Frankie & Al #1
Dumped by his boyfriend, Frankie Mason goes out with the girls, gets totally trashed, and ends his night by falling in front of a taxi. He’s rescued by a man with beautiful green eyes who takes care of him until he’s put into an ambulance. Frankie curses himself as he realizes he doesn’t have the man’s phone number. Still in pain a few days later, he is dragged out to a club only to be saved by Green Eyes once more. This time, he isn’t letting the man go.
Unfortunately Frankie has to attend a team-building exercise, nicknamed Womb Weekend, organized by his company. Al is working so he doesn't mind, until he discovers who the team leader is. Al has a lot of explaining to do!
Ed & Marchant #2
A Novella in Frankie's Series
Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work.
Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him.
Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.
Anthony & Leo #3
Watching Marchant train his new sub leaves Tony unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. Running Marchant’s BDSM club, Tony sees who the Doms prefer and it isn’t him—too big, too old, and too hairy. When his friend Jordan suggests he look outside the club, Tony’s mind turns to Leo, a man he met in a traffic jam. Tony manages to arrange a date and happily learns Leo is funny, very toppy, and not averse to Tony's lifestyle. As a bonus, Leo sells sex toys.
When tragedy strikes the club, Tony fears he can’t help the mourning club members, but Leo offers his unwavering support. After such a tough start, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for... until he catches him kissing another man.
ONE OF the joys of working in a large insurance company was that Frankie had a Monday-to-Friday job processing new insurance policies. He waved good-bye at five o’clock Friday evening and didn’t have to think about work or his colleagues until eight thirty Monday morning.
Until the day Frankie opened the e-mail from Human Resources. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Charlotte looked over from her desk. “What?”
“They’re sending me on a team-building exercise.” He didn’t appreciate Charlotte’s chuckle. “Winning Ways? What the fuck is that?”
“You’ve been caught. They get us all in the end. You get to spend the weekend in a swanky hotel, building egg wombs and sucking up to managers. Don’t sweat it. You’ll enjoy it.”
“Don’t bank on it,” he muttered. “Wait, egg what?”
“Egg wombs. You know.” At Frankie’s frown, she said, “You have to drop the egg out of a window without it cracking, using only a plastic bag and a cup.”
“Is that what they really call it?”
She shrugged. “Who knows? That’s what you’ve got to do. And the sucking up to the managers. They give you the ‘We’re all equal here. Call me Jeff’ speech but you know they’re just spying on everything you do.”
It was Frankie’s recurring nightmare—to be stuck in a small room with his colleagues and not be able to get away. He got that five days a week but at the weekend as well? “Karma’s a bitch.”
“What have you done?”
“Do you want the list?”
“You’ve been that bad?”
“Probably worse,” he admitted.
She smirked at him. “Frankie’s been a bad, bad boy, and now he is going to get his bottom spanked?”
“I wouldn’t mind if it was that sort of weekend.” Frankie grinned as Charlotte’s cheeks crimsoned. “Gotcha!”
“You’re wicked,” she said. “My mother warned me about boys like you.”
“My mother warned me about boys like me too. They sounded much more fun than the good, church-going boys she wanted me to meet.”
She gave him an odd look. “She knew you were gay back then?”
He rolled his eyes. “Girl, look at me. Could anyone not realize I’m gay?”
“You have a point.”
Frankie’s mum said it was obvious he was gay from the moment he came out of the womb. According to her description, Frankie flounced out to the song on the radio. Frankie thought that being born to Kylie must have been prophetic. It could have been worse—he might have been born to Meat Loaf.
“When are you going on the exercise?”
Frankie scanned the e-mail. “Next month. They’ve got a dropout and they want me to fill in.”
“Can you go?”
Frankie shrugged. “It’s not like my calendar is full or anything.” It would give him something to do. Since Chaz had thrown him out, his social life consisted of clubbing with Jonno or staring at the walls in his tiny flat, eating ready meals he could ill afford and wishing he had Sky TV instead of Freeview. “It might be fun.”
She gave him a dubious look. “Your life really is boring at the moment, isn’t it?”
“You have no idea.”
“Why don’t you come out with me and the girls? We’re going to try that new club in town.”
“Uh, gay, remember?”
“Uh, gay club, remember?”
He frowned. “There’s a new gay club in town? In this dump of a town?”
“God, Frankie, you really are out of it. It opened a couple of weeks ago. It’s near Primark, over the slappers’ shop.”
“I didn’t know. Anyway, why’re you going to a gay club?”
“Ignorance is no excuse, and I’m going to a gay club because most of my mates are dykes and the rest of us are married. It suits us fine not to be hit on by sleazebags. Anyway, the booze is cheaper and the music’s better.”
“How did you end up with lesbians for friends?”
Charlotte grinned at him. “Some of us aren’t narrow-minded little pricks like some people I could mention.”
