Anyone But You
Jack Kieza has a problem. He’s deeply attracted to men, but his homophobic family has left him too afraid to act on it. With his thirtieth birthday around the corner, his curiosity gets the best of him, and he finds himself at a gay club. After spending a fiery night with drag queen Sheila Saltue, everything changes. Especially when he discovers her alter ego: his boss, Ryan Swift.
Ryan knew he should’ve said no the second Jack approached him. Now he can’t stop himself from texting Jack every chance he gets. But Jack won’t let him take the wig off during sex, and being Sheila off-stage is wearing thin.
The more time they spend together, the more intense their feelings get, but Jack isn’t ready to date a man yet. When drag queens start turning up murdered, it forces Jack to reexamine his feelings, because what if Ryan is next? While Jack wants their burgeoning relationship to work, it would mean having to admit who he is to the world. And that’s an idea as frightening as death.
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:
Mentions of suicidal thoughts
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish. Click on a label to reveal its content.
Heat Wave: 5 - Very explicit love scenes
Erotic Frequency: 4 - Fairly frequent
Genre: horror, mystery, romance, suspense / thriller
Orientation: bisexual / pansexual, gay
Tone: dark, gritty, intense, realistic
Themes: abduction/kidnapping/hostage (actual), abuse, acceptance, angst, coming out, family, first time, homophobia / transphobia, out for you / bi for you, self-discovery / self-reflection, stalking / harassment, workplace romance
Kinks: barebacking, clothed sex, cross-dressing, dirty talk, face-fucking, hate-sex/angry sex, humiliation, power exchange, public play, rape fantasy (consensual), rough sex
Settings: America, bar / club, Maryland
Careers: lawyer / paralegal / barrister
Ryan hated doing his makeup at the club. De-dragging was one thing, but he liked to focus when he was painting his face, and having half a dozen other people running in and out around him made that a little difficult. But the Owens’ case had kept him at the office longer than he’d wanted, so he had to do what he had to do. He slid the wig cap into place, twisted the top off his glue stick, and started gluing down his brows.
Usually, unless he had something special planned, he let his hands do the walking and let the final product be a surprise. Tonight, he wanted a more classic feel. Something understated, more woman than queen. Something that might make Jack take a second look.
Where the hell had that come from? He blinked himself back to reality, noticed he’d overdone his nose contour, cursed under his breath, and wiped it away before starting again. Already his mind was wandering, back to Jack, the associate they’d hired at the office a few summers ago. Jack was attractive, sure. And yeah, Ryan might have wanted to drag him into the copy room and show him how all the buttons worked. Once or twice. But the first rule of being a good boss was you didn’t fuck your subordinates. No matter how much you wanted to.
And he really wanted to. A few weeks ago he’d gone down to the gym on the second floor of their office building to grab a quick shower before his show and found Jack on the weight bench, muscles bulging and body glistening. It had been nearly a full minute before Ryan had realized he was staring. Mouth dry, Ryan had dipped out of sight as Jack dropped the bar back into the cradle with an audible grunt of relief.
Ever since then, Ryan had seen Jack all over the office, like Jack had been following him. He’d even thought he’d detected a hint of flirting, but it was probably all in his mind. Even if it wasn’t . . . he could never go there. Career suicide, party of one.
That didn’t stop Ryan from wondering what Jack looked like out of those clothes, though, as he beat his face with setting powder and let it do its thing.
He pulled on his outfit for the night, then spun this way and that in the mirror, making sure the sequins still caught the light the way he wanted.
There was a knock at the door, and he turned, raising an eyebrow. The queens in this club didn’t usually knock. They barged in, got what they needed, and left. “Come in?”
Justine poked her head in. Her wig looked like a giant beehive, yellow, streaked with white and little patches of black every few inches going up.
“Just wanted to check in and tell you to kill it tonight.”
Ryan smiled at the queen who’d put him in drag for the first time. “Don’t I always?” Justine blew a kiss and backed up.
There was a thud from the hallway, followed by Justine’s disgusted grunt. “Can you watch where the fuck you’re going?” Then the click clack of heels, and she was gone.
Valentine appeared in the doorway, glaring back the way she’d come. “God, I can’t stand her. Always walking around like she owns the place just because she’s been around since before the bug walked.”
Ryan smirked. “You two need to fuck already and get it over with.” He inspected himself in the mirror. Satisfied, he pulled his wig from the foam head and pinned it into place.
