Joey Santiago works for his uncle, the de facto leader of the Santiago crime family. His usual job is to drive escorts to and from their appointments with high-paying clients. He likes his duties well enough and doesn’t judge the escorts for making money off sex. So when his uncle asks him to check on the welfare of Raleigh Patterson, one of the male escorts, Joey does as he’s ordered without question, especially since he’s grown fond of the attractive man.
Raleigh has been an escort for the Santiagos since he turned eighteen. They treat him well and he’s even been able to put himself through college with the money he earns. But now that he’s in his thirties, he worries that getting older will soon hurt his livelihood since many clients prefer young twinks. Plus, he’s having difficulties with his homophobic family insisting he return home to Louisiana and take his place as the head of his mother’s coven. When Raleigh refuses their demand, they resort to violence, kidnapping, and witchcraft to force him to change his mind.
When Joey discovers that Raleigh has been beaten, he can’t stop himself from getting involved in the man’s troubles. Even as the attraction between them grows, Raleigh and Joey must figure out a way to save Raleigh from the ruthless plots of the coven. And if they don’t find a solution soon, Raleigh could lose everything he’s come to cherish...including Joey.
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (28k words)
Length: Novella (28k words)
Read a short excerpt...
...Joey headed toward Raleigh’s apartment, hoping nothing bad had happened to the guy. Joey liked Raleigh, though he didn’t see him often. Raleigh was one of the older escorts, and he had his own designated driver when he went out. He also had a set list of clients and rarely took new ones. The Santiagos charged a lot of money for a night with Raleigh. From what Joey heard, he was worth it.
The women and men who worked for the Santiagos were treated well. They actually got to keep a good portion of their earnings. Mostly because Lorna believed that people who were good at their jobs should be paid what they’re worth. Even if they’re whores and rent boys. It kept them happy, and happy workers meant less hassle for the family.
After leaving the car in the parking complex a block from Raleigh’s building, Joey strolled up the steps to the intercom, then pushed the button for Raleigh’s apartment.
A few minutes later, Raleigh said, “Hello?”
He smiled at the faint accent in the man’s voice. Raleigh had moved up north when he was sixteen, but he still had a slight Southern drawl.
“Hey, Raleigh, it’s Joey Santiago. Uncle Frank sent me over to check and make sure you’re okay.”
“I’m fine, Joey. You tell Frank I’ll call him tomorrow.”
Joey’s gut didn’t like how Raleigh rushed out those reassurances. “Ah, you know it doesn’t work that way. He’ll just keep sending me back here until I lay eyes on you. So you might as well let me in this time.”
Raleigh’s tired sigh came over the intercom, and Joey wanted to wrap the man up in a tight hug. Which was weird because Joey only tended to hug the girls and would never presume to touch Raleigh in that way. Not because he was a guy or anything like that.
Hell, Joey’d fucked a couple guys when he wanted to get his rocks off and there weren’t any girls around. He’d never thought about whether he was straight, bi, or gay. Sex was sex, no matter who he did it with.
No, that wasn’t why he’d never thought about touching Raleigh. There was something elegant and regal in the way Raleigh carried himself. A way that said he might sell his body for money, but he’d never sold his soul. His self-worth wasn’t tied up in what he did for a living, though Joey wouldn’t be shocked if Raleigh wasn’t damn proud of how he’d paid his way through college and could support himself rather well with this job.
Raleigh never seemed ashamed of who he was and what he did. It was that self-acceptance and confidence that both scared and attracted Joey, and caused him to treat Raleigh differently from the others.
“All right, Joey. I’ll let you in.”
The buzzer sounded, unlocking the door. After Joey entered the foyer, he waited until the door shut and relocked, not wanting someone who didn’t belong there to slip in behind him. He’d seen enough movies and TV shows to know that was one way bad guys got into places they shouldn’t.
Once the entrance was secure, he wandered to the elevators, then punched in Raleigh’s floor. While riding up, he pulled out his phone and sent a text to Candice about getting Rocky to come pick her up when she was done. She was a good girl and wouldn’t complain since Rocky was a cool guy.
Uncle Frank had to be careful about hiring guys to drive around the escorts. A lot of the drivers seemed to have the idea their job meant they could get free pussy. Joey and Rocky talked to each new hire, letting him know the escorts were off limits, unless the girls—or guys—themselves said it was okay.
He knocked on Raleigh’s door and waited.
“Is that you, Joey?” Raleigh called through the wood.
“Yeah, Raleigh. It’s me.”
His smile disappeared when Raleigh opened the door, revealing a split lip and black eye...