Small time town with big time drama.
Alec took another sip of the ice-cold beer in his hand. He enjoyed the wonderful deck and its miles of shade cloth. Gage and Ben spent an entire summer building it and lacing the sailcloth to the sturdy frame. When Alec arrived, he’d located one of the cushioned patio chairs and sprawled across it.
Gage waved the enormous set of tongs he used to arrange the coals toward Alec. “How’s the beer? We got it earlier this summer when we spent the weekend in Amarillo.”
Alec swallowed before lifting the bottle in his direction. “It’s damn good beer. I could get to like it.”
Gage lifted the tail of his T-shirt and wiped the sweat from his forehead. It gave Alec the opportunity to check out Gage’s trim body. He took any excuse to enjoy the view provided by his friends. Not that he would try to start anything intimate with Gage, or Ben. They had been together for years, and he had no interest in sticking himself into a married couple. But he couldn’t resist eye-candy like this. Gage dropped his shirt and their eyes locked.
Gage shot Alec a wink before tugging his tee back into place. Alec looked away and tried to control the flash of heat washing across his face. Gage chuckled but kept his focus on the grill. It became more awkward, but it wasn’t long before the coals were hot. Then the screen door snapped shut, and Alec almost launched himself over the six-foot privacy fence surrounding Ben and Gage’s back yard. As it was, all he did was to give the group a reason to chuckle at the sight of Alec on his butt.
Ben held out the stake filled platter. “Sorry to startle you. I figured Gage should have the grill ready.”
Once Alec pulled himself together and rejoin the pair. Now that he’d had time to look at the steaks closer, he saw that they were all high-end cuts of beef. He let out a low whistle. “Damn. That’s the best looking meat I’ve seen in ages.”
An enormous grin sprouted on Ben’s face as Alec realized what he had said. He tried to head off what he knew was coming, but Ben was quicker.
“Oh, I get meat that’s a lot more impressive every night.”
Gage cut Ben a glance. “You may not get much of anything if you don’t stop busting Alec’s balls.”
Ben stepped close to Gage, gave him a peck on the cheek and whispered something that must have been juicy because Gage turned red and punched him on the shoulder.
“Asshole,” Gage said, “Go act like you’re some kind of hot shit bartender and help everyone get nice and hammered.”
Alec felt out of place with the couple’s playful banter. But then Eli and Cullen arrived and saved him from the need to rescue himself from his own social awkwardness, which he created by the bucket full. Gage glanced up, acknowledging the newcomers as he slapped steaks on the hot grill.
“Hey, guys. How’s it going? There’s beer in the ice chest and Ben’s trying to make margaritas if anyone’s feeling brave.”
Cullen chuckled and headed toward the door. “I’ll see if Ben could use help. I’m a decent mixologist. Eli’s had some of my creations and thinks they’re damn good.” With that he disappeared into the house.
Eli shook his head as he made his way to the huge cooler resting on a shady corner of the deck. He popped the lid open and fished one of the amber bottles from the pile of ice. He twisted the bottle cap off before nodding to Alec and Gage.
“I’ve had some of his concoctions. I wouldn’t wander too far from the beer.”
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