Chapter 1

Toby

 

“I DON’T know why I let you talk me into this, Leo.” I have a headache from the loud club music, my feet hurt from not being able to find a single available chair in this madhouse, and there are so many bodies packed on the dance floor, the thought of going out there makes it difficult to breathe. Instead, I’ve stuck close to the bar, leaning my back against it, so there’s at least one side of my body that no one can push up against or repeatedly grope.

Leo dances over, gyrating while sipping from his bright blue drink, a bizarre concoction complete with ridiculous-looking umbrella and wedge of pineapple hooked on the side of the glass.

“It’s my birthday, Toby. Don’t be such a party pooper! Come dance with us!” He shouts in my ear so I can hear him over the thumping bass beat. Leo sways his hips as he continues sipping from his drink. When I don’t respond, Leo thrusts the glass of blue liquid up under my nose. “Here. You need this to relax, and maybe the stick in your ass will fall out.” He shoots me a smirk. A challenge. Jutting out my chin, I snatch the glass and take a tiny sip. “Then you can replace the stick with something more pleasurable, like a nice thick cock.”

I sputter, choking, spilling the iridescent liquid all over the front of my white T-shirt. “Jesus, Leo. Warn a guy before you say shit like that!” Leo snorts, giggling uncontrollably. He’s drunk. I’m not. Being the only sober one in a bar full of wasted, half-naked men sucks. I thrust the glass back at Leo. “I’ll be right back. I have to clean this off.” Leo waves me away and sashays back onto the dance floor, where he immediately finds a super-hot guy to grind against.

Wonderful. Now, not only am I way out of my comfort zone in this loud, overcrowded club, I’m covered in sticky blue liquid and it looks like a Smurf jizzed all over me.

It takes a frustratingly long time to weave my way through the tightly packed bodies to the back hallway where the bathrooms are located. The first door I try is locked, probably a supply closet, and the second door says Office, so I keep going. At the third door, I hit pay dirt and push inside. The bathroom is enormous by bar standards, with four large stalls, four urinals, and two sinks. Surprisingly, it’s empty except for me. Mercury must be in retrograde for no one to be getting it on in the bathroom of a gay club. I wet a few paper towels in the sink. While I futilely scrub at the big blue stain, I detect a scuffling sound and a distinct moan.

What the—?

I tilt my head and hear another loud cry erupt from one of the stalls, along with a muffled “Oh God, yes, suck it.”

Holy…. So there is a couple in here getting it on.

My face bursts into flames as I hurry to finish cleaning up. Despite my best efforts to ignore the men, I can’t help but overhear their sexy moans and groans. Unfortunately, my dick also catches the show and begins to swell. Shit. I glance in the mirror to see a dark red blush staining my cheeks. My light eyes are shining with lust, and dammit, my pupils are blown. I’m full-out horny.

No. No way. I am not turned on by random stranger bathroom sex. I’m not.

My dick twitches in defiance, as if shooting me the middle finger.

In a panic, I wash my hands and dry them as fast as I can, determined to beat feet and let Leo know I’m out of here. Yet, for some reason, I can’t seem to move toward the door. Not yet. It’s been so long since I’ve had sex, and despite the fact that I’ve been pathetically living like a monk, I am in fact a normal twenty-two-year-old male. Which means a live porn show has my complete attention.

I adjust my cramped cock and nearly whimper simply from the feel of my own hand pressing on my crotch. Despite this scene being completely against my nature, I’m actually entertaining the idea of jumping in the empty stall next to the loud couple to have my own little one-man show, complete with soundtrack, when the bathroom door flies open and two giggling guys fall inside, making their way to the urinals.

Fuck! I whip my hand away from my groin. What the hell am I doing?

Humiliated, I dash out of the bathroom and into the poorly lit hall. My dick is still hard as a rock from the sexy sounds emanating from the men in the stall, likely hooking up for a quick, anonymous blowjob. With my chest heaving, I lean against the wall and try to will away my erection, which, naturally, doesn’t work. Unlike most of my friends, I’ve never had a one-night stand or hooked up in a club. Would it really be such a bad thing if I did? My cock pulses in my tight jeans, encouraging me to let loose for once in my life.

I rub the back of my neck and give it a moment’s thought. No. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to find a hookup, let alone have the guts to approach a stranger for sex. I push off the wall and pray that no one can see my embarrassing erection, but really, what does it matter? This is a gay club, for God’s sake. Half the men here have hard-ons at any given time. Still, the thought of someone noticing the bulge in my pants is enough to have my entire body burning with shame.

Time to get out of here.

I turn to leave the narrow hall, and at the exact same time, the door marked Office flies open and a handsome man steps out. He’s bigger than me, tall and burly, with auburn hair and a ginger beard. The black T-shirt pulling tight across his impressive chest displays the bar’s provocative logo.

“Excuse me.” I drop my gaze and try to make myself as small as possible as I move to duck around him.

“Wait.” The big man grabs my wrist, and my heart leaps into my throat.

Oh God. He sees my hard-on.

My adrenal gland kicks into high gear, flooding my veins with anxiety and embarrassment. Heart pounding, I spin around and yank out of the man’s hold as I attempt to control the tightness in my chest.

The guy holds up his hands to show he isn’t trying to pull any shit with me. “Sorry, buddy. Didn’t mean to startle you. I was just wondering if I could talk to you for a second in the office.” He nods toward the door.

With a huff, I cross my arms over my chest, then uncross them and scratch my head, unsure what to do with my hands. “Why on earth would I go in there with you? I don’t know you.” Plus, I might be athletic and in good shape, but I’m the opposite of huge. This guy has a half a foot and at least forty pounds on me.

