The first scene of my upcoming m/m romance…

The first scene of my upcoming m/m romance…

Nate has been a single dad raising his baby ever since his wife left them three months ago. An is the gay pediatrician who lives three doors down in Nate’s new apartment building. Neither of them are looking for love, but that doesn’t mean that love–and family–won’t find them anyway.

The first time An met his new neighbor, it was raining and he had forgotten his umbrella. The sunset had just begun to paint the sky in bright pink and purple strokes half an hour before, and An was so busy getting ready to pick Dai up he didn’t notice a mass of clouds overtaking the colors in the sky, turning everything into a somber gray. By the time he stepped out of the elevator, rain pounded outside on the pavement.

He rounded the corner to the right to check his mail and stall for time. Maybe the rain would let up by the time he came back out; An hated the slow elevator ride up the 23 stories to his apartment. He didn’t want to go back up just for an umbrella. He really should make a habit to bring one down regardless of how clear the skies looked from the apartment window. This was Hawaii, after all; the weather was apt to change at a moment’s notice.

A man stood by An’s mail cubicle, one hand attempting to shove his key into the lock of the box three units away from An’s, one holding onto the handle of an infant car seat. He wore faded blue jeans that clung to muscled legs and a high-visibility t-shirt with DARWIN D KEIS MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTION CO emblazoned on the back. The shoulders framed by the neon yellow shirt were broad and as well-muscled as his legs, and his brown hair, worn in a pony tail at the center of his neck, was wavy. It looked soft enough to touch.

“Do you need help?” asked An, the words out of his mouth before he could stop himself. The tall man glanced over and An had to check the deep exhale that almost escaped him: vivid hazel eyes flecked with green, a square jaw and a confident chin tempered the softness of his full, almost heart-shaped lips. Pretty, An thought.

The man’s tempting lips curved into a rueful grin, and he extended his open hand, keys dangling on a thumb which had a shiny, ridged scar running across the knuckle. He’d appeared to be in his early twenties at first glance, but the way his eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled made An revise his assessment. He was probably closer to thirty.

An’s self-control slipped just enough for him to let his own thumb trace lightning-quick over the scar tissue as he took the keys. He thought the touch went unnoticed until the other man frowned. For a moment An was afraid he’d been too forward, but no, the other man seemed oblivious.

“Aah, sorry, man, should’ve grabbed the right one for you first.” His voice was higher than An thought it would be, not the deep, husky baritone he imagined all construction workers had, but a smooth tenor that sounded like a caress to An’s ears.

An shook his head, as much out of politeness as to dispel thoughts of leaning over and drinking in that voice with his lips. It wasn’t like him to indulge in lusty daydreams; he was closer to forty than thirty and was not a teenager anymore.

“Not a problem.” He found the key again easily enough; all the mailbox keys looked the same. He fished the mail out and handed the envelopes off to their owner, who stowed them away into the back pocket of his jeans, but not before An caught the name printed on some of them. Nathan Ellison. There was also an Olivia Ellison on one of the envelopes. Married? An gave a mental shrug. It wasn’t as if it mattered. He was also old enough to harbor no illusions about the fact that most tall, gorgeous men in construction were straight.

Nathan held his hand out for his keys, and An dropped them into his warm palm.

“Thanks, bro.” Nathan pocketed his keys as well. “You heading out in this mess?” He jerked his head at the far window which looked out onto the parking lot. It still poured outside so that An could barely see the hood of his car through foamy rain.

“It’s lucky that I didn’t park too far away,” said An, attempting to smile. “I suppose I’ll have to make a run for it.”

Inexplicably, this made Nathan Ellison grin. “Yup, it’s your lucky day,” he announced, and grabbed something that had been propped up against the mailboxes. A big umbrella stick. “If we keep close, I think it’ll fit all three of us. Lemme repay the favor and walk you to your car.”

How gallant, An didn’t say out loud. “If you don’t mind.” He wasn’t going to refuse a few moments to memorize those lips even if this man was married. But he doesn’t wear a ring.

As if in protest of these hopeful thoughts, the infant who had been sleeping soundly in the infant car seat chose this exact instant to wake up with a forlorn moan. The canopy hid most of the baby’s features, but judging from the size of the legs now kicking furiously at a blue dotted blanket, the baby was only a few months old.

“Better hurry,” said Nathan, shifting his grip on the carrier. “I got two minutes to get him in a moving car before the waterworks begin.”

Smiling, An followed him back to the front of the lobby.

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