coming January 2015 from Dreamspinner Press
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Copyright 2013-4 EM Lynley. Please do not share or repost without author’s permission.
After dinner, the boys filed back out of the dining room, waving and blowing kisses. Remy had only given a shy smile when he slid off Brice’s lap and followed the others to the door. Brice didn’t want him to go, but he needed a break from the unbearable heat and desire zinging between them.
No one stopped to collect their discarded costumes.
“Would anyone like a nightcap?” Thomas asked as the men sipped at their after-dinner drinks.
Brice didn’t need any more alcohol. A few men nodded, and Thomas bent for a whispered conversation with each one. Watkins gave Brice a thumbs-up signal, and he responded with a shrug. He’d nurse this cognac until he could make a move that wouldn’t insult Watkins. Thomas, however, didn’t seem to be serving any of whatever the men had ordered. Finally, he came to hover at Brice’s shoulder.
“I’m fine. Nothing more to drink for me.”
“Mr. Watkins has already arranged your nightcap with Remy. Anything else is between you and the boy, but the room is yours until 10 a.m.”
“What?” Brice realized he’d spoken loudly when several others turned toward him.
Thomas leaned so his mouth was an inch from Brice’s ear. “A nightcap here means spending the night with one of the boys—as long as it’s mutually agreed upon. We provide the room and no questions asked.”
“But I—” Brice stopped as he noticed Watkins looking at him. Apparently, he better accept the offer and then figure out what to do with Remy later. The whole situation was uncomfortable. What had he been thinking coming here with Watkins? He liked to keep his private life private. Was this preferable to being dragged to a strip club with women dancers and being expected to ogle and jeer and make derogatory comments? It was more honest, but Brice still felt like he was exploiting the boy who’d served him, no matter how turned on Remy was or how hot he got Brice.
But Remy had agreed to spend the night with Brice. Maybe the boy was a lot less innocent than he appeared.
“How would you like him? Please point to your preference.” Thomas opened a menu—Brice was getting used to these tonight—with options: dressed, undressed, hard, prepped, in bed.
Fuck. Not very subtle, was this process? He pointed to “dressed.” Thomas nodded and straightened up.
Thomas left the room, and two of the guests followed him. When he returned he placed a key in front of each of the remaining men. Brice received a key marked only with the numeral 4. It was an old brass skeleton key, gleaming on the table, with the numeral painted in gold on a leather tag.
“In order, please, gentlemen,” Thomas said from the doorway. The man who presumably held key number 1 stood, and Thomas escorted him from the room.
“You got yourself a shy one there, Brice. But cute and one hell of a boner.” Watkins’ voice boomed through the quiet room. “You know, I just assumed you’d want him. Did you want one of the others? Or two?”
One of the other men joined in with Watkins’ laughter.
“No. He’s fine. Perfect.” Brice smiled and acted like he was used to ordering boys for the night the same way he ordered a pizza.
Watkins left the room next, and then a third man followed. Brice was the last to leave.
“Third floor, sir.” Thomas pointed to an old-fashioned elevator with a black wrought-iron grill. He opened the door and ushered Brice in, then closed it. The elevator rose slowly through the floors, and at the top Brice had to unlatch and open the door, then close it behind him. The key felt heavy in his hand as he made his way to Room 4. He stood outside the door for a moment, planning what he’d say when he entered. He imagined the other men opening the door to hard, naked boys, lubed up and ready to go, or whatever they’d ordered off the nightcap menu.
He took a deep breath and opened the door. The room was dim, lit by low lamps giving off a warm glow with the ambiance of a Victorian brothel, if his impression of a brothel were accurate. He noticed a leather armchair—big enough for two, just like the dining benches—a couch, and a four-poster bed. A door off the left led to a bathroom. Brice took in the furnishings as he scanned the room and came to rest on Remy, leaning against a polished wood dresser. The boy was fully dressed in a pair of jeans and a dark blue long-sleeved T-shirt. At his feet sat a blue-and-yellow gym bag with the familiar “Cal” logo and the image of a bear—the UC Berkeley mascot.
“Hi, Mr. Green.” Remy’s mouth curved in a half-smile, but he didn’t meet Brice’s gaze. In fact, he looked as uncomfortable as Brice felt. Brice went and sat on the couch, a frilly Victorian number. Remy moved away from the dresser and sat next to him. It was more of a love seat, and their thighs pressed together. Here they were, alone in a room, both fully dressed, when half an hour earlier Remy had been naked and aroused as he perched on Brice’s lap, feeding him morsels of beef and delicious tiny squares of cheesecake.
Brice shifted as he felt his own arousal begin again. He did not want to be attracted to this man. He didn’t want to use another person this way. He’d never paid for sex in his life, and he wasn’t about to start. He noticed Remy glancing at his crotch, and he shifted his weight again.
“Remy, I have to be honest. I don’t want to sleep with you.”
Remy glanced at the telltale bulge again before returning his gaze to Brice’s face. “You don’t?” The tone sounded as if he were insulted. Could he possibly be disappointed? Then it dawned on Brice.
“I’ll pay whatever you’d make if I did. I just won’t pay you for sex. I won’t do that.”
“You won’t pay for sex, but you’ll pay me not to have sex?” Remy stared, eyes wide.
“Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?” Brice laughed, and Remy joined in.
“Then what are you doing here?”
“I’m here because of my coworker. I’m new to the firm, and he thought it would be a treat to take me here. But it’s just not my kind of place. He ordered you and the nightcap, and I can’t just be seen to refuse.”
“You’re not into guys?”
Brice laughed again. “I am into guys. I’m just not into putting my private life on display.”
“So you want your coworker to think you fucked me? That’s better than just telling him you’re not into this kind of thing?”
Brice shook his head. “Yeah, you’re right. It’s ridiculous. I should tell him the truth.”
“That you’re not into this?”
“Right. Just tell me what I owe you, then you can go home.”
“They have rules here about nightcaps. Since I’m new I don’t know what happens if you break them. But I can’t take your money. They pay me in the morning when I leave. Just for the night. Less if you only stay part of the night.”
Remy shook his head.
“So, if you leave early or leave before I do, then you don’t get paid?”
“I don’t think so. Like I said, I’m new, but that’s how Thomas explained it to me.”
“Then I can stay the night. I’ll sleep on the couch. You take the bed.”
Remy glanced down at the frilly love seat. “No, I can’t take the bed. I’ll sleep here. Can I use the bathroom first?”
Remy took his bag and walked into the bathroom, flipped on the light, and shut the door. Brice noticed the bathroom had modern fixtures, even if the color scheme echoed the bedroom. He listened to running water, and a few minutes later, Remy came out wearing heather gray boxer briefs and smelling of toothpaste. The hair framing his face was damp. He sat on the sofa next to Brice, and Brice hoisted himself up and went into the bathroom.
It was clean, with a Jacuzzi tub and a large separate shower stall, everything in elegant dark green and brown tones. Big fluffy red towels hung on racks. The modern room broke the old-fashioned image set by the dining room and the bedroom, but Brice could see the attraction to the large tub and imagined what the other couples might be doing in the shower at that very moment. He washed up at the sink, then brushed his teeth. The Dinner Club provided toothbrushes—still in the package—and a variety of soaps and creams. Everything was top quality from Armani.
Should he disrobe in here the way Remy had? He wanted to hang his suit up, so it made more sense to undress in the room by the armoire. He opened the door and walked out. Remy silently watched as Brice removed his jacket and hung it up, then did the same with his trousers. He unbuttoned the shirt and added it to the armoire before turning back toward Remy, who still sat on the love seat.
“I’ll take that, Remy. You take the bed.”
“I don’t feel right letting you sleep here. You’re the gentleman.” He grinned at the term and so did Brice. “I should be helping you hang your clothes up, too. I’m sorry.”
“I only expected you to serve me dinner, and to be honest you went far beyond anything I expected.” Brice glanced away. It was awkward discussing this now, especially after they’d been so much more intimate earlier in the evening, each aware of the other’s arousal. Had he met Remy in a different place and time, he’d gladly have spent the night with him and not in separate beds.
“I liked serving you. Really.” It was Remy’s turn to look uncomfortable and break his glance away. “I wasn’t sure what to expect from this job. But it was fun. Serving you was fun. Thanks.”
Remy blinked, his long lashes brushing his cheeks. Brice stood in his briefs, staring at him. The room was cool, and Remy’s nipples stood up darker than they’d seemed earlier and no longer sparkly. “No glitter now?” The words were out before Brice could stop himself.
