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A NineStar Press Publication

Published by NineStar Press

P.O. Box 91792,

Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87199 USA.

www.ninestarpress.com

After Hours

Copyright © 2018 by Emjay Haze

Cover Art by Natasha Snow Copyright © 2018

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact NineStar Press at the physical or web addresses above or at Contact@ninestarpress.com.

Printed in the USA

First Edition

April, 2018


eBook ISBN: 978-1-948608-39-8

Print ISBN: 978-1-948608-43-5


Warning: This book contains sexually explicit content, which may only be suitable for mature readers.

After Hours

After Hours, Book One

Emjay Haze

Table of Contents

Dedication

About the Author

Dedication

To Alex and Nick, born of my imagination. I first wrote them as a short-story, but soon realized they had a much bigger story to tell.

And to my supportive family, who may not get why I write in this genre but understand that I need to write.

And finally, to my editor, Elizabeth. You make my stories shine and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Chapter One

“Please come to my office for a minute,” the mid-regional director bellowed, his voice deep with authority, causing Alex to redirect himself from heading to his own office. He followed the older gentleman around the corner and down the long hallway to the executive suites. He’d hoped to be there one day himself but had a long claw to go. Yes, claw. That’s how you got ahead in this place.

Alex had been a manager at the Manhattan financial advising firm for the last four years, having been promoted from sales where he’d landed out of grad school. They called it middle management for a reason. You were stuck right in the center, with twenty employees always needing your attention, and upper management wanting a little more blood. It was exhausting.

He shouldn’t really complain. His job paid the bills for a very nice Manhattan apartment three blocks from Central Park with a gorgeous view of the city. He’d become what his parents had dreamed for him, in every way. Robert and Martha Michaels lived on the outskirts of St. Louis. They both had decent jobs, but a lack of college education had kept them from the “good life,” as they called it, and they wanted more for their only son.

“Come in, Alex.” Mr. Kensington motioned for Alex to enter his spacious corner office with the big windows, which overlooked the New York skyline. It was breathtaking, and a little intimidating.

“Thank you, Mr. Kensington.”

“I think it’s time you called me Mitchell.” Mr. Kensington flashed him a wide grin. Alex wondered if his friends called him Mitch. He glanced at the distinguished gray-haired gentleman with the thousand-dollar suit. Mitchell it is.

“Thank you, M—Mitchell.”

“Have a seat, Alex.” His smile disappeared. He was all business.

Alex took a deep breath and sat in the leather-upholstered chair in front of Mr. Kensington’s mahogany desk. His boss sat behind it in an even larger chair that would have sucked Alex in if he’d tried to sit in it, yet Mr. Kensington sat ramrod straight. Alex couldn’t imagine what this was about as the seconds ticked away. Maybe he was getting fired. He gulped.

“Alex, I value your work here at the firm.”

“Thank you, sir.” A bead of sweat formed at the base of his hairline.

Mr. Kensington glared at him, knitting his eyebrows together.

“Mitchell,” Alex squeaked. That would take some getting used to.

Mr. Kensington stood up, appearing even more intimidating as Alex craned his neck to meet his gaze. “Due to business booming, we’re expanding the operation, Alex, and I’d like you to be a part of a new division.”

Alex’s eyes grew wide. Did this mean a promotion? Was he finally getting an executive position? He sat straighter, waiting for the man to make his point.

“As you know, middle manager is the most important position in this firm,” Mr. Kensington said, pacing back and forth in front of Alex. “You have responsibilities on both ends. It’s not easy finding someone who fits so well in that position, with the respect of both upper management and his employees.”

Where the heck was this heading? It didn’t sound like a promotion.

“And you are a good manager, Alex,” he continued. “Your troops like you, and they’re productive. That’s a huge accomplishment for anyone.”

“Thank you, s—Mitchell.” Alex took a deep breath, waiting for him to get to his fucking point.

Mr. Kensington came around his desk and walked behind Alex. Stopping, he placed his hand on Alex’s shoulder. “I am appointing you manager of the new Celebrities account division, so you will be taking some of the most important accounts this company currently has, as well as acquiring new ones. You will report to the new divisional director, Karl Morrison, from our west coast branch.”

Karl Morrison, who the fuck was that? Another middle manager getting his big promotion? Alex seethed, but kept it cool on the outside. “What does this mean for me, sir?” He tried smiling, but it came out as more of a sneer with his teeth clenched. Fortunately, Mr. Kensington was still behind him.

“A ten thousand dollar a year increase and larger staff,” Mr. Kensington said as he slithered back behind his desk. “You will manage our most prestigious division, Alex.”

As a middle manager and not an executive. He worked up a more believable smile. “Thank you, s—Mitchell.”

Mr. Kensington nodded. “You deserve it, son. Karl will arrive later this month, so you have some time to wrap up your current accounts. You will also choose staff to bring with you—oh, and please see Human Resources for your requirements for the new positions.”

So, I do the work and Mr. Karl Morrison swoops in next month and gets what should be my corner office. “I won’t let you down, sir.”

He smiled and nodded, as if to say I know you won’t. “Oh, and Barbara will order business cards with your new title.” Mitchell sat down behind his desk again.

“New title?” Did I miss something?

“Senior Manager. Congratulations, Alex.”

Alex faked a smile. “Thank you, sir.” It was still middle management. He should be ecstatic. Mr. Kensington could have passed on him completely. So, why did he feel like punching him in the face?

Mr. Kensington dismissed him by standing up and motioning to the door. Alex also stood and shook his hand, thanking him once more and attempting a more believable smile. At least it was more money, and it might be interesting work at that. He wondered if this was the success his parents intended for him when they made him quit culinary school at the end of his first year and go to a real college for a business degree. Stuck in middle management for the rest of his life. God, he sounded pathetic—and ungrateful.

Alex walked back to his windowless office and sighed as he sat down on the much smaller and less comfortable fabric chair at his plain oak desk. Would he ever get a nice chair like Mr. Kensington—err, Mitchell?

