Tuesday, 4 June 2013

New Release - The Game

Today, Bottom Drawer Publications is proud to be releasing a free short story, The Game, by Henrietta Clarke.


You don’t have to be crazy to work here . . . but give it six months and you will be.

Selling insulation via telephone is not a job Guy is looking forward to—until he meets his new colleagues and realizes that there will never be a dull moment. The team’s eccentricities make life in Maxwell Insulation’s telesales department feel like working in a drinking game—or perhaps one involving forfeits rather than alcohol. Joining him in The Game is Alex, inhabitant of the cubicle next to Guy’s and the sexiest man Guy has ever seen. Their friendship is instant, as is Guy’s attraction, but it would be a really bad idea to date a colleague . . . right?


    THE GAME BEGAN precisely one hundred and eight hours after Guy started working in Maxwell Insulation’s telesales department. His new colleagues had invited him out on Friday night for an end-of-week drink to celebrate him having survived his first week at “Maxie’s,” as the company was known to its cynical employees. After the week he’d had, Guy had needed it—and the beer after that, and the one after that. By eight o’clock, Emma, Darren, Livi, and Grace had drifted off to families and partners and prior engagements, leaving only Guy and Alex. They’d glanced at one another, and someone—Guy couldn't remember who—suggested that food might be an idea before the bar started swaying. Then suddenly they were in Roxie’s Steakhouse—best sixteen-ounce rump in the neighbourhood, Alex advised—waiting on dinner and drinking yet more beers. That was when Guy asked the fateful question that led to, well, pretty much everything.
    “Do you have to be insane to work there?”
    Alex laughed, and it was just about the most gorgeous sound Guy had ever heard. But you didn’t shit where you ate—or date where you worked, especially not in your first week with the first hot guy you met—so he forced himself to focus on his colleague’s words rather than on the way Alex’s plump, kissable lips moved.
    “In my experience, it’s a consequence, not a prerequisite.” Alex paused, raised one eyebrow consideringly, and grinned. “I give you six months.”
     Guy recovered from his mental swoon and chuckled. “Encouraging. Thanks.”
    That grin again. “That is my role in the office madhouse, yes. Just like Emma’s role is to mother everyone and Grace’s is to fix Darren’s technological fuck-ups.”
    Guy laughed. “Yeah, I did notice she does that. Happens a lot, huh?”
    “It’s as regular an occurrence as Crystal cleansing our auras,” Alex agreed.
    “Yeah, what is with that?” Guy demanded, sparing a smile for the waiter who placed his steak in front of him.
    Alex chuckled. “Oh, that’s just Crystal. She does tarot readings and stuff too, but not so much on company time. You’ll get used to her. She is who she is, bless her heart. Have you found energy crystals on your desk yet?”
    “Nope.” Guy shook his head. “Should I expect that?”
    “Like you should expect a view of Lexi’s cleavage.”
    “Oh Christ, did you have to bring that up over dinner?” Guy shuddered. He’d been treated to an expansive view of Lexi’s cleavage down her very low-cut top and offered a comprehensive tour of a more southerly area barely ten minutes after first setting foot in the office. The worst thing was, he’d been too unsure of his new colleagues’ attitudes to defend himself with the words “I’m gay,” so he’d been treated to the same view—complete with leg-flashing and hair-twirling—every day since.
    “Yeah, with hindsight . . .” Alex echoed the shudder and took a fortifying sip of his beer. “Sorry. Though I should warn you, she’ll proposition you again, at least once a week. Even if you tell her you’re gay.”
    Guy blinked, the four beers leaving him with some doubt as to how to interpret that last statement.
    “You told her you’re gay?” he asked tentatively, not wanting to assume anything. It was probably just wishful thinking, but on the other hand there were rocks with a better gaydar than Guy, so maybe . . . 
    Alex nodded. “Yep.”
    Well, that told Guy . . . nothing, and now he suddenly, desperately needed to know, one way or the other.     Not that he’d act on that knowledge, of course—getting shot down by a colleague was the quickest route to an uncomfortable working relationship—but it would be nice to know. It would take a little of the guilt out of the fantasizing Guy was sure to do. Nothing and no one was off-limits in fantasy, right?
    “And are you?”
    Alex quirked a disbelieving eyebrow, shifted his beautiful body to the most ridiculously, stereotypically “gay” seated pose Guy had ever seen, and flipped his wrist with emphatic campness.
    “Oh honey, does the Pope shit in the woods?” he asked, voice pitched high.

Download this free e-book short today and read an excerpt of Henrietta's first novel-length book, The Truth About Riley, due for release on July 10 in e-book and paperback.


Link to download free e-book

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