Tino Santini is offered the role of Personal Assistant to his wealthy CEO, after being trapped with him in an elevator just before Thanksgiving. It seems a night of scorching sex can do wonders for a flagging career.
Now his new boss wants more of Tino’s talented mouth as well as his organisational skills. Neither of them expect their professional relationship and private arrangement to be anything other than business, until a personal tragedy means that Richard needs Tino more than ever.
Wealthy pansexual businessman, Richard Mason, seems to have it all, but a former female lover, a New York gangster and a murky past all threaten to destroy his chance of happiness.
Tino is the sensible employee who gets stuck with Richard in the elevator, but a bottle of cognac, some donuts and an indecent proposal send him on a hedonistic journey of sex, murder and possibly love.
Author’s Note: Richard Mason first appeared in Jayne Lockwood’s novel, Closer Than Blood. Whilst some elements of that story are mentioned in this book, this is not a sequel.
- Format : paperback and ebook
- ASIN : B082P4MRZL
- Paperback ASIN : 167519288X
- D2D ISBN : 9781393267065
- Print Length : 291 pages
- Publisher : Hollow Hills Publishing (13 Jan 2020)
- Language: : English
“Quite a week, hey, Valentino?”
“Yup. I’m just finishing this.” Tino wanted to type up some notes he had written, ready for the morning.
“Save it. Come into my office.” Mason didn’t wait for him to comply. He went back to his vast desk and slumped in the seat.
Tino saved his work and closed his laptop. It was almost seven, and the office had fallen quiet.
Mason had a bottle of Jim Beam Black on his desk, and two tumblers. “You drink this shit?”
“Not my drink of choice. I prefer a cocktail, if I’m honest.”
Mason poured a finger of bourbon into each glass. “When you’re with me, you drink this. Sip it. Don’t knock it back.”
Tino was glad he had said that, because even a sip made him cough. In silence they watched the city turn to night.
“The glass is one way,” Mason said in a conversational tone. “No one can see in here.”
“Right.” Another sip, going down easier this time. Tino felt a warmth in his belly, and the stresses of the week slowly easing away.
“One day I’m going to fuck you blind over my desk,” Mason said in the same calm tone. “But not tonight. I’m just too goddamned tired.”
Tino didn’t reply. He didn’t know how to feel about Mason just assuming they would be having sex in the near future. Half of him was highly aroused by the thought, and the other resented the hell out of it.
“You need to go home.” Mason was watching him.
Tino thought he was being dismissed. He stood up, not relishing the journey back on the subway, or the half mile walk to his apartment in the freezing rain.
“Have a good weekend, Mr. Mason.”
“My driver will take you. As a bonus, I’m coming along for the ride.” Mason drained his drink.
“It’s fine, I can take the subway.”
“You don’t want me to take you home?”
“It’s…. not a great area, sir.”
“So you’re embarrassed. Don’t be. Believe me, I’ve crashed in more than my fair share of shit holes. That reminds me…” He opened a drawer in his desk and tossed something at Tino.
He caught it on reflex and stared at the tightly bound wad of hundred-dollar bills.
“Nice catch. Here’s another.” Mason lobbed another wad at him. Tino knew he was looking at ten thousand dollars, right there in his hand.
“My tailor in Christopher Street is expecting you tomorrow morning, ten o’clock.”
“That tie is a fucking disgrace. Go to Saks. Buy nothing but silk, got it?”
Tino glanced down at himself. “Mama bought me this tie.”
“Where from, the goodwill shop?”
Tino bridled at the insult. “Maybe. She don’t have the same kind of cash you do.”
Mason lowered the file he was holding and looked at him. “Did you just call me out over my privilege, just after I gave you $10,000 to spend on yourself?”
Tino put the two rolls of bank notes on the table, the whole thing making him uncomfortable.
“I can’t accept this, sir.”
“Relax, Tino. You’re not Julia Roberts. This isn’t Pretty Woman. You represent me when I’m not here. If you’re dressed like a Sears catalogue it makes me look bad. You get my point?”
Mason had hit the nail of what had been bothering him. He didn’t want to feel like Mason’s whore, but a valid member of the Wolfen team.
“So take the fucking money, Valentino, and my entitled white ass apologizes to your mother.” There was acid in his voice.
After a moment, Tino picked up the money. “Thanks,” he muttered.
“What are your plans this weekend?”
Tino’s heart sank. “Family lunch on Sunday. My nonna would slaughter me if I didn’t go.”
“She’s a wise woman. What would she say if you turned up with me?”
Tino looked at him in alarm. “They … don’t know… about me.”
Mason’s eyes narrowed. “They don’t know you work here? How so?”
“Not that. They don’t know I’m … gay. Well, Nonna Sofia does, and mama, but my father and brothers don’t.” He shrugged helplessly. “It would kill my father. He’s still waiting for me to bring a girl home.”
Mason massaged his temples and sighed. “First off, I meant if I turned up as your boss, not the man who reams your ass on a regular basis.”
Tino’s face flamed. “Oh! Right, sorry.”
“And don’t you think you should have told me about your family situation from the very start? You know what I am, Tino. You know the media would love to have a picture of me getting out of a limo with a hot young guy and speculate who the hell it is. I don’t give a shit about that. I fuck who I want to fuck and if Wolfen loses business from the homophobes, then fuck them. Let the trash take itself out. But you have people you care about, and consequently, I care about those people too. That’s why I need to know everything about you, Valentino. Every fucking thing!” He slammed his hand on the desk, making Tino jump.
“I’m sorry, it just isn’t a subject you bring up in normal conversation, is it? And you’ve hardly been here! When have I had the chance to say, ‘by the way, my father doesn’t know I’m gay?’ We’ve hardly spoken.”
“We’ve talked several times a day for the last five days!” Mason yelled at him.
“About work. Not about private stuff!”
“Christ, Tino! I need to know these things. Is there anything else you care to share with me?”
“I… I’ve smoked weed a couple of times.”
Mason looked incredulous. “Is that it?”
“Had my dick sucked in an alley outside Peaches? It’s a gay club in…”
“I know where it is.”
“It was once. On my thirtieth birthday. He wasn’t very good at it.”
Mason looked unimpressed. “So that’s it.”
“Couple of speeding fines, and a caution from a police officer for shoplifting some gum when I was ten.”
“What car do you drive?”
“A Pinto. It’s really old. And… beige. It was my nonna’s car.”
Mason let out a breath. “Has anyone ever told you you’re boring as fuck?”
“My last boyfriend did. On the day I left him.”
Mason went to the window and looked out. “Well, he’s wrong. You just need to start living. Broaden your horizons.”
“That’s why I want this job, sir.”
“I’ll see what I can do about that. Do you want to drive around the city in my stretch and get fucked up?”
Tino couldn’t help but smile at the beguiling smirk on Mason’s face.”Absolutely, sir.”