The day was almost over, and he couldn’t wait for that clock to strike five. He had nowhere to go, unfortunately, but he liked the quiet after everyone left for the day. No snotty salesman knocking on his door asking for a day off or a better commission structure. No director buzzing his phone asking where the weekly report was. He put his elbows on his desk and rubbed his fingers through his hair. He usually waited for the cleaning guy who always had a good story to tell. Maybe he should go home, or better, go out and get laid.

As if the gods had heard him, there was a rap on the door and his beautiful secretary, Belinda, peeked her head in. “Hey, boss. A few of us girls are going out tonight to a club and thought you might join us.”

Alex pictured an overcrowded dance club where horny straight guys hit on his coworkers while he sat and brooded over his gin and tonic or something that said straight-boy. “Uh, no, thanks, Belinda. You guys have a great time, though.”

“Oh, no,” she said, walking into his office. “We picked this club for you.” She shook her finger at him and winked.

“You’re going to a gay club for me?” He raised an eyebrow. He had never hidden his sexuality from his assistant.

“No, silly. We wanted to go anyway, but honestly, it’s better if we take a gay man with us.” She froze. “Yeah, that didn’t come out quite right.” She straightened her skirt and regrouped, apparently searching for her next words. “We want you to come with us. You’ll have a great time, I promise.”

Alex chuckled, shaking his head. “Might be exactly what I need. I’m in.”

“Good. You work too hard. Maybe you’ll meet a nice man—and get lucky.” She wiggled her eyebrows.

Belinda had worked for Alex ever since he moved to management. She was in her early thirties, single, and she had a lot of friends at the firm. The tall, fiery redhead had long, wavy hair and big blue eyes, and was well-endowed in all the areas that straight men found attractive. Alex thought she liked working for him mainly because he didn’t undress her with his eyes every time she walked into the room. She’d practically told him that one night as she was heading out and one of the supervisors was leaving Alex’s office. He’d given her a creepy once-over as he passed her. She’d rolled her eyes and entered Alex’s office, shutting the door behind her. Then she’d spilled her troubles.

Alex was empathetic, and she’d thanked him for treating her like a human. They’d become friends after that, but never took it outside the office. It might be fun having a night out with the girls. He didn’t want to do anything that would have them all talking about him at the watercooler the next morning, though. That shit could get around quickly. No, he’d have to keep it PG. Still, it would be nice to get out and watch cute boys on the dance floor, even if they were only dancing with his friends. He hadn’t done that since college.

Alex shut down his computer and followed Belinda into the elevator. “We’re meeting everyone in the lobby,” she explained as three women Alex recognized but barely knew barreled over to them.

“Alex, this is Hannah from accounting, Jill, Mr. Lawson’s admin, and Barb, you know.”

“Hi, Alex,” Barb said. She was Mr. Kensington’s assistant. “Congratulations on the promotion.” He had spoken with her many times, but never on a personal level.

“What?” Alex hadn’t thought of his move from manager to senior manager as a promotion. “Oh, thanks. I’m thrilled.” He hoped he sounded convincing.

“What’s this?” Belinda hadn’t heard yet, because Alex hadn’t told her. He felt like shit.

“They offered me senior manager with a new division. I found out earlier today before you walked in my office. Sorry, I should have told you.”

“That’s awesome, boss. Does that mean…?”

“You’re coming with me,” he said. “I couldn’t do my job without you, Bels.”

“Oh, thank God. I’d hate having to break in a new boss.” Her tone was flippant, but Alex knew better. She didn’t want to have someone with authority ogling her all day. He stifled a chuckle.

“Well, come on, ladies. I see you’ve been looking forward to this all day.”

He groaned as they chatted excitedly all the way to the parking garage. He hoped he wouldn’t embarrass himself. Why did he think going out with coworkers to a gay club was a good idea?

Alex drove Belinda and Barbara, while the other two followed them in Jill’s car. This way, Belinda explained, if Alex wanted to leave early, or later, then he’d have his own car and the four women could drive back to the office together. He wasn’t planning on taking anyone home tonight. Not with witnesses to discuss it at work the next day.

They pulled up to the curb outside the club. Alex got an immediate case of nerves as he stepped out of his car.

“Look at this place,” Belinda said, following him. “We’re gonna have a blast.”

Chapter Two

Alex gave his keys to the valet and followed Belinda and the others up the walkway to the trendy gay club, After Hours. This wasn’t usually Alex’s scene. In fact, this was the first real club he’d been to since he moved to New York City five years ago. Why did he never go out? Because you work too much. It wasn’t like he’d never dated at all.

They walked inside the club and were checked at the door by a burly man who didn’t even hide his intense stare at Alex as he took his ID.

The bouncer nodded his approval to the group and gave Alex a hearty grin as they passed by him. They found a table with a visual of the dance floor. “Well,” Belinda started. “He couldn’t keep his eyes off you.”

“Not my type,” Alex said, dismissing the statement.

“So, what is your type, Alex?” Jill asked, taking the seat next to him with a good view of the hard bodies grinding together on the dance floor. She gawked, fanning herself.

Alex, with the same view, watched one couple plastered together, each of them groping the body they were clinging to. One guy was tall with a muscular build and the other was several inches shorter, slender, and had his head thrown back, grinding against his partner as though they were having sex right on the dance floor.

“Um.” His pants tightened as he tried to answer. Instead, he shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Oh, come on, Alex,” Hannah said. “I’ve seen the way you scope out Justin on my floor. I think you go for twinks.” She gave him a shit-eating grin that made Alex want to slap her. He didn’t perv over Justin, the junior accountant—much, anyway. He certainly never did it in front of Hannah.

He called her bluff. “Nah, not my type, sorry to disappoint you.”

“Justin is pretty cute, though,” she continued. Yeah, she hadn’t caught him. She was fishing. Okay, so he was cute and definitely Alex’s type, but dating employees was off-limits for someone in management. He ignored her.

“Hey, Alex,” Belinda said, sitting on the other side of him. She tapped his shoulder, thankfully redirecting Alex’s attention. “Check out that guy.”