Remy ran a hand across his chest, fingers brushing one nipple and making it stiffen further. He gave a shy grin again. “It’s this special food coloring for making cake icing. Would you believe that? The guys paint themselves in all sorts of places. And it’s all edible.” Remy chuckled.
Brice licked his lower lip, trying not to think of how it would have tasted to lick the sweet glitter from Remy’s pretty pink nipples. He’d wanted to. But not in front of five other men. Even now he imagined how they’d feel plump and hard in his mouth, and he felt warmth and heaviness at his crotch. Remy’s gaze moved lower, and Brice recalled he was wearing boxer briefs that revealed his thoughts and urges. He’d better stop these thoughts or he’d wish he felt differently about the decision he’d made regarding Remy.
“I’m glad you didn’t expect anything from me,” Remy said. “I saw what the other boys did in the dining room, and what they said in the dressing room. They have lots of options on their menus, but I don’t think it’s the right thing for me. I never understood why guys would pay for sex when they know the other person is only saying and doing those things for money.”
“Yeah. I know.” Brice shook his head, moved toward the bed, then got under the covers before his ache turned to a full hard-on. Why the hell was he suddenly so much more attracted to Remy? But the truth was he’d been attracted to him the whole evening, and he kind of hated himself for falling under the spell of this place and this boy. It went against so many things he’d believed about himself, but maybe underneath he was just like those men who paid pretty boys or girls to treat them nicely.
Remy stretched out and dangled his legs over one arm of the love seat, settling his head against one of the cushions. The thing was too short for him and he’d probably wake with a sore neck and aching back. If the poor guy even fell asleep in the first place.
“Look, Remy, this bed’s huge. There’s room for both of us. I promise to keep my hands to myself.” Brice shifted over to one side of the bed and patted the other.
“Well, if you’re sure.” Remy didn’t make a move yet, as if weighing the options. “Okay. Thanks.” He got up and moved toward the bed. Even in the low light, Brice could see the outline of his cock against the thin cotton of his shorts. Remy lifted the comforter and slid under, then turned so he faced away from Brice.
This was going to be one hell of a long night, Brice realized.
Jeremy slid into bed and turned away from Mr. Green—hell, he still didn’t know the man’s real name. Was that part of the rules, too? He hid his disappointment Green wasn’t more attracted to him. He wasn’t sure he wanted to let Green fuck him or suck him or get him off or get himself off, but maybe Jeremy’s pride was a little wounded. He’d wanted Green to at least ask him for something, tell him how hot Jeremy was and how he made Green crazy and please? But instead, Green seemed like a nice, honest guy. On the other hand, Jeremy was in bed with him. And Green had the makings of another nice hard-on when he’d gotten undressed and headed for bed.
Jeremy would be happy to fuck or be fucked by Mr. Green. For free. If they’d met in a club or a bar, he’d pass all of Jeremy’s tests for a casual fuck mate. All the activity at dinner had Jeremy far more turned on than he’d ever expected to be. He liked sitting on Green’s lap and feeding him. He liked watching the boys playing and sucking each other off, and he even wished he’d been brave enough to let Green know it was okay to play with him during the meal. And now, Jeremy had just agreed to spend the night with Green, hands off, despite the fact that Mr. Green was apparently as attracted to Jeremy as Jeremy was to him.
Well, it was a long night, and maybe somewhere in the middle, they’d both come to their senses and give in to the urges they both pretended to ignore.
At some point during the night, at least part of Jeremy’s wish came true. He woke up to discover he’d rolled over and was pressed tightly against Mr. Green’s back, enjoying the contours of Mr. Green’s shapely, firm ass.
“Uh, sorry,” Jeremy whispered and pulled away. He needed to pee and moved carefully toward the bathroom in the near darkness. He hoped Green hadn’t woken. When he got back to bed, he discovered he was wrong. Green was lying on his side, eyes open and glinting.
“It’s cold without you,” Green whispered. Jeremy felt a little warmer at the words and slid in under the quilt.
Green moved close and took Jeremy into his arms. He’d taken his shorts off, so his erection pressed against Jeremy’s hip and he radiated body heat.. They were skin to skin above the waist, so Jeremy slid his own shorts off. Nothing in between them now but the self-control they’d both ignored.