She did a dramatic head roll to their manager who sat not ten feet away, oblivious to their conversation. Ed Winters was a 1950s Tory poster boy. He disliked women, black people, anyone from the Indian subcontinent, curry, the French, the Irish, dogs, and particularly hom-o-sex-uals—he always enunciated the word as if a bad smell was under his nose.
Frankie grinned at her. Taking the piss out of Ed was one of the few joys in his life. “I’m on for the club. You say where and when.”
Maybe he needed a change from the scene with Jonno. Those clubs were hook-up sites, and much as he needed action, he needed fun. God, he really needed some fun.
“Done. Don’t worry. I’ll make sure the straight girls don’t treat you like their pet poodle for the evening.”
He shrugged. “They can be my bitches.”
“They’ll love it. Do you want to bring the leashes?”
“I worry about you sometimes.”
Charlotte tossed her hair. “You love it.”
“Mr. Mason, Ms. Tiller, is something wrong?” Winters peered over his frameless glasses to stare at them.
They shook their heads and smirked at each other when he scowled and turned away.
Frankie looked at the files on his desk, and the e-mail telling him he had to play nice for a weekend. Charlotte was one bright sparkle in a sea of beige and gray. He pecked disconsolately at the keyboard. “Okay, I’ve confirmed my attendance at the egg womb thing. Now you take me out.”
Charlotte looked up from her phone. “Friday? The girls can’t wait to meet you.”
Frankie nodded. “I’m all yours.”
“Ah baby, if only that were true.” Charlotte blew him a kiss and turned her attention back to her own work.
Hmmm, a new club, potential new meat. Frankie needed something new to wear. He might be short of cash, but he could work that budget. Frankie rocked at the vintage look.
THE FOUR girls whistled when they met Frankie outside Primark. He twirled for them, shimmying his arse for a show. He was wearing black: tight, tight black, the shirt displaying every asset he owned.
“Very nice, Frankie.” Charlotte kissed his cheek and slapped his denim-covered arse.
“Hey!” He rubbed his butt cheek and glared at her.
“It’s such a nice arse, sweetheart.” She slapped it again before hooking her arm through his and leading him to the club.
A petite redhead fell into position on his other side. “Hi, Frankie, I’m Joan.”
He grinned at her, awkwardly shaking her hand with his left as Charlotte had a death grip on his right. “Hey, Joan.”
“That’s Tina, Jane, and Lindsay,” she said, pointing at the others. “Jane’s my girlfriend, and Tina’s married to Lindsay’s brother.”
Joan and Jane? Frankie knew he’d never remember who was who, but he smiled at everyone.
“Julie and the gang are going to meet us in the club,” Charlotte said. “I hope you’ve got your dancing shoes on because we are going to par-ar-tay!”
She wiggled her behind, and the girls cheered her on. Frankie grinned, feeling lighter for the first time since he’d received the text from Chaz. There was no pressure to hook up or do anything except dance ’til his feet ached and his body craved a bacon sandwich.
“Did you say bacon sandwich?” Charlotte looked confused.
“Did I speak out loud?” At her nod, Frankie said, “Post clubbing I want a bacon butty.”
“I thought you preferred sausage,” Jane said, a wicked smirk on her face.
The girls cackled as he poked his tongue out. “Tonight bacon trumps sausage.”
“I’ll go with that,” Lindsay said. “Bacon sandwiches and cups of tea at Greasy Joe’s after the club.”
“The best bacon butties ever,” Joan said reverentially.
Frankie moaned just a little. This was going to be an awesome night.
QUEENS, DYKES, pretty gay boys—the new club was a real mixture. Frankie spotted one or two straight men looking like deer caught in headlights, but at the door the bouncers had been turning away large groups of straight girls and their boyfriends. He felt comfortable here; it was a place to have a good time rather than hook up. The club was heaving, and Frankie felt the sweat beading on his forehead within minutes of arriving. He didn’t care because almost as soon as they’d hit the dance floor the girls had him arms-up and grinding his hips to “Dancing Queen.” He really hoped they were going to get past the seventies classics. Still, the night was young.
The girls were up for everything, and they didn’t let Frankie leave the dance floor until he threatened to pass out from dehydration.
“Make sure you come back,” Charlotte said when he pleaded to be allowed to get a drink.
“Promise ya,” Frankie stumbled off to get a drink from the bar. Christ, he thought he had stamina, but the girls hadn’t stopped dancing the entire night and they were all wearing heels that could do serious damage.
The bar was packed and Frankie wasn’t tall. He waited in the scrum until it was his turn to be served and then beamed at the barman, who was short, blond, and really cute.
“Two bottles of water,” Frankie said.
The barman blinked. “Still or sparkling?”
Frankie admired the guy’s arse as he bent to get the bottles from the chiller. Cute and a nice butt! Not Frankie’s usual type, but never let it be said he wasn’t flexible… except for women—he wasn’t that flexible.
“I get off at three,” the barman said, obviously reading Frankie’s admiration.
Frankie licked his lips, pleased to see the barman’s eyes tracking the action. “See you then.”
