Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : A. J. Llewellyn
Word Count :29051
Publication Date :2018-10-05
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-2182-3
Can Daren actually forge a viable relationship with the sexy and hypnotic Rafael—for as long as they both shall live—in a town where the men don’t always cherish their men?
When Hollywood theatrical agent Daren Marlowe celebrates his thirtieth birthday with friends, he’s more than surprised when his best friend gives him a CD that is a revamp of the old 80s’ mixed tape. He’s even more surprised when he realizes it’s a re-gifted mixed tape. The first song on the CD is the syrupy Kool and the Gang classic, ‘Cherish.’ When Daren takes it home, he has no plans to look at the CD again, let alone play it, but his new lover, Rafael, puts it on the sound system.
Daren gets to Cherish the love over and over and over again because the darned thing is stuck. Forced to close off the sound system entirely, he frets over being held hostage by the song, and he’s not wrong. In a bizarre set of circumstances, Richard is assaulted and almost dies. Will he survive? Can Daren actually forge a viable relationship with the sexy and hypnotic Rafael—for as long as they both shall live—in a town where the men don’t always cherish their men?
“Bend over, girlfriend.”
I stood, blinded by the lights as the drag queen bingo caller screeched this right in my ear and into her microphone across the crowded restaurant.
How could I look like a hot, sexy man in front of my new date with the drag queen calling me girlfriend? Not to mention the fact she wanted to spank me in front of everybody because I’d won a bingo.
“Spank him! Spank him!” people began to chant. And oh, Lord, wouldn’t you know it, Rafael, my hot new date was leading the charge.
Why, oh why, had I let my friends talk me into dinner at Hamburger Mary’s?
I stuffed down my humiliation and bent. Just slightly.
It was enough to give that vicious queen the room she needed to haul off and pound my ass with her ping-pong bat.
I never knew a ping-pong bat could hurt so much. She put a little too much wrist action into her attack. And it was an attack. I looked over my shoulder, and she was aiming for me again.
“He likes it!” she screamed to the masses.
No, I don’t!
Everyone was laughing as my embarrassment intensified. Straightening now, I turned around, eager for my prize.
It was Drag Queen Bingo Night at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood. All the proceeds for these evenings went to deserving charities. And of course, it was supposed to be fun. I’d never won anything in my life so I wanted to savor this experience. Somehow, Mary’s also got incredible prize donations, and I’d seen people take home tremendous gifts.
The queen made a big fuss of choosing the right gift bad for me. She was a big-haired blonde in a sequined dress Diana Ross would have envied. She handed me a large, bubblegum-pink gift bag. It felt heavy. I ran back to my table, people chucking their crushed, balled-up bingo sheets at me in retaliation for my victory.
That’s how we do things at Hamburger Mary’s.
Back at the table, Rafael was laughing. All the tables were high. I climbed up onto my stool, and he reached out to help me. Wow, he was a handsome guy. His short, wavy black hair, chocolate brown eyes, and olive skin were as alluring as his heavy Spanish accent.
I wasn’t bad looking. Brown hair, blue eyes. I’d say I’m cute in an all-American boy kinda way. But Rafael…he was something else.
We’d been introduced by my best friend, Richard, who’d dated him twice and decided Rafael was not the guy for him but would be perfect for me.
Now on our third date, I hadn’t invited him to my birthday bash because I was trying to play it cool. He’d found out about it from Richard Pierce when they’d met at the gym that morning and discussed it during their pilates class.
It’s as much as I can do to concentrate on breathing and not screaming out loud during pilates. I sure can’t have lengthy conversations as I twist myself into a pretzel. But when Rafael called me, of course I was ecstatic. I liked that he sounded hurt that I hadn’t included him. I was overjoyed that he wanted to see me.
“What did you get, Daren?” Rafael’s accent, ever-present laughter, and high intelligence, combined with his looks made him devastatingly beautiful in my book. I liked the way he said my name, rolling his r’s. Daren came out a lot sexier when he said it than say, when my mom did.
I still couldn’t get over the idea that Richard didn’t think Rafael was right for him. He’d be right for anybody with a pair of eyes in his head.
The next bingo game was already in play, and Rafael had daubed some of the numbers for me. I had to hold off opening my gift bag until the game had been called. I put it on the floor beside me and got back to some serious daubing.
The tables were rowdy, and although this was supposed to be fun, everybody wanted to win. I could feel the tension mounting as people began to announce they needed one number, just one, for a bingo.
Rafael leaned close to me, kissing my cheek. I was beginning to think turning thirty wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
Maybe it was my time. Maybe I was about to have the life I’d always wanted.
“It’s not malignant,” the queen called out as she pulled a ball from the pile. “It’s…” She waited for the crowd to join in as she yelled, “B9!”
Everybody but Rafael and a few other newcomers knew the queen’s humor and screeched the number along with her.
“Bingo!” somebody shouted from two tables away.
“I get it,” Rafael said, as everyone else groaned about their missed opportunity to get spanked. “Benign. B9. She’s a character, isn’t she?” He signaled the waitress for another drink.
How many had he had? I’d been sitting on the same gin and tonic since we’d arrived half an hour ago. I glanced around the table at my friends. Ten people there and if I were honest I’d admit that five were friends. The rest were assorted acquaintances and partners of friends.