When Ethan Williams lands a job at Bingwell, Brock and Bacon, he realizes his coworkers aren’t exaggerating about James Trenchard. He really is a dick. But after Ethan is forced to work closely with James, he realizes there’s more to the lawyer than meets the eye.
Vibrant Ethan is a desperate reason to live again as James endures silent guilt and abuse from his husband after an accident. He calls Ethan for help after a beating, and stolen moments soon become the norm, but they can’t hide forever.
Ethan’s coworkers think he got his promotion because James is sweet on him, James is still being beaten despite his family’s concern, and the situation is swiftly becoming intolerable. Ethan and James need to find a way out of the cycle that’s hurting them both before their brand new love suffers as well.
“TRENCHARD IS a dick. Unless you’re a chick. Then he’s the only one with a dick. The rest of us might as well not exist.”
There was a rumble of agreement at Vince Line’s vehement rhyming declaration.
Not having a clue who Vince was talking about, the new boy at the advertising agency, Ethan Williams, looked around at the other account executives, all nodding and muttering into their coffee cups. Janice, the only woman among the execs, had a small secretive smile curving her lips, giving Ethan the impression she knew a lot more than she was giving away.
“Do you remember last year with Antonia from the third floor?” Vince’s fingers curled around the handle of his mug so tightly Ethan feared for the china.
“Heck yes,” Paul chimed in. “He was all over her the second he walked in the building.”
“And she went out to dinner with him.” Vince’s tone was bitter. “When I asked her to go out for a drink, she laughed at me. Then Trenchard raised his eyebrow and she was dropping her panties before you could say ‘slut.’”
Paul shrugged. “Yeah, but it’s James Trenchard, Vince. If he asked you out, you’d be dropping your panties even faster.”
Ethan waited for Vince to explode. He was, as far as Ethan was aware, a full-on heterosexual male, albeit an arrogant douche who had women running for the hills.
Instead, Vince bit his fingernail before saying, “Nah, probably not.”
“Who is this dude?” Ethan asked, totally confused.
Vince gave him a look. “He’s James Trenchard.”
As if that was supposed to explain everything. By the way they were all nodding, maybe it did.
By the way they were all saying “James Trenchard,” Ethan wasn’t sure what he was expecting: the messiah, perhaps? He certainly wasn’t expecting the second coming to be the lead attorney for Brock, Bingwell & Bacon, the marketing agency in downtown Seattle where Ethan had just been hired as an account executive.
They were congregating in the coffee room on the second floor before they went to the monthly meeting with the accounts managers and project managers. According to his coworkers this meeting was dreaded by everyone as the senior management team picked over each account. Today had the added hassle of James Trenchard, the lawyer on retainer, attending the meeting.
As the lawyer and Ethan’s boss greeted each other, Ethan stared at him, trying to see the attraction. Sure, he was good-looking, almost beautiful even, for a guy in his midthirties, with sleek light brown hair that curled over his collar and ice-blue eyes framed by long lashes. Those lips wouldn’t look out of place on a woman except, for some reason, on Trenchard they didn’t look effeminate. He was wearing a charcoal-gray pinstripe suit, with a plum-colored shirt and tie. Ethan noticed how well the suit pants showed off his ass. Trenchard wasn’t that bad—he seemed friendly—but not enough to warrant the status of messiah or dick.
Right up until Trenchard let the door bang behind him. Right into Ethan’s face.
“Told you so,” whispered Vince.
The guy was a dick, no doubt about it. Not a word of apology for almost rearranging Ethan’s face, and then he’d ignored them all as they used the elevator to the tenth floor. Ethan stared at the lawyer’s back with dislike, his lip curling as James Trenchard openly flirted with Ethan’s boss, Ms. Cauldwell. It was sickening the way his hand rested on her lower back. What was worse, Ethan’s “lay one finger on me and I’ll break your balls” boss was positively blooming under his sleazy charm. She had just giggled, giggled, at something he said.
