Authors: Frey Ortega
Evernight Publishing ®
Copyright© 2016 Frey Ortega
Artist: Jay Aheer
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
No part of this book may be
used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a
work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
Storm, Maggie Walsh, Maia Dylan, and Pat Fischer, all of whom helped make this
story what it is today, who also taught me to write for me, and write a story I
wanted to read.
special thanks to Karyn White, who helped edit this and made it shine.
And to my
readers. Thank you sincerely for the bottom of my heart!
Unit Alpha, 1
Copyright © 2016
Well, that was bullshit.
Daniel Walsh could almost hear the sound of the
bouquet of flowers he was holding falling down to the floor with a loud thud.
Petals. Petals everywhere on the carpet. That was
going to be a bitch to clean up.
Thank God he wasn’t going to be anywhere near here in
Life just had a crappy way of springing things on you,
He didn’t need to stay more than five seconds to
figure out what had seared into his memory. No matter how many times he was going
to wish he wanted it erased from his mind, Daniel was going to keep repeating
the same five seconds over, and over, and over until he vomited from how
horrible it made him feel.
In fact, his insides lurched already. “Oh God,” Daniel
cursed to himself.
Please, please, please
let this all just be a dream.
A slam of the door and a quick stride to the elevator.
He kept pressing the down button, hoping the damn thing would open in time and
things wouldn’t get too awkward. It’s not like he was equipped to run all the
way down the twenty flights of stairs to the lobby. No, he just wanted to get
the fuck out of here, and fast.
Never mind that he had just left his home, where he
had been living for three years with his boyfriend, Thad.
Thad, who had ensnared his heart as soon as they’d met
in college, six years ago.
Thad, who had pursued him for so long and made Daniel
feel like he was attractive, and whom Daniel had poured all of his love into
for all those six years.
Thad, whom he’d just caught, naked, with another
Memories flooded into Daniel’s head. His lips quivered
as he fought back the tears.
No, no, this
isn’t happening. This is just a dream. You’re going to wake up from it, and
things are going to be fine.
No, it isn’t,
a contrarian voice piped up from somewhere inside
Things are going to shit. It’s
probably your fault. You’re the one who forgot that yesterday was your
anniversary. But you were working! At his father’s company. Forgetting
shouldn’t have been that big of a problem!
Even with his eyes closed, he could still see the
image of his boyfriend—
deep inside a person Daniel didn’t even know. On
Maybe he shouldn’t have entered the bedroom when he’d
already heard was what happening inside.
The squeaking of the bedsprings, the guttural moans,
that high-pitched whimpering from a woman who seemed like she was clearly
faking it—not that Daniel knew when a woman was faking it, he’d never done
anything remotely sexual except kiss that one kind of cute girl in band camp
when he was ten—with a combination of sounds like that, Daniel already knew
what he was going to be seeing.
Unfortunately, that didn’t stop him from peering
inside and then slamming the door when he confirmed what he needed to know.
Yup, that’s Thad. Yup, he’s cheating on me. Yup, he was on the cusp of
orgasm. Who knew he still had it in him?
The fact that the person Thad was currently hilted
into was a woman didn’t even register in his mind. Cheating was cheating, and
the mere sight of skin-on-skin contact was enough to make Daniel dry heave in a
bad, bad way.
Daniel!” He heard someone exclaim behind him, trying to call his
No, no, anyone but you,
said to himself, frantically pressing the button to the elevator. “Daniel, wait,
baby, I can explain—“
Oh, no no no no.” Daniel shook his head. Every instinct inside him was
clawing at him, telling him to let loose and punch Thad in the face. “We’re not
going to do that little dance here. We’re not going to go into that whole cliché
conversation. How are you going to explain your dick inside that woman, Thad?
How are you going to lie to me, to my face, about how you weren’t just fucking
another person in our bed, where we used to sleep together? Where we were
building a life together?”
Nope. This was definitely
going well. Not for Daniel’s self-control, anyway. He was a
hair’s breadth away from slamming his fist into Thad’s stupid, Adonis-like,
chiseled fucking face.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite control himself.
M… M…” Anger was rolling through him. Bubbling.
It felt like he was about to explode. He couldn’t even
finish what he was about to say.
Thad tilted his head. He raised his eyebrow. “Look,
M … mail, motherfucker!” His fist flung outward and straight up into
Thad’s gorgeous, yet dishonest face. There was a satisfying crunch as knuckles
came into contact with nose, before the elevator bell dinged and the doors
What the fuck?
Daniel didn’t know what came
over him. His eyes widened, and a spreading sense of shame, more than he ever
felt before, unfurled inside him.
the best you could come up with? No Hasta la Vista, baby? No? Okay.
Ow! Motherf—” Thad brought a hand to his face, stunned and standing
there with an angry scowl. “Son of a bitch! That hurt!”
I hope you like bleeding all over your date. Enjoy the rest of the
night. If you have any shred of human decency left, you’ll put my stuff in a
box and I’ll pick it up from the doorman.” Daniel’s voice was curt and low, and
exceedingly polite for how infinitely volatile he was feeling.
Daniel, wait! Please! Hear me out!”
You don’t get the satisfaction,
But at least I got to smack the
shit out of you.
Well, this week definitely could not get any worse.
Apart from the humiliation of having to see his
boyfriend in bed with some woman he barely knew, the very next morning he was
sitting in his manager’s office, facing the man head on.
