Monday, February 15, 2010


Independence Day by Christiane France ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-645-1 (Electronic) FEBRUARY 14, 2010!
The perfect plan for success, or a guaranteed recipe for disaster?
It sounded like such a simple, mutually beneficial arrangement when the idea was hatched over drinks in a bar late one night. A little short-term pain for long-term gain, or so Nick’s ambitious boyfriend, Al, believed. If Nick would take a back seat while Al played the doting husband to Missy, daughter of the town’s leading lawyer for a couple of months, Al’s lifelong dream of a partnership with Hilldale & Partners would finally be achieved. In return, Missy would be out from under her daddy’s thumb, free to follow her own alternative lifestyle. And then, after a short interval, Nick and Al could pick up where they left off, and everyone would live happily ever after.
As far as spur-of-the-moment plans went, this one sounded perfect.
What could possibly go wrong?
NOTE: Don't miss the sequel, Independence Day II, available April 2010!
...Al sat down on the blue velvet sofa and patted the spot next to him. “How about we start off with an explanation?”
Even though he’d been expecting it, Al’s belief he was owed anything, especially an explanation, made Nick bristle like a wary dog. Al wasn’t his mother, his boss, or anyone else to whom he was obliged to account for his actions. Al was just the asshole he loved. A man who could drive the most patient, laid-back person crazy given even half a chance. And Nick had given him chance after chance after chance. Now it was happening all over again.
Taking a deep breath in an effort to relax, Nick reached for a can of beer, popped the tab and took a sip. “What’s to explain? Why Vegas has such hot summers? Or why I don’t have a car and insisted we should walk over here instead of taking a cab?”
Al shot Nick a long-suffering look. “No, babe, but I love you, and you say you still love me. In case you’ve forgotten, we were supposed to be spending the rest of our lives together. What happened to all that? Did you change your mind or what? It might be nice if you told me why you just up and vanished without a word because, frankly, I don’t have the first clue.”
Nick drank a little more beer and put the can down on the table. “You honestly don’t know?”
“I figured you’d found someone else and I was toast. What else was I to think when you disappeared like a thief in the night?”
“After all the warnings I gave you, you should’ve expected it.”
“What warnings? I don’t recall you saying a thing.”
“I did. Every time you broke a date or a promise, or decided you’d rather dance the night away with all your new friends than spend time with me. I told you I was sick and tired of all the excuses, and that one of these days when you called, I wouldn’t be there. You don’t remember?”
Al sighed and squeezed Nick’s hand. “True, you did. But you always got over it so…”
“So you figured I was just mouthing off?”
“Something like that, I guess. To be honest, I had so much going on trying to make partner, I thought you’d got fed up and found someone else.” Al opened the jar of cheese dip and checked the contents. “Is this stuff fresh?”
“Should be. I only bought it yesterday.”
“In that case…” Al scooped up some of the mixture with a tortilla chip and put it in his mouth. “Did you find someone else?”
“No. Not then and not now.”
“But I bet there could be. In fact, I’m sure that boss of yours would be down on his knees in a flash if you gave him the slightest bit of encouragement.”
Nick felt his face redden with embarrassment at the mind picture Al painted. “Don’t be ridiculous. Trip isn’t gay. He’s a widower with a young son. We’re casual friends and nothing more.”
Al gave Nick a narrow-eyed look. “You quite sure about that?”
“Sure about what?”
“All of it. Widower with a young son makes for perfect cover if you’re trying to present a nice family-man public image.”
Nick took another sip of beer, wondering if, just for once, he should let his temper rip and tell Al to take his insecurities and fuck off home to his wife, his precious job and his socially important lifestyle. “Trip doesn’t deal with the public. He’s director of personnel for the hotel’s food and beverage division. In other words, he works strictly behind the scenes.”
Al reached in the bag for another chip. “If there was no one else, why did you really leave?”
“Because…” Nick sighed. He’d rehearsed what he wanted to say a thousand times. He’d even thought about writing Al a long letter spelling it all out in infinite detail—how he was sick of being what amounted to an afterthought, to constantly taking a back seat. Except he’d realized there was no point...

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