Alex viewed a moderately handsome guy with golden blond hair that kept flopping in his face. He’d flip it out of the way as he ground against his dance partner. The other guy had his hands all over Blondie, who seemed to enjoy it. Alex felt his pants tighten again at the sight. Belinda knew him so well.

“I guess he’s cute,” he replied, looking away.

“He’s gorgeous. Why don’t you go over and talk to him?”

Not gorgeous, but more than okay.

“First of all, he’s already dancing with someone, and second, I want to hang out with you guys, all right?”

A waiter came over at the same time to take their drink orders. “What can I get you, ladies?” He flirted with them but stared intently at Alex.

Now, this guy was hot. He had dark brown hair, short in the back and sides with the front longer and slightly wavy and parted on the side, like a sexy mop. God, he’d love to rake his fingers through that hair. The waiter remained focused on Alex, so he saw his eyes, which were brown pools of sex. Glancing down, Alex was mesmerized by his pink, pouty lips, and all he wanted to do was kiss the guy. He smelled amazing too. God, what is that? He wanted to sniff him so bad but restrained himself. Then he noticed the guy’s “uniform.” He wore only low-ride, black skintight shiny pants, and a black silk vest with a bow-tie. Holy cow. The guy’s flat abdominals were seriously lickable. Alex gulped, hoping his gaping went unnoticed.

Apparently not. The women who’d finished ordering were staring at him, as well as the waiter, who wore a sexy-as-fuck smirk on his face. Alex quickly recovered. “Can you recommend something?” Alex flirted. Seriously? He cringed, hoping that the floor would swallow him up at that moment, and no one would notice the raging hard-on he now sported, perving over the waiter. Fuck, he was hot.

“I’ve got just the thing, sexy.” The waiter flirted right back. He thinks I’m sexy? Nah. He probably says that to everyone.

The flirting waiter shook his ass as he walked away. Alex thought he might come in his pants, but Belinda and the girls’ hysterical gawking diffused his situation and he hoped they would let the moment pass.

No such luck. “Oh, my God, you have the hots for the waiter, don’t you?” Barb blurted, her hand flying to her face.

Great. Alex shrugged, trying to recover a small part of his dignity. “He seems nice, I guess.”

Hannah and Jill snickered. “Well, I think he’s gorgeous.” Belinda patted Alex’s thigh. So did Alex, but he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of nailing his type. It was none of their busybody business.

“We’ll find you someone,” Belinda said, tapping his knee.

“Is that what tonight’s about?”

“Of course not, boss.” She didn’t sound convincing. “I thought it would be nice for you to get out. I’m pretty sure you work late every night, am I right?” She was right. “Besides, we wanted to check it out.”

Alex was sure she meant check out the hot guys, but that’s why he was here too, so who was he to judge?

He did stay late every night to get work done, which was much easier without the constant distractions he endured all day long between his staff and his boss. But Belinda was right; he was lonely. He wouldn’t admit it to this bunch, though. They’d probably take it as a mission to get him laid. He could do that on his own, thank you very much. He could… Okay, so he hadn’t dated much in the last five years—hardly at all. God, he was pathetic.

The waiter brought their drinks over. Barb and Jill ordered white wine, Hannah a Tequila Sunrise and Belinda a Mango Mojito. Cutie served the women’s drinks first then stood next to Alex, handing him the prettiest cocktail he’d ever seen, with an even prettier smile.

“What is this?” Alex asked, picking up the tall hi-ball glass while eyeing the reddish pink concoction.

“It’s an After Hours specialty,” he answered in a sexy whisper. “Absolut Vodka, watermelon liquor, cranberry juice—and something extra I can’t mention.”

Fuck, his voice is sexy.

Alex took a sip and moaned. “God, that’s good.”

The waiter came a little closer. “I call it a Tight Puckered Anus.” He emphasized each syllable of the three-worded name. Alex shivered at the proximity to the hot waiter, wondering what the secret ingredient was.

After nearly choking, he looked the little minx in the eye and smirked. “I like it.”

“I knew you would,” he replied with a wink. “You all let me know if you need anything else. I’m Nick,” he added, then glided away, leaving Alex horny and satisfied at the same time.

“God, did you at least get his number?” Barb asked from across the table, fanning herself.

“I’m sure he flirts with all the single guys,” Alex told mainly himself. But he couldn’t take his eyes off Nick. And he smelled so fucking good. It was a mixture of musk, ocean breeze, alcohol, and all man. He really had to stop himself from sniffing the guy, but lord, wouldn’t he love the chance to do just that?

After the first round of drinks, Belinda grabbed Alex, leading him to the dance floor. “Let’s show all those boys how hot you are.”

He only wanted the waiter to notice him, but that was why he was here—to have fun.

The other three joined them, dancing as a duo and trio, until Belinda handed Alex off to a hottie who’d been checking him out, dancing alone steps away. She made the switch and joined her friends before Alex realized he had a new dance partner. The short, slender red-haired boy grabbed Alex’s ass and ground to the music. Belinda and her friends were dancing as a foursome. He shot Belinda a glare which she pooh-poohed, blowing him a kiss. Fortunately, the redhead moved on after a couple of songs and Alex joined the girls once more.

They returned to their table, which held a fresh round of cocktails. Alex searched around for Nick, but he was nowhere to be seen. He wondered if his shift had ended and he found himself disappointed.

He needn’t be. The cute waiter returned with a third round of drinks when they’d finished the second. Alex figured the guy was either watching them or had a gift for knowing exactly when his tables needed a refill. Alex watched him flirt with his friends, who were absolutely smitten and couldn’t take their eyes off him.

“So, are you single?” Belinda’s third cocktail had apparently taken away the rest of her inhibitions, to Alex’s mortification.

What the hell?

Nick never took his eyes off Alex as he answered, “Mostly.”

Mostly? What kind of answer was that? Non-committal, to say the least. Alex wasn’t looking anyway, but still…it wasn’t a no, or a yes.

“Alex is single.” God, would she please stop? The heat of a blush crossed his cheeks. He forced a smile, wishing the floor would swallow him up.

The waiter’s eyes twinkled as he scanned Alex’s body. Oh, God, did he just lick his lips? Alex willed his hard-on away, not able to take his eyes off him.

