affect Nate's behavior, and neither do Eason's angry Post-It notes. But when Eason is hit by a car and fractures his leg, Nate sends his friends packing and makes sure Eason is okay. He cooks for him, shops for him, and does his laundry, but he's still the most annoying person Eason has ever met. Right?
The cute Post-Its Nate leaves for him to find doesn't mean he's a different person, and while Eason longs for when Nate gets off work every day, it doesn't mean they should be more than friends. Does it?
It had been a long week, but luckily Eason only had one day left to work before it was weekend again. The July heat had the clothes sticking to his body most uncomfortably, and he couldn’t wait to get out of the suit.
As he walked up the last flight of stairs, a pink Post-It caught his eye. It was fastened to his door right above the keyhole.
Sighing, he grabbed it and read: Your cat is under my bed.
Eason’s heart banged hard. Loki. He rang Nate’s doorbell, and when the door opened, Eason pushed past Nate.
“Loki? Loki, come to Daddy.” He looked around. Nate’s apartment was neat and clean -- not at all what he’d expected. He located the bedroom and dropped to his knees. As he looked in under the bed, he heard the rustle of clothes from behind him and looked back between his knees at Nate’s feet.
“You paint quite the picture, Eason. Mind if I take a photo?”
“Stop it! Where is he? Is he hurt?”
“Love your suit. I’ve always had a thing for flight attendants.”
Eason growled but spotted Loki’s greenish-yellow eyes in the dark in the corner. “I’m a ticket agent. I never board the planes.”
“Oh ... your ass still looks mighty fine in those pants.”
Eason shook his head. “Can’t you be serious for once?”
Nate’s voice dropped an octave or two. “Oh honey, if you had any idea how serious I am.”
The shiver was back. “Nate.” Eason put as much warning as he could into that one word.
“Fine, but I am serious. You’re hot, Eason.”
“Focus.” Eason crawled closer to Loki. “Why is he here?”
“I came home from work not too long ago, my shift ends early on Thursdays, and I went to open the balcony door. It was sunbathing on the chair cushion, but I think I spooked it --”
“Him. His name is Loki.”
“Right. Anyway, he ran past me, fast as lightning, so I went around here searching for him, and he’s been cowering in there for the last forty minutes or so. Hisses as soon as I try to grab him.”
Eason hummed. Loki wasn’t normally a cat who hissed, but it was an unfamiliar apartment.
“Come on, baby.” Eason reached in under the bed, stretching his hand out to Loki. He didn’t want to pull him out, but he would if he had to.
“There was a hole in the net or not in the net, you had fastened it to the wall with some double-sided adhesive rubber strip or something, and it was torn.”
“It’s the kids you hang with. Someone tore it to be able to throw the beer bottle on my balcony.” Anger surged inside again. He hated the kids Nate hung out with.
Nate hummed. “Have you had him long, the cat, I mean?” Nate was still behind him, which made Eason aware of being on all fours with his ass up in the air. The shiver slithering through him had to be because of the temperature difference between the cool bedroom and the sweltering heat outdoors. Same with the flush climbing his cheeks, and the way heat was building in his groin. For fuck’s sake, he didn’t like Nate. He might be hot, but he wasn’t nice.
Loki bumped his nose against Eason’s knuckles which had him smiling. “There you go. Come on. You’re such a good boy. Come to Daddy.”
Nate groaned behind him, but Eason did his best to ignore him.
Loki crawled closer, and Eason got his hand around his bum and pushed him forward, backing away as he did. When Loki came out in the light of the room, Eason embraced him and nuzzled his neck, the black fur tickling his nose. “There you go.”
Nate cleared his throat. “Can I get you a beer?”
Eason scrunched his nose.
He guessed accepting a drink was the polite thing to do. “Sure, thanks.”
The smile was nothing Eason had seen before, for lack of better word, he’d say it was genuine. It made him nervous, almost as nervous as the heat in Nate’s eyes did. Eason didn’t want to be attracted to Nate.
“Go sit on the balcony, and I’ll be right out.”
“I’ll go leave Loki in my apartment and change clothes.”
“No, leave them on.”
Eason stared at him. “Have you any idea how hot this suit is?”
Nate’s eyes gleamed. “I do.”
“I meant; I’m sweating.”
Chuckling, Nate shrugged. “Fine. You dressed in a suit, crawling around on all fours on my bedroom floor will forever be burnt into my memory.”
Eason rolled his eyes and headed for the door. Nate’s laugh followed him out.