The District Line #2
Should falling in love really get in the way of your lifelong dreams?
Sebastian Saunders is 3000 miles away from home. Working for his father’s expanded business in New York, he's left behind the music career he craved, the friends he relied upon and possibly the love of his life. In a city that never sleeps, how can the nights cure a broken heart?
Jay Ruttman is in London, throwing himself harder into football and his quest to make it on the professional playing field. Locking himself back in the closet, how can he ever open the door, and his heart, again?
A chance encounter in New York where Jay and Seb rekindle their lost romance sets them both on a path to self-discovery and coming to terms with their past, their present and their future.
This is the second part of the District Line serial, where half-time oranges are swapped for the Big Apple.
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Class Differences, Coming Home, Coming Out / Closeted, Opposites Attract
Word Count: 75230
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
“Good afternoon, sir.” She slipped the emery board into her drawer and smiled all white teeth. “Welcome to Saunders & Son. How may I help you today?”
“Here to see Seb―Mr. Saunders.” His attempt at masking his accent failed through the trembling delivery.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No, I just―”
“I’m terribly sorry, sir. Without an appointment, I can’t disturb him unless you are on his list.”
“What list is that?”
“His VIP list. But even then, I probably shouldn’t―”
“Ruttman, Jay Ruttman.” A small smile curved Jay’s lips as Natalie rolled her finger down the names scrawled in pen on a torn piece of lined A4 paper. That handwriting, carefree and messy with circles over the i’s instead of dots, made Jay’s spine tingle.READ MORE
“I’m very sorry, sir.” Natalie furrowed her brow. “But you’re not on the list. I’m going to have to ask you to make an appointment.” She swivelled in her chair and clicked a few buttons on her mouse. “How about next Thursday at two p.m.? He has a vacancy then.”
Jay’s heart thumped, his shoulders deflating. He’d been so close. He could almost taste the scent of Seb’s distinctive aftershave lingering in the air. And that gave him renewed vigour to keep trying.
“How about I go knock on his door?”
“I can’t let you do that, sir. It really is more than my job’s worth.”
Jay glanced over Natalie’s head. “What if I guarantee you that he won’t mind?” He wasn’t sure he could guarantee that, what with having ignored Seb’s attempts at keeping in touch. Maybe this was Seb’s way of proving that Jay now meant nothing to him. That their time together was now a distant, forgotten, memory. Then the lyrics from the last song that he had listened to on the flight over rang in his ears. I’ll never forget the time…
“You’re not on the list, sir. This is my guarantee.” She waved the piece of paper in the air. “He’d fire me on the spot. He did it to Geena last month. And I need this job. It’s really good money.”
Jay scanned the office again, brain ticking over. He’d come this far. Regardless of his nerves, he had to try. He had to see for himself. Just one look will tell me if I’m wrong. He tugged out an envelope from his inside jacket pocket and waggled it. “How much is a week’s wages for ya, then?”
Jay opened the envelope, showing the wodge of American dollars wrapped up in a travel currency wallet. “There’s about five grand in there. How about I go knock and if you do get fired, you can keep it.” Being confident might make her think he’d be right, even if he wasn’t so sure himself.
Natalie gaped. Slowly, she reached over the desk, slid the envelope from Jay’s hand and flicked through the paper bills with a low whistle. “Okay.”
Nodding, Jay pushed open the hip-height barrier. With soft steps, he walked through the main office, focusing on the closed wooden oak door ahead displaying the name Mr. Sebastian Saunders, Partner, engraved on a brass plaque.
Natalie trotted after him as quickly as her tight pencil skirt would allow. Clutching the wallet of cash to her chest, she swallowed as Jay rapped his knuckles on the office door.
“Fuck off!” The reply barked through the wood.
Natalie raised her eyebrows and bit her manicured thumbnail. Jay cleared his throat, pressing down the brass handle and as he opened the door, Seb whipped his head up from the computer with a firm scowl across his lips.
“I know I ain’t on that special list of yours.” Jay’s heart beat a little faster as Seb’s gaze finally met his. “But I sorta hoped that was an oversight on your part.”
Seb blinked. “Jay?”
Jay smiled. That look. He then angled his head back to Natalie peering in through the doorway. “I’ve given your receptionist five grand to be able to come in here and she not get the can. Don’t make me lose that cash. It’s all I got ‘til I get home.”
Seb’s mouth fell open. His fingers hovered over the keyboard, as if he were frozen to the spot. Eventually, he cleared his throat. “Natalie?”
“Yes, sir? I’m sorry, sir—”
“Close the door behind Mr. Ruttman, please, and divert all calls to the shitbag. I’m no longer available for the rest of the night.”
Jay’s smile grew, his cheeks hurting.
“Yes, sir. No problem, sir, and by shitbag I assume you mean Mr. Coles?”
“That’s right, Natalie. Thank you. Oh, and Natalie?”
“Mr. Ruttman would like his money back.”
“Oh right, yes, sir.” Natalie handed the envelope back to Jay and closed the door behind her swift exit.
Tucking the envelope into his inside jacket pocket, Jay’s stomach fluttered unbearably as Seb’s impenetrable brown doe-eyed stare landed on him.
“Now, Rutters, you best tell me how the fuck you are here.” Seb stood, his chair rolling away on its wheels. “As I am hoping to fuck this isn’t some dream. Because if it is, I don’t want to wake up.”
Jay smiled, his chest rising. “I made pro. West Ham. We’re playing the New York Red Bulls tomorra for a pre-season friendly.” He shrugged. “Thought I’d check you out while in the area. Rude not to. I’m actually skiving training to be here, which’ll probably land me back on the bench.”
“Fuck,” Seb breathed out, shaking his head as he smiled. “That fucking accent.”
“Fancy hearin’ some more? If you ain’t busy?” He tucked his hands into his jeans pockets. “Might even say Babs for ya.”
Seb laughed, then switched his computer off at the mains. “Well, in that case.” He scooted around the desk and loosened the knot on his silk tie. “I better make this little rebellious stint of yours worth the while.”
Jay reached out, delicately brushing his fingers over Seb’s to prevent him ripping the tie off altogether. “Leave it.” He roamed his gaze up and down Seb’s suited attire. “Quite like it.”
Seb cocked his head. “Whatever you want, Champ.”COLLAPSE
Tammy Rufo on Goodreads wrote:
The second in this series and better than the first, which I thought was very good. A second chance story where love prevails over family pressure and expectations and the subtle blackmail of an abusive ex. Well written and full of complex characters and steamy sex. it's also a quiet coming out story with surprising reactions. A good read and able to stand alone but more potent if you have read the first book, Kick Off, before reading this one.
An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.
jay and seb just get better and better! i love that they got their second chance. great series, can't wait for more! would def recommend