Nick followed his gaze and smirked, giving Alex a wink. A fucking wink. “Can I get you anything else?”

“Your phone number,” Belinda added, the last drink apparently having gotten to her. The rest of the table erupted in a fit of giggles and Alex continued blushing.

Either Nick wasn’t interested at all, or it was against club policy to give the customers their phone number, because although he smiled at Alex, he ignored Belinda’s comment and sauntered away. Yes, sauntered, wiggling that hot ass of his. Alex groaned.

“Belinda, jeez.”

“What, boss? It’s obvious you have the hots for him. How else are you going to ask him on a date?”

“Yeah, I think you’ve had enough, young lady,” he said.

“I’m getting tired too,” Jill piped up, after having remained mostly an observer throughout the evening.



Alex ended up driving Belinda back to the office while the other three followed them. “Will you be all right driving home, Bels?” he asked, concerned. The last thing he needed was for her to drive drunk.

She perked up. “I’m fine, Alex. I had a great time, and I think you did too.”

“You seemed a little tipsy back there.” Why else would she be so bold with the waiter, Nick, was it? God, Nick.

“Not at all, I just thought you should ask that guy on a date.”

Really? Damn, why didn’t he? Oh, right, because he didn’t want any witnesses.

“Hmm.”

He pulled into the garage and watched Belinda get into her car and start it up. Then he followed her down the street, making sure she was okay. He turned and headed home, thinking of the club, dancing with the twink, and that absolutely gorgeous waiter.

Chapter Three

The next morning, there was talk around the watercooler, but fortunately it wasn’t from Alex’s behavior the previous night. He’d acted entirely appropriately and had nothing to be embarrassed about. However, the girls couldn’t stop talking about the hot waiter and how Alex needed to get out and date. That proved more embarrassing than if he’d danced on the table top wearing a lampshade.

In the afternoon, Alex went upstairs to the accounting department for a meeting and ran into the junior accountant, Justin, who seemed to finally notice him. He gave Alex a come-hither look and walked away, shaking his hips. Alex glanced over at Hannah, who wore a smug smile. Jeez, why can’t everyone leave my love life alone? He had no intention of hooking up with Justin, however cute he was. He seemed a little desperate for Alex, aside from being totally off-limits. And he was nothing compared to the waiter from last night.

To his relief, other things popped up for the rumor mill to take an interest in, leaving Alex alone as he had a desk full of reports to complete for his boss before he made the move to the new division. He wondered when he’d meet his new director and what he would be like. Alex had a good relationship with Mr. Kensington. It would suck breaking in a new boss. He laughed, remembering Belinda saying the same thing about him last night.

He needn’t have worried, because he was summoned to the big guy’s office in the afternoon with his reports, and Mr. Kensington informed him that he’d been appointed Regional Vice President and would have Alex’s new division under him. He was happy for the man but wondered why he hadn’t made Alex director of the new division. He’d worked hard over the years and thought Kensington liked him. He made you a senior manager.

Belinda popped in to say good night on her way home.

“Good night, Bels. See you in the morning.”

“Don’t stay too long,” she warned, wagging her finger.

Alex loosened his tie. “I won’t. Promise.”

She nodded and closed the door behind her.

The minute hand on the clock on Alex’s wall signaled a quarter past the hour. Like clockwork, he heard a rap on his window and smiled at the figure staring inside. He waved the man in. Seconds later, his door opened and his favorite janitor, Cal, entered his office.

Calvin was in his mid-fifties, very sweet, and always kept Alex in stitches with his tales. Sometimes Alex wondered if he stayed after business hours to get work done, or to chat with Cal.

“Good evenin’, Mr. Alex, sir,” he said. Calvin Walter Jackson had been cleaning Alex’s suite since before Alex arrived at the firm. He’d lived most of his life in Western Mississippi, but floods had taken out his family’s home and they’d come east to be near his wife’s family ten years ago.

The cleaning company he worked for had a contract with most of the building. He had come to be Alex’s favorite part of the day, and Alex had missed him yesterday because he’d left with Belinda before Cal had arrived.

“Evening, Cal. How’s the family?”

That started Cal ranting about his brother-in-law, who’d recently moved into their cramped Queens dwelling, where he lived with his wife and twin nine-year-old daughters. “Drunken bum, that one. I’ll tell ya. He got kicked out of his house, again, for—get this…” Cal placed one hand on Alex’s shoulder and the other on his own stomach as if he were about to vomit or something, but instead he let out a deep bellow before standing up and continuing his story. “He was picked up for so-lic-it-ing a pros-ti-tute. Can you believe that?”

Alex couldn’t. Wasn’t the guy married? No wonder he got kicked out.

“But here’s the funny part.” Calvin bowled over again, and his chuckles made Alex want to join in if he ever got the joke. “He said he was delivering a package when the cops barged in with guns blazin’ and Johns and girls came pouring out of every bedroom door. Poor Dennis stood there as bodies dispersed all around him. He was the only one the cops caught, so they made an example out of’m.”

“Um.” Alex thought the poor guy had got a bad rap but there had to be more of the story. “Why didn’t he explain it to them?”

Cal started laughing again, holding his stomach. Alex thought he might burst at any second. “The cops made him open the package, see? To make sure there wasn’t a bomb or somepin’ I guess. Anyways, he opens it—and there’s condoms, lubricant and—oh, God…” He stopped for a second to catch his breath and howled one final time. “Dildos. Big, black dildos.” He held his hands out, yelling that last part, and erupted again.

Alex couldn’t help himself and joined in the laughter. “Holy cow.”

“The cops thought he was working for the brothel, or God knows what, but they hauled him in and charged him with possession of contraband and solicitation. His wife Missy was so pissed off. See, he doesn’t work for a delivery company.” And he howled again. “Dumbass.”

Alex stared in wonderment, shaking his head as tears streamed down his face from laughter.

“Then he tried to say that the package got delivered to his address by mistake, but he lives in Brooklyn, and the brothel was in the Bronx.”

