The Escape Room (First & Forever #10) Read Online Alexa Land

Categories Genre: M-M Romance Tags Authors: Series: First & Forever Series by Alexa Land

Total pages in book: 15
Estimated words: 14086 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 70(@200wpm)___ 56(@250wpm)___ 47(@300wpm)

I’m done with dating, since my last relationship ended in complete disaster. My friends are worried about me though, so to humor them, I agreed to attend a singles event and enter a raffle. It was for charity, so why not? I never thought I’d actually win one of the prizes—a blind date at an escape room.

My date turns out to be a sassy barista with pink hair and a love of makeup. He’s definitely not my type. In fact, I doubt we have the first thing in common. But as the evening takes a turn for the unexpected, I find myself wondering—is this man exactly what I needed all along?

This 12,000-word short story originally appeared in the charity anthology Heart2Heart, Volume Two, which is now out of print. It has been re-edited, and an epilogue has been added. Other than that, there are no significant changes to the story. This stand-alone is set in the world of Alexa Land’s Firsts and Forever Series.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Chapter 1

“I haven’t been this uncomfortable since my dad and his last girlfriend showed me photos of their vacation.” Skye glanced at me, and I explained, “They went on a clothing-optional yoga retreat. I still get twitchy whenever anyone utters the phrase ‘downward dog’ around me.”

My friend looked sympathetic. “I know you really didn’t want to come here,” he waved his hand to indicate the crowded nightclub, “but I’m proud of you for giving it a shot.”

I slid off the barstool and yelled over the relentlessly upbeat dance music, “Can we go now? If we hurry, we can still make the nine o’clock screening of Aliens at the Piedmont.”

“You know you own that on Blu-ray, right?”

“What’s your point?”

Just then, a skinny guy with a mustache worthy of a 1980s porn star swooped in and asked me, “Wanna dance, hottie?”

“No, thanks.”

Pornstache got up in my personal space and ran his gaze down the length of me. “You’re cute. What are you, Black? Asian?”


That threw him off his game for a moment. “Yes to what part?”

“Yes, I’m Black and Asian, and no, I don’t want to dance.”

“Come on, sexy. Just one spin around the dance floor.”

“You know, I would,” I told him, as I scratched my chest, “but my full-body herpes is flaring up, and dancing makes me itch something fierce.”

He couldn’t get away from me fast enough after that. Skye raised a brow and asked, “Is full-body herpes even a thing?”

“God, I hope not. So, we can still make the movie if we leave right now.”

I started to inch toward the exit, but my escape route was cut off by my friend Dare, who intercepted me while juggling a trio of huge, over-the-top cocktails. “Oh, come on.” He sounded exasperated. “We’ve only been here fourteen minutes, and you’re already trying to leave? You haven’t even had a drink yet. Grab the blue one in the center, before I drop these.”

The beverage in question had several items jutting from it, including a massive fruit skewer, a swizzle stick in the shape of a merman, and a purple bendy straw. I shot him a look. “Really?”

Dare handed his husband a frozen drink layered to form a rainbow. Then he brushed his dark hair out of his eyes and told me, “Skye has a thing for touristy cocktails, the kitschier the better. I figured you and I should join in, because why not?”

“Um, because I already don’t blend in, and now I look like my turnip truck is parked out front?”

“Speaking of blending in,” Skye said, “can I—”

“Fix me?”

“You don’t need to be fixed. I was just going to suggest a few minor adjustments.”

I took a sip from the bendy straw, then set aside my drink and said, “Knock yourself out.”

Predictably, the first thing he did was take off my tie. Skye was a metal sculptor with blue hair, and he’d actually worn a pair of overalls to the bar, along with a T-shirt that featured a picture of a Smurf. No wonder my necktie was at the top of his hit list. Meanwhile, Dare had come straight from his dance studio and was wearing an oversized black sweater with warm-up pants, so neither of them qualified as fashion experts.

Skye unfastened the top three buttons on my light blue Oxford shirt and suggested rolling back my cuffs, so I’d seem more relaxed and approachable. I did as he asked, then refastened two of the three buttons. He and Dare leaned back in unison and assessed my look, and Skye swooped back in and tried to fluff my slicked-down hair. “Dude, there’s a shitload of gel in there,” he muttered. He wiped his hands on his overalls before declaring my new look “better overall.”

When I turned on the camera and held out my phone so I could see myself on the screen, a guy with pink hair and sparkly gold eyeshadow bounced into the frame. He yelled, “Photobomb,” tapped the button to take a picture, and flashed me a huge smile before disappearing into the crowd.

“He was cute,” Dare said. “You should go ask him to dance.”

I returned the phone to my pocket and shook my head. “He was obnoxious, and I don’t dance.”

Dare stared at me as he pointed out, “You’re literally a dancer, Rick.”

“That’s totally different. Just because I moonlight with your dance troupe doesn’t mean I want to go out there and do what the rest of those guys are doing. Most of them aren’t even dancing. They’re either wiggling or dry-humping, sometimes both simultaneously. A choreographed routine is one thing. But I’m not going to wedge myself into that sweaty mass of bodies and improvise.” I noticed the pink-haired guy had gotten himself into a bear sandwich, right in the center of the packed dance floor.

Dare asked, “What’s the one thing I keep telling you, over and over again?”