Sammy Dane

By: Stormy Glenn

Sammy & Friends 2

Chapter One

“Jamie, it’s just a simple get-together between friends,” Nicky insisted. “No funny business. I promise. Say you can come. Please?”

James Everson rolled his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He was beginning to get a headache, and it had Nicky’s name written all over it. He so didn’t want to go to one of his brother’s backyard parties. The last three he’d gone to, Nicky had tried to hook him up with a blind date, and they had all been complete flops.

He didn’t want another one.

“No funny business?” James asked even though he knew it was futile. If Nicky thought another blind date was good for him, the man would set him up no matter how much James protested.

“Nope.” Nicky was crossing his fingers. James just knew it.

“No setting me up with anyone?” James couldn’t do another round of pick-the-idiot. Nicky meant well but he didn’t have a clue what kind of man James was interested in.

“I swear.”

“Fine.” James heaved a sigh. He could picture his little brother holding two fingers up like a Boy Scout. Nicky was never a Boy Scout. “What time should I be there and what do I need to bring?”

“Yes!” James winced when Nicky squealed into the phone. The man could shout louder than anyone James knew. “Saturday the fifteenth. Come by around three. And you can bring a salad.”

“A salad?” Seriously? A salad? James was a meat and potatoes man. He didn’t eat rabbit food. “What kind of salad?” As if he had a clue. He knew the stuff was green…wasn’t it?

Nicky chuckled. “Go to the produce section at the market. They have mixed salad all ready to go, everything in them right down to the tomatoes. You don’t have to add anything to it. You don’t even need a bowl. They come in resealable plastic containers.”

James’s eyebrows peaked on his forehead. “No shit?”

“No shit, bro.” Nicky chuckled again as if vastly amused by James’s lack of produce knowledge. “The food industry has become quite progressive.”

“Shut up.” Nicky had to know James didn’t cook much. He was on a first-name basis with the local fast food joint and had the pizza delivery place on speed dial. If he bought stock in the restaurants in his neighborhood, he would make millions.

“It’ll be really great to see you, Jamie.”

“Yeah, it’s been a while,” James agreed. He did miss his brother. He really didn’t get to see Nicky as often as he liked. “Work has kept me pretty busy.” Nicky should know this. His lover was James’s work partner.

“Anything else keeping you busy?” There was a clear undertone in Nicky’s voice. James wanted to growl. Ever since Nicky and Troy got together, Nicky had made it his business to be the matchmaker for everyone he knew. It drove James crazy.

“Nicky,” James said, hoping the warning was clear in his tone.

“Just asking, bro, just asking.”

Nicky paused, and James braced for what he knew what was coming. Nicky always did the same old song and dance, every damn time they talked.

“I just worry about you, Jamie. You spend too much time flitting from one relationship to another.”

“I don’t flit, Nicky,” James argued. He didn’t, not really. He just hadn’t found the right guy yet. And he didn’t have a lot of time to work on a relationship, either. He was a police officer. He worked a lot of hours.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

“You might not flit, but you don’t take any of the guys you date seriously.”

“Nicky.” If he ever found the right guy—if the man truly existed anywhere outside James’s fantasies—he’d take him very seriously. He’d take him and never let him go. But circumstances being what they were, and the fact that his dream man was a fictional character, chances were he would be single his entire life.

“Okay, okay, I’ll get off your case,” Nicky replied. James almost smiled when he heard the huff of resignation in Nicky’s voice. “I just want you to be happy, Jamie, and I don’t think you are.”

“Just because I haven’t found my Mr. Right like you have doesn’t mean that I’m not happy, Nicky. I have my work, which I love, and friends that I do things with. Besides, I’m not sure there are too many guys out there like Troy.” It was just really too bad Troy wasn’t his type. Well, that and the fact that the man was head over heels in love with Nicky.

“There’s not.” Nicky’s happy laughter took away James’s loneliness for just a moment. “He’s definitely special.”