“Wow, that’s quite a story.” Sometimes he wondered if Cal made this shit up, but they said truth was stranger than fiction. He wasn’t sure anyone could make up a story like that.

“Yeah, it’ll get sorted out, I’m sure.” Cal waved his hand. “But in the meantime, he’s drinkin’ all my beer and getting on my ol’ lady’s nerves.

Alex shook his head. What a character.

“Well, I better get started, or m’ boss will come in hollerin’.” And with that, the story ended, and Cal flicked on the vacuum cleaner and went to work.

Alex went back to his reports and tried ignoring the sound. When he finished vacuuming, Cal used the duster on all the fixtures in Alex’s office and emptied the trash can. Fifteen minutes later, he tipped his hat, and bid Alex good night. “See you t’morrow, Mr. Alex.”

“Goodnight, Cal.” Alex watched the man shut the door behind him and went back to his computer to finish up for the night. He’d pick up some takeout on the way home to his Central Park apartment, and maybe rent a movie—alone.

He thought about the club he’d been to the night before with Belinda and her friends and his mind went right to the cute waiter. What was his name, Nick? Yeah, Nick. He pictured Nick walking over to his desk, sitting on his lap, and kissing him. He got hard imagining those pretty lips wrapped around his cock. “Fuck, I’d better go home.” He sighed and shut down his laptop before placing it in his briefcase.

He turned off the lights, locked his door, and headed out for the night.



Alex made it home in under thirty minutes on the subway. He stopped for Chinese food and walked the couple of blocks to his high-rise building, which had a terrific view of the south side of Central Park. He rode the elevator to the twenty-fourth floor, then walked to his door while reaching for his keys in his jacket pocket.

“Hi, Alex,” elderly Mrs. Thompson greeted him on her way out. She lived across the hall and had a granddaughter who visited her on Sundays. “Why don’t you come over and meet my Andrea this weekend?” Whenever Eydie Thompson saw him, she always issued the same invitation. “You might hit it off, Alex. You seem lonely.” How the heck could she tell that?

He smiled at her but did his best to let her down gently. “Mrs. Thompson, your granddaughter isn’t my type.”

“Oh, now, she’s a peach, that one. She’s close to your height with pretty brown hair. And, she has a very good job.”

Damn, she wouldn’t give up.

“I’m gay, Mrs. Thompson.”

“Oh, I know that’s trendy right now, but don’t you want to meet a nice girl and start a family?”

He thought she meant well and had no clue how offensive her question was. Maybe he should meet the granddaughter and explain it to her. She sounded like a smart girl.

“What time?” Did I really give in?

“Oh, goodie,” she squealed, clapping her hands together. “I’ll serve dinner at six o’clock sharp.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Thompson. I’ll bring some wine.” It wasn’t like he had anything else planned.

“What a lovely young man you are. We’ll see you on Sunday.” And off she went.

He had no idea where she went in the evenings and gave it no more thought. He groaned at having to spend the evening with a persistent old lady and her hard-up granddaughter. Okay, maybe that was a little harsh, but who lets their grandmother set them up on a date? Alex jiggled his keys in the door and entered his apartment.

“Ah.” He sighed, turning on the lights and placing the food on the counter. He went to his refrigerator, grabbed a beer, and took a long sip. “I need a real date.” He sat down to kung pao chicken and wonton soup for one. “God, I spent six months in cooking school and this is what I have for dinner. Maybe I should have offered to at least bring dessert on Sunday.” That was a bad idea. He didn’t want her too impressed. He chuckled. Truth was, Alex was a fantastic cook. It was his true talent. He’d dreamed of becoming a chef, an ambition which his working-class parents squashed after his first semester in school. He didn’t like thinking about that. He shouldn’t have any regrets. They paid for his education with their blood, sweat, and tears. Who was he to be ungrateful?

After eating, he washed his dish and put the leftovers in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s lunch, grabbed another beer, and sat on his sofa. So, the highlight of his week so far was lusting after a cute waiter, getting a date with a girl—oh, jeez—and hearing Cal’s tales. Yeah, Cal won that round. Alex really needed to get laid.

He traipsed off to his bedroom, finishing the beer before placing the empty bottle on his dresser. He sat on his bed and took off his shoes and socks, removed his tie, and unbuttoned his dress shirt. He stood up and pulled down his pants. After walking into his attached bathroom, he removed the rest of his clothes and turned on the shower.

The hot stream felt amazing as he washed the city stench from his body. The running water massaged his tired muscles. He threw his head back and let the water fall over his face and hair. He reached for the shampoo and washed his hair thoroughly then soaped the rest of his body. Once he’d rinsed, he turned off the faucet and dried himself with his favorite fluffy towel.

Alex fell back on his bed and let the towel fall, resting his hand over his cock. Yeah, he needed to get laid.

Chapter Four

Alex headed toward his office the next morning, when he ran into Belinda, who accosted him in the hallway. “This way, boss,” she whispered, leading him away from his office.

“What’s going on?”

“Shh.” They got to the break room and she shut the door. “He’s here.” For a second, he thought she was referring to Nick from last night, but that would be ridiculous.

“Who?”

“Mr. Morrison.”

“Who?” he repeated. Oh, right, my new boss. Shit. “Karl Morrison?”

She leaned in closer. “He’s cute.”

“Belinda, he’s the boss,” he said, thinking she was attracted to him.

“I hear he’s gay,” she sang.

“We shouldn’t gossip,” he reprimanded, grinning.

She shrugged. “I thought you’d like to know.” God, she was still playing matchmaker. With anyone else, he’d be annoyed, but Belinda took care of him.

“Thanks, Bels, but my direct boss is definitely off-limits. Even if he was my type.”

“Your loss, boss.” She smirked and led him out of the office. “Hey, do you want to go back to that club with us tomorrow night? It’s Friday and I hear they have an awesome drag show.”

Alex was tempted. There was also the probability of seeing the cute waiter again. “Maybe.” Who was he kidding? Of course, he’d go.

She slapped him on the back. “Great, I’ll tell the girls.”

