2. I’d say those describe you quite well. In a good way. So, if you had to, how would you cast your book? Tell us who would play the main characters in a movie and why.
3. Nice. I like Michael Pena. What’s your favorite love scene from a movie?
4. No crime in that. What’s your wildest fantasy?
5. Nope, because I’m right there with you on the bills. Grin. If you were to lose one of your senses, which would you rather lose and why?
6. Awww!! That’ll happen soon enough. What is the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?
“Well, Scott Ash, nice to meet you. The none of the above? Sure you’ve got the time?” Okay, wow. Was he really about to spill all to the ‘99 percent of the time not a bartender’?
“I’m not going anywhere until either the bar closes or the manager takes pity on me and lets me out of his favor.” Scott grinned and continued, “And I’m guessing you’re not going anywhere until those across the way pass out, get thrown out, or the bar closes.”
“Actually on that, you’re a bit off. The bride has put a curfew on the groom over there and I’m the enforcer.”
“A curfew? From the bride?” Scott sounded a bit surprised.
“She has threatened my balls if her groom isn’t on his best behavior tomorrow. I kinda like my balls where they are, and him being hungover puts them in jeopardy. Hence, he’s got a curfew.” Looking down at his watch, he finished, “He’s got another hour before I either gracefully escort him home or I drag him. It’ll be his choice. We’ve been friends way too long for him to not take me serious.”
“So an hour to tell me your tale of woe? Yeah, I think you can do it.”
Jeff lifted his beer and thought better of finishing it. Beer really wasn’t his drink of choice. “Can I get a drink before spilling all?”
“Another beer?” Scott asked as he started to reach into the cooler for another.
“How about water? Coffee?”
“You were serious that beer isn’t your drink of choice.” Scott seemed a bit impressed.
“Yeah, I don’t drink too often and never have gotten an ‘appreciation’ for the taste of beer.”
Scott handed over a bottle of water, took a quick look around then leaned against the bar. Guess it was time for him to fill in the none of the above.
With a sigh, Jeff started. “Groom with the curfew over there is one of my best friends. Has been for centuries it seems. This weekend is his third trip to the altar—okay well, the other two times didn’t have an altar, but you get what I’m saying.”
“Trip three with two with no altar?” The question just hung there for a minute. Yes, he wasn’t making sense.
“First two marriages didn’t have weddings with all the pomp and circumstance. Number one was in the courthouse with us in BDUs and the bride in a sundress. Number two? Oh, the romance, on a beach at sunset. Neither of those lasted too long. And even after I had to call and tell him that wifey number two was six months pregnant, he’s still looking for THE ONE.”
“Why would you have to tell him that his wife was pregnant? Wouldn’t he know? Been there for the happiness?”
“Nope, he had been deployed for eight months.” He paused to give Scott a bit of time to do the math. “Yes, she couldn’t exist without attention, if you get my meaning.”
“Okay, so groom over there is a romantic and is hoping for number three to be it?”
“He believes this is it for them both. I really hope for him and her it is. Watching her with him, gives me hope. She sees him, warts and all.”
“Sounds like what we’re all looking for.” Scott held up a finger and walked to the other end of the bar. The waitress had waved him down. Took him a few minutes to fill the order and Jeff couldn’t keep his eyes off of him. For someone that wasn’t a bartender, he sure was efficient. “Okay, I’m back. Warts and all…?”
“Yes, and this time his bride wants it all. Church, nights on the town, reception. Us all in dress uniform. She was a military brat and has dreamed for years for her dad to give her away in his dress uniform. He retired a full colonel, so you better bet our uniforms will be perfection. She’s ‘marrying under her’ according to Dad since the groom isn’t an officer.”
“Wow, that sounds like sooooo much fun.”
“It shouldn’t be too overly bad. My only problem at this point, besides a groom whose name is Kevin being not hung over tomorrow, is I promised a plus-one.” Talk about just letting it out there.
“Kevin has decided that I need to be just as happy as he is and was determined he was going to set me up for his wedding. I scrambled and ducked and finally said I was seeing someone. And at the time, I was. Then I got sent on a training deployment for a few months and came back to find my…” Jeff paused to take a sip of water, to avoid finishing.
“Boyfriend bent over his couch with his personal trainer giving him some pointers.” And that statement just hung in the air—forever.
Scott just stood there blinking and finally said, “Ouch.” Oh, really eloquent. His brain was just having a hard time reconciling that this beautiful man in front of him was gay. He must have been a good boy this year and Santa was coming early? Okay, maybe Jeff wasn’t an early Christmas present for him since he probably wasn’t interested in a skinny nerd, but he could dream.
“Yes, ouch and now unless I can come up with a plus-one in the next thirty-six hours, I’m going to be blamed for throwing the numbers at the reception off AND then both Kevin and his bride will go out of their ways to make sure I’m matched.” Jeff didn’t even seem to breathe as he talked.
“No prospects on the horizon?” Scott asked while inside he was jumping up and down saying pick me, pick me.
Jeff looked under the bar, behind his back. He seemed to be searching for something. “Nope, not a one. Unless you’d like to offer yourself up? I know, last minute. Wait? You’ve got to wash your hair? Have a migraine?”
“You’re mocking me right?” Jeff had to be since he was using the same excuses he’d had about the next time Brian asked for a favor too. “Did Brian put you up to this?”
“Brian? Who’s Brian?” Jeff seemed genuinely puzzled at the name.
“Brian, the manager here. My soon-to-be-ex friend I did a favor for tonight.”
“I haven’t met the manager. I didn’t arrange the festivities for tonight since I was out of town. One of the guys over there did. Why would I be mocking you? Did you not understand how desperate I am? If anything, I was mocking myself because there’s no way you swing my way,” Jeff said, shaking his head.
“You’re not mocking me and Brian didn’t put you up to this.”
“That’s right,” Jeff replied hesitantly.
“No set up.”
“No set up.”
“Wait… you were honestly asking me?”
“If I’m not going to get my ass kicked for it, yes. Even though I probably wasn’t completely asking when I was ranting.”
“So full military wedding with uniforms?”
Kris Jacen grew up just north of Boston, Massachusetts, met her soldier in high school but didn’t marry him until almost ten years later. She moved around with him and their daughters (born in two different states thanks to the Army) for the first 19 years of their marriage (they’ll celebrate their silver anniversary in 2018) before settling in western New York.
She has been the Editor in Chief and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints since January of 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.