Read an Excerpt
Sometimes, life can be free and easy at PrideWorks Publications. Nobody at the small gay and lesbian e-publishing house has to work on Saturdays, especially in the mornings. Marcus, AKA "The Boss", gets the whole weekend concept. People like to sleep in, sleep it off, read the paper, go to the mall or a park or a movie. Besides, there's plenty of times he'd just as soon stay downstairs in his apartment where it's cozy, crowded and warm, indulging in ... the finer things.
Anyway, no one's required to come in between Friday night and Monday morning. They're mostly good at disregarding normal hours anyway. But somehow, it always happens.
One by one, like stragglers on the Ark, they drift in and make themselves at home. There's reasons. It's lonely where they are, or there's no action on the streets. Maybe they're looking for a ride to the shops, or it could be they just stayed there and worked the night through.
Or they slept downstairs. Like Marcus, Ryan, Baz or Aidan.
One Saturday morning down below, Ryan crawls out from under the embroidered duvet in a bed he's still getting used to, opens one sleepy eye, and can already tell it's happened again. The alarm clock glares a baleful "9:00" at him, and he's pretty sure that's not P.M. He can smell the richness and slightly burned taint of Madison's coffee drifting down the stairwell, along with a hint of sugar and cinnamon that suggests she stopped off for pastries. Enrico, their token straight man, is talking quietly to someone--Marcus?--and he hears the creak of what has to be Nicholas on his stepladder, getting a beat-up volume down from the highest top shelf in the office library.
Ryan crawls--hell,nearly swims, this bed is huge--to the edge of the mattress and swings his legs over. No worries about cold toes; the floor's padded with thick rugs that send your soles to heaven. Blearily, he bats at the alarm clock so it won't go off later and wake anyone else up.
That is, if he's not the only one left. A glance over his shoulder at the various tangles of sheets and covers, lumps and bumps, and he spies one body still fast asleep in there, hugged tight to the wall under a heating vent. Baz. Ryan's first lover, and in many ways, his favorite. Poor guy, he looks pitiful. Did he get cold when Ryan rolled away in his sleep? That's unusual. Baz has more arms and legs than a squid has tentacles when he really wants to latch on. They must have passed out before the customary death lock.
It's an arduous trek back over the soft squishiness of the bed, but Ryan makes the sacrifice, kicking duvet out of the way in his travels. He'll make the thing up later. Maybe rope Aidan into helping. He'll complain, but end up helping. Ryan doesn't even think about asking the others because it's so not worth it. He's learned the hard way. Bitching from Baz and woeful put-upon looks from Marcus. Ugh.
Speaking of bitching, bitchers, and the bitch-ee in question ... Ryan folds himself up Indian-style at Baz's feet and lifts them onto his lap. Oh, the temptation to tickle ... but a quick eyeballing calculates the first thrashing kick would catch him square in his nose. No thanks. Besides, he has better things in mind.