He rolled his eyes. God, what was it with the pushy women in his life? They didn’t take no for an answer. Well, at least she wasn’t trying to hook him up with a female. He thought of his “date” on Sunday and cringed. He’d have a good time at the club, anyway. And maybe he’d see Nick again.

“Are you ready to meet him?” she asked.

No. “Yes.” And Alex followed her out of the break room.

They hadn’t gotten far when Mr. Kensington found them in the hallway.

“Alex, please come to my office.”

“See ya later, boss,” Belinda whispered, leaving him alone as she scampered away. Coward.

“Certainly, Mr. Kensington.” Alex caught up to him and was ushered into his office. When he got inside, Alex realized they weren’t alone.

He walked toward Mr. Kensington’s desk and saw a blond-haired gentleman in his late thirties, possibly early forties. The man turned around and stood up and Alex stared into his green eyes with specks of yellow and brown. They were interesting, that was for sure. He was an attractive man, but to Alex’s delight, definitely not his type. He was too “California.”

“Alex Michaels? I’m Karl Morrison.” He reached out his hand and Alex shook it. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise, sir.”

“Please, call me Karl. I’ve heard fantastic things about you, Alex. I’m looking forward to a creating a successful division with your help.”

They shook hands and exchanged pleasantries then Mr. Kensington ushered them to their seats. “We have a lot of work to do, gentlemen, so let’s get started.”



After the planning meeting, Alex felt better about things. Karl Morrison had moved up the ranks at their California branch and had many dealings with some of the elite or celebrity accounts being lumped into the new division. He was smart, Alex could tell right away, but Karl pointed out that Alex had the people management skills he wanted in a senior manager. He hoped his “people skills” wouldn’t keep him from the executive washroom one day. Since when did he stop pining for a cluttered kitchen in a five-star restaurant and set his high hopes for climbing the corporate ladder? He annoyed himself.

After his dismissal, Alex headed back to his office and Belinda followed him inside, shutting the door.

“So, am I right?”

“About what?” He smiled blankly at his overzealous admin.

“He’s cute.” She plunked herself on the chair in front of Alex’s desk and crossed her legs, leaning back.

“He’s not my type.” He stared at her, trying not to laugh.

“Oh, phooey, what is your type, Alex? You need to get out and date.”

He shot her a glare, but saw concern blazing back at him and he softened. “Thanks for looking out for me.”

“Anytime, Alex. Anyway, I think he’s gorgeous. I wonder if he’s bi?” she pondered.

“Be careful, you might end up reporting to him.”

“Oh, God, you think?” Her hands shot to her mouth.

Alex shook his head. “Wow, and I’m replaceable, like that.”

“Sorry, boss. No one will ever be better than you. I mean that.” She stood up. “I’m heading out to lunch. Can I bring you something?”

“Thanks, Bels. I have leftovers from last night.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “I swear, okay?” She could be scary.

“All right. See you in an hour.”

He watched his favorite employee walk out then he went to the break room to microwave his leftover Chinese food, wondering how he’d gotten so far off-track from his original plan. All he’d ever wanted to do was be a chef. He loved cooking. He’d practiced on his parents in their modest Midwestern home. They thought it was cute that their son liked to cook, but never took it or him seriously.

He was seventeen and a junior in high school when he made an impressive three-course meal for his parents to butter them up before dropping the bomb that he was gay.

His dad stared into his butternut squash ravioli while his mom burst out laughing. “Oh, son, I’m not laughing at you,” she said when Alex turned bright red and the tears began to fall. “We’ve known, dear, and were waiting for you to come to us.” She pointed to the spread as if that was a dead giveaway. Okay, so maybe the petite stuffed mushrooms sautéed in a creamy white wine sauce had been a slight hint, but not all chefs were gay, jeez.

“You have?” Alex had shyly asked. He guessed that was a better reaction than getting yelled at or kicked out of the house, but laughing, seriously?

“Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry. Come and sit with us and we’ll talk about it.” And they did. Alex couldn’t believe how supportive they were.

He tried telling them he wanted to go to culinary school, but this time, his dad put his foot down. “We worked hard to save money for you to go to a four-year school, Alex. You need a degree to be successful,” he preached.

Alex didn’t care. He convinced his parents that he could save them money and get his associate’s degree at the community college before transferring to the university, then he secretly applied for the culinary arts program. He told his parents he was taking mostly general classes that would transfer to a four-year school. He didn’t like deceiving them, but they’d given him no choice. Everything was going well until his parents intercepted his class schedule for the next semester, which had come in the mail, and the jig was up.

They lectured him for hours on how they’d worked their asses off doing mundane jobs to save enough money so he could go to a good university and get a degree that would make him successful. They said they would yank his funding if he wanted to waste his time on a useless degree that would ensure his working-class status for the rest of his life. He rolled his eyes at their drama. But, in the end, he’d caved and transferred most of his credits to the University of Missouri and ended up with a master’s degree in Business in five years, which enabled him to land his Wall Street job. He was living their dream rather than his own, that was for sure. But he couldn’t complain about the money, or the lifestyle that money gave him.

Alex sighed from the memory. His parents were good folks and they were more than supportive when he had taken a boy to the senior prom. They didn’t understand he had a passion, and he was good at it. He felt like he was missing something in his life and it wasn’t only the lack of sex.

He walked back to his office and plunged back into work for the rest of the day with minimal interruptions, for which he was thankful.



The clock struck five and five minutes later, like clockwork, there was a rap on his window. Alex let out a pleasant sigh. This was the highlight of his day. Pathetic.

“Hi, Cal,” Alex greeted the man as he bounced in with his vacuum and cart.

“Guess what?” Alex figured it had to have something to do with his philandering brother-in-law and was surprised when Calvin told him that he was taking a few days off with his wife because she’d won a trip for two to the Bahamas. “Ya know, it’s one of those time-share places and we’ll have to do a tour or somepin’, but we haven’t been away in—well, too long.”

“That’s awesome, Cal. I don’t know anyone who works harder than you. You deserve it.” He meant that sincerely.

“Except you, Mr. Alex. You’re always the last one to leave here. You need to have some fun, too, ya know, or you’ll get old too fast.”