“Mark, if you’ve finished flirting with the customers….” A woman dressed in the club’s uniform leaned across him to serve another customer.
“Yeah, sorry, Sarah.” Mark smiled at Frankie. “Later.”
Frankie nodded and backed away. Later sounded good enough for him.
He chugged back an entire bottle of water to slake his thirst, then followed up with half of the second.
“There you are,” Charlotte said. “I thought you’d escaped.”
Frankie smirked at her. “Cute barman.”
“’Bout my height, big eyes, probably blue, and a tight arse that’s waiting for me to plough it.”
Her eyes widened. “You top?”
“Don’t sound so surprised. It’s been known to happen.”
Charlotte plucked the water bottle out of his hand and downed the rest of it, ignoring his outraged “What the fuck?” When she’d finished, she wiped her mouth and looked at him. “Thought we were going for breakfast after the clubbing.”
Frankie leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek. “Babe, we’ll have breakfast.”
“Are you bringing him with us?”
Frankie shrugged. “We’ll see. Leave the details to me. Now let’s get back to the dancing.”
She whooped and dragged him back on the floor. The music changed to George Michael.
“Jesus, get in this century already,” Frankie yelled.
Jane shimmied against him. “He’s a classic.”
“That’s one way to describe him,” Frankie agreed. He could think of others.
MARK’S MOUTH tasted of mint as Frankie explored it, pressing Mark against the door so that he controlled the kiss. That was odd in itself. He was usually more than happy to be in Mark’s position, but this time… damn, the blond made him hot and horny.
Frankie had presented the problem to the barman during the evening. He wanted to fuck Mark, he wanted to have breakfast with his friends. Mark was welcome to be present at both.
Mark had taken a long time to reply, and Frankie was sure he was going to say no. Then he’d looked at Frankie. “My break’s in ten minutes. Maybe breakfast another time?”
So yeah, hot and horny and in a store cupboard. Frankie roamed under Mark’s shirt, pinching his nipples and making him groan loudly.
“I haven’t got long,” Mark said, but as he worried a hickey onto Frankie’s neck, he obviously wasn’t that bothered.
“Wanna fuck you,” Frankie said.
Frankie held up a foil packet.
Mark turned around and pushed his trousers around his thighs. Then he slapped his hands flat on the wall.
Okay, then. They were short of time, so Frankie didn’t waste a second, rolling on the condom and lubing Mark’s arsehole, grunting as it closed like a vice around his fingers. Damn, he was tight.
“Relax,” Frankie whispered in his ear.
“Trying.” Mark sounded strained.
Frankie wasn’t going to hurt the kid, and he took a few minutes gently preparing him until the blood supply was flowing to his fingers and Mark was panting, his head down between his shoulders.
Mark turned his head. “Get a move on.”
Sound advice that Frankie was happy to take. He lined up his cock and pressed in, still taking his time for Mark’s body to adjust. When Mark was obviously ready, Frankie pumped his hips several times, drawing a groan from him.
Frankie held on to Mark’s hips, changing position to peg his prostate, and grinned when Mark yelled. He set up a rhythm, thrusting hard enough that his balls slapped against Mark’s, and Mark was reduced to grunts and moans. As Frankie’s balls tightened, he leant against Mark’s body and wrapped his hand around his leaking cock. Three more thrusts and come shot over his fingers and splattered the floor. Frankie hammered into Mark’s arse, pulsing into the condom as he climaxed.
He could feel the sweat prickling his chest as he rested against Mark’s back.
“Fuck,” Mark said.
Frankie frowned and pulled back, slipping out of Mark’s body. The barman hissed at the movement. “You okay?” Frankie asked.
“Due back at work five minutes ago.” Mark pulled his trousers around his hips. “Boss’ll kill me. Gotta go.”
Before Frankie could decide if he was meant to apologize or even pull up his jeans, Mark was out of the door. Frankie stared after him, then pulled off the condom and headed for the gents.
Charlotte gave him a knowing look when he returned.
“What?” Frankie asked.
“Hooked up with your little barman?”
“Yeah. Then he ran back to work.”
“Aw, baby, no spark?”
Frankie shrugged. “I’ve had better. Dance with me, girl.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and dragged her onto the dance floor. The music was from a decade ago. At least they’d made it into the twenty-first century.
JANE STARED at Frankie openmouthed. “How can you shovel that much food into your mouth? Don’t answer that until you’ve chewed!”
“Frankie’s got a huge gob,” Charlotte said.
Frankie chewed obediently because Jane was scary. Charlotte he would have just sprayed with crumbs. “It’s a gift,” he said and took another huge mouthful.
“Ugh!” Jane pulled a face. “You like this man?”
Charlotte grinned at Frankie. “I love this man. He makes my day at work bearable.”
“Ditto.” Frankie loved her and her husband, David. “Otherwise I’d have to put up with Edward Shitbag all by myself.”
“You’d have killed him by now,” Charlotte said.
