by Casey Cox
Release Date: June 27, 2022
Wicked by Design
Genre: M/M Romance
Trope: Best friends to lovers, opposites attract, feel-good, satire
They don’t write romance novels about guys like me…
Trust me, I know. Crafting swoon-worthy happily ever afters is literally my day job. Being a quirky introvert with an overactive imagination, underwhelming social skills, and a few pounds overweight, I’m no leading man.
My best friend, though? He’s total cover model, call the plumber because I just flooded my basement material. He’s also outgoing, charismatic, free-spirited, and basically the best guy ever.
I may know romance, but I’m no dummy when it comes to reality. I’m nothing special. And the truth is, a guy like Darren would never fall for someone like me.
I’m the poster child for failure to launch. Twenty-seven, didn’t make it in Hollywood, forced to slump my sorry self back home to Australia with my tail in between my legs.
The only bright spot in my life is nabbing the apartment next door to my best friend, Benji. He’s like no one I’ve ever met. Genuine. Sensitive. Nurturing. A talented author. An amazing cook. So freaking handsome. And yeah…I am so stupidly in love with him it’s not even funny.
When Benji needs some inspiration to clear his writer’s block, I gladly help out. He wants to write a friends-to-lovers romance, and hello, I’m his best friend. This should be a cinch. It’s not as if he’s suddenly going to fall in love with me. I’m nothing special. And the fact is, a guy like Benji could do so much better than someone like me.
Nothing Special is a stand-alone best-friends-to-lovers MM romance with two lovable (yet totally clueless) besties, gray yoga pants hotness, sweet midnight walks, an apartment block filled with nosy neighbors, and one swoonariffic (and oh so special) happily ever after!
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My tongue slid past Darren’s lips and slipped into his mouth. Warm waves floated through me. Our heads bobbed together. Effortlessly, we found the perfect lower lip/upper lip groove. Moving rhythmically to a silent song only we could hear. My chest tingled. Goosebumps speckled across my forearms. I was exploring my best friend’s mouth. Holy shit. Talk about unexpected.
Tonight had produced a number of surprises. Me taking Darren up on his offer for a midnight stroll. Me answering his question on the bridge, sharing a kernel of personal information no one else knew about me. Me now swimming in the velvety heat of his mouth.
Had all these little things been leading up to this?
No, of course not. This was all part of Darren’s Project P2XZ5… Okay. Excuse me if my brain was a little scrambled at the moment. Kinda hard to concentrate when Darren’s tongue was doing this insanely hot, twisty-flicky thing inside my mouth.
His fingers traveled into my hair, forcing our heads even closer. Our mouths were fully opened now, our tongues tangling, taking turns for dominance. The kiss was deepening. My body felt like it was on fire. I was putting everything I had into this kiss, and Darren was giving as good as he got.
God, he good kissed. Shit. I meant, he kissed God good. Gah. Third time lucky—God, he was a good kisser. When did words get so hard?
Speaking of hard—we both were. I didn’t back away, crushing my body against his. He rutted against me in return. It created an intense friction, like two sticks being rubbed together to start a fire. We were combustible.
A crow squawking off in the distance startled us, and we broke apart. He looked as disheveled as I felt.
“Whoa.” He brought his fingers to his lips, like he was checking for physical proof of what we had just done.
I licked my lips, doing the same. I could feel the imprint of his stubble as I traced the seam of my bottom lip with my tongue.
Yep. Confirmed. We had, in fact, kissed.
“Was that okay?” I asked just as Darren looked up at me and said, “That was the best kiss of my life.”
A flare of happiness erupted in my chest. “Really?” I asked, still in a daze from the kiss. Now even more unsure of everything, hearing Darren make his admission. Confession? Compliment?
Darren shuffled from foot to foot, looking almost a little apprehensive. I took a cue from his playbook from the bridge earlier, reaching down to take his hand in mine. He stilled. I hooked a finger under his chin. His blue eyes found mine. “That was the best kiss of my life, too, Dare Bear.”
His just-been-kissed lips twitched. “Really?”
I loved how we always seemed to mirror each other with words and actions. It wasn’t just a tonight thing, either. It was how we were whenever we were together. “Yeah. Well, best, or a very close second to the sloppy kiss Lucy Aitken made me give her in third grade when she bribed me for it in exchange for a lick of her Paddle Pop ice cream.”
Darren raised an eyebrow as if to say, You allowed your eight-year-old self to get bribed for a kiss?
I shot him a look back, explaining, Gimme a break. It was a really freaking hot day.
He smiled, brushing the back of his fingers against my face. I let my eyes drift shut, allowing myself to relish in this moment.
Knowing it would be brief.
Knowing it would never be repeated.
Knowing it was simply Darren’s way of helping me out with my writer’s block.
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About the Author
Casey Cox is an Australian MM romance author whose work includes the hugely popular VET SHOP BOYS series.
Casey loves spending time at the beach and is the proud paw-rent to two utterly adorable French Bulldogs – Ralphie and Lilly.
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