GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: 6,100 words
Husband-for-hire Gardner Fray will enter into a short term marriage with either a man or a woman, as long as the price is right. Providing a professional -- though unusual -- service, he guards against emotional attachment to his partners.
Kyle Simmons, an associate at a prestigious legal firm, is desperately in need of someone like Gardner. Unfortunately, he’s still tied to a very influential ex named Antonio who doesn’t want to leave the picture.
When Gardner agrees to marry Kyle, both men find their lives changing for the better. But can they overcome the hurdles thrown their way by the abusive Antonio? More than that, can they find love?
Twenty thousand dollars for a week. Gardner blinks, thinking he must have counted it wrong. He thumbs through the stack of fifties again to be sure, and it's still twenty thousand.
Sitting across from him at a huge oval glass table in Antonio's office, Kyle keeps glancing at his ex-husband who sits next to him. He looks pale and nervous. Clearly sleep must have eluded him in the few days since they met. What a contrast to people Gardner married in the past. Usually it was restlessness or impatience when the point of a marriage was only to get a hand on some inheritance.
For a moment, Gardner had considered showing up dressed casually, but then rejected the idea. The last thing he wants is make Kyle sad. He's not sure if appearing casual will trouble the man, but a suit will certainly be safer.
Kyle looks even more dashing than the first time Gardner saw him in his sleek silver-grey suit, a very light purple shirt, and a tie in the same color. He's the most gorgeous bridegroom Gardner has ever seen, a prince in a real-life fairy tale. Kyle totally deserves a much better partner than Antonio.
Gardner flicks a glance in the direction of the forty-something man beside Kyle. Gardner has to admit Antonio is easy on the eye. Standing taller than Kyle, though shorter than Gardner by an inch or two, the man has definitely kept his shape. Images of him and Kyle in bed together come unbidden into Gardner's head and he shakes them off inwardly, stifling his repulsion. Antonio might look fit to be with Kyle, but despite his limited knowledge of the man, Gardner knows Antonio's hurt Kyle. He, Gardner, will be a much better husband for Kyle.
Gardner's head is crowded with too many thoughts, too many emotions, and he feels as though he moves on autopilot. He puts the money into his wallet, stands up when the judge comes in, recites his vow, and he's only really awake when Antonio pats his shoulder and grabs his hand for a handshake.
"Congratulations. I wish you both all the best. Now shoo, it's time to pack for your honeymoon."
The words would sound normal if not for Antonio's evil sneer. Gardner feels chills in his heart and he doesn't say anything. He just takes Kyle's hand and half drags him to the door. The sooner they're out of here the better.