LENGTH: 18,216 words
This story is included in the anthology, Hard at Work
Carey Thornton is tired of couples. All his friends have someone special and he feels like the odd man out. Painfully single, Carey cruises the nightclubs and gay party scene, flirting with any hot guy who looks his way, but he always seems to be the one to go home alone.
It’s comic convention weekend at the Omni Hotel where Carey works, and somehow he got roped into working the registration desk in the dealer room. While checking in the vendors before the crowds arrive, he meets the sexy Pat Dix, setting up the booth for Kryptonite Comics.
Painfully shy, Patrick has never dreamt an outgoing, fun-loving guy like Carey would ever find him attractive. He’s surprised when Carey asks him to hang out after the convention hall closes, and he surprises himself by saying yes. A late night in the hotel pool with Carey’s rowdy friends might just be what Patrick needs to break him out of his shell. But it isn’t until the friends leave them alone that Patrick gets “Carey’d away.”
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A low wolf whistle interrupted his thoughts.
Pat's fingers went nerveless and the cards leapt from his hands, raining down onto the floor again. Tell me that was not directed at me.
"Nice ass." The man's voice was young and sexy.
From the corners of his eyes Patrick glanced around, but he was alone -- there was no one else in the booth or standing nearby to whom that might be directed. No one but himself. And in his experience, sexy guys didn't whistle at him or comment on his backside. They just didn't. Ignore him, his mind whispered. He'll go away.
Bending his knees, Patrick squatted, all too aware of a hot gaze watching him move. This time as he gathered up the cards, some of them bending beneath his fumbling fingers. The guy behind him cleared his throat, and Patrick's cheeks warmed with a quick blush. "Hey, hot stuff."
Patrick felt that blush heat up the back of his neck. A look over his shoulder showed the guy -- around his age, maybe a little younger. He wore a tight black T-shirt with the word OMNI embroidered on the left breast and black jeans that hung down off narrow hips. His dark hair was shaved close to his scalp and all Patrick could see were dark blue eyes, a faint smile on full lips, and well-defined muscles along his arms and chest. Sexy didn't begin to describe him.
Guys like him don't look at guys like me. Please God, don't taunt me like this. Clearing his throat, Patrick asked, "Excuse me?" He hoped his voice sounded steadier than it did to his own ears.
Meeting his nervous gaze, the guy grinned. "You heard me. Got some junk in the trunk. I like that." He held a clipboard against his waist and tapped it with a pen as he stared openly at Patrick.
Patrick felt the cards slip from his fingers again but he couldn't seem to remember how to pick them up.
"Are you Dodson?" the guy asked, and the pen said taptaptap against the clipboard. A grin flashed across his features, brightening his face. "Dodson, Dodson! We've got Dodson here."
Patrick glanced around, confused. "What?"
The guy shrugged. "It's from Jurassic Park. You know, the movie?" When Patrick didn't answer, he looked at the clipboard and frowned. "I'm guessing you're not Leena, are you? From Kryptonite Comics?"
"I'm Pat Dix," Patrick corrected. "She's not here yet."
"Do you work for her?"
The cards slid out of his hands again -- the damn sleeves holding them were slick. Before Patrick could scoop up the cards, the guy knelt down beside him and swept them up with both hands. "Carey."
Patrick watched those strong hands tamp the cards into a neat stack. "Carry what?"
The guy's grin widened. "Carey. That's me. So you're into comics?" He held the cards out to Patrick.
As he took the stack, his fingers brushed Carey's and he pulled away quickly. His skin tingled where they touched and he thought if he ever got the chance to press his flesh against Carey's, the sensation would be maddening. Why are you talking to me? I've waited my whole life for a guy like you to look at me, to speak to me, to even give me the time of day. And when you finally do, it's at a damn comic book convention. Where was the justice in that?
- BookWenches: 4 out of 5.
- "Well-written and enjoyable. J.M. Snyder has taken a scene from everyday life and has fleshed it out enough to make it truly interesting."
- Coffee Time Romance: 4 cups out of 5.
- "Watching their relationship bud was a great experience and had me happy to have a chance to read a story from this great and eloquent author."
- Literary Nymphs Reviews: 4 out of 5.
- "Carey’d Away is a fun, fast read by J. M. Snyder."
- Rainbow Reviews: 4 out of 5.
- "A fast, fun read that will make you smile -- perfect for your summer reading list."
- Romance at Heart:
- "On the odd occasion when characters are drawn together, it could be just sex. When J.M. Snyder puts pen to paper it usually is a prelude to a very wonderful something more ... another great read to those already available from Ms. Snyder's prolific pen. The story will enchant and entertain you."
- Obsidian Bookshelf:
- "These kids feel totally authentic ... Carey's dialogue in particular is perfect -- he sounds young and southern to me. Plus all the little details of comic-book collectibles are so sharply drawn and well-placed."
- San Diego Erotica Books Examiner: 4 out of 5.
- "Snyder is becoming one of my new favorites in this genre! ... this is a great read. Don't let it pass you by!"
- Sensual Erotic Romance & Erotica: 4.5 out of 5.
- "Be careful -- you just might get Carey’d Away yourself after devouring this book."
- The Romance Studio: 4 out of 5.
- "Showing that the chase is as fun as the catch, Snyder has once again stepped off the page with a sexy and passionate winner."
- Two Lips Reviews: 5 out of 5, with a "heat level" of 2 out of 3.
- "A faced paced romance ... When you want a light hearted read, Carey’d Away is the book to escape with. "
- Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews: 5 out of 5.
- "I absolutely adored the two men in this story ... I enjoyed watching [Pat and Carey] overcome their doubts and give into the lust and chemistry that exists between them."