The man grins, his navy-blue eyes sparkling. He holds out one of his giant mitts. “Griff Freeman. I own this club.”

I eye his hand warily but end up shaking it despite the overwhelming urge to flee. “Toby Bennett.” We drop hands, and because I’m an idiot, I can’t help but explain myself. “I haven’t done anything wrong.” He’s not bringing me into the office to kick me out because I overheard sex in the bathroom, is he? They don’t do that, do they?

Griff laughs. “No. You haven’t. But what I want to discuss is a sensitive matter. You’d be doing me a huge favor if you’d just duck into my office for a quick second.”

Sensitive? Now I’m on high alert, my muscles drawing as tight as a bow. I take a step back.

“A favor? What kind of favor?”

“Trust me, kid. You’ll probably end up thanking me,” Griff says, grinning.

Griff holds open the office door and awaits my decision.

It feels like this is a crossroads of sorts. I can continue hiding, letting my past run my life, or I can take a chance and throw caution to the wind. What the hell do I have to lose? For the first time in my life, I don’t overthink my decision. Instead, I walk through that damn door with my head held high….

And my jaw drops open when I look around inside.

 

 

Van

 

FROM MY position across the room, I take in the lean, attractive man who walks through the door. Griff did well. Very, very well. He brought me the exact one I wanted. The one I pointed out near the bar. This guy is exactly my type.

If I had to guess, from the wary look in his eyes, I’d say the young man is about my age, though he looks significantly younger due to his small frame and full lips. He’s several inches under six feet but well toned without being overly huge. His dark, almost black hair flops down over his brows, and his skin is pale and smooth, without a single blemish or spot on it. But what really draws me in, what I couldn’t see in the camera feed in the dark club, are crystal blue eyes so light they remind me of the massive glaciers in Alaska. Only this man’s eyes aren’t icy and cold, they’re warm and inviting and… very frightened?

“I’ll leave you two to talk,” Griff says from behind the beautiful man.

“What?” The blue-eyed beauty spins around, gaping as Griff takes off. Once the door shuts, he slowly turns back to me, his face a mask of worry and suspicion. Damn, it wasn’t my intention to freak the guy out.

“Have a seat.” I point at the black leather and chrome chair next to mine, both placed opposite Griff’s incredibly tidy desk—the neat freak—and throw him a wink. The man doesn’t move. In fact, he looks as if he’s about to bolt. I can’t have that. I’m too intrigued to let this one go without at least getting him to talk to me.

I stand up, and his eyes nearly bug out of his head. Okay, so I’m big. Really big. Six foot six, two hundred and ten pounds—I know I can be intimidating under certain circumstances, and it serves me well. Except when I’m trying to be a regular guy. Unfortunately, the much smaller man Griff brought in isn’t exactly receptive to whatever vibes I’m putting out.

I don’t understand why this guy is so skittish. Most people are either shocked speechless when they meet me or gush a never-ending line of embarrassing praise.

Is it possible he doesn’t recognize me?

Nope. No way. Everyone in LA recognizes me. Hell, everyone everywhere recognizes me. Which is precisely my problem. More so since the team won the playoffs last week, giving the Wild Cats their first Super Bowl appearance in eighteen years.

“I-I should go,” my guest stammers. “I think there’s been a mistake.” His voice is as beautiful as the man himself, breathy and soft but clearly masculine.

If he won’t come to me, I’ll go to him. I walk across the room, and as I get nearer, he flattens his body against the door. His skin is so flawless and pale I can see his pulse fluttering at his throat. From this close, it’s apparent the man is quite a bit shorter than I originally thought. Maybe almost a foot less than my own admittedly imposing height. Griff knows I like my men small and fit, but this one… there are no words. He’s positively breathtaking.

“What’s your name, gorgeous?” I should wait for permission, wait to see if he’s receptive to my advances, but I can’t help myself. I reach out and skim the back of my knuckles across the perfect skin of his throat, stopping to feel the beat of his heart beneath my fingertips before removing my hand.

“I-I’m Toby.”

“Toby. You’re….” I struggle to come up with the proper words to describe his beauty, only to find I’m speechless. I move closer and hear Toby’s breath hitch. “Hey, I’m Van.”

Toby blinks those big blue eyes, showing off the thick black lashes that frame them. I rake my gaze down Toby’s perfect, lithe body and spot the substantial bulge in his so-tight-they-should-be-illegal jeans. It seems Toby isn’t exactly as averse to hooking up with me as he wants me to believe. Or maybe he’s turned on by the thrill of the unknown. Taking another chance, I close the distance and press my hips against him, letting Toby feel how turned on I am. We rub and grind on one another in a sensual full-body caress, and Toby groans. His eyelids grow heavy and flutter shut.

“Why me?” Toby asks, his voice raspy with lust. “You’re….” He opens his eyes and motions at my body as if that one gesture says it all. “Why not go out in the club and take your pick?”

I’m shocked. Toby really doesn’t recognize me. Doesn’t know why I can’t waltz out to the middle of the dance floor in a gay bar and pick up a man.

My brows scrunch together, and I put my hands on either side of his perfect face, skimming my thumbs across the smooth skin. “I did take my pick, Toby. I chose you.”

Toby blushes and gasps, parting those perfect red lips. Unable to wait a second longer, I lower my head and take my first taste of this gorgeous specimen. Sweet alcohol and something purely Toby bursts across my tongue. I sigh as he melts against me. Fucking perfect. Toby is definitely going to be one to remember.