MILES WINTER stood in front of his broad, mahogany executive desk, half perched on the edge of it, and watched Zeke Roswell spill a box full of items all over the plush carpet of the office. He opened his mouth to protest, then shut it. Not right now, he thought.
“I know,” Zeke said, as if Miles really had spoken. He was crouched down on the carpet, not meeting Miles’s eyes, apparently engrossed in the box’s contents. “Look, it’s a problem, right? All this damned mess. I’ll clear it up, and we can talk about this later.”
“No,” Miles said, swiftly. “It’s fine.” And he meant it.
The office was closed for the night, his staff all sent home, but he was still there. That wasn’t unusual, of course, because everyone knew how committed he was to his business. He knew what was said around the water cooler: Miles Winter hadn’t become so successful, so young, without sacrificing what most sane people would call a decently balanced work-to-leisure ratio. At least, that’s what used to be said about him.
Nowadays, things were a little different. The pattern of his life had changed, his interests had changed, and so had his priorities. Or… they'd been changed for him. He gazed at the man kneeling in front of the desk. Zeke muttered something under his breath and pushed his thick hair impatiently off his forehead. It fell straight back down again. Miles watched and wondered, his hand itching to reach down and push the hair back himself—to touch the warm head, to tangle his fingers in the curls and tug, until Zeke’s gaze came up to meet his, until Zeke’s growl warned him he was likely to get more than he’d bargained for.
Yes, knowing Zeke Roswell had definitely changed things for Miles. Tonight, he’d cleared away his work earlier than usual. A couple of files remained on the desk, beside a neat pile of loose documents and his diary, which lay open with the next day’s appointments tagged as a reminder. All the portable devices he owned would be tagged the same but were currently turned off. He still wore his expensive shirt and pants, with his hair well groomed, although he’d slipped off his suit jacket and tie an hour ago.
But he was definitely off duty.
And what’s brought that on? Miles smiled to himself. Or who?
Just before Zeke arrived, Miles had locked his personal safe and closed all communications, preparatory to finishing work for the night. Even then, Zeke had been a half hour later than they’d arranged, bursting through the office door with muttered apologies about the traffic, dressed in skin-tight vest and low-slung jeans—clothing as far removed from office wear as it was possible to get—and clutching his box of tricks. But for Miles, Zeke was a sight for sore eyes.
The darkening evening outside cast a gentle pall over the building. Miles’s office was on a high floor, and soon the only view would be the twinkling lights of offices at night and awakening restaurants and bars. The summer had been a hot one, and the days still retained some heat into the late hours, painting a misty haze over the streets below. But inside, the office was ruthlessly modern, and its ambient temperature very efficiently controlled. The place was also the epitome of discretion. At this time of night, any conversation was muted by the silence elsewhere in the building, and no one could overhear. No security cameras monitored Miles’s private office suite, no security guards made their periodic slow march by. It was just the two of them here, their bodies casting occasional, gray shadows on the wall, their soft voices the only sound.
Zeke had called earlier and asked to come by. After the initial surprise, Miles had of course agreed. It'd been months since Zeke had actually called at the office, let alone at his own request. And he’d implied it was to discuss his latest exhibition. That had made Miles’s heartbeat quicken. Zeke rarely shared his preparations for the art gallery, let alone his creative process, even to Miles. Sometimes, when they all met up socially, Zeke’s friend Carter tried to explain this possessive wariness to Miles, wanting Miles to understand the complex character that was Zeke Roswell.
But Miles would wait for another time to understand. For the moment, he knew instinctively that thrill was better than theory when it came to his relationship with Zeke. He'd just encourage whatever communication he could.
Anything to be closer to his lover.