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Roommate Arrangement: Chapter 31


The Killer Brew is rowdy as we approach. The market side has been packed up for the night, but the bar is full and loud, live music is playing against the backdrop of conversation. The heavy thud of axes hitting targets comes from the back rooms, and the huge bar is thrumming with activity.

I squeeze Beau’s hand as we pass the bar and climb the stairs to the mezzanine area above.

Art invited me for drinks for Orson’s birthday, and I took the invitation as a request to show off Beau as mine.

We walk into the room, holding hands, and I try not to act too smug at having Beau with me. Especially when Griffin eyes us.

Orson points as we approach. “Oh, hey. This is a fun development. Griffin, Art, pay up.”

“Pay up what?” Beau asks, but I spin on Art.

“Dude, you were part of it too?”

He shrugs. “It seemed like an easy bet at the time.”

“You bet on us?” Beau asks, and now the asshole thinks to look guilty.

“I have a very boring life where I’m desperate for entertainment,” Art says.

Beau eyes him. “Who bet we’d end up together?”

Orson lifts his hand.

“I like you. The other two of you are dead to me.”

I laugh and pull him against me to kiss his head.

He stays with Griffin and Orson as Art and I break away to get drinks. There are a fair few people here, most guys from the DMC, some who I’ve met and some who I haven’t. Art keeps inviting me to catch-ups, but before now, I haven’t felt ready to embrace my divorced status. That’s all changed since I saw Kyle. Being divorced isn’t something to be pitied for. It was the best move for me, and without it, I wouldn’t be back in Kilborough, planning a kick-ass business idea and sharing it with a man who makes me smile all fucking day.

Art taps the bar top and signals for drinks, but before the woman behind the bar can reach us, the male server sidesteps her and slides in first.

“Hey, Arty.”

My friend sighs. “The good bourbon, thank you.”

“Anything for you, cutie.”

I hold back my amusement as the guy bats his eyelashes at Art in a very over-the-top way. He looks younger than us, maybe early thirties, with a stubbled jaw and shaggy brown hair, tied into a knot. His name tag reads Joey.

“Friend of yours?” I ask Art.

“Pain-in-the-ass employee.”

“What do you want to do to my ass?” Joey asks.

“I’m going to fire you one of these days,” Art warns.

Joey just smirks. “And lose this eye candy? I don’t think so.”

I smother my laugh, but Joey’s not wrong. He’s tall and built, with a face that’s somewhere between pretty and handsome.

And by the way Art’s eyeing him, he knows how good-looking his employee is. “One day I’ll get to work and find your resignation letter, and it will be the greatest day of my life.”

“So you’re saying threatening to quit is your idea of foreplay?”

“If it shuts you up, I’ll be in heaven.”

Joey’s stare turns challenging. “There are lots of ways you could shut me up.”

“Starting with reminding you who you work for and who you’re currently making wait.”

Joey grabs the bottle of bourbon and holds it out.

Art reaches for the bottle, and Joey tugs it out of reach before leaning in. “You’ll take me up on my offer one day.”

“Maybe when hell freezes over.” He takes the bottle, and Joey moves off down the bar to serve someone else.

“He’s a handful,” I say.

“You’re not wrong.”

“I’m surprised you haven’t taken him up on his offer.”

“He’s not serious.” Art reaches over the bar and hands me a stack of glasses. “He takes a different woman home every night, despite my no hooking up with customers rule.”

“Then why don’t you fire him?”

Art’s mouth forms a line. “So, Beau?”

I know what he’s doing, but I let him change the subject. “Yep. I didn’t expect it for a second when I moved in with him, but I’m so glad we happened.”

“See what I mean? Divorce isn’t the dead end people make it out to be. It’s a fork in the road to your true destination.”

“I might be more on board with your theories if you weren’t so dramatic about them.”

“We’ve been friends since high school.” He cuffs my shoulder. “It’s too late to pretend to be embarrassed now.”

“I clearly can’t be trusted to make good choices.”

“Speaking of good choices though, what’s this I hear from Trent about you buying his land?”

I’m hit with excitement at the thought of all those future plans and fill him in.

He nods. “Well, let me know if you need any help. With that many people about, you’re going to need to feed them somehow.”

“And let me guess, you’re happy to supply me?”

He cuffs my shoulder. “I thought you’d never ask. Don’t worry, we’ll work out a friends-and-family discount.”

“I don’t for a minute believe you give your family any kind of discount.”

Art laughs. “Yeah, okay, you’re right. But you’ll be buying in bulk, so we’ll sort something out.”

“Thanks, man.”

“Don’t thank me. This is pure selfishness. I’m hoping you’ll hire some gorgeous drill sergeant that I can flirt with every time I make a delivery.”

“You realize this place is a good year or so away, right?”

He shrugs. “That just means I have a year of sleeping around to get through first.”

“Well, I don’t know about you, but this settling down business is for me.”

Art smirks, big lips pulling up at the sides. “It’s a pity. I know a few guys who would have loved to get you naked.”

And somehow, that isn’t at all appealing to me. It actually sounds like too much energy, for little reward. “Well, they’re never going to get that chance now. With any luck, Beau is it for me.”

“Really?” Art glances around and tilts his head. “In the nicest way possible, how can you be sure? You’ve been wrong once, right? Aren’t you scared it will happen again?”

It’s a fair question. “I thought I would be at first. I didn’t think trust was possible again. But … there’s something I can’t even explain when I’m around Beau. This complete confidence that we’re made for each other, and I don’t doubt for a minute that he’s always been committed to me.”

“You didn’t think that with your ex?”

“Nope. Obviously I loved him, but it’s hard to explain. There was always that feeling of not being enough for him, no matter how hard I tried or how much I had. With Beau, I literally have nothing, and he wants me anyway.”

“Better you than me, brother.” He gestures toward the table. “Let’s get back to your man.”

We join the others, where Griffin is trying to explain his situation to Beau.

“So, your son leaves at the end of summer?” Beau asks.

“A little sooner. Felix is heading to Franklin U in California, so we’re taking a road trip across the country with his things, and then Poppy and I will come home and sort out the divorce.”


Griffin nods. “One last family trip. It feels good to know things are finally happening.”

“You don’t think the trip will make you rethink things?” I ask.

“No way.” Griffin looks like he’s trying not to laugh. “Heath has been counting down the days until he can get me laid.”

“Heath is …” Beau prompts.

“My ride or die. He’s been there for me through everything.”

I smile at Beau and tug him closer. “Having someone like that is invaluable.”

Griffin eyes us and then says, as though he can’t stop himself, “I know I talk a big talk, but I’ve only ever been with Poppy. I have no idea how I’m going to handle whatever comes next.”

Art plants a large hand on Griffin’s shoulder. “With our support. And Heath’s. We’re going to get you through this … and we’re sure as hell going to make sure you have all the sex you can handle.”

As the night goes on, Beau becomes more and more comfortable. Given his issues with meeting new people, it makes me so happy to see Beau joking around, even if he looks set to vibrate out of his skin.

That constant energy is always there, and it comforts me. Because it’s him.

Distinctly Beau.

And I’m fucking crazy about him.


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