“Fucking right I would. That man deserves to be hanged by his own polyester tie.”
“He can’t be that bad,” Jane protested. She was cuddled next to Joan, quiet and sleepy. Tina and Lindsay had gone home after the club, protesting their exhaustion.
“This is the man that believes all lesbians haven’t been porked by the right man,” Frankie said.
“Kill the bastard painfully,” Jane said flatly.
He grinned at her.
Charlotte moaned as she put the last of her sandwich in her mouth.
“Good?” Frankie asked.
“The best. Breakfast at Greasy Joe’s in the morning with my favorite people. What could be better?”
“I’ll remind David you said that,” Joan said.
“Most of my favorite people.” Charlotte licked her fingers. “He is my soul mate.”
“Aw, isn’t that sickening.” Frankie pretended to gag.
“Just because you haven’t found your soul mate, you don’t have to knock mine.”
“You really believe in soul mates?”
“You don’t?” Joan asked.
Frankie looked at the couple, huddled as close as they could in public, and Charlotte, who adored her husband passionately. “Maybe for some people, sweetness, but not for me.”
“Because guys like me have fun and sex, not cuddles on the sofa and walks with the dog on the common. We don’t get the beige life.” Frankie had seen heteronormative life described in a book as “beige,” and he liked that description. So many of his straight friends seemed happy to settle for dull and boring.
“You don’t get it or don’t want it?” Jane asked.
None of the girls seemed offended by his rejection of their lives.
“I….” Frankie had to think for a moment. “I don’t want it.”
Charlotte nodded. “You never want to settle down?”
He shook his head. “Not me. I just want to have fun, you know?”
“I know, sweetie,” Charlotte patted his arm. “But at some point even that gets old and the sofa looks real comfortable.”
Frankie didn’t need reminding that he was too old to be a twink. He beamed at the girls. “I’m going home to get my beauty sleep. I’ll see you on Monday.”
“What are you doing this weekend?” Charlotte asked. “We’ve got a barbeque if you want to come.”
Frankie tried to think of a way of declining without saying he’d rather gouge his eyes out with a red-hot poker. A couple of hours in the company of happy couples and their brats were his idea of hell.
Charlotte burst out laughing. “Frankie, if you could see your face! Don’t worry, I won’t be upset if you stay at home and count your ingrowing hairs.”
“I don’t have any ingrowing hairs,” he said, thoroughly offended.
“Course you don’t. See you on Monday.”
Frankie kissed them on the cheek and headed for the door. Dawn had arrived with a pale pink-and-blue sky, and thankfully no rain. He decided to walk home, relaxed and full, and ready to sleep. At this time of the morning, he could cut off a few minutes by walking through the station concourse without negotiating hundreds of tourists.
He stepped off the curb, and after that, he wasn’t sure what happened except his world spun crazily out of control. He heard the sound of a car horn, and Frankie was thrown off his feet, only to land on the ground, an excruciating pain in his hip.
What the fuck?
“He just stepped out in front of me. You saw that, didn’t you? He didn’t look at all. He was probably after a score.”
Frankie opened his eyes and glared at the man standing over him. “Thanks for your concern, arsehole, but I’m not a druggie. Give me your phone number, address, and insurance details,” he said brusquely. At least, he aimed for brusque rather than weak and feeble.
The man sniffed and vanished out of sight. Frankie contemplated getting up. On the other hand, the ground was comfortable and he had nowhere to be.
“An ambulance is on its way. You have a habit of getting into trouble, don’t you?”
Frankie turned his head to deny the charge and was fixed by the most beautiful green eyes he had ever seen. “Take me home,” he said and was rewarded with a smile from the man.
“Huh, a faggot. Might have known.”
The driver was really getting on Frankie’s nerves. “Give me the details and then you can get lost.”
A hand squeezed Frankie’s, and Green Eyes said, “Give me the details. You can talk to the police and I’ll look after my boy here, before he gets into any more trouble.”
“Frankie,” Frankie said.
“My name’s Frankie.” Frankie gave a melting smile to the nice man with dark hair and gorgeous green eyes. Then he glared at the driver. “That’s Mr. Lawsuit to you.”
“Listen, you little—”
Green Eyes sighed. “How the hell did you manage to get to adulthood, Frankie? The ambulance is here, thank God.”
Frankie was really pleased because fuck knows the pain in his hip was hurting like a bitch, and no one seemed to give a shit about him, and his mum would wash his mouth out with soap and water if he kept swearing, and….
His brain shut off as Green Eyes kissed him.
“What the…?” he said faintly.
“You were talking again, Frankie. It seemed the best way to shut you up.”
Frankie was about to ask if he could do it again when they were interrupted by a woman wearing a green monstrosity. Seriously, couldn’t they find anyone to design better uniforms than this boiler suit?
“What’s happened here?” she asked perkily.
Oh great, a perky girl. Even her ponytail swung in a perky fashion. Frankie hated her on sight.
“Frankie got hit by the car. He’s been conscious all the time.”
The girl smiled at Frankie. “How are you feeling, Frankie?”
He rolled his eyes. “How do you think I feel? Like I’ve been hit by a fucking car.”
Her smile didn’t fade, but Green Eyes said, “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap if you don’t start being nice to the lady.”
“You could always spank my arse,” Frankie suggested hopefully.
“You’ll have to spank your boyfriend later,” the paramedic said. “We need to get him to hospital.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Green Eyes said. “I was on my way to meet my mum and I saw the incident.”
“Ah, sorry. I thought I saw you kissing him.”
“You did. It’s a remarkably good way of shutting him up.”
“It only works with hot men,” Frankie said hastily in case the paramedic got any ideas.
“Understood,” she said with a completely straight face and then ruined it by grinning at him. “Way to go to pick up a guy.”
She held out a hand for a high five. Frankie tried hard to respond, but the pain was making it difficult for him to move.
The paramedic frowned. “Where does it hurt, Frankie?”
“Everywhere.” Frankie swallowed back the rising nausea. “I feel like shit.”
She was all professional now, feeling down his body. “We’re going to get you to hospital now.”
Frankie tried to nod, but she stayed the action. “Just stay still and let us move you. We’re going to put a collar on you so don’t move.”
Green Eyes loomed over him. “I’ve got to meet my mum, Frankie, or I’m in trouble. I’ll leave you with the ladies.” He bent down and brushed Frankie’s mouth with his. “My mum is seriously ill, or there is nothing that would keep me from coming with you. I’ll see you again. This is the second time, and things like this always run in threes. Try not to drink so much next time.”
Frankie frowned. The second time? Next time? What the hell was he talking about? What was his telephone number? But he didn’t get a chance to ask as he was loaded into an ambulance. The doors closed on hot Green Eyes, and Frankie was left with Ms. Perky Green Boiler Suit.
Someone up there had a sick sense of humor.
Ed & Marchant #2
FROM THE isolation of his cubicle, Ed Winters watched over the top of his rimless glasses as two members of his staff twirled around the office, and his lip curled. “One day soon, Mr. Mason, you will get what you deserve.”
It was wishful thinking on Ed’s part. Frankie Mason was Teflon-coated. He could waltz in late, flirt with all the women, and screw up, but nothing touched him, and everyone worshipped the ground he walked on. Even the bitches in management thought Mason had golden balls. The bollocking Ed had received for snitching on Frankie still rankled bitterly.
Ed hated his job… and his staff, including Frankie Mason. Especially Frankie Mason.
Of course the feeling was returned in spades. Ed knew exactly what his staff at the insurance company thought of him. He had once heard Frankie describe him as a 1950s Tory poster boy who disliked “women, black people, anyone from the Indian subcontinent, curry, the French, the Irish, dogs—” and after that damning (and stunningly accurate) indictment, Frankie had minced across the room with a limp wrist, enunciating “—hom-o-sex-uals.”
Frankie was a screaming queer (his words) and didn’t give a flying fart what Ed Winters thought about him (also his words).
Ed despised him.
It’s not as if anything Frankie said was incorrect. Ed hated all those things and more. If anyone had asked him what he did like… well, no one asked him. No one talked to him at work unless they had to, which was exactly the way he preferred it, and he didn’t have any friends or family.
In Ed’s pristine ivory home, nothing and no one disturbed his peace. He could shut the door behind him, place his shoes neatly in the shoe rack, hang up his jacket, and forget about the idiots and lowlifes that infested his existence.
No one knocked at Ed’s door or called his phone. His flat was his castle, and there he found peace. His sanctuary soothed his soul. It kept him going through the eight-and-a-half hours of the miserable drudgery of work.
If he lived close enough, he would escape back home at lunchtime, but it was just too far away to make it feasible. Instead Ed ate his spinach salad and sparkling water at his desk every day, looking out the window to the park beyond and wishing he was there. Not in the park. The park was fine, but the other occupants—the screaming kids, filthy dogs leaving their shit over the paths, and shrill mothers—were the bane of his existence. But the park was on his route. A place of joy at five thirty in the evening and doom and despair at eight thirty in the morning as he approached the office.
Ed looked down at the files on his desk, and his lip curled. “How on earth did I end up here? I had plans.”
He’d planned to set the world on fire with his dancing. Instead he’d ended up in a dead-end job that drained his soul. Not just his job. His life. Ed refused to admit, even to himself, the soul-sucking loneliness of his existence.
Ed looked over at Frankie now engaging in an obscene tango with that slut, Charlotte, also a member of his team.
“You think you can dance?” he muttered. “I can dance. I could make you cry with my paso doble.”
But the world was never going to weep tears over his paso doble, and Ed was going to shuffle papers, hating his life until he died, bitter and alone.
Anthony & Leo #3
MARCHANT BELARUS sat in his customary place at the end of the bar in his BDSM club, sipping at his ice-cold Coke. He frowned as Tony spilled another drink across the polished wood. “What’s with you this evening? That’s the fourth drink you’ve spilt in the last half hour.”
Tony growled under his breath as he mopped up the mess and dropped the sopping cloth next to the others behind the bar.
“Stop growling and tell me the problem.”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Try me.” When Tony hesitated, Marchant said, “Let’s put it another way. Tell me, or I’m going to start charging you for all the wasted drinks.”
“I need a session with a Dom.” Tony felt ready to crawl out of his skin. He needed something—or someone—to steady him.
“That’s easy enough to arrange.”
Tony shook his head. “I don’t want another flogging.”
“What do you want?” Marchant asked.
“I’m lonely,” Tony finally admitted.
“You want a Dom of your own.”
“I know I should be grateful I can get flogged or spanked anytime I want, but it’s not enough.” It hadn’t been enough for a long, long time.
“I understand.” Marchant’s tone gentled as if he realized Tony’s issues couldn’t be cured by the simple lash of the leather.
“Do you?” Tony looked at him sadly. “You have Ed.”
“I’ve only just met Ed, and I’m older than you,” Marchant pointed out. “I waited a long time to find someone who suits me the way he does.”
“You think I’m being impatient.”
“I think you look around you and see all these young subs coming through the doors, and none of the Doms give you a second look because you’re just Tony, the man who pours their drinks and deals with their problems.”
“Are you trying to make me feel better?”
“Is it working?”
“No,” Tony said shortly.
After he’d taken another sip of his drink, Marchant said, “What else? Are you hacked off with me?”
It was still early and no customer in earshot, so Tony decided to be honest. “Yep.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Tony bit his lip. He liked working for Marchant, but the guy didn’t take fools gladly and staff had been sacked for dissing his subs, and Ed wasn’t just any sub, he was the one for Marchant, anyone could see that.
Evidently his feelings were written plain on his face because Marchant snorted. “Talk. I’m not going to take your head off.”
Tony considered his words carefully. “You’ve not been around recently.”
Marchant inclined his head. “I’ve been training Ed.”
“Not in the club.”
“He’s not ready for it.”
Tony knew Marchant was handling Ed with kid gloves and with good reason. It had been a long time since he’d seen anyone as vulnerable as his boss’s new submissive. “The club has missed you.”
Marchant sighed. “I hear you, Tony. You don’t need to say it. I’ve been neglecting the business.”
“You’re a great Dom and the best master Ed could have.”
“But a lousy boss.”
“You’ve been… distracted since he agreed to be your sub.” Tony didn’t want Marchant to think he was jealous of Ed, because he genuinely liked the fragile man, and he and Marchant had never been interested in each other.
“But I’ve got a business, and it’s not fair to expect you to run it.”
“Members have been missing you,” Tony said. “I’m only the barman and a house sub. They don’t see me in the way they see you.”
Marchant frowned. “Have the Doms been giving you trouble?”
“Not as such,” Tony lied. “Although you can tell they think I’m just a sub and I’ve got no real authority.”
“Perhaps we need to change that.”
“I may be built like a brick shithouse, Markie—Marchant—but I don’t think I can be a Dominant.”
“Call me that again during work hours, and I’ll put you over my knee.” Marchant’s tone was mild enough, but Tony knew he’d overstepped the line.
Marchant acknowledged his apology with a nod. “I’ll talk to Ed.”
“He’s your priority,” Tony said.
“I love Ed, and I want to train him, but my club is my life, and you are important to me too, Tony. I have invested too much time and trouble to lose you.”
“You need an assistant manager.”
Marchant hummed. “I’ve been thinking….”
“Heh. What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Do you want the job?”
“Call girl.” Marchant rolled his eyes. “You said no one treated you with authority. How about you have the title to go with all the responsibility I’ve heaped on your shoulders?”
Tony was about to respond when a Dom with a shock of red hair approached the bar, closely followed by a young sub.
“Two waters, please, Tony. Hey, Marchant. I thought you’d been abducted by aliens.”
Marchant sighed. “I haven’t been gone that long.” He glared as Tony opened his mouth. “Hush, you.”
“Yes, boss.” Tony gave him a mocking salute. He tipped ice into the glasses and poured the water.
Marchant studied the young man hiding behind Jordan. “I don’t know you. I’m Marchant Belarus. Welcome to my club.”
Tony looked at the sub as he shyly greeted Marchant. Slim, pretty, and typical of the subs Jordan and most of the Doms liked. He sighed inwardly.
“I’m going to make Tony the assistant manager of the club,” Marchant said to Jordan.
“’Bout time. He’s been doing the job for years. Mike, this is Tony. He knows everything and everyone here.”
“I guess he has,” Marchant agreed. “You don’t think the Doms will give him any trouble?”
Jordan looked between Marchant and Tony. “No more than usual. It might make things easier for him than it has been lately.”
Marchant sighed. “I really have taken my eyes off the ball, haven’t I?”
