Excerpt from Best Man

I open my mouth but Zeb grabs my knee under the table and squeezes. Hard.

“Ouch,” I mutter.

“Behave,” he says tightly.

“I can’t promise anything if you happen to move that hand a couple of inches up.”

“A couple of inches? You’ve got a comfortable self-image.”

I shrug. “I work with what I’ve got.”

A waiter inserts himself between us to position tiny plates with a piece of meat on it and an inch of sauce curled round it. Zeb’s hand falls away. I look down at the plate gloomily. “Is this it?” I say sadly and the waiter snorts before resuming his stately procession down the table.

Zeb looks at me and his mouth quirks. “I’d say that was a mouthful,” he mutters. “For someone who hasn’t got a mouth the size of yours.”

“Zeb, I am a growing boy. I’m hoping they serve more food than this over the week or you’ll have to take me to hospital for a drip.”

“You’re exceedingly dramatic,” he intones. “I’m guessing it’s because you’re the youngest of eight children. You must have had to work very hard for your voice to be heard.”

“Not really,” I mutter, downing my starter in one sad bite. “It was never a problem.”

“Quelle surprise.”

I nudge him. “I like a man who’s lingual.”

He stares at me. “I have never met anyone who manages to turn such an innocent sentence so dirty.”

Best Man

Best Man

Zeb likes order and control. His life runs along strict lines and he never mixes business with pleasure. Everything in his life lives in neat, alphabetized boxes. Until Jesse.