Free Mitchell loves the theater. In his dreams he’s the one taking the spotlight. But so far he’s played against character by following in his father’s footsteps as an investment banker. When he’s masquerading as Dr. Who or Sherlock Holmes to help his brother, he feels he can escape hisshy, dorky persona. But nothing’s prepared him to play boyfriend to a gorgeous girl like Samantha Wolf.
Samantha isn’t quite sure what to think of Free. He’s cute, sweet, and quirky, but his outlandish costumes make him seem crazy. However, it turns out Sam has a soft spot for theater nerds. And the more time they spend together, the more their steamy romance begins to take center stage. Only problem is, there doesn’t seem to be a script. And it’s anyone’s guess how this one will end.
Truth be told, Cary no longer needed his help. Last summer, after the doctor told Cary he absolutely had to get off his fat ass and lose weight, Free offered to work out with him. Cary admitted that it wasn’t the working out that bothered him as much as the people staring at him.
So three days a week for the past six months or so, Free dressed in outlandish costumes todraw attention away from his overweight brother.
Cary sat down at the first machine to work his legs and Free leaned against the adjacent machine. For a change, the room wasn’t crowded and no one took notice of them.
“What are you going to do about Hunter?”
Cary talking to him during the workout was a relatively new development. For months, they walked in together, but Free would stroll through the gym drawing attention to himself in subtle ways. Over the last month or so, they’d spent more time hanging out during Cary’s workout. Soon, Cary wouldn’t need him to show up at all.
“I’m going to prove him wrong. I’ll find a date for the party.”
Cary extended his legs and brought them back. “See if she has a sister, okay?”
The workout routine continued on in the same manner, Cary working various muscle groups and chatting. They talked about work and the holidays and Free soon became bored.
When Cary got on the treadmill, Free wandered around, trying to find something of interest. Two muscle-bound guys came out of the locker room and sneered at him.
One said, “Who do you think you are?”
Channeling the arrogance of his father, as he did every time he needed to portray Holmes,he answered, “I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Sherlock Holmes.”
He cocked an eyebrow and waited for them to respond. The first guy elbowed the other and they called a few friends over.
A ball of nerves plummeted through Free. He’d never been much of a fighter and he knew he couldn’t hold his own with the first two, much less all their friends. He looked at the group and said in his best British accent, “I dislike being outnumbered. It makes for too much stupid in the room.”
To his surprise, all the guys started to laugh. Sure, he was insulting them, and he was pretty sure they understood that, but they still laughed. Free pulled out his magnifying glass, nodded to them, and walked back toward the treadmills.
Cary slowed his pace. “Problem?” he asked, tilting his chin toward where Free had come from.“
Nope. Just my winning personality creating more fans.” He leaned against the rail of thetreadmill while Cary jogged and watched the TV in front of them. Cary had it tuned to the financial reports. Free didn’t need to hear the anchor or have closed-captioning on. He simply watched the numbers scrolling at the bottom of the screen. The red and green digits soothed him like a lullaby would a baby.
When Cary stepped off the treadmill, Free followed him to the locker room. “I’m going so I’m not late for rehearsal, okay?”
“Sure. See you later.”
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.
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