Will is certain there’s truth to the phrase that no good deed goes unpunished.
William Blunt thought posing for a charity calendar would be fun. Instead, it’s kind of tedious and stressful, and his boyfriend begins to display some alarmingly jealous behavior. Once the shoot is over—again—he’s ready to move on to other things, one of which is, eventually, a healthier relationship.
Breaking up isn’t hard to do, and Will vows to learn from his past dating disasters. What he doesn’t count on is meeting a man whose smile turns his world upside down. Baz is gorgeous, but more than that, he’s intriguing and funny, and he seems to be as interested in Will as Will is in him.
But all is not smooth sailing, and a murder complicates the personal issues both men are already struggling with.
Baz Bennett spotted the tall, brooding man the moment he walked into Busca’s. While not what one would consider classically handsome, he was attractive in all the ways that flipped the fun switches for Baz. Broad-shouldered, gorgeous brown hair that was long enough to be pulled back into a short ponytail, a neatly trimmed beard and features that were rugged and masculine—wideset eyes, thick eyebrows, a long nose that tipped down just the slightest and a mouth Baz wanted to lick.
Well, he wanted to lick all the man’s parts, but that’d get him fired since he was working, and drooling over a customer was frowned upon.
But Baz could work the odds in his favor for getting a date with the stud.
He leaned over to Nessa, the hostess. “Hey, Nessa. I’ll give you twenty bucks if you seat that tall stud muffin at one of my tables.”
Nessa was old enough to be Baz’s mom, and she acted like that was what she was. She flicked an annoyed glance at him even though her lips twitched as she fought back a smile. “You know we’re not supposed to do that.”
Baz gave her the best puppy-eyes he could manage. He’d worked on that expression for many a day in front of a mirror. “Please? He looks lonely, and I’m lonely. You wouldn’t want me to die all—”
“Oh geez, cut it out. You’ve got a customer at table seven staring at you and holding an empty glass.”
“Oops.” Baz darted one more glance at the handsome man before hurrying over to table seven. His smile was genuine as he took the proffered glass. “Sorry about that. Would you like the same thing, sweet tea? And maybe a slice of pie for dessert? On the house, since I wasn’t as quick as I should have been.” He’d pay for the pie out of his tips and without regrets.
“Yes, and pie would be great. Pecan, please.”
Baz assured the customer he’d be right back, and when he returned with the tea and pie, his heart did a little happy dance when he saw that Nessa had done him a solid after all.
“You’re the best,” he mouthed to her as she winked at him.
Baz straightened his black apron and hoped his hair was still gelled to perfection. Five hours on his feet could, however odd it seemed, mess it up. He was glad Nessa had set Mr. Stud at the last table in Baz’s area, which meant there was an empty table on either side of the customer. Baz tried for a sultry smile as he sauntered over.
And damn, up close, Mr. Stud was even hotter.
“Welcome to Busca’s. My name is Baz, and you are?” Not his usual server line, but hey, a guy could flirt a little.
“Uh.” Mr. Stud blinked at him a couple of times then set down the menu Nessa had given him. “Um. Will. Is that— Is exchanging names a thing now?”
Baz moved closer to the table. “Well, Will, it isn’t the norm, but I am exceptional, and I’d bet you are, too.” He said it with enough cheese to make sure Will knew he was joking, at least about himself.
Will didn’t disappoint. He chuckled and the warm, free sound of that little slice of happiness made Baz’s chest tingle. “You’re something, that’s for sure.”
Baz grinned and winked. “Is that something good, or something bad? Because I can be both. I’m very good at being bad.”
Will laughed and Baz felt like he’d won a grand prize.
“I bet you are.” Will leaned back in his chair and gazed at Baz with the prettiest green eyes he had ever seen. They were bright and rich in color, and Baz could have stared into them all day. “I’ve only been here once before. Tell me what you’d recommend for me tonight.”
Baz repressed a lewd comment that would have been out of line. Besides, it was too soon to be offering himself up on the table. “Well,” Baz drawled, reaching for the menu. He flipped it open. “A big, strong guy like you needs his protein.”
Will almost choked on his own saliva. “Oh yeah?”
“Do you like oysters?” Baz asked. “We have the best Oysters Rockefeller you’ll ever taste.”
“Oysters aren’t really an aphrodisiac.”
Baz waggled his eyebrows. “That’s because you’ve never had ours.” He sniffed and caught a scent of shifter. “Hm. What are you, stud?”
“Stud?” Will laughed as he shook his head. “Are you working me for a big tip?” Baz couldn’t help it. He leered a little. “Not the kind you’re insinuating I’m after.”
Will might have blushed. It was hard to tell with the lighting and beard, but Baz thought he saw a hint of color through it.
“Too much?” Baz asked. “Should I rein it in?” “I...” Will pressed his lips together. Yep. I went too far. Time to be a professional. “Okay, then. The Oyster Rockefeller is divine,
but if that’s not your cup of tea, we have an incredible bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer, or our house salad, which is unlike any other house salad you’ll ever have. If you’d like a steak, our dry-aged bone-in ribeye is melt-in-your-mouth perfection. There’s also the porterhouse if you’re really hungry. It’s huge at—”
“I just broke up with my boyfriend.” Will ducked his head. “Sorry. You didn’t want to know that.”
“Au contraire,” Baz countered. “I want to know whatever you feel like sharing. I think you’re very attractive, and I should be doing my job instead of flirting.” He made a split-second decision that could get him fired if word got back to the owner...if the owner weren’t family. Baz jotted down his number on the pad he kept in his apron, even though none of the servers were allowed to write down customers’ orders. “Here. If you just need a friend, I can do that. If you want more—” He waggled his eyebrows again as Will took the paper from him. “Now, let me be all professional and get your order in so you can lose yourself in a fabulous steak.”
Will looked at the piece of paper, then he smiled and tucked it in his shirt pocket. “Thanks.”
Baz tucked the notepad away. “No problem, and no pressure. I tend to come on strong in all things. A bit too much for some guys to handle, and I know that.” And he wasn’t going to confess his so-called shortcomings to Will. “If you need more time to decide what you’d like to order, I can give you a few minutes. Would you like something other than water to drink?”
Will closed the menu. “I’ll have the bacon-wrapped shrimp, because bacon, and the New York Strip, medium well, with a baked sweet potato, fully loaded. I’d like the red lager, too. I think that’s about it.”
“You get a roll with your meal. Whole wheat or white?” Baz asked.
“Neither. I’m good without one.” Will handed the menu to Baz. “And thank you. I mean it. You brightened my evening.”
Baz fluttered his lashes as he took a quick bow. “I live to serve. Or serve so I can live. You know how it goes with bills.” He winked and thought he could get addicted to Will’s laugh all too easily.
More About Bailey...
Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Who needs sleep? Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey's brain and demanding to be let out.
Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey's office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey's presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances
Author Page Pride-Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/index.php?route=product/author/info&author_id=114