Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable

Teaser: Cold Pressed

Cold Pressed is out in 2 weeks! This juicy friends-with-benefits romance features Oliver, who you may have met in Top Shelf, who meets Nick, a divorced single dad with a complicated personal life. Sparks fly, but neither one of them has time for a relationship. A little no-strings sex though? They’ve got time for that? What could go wrong?

Spoiler: Everything. Everything could go wrong.

You can pre-order Cold Pressed on Amazon and it will be in your inbox on July 15, or if you want to, you can read the opening right now!

Chapter 1

If it had been anyone but Brian, Nick would have laughed the suggestion off as ridiculous in an instant. If it hadn’t come at the end of a double shift, Nick would have recognized the terrible idea before Brian even finished talking.

Instead, because he liked Brian, and because he was hours past when he should have gone home, Nick didn’t see it coming until too late.

“When’s the last time you had fun?” Brian asked.

“That depends on your definition of fun.” Nick’s eyes felt like sandpaper, and his stomach was curdling after he’d downed one too many coffees to push through the darkest hours of his night shift. Fun sounded like a ham sandwich and a warm bed. Nick was a man of few needs.

“Well . . . just . . . fun. Go out. With someone. Have a few drinks. Maybe a meal. You know. Fun.”

Nick stretched his arms overhead and glanced at the clock. He had seven minutes to go, and then he was out of here. The day shift would arrive any minute now, and it didn’t matter if someone had the plague. They were going to drag their asses to this desk, and Nick was out.

“We go out all the time,” Nick said. Their guys’ nights had been happening less since Brian had gotten back together with his wife, but Nick could only be happy for him about that.

“No, not with me.”

Nick’s eyes were bleary, but as he blinked, he realized Brian was blushing.

“I don’t understand.”

“Jess wants to set you up on a date.” Brian’s whole face was strained. The lines around his eyes creased into deep furrows. His lips pressed tight, and his throat bobbed up and down like he was trying to swallow a goldfish.

“Jess wants to—”

“Please say no.”

“Then why would you—”

“Because I told her I’d ask you, and I can’t say no to anything she says these days. But you can. Please say no, and then we can forget this whole thing.”

Now Nick was blushing too. Hopefully this was not the moment a call came in for a five-alarm fire or an MVA. He wouldn’t be able to function, and the way Brian’s face was trying to pucker in on itself was hilarious.

Brian swallowed his goldfish and exhaled loudly. “I told her we shouldn’t bother you. That you hardly ever talked about dating anyone, but she said that was all the more reason to ask. Forget about it. I’ll tell her it was a bad idea.”

Nick was happy that Brian and Jess were back together. But if the joyful reunion was turning to matchmaking, that might not be such a good thing after all.

“Is it someone I know?”

“No. I don’t really know him either.”

Him. That put a different color on it. Not many people knew about Nick’s bisexuality, but Brian was an exception. After fifteen years working together for the Seacroft Fire Department, he and Brian didn’t have many secrets left. Brian had stuck with him after the accident that cut Nick’s firefighting career short, and Nick had been there to help Brian mourn the end of his marriage and then celebrate its sudden recovery last fall. No point in keeping things from someone who had your back for almost half your life. Brian was always discreet, no matter what Nick told him.

That discretion didn’t apparently extend to the wife Brian was obviously still trying to win over, however.

“It was her idea,” Brian said, as if he had read Nick’s mind. “I don’t know how she knew about . . . ” He waved vaguely toward Nick. “Look, forget about it. It’s a stupid idea, but I told her I’d ask. You know Jess. She gets excited about things.”

Brian deserved to be happy. But Nick’s warm and fuzzy feelings about Brian’s domestic bliss had limits. He kept his private life private for a reason.

“I’ll think about it.” He pulled himself to his feet. Two minutes to go.

“No, forget I said anything.” Brian stood from the chair he’d pulled up so he could sit by Nick’s desk. He appreciated Brian’s willingness to hang out at dispatch, while most of the other firefighters stuck to the dorm room and lounge on overnight shifts. “I’ll tell Jess you weren’t up for it. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, though, you know. For you to meet someone. You spend a lot of time by yourself.”

“It’s complicated.” Nick gave him a tired smile.

Brian squeezed Nick’s shoulder. “Yeah, I know.”

Allison Temple