Greg is straight, but makes easy money offering his services to gay men online. He's inexpensive but has a few ground rules: never reveal his real name, never invite a client home, and never, ever, ever agree to more than three appointments with anyone. Ever.
RC is handsome, loaded, and lives in a big house in a swanky neighborhood. Greg doesn't understand why such a guy needs to pay for companionship, but RC’s been burned by men who are interested in only his money, and paying someone takes off the pressure of maintaining a relationship.
Their first appointment goes well, and they schedule another. But Greg is surprised when RC calls him a few days later just to hang out. Greg doesn’t pal around with his clients; it’s strictly business. But there’s something about the guy that makes him say yes.
At dinner, RC introduces himself as Ryan, and Greg breaks his own rule and shares his real name, too. By the end of the evening, the lines between client and friend have begun to blur. Does this count as their second appointment even if they don’t have sex?
By the time they meet up again, Greg is half in love with Ryan. Will this next appointment be their last, or will Greg embrace something he didn’t even know he was looking for?
9781611525786 | 9,973 words
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A long porch leads to a screen door. I can see inside -- an island in a kitchen, marble countertops, steel appliances that look brand new. Down a short hall is a flat-screen TV larger than the longest wall in my living room. A leather sofa faces it, and I catch a glimpse of the back of a man’s head. Short-cropped dark hair, and when I knock on the side of the door, he turns and I see a trim beard, a very manly look. He sees me and grins, his eyes sparkling.
He sent a picture in his e-mail so I already know what to expect, but to be honest, I thought he’d used a photo of a sexy model in some luxurious country home. I didn’t think he’d really be so ... well, so perfect.
When he stands, I notice he’s bare-chested, and the hair on his muscled pecs is the same brown-black as that on his head and face. He wears a low-hanging pair of sweatpants that leave little to the imagination and nothing on his feet. As he approaches the door, his grin is contagious and I can’t help but return it. “Hey,” I say as he opens the screen door wide. “RC?”
Of course he is. “You must be Mike,” he says.
Up close, his eyes are the palest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. I almost correct him -- actually no, it’s Greg -- but then I remember my rule about never telling them my real name and I just nod instead. He holds the door for me to step inside. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. This dude is rich.
Still, I’m pleased I manage not to sound awestruck when I tell him, “Nice place you have here.”
“It’s home,” he says.
Must be nice.
He closes the screen door behind me, then shuts the back door for good measure. For a moment I almost believe I’m just here to visit -- we’re friends and he’s invited me over to watch the game, maybe, and we’ll eat pizza on his leather sofa in front of that big-ass TV. Then his smile widens and his eyes heat up as he looks me over, and I remember we’re not friends. The lust I see when he looks at me says as much.
But he’s a gracious host. “Are you hungry?” he asks. That’s a first. “Or do you maybe want something to drink first?”
I shake my head. “I’m good. We can just go in the ... I don’t know, the bedroom or something? Unless you want to do it here ...”
“What? No, no.” He laughs, a throaty sound that reminds me of summer thunder. One hand runs through his hair, but it’s too short to really muss up. It rises up off his forehead in a sensual sweep. “This is sort of my first time doing this.”
I find that hard to believe. “Come on, really? A hot guy like you --”
“I thought you said you were straight.” His eyes cloud over, suddenly wary.
“Straight but not blind,” I assure him. “You must look in the mirror. You know you’re hot. Don’t tell me you’ve never ...”
He laughs again, and his eyes crinkle into half-moons I’m sure women and men alike swoon over. “I’ve never paid for it,” he says. “But it’s hard to meet people, you know? And things always get so damn complicated. I thought hey, this is a one-time thing. You need the money, I just want to fool around. What’s the big deal?”
He heads out of the kitchen but takes a left instead of a right, which would put us in the living room. I follow him down a dimly-lit hall, past closed doors that lead to who knows where, to the single open door at the far end. He stands aside, arm outstretched to let me go first.
A perfect gentleman. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I’m liking this.