“Thanks, Cal. I’m going out with some friends tomorrow night, in fact.”

“Good—good for you. Well, I’ll get started, then.”

“How’s the brother-in-law?” Alex had almost forgotten to ask him.

Cal shook his head and laughed. “Well, the solicitation charge was dropped. They didn’t have enough evidence for that to hold up, but they did bring him in again for questioning about the package.” Cal emphasized that last word, his expression amusing. Then he laughed. “He kept up the ruse that it was delivered to him by accident, but they ended up letting that go too. He’s a character, that one.” Cal let out a low chuckle. “But his wife’s still pissed. They been on the phone yellin’ every evenin’. That’s part of the reason we’re so glad to get away for a few days,” he said, while switching on the vacuum cleaner and going to work.

Once Cal finished with the noise-maker, he took out the dusting rag, and finished the story. “Missy, the wife, keeps calling him, but with us there—well, he lets us deal with her. Maybe with us gone, those two will get a chance to talk. We told her to come over and work it out.”

“I’m sure they will.”

Cal raised his hand and shook it. “They’d better. I’m not buyin’ no more beer for that one.” He chuckled. “But it will be nice to get away and treat my woman special. Show her I love her, ya know?”

Alex envied that about Cal. He might bitch and complain about his family, but he loved them. He wondered if he’d ever meet someone he’d want to treat like that.

Cal finished up and said goodbye. “I’ll see ya next Thursday, Mr. Alex, and tell you all about our trip.”

“Can’t wait to hear the stories, Cal. You have a great time.”

Alex smiled at his friend as he watched him leave. He closed his laptop and packed up for the night. Good thing tomorrow was Friday, so Alex didn’t need an excuse to stay late. He wasn’t up for breaking in a new cleaning guy, even if it was temporary.

Chapter Five

Alex exited his office Friday evening, following Belinda, who’d put her hand around the back of him and guided him to the door, like she was making sure he didn’t bail on them. He’d thought about it—all day, in fact, but his honor won out in the end. That and horniness. His dick twitched at the thought of seeing Nick again.

“Ready, boss?” she said.

He nodded. No. “Sure. Sounds like fun.” He didn’t even try to sound convincing. What made him think that cute Nick would even remember him? He knew part of the waiter’s job was to flirt with the patrons. And Alex wasn’t even near the best-looking guy in the club. Nick could have his pick if he wanted, Alex was certain of that.

“Oh, come on, stick-in-the-mud.”

“Wouldn’t you ladies rather meet guys who play for your team?”

“In a bar?” She glared at him, her bright-red hair matching her fiery glare.

He stared back pointedly. “But it’s okay for me?”

“Yeah, well, next time we’ll take you to a straight bar and you can tell me then, all right? Have you seen straight guys trying to pick up women in a bar, Alex? It’s comical.”

“You’re on.”

She huffed. He knew she had no intention of calling him on that one. He should be grateful. How else would he meet someone?

They found Barb and the other two women in the lobby.

“So, I heard you met Karl today,” Barb said in a seductive voice. “Isn’t he dreamy?”

“He’s my boss, Barb.”

“I heard he’s single,” she sang.

“And straight?” Hannah asked. That one seemed desperate. Must be the water up in the accounting department.

Barb shrugged. “I have no idea.”

Alex wasn’t about to pop their bubble. He chuckled. “Come on, girls.” He wasn’t used to all this gossip. It made him wonder if they talked about him at the office. He didn’t want to know.

The four of them rode home with Alex on the subway and they stopped for a quick bite to eat at his favorite Chinese restaurant. Afterward, he took them up to his place for a beer before they headed out to the bar. Most bars didn’t get lively until 10:00 p.m. on a Friday and After Hours was no exception.

The five coworkers rode in taxicabs to the club so they could get as tipsy as they liked and not have to worry about driving home. They could be poured into a cab if need be.

They held out their IDs, which the tall, burly bouncer glanced at before nodding approval and stepping aside to let them in one at a time.

“What about that guy? He was checking you out again,” Belinda said of the bouncer, as they passed him and walked toward the dance floor.

If Alex had been drinking, he would have spit it out. Instead, he coughed a little. “The bouncer? He checks out everyone, Bels. And he’s definitely not my type.”

She shrugged and followed him into the club. The table where they’d sat the other night was occupied, so they crossed the dance floor and found an empty one on the other side of the club. Alex scanned the room and Barb caught him.

“Looking for someone, Alex?”

“What, no.” Was he that obvious? “Just the waiter.” Both Barb and Belinda gave him the eye, smirking, and he immediately clarified. “So we can order.” He rolled his eyes. He had hoped to see the cutie, but he was nowhere to be found. Alex found himself disappointed when another waiter approached their table. He flirted in an appropriate manner with the ladies, but kept throwing seductive glances toward Alex, who wasn’t interested at all.

The waiter, Dan, as he introduced himself, was tall with inky-black hair and dark green eyes, but Alex wasn’t attracted to him in the least. He should have been. The guy was kind of beautiful, in a dangerous way. His friends couldn’t take their eyes off him.

Belinda nudged Alex at the table and whispered to him. “He’s hot, right?”

And all Alex could think was that he wasn’t Nick.

Dan took their orders and kept giving seductive glances to Alex. Finally, Barb put Alex out of his misery, to his humiliation. “Where’s Nick tonight?” she asked.

“He got called in to work his other job. He’ll be here soon. Let me know if I can get you anything else.” Dan seemed disappointed they’d asked for another waiter, or maybe he was jealous. Alex didn’t know. But he wondered what Nick’s other job could possibly be.

Dan returned with their drinks and they never saw him again. After a while, Belinda dragged Alex to the dance floor. It wasn’t too crowded, but Alex got a few sweaty bodies grinding into him while he danced with his friends.

One guy asked to cut in, and Belinda and Barb parted like the Red Sea, allowing him to put his hands all over Alex. He wasn’t amused, but the girls chuckled over it. After Alex peeled himself away, he rejoined his friends.

“Thanks a lot.”

“You need some action, boss. If not here, then where?”