“You’ve had your hands full,” Jordan said, “but Tony’s man enough to deal with the idiots.”
Tony concentrated on stocking the water. Yeah, he was more than capable of dealing with a few overbearing Dominants, but no one ever thought he might like someone to deal with the idiots for him.
“Well, now we have an assistant manager, I’ll pass the word around,” Marchant said.
“I haven’t said yes,” Tony protested.
“But you’re not going to say no, are you?”
Jordan snorted. “I think we’ll leave you to discuss this. My boy and I have a date with a flogger.”
Tony watched the sub fall into place behind Jordan as they walked away, and something inside him ached fiercely for that kind of commitment.
“How long has it been?” Marchant’s question disturbed Tony’s attention.
“How long has it been since you submitted to anyone on more than a one-off basis?”
“Two years.” Tony thought about it. “Probably nearer three.”
“That’s too long.”
“What can I say? Doms aren’t looking for subs who could make mincemeat out of them. I’m too old, too big, and too hairy. I should be a bear, except I’m not.”
Nope. He was a little guy inside a big guy, waiting for someone to realize it.
“Not every Dom is looking for the same thing,” Marchant said. “Why the hell would I have taken on Ed?”
“Because you like a challenge?”
Marchant’s new sub was nearly forty and had spent his life being an obnoxious jerk to everyone. Tony was sure there was a whole other side to Ed, otherwise why would Marchant be bothering with him. The one thing Tony knew about his boss was that he didn’t like arseholes, and he insisted on well-mannered subs in his club.
Marchant snorted. “You got that right. Listen, we’ll talk tomorrow about the new job. In the meantime, if anyone gives you trouble, send them to me.”
“Yes, sir.” Tony saluted him again.
Tony grinned at him. It was good to have Marchant back, and hey, he’d got a promotion. “Do I get a pay rise along with the extra work?”
“Tomorrow. We’ll talk about that tomorrow. Now we need to concentrate on your love life.”
“I thought we’d just established I don’t have a love life.” Tony wanted to discuss extra pay, not the lack of a Dom in his life.
“You need to get off your arse, Tony. Master Right isn’t going to walk through that door, declare undying love for you, and whip you into subspace. That’s a dream for the newbies. You’ve got to get out into the real world and find that man.”
“You don’t find your Dom in the outside world,” Tony scoffed.
Marchant raised an eyebrow. “We have to eat and drink like everyone else.”
Tony remembered that Marchant had met Ed by tripping and throwing a large cup of Coke over him in a supermarket car park.
Marchant leaned forward and took the cloth out of Tony’s hand. He’d been wiping the same patch of bar over and over again. “Tony, you’re looking in the wrong place. Go and have some fun. Go to a gay bar. Hell, go to a straight bar. Just do something instead of moping in here.”
“When do I get the chance to go out? I work every weekend.”
“Where’s that card?”
“The man who gave you the card on the motorway.”
Tony had told Marchant about the blond guy on the M25. “In my car.” He’d not thrown it away even though he had no intention of phoning the man.
“Go and get it.”
“I’m working. The boss gets pissed if I slack off.”
“I’ll make your excuses. Now hurry the fuck up. It’ll be busy soon.”
Tony shook his head and made for the door, only doubling back when he realized he’d left his car keys under the bar. Marchant opened his mouth to shout at him, but Tony said, “Keys,” and he shut it again.
Tony shivered in the winter air as he jogged to the car. It took him seconds to find the business card. He’d shoved it in the glove compartment when he’d reached his parents’ house. As he walked back to the club, he turned the card over and over in his fingers.
He looked up to see Jordan smiling at him. “Hey. Where’s….” Tony struggled to remember Jordan’s new sub’s name. “Mike?”
“He’s talking to a couple of friends. I came out for a smoke. What are you doing?”
“To be honest, I’ve no idea. The boss wanted me to get a business card from my car.”
Tony hesitated a fraction too long, and Jordan arched an eyebrow, obviously expecting an answer. Tony was tempted to tell him to mind his own business, because Jordan was his mate, but in the club, he was an employee and Jordan was a client and expected Tony to treat him as such.
“Marchant thinks I need to get out into the world.”
“Find yourself a Dom, you mean.”
“Is it that obvious?” Tony asked bitterly.
“Only to those of us who watch you. We can all see you’re not happy.”
“Lonely and looking for the right Dom.”
Jordan guided Tony through the double doors of the club. “I know it’s not easy for you.”
“How the hell do you know that?”
“I see you look at each Dom who comes through the door.”
Tony pulled back in horror. “Are you all pitying me?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Is everything all right?”
Oh great, now Marchant was involved, a frown between his brows.
Jordan didn’t seem fazed. “Sorry, Marchant. I’ve stuck my nose in where it’s not wanted.”
Tony gritted his teeth. “Apparently everyone thinks I’m a fucking loser, boss.”