Jeremy rolled onto his back, and Green lay on top, mouth quickly finding a nipple even in the near dark.
A loud pleasurable groan escaped from Jeremy’s lips, and Green sucked harder. Jeremy was rock-hard now. He bucked up against Green’s firm muscles and soon felt a strong, but gentle, hand wrap around his cock.
“Is this okay?” Green said, lips slippery against Jeremy’s chest.
“You have to ask?” Jeremy panted the reply.
“I need to ask. Is that a yes?”
The man must be a lawyer, Jeremy thought with the last shred of clear thought. “God, yes.”
Mr. Green slid down and tongued Jeremy’s cock into complete submission. Finally, he took Jeremy deep into his mouth. The heat and pressure was too good. It didn’t take long before Jeremy lost control.
“Merry Christmas,” he said as he came down Mr. Green’s throat.
Jeremy left just after 8:00 a.m., in line with the morning rule—stay past eight and the gentleman paid the room charge. He wanted to leave before Green woke up again. Why hadn’t he asked his real name? Of course, real names were against another of the strict rules. The gentlemen stayed anonymous for many reasons. Some weren’t out, some were married, others might be embarrassed if their Dinner Club activities were discovered. And the club had the practical purpose of keeping the boys from meeting the gentlemen elsewhere, thus depriving the club of its reason to exist. They thrived on repeat customers who wanted to see their favorite boy, or so it seemed from what Jeremy had heard from the others in the short time he’d been at the house.
He took BART across the San Francisco Bay to Berkeley, then cycled home from the station and tossed his bag into his room once he got into the apartment. He lay on his bed staring up at the ceiling trying to process the night before. He needed to get to the Life Sciences Building and check on some lab work that would finish around eleven, but he was in no hurry. He was reluctant to wash away his memories of the night with Mr. Green. He wanted to keep Green’s scent close, think about how his body had felt against Jeremy’s. His hands and mouth—God, that mouth!—on Jeremy’s body…. No, he had to stop thinking about this. Too late. His cock thickened and tension hummed through his body, the familiar ache tightening his balls and quickening his breath.
Why not? He slid one hand into his jeans and grasped his cock, imagining Mr. Green’s hands on him, Green’s mouth sucking at a nipple. The ache grew, and Jeremy slid his pants and shorts down, not bothering to remove shoes or socks. He started with long smooth slow strokes, eyes closed to heighten the fantasy of Green pleasuring him. He heard himself groan, quickened his strokes, and let go as the first wave of pleasure shook him. He shot thick spurts onto his torso and gave in to the overwhelming sensation of physical bliss.
Afterward he lay panting, remembering fantasies weren’t really bliss, just a quick respite from the reality of his lonely life.
Serving Mr. Green had been another pleasant detour. He’d enjoyed taking care of his gentleman, knowing he got the man so worked up and surprised by his own arousal in the overtly sexualized environment of the Dinner Club. He’d gone only for the chance to earn some money, expecting the worst, assuming he’d feel used and degraded in the process. But Kit and the others had clearly had a good time, enjoyed getting each other off for their own pleasure as much as for the amusement of the gentlemen. Was there really anything wrong with it, if everyone consented every step of the way?
Even the nightcap had been no pressure. Jeremy had wanted to do far more than he’d originally agreed to, and it had been awkward. But what was wrong with any of it?
Jeremy decided then and there if Thomas would have him back, he’d work again at the Dinner Club. And he’d loosen up and have some fun. Not all the gentlemen had been as handsome as Mr. Green, but Green had said he wanted to come back too. A win-win, right?
Jeremy spent another twenty minutes fantasizing about having Mr. Green’s hands on him at the dinner table and letting the other boys watch Jeremy’s gentleman ordering from the menu. God, how ridiculous their code phrases were, but Jeremy wanted to be on Mr. Green’s menu and wanted to perform whatever the man might ask.
Let’s just hope he asks.
Later that day Thomas called to let Jeremy know he’d performed well enough to become a regular. He needed to let Thomas know his availability. Which days could he work, and how many nights a week did he want? Jeremy agreed to one night a week and told Thomas which days were best and how far in advance he needed to schedule around his academic commitments. Now all he had to do was wait.
