Just a Bit Confusing

By: Alessandra Hazard

(Book #5 in the Straight Guys series )



Prologue



Ryan Hardaway met James William Arthur Grayson when they were both eight years old.

Their first meeting didn’t go well.

“You look like a ponce,” Ryan told the blond boy in weird clothes. What kind of idiot wore such fancy clothes to the park?

The weird boy’s weird blue-green eyes stared at him weirdly, as if Ryan was the weird one.

“You look poor,” the boy said in a posh voice, as if being poor was the worst kind of insult.

Ryan flushed. His family  was poor, and Ryan was old enough to know that being poor sucked, but he wasn’t old enough not to be embarrassed by it. That was how Ryan found himself turning bright red and tackling the other boy to the ground. In his defense, he was eight.

It was safe to say the boy’s fancy clothes no longer looked very fancy after the fifteen minutes they spent rolling in the mud, kicking and yelling.

At last, they tired themselves out and just lay in the mud, gasping for air and glaring at each other.

The blond ponce had mud on his nose and Ryan laughed.

The boy glared at him. “What?”

“Now you actually look like a normal boy,” Ryan said, grinning. “Though you fight like a girl.”

The boy kicked him and sat up. He looked down his muddy nose at Ryan and said, “The Graysons have served and fought for the English kings since the sixteenth century. I’ll have you know I learned fencing at the age of five.”

Ryan blinked and sat up. “Fencing? Newsflash: it’s not the sixteenth century.”

The kid opened and closed his mouth. And pouted.

Ryan laughed again.

The blond ponce glared harder, his lower lip wobbling suspiciously. Ryan started to feel kind of bad. His eldest brother would give him a scolding if he found out that Ryan had reduced some kid to tears.

Sighing, Ryan stretched his hand out and said, “I’m Ryan.”

The boy hesitated before clasping Ryan’s hand. “James William Arthur Grayson, the Viscount Exmouth.”

Ryan scrunched up his nose. “So Jimmy, then. Or do you prefer Jamie?”

The boy gave him a scandalized look. “It’s James. My dad says only commoners have nicknames.”

Ryan laughed. “You’re so weird— Jamie.”

“It’s James!”

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Ryan didn’t know yet that it was also the beginning of the most confusing relationship of his life.





Chapter 1



He was such a cutie.

Sela Haldane watched the guy from the corner of her eye as she cleaned up the table a few tables away from the one he was sitting at. Gosh, if he had a girlfriend—and all the cute ones always had girlfriends—she was one lucky girl. Sela couldn’t help but stare as the guy grinned widely and said something to whoever he was on the phone with. He had such a beautiful smile, all dimples and white teeth, the smile warming his blue (or maybe green?) eyes. He must be in his early twenties, around her age. He had platinum blond, carefully styled hair and a very attractive, but not intimidatingly handsome face—the sort of face you wanted to gaze at and smile. His height was perfect for her, too: tall, but not too tall. He was fit and toned but not overly muscular. Just perfect.

Sela sighed dreamily.

Behind her, someone snorted, and she looked back. Amanda, another waitress, was smirking.

“Cutie, isn’t he? But he’s way out of our league.”

“If you don’t try, you never know,” Sela said with a shrug. She may not look like a model, but she knew men liked her.

“Don’t you recognize him?” Amanda said, her eyebrows flying up. “I know you’re new here, but...He’s no average Joe. He’s one of the most eligible bachelors in the country.”

Sela shot the cutie a curious look. “Really? Who is he?”

“James Grayson, The Earl of Lytton’s only son and heir,” Amanda said.

Oh.

Sela normally didn’t know much about aristocracy besides the Royal Family, but even she knew who Lord Lytton was. He was one of the few British lords who was still obscenely rich and politically influential. His family’s blood might possibly be bluer than the Queen’s.

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