Excerpt: Something Sweet

The downside of having worked in his store for so many years was that he became so used to certain sounds that he stopped hearing them. The shop had been quiet all day; the holiday season was winding down and snow had been falling practically nonstop since lunch. Nobody was leaving a warm house to buy candy.

He only looked up because the crinkle of plastic and foil was out of place against the jazz music his latest employee thought everyone should love. Sherlock never thought he’d miss Clarence’s ridiculous screamy music, but he had learned the error of his thinking.

The first thing he noticed when he looked up was the man’s ass. It was a damned fine one, made for grabbing and much, much more. Sherlock shook himself before he got caught staring. He lived in a pretty open neighborhood, but people still didn’t like being gawked at.

When the man half-turned, and Sherlock caught his profile, he dropped his book in surprise. Flushing, he ducked behind the counter to retrieve it and remember how to breathe again.

No way. No fucking way was Basil Dalton in his store. Basil had left home to attend college on a football scholarship and never looked back. Last thing he’d heard through the gossip network was that Basil was still shattering records as a pro. After that, Sherlock had stopped looking for crumbs. At some point, a guy had to move on and stop pining after someone who had never really looked his way. High school was thirteen years behind him; it was long past time he got over that crush.

But Jesus was the thirteen-years-older version worth its own crush. Having a better idea about what to with a man like that was not helping. What the fuck was he was supposed to say? Would Basil remember him? Doubtful. Why would someone like that remember the scrawny, nerdy kid who’d lived in the shitty house at the end of the block and spent all of summer vacation working in his grandfather’s old-fashioned candy shop?

“Hello?”

Swearing silently, Sherlock finally snatched up his dropped book and made himself stand. “Hi! Can I help you with something?”

Basil didn’t reply, just stared at him with a slight frown, a bit of hesitance. Finally he asked, “Detective?”

Sherlock grimaced at the old nickname because really, what had his parents thought people were going to call him his entire life? “Long time no see, Basil.”

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