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Fake Out: Chapter 2


“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” I grumble as Stacy and I leave the subway. I tug down my ballcap—a nervous habit I’ve had since my pitching days. The coach always knew I was struggling on the mound when I fidgeted with my cap. “You’re the worst sister ever.”

“Hey, it’s not like you’re not getting anything out of this.”

“Yeah, well, this mysterious meeting with an NHL player better come through. How do you even know this Maddox guy is telling the truth about it?”

“He doesn’t lie to me.”

“That you know of.”

My bosses at OnTrack Sports want to promote me from paid-intern-slash-assistant to agent as soon as I finish my law degree, but I need to show them I can bring in my own clients. I’m desperate enough to spend a weekend pretending to be someone’s boyfriend to get that chance.

Maybe my family has a right to call me a workaholic.

“I promise it’ll happen,” my sister says. “Besides, you’re going to love Maddox.”

“I’m sure I’ll love the straight guy who’s pretending to be gay because he’s a womanizing asshole with no balls to tell everyone the truth.”

She slaps my chest. “See, you already know him.”

The closer we get to Maddox’s apartment, the more uneasy I become. “Seriously, Stace. I’m starting to wonder if this is worth the possible client.”

“Two nights. He gets his ex-girlfriend and mother off his back, you get a new client, and I get hours of entertainment on Monday when Maddox fills me in. It’s a win-win-win.”

I really need to build my client list. Right now, it’s sitting at an unimpressive zero.

As soon as we reach the lobby of Maddox’s apartment, we’re approached by none other than a guy in boy shorts, leather straps crossed over his naked chest and wearing angel wings on his back.

“What the fu—”

“Hey, you must be Richard,” my sister says.

The guy tips his head, and cash exchanges hands.

“Stacy, what did you do?” I ask.

“It’s all part of my fun.”

“Your sister is evil,” Richard says.

“Whatever she’s paying you, it’s not enough.”

We follow Stacy into the elevators and head up to the ninth floor.

“How does a low-level marketing guy afford an apartment in this building?” I ask. Stacy lives in a shit-box. So do I, come to think of it.

“It’s a studio, and he rents it from one of his frat buddies who owns it.” Stacy holds her arm across me to stop me from walking down the hall. “Richard first.”

“You are remembering I have to spend the next two days with this guy, right? He’ll hate me on sight if we screw with him.”

But it’s too late. Richard’s knocking. Stacy’s grinning. I want to shoot myself.

The door opens, but I can’t see Maddox from where we’re hiding.

Richard goes from being a weird guy wearing a costume to flamboyant gay in the blink of an eye. “Maddox! Hi, darling. I’m Damon.”

I pinch the bridge of my nose. “Richard’s right. You are evil.”

“Uh … umm …” Maddox’s confusion almost makes me feel sorry for him. His voice is deeper than I expected. Even through stuttering, it makes a rich, smooth sound.

“Not what you expected?” Richard asks, putting his hand on his hip which he pops out in the most dramatic way possible.

Oh, geez.

“No. I’m just wondering how much Stacy is paying you to get me to make an ass of myself,” Maddox says. He sticks his head out the doorway and glares at Stacy. “Nice try. You’re forgetting I know you too well. Also, if you thought I was dumb enough not to stalk your brother on social media, then I’ve lost all respect for your cunningness. The Stacy I know would’ve posted this guy’s mug on Damon’s profile.” He points to Richard.

I bark out a laugh. “You’re right, Stace. This was fun.”

Maddox’s blue eyes meet mine. With his square jaw, blondish hair, and young Brad Pitt resemblance, this weekend just became a whole lot more awkward. Of course, the straight guy is gorgeous, because the universe likes to watch me suffer.

Fuck, now he’s smiling. “Hey, real Damon. I’m Maddox.”

“’Sup.” ’Sup? Get it together.

Stacy drags me toward his outstretched hand for us to shake.

“Uh, is my job done here?” Richard asks.

“Yeah. Thanks,” Stacy says. “I’ll walk you out. See you on Monday, Maddox. Call you later, Damon.”

I watch my sister retreat, half-wishing she wouldn’t leave me alone with him. I shouldn’t have agreed to this. Not with my track record of falling for straight guys. Well, guy. It was only once, and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that ever again.

“Ready to head out?” Maddox asks. “I rented a car, and we’ve got about three hours on the road if traffic isn’t shit.”

“Yup.” I lift my duffel and the bag with my suit. “All set.”


“So, uh, I can’t thank you enough for doing this,” Maddox says as soon as we’re out of the city.

The drive so far has consisted of awkward small talk and my brain deciding one-word answers are appropriate.

