Chapter 1 - 2017 Top Ten Gay Romance

“Oh! I didn’t mean you should—”

His one-shouldered shrug cut me off. “No big deal. I can deadlift more than you weigh. This is nothing.”

That huge grin again. Did he ever stop smiling? I wasn’t likely to find out, but I was more than happy to bask in it while I could. I dropped my gaze as I slid my foot into the forgotten shoe, then started the trek up the stairs. My savior kept pace easily up the next three flights and wasn’t even winded when we reached the top floor.

“The penthouse floor. Nice! I should have guessed a pretty man like you would have nothing but the best.”

I squinted again. Was that an insult? Or did he actually think I was pretty? I couldn’t tell. He seemed earnest enough, but I’d been burned too many times to trust someone right now. Especially a man. Especially if he knew who I was. My gut reaction was to go on the defensive, but I bit my tongue as I pushed open the door. I hadn’t gotten as far as I had by making rash decisions. And though my track record with men wasn’t the best, I was much more practical with business. I knew when to keep my mouth shut.

The top floor had two penthouse lofts, one on either side of the hall. Mine was the larger, facing the east so I could watch the sunrise, and didn’t have the elevator taking twenty feet of potential space. It was also the only one that was occupied. The building had been open for occupancy for only six months, and though the rest of the building was full, the second penthouse had yet to be leased.

“This is me.” I gestured to the double doors halfway down the hall on the left. I pulled my fob from my pocket and held it to the RFID reader beside the door. The light turned green, and I pushed open the door.

ion said conversationally as I held the door for him t

hought it was an unnecessary expense. The wiring alone had put things over budget, and he was worried things would go wrong. But I had insisted. A ke

n, my place is nothing like yours. This is amazing. And that view…” He whistled out a sound I thought me

room. I didn’t want walls breaking up the space, especially with the fifteen-foot ceilings. Instead, I’d chosen to delineate the separate “rooms” with furniture. It had taken months and at least

chen, holding the bags still, and I hurried forward. “

ointed look and only then did I reali

ars ago or one would have heated my face now. I sho

he counter. Only when they were fully resting on the marble did

help because he wanted to, not because of my wealth or notoriety. Whe

you ever watch the news. Or pick up a paper. Or

, all at once, his expression lightened and that big grin I was already in lo