Sheila was making her appearance once more, and it was time to give her adoring fans what they wanted. “See you, bitch,” she said to Valentine, giving her an air kiss.
She left the dressing room and headed for the stage.
Thinking with your dick was never a good idea. Jack had learned that back in high school, but he’d stopped using his upstairs brain to think as soon as Sheila shimmied on stage, sequins glimmering in the club’s overhead lights. The drag queen’s set had started with a slow, sultry song that’d gotten Jack’s pulse racing, and now, she was doing acrobatics on a pole one of the bouncers had wheeled out for her. Fuck, he needed to get laid.
And he hoped Sheila would help him with that. She jumped off the pole and landed in a split, grinding against the ground to the beat of one of Britney Spears’s early hits. Jack swallowed. He couldn’t tear his gaze away from the queen. Her face was mostly makeup, that was clear, and she was still one of the most beautiful people he’d ever seen. There was something familiar about her, as well, though. He couldn’t put his finger on why, but he felt like he’d seen her before. The horndog in him wanted to get closer. Wanted to know more. Wanted to know if she’d do a split like that on his cock.
He took a few steps forward, pulled some ones from his back pocket. Everyone else had thrown their bills on the stage, but he wanted her to know that these were from him. He sidled up to the edge and shook the dollars to signal her. She looked down, faltered for half a second. He wouldn’t have even noticed if he hadn’t been watching so intently. A heartbeat later, she was back on routine. She sank to her knees and crawled to him, eyes practically screaming Fuck me! as she lip-synched.
Her face was nearly in his crotch before she straightened up and gestured for him to stick the money in her cleavage. He did as instructed. Their eyes met and he licked his lips. He wanted to follow her to her dressing room, bend her over the vanity, and not stop until she saw stars. But that would be creepy. He couldn’t go back there, uninvited. Maybe if he had a chance to talk after the show, he could charm her and she’d invite him. Yeah. That’s what he’d do.
She winked and climbed to her feet, giving her ass a little shake before strutting off to the other side of the stage.
He needed a drink. A cold shower. Anything to take his mind off her. He couldn’t tear himself away, though. He stayed rooted to that spot until she took her final bow.
“My name is Sheila Saltue,” she said in a false, chipper voice, “and I’m here every weekend. Thank you all for coming!” She busied herself collecting the rest of the dollar bills as the club’s own music blared through the speakers and the crowd surrounding the stage started to disperse.
Jack looked around. While Sheila had been on, a red glow had filled the club, adding to the allure of her performance, but now it was just a room again. Dance floor right behind him with couples here and there, grinding against one another to whatever song was playing. The bar was on the other end of the floor, crowded with people getting their liquid courage for the night. The bartender was flustered already. Jack scanned the balcony above them. A few people leaned against the railing, but everyone was absorbed in their own conversations. Which meant that no one was paying attention to him.
This was his chance. Jack approached the stage, throat suddenly dry. His dick strained against the fabric of his boxers, and he’d go insane if he didn’t find some relief soon. If he couldn’t hit it off with Sheila, he’d beat off in the bathroom and then head home.
She looked up at him, and there it was again, that flash that something wasn’t right, but as soon as it had appeared it was gone. So fast he wondered if he’d imagined it.
“Hello,” he said, a little more hoarsely than he liked, so he cleared his throat and tried again.
Sheila smiled, a thousand-watt gleam that made her even more gorgeous. “Hey, handsome.”
Jack dared to take a step closer so they wouldn’t have to shout to hear each other over the music. “I’m Jack,” he said, holding out his hand, which she took in a surprisingly strong grip. “I really enjoyed your show.”
Her smile became a grin. “I could tell. You almost put my eye out with that thing.” She gestured at his crotch, and it took everything in him not to cover it. He shouldn’t have worn the sweats. “I’m Sheila. It’s nice to meet you.”
They stood in silence for a full five seconds before Sheila nodded and went back to collecting her pay. Jack racked his brains for something, anything to say, but he couldn’t think straight. His brain wasn’t working at all, but he couldn’t let her leave without trying.
He took a seat on the edge of the stage, still trying to figure out his next move. This was so stupid! What had he been thinking?
That you wanted to fuck a man before you’re thirty, and since you’re too much of a chickenshit to just do it, a drag queen is the safer bet. Since, you know, they at least look like women.
He hated the part of his brain that answered questions he hadn’t actually asked. But it wasn’t wrong. Not really.
