Elliot Beck may not have been blessed with mad art skills, a crooner's voice, or a godlike physique, but he makes up for it with an abundance of quick-witted sarcasm, massive insecurities, and a love of bad boys.
After his best friend Trevor finds him naked and tied to his bed—abandoned by his latest troublemaker—Trevor convinces him to take a chance on a nice guy. When he has an awkward encounter in the men's restroom with a fitness instructor named Chase, he never suspects the Adonis might be his perfect bad boy.
Chapter 1: Elliot
STAN BRAUNSTEIN was like a horrific case of déjà vu. I could tell by the look on his tiny mustached face as he walked over to me that it was about to happen again.
“Elliot, I’m going to need you to hurry up with those account ledgers for the art department,” Stan said, looking down his nose at me from the other side of my desk. “I don’t understand what you do all day on that computer,” he said with disgust, shaking his head and writing in his notebook.
If I was an awesome superhero, Stan would be my nemesis, and we would battle royal to the death.
I’ve worked with him in the accounting department at the CIU Corporation for three years now. Technically, we were the accounting department at CIU. And since he sucked, that meant I was the accounting department. I’m pretty sure Stan was the worst person alive. He didn’t understand the first thing about accounting. He only got the job because our boss was his uncle.
“You know you have no authority over me, right, Stan?” I said, closing my eyes and slowly exhaling before responding further. I had heard somewhere that deep breathing was a coping mechanism for not choking out your coworkers. It was a technique I used frequently around Stan. “And even if I explained what I do on my computer all day, you still wouldn’t understand because you’re a shitty accountant.” That may have been kind of harsh, but I was done having this conversation with him the first five hundred times we had it; blatant honesty and deep breathing were the only things that kept me going.
“My uncle will fire you if he ever hears you talking to me like that,” he said in his annoying, nasally voice, sounding more like a spoiled teenager than a forty-year-old man.
“No, he won’t, Stan,” I said, knowing his uncle was fully aware of who actually did the work around here. I put my headphones back on and returned my attention to the quarterly financial reports and the bag of Doritos I was thoroughly enjoying before I was so rudely interrupted. As if Stan’s creepy mustache wasn’t bad enough, he was also super greasy. I swore he slicked his hair back with bacon grease or really cheap hair gel.
Either way, he was creepy and smelled like pig fat. And I had to spend every day with him. I wasn’t sure why I had to be so good at math. Why couldn’t I have been gifted with mad art skills or have a crooner’s voice? Oh, I would get so much dick if I had a crooner’s voice. Math skills got me nothing but having to deal with fucktards like Stan.
I was saved from delving further into that bowl of hatred by my phone ringing. It was my friend Trevor.
Trevor moved to Seattle when I was in the second grade. I remember we were all lined up for kickball. And since he was new and the size of a fifth grader, they let him be a team captain. He stood on the mound with the teacher and the other team captain, Eric Miller, who I was almost positive was doing hard time in prison nowadays. They flipped a coin and Eric picked Tony Corialis—no shocker there. He was the fastest runner in second grade. I personally thought team sports should be banned in schools. There was nothing like a big public face full of “no one wants you on their team” to start your day out. The only thing that usually stood between me and the public humiliation of becoming the last one picked was Wally Winderman: his red hair, thick rimmed glasses, and chronic allergies were the key to my athletic success. I kind of felt bad that he was always picked last. I mean, it was already pretty obvious his parents hated him because, seriously, nobody who loved you would name you Wally Winderman, so picking him last was just adding insult to injury. But of course, Wally was out sick that day.
Thanks a lot, Wally.
Since I wasn’t known for my speed and agility, I just tried not to make eye contact so I didn’t come across as desperate. It didn’t help my case that I was a bit on the chubby side. So there I stood, waiting for the humiliation to be over. It took the kid next to me pushing me forward for me to realize Trevor had chosen me as his first pick. The rest of the class was just as confused as I was as I walked up to stand next to him at the plate.
I realized two weeks later he didn’t just choose me to play on his team. He had chosen me to be his best friend. We were inseparable from that day on. I asked him one time why he had picked me that day, and he said, “Because you were the one who looked the loneliest.”
I’m pretty sure there is not a nicer person alive than my best friend, which is weird since I’m kind of a dick—not intentionally, mind you. A therapist told my mom one time that I had an abrasive personality caused by massive insecurities—pretty sure that was code for “your child’s an asshole.”
We did have a rough patch in the sixth grade, though, when I realized I liked boys more than girls. I was furious that Trevor was not on the same page with that.
It all started at Kenny Hopkins’s birthday party. I got pity invites to all the popular kids’ parties because Trevor refused to go without me. That night in Kenny’s musty basement, we played spin the bottle. As we sat there, I looked around the circle of cool kids lining Kenny’s basement as the bottle spun: nine girls and seven boys. I suddenly realized I wanted my spin to land on Scott Martin, the ultimate sixth-grade bad boy. Lucky for me, Kenny’s mom came down on the first spin and lost her shit over what we were doing.
I told Trevor I wasn’t feeling well and ran home.
