Wednesday, September 13, 2017

MidWeekTease - Oh, George - 13 September 2017

13 September 2017:

For this week’s edition of the MidWeekTease,, I have another excerpt from Oh, George, a contemporary m/m romance:

Oh, George
By Christiane France – iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo

By projecting the image of a swinging bachelor, company owner Zack Hannington has never had a problem keeping his personal life private from his employees. But when handsome and ambitious George Parker joins the secretarial pool, Zack finds himself indulging in X-rated daydreams that stress him out and seriously mess with his head.
He knows George is a kindred spirit, and he’s positive he’s met the man somewhere before, but he can’t remember where or when, and his own rule of never playing house with "the help" makes matters worse.
Zack doesn’t know if he’s in love or in lust with George, but just as everything seems to be working out even better than his dreams, he screws up and loses it all.

“So, why don’t you refresh my memory as to how we met,” Zack suggested. “I’ve really thought about it, but I’m sorry. I just don’t remember.”
George frowned. “I already told you. It happened exactly like I said. I was having a bad day and you were kind enough to help me out. Nothing more, nothing less. And that’s the truth.”
“Okay. But exactly where did this happen?”
“In the Peony Club parking lot a little over two months ago. You sure you don’t remember?”
Zack shook his head. “Sorry. Doesn’t ring any bells.”
George took a sip of strega and put down the tiny liqueur glass. “I found out by chance who you were and that you owned Hannington’s, so I’d been trying for ages to get up the nerve to have a word with you.”
“Why? You find me intimidating?”
“No. A bit remote maybe. But the problem was with me, not you. I’m not in the habit of asking people for favors. I hate doing it. But the thing is, I don’t want to spend my whole life doing secretarial work. Having some kind of basic skills is a good backup plan and it’s kept a roof over my head. But now I have my degree in commercial design, I want to use it.”
“And you’ve discovered finding a job as a designer isn’t that easy?”
“Bloody impossible—unless you happen to know someone in the business. That sometimes pays off. So, when I found out who you were, I thought I’d ask if you had any openings for apprentice designers. If not, maybe you could give me a lead elsewhere. I know face to face often works better than putting in applications.”
“But I said no?”
“That’s not what I happened. In fact, I never even got around to asking you anything.”
“How come? If I found your unconscious body in the lot and took you to the hospital, I’m sure I would have remembered that.”
George grinned. “Nothing so dramatic. I was one hundred percent conscious. It was late, and my car wouldn’t start. Most everyone had gone already, but then you happened by. Problem was I was out of gas, and you offered to drop me at the nearest gas station. You asked how I could let something like that happen, and I said I wasn’t usually that careless, but I’d had a bad day. I’d lost my job due to downsizing at the place where I worked, and both agencies I called said things were tight all over. You then asked what I did, and I told you. A couple of minutes later when you dropped me off, you gave me your business card and said you thought there was a secretarial opening at Hannington’s, and that I should drop off my resumé. I don’t supposed the whole incident lasted for more than four, five minutes tops, start to finish. The gas station was less than two blocks away. You honestly don’t remember?”
Zack concentrated for a moment. “Vaguely, now that you’ve described it to me in detail. And if it’s the day I think it was, I was pretty much out of it by that point. Did I seem okay to you or not?”
“I thought you were either tired or not feeling well.”
“Then it must’ve been the night I got back from Europe. The flight was late leaving, I was jet-lagged, and I’d eaten something that didn’t agree with me. On top of that, I waited over an hour for a friend I was supposed to meet at the Peony, but he didn’t show. Not the greatest of days for me either. Did you tell Ramona I sent you?”
“No. She was there when I went in with my resumé. She took it from me, said I was exactly what she needed, and hired me on the spot. I had no reason to mention your name, and I didn’t. Anyway, I already had the job, so there wouldn’t have been any point.”
“But what you really want is a job as a designer.”
“That’s what I’m hoping for eventually.”
“I’m not sure if there are any openings at the moment, or what we may have in the coming months. I’ll have to check with Alan. But if there is something…” Zack hesitated as a sickening thought hit him with the force of a ten-ton truck. “Is this what tonight is all about? You figured you could use me? You thought sleeping with the boss would be your golden ticket to the job of your dreams?”
The hurt, angry look that flashed across George’s face was not at all what Zack had expected. Nor was the black ice that formed in his dark eyes, the sudden thinning of his lips, or the way his hands curled into tight fists before slowly relaxing as he pushed away from the table. “I don’t believe you said that.”
“No? So, why did you come back?”
“Because you called me. I had no idea why because you didn’t leave a message. But things didn’t feel right between us when I left, and by coming back, I hoped we could clear the air. And yes, call me opportunistic if you want, but I also hoped to have the chance to ask about other job opportunities with the company. As I said a few minutes ago, I’ve wanted to do that for some time. But as far as what happened between us is concerned…” He sighed and got to his feet. “You’re the one who came on to me, sir. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll say goodnight.” Taking his wallet from his pocket, he tossed a couple of bills on the table and left before Zack had the chance to say another word.
For a long moment, Zack stared at the restaurant door through which George had disappeared, barely able to believe what he’d done. He hadn’t had time to decide if what he felt might be love or was just a passing crush. What he did know was, thanks to his own stupidity, everything wonderful in his life, everything that mattered, was gone.

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