Excerpt: The F-Word

Excerpt: The F-Word

A Sexy Romantic Comedy

CHAPTER ONE

So let’s get this straight. 

This is a story about romance.

Well, it’s not a story. I mean, it’s not something somebody made up. It’s about me. And yeah, in case you’re wondering, I’m a guy.

Surprised? Sure you are. You figure those words just don’t go together. Romance, with a capital R. Guy, with a capital G. You’re probably sitting there and smirking. What could a dude possibly know about romance? You figure we’re big on sex. But romance?

You’re right.

Romance is not a male thing.

And that’s exactly my problem.

The bottom line is that whatever you think you know about men and romance is pretty much correct. You figure we’re big on the F-word as long as it stands for Fuck and not Forever.

And we are.

Sure, some of us fall off the cliff. Guys get engaged. They get married. If it works, good for them. Just leave the rest of us alone, okay?

We like life precisely the way we’re living it. Unencumbered. Nobody to answer to. Work hard, play hard. Drive fast cars or do whatever it is that turns you on, lie around on fall and winter Sundays unshaven, a box of take-out pizza and a six pack of beer not more than a few inches away, and watch football until your eyes glaze over.

And have sex.

Lots of sex.

Slow sex. Fast sex. Sex in five star hotel rooms. Got to say, there’s something special about banging a woman against a glass wall overlooking Manhattan. Or in the corner of a museum where somebody might walk by at any minute. Nothing wrong with beds, either. Big beds, with lots of room for action.

Sex is always fine.

Men like doing it, thinking about it, talking about it. Using all those four letter words to describe female parts and the male parts that go with them. And you’re already yawning because you figure that’s what this is about and, really, how many different ways can there be to describe—sorry, ladies—your basic fuck?

Okay. 

But you’re wrong.

One, that’s not what this is about.

Two, I don’t believe in basic fucks. Each time is different. Not just positions. Fucking—sex, if you prefer that word—is never the same twice. At least, it shouldn’t be. There are endless variables. Where you are. How you’re feeling. Are you in the mood for fun? Maybe for something dark and a little dirty? Something accompanied by rose petals and moonlight? Let’s put it this way: If the man in your life delivers the same screw job day after day, year after year, I’m sorry for you.

But, as I said before, none of that matters because that stuff doesn’t apply to this situation. 

See, this confession—I guess you’d call it that—this confession isn’t about fucking. Why would it be? As you may have already figured, based on what I said about basics, I’m just fine with fucking. In fact—not to be boastful or anything—I have been told that I’m just about perfect with it. 

Still, the truth is that dudes can have a good time just jacking off.

Wait.

I don’t mean that. Not exactly. Sex is a hell of a lot better with a woman than it is with your hand. What I’m trying to say is that the best part of sex is watching the woman I’m with get turned on. Watching her come. I love that, love knowing I’ve done that for her.

So now you’re rolling your eyes and you’re calling me, what? An arrogant SOB? An egomaniac? A jerk?

I’m not any of those things.

I’m really a nice guy. Seriously. The people who work with me, who work for me—they all like me. Strangers have been known to smile at me, even in the subway where nobody smiles at anybody. I get along with little kids—my three-year-old niece adores me, but hey, the feeling is mutual. Dogs tend to wag their tails the minute they see me. Even cats purr when I pet them.

Anyway, my best friend, Cooper Holloway, is into genetics. He’s got a doctorate in biology and he says none of this is my doing. He says it’s in my DNA and I shouldn’t feel so good about women finding me so, you know, fuckable. 

He’s also got the irritating habit of reminding me that that he does as well with the ladies as I do. He says it’s his charm, good looks, and intelligence—but that it my case, it’s strictly my looks. 

In other words, I have my chromosomes to thank.

See, for starters, I’m tall. Six feet three, and that’s without wearing my old, trusty roper boots. No, I’m not a cowboy. I just like roper boots. They work if I’m riding my Harley or driving the classic ’Vette that I restored, and they’re perfect if I have to pop onto a job site. 

