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Bankers' Hours

By:Wade Kelly

Bankers' Hours
Wade Kelly

       Even though bankers' hours leave long weekends for romance, cosmic  intervention is Grant's only option when money doesn't buy happiness and  he's got virginity in spades.

Grant Adams is a twenty-six-year-old bank teller who's unlucky at love,  yet hopelessly hopeful. After years of horrific first dates, he's  convinced he's saving himself for true love. Surely he has bad taste in  men because it couldn't possibly be his persnickety nature that's sent  them packing.

Tristan Carr has been in a holding pattern since his daughter was born  fifteen years ago, which suits his workaholic lifestyle just fine. This  ex – naval officer turned auto mechanic never wanted anyone interfering  with being a weekend dad. For Tristan to rearrange his carefully  orchestrated life, a guy will need to be special. Or in the case of the  newest employee at his bank, the guy will need to be adorable, shy, and  open to the prospect of forever when it shows up at his window.

I would like to dedicate this novel to all my readers who continue to  support and encourage me. Some days have not been so easy and your  constant outpouring of love really means a lot to me. Chad, Lynn, Kayla,  Simon, Jason M., Z., and so many more, you will never know how much I  appreciate your kindness.

To beta readers, whom I will refer to as "my pack." (Like in Teen Wolf,  ha ha.) Taryn, Will, Jeff, Beth, and Mandy, you guys rock!

To Poppy, thank you for believing in me.

And to that random bank guy, Josh, who unwittingly inspired an entire book simply by being adorable. Thank you!

Chapter 1: Same Job, New Location, And Starting My Life Over

"WHO'S THE hottie?" a female customer asked my colleague Jessica. She  "whispered" her question in a none too hushed voice, as if it wouldn't  be overheard four feet away in the adjacent teller cubicle. I kept my  back turned, pretending to tidy my work area, because I wasn't sure how  to respond. I didn't really know Jessica, since I'd only worked in this  branch of the bank for a week. I certainly didn't know the customer who  asked the question. I hadn't seen her in the bank before. I did,  however, know enough to understand I was the object of the question.

It wasn't the first time I'd been referred to as hot, although I wasn't  sure why. I didn't have the muscle I normally associated with hotties. I  guess I was okay looking, and I was kind of tall, but after people got  to know me, my looks never mattered. I was pedantic, persnickety, and on  some days positively puerile. But even though I knew myself pretty  well, that didn't mean I knew how to change. I guess I was a little too  much for most people. I had very few friends, and I rarely got asked out  twice by the same man. Actually, I couldn't remember ever being asked  out twice.

I almost threw a pity party for myself in my cubicle, but knocked over  my pens instead. When they went rolling everywhere, I stopped stewing  over being twenty-six and never-been-kissed. It was more rational to  think of my virginity as "saving myself," but truth be told, I was a  loser and no one had ever liked me enough to kiss me. I picked up my  pens, set them back in the container, and moved it to a different  location.

"That's Grant," Jessica answered her customer. "He transferred from another branch when it closed."

I made the mistake of glancing over and caught Jessica and the woman  staring at me. Was this what penguins felt like? No, they probably  didn't notice the humans staring through the glass as they swam at the  zoo. Monkeys were more intelligent. Maybe monkeys understood the  uneasiness associated with being gawked at. It wasn't merely the  staring, or the compliment she'd given me; my problem was in knowing the  remarks never stayed on the complimentary level. Once they got past my  dark blond hair and blue eyes, people eventually laughed at me for  something.

I turned away from Jessica and headed toward the restroom. Once I locked  the door, I took out my phone and texted my mother. I didn't live with  her-I wasn't completely pathetic-but we texted often.

How are you, Mom?

She texted back quickly, as usual. I'm fine, Grant, but you're supposed to be working. Stop texting me.

I'm on a five-minute break.

Stop ducking into the bathroom every time something stresses you out.

Nothing stressed me out.

Did you pee, or did you lock the door and take out your phone?