But as the sleazebag showed Ethan’s boss into the large, airy conference room, he looked over his shoulder to the group following them, Ethan included.
“Your boys get prettier every year, Lulu,” Trenchard said conversationally. “Especially that large one.”
The large one, of course, had to be Ethan, standing clear of most of the men by at least half a foot. And he wasn’t fucking pretty. Especially not with a door imprinted on his face. Unimpressed at being reduced to the level of a thirteen-year-old girl, Ethan rolled his eyes at Vince and Paul.
He noticed Ms. Cauldwell hadn’t even bothered to look at her team. “You batting for the other side this year, James?”
“I bat for everyone,” Trenchard said and showed his perfect white teeth. Ethan imagined Trenchard sinking them into Ethan’s shoulder, even as he sank his cock into Ethan’s body.
Ms. Cauldwell snorted. “I bet you do. Well, my guys are pretty and clever, so don’t you forget it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are just for show.”
Trenchard’s eyes swept appreciatively over the small group of men and Janice, his gaze lingering on Ethan’s face. “Oh, I won’t underestimate them, Lulu. I definitely won’t.” And didn’t Ethan just know Trenchard was talking to him.
Ethan wanted to punch him in the face.
“I don’t think your large boy likes me very much,” James said to Ms. Cauldwell as they sat down.
“Mr. Williams has good instincts,” Ms. Cauldwell said. Ethan resisted the urge to preen a little.
“I’m sure he does,” the lawyer drawled.
The rest of them spread around the table. Ethan didn’t know how it had happened, but somehow he ended up on the opposite side of the table from the lawyer. His temper rising, Ethan avoided looking at his smug face; instead, his gaze fell on Trenchard’s hand as it wrapped around a fountain pen. Long fingers tipped with well-manicured nails—strong hands. Ethan wondered what they’d look like around Ethan’s dick. Cheeks heating, Ethan looked up hastily and caught Trenchard smirking at him. Ethan had the sinking feeling he knew exactly what Ethan had been thinking.
“Put him down, James.” Ms. Cauldwell sounded more resigned than angry as she tapped her fingers on the desk impatiently.
Trenchard sat back in his chair. “I haven’t touched him, Lulu.”
“He’s off-limits. Mr. Williams, if you could actually concentrate on our meeting?” Her tone made it clear it wasn’t a question.
His cheeks even hotter, Ethan muttered his apologies. He could feel the amused stares of all his colleagues except for the annoyance rolling off Vince. Ethan looked up to see Trenchard still gazing at him as if he was a succulent piece of hog roast.
Ethan was grateful when the monthly meeting actually started and the attention was diverted away from him. As the meeting progressed, he was unwillingly impressed. Trenchard knew his business. Nothing got past him as he went through each account and their current advertising campaigns. Everyone was expected to contribute, even junior staff as part of their training, but thankfully Ethan managed to acquit himself adequately when it came to his turn, answering the few questions Trenchard aimed in his direction. Some of his colleagues didn’t fare so well. Ethan winced as Vince and his project manager were shredded for a copyright mistake that had cost the agency thousands of dollars in a lawsuit.
By the time the end of the meeting arrived, he was more relaxed and able to handle himself. That complacent feeling lasted until a warm foot traveled up his calf. From the angle of the foot, it could only be Trenchard. Ethan was pinned like a butterfly on a board as the silk-clad foot moved until it was resting between his legs.
Trenchard was in the middle of a detailed discussion on why they were going to get screwed by Disney if they used “The Circle of Life” in their advertising copy, and his foot was in a detailed exploration of Ethan’s groin. Unable to move, unable to say anything, Ethan bit his lip as his traitorous cock sat up and begged for attention. He couldn’t even shove the foot off without drawing attention to himself. There was absolutely nothing he could do as slowly, inexorably, he was drawn closer to climax. Just as his balls drew up tight, screaming for their release, the foot was gone.
