As a gigolo, Gage Adams has the perfect life: he gets all the sex he needs without caring about or committing to anyone or anything. When he meets his condo neighbor, Cassidy Hastings, and they instantly spark, he soon realizes she may be the perfect woman for him: wanting no commitment and offering no judgments. Their carefully crafted friends-with-benefits plan is foolproof—as long as they stay between those lines.
Cassidy’s busy competing to write her company’s next hit video game, a challenge she’s determined to win with an industry-defying kickass female-fronted storyline. If she fails, her boss will show her and her unorthodox ideas to the door. Funny thing, though, the more she hangs out with Gage, the more that details about his gigolo career seep into her project.
As the lines between friendship and love, right and wrong, blur on the road of ambition, Cassidy and Gage begin spinning out of control. Which lines will they choose to cross, and can their relationship survive the inevitable crash?
by Micah Persell
Sensuality Level: Spicy
Micah Persell holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a double master’s degree in literature and English pedagogy. She is an avid reader of all types of literature but has a soft spot for romance. She currently teaches high school language arts classes.
An excerpt from Stiff Competition:
Cassidy Hastings slammed the door of her apartment, flipped the lights on so hard her fingertips stung, and tossed her keys toward the table.
Craning her arm behind her back, she unsnapped her bra through her T-shirt and began the process of wiggling out of the torture device.
“Fuck this day. Fuck Mr. Callahan.” Her strap got tangled in the sleeve of her shirt as she tried to pull her bra through. “Ugh, fuck everything!” With a few ominous pops of thread, the bra was freed. She flung it across the room. It bounced off the floor-to-ceiling window of her small, one-bedroom apartment with a muffled ping and then fell to the floor.
Her tits were free, and she’d thrown some shit, but she by no means felt better.
“Wouldn’t know a good story if it bit him right in the dick, which apparently is an organ I need to get someone to pay attention to one of my damn pitches!”
She stomped over to her leather gaming chair and flopped into its well-worn depths, grabbing one of the many controllers resting beside it on the floor. With a flick of her thumb, she turned one of her consoles on, but when the title of the game they’d released today flickered onto the screen, she scowled. “Forgot you were still in there.”
Road of Trials was going to earn them mega bucks and put Westward Gaming on the map with competitive gaming companies—right up there with Blizzard and Bethesda. All the gaming blogs and magazines had given it near-perfect scores.
Cassidy couldn’t even look at the title without getting pissed. Within the first five minutes, the game’s hero watched his girlfriend get killed by his enemies—which, of course, made him want to be a hero. But worse, in the game’s closing sequence, the hero’s new girlfriend sacrificed her life so the hero could win the game. Just freaking Juliets all over the place for a dude still mourning his first dead girlfriend.
If Cassidy had to play one more game with a woman being used as the plot device in a man’s storyline, she’d switch back to fucking Pong. Which might kill her. Woman could not live on Pong alone. Which is why, amid myriad champagne toasts at the office, she had sneaked over to Mr. Callahan’s side and pitched an idea for a game with a—gasp—girl in the lead.
She also might have thrown in a little dig about the unoriginal plot of Road of Trials.
Yeah, that could have been why Mr. Callahan had snapped. Epically.
As soon as Mr. Callahan’s face had grown unnaturally red, she’d known she had made an error of judgment. She was good at those.
Spend your on-the-clock time writing the stories you’re supposed to write or you’re fired.
The word fired had echoed over the suddenly quiet cubicles. And it was only because everyone was staring at them with keen interest that she had bitten her tongue and kept from creating a scene that would have gotten her fired right then and there.
Sure, she regularly pitched game ideas with a female lead. Sure, she spent time on the clock working on projects she wasn’t being paid for. Sure, she had no tact when she did either of these things, often insulting her co-workers in the process.
But did that mean her boss had to threaten to fire her? In front of everybody?
Did it? The answer might not be an emphatic no.
She winced. “Damn it, it’s too late to think about stuff.” The clock on her cable box read 11:27. She wanted to call her sister-in-law, Victoria, who never failed to make her feel better, but given the hour, Victoria was no doubt sleeping, or very much not sleeping, with her man, Kip, and Cassidy didn’t have enough bleach on hand for her ears if she had to listen one more time to Kip whisper naughty things to her sister as Cassidy tried to have a conversation with her.
Cassidy needed to be asleep herself. However, the potent cocktail of recent embarrassment mixed with impotent rage was going to keep sleep elusive for a while.
“I need to get laid.”
A good, screaming orgasm would do the trick for sure. Unfortunately, the last guy she’d gone to for an orgasm had been a co-worker, and now every day was awkward as he hinted they would be good together in a relationship.
Hell, we hadn’t even been good together during the one-night stand. She was definitely not up for a repeat. And she’d learned her lesson regarding the company ink.
There was no help for it: she was going to have to handle it herself.