He could hear the love Nicky had for Troy in his brother’s voice. He was happy that Nicky had found the man for him. He was also saddened that he himself was still alone. Not for lack of trying. He just hadn’t found anyone he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Maybe he never would.

“So, hey,” James said, seeking a change of subject. “I need to go. I need to get my uniform set out for work tomorrow. I’ll see you on the fifteenth, okay?”

“Yeah, Jamie, see you then.”

James hung up the phone and glanced over at the clock. Nearly seven o’clock. Despite what he told his brother, he really had nothing to do. His freshly cleaned and pressed uniform hung in the bedroom closet. He wasn’t due back to work until tomorrow evening. He had almost twenty-four hours to twiddle his thumbs.

He grabbed the remote and turned on the television. After surfing the dial, he heaved a sigh and pressed the button. The screen went dark. Three hundred and sixty-five channels of crap to choose from. Nothing interested him.

Restless and bored, he glanced at the clock on the wall again. Maybe he would go out and see if he could find a little action. Wouldn’t Nicky be shocked if he showed up to the party with a date? James laughed as he pictured his brother’s face. Maybe then he would lay off on the matchmaking.

With that thought in mind, James tossed the remote on the coffee table and got to his feet. He started to whistle a happy little tune as he made his way to the bedroom to get dressed. Maybe he’d get lucky tonight…

* * * *

Sammy started at the phone when it rang like it might jump out and bite him. He had changed his number last week. It was too early for Frank to have found it again. Bracing himself, Sammy reached for the phone, bringing it to his ear. “Hello?”

“Hey, bro.”

Relief stole the breath from Sammy’s lungs. “Troy.”

“How are things going?”

Better now. Sammy smiled. “Things are good. I just got the new cover back for my latest book, and I love it. Ash did a great job.”

“Nice. I’d like to see it next time I come over.”

“Oh, um…” Damn. Sammy didn’t want his brother to see the cover for his latest erotic romance. It was hot and sexy and had half-naked men on it. It would never pass for a mainstream mystery novel cover. Not unless the mystery was how such hot guys were real.

“That’s not why I called,” Troy said. “We’re having a little get-together this weekend and we’d like you to come.”

“Oh, Troy, I really don’t have time.”

“Come on, Sammy,” Troy wheedled, “it’s just for a few hours. Surely you can squeeze in a few hours for one little party.”

Sammy glanced at the half-finished paragraph on his computer screen. “Not really.” He still had another three thousand words to type today if he wanted to stay on schedule. The book was due by the end of the month. Taking time off wasn’t in the schedule.

Sammy needed his schedule.

“Sammy,” Troy pleaded, “it’s just a backyard BBQ, a few of our friends, Nicky’s brother, you. It’ll be great. Besides, when was the last time you had something good to eat?”

Sammy looked down at the freshly washed yet untouched apple sitting on his desk next to his computer. His brother knew him too well. If someone didn’t remind him to eat on a regular basis, he pretty much forgot. “I eat,” he insisted.

Sammy started to turn his gaze back to the computer screen then paused. What the hell? On the edge of his desk right next to the apple sat an unopened bottle of mineral water. Funny…he didn’t remember bringing one in to his office with him today. He shrugged. Sometimes when he got caught up in a story, he forgot things. This definitely wasn’t the first time he found something on his desk he didn’t remember putting there.

“What have you eaten today?” Troy asked. “An apple? Some grapes? Have you even had any protein?”

Sammy rolled his eyes. “You know I don’t eat meat, Troy.”

“I get that, Sammy, but there are a lot of ways to get protein without eating meat. You could have some peanut butter or an egg, something besides fruit. Fruit will not fill you up. It’s just not enough for you, man. Eat some friggin’ tofu.”

“Troy, please.” He had heard this argument before, about a million times. He knew Troy was just trying to look out for him, but he was a grown man. Hell, of the two of them, he was the older brother. He should be looking out for Troy, not the other way around.

It was funny sometimes how the world went around.

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