"Shit," I mumbled. I glanced at my reflection over the sink. "I am pathetic." I texted my reply: I peed.

Liar. Go back to work. You'll settle in fine. Talk to people, make friends, and then the new branch won't seem so scary.                       


But it took me a year to make friends with Laura, and then she moved  across the country and left me two months before they decided to close  my branch. I feel like my life is in turmoil.

Grant, go back to work. Talk to people. Talk to the ones you work with  AND the customers. Maybe one of them lives near you and will turn out to  be a good friend. You need friends. It isn't healthy to text your  mother for every little thing. I need to go. I have a massage in ten  minutes.

Fine. I'll try.

Good. You know I love you.

I love you too. Bye. Have fun.

She didn't text back. She probably thought I was ridiculous. I pocketed  my phone and washed my hands. I liked clean hands. I also enjoyed the  smell of the grapefruit-scented foaming hand soap. Sometimes I washed my  hands just so I could smell my fingers while I worked. People may have  thought I had an unusually itchy nose, but I only rubbed the tip of it  so I could smell the soap scent. I had a thing for smells. Or maybe I  had a thing for grapefruit. Either way, I washed my hands repeatedly at  work, and it wasn't always to get them clean. I had an antibacterial  pump in my cubical, but the alcohol scent made me sneeze. I should  probably look for grapefruit-scented antibacterial gel. Oooh.

When I got out of the bathroom, I returned to my cubicle to discover a  line had formed. Banking customers often came in waves. One minute I  could be straightening my deposit slips and reorganizing my ink pad and  teller stamp, and the next minute fifty people would show up in the  lobby at the same time. I put on a bright smile and called a woman over.

"Good morning," I said to the older lady.

"It's the afternoon," she replied gruffly.

I glanced at my computer screen. "Technically, it's morning until after noon."

She glared and shoved a check my way. "Cash this. I want it all in twenties."

I took the check and flipped it over. "Can you please sign the back, and may I see your driver's license?"

She snatched up a pen and proceeded to scribble her name. "My license is  in the car. Surely you can ask one of the other tellers to vouch for  me?"

"I could, but then how am I to learn your name for the next time?"

"By memorizing the name on the check," she huffed.

"Well, I'm new here, and it's procedure to ask for a driver's license  for all transactions. Even with customers I know, I'm supposed to write  the number on the check or at the very least double-check the name."

She ignored me and fussed at my coworker. "Jessica, can you tell this  boy who I am, please? I don't have time to follow his-" She paused.  "-procedures."

"You can cash Mrs. Caldwell's check, Grant. I know who she is," Jessica  said. She didn't seem smug or condescending, but I felt snubbed all the  same. I had protocol to follow, and my first customer of the day had  sidestepped it.

Rules were rules. Why have them if they could be shirked off  willy-nilly? I grinned and nodded politely, but I counted out the  twenties begrudgingly. "Will that be all, Mrs. Caldwell?"

"Yes, thank you." The terse woman put the wad of bills in an envelope  before I even had the chance to ask if she wanted one and then stormed  away.

The next person to walk up to my window made my breath hitch. I swallowed hard. "Ca-can I help you?"

The man grinned, but only with the left side of his mouth. "Yes. I'd  like to deposit this in the account at the bottom, and I'd like to  withdraw money from a different account. I've written down how I want it  back on this slip of paper." He slid a piece of paper to me across the  counter. His hands were soiled and greasy. I suddenly wanted to wash  mine.

"Oh, okay. I can do that. I'll just need to see-"

"My driver's license," he said, sliding it across the counter. He lifted the corner of his mouth again.

"Oh, thank you," I replied. I was slightly startled by his compliance,  and half-nervous over his grin. I took his license and wrote the number  on the business check for Carr's Automotive. Tristan Carr. "Is this your  company?" I asked.

"Yes. My father started the business, and I took it over before he died.  If you ever need an auto mechanic, I'm only fifteen minutes north of  here." He winked.