Free Excerpt: Silicon Valley Sex Scandal
Here’s a free excerpt from Silicon Valley Sex Scandal from my own files that hasn’t been pubbed on any retail web sites where the book is being sold.
This is the raw version, and the way it goes to final edits when I submit it to the publisher. This particular scene is when Shannon starts to worry about being stalked by a lunatic. One or two lines had to be edited out because this is a pg rated blog. But only a few.
By one in the afternoon, he came out of his office and noticed the blank brick wall in the reception area. As he passed by Karla’s desk, he said, “I’ll be out for the rest of the day. If you need me for anything important call my cell.” He didn’t wait for her to respond. He walked out to his car, climbed inside, and pulled out of the parking lot so fast the back tires screeched.
At first he thought he might drive over to Justin’s, but he decided that would have made him look too needy and desperate, which were two things he’d never been in his life. And yet he couldn’t stop thinking about never seeing Justin again, or Justin working for someone else. If he’d known who had offered Justin the job he could have put an end to that right away and then Justin would have had to come crawling back to him. Of all the things Shannon could have predicted that would happen, this outrageous outburst from Justin would have been the last. He never would have guessed Justin would abandon him in such a cold and heartless way. He’d come to trust and depend on him for everything. The world felt so large and he felt so alone he didn’t know what to do, so he drove up to San Francisco and decided to forget about everything for a few hours.
He parked a few blocks away from the small bar he’d gone to the previous weekend. It wasn’t his favorite bar nor was he all that familiar with it. He only went that bar because he knew it was easy to park across the street and he didn’t feel like driving around anymore. He also knew he might find a man looking for a little fun and games in the middle of the afternoon. Bars like this were notorious for the closeted married types. The closet married types were notorious for no strings attached sex.
The sun burned brightly that day. When he entered the bar he had to blink a few times so his eyes would adjust to the darkness. He heard disco music playing in the background, and it smelled of stale whiskey and cigarettes. Although smoking had been banned in places like this, he knew those rules were not followed as strictly as they should have been. He pulled out a bar stool near the front door and sat down three seats away from a man with dark hair in a gray business suit.
A short chubby bartender walked over and set a paper napkin in front of Shannon. He asked, “What can I get you?” and stood there waiting for Shannon to answer.
“I’ll have a white wine,” Shannon said. He didn’t drink often and it was too early for hard liquor anyway. Besides, he didn’t like to drink and drive. The last thing he needed was to get pulled over for driving while intoxicated. That was the sort of thing that would have made all the headlines for someone with the kind of fame and notoriety Shannon had. They didn’t stalk him like a celebrity, but they would have found it more than entertaining if he’d done something wrong.
When the bartender turned to get his wine, the man with dark hair three seats away turned to Shannon and said, “It’s quiet in here today.”
Shannon nodded. “I don’t usually come here this time of day. I wouldn’t know.” There couldn’t have been more than ten other people in the bar…older men in bad clothes. But Shannon didn’t feel like making light conversation. He still couldn’t figure out why Justin had been so dramatic.
The guy laughed. “I don’t come here often myself, at any time of day.”
Shannon noticed a wedding band on his finger. This didn’t surprise him, not even in San Francisco. “I see.”
The guy took a sip of his martini and smiled again. “You mind if I move closer. I feel like I’m shouting at you.” He reminded Shannon of a guy who had just graduated from college and didn’t wear suits often. He would have looked more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt. And the suit hadn’t been tailored well. It hung on his thin lanky frame and sagged in all the wrong places.
“Whatever makes you happy, dude,” Shannon said.
The bartender set a glass of white wine in front of Shannon and the guy sat down on the bar stool next to him. Shannon handed the bartender a twenty dollar bill, told him to keep the change, and then he reached for the glass of wine.
While Shannon took a sip of wine, the guy said, “I didn’t think I’d meet anyone like you in here today. Most of the time they are so much older and not in the best shape.”
“I thought you didn’t come here often,” Shannon said. He didn’t feel like playing stupid games. And he’d heard that line more than once from slick guys in cheap suits.
“I really don’t,” the guy said. “I was just talking about what I’ve seen the few times I have been here.” He moved closer and put his hand on Shannon’s knee. He squeezed it and said, “And I truly don’t see guys like you often. You’re so sweet and adorable.”
With that remark, Shannon set the wine glass on the table. He smiled, reached down, and removed the guy’s hand from his knee. “I’m not all that sweet and adorable, trust me, pal.”
“I find that hard to believe,” the guy said. He laughed and leaned forward, resting his elbow on the back of Shannon’s bar stool.
Before Shannon had a chance to say anything, he felt his phone vibrate and he pulled it out of his back pocket. He thought it might be Justin calling to apologize for making such a ridiculous scene that morning. But when he looked down at the caller ID he saw Terry’s name instead. He almost put the phone back in his pocket without answering it. But he felt like being nasty to someone and Terry had showed up at the right time and place.
“Hello,” he said, noticing from the corner of his eye the guy next to him was moving closer.
“Hey, cutie,” Terry said. “Where are you?” His tone sounded upbeat…all giggles and smiles.
“I’m at work,” Shannon said. He smiled and shrugged at the guy next to him. “I’m really busy now.”
“I just called to see if you want to have dinner tonight,” Terry said. His voice rose with a lilt and he sounded excited and happy about something.
Shannon figured this was as good a time as any to set this guy straight. In this mood, he figured he could do it the way he should have done it long ago. While the guy next to Shannon reached down and grabbed his upper thigh, Shannon turned sideways and spoke into the phone with a firmer tone. “I think it’s time you stopped calling me. I’ve tried to be nice and I’ve tried to be polite and you just don’t seem to get the hint that I’m not interested in getting to know you better.”
“But you said you’d call me,” Terry said.
“I said I would call you sometime.” Shannon rolled his eyes. “When a guy says he’ll call you sometime that means the odds of him actually calling are pretty slim, dude. You’re old enough to know this.”
“But what about what we have together,” Terry said.
“What do we have together? That’s not anything significant. That’s called a trick.”
The guy sitting next to Shannon blinked.
Terry laughed. “Oh, you know you don’t mean that, silly. You’re just upset about what happened with Justin this morning.”
Shannon’s eyes opened wider. The guy next to him tried to grab his ass and he smacked his hand. “How to you know about what happened with Justin?”
“I was on my way to bring you breakfast this morning and I overheard the whole thing,” Terry said. “And I don’t blame you for being upset with him. I don’t think he treated you well at all. You should have fired him on the spot.”
This conversation was beginning to make the short hairs on the back of Shannon’s neck stand up. And Shannon was not about to discuss Justin with him or anyone else. “You need to stop calling me, dude. I’m not going to dinner with you, I don’t want you coming around my office with breakfast or lunch, and I don’t want to see you again. Leave me alone.” Then he hung up without saying good-bye or waiting for Terry to respond.
The phone vibrated again and he put it in his pocket. By that time the guy next to him was squeezing his upper thigh and looking at him with a naughty grin. If he hadn’t been so cute Shannon would have smacked him in the face and left the bar. But he smelled like spicy aftershave and reminded Shannon of Keanu Reeves in the wrong clothes. He had those dark gypsy eyes that penetrated without trying too hard.
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