In shock at his denied orgasm, Ethan watched in horror as the lawyer pushed his chair back and stood up.
“I think we’re done for the day, Lulu. Good work, everyone.” Trenchard gave a professional smile as he looked around the room, not resting on Ethan any longer than the others.
Ms. Cauldwell nodded. “There is lunch in the room adjacent to this one, gentlemen. I’m sure the sandwiches aren’t too stale.”
Everyone started pushing their chairs back except Ethan. He clutched his pen so tight it was in danger of snapping. He was so close to coming, a puff of wind could set him off.
“Mr. Williams, are you coming?” Ms. Cauldwell asked.
Very likely, he thought desperately as he gave her a wild-eyed “Yes, ma’am.”
“I’ll leave you to collect the files and then you can join us for lunch,” she suggested as she pushed her chair back, not giving a hint that she knew of his predicament.
“Yes, ma’am,” he repeated, not moving a muscle. Trenchard, the bastard, hadn’t even looked at him since he got up.
Paul gave him a puzzled look but obediently handed over his file, the others following suit.
Angry as fuck, Ethan was left alone in the conference room. He stared at the pile of files in front of him while he willed his erection to subside. He wanted to get his cock out and jack off. Get it over and done with. Only he couldn’t do that, so he had to wait until his boner had gone down enough for him to walk without a limp. He’d be lucky if there was any food left by the time he got there. Ethan ground his teeth together.
By the time he was able to show himself in public and walk into the boardroom, his prediction was accurate. The food platters were empty and all that was left was a few pieces of limp watercress. Ethan groaned inwardly. It would be late evening before he had a chance to eat again.
Someone thrust a plate into his hand. Not expecting it, Ethan dropped the files. The plate of sandwiches miraculously stayed intact. The room was silent for a moment, then everyone burst out laughing.
“Dear me, Lulu, you really picked a good one this time.” Ethan could hear Trenchard’s mocking tone over the laughter.
Ethan sank to his knees to pick up the files, putting a sandwich in his mouth just in case they got taken away. He was immediately joined by Paul, reaching out for one that slipped farther away.
“I’m so sorry, Ethan.”
“I saved you some food. I should have waited until you’d put the files down.”
“So you should, Mr. Vicini. It seems Mr. Williams can’t manage two things at once. Multi-tasking is obviously not one of his skills.”
Ethan looked up to see Trenchard standing over him, that mocking smile still on his handsome face. Glaring at the lawyer, he got to his feet, files in hand.
Throwing caution to the wind, Ethan leaned forward and lowered his voice. “I am perfectly capable of managing two things at once, Mr. Trenchard, just as you seem to be. It’s such a shame that you’ll never find out.” He took satisfaction in the fleeting look of disappointment that crossed the lawyer’s face.
His boss was watching them from the sidelines, a peculiarly satisfied expression on her face.
“I think I’ll take the files back to the office, Ms. Cauldwell,” he informed her, not really caring if this was against protocol.
She nodded, that odd look still on her face. “Good idea, Mr. Williams.”
He took another sandwich from the plate Paul was holding—he was hungry after all—and left the room, a shred of his dignity still intact.
As he left he heard his boss say quietly, “One for my team this year, I think.”
James gave a short laugh. “Not on your life, Lulu. This is just the opening salvo. Williams is just a kid. He could never stand to play with the big boys.” And didn’t Ethan just hear the emphasis.
Ethan was a short hop from dropping the files and walking back in to plant his fist in James’s face.
“Honestly, Lulu, you’re going to have to up your game if you think you’re going to beat me.”
“James, one day you might just get what’s coming to you.”
“Never gonna happen.”
Humiliated and furious, Ethan stabbed the elevator button. The guy was a lawsuit waiting to happen. Who the fuck did he think he was? If Ethan hadn’t needed his job so much, he might have called his bluff. Except he wouldn’t have, because God, that foot had felt good on his cock.
Yes, Mr. Trenchard, you are a total dick.