I refused to leave my room and, to my mom’s annoyance, ignored the constant ringing of the phone. After the third day of solitude, Trevor showed up at my house and wouldn’t leave until I talked to him and told him what my problem was. Trevor was just as amazing then as he is now, telling me I was his best friend and nothing would ever change that. He even apologized for liking girls.
Then he fell for Claire Johnson our sophomore year.
I hated Claire Johnson!
Claire was a redheaded bookworm girl-next-door type, and very short. She was like five one to Trevor’s six four, which made for an odd-looking couple. But by senior year, I had to accept she was here to stay or risk messing up my friendship with Trevor, which was not an option. Turned out we actually hit it off pretty well. They have an apartment together now. The three of us still met a couple of times a week at an Irish pub down the street from my work, which I’m sure was why Trevor was calling.
“HEY, E, Claire wants to go out to Mickey’s tonight. You game?” I heard Trevor say as I picked up the phone. He always called me E, even though I told him nicknaming me after a sex drug was just too much pressure for me. It stuck anyway and now most people called me that.
“Sure,” I said, knowing I had nothing else going on tonight.
“Okay, I have to get back to work, so I’ll see you there,” he said, and hung up the phone.
I looked down to see if I needed to run home and change first. It’s usually a crapshoot with me, since refusing to follow the CIU dress code just to annoy Stan was one of my favorite pastimes. Luckily I had on passable jeans and my blue shirt that read BEER across the front that Trevor said made my brown eyes look like a baby deer’s.
I questioned whether or not he was truly straight when he said gay shit like that.
So now all I had to do after work was throw my pageboy hat on backward to cover up all my shaggy brown hair. I got real lazy a few months back and forgot to get my hair cut, and then when Trevor called me on it, I told him I was growing it out so I didn’t just sound fat and lazy. Now I’m stuck with it. Trevor said the new style made me look like Patrick Dempsey, if Patrick Dempsey never, ever worked out. Trevor was a little compliment-challenged because he was too honest to do a proper job of it. I wasn’t quite the porker I was growing up, thanks to a short-lived growth spurt in high school that raised me to a respectable five ten, but losing twenty pounds wouldn’t hurt.
Thank God it was Friday. Just two more hours of dealing with Stan, and I was out. I swear even my desk had started to smell like bacon lately. He had ruined bacon for me forever, and that in itself was unforgivable.
Review by Lucy
This novella focuses on Elliot, a bit chubby, a bit nerdy and always going after the wrong bad boy. Told first person from his point of view, he’s sort of whiny but he’s also pretty snark-funny. He has the greatest best friend named Trevor, who happens to be the one who has to bail him out of bad situations with those bad boys. Such as being left bare ass naked tied up to his own bed. Even Elliot is sort of surprised he and Trevor as so close, since “I’m pretty sure there is not a nicer person alive than my best friend, which is weird since I’m kind of a dick…” See, I love that Elliot knows that!
Trevor wants Elliot to take a chance on a nice guy and forget all the bad boy crap. He never wants a repeat of having to untie naked Elliot. To this end, he introduces Elliot to Chase, a personal trainer from Trevor’s gym. Chase is a beautiful Adonis with bad boy muscles who is, dare we say it? Nice. They have the most awkward introduction ever, due to Elliot’s way active imagination. Who else would see Jesus in a pink urinal cake?
Since Chase is a trainer he gives Elliot ten free lessons. This is the torture Elliot puts up with in order to get to know Chase. Chase is that nice guy and they go very slow. “We’re dating?”, I asked, sounding like captain of the moron pirates.” There is just something about Elliot’s voice that made me laugh over and over. Is he snarky and bitchy? You bet. Is he whiny, particularly about Stan the coworker? Absolutely. Is it damn funny? Yes! “…trying to give him a semiflirty smile I’m pretty sure just came across as douche.”
I laughed at Elliot’s attempts to “girl-punch his suitors”, even though I felt that was Elliot all over, jealous and impulsive. Elliot’s penchant for bad boys is fulfilled with Chase, although for different reasons than normal. Chase is an enigma at times and his part in the story was a little confusing (because Trevor introduced them, so had Chase asked him to?).
I admit, I did want Elliot to quit harping about Stan. We get it, Stan is obnoxious and gross! I loved Elliot’s take on things and I adored Trevor. His running the gauntlet of Mrs Baker in order to get to Elliot’s apartment shows what a true friend is. Mrs Baker herself is an exhibitionist who bakes penis cookies. Come on!!
This is a fun novella where you have to suspend belief a little bit but it was well worth the read. And some of it, I read twice because the phrasing just made me laugh.
Chevalier by Mary Calmes eBook
Loaded for Bear by Cheyenne Meadows eBook
Beauty, Inc. by Tara Lain eBook
Love in Retrograde by Charlie Cochet eBook
There You Are by CJane Elliott eBook
Not Just Passing Through by Jamie Dean eBook
Jewel Cave by Elizabeth Noble eBook
Sand-Man's Family by CJane Elliott eBook
Wyatt's Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars by Clancy Nacht and Thursday Euclid eBook
Bad Dogs and Drag Queens by Julie Lynn Hayes eBook
Requires site membership
A Bouquet for Adam by A.J. Marcus & K.T. Spence eBook