Brice woke up alone in the room. Sunlight flickered through the edges of the heavy drapes, but there was a chill anyway. Remy’s pillow bore an indentation, but it was cold. He’d gotten up and left long ago. He glanced toward the bathroom, but it was wishful thinking. Remy was gone. His sports bag wasn’t in front of the armoire, where it had been the night before.
Brice checked the clock on the night table—an old-fashioned one with a second hand that clicked its way around the face. It was after 9:00 a.m. Remy only had to stay till eight to get his payment. Was the money all he cared about? Despite both their comments to the contrary, Brice thought they’d connected on more than just a physical level, though the physical had been satisfying. He sat up in bed, craving coffee. It was Saturday, and he wouldn’t need to go into the office. He’d just check e-mail. Reluctantly he crawled out of bed, visited the bathroom, and grabbed his phone out of his jacket pocket as he made his way back to the bed.
He sat there for a few moments, then crossed the room to the armoire and began dressing. He checked his reflection to make sure he looked presentable and then slipped into the hallway. The elevator was on his floor already, and he rode it down slowly, then got out at the ground floor. He didn’t know if he was supposed to check out. He left the key on a table near the door, then slipped out of the Dinner Club and into the bright, clear sunshine of a San Francisco autumn morning.
He’d taken a cab with Watkins the night before, and he walked toward the next main street—Mission—stopping along the way at a tiny grocery store for their largest cup of coffee. The Starbucks across the street would be packed, and he didn’t fancy standing in line wearing yesterday’s suit, his dress shirt unbuttoned, and his tie rolled up in a pocket. He didn’t like announcing he hadn’t been home the night before. Coffee in hand—and after ignoring the judgmental stare of the turbaned man behind the counter—he hailed a cab and headed for home.
By Monday Brice realized he couldn’t get the thought of Remy out of his brain. He found himself far too obsessed with the young man. Ten times during the weekend he’d considered calling the Dinner Club for another reservation, and ten times he stopped himself. Thankfully, the number was unlisted, or he might not have had the necessary willpower. He certainly couldn’t call Watkins on the weekend to ask for the number. He’d never live it down.
Brice had been in his office less than an hour Monday morning when Watkins slipped in, carrying a large Starbucks cup with half a dozen instructions penned on one side. Figured this guy would be high maintenance, even when it came to his coffee.
“So, Martin, how’d you like the club?” Watkins oozed into one of the leather chairs opposite Brice’s desk, wearing an improper sneer.
Brice had steeled himself for this conversation. He smiled and nodded, hoping he looked knowing and suitably debauched from the activities. It wasn’t how he felt, but he had to keep up appearances.
“Loved it. Thanks for taking me.”
“Loved it? That’s all you’re gonna say?” Watkins leaned forward, one hand on the edge of Brice’s desk.
“Well, you’ll need to loosen up a little next time. Maybe we can….” Watkins’ voice trailed off as he must have realized Brice wasn’t into anything involving the pronoun “we” and naked serving boys. Watkins nodded and grinned again. “Kit’s a pistol. Took me most of Saturday and part of Sunday to catch up on my sleep.”
“I think he’d be a little too much for me.” Brice made sure to sound like he envied Watkins’ sexual prowess and might save the knowledge for future use.
“That Remy, he’s nice and fresh. Kind of like the boy-next-door quarterback of the high school team. Nice change from the pretty boys. Should I give him a run next time?” Watkins paused but not long enough for Brice to answer. “I usually like ’em squirming a little more in my lap, you know? Like to get a real feel for a boy during dinner. Remy’s new and maybe he’s a little shy—or maybe he’s just uptight—otherwise you two could have had some real fun at dinner and treated the rest of us to a little show. Well, he won’t last long if he’s a prude. Thomas likes the boys to be a little more active during the meal service. But maybe he saves his energy for the nightcaps.” Watkins gave Brice another lecherous grin.
Brice felt a heaviness in his chest. He hated the thought of Watkins with Remy. At least based on what Brice thought Remy was really like. Maybe the guy had only acted shy for Brice’s benefit, and the following night he’d gone down on every other boy in the room? The idea of Remy sucking off the other boys both repulsed and slightly aroused Brice, and he felt a little sick over his reaction. Whatever Remy was really like, Brice wouldn’t wish a night with Watkins on him.