Usually, Daniel would have considered the man in front
of him attractive. Who wouldn’t? What with his golden blond hair, blue eyes,
tall frame and slightly crooked smile, his boss, Mr. Golden—
how absolutely freaking apt,
thought to himself—was basically a picturesque depiction of what Caucasian
masculinity should have been. He dressed well, too. And he had it on good
authority, from some of the office floozies, that Mr. Golden was pretty
well-endowed. Judging from the way Mr. Golden was sitting, with his legs
slightly parted as though offering an invitation, Daniel had half a mind to
just stare at the prominent bulge that Mr. Golden seemed happy enough to share
with the world. Or at least, the office at large.
Maybe the only turn-off was the fact that Mr. Golden
had a poster on his office wall citing Leviticus and the evils of sleeping with
your fellow man. Why Human Resources hadn’t called him out on it, who knows?
Maybe it had to do with the patriarchy.
At this point, Daniel couldn’t give a shit.
The storm cloud hanging over Daniel’s entire existence
was starting to affect everyone around him. People were beginning to avoid
talking to him. He just didn’t have the patience for bullshit, not when he’d
been crying to break-up songs all through the night.
Unbreak my heart, say you love me again…
Goddamn it, Daniel,
he thought to himself as he
stifled his desire to cry.
In spite of trying so hard not to be a buzz-kill, one
look into his eyes and his office mates could probably see how dead he felt
inside. This included Mr. Golden, who was staring at him with so much feigned
hesitation and sadness he could win an award as actor of the year.
You’re probably wondering why I called you into the office. You see, we
have a strict policy here in Langham and Durr—”
Mr. Golden’s little speech was stopped when his
assistant, Jacqueline, knocked on the door and entered the room. Offering a
cordial smile and a nod to Daniel, she gestured to the papers she was holding
in one hand.
Mr. Golden, here are the papers from Accounting you asked for,” she
said, placing them on the table to the side of the door. “I’ll just put them
here for you to take a gander at later.”
Excellent. Thank you, Jacqueline. You know, you’re doing your work very
well for a single mother.”
Jacqueline’s eyes narrowed, but she exited the tiny
little office without saying a word. If Daniel could read lips, though, he
could’ve sworn he read the words “sexist bastard” fly out of her mouth.
Mr. Golden cleared his throat. Daniel’s gaze went back
to Mr. Golden, still wide-eyed at what had just happened.
“Anyway, here at Langham and Durr, we have a very strict policy
against violence, especially as it pertains to the son of the CEO.”
This time, it was Daniel’s turn to narrow his eyes.
“Did that asshole report me to Human Resources?”
Now, now, Mr. Walsh, I can’t disclose confidential information like
that, but I’ll have you know that punching him in the face in front of an
elevator isn’t very becoming behavior of an employee here at Langham and Durr.”
Well that answered the question.
Seeing as though this is the son of the CEO we’re talking about, this is
a rather serious predicament we’re in,” Mr. Golden said. He tented his fingers
and leaned back against his chair and frowned. “It falls on me to bear the
burden of having to tell you that we’re terminating your employment, effective
Daniel immediately stood up, indignant. “I’m
Mr. Golden cleared his throat nervously. “Yes, please
pack up your belongings from your cubicle. Also, I’m going to need your ID as
you will no longer be allowed entry into the building. And I’m going to need
your phone number, too.”
Daniel’s mind was firing up a million miles a minute.
Fired? Because of that cheating jackass? Was this really what his life had been
reduced to? Was this really how things were going to go?
Also, why did Mr. Golden want his phone number?
Wh-wh…” Daniel tried to speak, but he was bewildered. “What exactly … I
mean … what do you mean? Don’t I get
for staying here for three years? Why do you even need my phone number?”
Mr. Golden smiled, though it was the kind of
deprecating smile that made Daniel want to punch him in the face. “Oh, dear Mr.
Walsh, you can always collect unemployment while waiting for that next job.
Rest assured I will give you a glowing recommendation! Now, there’s just the
matter of that phone number.”
Daniel’s eyes narrowed again, and he could feel the
annoyance bubble up inside him once more. “Why exactly do you need my phone
number, Mr. Golden?”
The blond-haired man cleared his throat. “Well, you
know, Human Resources needs it on file. And since I’m no longer your
supervisor, I can help you out during these trying times! Be a shoulder to cry
on, perhaps, even, someone to make your nights a little less lonely…?”
Mr. Golden had the gall to waggle his eyebrows. Daniel
felt like his insides froze over suddenly.
got to be kidding.
“You’re married, Mr. Golden.”
Yes, that’s correct.”
Yes. I don’t see how any of this is relevant.”
You don’t see how—” Daniel gestured to the wall right in front of him
right before he snapped. “You have a poster of Leviticus on your wall!”
Now listen here, I have a right to practice my religion anywhere, even
in the office! I don’t see how any of this is relevant!” Mr. Golden said
indignantly. “After all, isn’t it no homo, bro?”
Daniel made a noise in disgust. He immediately turned
and walked out, laying his ID card to the table on the side. “Maybe you should
talk to your wife about whatever hidden desires you might have, Mr. Golden. I’m
sure she’d be very happy to have a threesome.”
Mr. Golden’s face scrunched up. “A threesome with
Bethany? No, that would be disgusting—Mr. Walsh. Hey! Mr. Walsh!”
Electing to ignore his former boss’s calls, Daniel, as
though in a zombie-like trance, decided to head back to his cubicle and start
packing his things up.