Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Kane loves his job waiting tables at Club Endless, but even though he’s a sub, he never dates the Doms from work. A bad relationship and a tendency to rush into things has left him cautious, which is why he’s so surprised at his reaction to Master Jess.
Jess is bored and a little jaded, thinking maybe he might let his membership to Club Endless lapse. Then he sees Kane in a whole new light, asking the young sub out on a date away from the club. Kane doesn’t want to rush into things, but they seem meant to be — if they can just get past Kane’s fear of picking the wrong man.
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Copyright ©2019 Julia Talbot
Jessup Halliday felt… old. Far older than his thirty-six years.
The entry to Club Endless was still timeless black and chrome and the hostess who took his membership card was young and sleek in a black sequined sheath and heels. Her hose even had seams up the back, marching in a straight line. Perfect in every way.
He was a founding member of Club Endless, and while it had changed with the times, it was as amazing as it had been when it first opened, while managing to stay current.
So why was he feeling… jaded?
He sighed. Maybe he needed to let his membership go dormant for a while. Write it off as a contribution or something. Take a long vacation in Italy. He loved Rome. Or maybe the coast.
Mmm. Italy. Yes, that was just the ticket.
He knew he’d hit on the perfect idea after the hostess slid his membership card, then headed for the dining room.
“Good evening, Master Halliday.” The server, one of his favorites, led him to a table. “Italian tonight.”
“Yum. Northern or Southern?”
“You have several choices. Shall I tell you, or would you prefer to read the menu?” Kane held out his chair.
“Oh, I think you should tell me. I do love your voice.”
Kane blinked, then beamed at him. “Let me get your water, and I’ll be pleased to recite them.”
It amazed Jess, really, how little it took to make people happy. He needed to remember that, and stop wallowing in his ennui.
Kane was back in a flash, laying out his water and silverware, which was all polished impeccably. “There now. Are you ready, Sir?”
“I am.” He sat back, watching Kane’s mouth as he spoke,
“Very good. For primi, we have risotto al funghi, polenta with caramelized fennel and onions, or cacio e pepe. Do you need any ingredient lists?”
“Mmm, no. They all sound lovely.”
“They all smell amazing.” Kane chuckled. “For secondi, we have veal saltimbocca, bistecca Fiorentina, or baccala alla vicentina, served with an arugula salad and garlic toasts.”
So, rice with mushrooms, corn grits with fennel, or pasta with oil and pepper. Normally didn’t indulge in veal, so it was the steak or the salted cod cooked with milk and anchovies… Hmm. “I’ll have the risotto and the baccala, I think.”
“Brave! I haven’t been able to make myself try the fish.”
He tilted his head, almost certain he was being flirted with, which was new from Kane. “You’ll have to try mine.”
“Oh!” Kane blushed. “Thank you, Sir. Let me get that order in for you. Do you care for soup or grissini?”
“The breadsticks, please. I went without lunch today.” Suddenly the club seemed shinier. Not new, and not better than Italy, but he did like when a beautiful boy batted eyelashes at him. He truly did.
“Wine? There’s a lovely Chianti, or a pinot grigio.”
“The pinot grigio, I think, for the fish.”
He didn’t bother to ask about the wines. Their sommelier, Grant, was something of a genius.
Jess closed his eyes, listening to the gentle clink of flatware on plates, the soft music that never managed to make anyone raise their voices to be heard over it. The murmur of conversation ran over him like water, the tables arranged so no voice ever carried too far or intruded on another table.
It was damnably lonely.
“Jess! Hey, buddy. Mind if I sit?” Deacon Calhoun stood next to his table when he opened his eyes, the big Dom looking very snazzy in gray slacks and a blue silk shirt.
“Not at all.” He liked Deacon very much. “No Geoff tonight?”
“He’s preparing for a scene. We’re giving a spanking demo tonight.”
“Ah. No dinner for him.”
“Exactly. He’s having some quiet time and some broth, but I want some red meat, I think.”
“By all means, then. I hear there’s steak Florentine.”
Deacon sank into a chair. “What little bird told you that?”
“Kane is on tonight.”
Head tilting, Deacon stared at him for long seconds. “Have you taken him as a lover recently?”
“What? No. No, in fact I was thinking of taking a hiatus, maybe a vacation. Paris. Rome. I feel… worn.”
“Oh.” Deacon sat back. “I’m sorry. Something about your expression when you mentioned Kane…”
“Master Deacon. How are you this evening?” Kane handed Deacon a menu. “Here are the specials tonight. May I bring you some water?”
“Please.” Deacon smiled at Kane, and was given a gentle curl of lips in return.
Huh. Maybe he was getting flirted with. Kane certainly didn’t offer to read the menu to Deacon.
“Be right back.” Kane gave him a smile that was completely different, and Jess couldn’t help but feel it deep in his belly.
He’d been so… disinterested in everything, and he couldn’t have imagined it would be someone so familiar to him who might spark that bit of desire. Not that Kane wasn’t lovely. He drew glances with his silver gilt hair and gray eyes, his form lithe, almost delicate. Men, and probably women, would write poetry about such a beautiful boy.
“You know he’s between Masters, right?”
Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where she’s embraced hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia believes everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved.