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King of Romance (Ward Security)
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The employees of Ward Security have big plans for Valentine’s Day and they’ve laid down a wager that one of them will claim the title of “King of Romance” by the end of the holiday. But they will soon find that even the best laid plans can go terribly wrong.
Follow Sven, Quinn, Royce, and Dominic on their Valentine’s Day adventures. Are they worthy of the title of “King of Romance”?
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The rich scent of freshly brewed coffee filled Quinn’s workstation as he and several of his coworkers gathered for an early morning chat before they started their days. The office he shared with the rest of the Ward Security tech team had become the de facto meeting place each day. Most of the time they didn’t talk about anything important. Sometimes the conversation veered to current assignments or possible new tech, but they were just as likely to rip on each other about their favorite sports teams or dating blunders.
Today Sven, Dom, and Royce settled in the chairs set around the conference table near his desk. Gidget wouldn’t be in for another half hour, as she got her son off to school, and Cole was likely stretched out in his bed, unconscious, since he’d recently opted for the night shift. Dom wore his usual good cheer while sipping from his Mr. Rogers mug. Sven sat quietly, always the stoic one. Royce, with his scruffy black hair and beard, cradled his coffee right under his nose, looking like he’d been up all night. But the satisfied smile on his face proved he’d been up for good reasons.
“So, any big plans for Valentine’s Day?” Quinn asked. He drank his overly sweet brew and grimaced at the taste. Too much flavored creamer. He was out of his usual, so he’d used Gidget’s chocolate peppermint. Blech. It was time to restock.
“Marc has a meeting with a client in Hungary, and I offered to tag along. I’m sure he has something planned.” Royce set his coffee down, leaned back in his chair, and scrubbed his hands over his face. “I know what I plan to do.” He winked at Quinn.
“And that’s different than any other night, how?” Quinn teased.
“Like you have room to talk with that hickey peeking out from the neck of your T-shirt there.”
Heat filled Quinn’s cheeks, and he tugged on his collar. “Shane planned something for us and I have no idea what. Probably some big, romantic dinner out somewhere.”
His boyfriend had proved to be into romance so much more than Quinn had expected. When they first met, Shane had been adamant: no dating, no grand gestures, no anything that would lock him into something permanent. Shane had been all about being free and having fun. Quinn could feel a smirk pulling at the corner of his mouth. Shane had definitely changed his tune. The man was always doing small things to show him love, and Quinn ate them up.
But he hoped Shane didn’t have anything extravagant planned. Quinn was, and always would be, more of a homebody; an evening in with his man would be his choice. He did plan to pick up some of Shane’s favorite pastries from Rialto, a popular restaurant in downtown Cincinnati.
“I’ve got a huge night planned,” Dom announced as he put his feet up on the chair next to him and crossed his ankles. “I’m taking Abe on The Cincinnati Dinner Train, but don’t tell him.” Dom pointed at Quinn, narrowing his eyes at him. “I know you guys have lunch plans, and it’s a surprise.”
Quinn nodded. He had no intention of ruining Dom’s surprise. He did have lunch planned with Shane’s father—that day, in fact. He was still amused that his close friend had gotten together with what amounted to Quinn’s father-in-law.
He and Shane weren’t married, but they might as well be. This relationship was it for them.
But more than amusement, he was extremely pleased over the relationship Dom had with Abe. He’d never seen the older man so happy, and though it had taken Shane a little while to get used to the idea of his father with a man—and a much younger one to boot—Shane had come around once he’d seen what that love had done for his father. Abe was a new man.
Sven cleared his throat. “Well, I think I’m the king of romance when it comes to this group. I have a highly amorous evening planned…of babysitting.” His massive frame shook with laughter. “We’re giving my sister a night with her husband and watching little Reuben. I can’t wait.”
“Preparing for the future?” Royce asked, lifting one dark eyebrow at the massive bodyguard next to him.
Sven shrugged. “Of course.”
Royce shuddered and took another sip of his coffee. “The thought of a little Geoffrey is terrifying.”
Dom’s nod and wide eyes were in agreement. “Beyond terrifying.”
Sven’s much smaller, high-maintenance boyfriend was a handful with his perky personality and smart mouth. At least he’d reduced his massive social media presence. Well, sort of. Quinn had to admit that he still followed a couple of Geoffrey’s accounts for his humorous updates on his dating life with his mountainous boyfriend.
“I don’t find that idea terrifying at all.” Sven’s easygoing personality fit so perfectly with the more difficult Geoffrey, it was uncanny.