Ransom Burke, the handsome, wealthy, gay CEO of Burke, Burke, and Hammett, has implemented a strict no-fraternization rule for his firm. And with good reason—his father’s profligate ways almost destroyed the family company. Ransom’s new policy works well until he comes into the office one day and sees Parrish Rutledge, his new executive secretary. Ransom finds Parrish extremely attractive but fights his feelings. If he takes Parrish as a lover, he’ll have to fire him.
Parrish has been alone since he was sixteen, having been tossed out by his older brother. He dreams of his boss but knows nothing can ever come of it. Then an office party becomes their undoing and they give in to their passion. As expected, Ransom offers Parrish a choice: stay and ignore what happened or leave the job and return to college. Neither option is even remotely appealing. If only Parrish could persuade Ransom there’s a third possibility…
An excerpt from The Best:
It was Valentine’s Day, and Ransom Burke had a special gift for his lover. Scott had a weakness for convertibles, and in the parking garage of Ran’s condo was a 2011 Jaguar, so new it hadn’t even reached the showroom floor. Ran grinned to himself. Scott was going to be very happy.
Ran planned to be very casual about it. When they left to go to work, he’d steer Scott to the slot were the Jag was parked and—
And then Scott began speaking, and all thoughts of Valentine’s Day, Jaguars, and happiness went out the window.
“You understand, don’t you, Ran?”
“I don’t, actually.” He paused in the act of knotting his tie and stared into the mirror above his dresser, seeing the reflection of the man who’d been his lover for the past six and a half years. Blond, blue-eyed, and a little under average height, Scott had done more than tweak Ran’s libido: he was someone Ran could take care of. “Suppose you explain it to me?”
“You know what Hadley Mitchell can be like.”
Ran did, and he didn’t like him. Mitchell, the senior partner of Mitchell, Marshall, and Morrissey, had been his father’s lawyer. When Ran had taken over the family company, he’d had every intention of switching to another law firm. But then he’d met Scott.
“I’ll never get any further in this law firm unless I have a wife I can bring to the various functions. If you’d hired me—”
“As what? Burke, Burke, and Hammett never had its own law division. And aside from that, you know my policy of not dating within the company.”
“But not even me?”
“No.” He wouldn’t break that rule for anyone, not after seeing what his father had almost done to the family business.
“Then you couldn’t expect me not to do what I had to in order to further my career.”
“What about us?”
“Oh… well… we won’t be able to see each other for a time—I mean, I can’t. I’m supposed to be dating Daphne. And then there’s the honeymoon, but after that… as long as we’re discreet—”
“Weren’t we always discreet?”
But Scott continued as if Ran hadn’t spoken. “—I don’t see any reason why we can’t continue our relationship.”
“You don’t, do you?” Ran resumed tying the Windsor knot, pleased his hands were steady and didn’t reveal the level of his distress. He’d thought he and Scott were destined to be together forever, that they’d finished sowing their wild oats. He certainly had.
“You know what I mean, Ran. Daphne and I will have to be seen all over Charlotte.”
“I imagine you will.” He turned away from the mirror and crossed to the valet where his suit jacket hung. “I’ll have to ask for my key, Scott. And of course you’ll want yours back.” He handed it to him. Two separate homes. Why had they never moved in together?
“Ran, you can’t mean….”
“I can.” He stood there with his hand outstretched, pleased to see how pale Scott had become.
Scott took out his key ring, worked the key free, and placed it on Ran’s palm. “Will… will you pull your account?”
“I’ll need to give that some thought.” Of course he wouldn’t. Scott was an excellent lawyer. He was a good lover as well, but that wasn’t something Ran would allow himself to consider anymore. “Is that what matters the most to you?”
“Of course not! I loved you. I still love you! But you’re the CEO of your family’s company. You could fuck a donkey and they wouldn’t care.”
“Oh, I think they would.”
“You know what I mean. You can do as you choose. I don’t have that option. Ransom, being a lawyer is all I’ve ever wanted to do. If they take that away from me….”
“You could open your own firm.”
“How many clients would I retain once they learned I’m gay? I’m sorry. I just can’t….”
“I guess you can’t. What about your things?”
“What…?” Scott looked confused. That expression had always made Ran want to tumble him onto the bed and make mad, passionate love to him. It still did, but he refused to give in to a useless desire. “Oh, you mean what I brought here. Actually….” He cleared his throat. “Actually, there isn’t much. I packed up my shaving kit while you were sleeping.”
“But your CDs? Your DVDs? The clothes you’ve kept here?”
“I’ve been… I’ve been bringing them home gradually.”
“Jesus Christ, Scott! How long have you been planning this?”
“A few months.” He at least had the grace to look abashed.
“You couldn’t have told me sooner?”
“I… I didn’t want to lose you.”
Was that supposed to make Ran feel better?
“I’m so sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t cut it, Scott. Have you been fucking her?”
“No.” But he flushed a dark red. “I know how you feel about monogamy; I wouldn’t do that to you.”
No, he’d just rip Ran’s heart out and samba all over it. “Still, I think I’ll get myself tested, just to be on the safe side, you understand.” It was a cheap shot, but as he hoped, Scott flinched. They’d done without condoms for the past two and a half years.
“I… I hope we can still be friends, Ran.”
“I don’t think so, Scott. Are you ready? In that case, we should go. I have a busy schedule today.” Which now included having Mrs. Campbell, his executive secretary, call the Jaguar dealership to see about returning the convertible.
Where to buy The Best:
Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.
It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.
While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters and has been published by Nazca Plains, Dreamspinner, JMS Books, and Wilde City, as well as being self-published. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Rainbow Awards. Two of the 2014 submissions were finalists, and a 2017 submission was runner-up in the historical romance category.
A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband, a desktop, and two laptops.
Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.
She can be contacted at:
Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tinnean/e/B004QS65KQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1391469662&sr=1-2-ent