“Well, I’ve gotta run, cutie, but I’ll see you around. Come check me out again.” She turned and headed for the steps.
“I was thinking about trying to get into doing drag,” he said, inventing wildly. “Could you maybe give me some pointers?”
She paused, spun around, and met his gaze again. “Have you now?”
No. He absolutely had not. “Yeah. But I don’t know how to do makeup or anything about wigs or dresses or stuff like that.”
She shot him a skeptical look. “You should maybe get a crash course in all that, first.”
“Yeah. I was hoping maybe you could help me.”
She appraised him for a moment. She didn’t seem to buy what he was selling but, right when he thought she was about to dismiss him, she jerked her head in the direction of a corner shrouded in shadows. “Follow me.”
His heart pounded as he tailed her down a hallway. Posters advertising different drag competitions lined the black walls. Red lights shined down on them from little circles in the ceiling. Jack couldn’t take his eyes off the queen, though; the way she filled out the skirt she wore, the glimmer of her top. Even her fucking pantyhose sparkled.
They turned a corner, and he could see a door set into the far wall. The closer they got, the harder his pulse beat. Maybe this was a mistake. Underneath all that foundation, Sheila was still a man. Jack had never been able to keep it up when he’d tried to fuck a man before, so why should this time be any different? They always got him hard in the beginning, and God, he always wanted to fuck them, but he’d get to “go” time, and everything would go to shit. Every time, without fail, he’d imagine his parents, or his fucking brother, or one of the other homophobic assholes in his family (Cal), and he’d go soft in an instant. What would they think of him if they knew what he was doing?
He wanted to turn and run before he embarrassed himself again, but sheer determination kept him following. He would try, because he couldn’t go his whole life refusing himself his desires. If it worked, it worked. If it didn’t, it didn’t.
They made it into the dressing room at last, and Sheila shut the door behind them. This was nothing like he’d imagined. He’d pictured a large, expansive space with a line of lit vanities and mannequin heads topped with wigs and rows and rows of dresses and heels. But this was almost exactly the opposite. It was hardly bigger than his bathroom at home. There was only one mirror perched atop a rickety-looking table and a large rolling rack to the right of it. On the tabletop were a few palettes of color, tubes of what Jack assumed were foundation, some brushes, and one foam head, but that was about as glamorous as it got.
The aroma of cinnamon hanging in the air struck him as odd. Not exactly a staple smell for the backroom of a club he would have thought. He’d imagined it would have been more musky. Jack looked around and saw a scent diffuser plugged into a socket right next to the makeup station.
Sheila leaned against the wall to Jack’s left, drumming her false nails against a nail file Jack hadn’t even seen her pick up. She studied him a moment, seemingly taking in every inch of his appearance. When their eyes met, she smiled again and tilted her head to the side. Jack found himself inspecting her wig. At least, it seemed like a wig. The blonde hair could have easily been coming out of her own scalp. He didn’t see a line or an imperfection anywhere.
“It’s called lace-front, honey,” Sheila said. “Designed specially to make it look like I grew this all on my own.”
Jack’s face flooded with heat. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to stare.” God, could he be any more of a creep?
“It’s fine.” She pushed herself off the wall and strode over to the mirror, where she took a seat and regarded him again. “People have been watching me all my life. May as well give them something to look at, right?” Jack nodded. But he still felt like a boob. “So what’s your style?”
“My . . . my style?”
“Yeah. Which corner of drag calls to you the most? Are you one of the pageant girls? Comedy? Are you a dancer? A singer? Or are you interested in the scandalous underbelly?”
“I . . . um . . .”
After a moment, Sheila sighed. “Let’s cut the crap, what do you say?” Her voice had dropped an octave or so, and now it sounded familiar. He just couldn’t place where he’d heard it. “It’s obvious you don’t know enough about drag to care about doing it, so why are you really here?”
Jack bit his bottom lip. “Honestly?” He scratched the back of his head and sighed. “I wanted to talk to you.”
“So why didn’t you say that? You didn’t have to make up a story.”
Jack shrugged and leaned against the door. “I don’t know. I got nervous and it just came out.”
“I hope that doesn’t happen often,” Sheila said without missing a beat.
Jack blinked. “That sounded dirty.”
Sheila tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and turned to the mirror. “Maybe it was.” She wiped a smudge of lipstick from the side of her mouth. “Or maybe it wasn’t. That, my dear, is for you to decide.”