A low buzz sounded, and Watkins grabbed his chest pocket, then pulled out a cell phone. He glanced at the screen and replaced it without answering. “Gotta run. Need to get some signatures on a contract. I’ll be back later to have you check that everything’s A-OK on the paperwork. What time you here till?”
“Till at least five. Buzz me when you’re on the way back if you’ll be later.”
“Gotcha!” Watkins rose and gave Brice a salute and a conspiratorial leer before heading out of the office.
He’d left his ginormous coffee on Brice’s desk, and Brice waited a few minutes to see if Watkins would return. When he didn’t, Brice dumped the contents out in the kitchen sink and tossed the cup in the compost bin.
The rest of Monday and most of the week passed without incident. Unless one counted that Brice wanted to see Remy again so badly he was ready to get the number of the club from Watkins. He managed to make it through Friday night by heading to a favorite bar just off Castro with some friends and getting drunker than he usually did. He stuck to beer to minimize the aftereffects the following day, then went for a long run in Golden Gate Park on Saturday morning.
By Sunday night he fell into bed exhausted, and he thought he was over the pull of the Dinner Club. As much as he would like to see Remy, he hated he had to do so through the repressive system of paying for favors. He didn’t want Remy to feel exploited, and as long as they interacted at the club, Brice would never know for sure whether Remy was with him for money or because he actually liked spending time with Brice.
Brice’s well-laid plans and hard-won victory over his baser desires blew up in his face Monday morning. Ron Templeton, an old college friend and now Brice’s boss at the venture capital investment firm of Christie, Parker, and Lane, rolled into his office, not bothering to knock on the half-shut door, and deposited himself in the same chair Watkins had used a week earlier.
“Hope you’re not busy tomorrow night. And if you are, cancel your plans.”
“Got an investor who’s looking to plant about fifty mil. I need your help to land him.”
“What can I do?”
“Cathcart runs a private equity fund in Missouri, and he’s pretty excited about visiting San Fran again. We lost out to Valley Ventures last time he was looking to invest. I need you to take him around and show him a good time.”
Brice sat back in his chair. This was Ron’s code that the prospect was gay, most likely closeted back in his red-state home life, and wanted to blow off more than steam while he was in town. The added implication was that if Brice showed him the right kind of fun, he’d toss them fifty million to invest.
“Cathcart? Did I sit in on meeting with him a while back?”
Ron nodded, a smile just starting to play around the edges of his mouth.
“So, what did you have in mind?” Brice asked, dreading the answer.
“Somehow he heard about the Dinner Club. Can’t wait to go. Make some reservations for tomorrow night, and you’ve got Wednesday off. Let him do or have whatever he wants. Money is no object here.”
Brice shook his head. The last thing he wanted was to see Remy again while a client watched. He’d been able to stay away from the place only by pushing his willpower to the limit. Now his boss had asked him to go back.
“Sorry, Ron, I can’t make it.” Best not to explain why.
“I don’t care what it is, cancel it or postpone it.”
“It’s not that…. Why not send Watkins? He loves the place.”
“What is it, then?” Ron paused. Brice could almost hear his brain whirring, trying to decide whether to mention outright Brice being gay or say anything remotely sexual, even though they’d known each other for years and Brice had never been in the closet. California and federal laws could be tricky on the issue of what might be considered inappropriate. And Brice was the firm’s attorney. “Cathcart doesn’t like Watkins. He likes you.”
“Do you mean ‘like’ as in the high-school-girl usage of the word, or just that he doesn’t care for Watkins’ personality.”
Ron chuckled. “Definitely the latter. I’m not sure about the former. But he won’t hit on you if you’re someplace with willing participants.” He paused and smiled mischievously. “Look, I don’t think he’s got the hots for you. But if he did, couldn’t you just smile at him? For fifty mil?”
“I can’t believe you just suggested that.” But Brice was more amused than annoyed. He could hold his own, but sometimes a little extra smile—from the right guy or woman—could grease the wheels on a business deal, even when nothing was expected to come of the flirtation. “I could sue your ass.”
“Well, I suppose that’s better than the alternative,” Ron said. It was only because they were friends Brice let him get away with the comment.
