Hat Trick Story Excerpt

“I hear Reiner is still staying with you and your wife. How’s that going?”

Nathan took another mouthful of water, swallowing it this time. It wouldn’t do to spit on his boss’s shoes, after all. “It’s great, actually. He’s a good kid, and I appreciate the company when Rachel is out for work.”

It wasn’t a lie either. Jeremy was a lot of fun to have around. He had a tendency to leave the room if a television show was getting too suspenseful, which Nathan found absolutely adorable. He played video games with his whole body. He was playful, affectionate, and sensual. A knuckle tap or a high five was never enough with Jeremy. He had to bump you with his hip or sling an arm around your shoulders. Nathan had even had those long fingers stroke absently over the back of his hand while they’d just sat and talked in front of the television late one night after Rachel had gone to bed. He didn’t think Jeremy had even noticed how he was touching him. He’d never mentioned it, not wanting Jeremy to stop the caress or be embarrassed about it.

Rachel enjoyed having him around, too. Jeremy had taken Rachel out on the town a few times. Once Jeremy had sat through a shopping trip where he’d allowed Rachel to pick out his entire wardrobe. Another time, Jeremy had taken her out for Chinese when Nathan had had a meeting with his agent and couldn’t make it back in time for dinner. He really was the whole package, and Nathan had the uncomfortable feeling he could very well be falling in love with the younger man.

He often had to pause and examine his feelings lately. He was still desperately in love with his wife, probably even more in love now than when they had first gotten married, but his deepening feelings for Jeremy confused and frightened him. While he had confessed to Rachel very early on that he was sexually attracted to both men and women, he had promised to love only her, and he had meant that vow. Falling in love with someone else felt like he was betraying her. And yet, he couldn’t seem to let Jeremy go.

“Earth to Vaughan. Nathan?” Nathan blinked out of his thoughts only to see the general manager’s hand waving in front of his face.

“Yeah, sorry. What did you say?” Nathan asked.

His boss shook his head but continued. “Did your agent talk to you about the latest interview request?”

Nathan sifted through the last conversation he’d had with his agent. He vaguely recalled him mentioning that some gossip columnist wanted to interview him. Apparently she had heard that Jeremy had been living with them for the last eight weeks and wanted to quiz him on their living situation. He’d flatly refused the request as soon as his agent had brought it up. He had a nasty feeling his refusal had somehow made the situation worse. At least if he had done the interview, he could have controlled the information. There was no telling what the article might say. “Yeah, some gossip monger. Why?”

“Our PR department got wind of her latest column due out tomorrow. Apparently it accuses your wife of cheating on you with Reiner. She’s got some pictures of the two of them out and about, and she’s somehow found out he’s been staying with you. She may or may not also allude to you sharing Rachel with him.”

Nathan’s heart raced at the thought of someone staking out his house. There were a lot of kids in his neighborhood, and most of the parents wouldn’t take kindly to strangers loitering about. He should probably tell the neighborhood association to be on the lookout for strange cars and such.

He didn’t really care about the content of the article though. The columnist couldn’t be further from the truth. Rachel was no more cheating on him than he was on her. The other accusation hit a little closer to home. He wasn’t sharing his wife, exactly. It wasn’t as if she had no say in the relationship. She wanted the ménage as much as he did. It was more of an equal partnership between all three of them. Each of them wanted what they had. He wasn’t about to worry about it too much. It wasn’t like the columnist could actually prove anything. Jeremy might have a problem with the article, however. He went out of his way not to be alone with Nathan in the locker room and usually scaled way back on his physically affectionate tendencies when he was around other guys. Nathan looked at Terry with a grimace. “Thanks for telling me, boss. I’ll make sure to warn Jeremy.”

The general manager nodded and paused to watch Jeremy as he stopped to talk to the head coach about something or other. “What is going on with you and the kid, Nathan?”

He almost choked at Terry’s question. Why the hell did he think something was going on? “I’m just offering him a room to crash in, Terry. What the hell else do you think is going on?”

Terry shrugged and swiveled his eyes to Nathan’s. “There’s just something about the way you guys look at each other, that’s all. I really don’t care what’s going on, if there’s anything going on, as long as you both perform. We are prepared to stand behind both of you, no matter what this b.s.-spouting lady says. But shit can hit the fan real quick with the media. You understand?”