This was his chance. That had basically been an invitation, right? But Jack’s legs had turned to lead. He tried to take a step forward, but the only thing he managed to do was stand there and look like a dummy.
Sheila studied him through the mirror and shook her head. “You really are bad at this, aren’t you?” She turned back around, spread her legs far enough to run a finger up her inner thigh. “I assume this is what you wanted?”
Jack’s mouth went dry. He opened it, but couldn’t make a word come out, so closed it again. He simply nodded.
“That’s all you had to say, then,” Sheila said with a seductive glint in her eyes. “Get your sexy ass over here.”
Jack’s stomach knotted as he took one step forward. Then another. And another. When he was in arm’s reach, Sheila tugged him closer. She slid down his sweats and appraised his dick through his boxer-briefs.
“I’ve always admired a man who can pull off canary.” She sank to her knees and slid the underwear down, and thank God he was still hard. He usually would have lost it by now.
Her face faltered. He didn’t have the biggest cock in the world, only average by the American standard, but he hoped it wouldn’t stop her from going through with this.
She wrapped her hand around it, looked up at him, and smiled. “This should be fun.”
She started forward, but hesitated, eyes closed. Jack’s breath hitched. What was happening? Why had she stopped? He needed her to keep going, before he completely lost his nerve.
She stood up and put a few feet between them. “I can’t do this,” she said, sighing. “Not like this.” She looked Jack dead in the eye, and he thought he saw something beneath the lust in her gaze. If he didn’t know any better, he would have sworn it was terror. “There’s something you should know,” she said, reaching for the wig.
Jack practically shouted, “No!” She paused, face a mask of confusion. “I don’t want to know. I don’t care who you are underneath all that. I just need this right now and I want it to be you. The you that’s right here right now.” If she pulled that hair off her head, it was over. He’d lose his hard-on and he’d never get it back, and he couldn’t have that. Not when he was so close to what he’d wanted for so long.
Sheila studied him a moment longer, then shook her head. “You’re sure?”
She raised an eyebrow and watched him for a few seconds before she closed the space between them again. Back on her knees, she looked up at him once more. Finally she dragged her tongue from the base to the tip, taking the head into her mouth and sampling it, then going further. Holy fucking shit his erection was still fully there. Throbbing even. She stroked him at the same time, and he grabbed her head, not to control her but he needed something to hold on to; if he reached for the edge of the table behind her, he’d topple over. It had been far too long since anyone had been down there, let alone anyone he was actually attracted to.
He tangled his fingers in her hair and fuck him sideways it felt real. He’d been with enough women to know the difference between the human and the synthetic. He couldn’t put his finger on why, but it turned him on even more that Sheila had spent the extra to complete her illusion. The head of his dick brushed the back of her throat and his knees buckled, but she wrapped her arm around his waist without missing a beat and dragged him closer. Deeper. She gagged, and that one sound almost did him in. The idea that someone was choosing him over oxygen was pretty much the sexiest thing in the world.
He pulled back as much as her guardrail of a forearm would allow, then pushed forward. She murmured her approval around him and he did it again. And again. A moment later he was fucking her face.
Fuck yes. I’m still hard. I can’t waste this.
“Please,” he panted. “Please let me fuck you.”
“Uh-uh, sugar,” Sheila said after letting him slide from between her lips with a satisfying pop. She wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. “I need more aggression than that. Consent is the bee’s knees, and all that, but I like to play a little darker.” She kissed the tip, left more of her smeared lipstick there. “Make me feel like I don’t have any control.” The shaft. “Like you’re one of those big, strong, stupid men and you’re just going to take what you want, even if I don’t like it.” His abs. “You think you can do that for me?”
“That sounds like—”
“I didn’t say rape me. I just like it really rough. Call it consensual nonconsent. You have my full consent. I just don’t want to be in control for a little while. Is that okay with you?”
He wanted to, if only because she might not let him fuck her any other way. But what if she said stop? He’d do it and then she’d get mad and he’d have fucked everything up. How was he supposed to know the difference between a real no and a pretend one?
She brought their lips together and, when she slipped her tongue into his mouth, he could taste himself. “My safeword,” she said when she broke away, “is ‘rhythm nation.’”
“I don’t know what that is . . .” Jack said, then kissed her again and ground his cock against her thigh.
