Point of Beginning
The Gentlemen's Club 1'Sometimes dreams do come true.'
Geeky CAD technician Jack Monroe is bi-curious, but after he falls head over heels for a certain curly-haired construction surveyor, he’s ready to admit he’s gay. Too bad Alex James is straight and has a girlfriend who keeps him on a short leash.
Jack is determined to meet other gay men, but after a few dates from hell, he's ready to give up. Then he meets Richard Caldwell, part owner of the exclusive Gentlemen’s Club where wealthy members can make their dreams come true. Richard takes Jack under his wing and offers him a chance to act out his fantasy with an Alex lookalike. Nobody can replace Alex, but knowing the real thing is off-limits, Jack accepts the offer. When the real deal shows up, Jack is convinced that Alex is only there for the money. But sometimes dreams do come true.
I hate gyms!
But then, Jack had pretty much hated gym class all through school. Always the smallest kid in the class, and the last picked for any game, he’d shied away from any kind of sports. He preferred to have his nose buried in a book rather than broken on the hockey field, and he couldn’t hit a baseball to save his life. At least no one ever bullied him, but no one wanted to be his friend either.
High school was more of the same. While the other guys tried out for football or screwed as many girls as they could, Jack spent his time studying or on the computer. What made it even worse was his sister had been a top-notch gymnast who’d almost made it to the Olympics. Lucy had gotten the best of the Monroe gene pool. Their parents had avoided comparing them, but sibling rivalry was inevitable. Jack couldn’t help swinging back and forth between admiring and detesting Lucy. To this day, they barely spoke and only saw each other on the holidays. His fault, not hers.
Jack pulled into the parking lot of the Liberty Gym, but he didn’t turn off the ignition.
I can still change my mind. I don’t have to go in.
He’d almost turned back twice already on the seven-mile drive from work to the gym. Still undecided, he sat behind the wheel, thinking.
What the fuck am I doing here? Maybe twenty-eight is too damn old to start acting like one of the guys.
On the other hand, Jack was sick of being some kind of bibliosexual freak. All those years spent reading about other people’s lives, and he still had no idea who Jack Monroe was.
Will the real me please stand up?
A knock on the car window interrupted his thoughts, and Jack’s head jerked up.
His coworker peered in at him with a furrowed brow and a questioning look. Too late to change his mind now, the decision had been made for him. Jack turned the key and opened the door.
“Jack, you okay?” Alex looked a little worried as Jack got out of the car.
“Course he is. Let’s get a move on, before all the equipment is taken.” Kyle’s tone grated on Jack’s nerves. What the fuck was his hurry? The man already looked like a terminator. It gave Jack a bit of satisfaction that Kyle had to comb his thinning hair over a distractingly shiny scalp.
Jack ran a hand through his own thick, sandy mop and smirked. “Oh yeah. Wouldn’t want to miss a minute of this opportunity.” Bullshit. Kyle, being the only member, acted like they were here on his dime. In reality, Jack and Alex were using free passes that Kyle had scarfed up because the gym was doing a big promotion to get new members.
The three coworkers started walking around to the front entrance, Jack lagging behind. The gym looked like a shiny oasis in the middle of a very ugly strip mall.
“You coming?” Alex called over his shoulder.
Jack took a deep breath and picked up his pace.
Alex turned and grinned at him. “Wouldn’t want to lose you.”
If only it were true.
The thought came unbidden to Jack’s mind, and he brushed it aside. He’d been having these urges lately, and they all revolved around Alexander James. Pretty damn surprising since they hardly knew each other and even weirder because Jack hadn’t been attracted to anyone in so long, he’d started to think he was asexual. He’d never been sexually abused, and he knew he wasn’t impotent because he enjoyed masturbating, but until now, he’d never known what it meant to have chemistry with someone—man or woman. This bizarre sexual pull toward Alex must be what people referred to as having butterflies in their gut.
Too bad it’s one-sided.
Kyle stood in front of the entrance. “Let’s do it,” he said cheerfully.
The door opened, and they walked into a trendy temple of fitness where all the muscle guys were gods who looked good enough to pose alongside Ryan Reynolds in a photo shoot. Suddenly Jack’s throat felt tight and his pulse raced. He felt like he was back in middle school again, trying to measure up.