After a vicious gay bashing, Morgan has spent the last three years working hard to survive and thrive. His latest plan? Using Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service, 1NightStand, to take the anniversary of the worst night of his life and replace it with a good—and maybe even sexy—memory.
Zach, a police officer with the Hate & Bias Crime Unit, is still coming to terms with his divorce and struggling to move on with his life. Using a matchmaking service is so very not his style, but sometimes a guy has to trust his friends—even if they don’t know everything about him, and he’s not sure they ever will.
Face-to-face, however, it becomes clear that despite an attraction, there’s a problem. Morgan and Zach have already met—three years ago. But with some courage, a couple of pairs of skates, and a leap of faith? Morgan and Zach have a shot at saving more than one day. Together? They might just make a future.
For more from ‘Nathan Burgoine please visit https://apostrophen.wordpress.com/published-works/
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“Sorry, you’re not Morgan, are you?”
“Are you Zach?”
The big guy nodded. “Yeah.” He swallowed, as if the word caught in his throat. “I’m Zach.”
Okay, the important thing here is not to drool on the table.
“Sorry,” he said, fumbling for words of his own. He had to crane his neck to talk to the guy.
Had there been a checkbox for “big, Teutonic warrior heritage”? Because it seemed he’d checked it off. “I, uh. Wow. You are tall.”
The big guy—his date, Morgan corrected himself—cracked a wan smile.
“Sit down.” Morgan gestured to the empty chair. “Please.”
Zach hesitated for another second—Morgan tried to convince himself the blond wasn’t looking for a reasonable escape plan—then pulled out the chair and sat down. No amount of padding could account for the width of the man’s shoulders.
Morgan exhaled. “So. On a scale of one to a billion, how awkward is this?”
Zach seemed to surprise himself with a laugh. “You have no idea. I’m sorry I’m late. Traffic. And, uh …. There’s something….” He frowned. The intensity of his gaze unnerved him.
“Do I have something on my face?” He’d not ordered hot chocolate to avoid whipped cream accidents.
Zach blinked. “Sorry. No. I’m….” He shook his head. “Would you believe you look familiar?”
“Like your dead girlfriend?” Morgan grinned, singing the words.
“Excuse me?” Zach leaned back, frowning.
“Oh. Not a Rent fan, eh?” Morgan held up his hands. “Sorry. When I’m nervous, I become a font of inappropriate humor . I’m told it’s endearing. Y’know, by, like, my misfit friends.” Morgan bit his lip. “Which probably means it’s not endearing, come to think of it.”
Zach stared at him.
“It’s a line from a musical,” Morgan said. “And I’ll stop now.” He clenched his jaw shut before he could say anything else.
Zach took a deep breath. “Were you expecting…? Uh. I mean, did…?” He didn’t meet Morgan’s gaze, and he rubbed his thumb up and down his coffee cup. He had a little scar through his eyebrow, and—
“Wait,” Morgan said. When Zach raised his eyebrows, the familiarity faded, but it had been there. “Maybe I do know you. Do you ever shop at Urbane Myth? It’s a consignment shop in the Village. You’d never forget Phoebe, the owner. She’s a glamazon. I’m less memorable.”
Zach shook his head. “No. I don’t know it.”
Morgan frowned. “Okay. What about you? Where do you work?”
Zach cleared his throat, shifting in his seat. No way could the big guy be comfortable in the little chair. “I’m a cop.”
Oh no. Oh for the love of ….
Zach nodded, then added, “With the Hate and—”
“Bias Crimes Unit.”
They stared at each other.
“On a scale of one to a billion?” Zach said. “We just hit a billion.”