“If it gets to be too much for me. That’s how you’ll know you’ve gone too far. I’ll say ‘rhythm nation.’ Other than that, you keep going until we come. Spank me. Humiliate me. Pull my hair. But if you snatch my wig off, I’ll kick your ass.”
Jack nodded. He understood, now. “Okay. I’m in.”
Sheila flashed him her pearly whites. “Great. Give me a second.” She removed her tights and panties before squatting and reaching beneath the front of her dress with one hand and down the back of it with the other. Jack heard something ripping away from skin, and Sheila winced. A few seconds later she stood up straight, balling up a length of duct tape; she breathed a sigh of apparent relief. “Tucking is a bitch. And anyone who tells you otherwise is a lying sack.” She tossed the trash into the bin next to her bag. “Now let’s get this party started, shall we?”
Jack slipped the condom from his pocket, tore it open with his teeth. He wanted to tell Sheila to put it on for him so he could get to full mast again—the untucking had made him slightly uncomfortable—but that probably wouldn’t fit the particular fantasy she had in mind. So he stared at her lips, tried to imagine his dick between them again. But it didn’t work. He was losing steam and fast.
“Turn around,” he grunted.
“Why don’t you turn me around?”
He imagined anger flaring inside him, lapping at the underside of his skin and making him sweat. He dropped the rubber on the table, spun Sheila around, and forced her forward. “Don’t fucking play with me,” he growled, hoping he wasn’t taking this too far. “When I tell you to do something, just fucking do it!”
“Okay!” Sheila whimpered. “I’m sorry!”
He lifted her dress above her hips and holy shit that was a nice ass. Plump. Round. She clearly did her squats.
Jack slapped it, first with his hand and then with his cock. Sheila shivered beneath him, and part of him wanted to ask if she was okay, but another, darker part, wanted to make this experience as real as possible for her. “You’re so fucking dirty,” he said. “Flaunting yourself around like that, teasing me. Teasing all of us. You wanted this from the minute I walked in the club, didn’t you?”
“No! I swear! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”
“Shut up! I didn’t tell you to talk, bitch.” She shuddered and fell silent immediately. He must be on the right track. “And then those songs you were dancing to? This shit here?” He yanked at the sequins she wore. “You asked for this.” He put his dick between her ass cheeks, humped a few times.
“Please,” Sheila whispered. “I don’t want this. I’m sorry for whatever I did.”
He pulled back and brought his palm down as hard as he could. The fiery imprint it left stared up at him as Sheila sobbed. Maybe she was faking. Maybe she wasn’t. That didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that she have a good time. He grabbed the condom. He still wasn’t totally hard again, but the erection was manageable. More than he would have had any of the times before.
He rolled it down himself and spat on Sheila’s hole. He’d forgotten his lube at home and was afraid that asking her if she had any would ruin her illusion. He smeared his saliva against her taint and pressed inside.
He had to fight to keep his balance. She was tight. Tighter than anywhere he’d ever been, and fuck all if he wasn’t already trying to figure out how to control himself.
“Please!” Sheila cried. “Please, I’m sorry! Stop!”
But that wasn’t the word. So he kept going. Grabbed her shoulders and fucked her like she’d stolen from him. It was working. He was completely erect again, and even though the fact that Sheila was really a man niggled at the back of his mind, it didn’t matter. He looked in the mirror and saw her hair falling around her face in curtains. Every thrust sent another shock wave, and her face was scrunched up, lips pulled away from clenched teeth. But then their eyes met and she gave him a small nod.
“Don’t fucking look at me,” he barked. Her walls constricted around him, and he grabbed a handful of her hair and held on. He wanted to yank, to see how strong the hold was, but he didn’t dare have the wig come off in his hand and scar him for the rest of his life. He was close anyway. So he wrapped his other hand around her throat, and that was clearly all she needed. Her eyes rolled back in her head, her body convulsed, and suddenly she was mumbling incoherently, shuddering from head to toe. He let her go and she fell forward. Jack slowed his strokes, but she met him, throwing her ass back and dancing on him. The visual of her cheeks engulfing him like that was too much to handle and he shot his load.
He couldn’t keep his eyes open so he closed them, pressed in as deep as he could go, and rode the wave.
When he could breathe again, he pulled out and promptly tumbled to the ground. He panted. Sheila turned around and knelt between his legs, dabbing at his face with a towel she must have grabbed from her makeup kit.