I nod and stare out my window. I spent four years playing baseball for Newport University, and I never found New Jersey as fascinating as I do now. I didn’t realize how awesome the I-80 could be.

“You think I’m an asshole, huh?” he says.

“Little bit.”

“At least you’re honest.”

I shift in my seat. He really wants to go there? Fine. “It’s because of guys like you that when I tell a girl I don’t date women, they call bullshit.”

“Really? They actually call you on it?”

“I’ve heard ‘But you’re so masculine’ and ‘If you didn’t want to date me, then fine, but you don’t have to lie.’ My favorite would have to be ‘But you’re a sports agent.’ I didn’t realize liking sports was against the rules. There goes any chance of winning Gay Man of the Year.”

“Fuuuuck. Way to make me feel like more of a dick. How did Stacy get you to agree to this?”

“You forgetting your bribe? Be honest, does the hockey guy even exist?”

Maddox’s jaw hardens. “Yes. He does. And for what it’s worth, I don’t like having to go through with this. I swear she’s the only girl I’ve ever pretended to be gay for.”

“Whatever,” I mumble. “I’m purely here for the opportunity to meet a new client.”

“Fair enough.”

“We should get our story straight,” I say.

“I tried to find out as much as I could from the internet, but you have privacy settings stronger than Fort Knox. All I found out was your name, you go to Columbia, you work for OTS, and your Twitter feed is full of baseball stats and not much else.”

“Did you Google me?”

“Uh, no. Just stalked you on Facebook and Twitter.” He should’ve Googled me. It would’ve given him my whole life story. I made sure to erase my former life as an upcoming baseball player from my social media accounts. “Why, what’s there to Google?”

I scoff.

“Damn it, now I’m intrigued. Did you kill a guy?”

“No.” Just my career.

“Is it an embarrassing middle name? A boyfriend should know that, right?”

I give him the side-eye. “Are you sure you know what you’re getting yourself into? I mean, we’re going to have to act like partners. You’ll have to hold my hand and touch me like a boyfriend would. Are you going to flinch every time I go near you?”

“Two guys touching doesn’t make me uncomfortable.”

I want to say being okay with seeing gay guys touch is different than being gay, but I don’t. “My middle name is Isaac, after my mother’s father.”

“Damon Isaac King … wait, your initials are—”

I grit my teeth. “I know. You don’t think Stacy has made that joke to our parents ever since I came out? ‘No wonder he likes dick when his initials are DIK.’”

Maddox bites his lip as if he’s trying to hold back.

“You’re allowed to laugh,” I say.

“I’m Maddox Colin O’Shay. Pretty boring. Sorry my name isn’t up to your standards.”

“It’s very Irish.”

“My dad’s name is Colin, and his family is Irish. My grandparents moved to the States when Dad was a teenager. He still has the accent and everything.”


“What are you studying at Columbia?” Maddox asks.

“I have a degree in sports management from Newport, and I’m about to finish my law degree on top of that.”

“Double degree? That means you’re smart. What made you want to be an agent?”

I clear my throat and stare out my window again. “It was a backup. The original plan was to become a ball player.”

“What held you back?”

“Torn rotator cuff. I was a pitcher.”


I shrug, trying to appear nonchalant, but the loss of baseball is a sore subject—even now, years after my injury. I think it’ll always be hard for me to accept it’s really over. Nothing has ever made me happier than being on the mound. I still have dreams about pitching no-hitters.

The smell of the grass, the bright stadium lights, the game has always been intoxicating. Now I’m like an alcoholic who’s been forced into mandatory rehab, because my addiction is no longer an option for me. But I’m so fucking thirsty for it.

“You need to know anything about me?” Maddox asks.

“Maddox O’Shay. Works at Parsons’ Media, went to Olmstead University, and lies to girls about his sexuality.” I smirk.

“Girl. One girl. And best not bring that up this weekend. Do you have any allergies? Drink coffee? How do you like your eggs? Isn’t this what couples know about each other?”

“No allergies, coffee is essential—and I drink mine black—and if I’m at a restaurant, I’ll order my eggs poached, but if I’m cooking, all I can manage is scrambled.”

“I’m a sunny-side-up type of guy, I need cream and sugar in my coffee, and I’m allergic to morphine and commitment.”

I laugh, and I hate that he’s funny.

“But probably shouldn’t bring up the commitment phobia this weekend either.”

“Smart move,” I say.

“So how did we meet?” he asks.

“Can we tell the truth? My sister introduced us. You went to college with her, you work together, and we all live in the same city. It’s plausible. It’s actually a miracle we haven’t met before. Stacy talks about you nonstop.”

“The brother and the best friend angle. I like it.”


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