This is from “Camping for Three” by Cassidy Browning, part of the Hot Summer Nights anthology that should be out (drum roll, please) later this week! Watch for it on Amazon!
“Okay, you finish this while I run get the surprise for her.” Josh waved toward the pot of beef stroganoff cooking over the small fire in front of the tent they had pitched earlier in the evening.
Danny looked hesitant. “Do you really think it will work this time?”
Josh stared at his long-time friend in concern. Danny had always been the one with the plan, the brains behind their schemes. He was a confident, take-charge kind of guy, which was part of why they got along so well. Josh knew he was a great second in command, as long as someone else made the tough choices and told him just what needed to be done. He and Danny had always made a great team that way. That was why it was frustrating that they couldn’t get Tracy to see that the three of them could work. No matter how much they flirted with her, complimented her, tried to talk to her about dating them, she always turned a deaf ear. The constant rejection over the years had taken its toll on Danny and he’d started believing that Tracy just wasn’t interested in him, or in them. After trying every way Josh could think of to bring them all together, he knew this was his last chance to show both of the people he cared about that they should take their friendship to the next level and all become lovers.
He clapped Danny on the shoulder. “Of course it’ll work. How can it not? We have a nice dinner, a romantic setting and a plan that just can’t fail. Trust me, buddy.” Hoping he sounded more confident than he felt, Josh trotted out of camp on his errand.
He returned fifteen minutes later carrying the bottle of chilled wine that he had just retrieved from the ice-cold stream above the falls. Glancing quickly around, he saw that Danny was dishing the meal onto plates and handing one to Tracy. Josh ducked into the tent before she could see what he was carrying and called out, “Go ahead and start. I’ll be right there with the drinks.”
“Okay,” the other two chorused.
Quickly Josh went to his pack for the plastic wine glasses he had stowed away. Fortunately they had stayed unbroken through the hike. He chuckled as he tucked them under one arm and the wine and corkscrew under the other. Stepping back out of the tent, he sauntered over to where his friends were sitting on logs pulled up around the fire balancing plates on their knees and waiting for him. He handed out the glasses and then popped the cork on the bottle with a flourish. “A little wine, princess?”