Marchant looked at the card in Tony’s fingers. “Don’t swear at me. Call him.”
“I don’t want to call him.”
“Call who?” Jordan asked.
“No one,” Tony said.
Marchant ignored Tony. “A bloke Tony met a few days ago. He gave Tony his card in case he was interested.”
“I’m not interested.”
Marchant and Jordan ignored him.
“A perfect distraction,” Jordan agreed.
“But I’m not interested in him.” It was true—kind of.
“You said he was pretty and had a great arse,” Marchant pointed out.
“But he’s not a Dom.”
Jordan looked at him seriously. “Not everything is about BDSM, Tony. Sometimes a hookup is just about having fun.”
“He’s right,” Marchant agreed.
Tony suppressed a growl. “You’re both involved with your subs.”
“Yeah, but I’ve had plenty of outside hookups. Variety makes for an interesting Tony.” Marchant plucked the card out of Tony’s fingers. “Go and have some fun with—” He looked at the card. “—Leo Markus.”
“I’m not calling him.”
“Give me your phone.” Jordan held out his hand.
Tony cursed himself for handing it over meekly. Marchant gave Jordan the card, and before Tony knew what he was doing, he was listening to the ringtone and praying Leo wouldn’t answer.
“Hello? Who’s this?”
“H-hi,” Tony stammered. “My name is Tony. You gave me your card.” He was acutely conscious of Jordan and Marchant watching him, so he walked away from the peanut gallery.
“I don’t remember… oh! The hot guy on the M25. I wondered who was calling me at this time of night.”
Tony flushed. “I don’t know about the hot guy, but yeah, the M25.”
“I’d given up hope you were going to call me.”
“No worries. Now you have, what can I do for you?”
Tony looked at Jordan and Marchant in panic. Jordan rolled his eyes, but Marchant said, “Invite him out for a beer.”
“Beer?” Tony managed.
“Cool. Are you free tomorrow night?”
“I’m working tomorrow—”
“No, you’re not,” Marchant said.
“I get the feeling you’re not on your own,” Leo said, but Tony was relieved to hear he sounded amused rather than pissed off.
“My boss,” Tony said. “He says tomorrow is fine.”
“I like your boss already. Where do you live?”
“Sutton. But I’ll be in Wimbledon tomorrow.”
“Even better. I’ve got a meeting near Wimbledon at five o’clock. See you at the Wetherspoon’s at seven. Is that okay?”
“See you then.” Tony put his phone away and scowled at Marchant and Jordan. “Happy now?”
“See,” Jordan said. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
Tony stalked past them and relieved the sub who’d taken his place behind the bar. He was all kinds of pissed off at this interference in his life, but even more annoyed that he’d let it happen.
Marchant slid into his usual seat at the bar. “I know you’re pissed off with us.”
Tony served a sub and took the ten-pound note. He handed over the change before he spoke again. “Why did you do that to me? It was humiliating.”
Marchant sighed. “Working here can skew your thinking. It’s easy to think your whole life has to be about kink.”
“Yours is,” Tony snapped.
Marchant shook his head. “My life is about Ed, not kink. I want to make him happy. I also have a club to run. You’ve worked for me for five years, and this is the first time I’ve seen you so unhappy. Look, go on the date, maybe get laid, and enjoy yourself.”
“It’s not what I want,” Tony said miserably.
“I know, but unless you try something different, you might not find what you really need.”
To Tony’s relief, a couple of Doms wandered over to chat to Marchant and the lecture was over. Tony dug the card out of his pocket and placed it on the bar. He didn’t have to keep the date.
“If you even think of cancelling, I’ll smack your arse so hard, you won’t sit down for a week,” Jordan said.
“That’s not really a threat,” Tony pointed out.
“I guess not.” Jordan grinned at him. “Go on the fucking date. What have you got to lose?”
“My dignity. Oh, wait, I already lost that.”
“Tony, I hate to burst your bubble, but you’re not some dewy-eyed virgin. I’ve seen you being lashed and fucked against the cross, and you weren’t protesting about your dignity then. Go on the date, and we’ll arrange a session. Mike’s been desperate to see you in action ever since he met you.”
Tony looked at him skeptically. “Mike? Your Mike?”
“Yep. The kid who looks like a puff of wind would blow him away. Turns out he’s got a thing for big bears.”
“What’s he doing with you, then?”
Jordan shrugged. “He needed a sir, and I was there.”
Tony frowned. “That doesn’t sound like you.”
“It doesn’t have to be. We’re both young and learning. Anyway, go on the date tomorrow.”
“Do I have a choice?” Tony asked sourly.
“No.” Jordan beamed at him and wandered away.
Tony grimaced and shoved the card back in his pocket. He’d go because Leo seemed like a good guy and Tony really needed a night out. Then he’d demand his flogging, and they could leave him the fuck alone.
Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn't following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot and has got expert at ignoring the orders.
Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she's made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.
Frankie & Al #1
Ed & Marchant #2
Anthony & Leo #3