Belinda had a point, but here with coworkers ready to make him the daily gossip? No, thank you. But, maybe he could loosen up a little.

Alex shimmied away from the women and danced by himself for about three seconds before the vultures circled him. He raised his hands over his head and no less than two sets of hands were on his chest and abs before he knew it.

“Hey, sexy,” one man said to him in a deep voice.

A burly dude wearing a leather vest and pants with chains hanging from the sides approached him. Oh, no, I am not looking for a leather daddy.

He turned away from the bear toward the source of the other set of grabby hands that were now pawing at his navel. These belonged to a much slimmer guy about three inches shorter than Alex. This guy was closer to Alex’s type, with soft features and short blond hair, but he seemed too twinkish. Alex humored him and placed his hands on the guy’s shoulders and danced with him as the bear stormed off.

After two songs, the twink tried kissing him and Alex backed away.

“Hey, want to go somewhere?” the twink said panting, and nodding in the direction of the bathrooms.

Uh, no. “Sorry, not interested,” Alex told him, and turned away from him to drive home the point.

The guy huffed and traipsed off, probably pissed that he’d wasted two dances with Alex only to be turned down. This wasn’t Alex’s scene. He wanted more than a hook up.

He couldn’t find his friends on the floor any longer, so he went back to the table to find all four of them in conversation with the waiter. No, not that one—Nick. Alex stopped—and stared—and…

“There he is,” Belinda shouted, like they’d all been talking about him.

“Hi.” Alex knew he was grinning stupidly, but damn, that boy was fine.

“Hey, yourself.” Nick handed him a second glass. It was the drink that Nick had brought him the last time they were there, and not what Alex had ordered from Dan.

He smiled like a goon. “Thanks—Nick.” You remembered. Alex sat down, and Nick gave him a flirty wink before excusing himself. Alex watched him walk away. When he turned around, all four of his friends were staring at him and smirking.

“So, that’s your type,” Jill said, answering her own question from the other night. He ignored her.

They had Nick for the rest of the night, and like last time, the guy seemed to sense when they needed a refill.

Dan hadn’t stayed long enough to show them if he had the same skills or not, or if it was a Nick thing. Alex scoffed at himself. A Nick thing. He’d like to know what other things were unique to Nick and had to will down his erection before it became noticeable to the rest of the table.

Alex danced a few times with the girls and as before, men ogled him, offering things with their eyes, making Alex blush. He danced with one guy who was the perfect height for him, and he was kind of cute too. There was a part of Alex that hoped it made Nick jealous. Then he berated himself for such a ridiculous thought. You’re a paying customer to him. But when he turned around, he noticed Nick serving a nearby table but still watching Alex. So, he placed his hands around his current dance partner’s waist and swiveled his hips to the music, hoping Nick liked what he saw.

“You’re so hot,” the guy said, getting closer and moving his hands to Alex’s back. He smoothed them up and down before landing one on his ass. Alex didn’t want this to go any further. The guy took his glare as something else, though, and leaned forward to kiss him, but Alex backed away. The music picked up and Alex used that as an excuse to break contact.

“Thanks for the dance,” he said, and walked back to the table. He didn’t mean to be such a cock tease, but the only boy he wanted to kiss was Nick.

He sat down and finished his cocktail, as Nick arrived with another one.

“That guy totally wanted to kiss you.” Nick’s breath was hot on Alex’s neck as he said that, confirming that he was watching Alex. Was he jealous, turned on…?

Alex turned to face Nick, taking the drink. “How do you do that?” he asked, ignoring Nick’s comment.

“Do what?” Nick murmured, the words having a seductive tone to them, arousing Alex.

He sucked in a breath. “Know when I need another drink.”

Nick gave nothing away. He shrugged, plastered a smug expression on his cute, dimpled face, and danced away.

Alex wasn’t getting anywhere with Nick, but as he thought of heading out, the show began and his friends perked up.

The lights lowered and the floor lit up as Candy Haas walked on stage lip-syncing to one of Beyoncé’s greatest hits. The drag queen had moves, and damn, her bodysuit and tights left nothing to the imagination.

“That’s a guy? Where does he keep his…?” Belinda pointed to her groin area.

Alex laughed. “It’s tucked.”

“Tucked, where?” She narrowed her eyes at the performer on stage.

Candy turned around and bent over, exposing a very well-shaped ass that she shook, then stood up and flipped her hair.

“You mean?” Belinda leaned over, gazing at Candy’s backside. “Damn.” Her mouth opened and shut several times like a red-faced guppy.

Alex chuckled at his friends.

“Isn’t she amazing?” Nick appeared with another round of drinks. God, he’s incredibly talented. And so cute.

“Yeah, she is.” Alex followed Nick’s gaze and the waiter couldn’t seem to take his eyes off Candy Haas. Alex briefly wondered if that was Nick’s boyfriend, and he felt—jealous?

“Wait till you see Harlot Shaize. She’s really hot.”

So maybe he was friends with all of them. What did it even matter?

“And my favorite gurl, Stella Fierce, will close the show.”

Nick was right, Stella was the best. She did a cabaret-type number that led into big show tunes and was an amazing dancer for her six-foot-four, wide frame and enormous feet stuffed into six-inch heels. After her act, the group got ready to leave. Alex left a bigger than necessary tip for their hot waiter, and they walked out of the club.

They grabbed a cab back to Alex’s apartment and he offered his friends his couch and an air mattress so they could crash for the night. They politely declined, so after a pot of coffee, he walked them to the subway and saw them off, thanking them again for a nice night out.

Belinda waved him off and told him she’d see him on Monday morning, bright and early, while Barb made some dirty comment about the new director, Karl. Alex hadn’t given him a thought at all. Well, at least he had the rest of the weekend to relax. Then he remembered dinner at Mrs. Thompson’s on Sunday night, and wished he could bring a date so this poor girl would get the hint. He groaned and headed back home, still horny from staring at half-naked boys all night on the dance floor, and Nick.

He downed a bottle of water and two Advil, hoping to head off the hangover he was sure to have in the morning.

Chapter Six


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