“That was amazing,” she said. “Thank you.” She slipped the condom off him and tossed it into the bin. “Let me see your phone.” He obeyed without even thinking about it. “That’s my number,” she said after punching a few buttons. “We should do this again sometime.”
Jack grunted his agreement. He heard the chair slide by the mirror and from the corner of his eye saw Sheila sit down gingerly. After a moment, he had enough strength to climb to his feet, clean himself off the rest of the way, and pull his pants back up. “Thanks.” He didn’t know what to say, so he turned around and let himself out of the dressing room.
He’d just fucked a guy. Damn near thirty years old and he’d actually lost his dude virginity. It was a dream come fucking true. Maybe now he could really be himself. Maybe he could find a woman who was okay with him being bi. Or a man, even. Maybe the universe was finally smiling on him.
Or maybe it was setting him up for the biggest fuck you of all.
Ryan shuffled through the papers on his desk, searching for the Benning case file for the twelfth time, but still no luck. Hopefully Christie had made copies. A knock on the door gave him pause, finger hovering over the intercom button.
“Come in,” he said.
When Jack walked in, Ryan almost fell over. Jack stood in the doorway, suit pressed and hair gelled up, flashing that Welcome-to-Jack’s-place-I’ll-be-glad-to-fuck-you-now smile. “Morning, boss.”
His shoulders seemed broader this morning and God, that jacket fit so well to his body it seemed to be made specifically for him. His eyes sparkled; they stood out more than usual because of his silver tie. The man knew how to accentuate his features. Ryan flashed back to the way Jack’s hard-on had pressed against the fabric of his sweatpants and sat down before something popped up he didn’t feel like explaining. He pretended to search for a file on his desk so he didn’t seem to be staring. “Good morning.”
After a few seconds, Ryan glanced back up at him. Did he know that they’d hooked up last night? That he’d had Ryan practically begging for his cock? What if he did? Ryan’s pulse quickened at the thought.
“You look like you’re in a good mood this morning,” Ryan said, clearing his throat.
“Do I?” The smug bastard. Did Jack know the truth? Was that why he seemed so happy? Maybe he was about to bend him over the desk and show him a repeat performance. But then Ryan remembered that he’d been getting ready to reveal himself last night, and Jack had nearly jumped out of his skin trying to stop him.
Ryan readjusted himself under the desk. He needed to be professional. This was a place of business, after all. “Yeah. You do.” He scanned Jack’s face for a sign of anything else. Any inkling that his secret was out and that he should be at home packing so he could run for the hills. He suddenly regretted giving Jack the number of the texting app he’d downloaded. Sure, he could delete it, but Jack wasn’t the only one with the number. Other queens at the club, promoters, and club management had it too. It was how he kept his professional day and professional night life separate.
Jack shrugged, but never lost that grin. “I’m finished going over this, so I figured I’d bring it back.”
Ryan zeroed in on the folder in Jack’s hand. There was the fucking file. “I’ve been looking for that everywhere. I thought I’d lost my mind.”
Jack set it on top of Ryan’s in-box and hovered there for a moment.
“Was there something else I could help you with?” Ryan swallowed, bracing himself for the bombshell.
Jack opened his mouth, but said nothing. Now that he was standing so close, it was clear that something wasn’t right. He still looked downright jovial on the surface, but there was pain there too. Maybe Ryan hadn’t noticed it at first, but Jack’s smile suddenly seemed fake, and it didn’t quite reach his eyes. He appeared . . . tormented.
After nearly a full minute, Ryan said, “Are you okay?”
Jack’s mouth snapped shut, and he shook his head as though shaking a thought away. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine, sorry. Just . . . zoned out for a second there.”
Jack nodded. “I was thinking about something that happened last night, but . . .”
Ryan’s heart plummeted into his feet. Fuck. Jack did know. What was he going to do?
“I, uh, I’m gonna get back to work. I’ve got some more research to do before we go to trial.”
Ryan drew a breath. Timid relief spread through him. “Okay,” he said, trying to mask the shakiness of his voice. “Would you shut the door on your way out, please?”
“Sure thing.” Jack licked his lips, his tongue sliding first across the top and then dragging the bottom slightly into his mouth. Ryan thought he might pass out. Jack turned to leave.
He paused with his hand on the knob. Maybe he wanted to say something else. Or talk about something. But before Ryan could question him, Jack shook his head once again and was gone.
