Exclusive Excerpt from Hazardous Things
by Beth Bolden
“Did you study my post-op instructions?” Max asked, the corner of his mouth quirking up. Max had a beautiful mouth, and a full lower lip that had entranced Felix for years. He still didn’t know why Max insisted on keeping it covered up with facial hair. Maybe he was worried men and women both would never stop throwing themselves at him if he left it bare.
“It’s important to be informed,” Felix said primly. Let Max think he was just being a good friend; even let him think that Felix was doing this because he felt some kind of work obligation. The only thing Max couldn’t think was that Felix was doing this was because he was crazy, head-over-heels, launch-himself-over-a-cliff, in love with him.
“Maybe you should go to law school,” Max suggested, leaning back after he’d chugged half the bottle of water. Felix took it back from him and put it on the table. He’d read the PT instructions three times, he knew exactly what he needed to do, and he fully intended to do it. But Max wasn’t going to like it and Felix cared too much to casually cause him pain.
“Why this obsession with trying to find me a new career?” Felix asked suspiciously. For the last few months, as the tour had wound down, and the members of Star Shadow had begun to wonder what they might do with the yearlong break they’d insisted on, Max had come up with half a dozen career paths that he thought Felix should explore—some serious and some very clearly not serious.
Max shrugged. “I know you hate being bored.”
“I’m not bored,” Felix retorted. “You guys have plenty going on, even when you’re on a ‘break’.”
“Okay, because I’d hate for you to waste your time working for us when you could be doing something amazing with your life.”
Felix stiffened. “Lots of people would assume that working with Star Shadow is plenty amazing.”
“They haven’t met us, obviously,” Max said with a sharp, quicksilver grin. “I know Caleb offered to hire you for his solo stuff, but I think you should hold out. He can be sort of a pain in the ass. A real perfectionist.”
“I hadn’t decided yet,” Felix said. Which was the truth. He hadn’t. He’d been going to Fiji with Leo and Caleb because it was Fiji, not because he had any intention of being at his brother’s boyfriend’s beck and call. The truth was, he knew he’d have his pick of any PA job he wanted during the break. He’d gotten plenty of offers other than Caleb’s. He just hadn’t decided quite yet what he wanted to do. It was nice not to have to worry, because he had money in the bank to pay for his mortgage, and no pressing need to find a new job.
“At least, if you’re going to take it, make him pay you a ton more. Caleb means well, but Caleb’s . . .”
“Believe me, I know what Caleb is and how he works,” Felix said primly. Caleb was one of the nicest people on the planet—steadfast and loyal and true—but also, like Max had said, a massive pain in the ass with his need for everything to be perfect all the time. He hadn’t been so bad before he’d left, but after he’d come back? He was still the same man, but suddenly with a driving, insatiable need for everything to work out just so.
“Not that you couldn’t negotiate anything you wanted,” Max added ruefully.
“Exactly.” Felix hoped his firm tone of voice indicated that the subject was closed. He was here for Max, not for some kind of misguided career counseling. It wasn’t like Max hadn’t done well for himself, but he’d known what he was going to do with his life at the age of sixteen. He gave freaking terrible adulting advice.
Max smirked. “Message received, loud and clear.”
“Good.” Felix cleared his throat. “First, we’re going to bend a little bit, raising and lowering your ankle. Slowly, and just as much as you can. No need to overdo it.”
Max’s glance was swift and apprehensive. “I’m not sure . . .”
“This is good,” Felix soothed. “It helps to make sure clots don’t form. And afterward, we’ll ice you up. It’ll be fine.”
Max gritted his teeth and slowly began to bend his knee, raising his ankle slightly above the large mound of pillows it was currently propped on. “That’s great, you’re doing great,” Felix encouraged as he moved it back down, and then repeated the movement a second time.
“This sucks,” Max said, sweat beading at his hairline. Clearly not from the minimal effort, but from the discomfort.
“Well, yeah, I didn’t think it was going to be a walk in the park,” Felix said, feigning nonchalance, even though he was sweating too, at the thought of the pain Max was in. “Did you?”
About Hazardous Things
Felix Humphries can’t even remember the first time he crushed on Star Shadow’s drummer, Max McCloud.
It’s been an embarrassingly long time, but he’s still never acted on his feelings. One, because Max is his older brother’s best friend. Two, because Max is also his friend. Three, Max is technically his boss. And four, worst of all, Max is straight.
But when Max unexpectedly needs a caretaker for a few weeks, Felix can’t leave his friend in the lurch. He’s all ready to suffer through being so close but not close enough, when the unexpected happens.
Max isn’t straight after all, and what Max wants is Felix—but only in his bed, not in his heart.
Hazardous Things is the third book in the Star Shadow series and should not be read as a standalone.
Available at: Amazon
About Beth Bolden
A lifelong Oregonian, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband and their sweet kitten, Earl Grey. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published seventeen novels and six novellas.
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