“You don’t know what you’re missing.” Brice gave as good as he got. He leaned back in his chair and considered his options. He really wanted to see Remy. And Brice admitted the blatant sexuality of the club was a lure. He didn’t feel entirely comfortable with being on display, but who was even looking at him? Watkins had had his mind—and his hands—on his own serving boy and hadn’t cared what Brice was doing. “Okay. I’ll do it this one time, for you. And the knowledge of how much of the fifty mil I’ll get.” As a junior partner, he got a tiny share of profits.
Ron stood up and leaned across the desk so he could slap Brice on the shoulder. “There you go. Take one for the team.” He straightened up and looked at Brice. “I’m not sure what’s not to like about the place. They have another club with women servers, and I’d love to go there. Marilyn wouldn’t like it, though. But you’re single, or so you’ve been saying. Is there someone who might be getting jealous?”
Brice shook his head. “Quite the opposite.”
“Hang in there. And thanks. I owe you one.”
“Yeah, one million dollars.” Brice delivered the line like Dr. Evil in an Austin Powers movie, and Ron laughed his way back down the hall to his own office.
Brice got up and shut his door. He needed to think about this. Did he really want to see Remy? He admitted he was physically attracted to the young man. Could his politeness and charm be just an act? Some of these pros got their clients hooked on their company, as long as they were spending money, but the affection and attraction wasn’t reciprocal. Remy had said he was new, but it could have been a lie too.
The best way to handle this would be to assume the attraction to Remy was nothing more than the normal sexual tension and desire the Dinner Club existed to provide. When Brice looked at it that way, he’d been the naïve one. No wonder they’d called him Mr. Green. Greenhorn, newbie, easily influenced. An evening with any of the other boys would be just as enjoyable. In fact, he shouldn’t have Remy again, to guard against the misplaced emotion.
He hadn’t walked into a real-life version of Pretty Woman. He wasn’t going to ride off with the hooker for a twisted fairy-tale happy ending. That wasn’t the kind of “happy ending” Remy represented.
Brice picked up the phone and buzzed Watkins. “Can you give me the reservation number at the Dinner Club? I need to bring a client.” Brice kept his request short and businesslike, with no room for Watkins to wrangle an invitation to come along.
“Sure. Let me find it.” He paused, and Brice expected to hear him tapping at keys, but there was silence. Watkins told him the number—apparently he had it memorized. “Have fun, Brice.” Watkins chuckled lasciviously, and Brice hung up without thanking him.
He picked up the phone again and took a deep breath before calling.
“Men’s Dinner Club,” a pleasant-sounding woman announced on the other end. Brice had expected a breathy-sounding man to be taking reservations, getting the clients worked up on the phone before they ever set foot in the place. “How can I serve you?”
Brice tried not to imagine how the phrase would sound uttered in a husky male voice. “Can I book two seats for tomorrow night?” He half hoped they were booked up.
“Your color, please?”
“Just green? Not forest green or Kelly green?”
“I don’t know. I’ve only been there once, and I was the only Green that night.” He gave the date. He’d wondered how he’d gotten such a common color.
“Oh, yes, sir. Green is a first visit basic color. Here you are in the database under a corporate account. From now on you’ll be Hunter Green for reservations. I’ll need to get some additional information and assign your personal membership number.”
He spent five minutes providing the details, and she verified his authorization to use the business account.
“Do you have a preferred serving boy?” she asked as if she were inquiring about whether he wanted sugar for his coffee. “You had Remy last time.”
“No, but…” He certainly had had Remy. He paused, not sure he was making the correct decision. “No preference. But I’d rather not have the same boy.”
“Weren’t you pleased with his service?”
He didn’t want to get Remy in trouble. Damn, he shouldn’t have said anything. “Oh, I was. Very pleased.” Fuck, that sounded perverted. “J-just I’d like to try someone different.”
“No problem, sir.” She tapped away at a keyboard. “Just as well, since Remy isn’t working tomorrow. I’ll put you down for two seats. Your companion will be Mr. Mauve. If he joins, he’ll get a permanent color.”
“Dinner is at eight. Would you mind having your guest arrive thirty minutes early for a new-visitor discussion?”
“Thanks.” He hung up. Good, Remy wouldn’t be there. No guilt over passing him up and no temptation to see him again. He’d get a completely different boy, one who he would avoid forming any connection with. Maybe he’d even go for something on the special menu. Why not?