That was unusual. Jack was the poster boy for workplace professionalism. Always on time, never talked back when it wasn’t necessary, never zoned out. On one hand, Ryan wanted to find out what was bothering him. He knew people thought he was heartless, and that was how he needed them to think. He had a law firm to run, and he and the other partners had reputations to uphold. But really he was a great big softy inside and cared deeply for most everyone that worked for him. On the other hand, it wasn’t like he and Jack were friends. Sure, they’d fucked last night, but that didn’t mean they were close now. Jack obviously didn’t know he’d been banging his boss. It would be strange for Ryan to suddenly start chatting him up and taking an interest in his personal life. Right?
Ryan pushed the thought from his mind. If Jack wanted to talk about whatever was bothering him, he would. If not, it was none of Ryan’s business.
He paged through the case file. Stephanie Benning had a good case for workplace discrimination. She was suing her former employer for wrongful termination. Her boss hadn’t been too happy when Stephen began showing up as Stephanie, and had been pretty vocal about it until he’d fired her. At first, Ryan had thought the case would be open and shut, but then the company’s lawyers had cried about religious freedoms, and now things were getting ugly. Ryan had brought Jack on to second chair, but he might need more help than that. They still had a few weeks until they went to court, so he had a little bit of time, but not much.
They were going to do their best to stick it to that asshole.
He wondered if his own colleagues would act like Mr. Pompeo if they found out about Ryan’s alter ego, though. Someone who had worked for him for sixteen years had one day shown up to work, announcing that she was no longer the person they’d known her as; drag wasn’t the same as being trans, but many people related the two. The other partners’ reactions, not to mention Jack’s, would probably be similar if it ever got out that Ryan Swift spent five nights a week at Neon Trees as Sheila Saltue. There’d be shock, of course. Maybe even some backlash. But nothing to the extent of termination.
Ryan wondered—as he’d done more and more often lately—if he should just come out and let everyone know the truth. Honestly, what was the worst they could do?
You let an associate fuck you like a dirty little bitch boy, his mind supplied. Told him to do terrible things to you and you fucking loved it. Ryan took a deep breath. That part definitely couldn’t get out. Not ever. And it could never happen again. Not to mention the fact that clients would leave the firm in droves. People don’t want to be represented by a drag queen, now do they? Right again. Drag still wasn’t all the way accepted, and he couldn’t risk what he’d worked so hard to build. So he would keep under the covers. No one needed to know.
Especially not Jack. Even though it had been some pretty spectacular sex. It was absolutely a one-time thing. It didn’t matter that he could still feel Jack inside him, or that his ass cheeks burned where Jack had spanked him. Yeah, maybe he had wanted to jump Jack as soon as he came through the door, but Ryan had controlled himself. Because that’s what being an adult was all about.
But he was getting hard again. He needed to get out of the office for a bit. Get outside and let the fresh air clear his mind. Grab a bite to eat, maybe. Everything would still be here when he got back. He flipped the folder closed, and pulled his jacket off the stand just inside the door.
The rest of the office was bustling, and he hoped he could get lost in the shuffle and no one would stop him. He did, however, lean down as he passed Christie’s desk. “I’m taking an early lunch.”
“Alrighty, sir.” She smiled and typed something into her computer.
Ryan nodded and continued toward the elevator. This would be exactly what he needed. He hoped. The door slid shut and he was mercifully alone. He punched the button for the bottom floor, then leaned against the wall as the car made its descent.
His phone buzzed. Praying it was just a news alert or email, he fished the phone from his pocket. But it was a text.
He was once again thrilled that he’d given Jack the texting app number so he didn’t figure out his true identity.
Heart pounding and head suspiciously light, Ryan opened the message. He wasn’t sure if the two words written on the screen made him happy or want to puke. He stared at them until the doors parted and then closed. He shook his head and jabbed the Open button and made a beeline for the front door. This couldn’t be happening. But it was. And God help him, he actually found himself considering Jack’s request. He looked at it again, but refused to respond yet. He’d get his mind right first, and then send back something thoughtful explaining why it couldn’t happen. Or maybe he wouldn’t. Ugh! This shouldn’t be so difficult. He shouldn’t be having this debate with himself because it was absolutely out of the question. He’d already established that. His body had other ideas, though. He read Jack’s text one more time.
Or, check your local library.
Word Count: ~59,000
Page Count: ~223
Cover By: L.C. Chase
Release Date: 12/09/2019
Release Date: 12/09/2019