Exclusive Excerpt from Third Time’s the Charm
by K. Evan Coles
Finn was mixing a honey Dijon dressing when his phone chimed on the counter. “That’s probably Mick,” he said. He wiped his hands and declined the call, then punched in the code that unlocked the Primus Avenue gate. “Luke’s dropping Ella off at a friend’s first, so I don’t expect him before six-thirty.”
“Finn, it’s six forty-five.”
Finn went still. “What? How the hell did that happen?” he wondered as his buzzer went off. He headed for the door.
Paul tsked. “You should have slept more. You’ll be dead to the world by dessert if not earlier!”
Sure enough, Finn found Mick and Luke chatting on his doorstep as if they’d become good pals between the gate and Finn’s building. Then Luke looked at Finn, and the way his face lit up sent a dizzy rush through Finn’s whole body.
He waved them in with a grin. “Hey, guys.”
“Hey, Finn.” Mick leaned in for a quick hug and inclined his head toward Luke. “I met this guy outside and glommed on to him.”
“Mick was walking in front of me on Charles Street,” Luke said. “He stopped at the gate and I figured he must be either a friend of yours or an unbelievably friendly mugger.” He held up a white paper bag while the others laughed. “I brought dessert, as requested, in the form of Key Lime Pie Bars.”
“Oh, God, those sound good,” Mick crooned. He held his hands out for the bag. “I’ll take those and go pour us some wine, shall I?”
“You should say hello to your husband while you’re at it!” Paul shouted from the kitchen. Finn clamped his lips together over a laugh as Mick cringed.
“Yes, love, hello!” Mick called back. He managed an epic eye-roll before striding off with the bag and leaving Finn and Luke behind.
“I should warn you that they’re like that all the time,” Finn said. “It’s ninety-nine percent play-acting, though, so don’t take anything seriously.”
“Thanks for the heads-up.” Luke met Finn’s gaze and smiled. “Hey, Doc.”
“Hey.” Finn’s chest seemed to swell as he wrapped Luke up in a hug and closed the remaining distance between them with a kiss. He meant to steal just one, but one became several and soon he had Luke up against the front door and both of them were laughing. Luke brought his hands up to Finn’s face and kissed him so desire zigged up Finn’s spine and turned his knees jelly.
He pressed his forehead to Luke’s with a hum. “Thanks for coming over.”
“Thanks for having me.” Luke tilted his head back, and his forehead puckered when Finn opened his eyes again. “You okay?”
Finn opened his mouth to brush the question off but went silent when Luke gently brushed his thumb under Finn’s eye, no doubt tracing the dark smudge of sleeplessness. His touch made Finn sigh.
“I slept for shit last night. I worked a tough shift and never settled. It happens,” he said at Luke’s frown. “You’d think I’d be used to awful shifts by now, right? It’s okay, though. You’re here and we’ll have wine and dinner, not to mention one of my favorite desserts, and all those things will make me feel better.”
“Okay.” Luke dropped another kiss against Finn’s lips. “You let me know how I can help. You can thank Gillian for the dessert recipe, by the way. She passed it on to me along with some secrets for juicing key limes.” He grimaced. “Those little suckers are a bitch to wrangle when you’ve got big hands like mine.”
Finn grinned so wide his face hurt. “I can’t believe you baked for this. Wait ’til Paul hears.”
“Paul already knows because he heard every word you said.” The man himself appeared at the end of the hallway, his eyes sparkling with amusement. “This apartment’s not very big, Finn, and the bricks and hardwood floors make for some truly fantastic acoustics. So how about you stop macking on your boy and introduce me? Mick’s in here about to eat all your bacon, by the way, so the sooner you two get your asses moving, the better.”