YES! RULES OF PLAY is live on audio now! You won’t want to miss Alexander Cendese’s narration of George and Aiden’s story. He’s absolutely spot-on! I literally laughed out loud listening to this one. His Newton is perfection. LOL Check out the sample and purchase link here.
And to celebrate the audiobook release, here’s Part 1 in a two-part short called Rules of Love, featuring George and Aiden from RULES OF PLAY. These shorts are vignettes in life rather than two distinct halves of one story, so feel free to binge now! LOL Part 2 should be posted by next week and will be available as a pdf at that time.
Happy Reading and Listening! Lane xo
Rules of Love, A George and Aiden Short Story- Part 1
“Yo, baby, get those shoes on. Let’s go.”
I turned slowly on my barstool at the kitchen island and eyed my peppy boyfriend suspiciously. Aiden’s workout ensemble of navy nylon-poly blend shorts, a UCLA tee, and running shoes told a story, but I figured it was always best to clarify.
“Jogging. We talked about this yesterday. We’ll go slow and walk when we get tired. C’mon, G.” He clapped enthusiastically, the way he sometimes did when a cool play unfurled during a televised sporting event.
However, he didn’t usually try that with me.
“Jogging is trotting at a sustained albeit leisurely pace. Sadly, that’s not one of my talents. Have fun, honey. I’ll start dinner while you’re gone.” I blew him a kiss then turned back to my laptop.
“Not so fast.” Aiden pulled a baseball cap on and put his hand on the island beside me. “I need you for moral support. I’m trying to get back into shape and it is not easy. Donuts call my name, waffles with maple syrup know my phone number, and don’t get me started on french fries. I want to eat all those things and somehow look like fitness model…for you.”
“I don’t want a fitness model. I want you.” I leaned sideways and kissed him. “Try to be home in an hour. The new episode of Good Omens is on and—what are you doing?”
He disappeared in the general direction of our bedroom, returning a minute later with a pair of shorts and the only pair of sneakers I owned.
“Stand up,” he commanded, setting my shoes on the stool beside me before motioning for me to obey.
“Aiden, I’m working.”
“You’re looking up nebulas. You can do that later. I need you, G. Come on.”
We engaged in a ridiculous stare-down with Aiden making goofy faces and holding eye contact while I glared at him menacingly. Of course, he won. It was probably the raised brows and crazy Cheshire cat grin combo. Either way, I laughed. No one did silly quite like my man.
“Fine. But I’m wearing my cape.”
“Really? Aiden, I don’t run. I may not make it to the corner,” I protested as he pulled me to my feet and unbuckled my belt.
“Sure you will, but if you get winded, we’ll stop. This isn’t about setting any world records.”
He proceeded to undress me in a no nonsense fashion then held up the shorts, wordlessly requesting me to cooperate. I stood there with my arms crossed in my boxer briefs, a Science is Like Magic But Real tee, and black socks looking like a cranky overgrown kid. Aiden wasn’t deterred. He met my gaze, smiling when I stepped into the shorts.
I waved him away when he tried to put my shoes on for me too.
“Then what is it about?” I asked, shoving my feet in my sneakers and tying them in precise double knots.
“You’re helping me get into the habit of exercising after work. And I appreciate it.” Aiden wrapped his arms around my waist and squeezed my ass. “We won’t be long. I promise to make it up to you later.”
“Is there a blow job involved?”
“Definitely.” He released me then peeked inside my computer bag and drew my cape out. He shook it loose and held it up for me.
“I probably shouldn’t wear it. My feet will get tangled and I’ll trip, scrape my knees, twist both ankles, and land on a neighbor’s lawn. They’ll never invite us over for potluck again.”
“We won’t be going fast enough to do any damage. But if you do fall, aim for Whitby’s lawn. That guy loves us.” He kissed me soundly and reached for his phone and a house key. “Let’s do this, baby.”
I grumbled without heat, following him outside.
We stood on the front porch of our bungalow, stretching our calves…or something like that. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I played along with Aiden’s impromptu gym session because for some reason, my presence was important to him.
I couldn’t tell if he was in the midst of a mini crisis of confidence or if he really just wanted me to help him stay motivated. That didn’t make sense though. After he quit his uncle’s garage last summer, he’d started working out regularly. I hadn’t. Sure, we walked all the time, but jogging? Ew.
Either way, I obviously needed to get to the root of any mysterious new fitness fetish involving me.
I held on to the porch railing and glanced up at the new buds on the liquid amber tree in our front yard. It was late March now. Within two weeks, the tree would be in full bloom and the roses lining the wide pathway leading to the sidewalk would be a riot of color.
I loved our neighborhood. It wasn’t as quiet as my old ’hood across town, but it was a great location. We were within walking distance to Old Town and close enough to visit family and friends whenever we felt like it.
Honestly, I hadn’t been sure what to think when Aiden bought this house with my brother, Simon, last fall as an investment property. Their plan had been to fix it and sell it immediately. But when they ran the numbers, Aiden realized that with his new job as a junior sports analyst at the university, he could afford the mortgage. And since we planned on living together eventually, it would be even more affordable if I was on title too. So yes, this was my house too.
I’d slowly started bringing my things over after escrow closed, but I’d officially moved in at the beginning of the year. Not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about living with my boyfriend. I couldn’t say why. Aiden and I had known each other forever. We already spent a ton of time together too. But cohabitating was different—and as cute as this bungalow was, it was small.
Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about. Aiden was easy to live with and even easier to be with. He was good-natured and big-hearted…and sexy as fuck.
I bent my knee to my chest and studied him as he lunged forward, noting his muscular thighs and his talented hand resting on his knee. I had a rogue memory from this morning of those fingers teasing my ass in the shower while he tongue-fucked my mouth, our cocks trapped between us. I’d ended up with my hands flat on the tile wall with his dick inside me a minute or two later, begging him for more…harder and faster.
Ugh…focus, George. Now was not the time to perv on my man. I needed to be sharp if I was going to get to the bottom of whatever incited him to invite me on a jog.
I lifted my arms above my head and hopped down the steps, making sure my cape flowed behind me theatrically. “Lead the way, Baker.”
“All righty.” He side-stepped around me and clicked his heels together before jogging to the street.
I chuckled as I followed him, sucking in a deep breath of spring air.
It was a beautiful night. The sky had taken on the dusty blue sheen of early twilight. Any second now the remaining sunlight would reflect off the wispy clouds and paint the horizon in shades of pink and orange. Kind of like the night Aiden had rescued me on the freeway.
“Did you know that it’s been a year since Willy broke down on the 210?” I asked conversationally. “That means it’s been a whole year since our first kiss.”
“Ah, yes…the night you stuck your tongue down my throat out of the blue. That was hot. You turned me gay, Murphy,” he teased in a dreamy voice.
“Yeah, right.” I snorted, waving to Mr. Whitby, the retired octogenarian who lived on the corner.
Mr. Whitby was super chatty and he loved to talk about cars. When he found out my boyfriend knew his way around an engine, Mr. Whitby sought him out regularly to discuss his ’47 Woodie. Listening to two grown men talking about Woodies never failed to amuse me. But I was a mission tonight and diversions wouldn’t help. Thankfully, Whitby was halfway inside his house before he noticed us.
“Another plus of running. You just got out of a Woodie conversation.”
“Now that’s disappointing. I love to talk about wood.” I glanced both ways at the stop sign, bumping his arm as we jogged across the street.
“Hmph. We’re a block away from the house and I’m already tired. Are you going to tell me what’s on your mind or am I guessing?”
He didn’t reply for another half block. Then he blurted, “I’m old.”
“You heard me. I’m old.” He hooked his thumb toward Whitby’s house. “My best bud in the ’hood is eighty. Case closed.”
“And that’s why I’m jogging?”
“No, I’m—” He sighed heavily and continued, “I love my job, but I’m the oldest junior stats man on the team. We just hired two college kids who’re graduating in two months. They’re twenty-two, young, and hungry…and I’m—Methuselah and I feel it.”
“Aiden, you’re twenty-eight. That’s not old.”
“Yeah, I’m gaining on thirty at warp speed. I feel like I should be further up the ladder and I’m not there yet. Which is stupid ’cause I’m a newbie too. I tell myself to be patient and work hard, but some days are easier than others, ya know?”
My heart gave a lurch of sympathy. “I do. I’m sorry you had a bad day.”
“I didn’t. It was fine.”
Nope. If it was fine, I wouldn’t be his running partner of choice. I didn’t say that aloud, but I stopped abruptly and clutched my side. “I can’t go on.”
Aiden jogged backward then set his hands on his hips and gave me a “What am I gonna do with you?” look before fussing with the tie on my cape. “Okay, we’ll walk.”
“And talk. How can I help?”
“I don’t know. This is a ‘me’ problem. I have to stay sharp so those freaking whippersnappers don’t jump ahead of me.”
“Aiden. You’re mind-fucking yourself. They haven’t even started work yet. You’re halfway through the college season and you’re doing well. The pro baseball season will starting soon—” Yes, because of Aiden, I knew shit like that. And of course, the second I said it, I knew I’d uncovered the real issue. The stats Aiden gathered for the university would be used for future draft prospects. His real test as an analyst was coming up just as the new hires began. “And that’s why you’re nervous.”
“Damn, you’re a genius.” Aiden cast a sheepish smile my way. “Yeah. I’m helping to ‘package’ these athletes. My analysis over the next few weeks will impact careers. It’s very stressful. I’m used to fixing flat tires and picking up vampires on the freeway at rush hour. I’m not used to this.”
I linked my fingers with his and squeezed. “You’ll get used to it. You love the sport and you love your job. You’ll be amazing. I know you will. You’re smart and you’re not afraid to work hard. Good things will happen. You’ll see.”
“Thank you.” He paused and lifted our joined hands and kissed my knuckles. “I need that.”
“I would have told you all that without jogging, you know.”
He snickered. “You really love me, don’t you?”
I smiled, staring into his eyes like a lovesick puppy. “Oh, Aiden. You have no idea.”
“Yeah, I do ’cause I love you too, G.”
I lay my head on his shoulder for a moment then kissed his neck…vampire-style. “You know, worrying about things you can’t control is against the rules.”
“And lucky for you, I know a much better de-stressing methods than jogging…clothing optional.”
Aiden smiled. “I’m in.”
I pulled my cape across my mouth then pointed in the general direction of our house and gave my hokiest vampire impression, “This way, human. Bwahahaha.”