Today I am so pleased to welcome Allison Temple to Joyfully Jay. Allison has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Boyfriend With Benefits. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I do the only thing I possibly can.
I go home prepared to beg.
No notes about chameleons. When I open the door, Gordo’s in the kitchen, his back to me.
Seeing him is a relief. He’ll always help a friend in need—or that’s what I tell myself—and I am very much in need.
“I have a big favour to ask,” I say. I can’t help the way I pull my knees up against me as I try to casually settle onto the couch. Hiding my vital organs in case Gordo decides to rip me a new one seems advisable.
“Okay.” He turns and he’s holding a bowl of what looks like recently hydrated Cup O’ Noodles.
“And you’re going to want to say no, but please hear me out.”
There’s a drop of noodle broth—is it really broth if it was water from the kettle five minutes ago?—in his beard, and he wipes it away as he says, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“I need you to come to the retreat with me this weekend.”
He frowns. When Gordo frowns, his whole face basically disappears. His mouth burrows under his beard, his eyes get lost beneath the caterpillars he calls eyebrows, and his forehead scrunches up so his shaggy hair covers most of the rest of him. He’s a nose surrounded by a forest of red fur.
Also, he’s looming, which he doesn’t mean to do, but when you’re as big as he is, it’s easy to make people uncomfortable.
He says, “You want me to come to your corporate retreat this weekend?”
I nod, and the second part of what I have to say gets stuck on my tongue, turning it thick and fuzzy the way that fancy French red wine that Lachlan likes to serve at this supper club he hosts does—or used to, back before he moved into the office.
I swallow and wait for my saliva to come back before I blurt out the rest of my request. “And I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend.”
For a while, he doesn’t say anything. In fact, he lifts the bowl of noodles again and slurps in a few big bites. My stomach goes to acid and my toes curl up in my socks. He’s going to say no, and I’m so doomed. I’ll have to face Jake by myself and admit that I lied.
“You want me to be your boyfriend?” he says.
“Pretend, yeah. Just for the weekend.”
Oh God. So terrible. This is the worst, but I’m literally out of time. “Because Jake will be there.”
Gordo nods like he was expecting that. “Jake the Jerk?”
“Yeah.” I moan and flop over onto the couch, covering my face with a throw cushion. “And he kinda already thinks we’re dating.”
“I’m sorry.” Gordo slurps on more noodles. “I didn’t hear that last part clearly behind the pillow. It sounded like you said we’re dating.”
I push the pillow aside and glare at him. “I said he thinks we’re dating.”
“Why would he think that?”
So embarrassing. My instincts are still telling me to cover myself. That it’s only a matter of time before I get eviscerated, and I’ll probably deserve it too.
But Gordo’s not actually like that. What he is, though, is waiting for an answer, and I can’t expect him to play along if he doesn’t have all the information.
“Because it’s possible I told him you were my boyfriend.” I stare up at him, pleading silently for him not to freak out.
Instead, he smacks his lips. “Bailey, I think I’d remember if I had a boyfriend.”
Would he though? Sometimes I don’t know what gets Gordo out of bed in the morning, or how he manages to have mostly clean clothes every day. He’s this lumbering mountain of a man—emphasis on lumbering—who seems to roll through life with all the self-determination of a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon.
“Well, you’ve got one now,” I say, giving him awkward jazz hands.
When Bailey’s new boss turns out to be his childhood bully, a.k.a. Jake the Jerk, it’s time to call in backup for the annual corporate retreat in Vegas. Too bad Bailey works too much to date. His best option is to ask his very straight roommate to play the part of temporary boyfriend, even if Gordo is better with pythons than he is with people.
But they haven’t even checked into the hotel and Jake the Jerk is already everywhere. The pressure is on for Bailey to prove he deserves to climb the corporate ladder, but it’s hard to talk shop when Gordo goes from backup to an increasingly attractive distraction.
Bailey’s trying to keep his cool, schmooze the executives, and stick to the plan, even though Gordo’s not playing by any of the rules. They’ve always been just friends, but maybe it’s time to be boyfriends . . . with full benefits.
Boyfriend with Benefits is a 37k contemporary MM romance novella. It features fake boyfriends who might not be so fake, a hotel room with only one bed, and a James Bond moment in a tiny blue bathing suit. HEA guaranteed.
Allison Temple has been a writer since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’s never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison took that as a challenge and has gone on to try to break her previous record in all her subsequent works.
Allison lives in Toronto with her very patient husband and the world’s goofiest dog. She splits her free time between writing, community theater stage management, and traveling anywhere that has good wine. Tragically, this leaves no time to clean her house.