Where was I?

Chromosomes. Right. Well, mine gave me dark hair, kind of an inky black color. Blue eyes. Fairly regular features. And for the past couple of years I’ve had what my Mom calls facial fuzz.

I also have this series of tattoos on my left arm and shoulder. Got them done years ago, in Kathmandu. Women seem to find them a turn-on, but I didn’t get them for that reason…

More about that later.

Did I mention I’m in construction? And design. O’Malley Design and Construction. That’s me. Maybe you’ve heard of us. If you live in the New York City suburbs, it’s a good bet that you have…

Where was I?

We were talking about genetics. DNA. The fact that I’m not bad looking.

Okay. I’m good looking. 

A guy stopped me on the corner of Madison and 47th last month. Said I reminded him of Liam Hemsworth and was I interested in a new career.

This made for two problems. 

The first was that I almost killed the poor bastard.

I grabbed him by his necktie and hauled him to his toes before he could choke out that he wasn’t hitting on me. He was an agent for a modeling agency. Yeah, I know. Gay pride. The Rainbow Coalition. I’m all for everybody’s civil rights, including my right to be a heterosexual male.

The second problem was that after I’d dusted him off, attempted to straighten his tie and said thanks but no thanks to the idea of becoming a male model, I had to pop into the Starbucks up the block, take out my iPhone and check to see who Liam Hemsworth is.

An actor, it turns out. An Aussie. And, okay, I can see the similarities. We’re both tall, blue-eyed, square-jawed. Hemsworth looks as if he works out. I don’t, unless you call running or playing soccer on Sundays in Central Park or occasionally swinging a hammer or loading pallets at one of my construction sites a workout.

I kind of like to keep my hand in, so to speak.

And my hair’s darker than this Liam guy, but you get the picture.

I look okay.

And—do you hear me knocking on wood? I have a good life. 

Nice family, starting with my mom and dad. He’s a retired contractor. He owned his own business—small, not big, but he had a rep for being the guy you wanted if you wanted a job done right. I worked for him during the summers from the time I was fourteen straight through college.

Well, almost straight through.

The summer I graduated from high school, I didn’t work for him. 

More about that later. Maybe.

Because, you know, this isn’t a trip down memory lane. I’m just trying to give you some background so you can understand how I got myself into this situation.

Mom’s an English teacher. She’s retired too, but you say something dumb like him and me and she’ll look you straight in the eye and tell you it’s he and I. When I was in my teens and she did that to my buddies, even though she did it nicely, I wanted to crawl away and die. Here’s the best way to tell you what kind of mom she is—she figured out that those polite corrections just about killed me and she stopped doing it. At least, she let me think she’d stopped doing it. Years later, friends admitted she’d wait until she was alone with whatever kid had just tried to murder the English language and she’d gently offer the correction, and you know what?

They all said they’d been grateful. 

I have a sister. Casey. She’s two years older than I am—you didn’t really think I’d say she was two years older than me, did you? We hated each other through elementary school, middle school and part of high school. Then I turned sixteen and she turned eighteen and we looked at each other and saw two human beings instead of two siblings, and we’ve been close ever since. She’s married now, to a terrific guy, and I already mentioned the little niece who owns my heart…

See?

No joke. I really am a nice guy. And okay looking. 

Fuckable—although the F word that’s turned out to be my problem is a very different one.

It’s Forever. 

Which is what this is all about.

Yes, I have a serious problem. Or, at least, I had a serious problem. And yes, I walked straight into it because I am what I just said. A nice guy. And because there are people out there who think the Answer to Everything is Finding the Right One.

Your Forever Person.

Crap.

I’m confusing you. I’m confusing myself. So let me back up and start from the beginning. Let me start from when I walked into my office at eight in the morning a few weeks ago…