Pretty Boy (Perfect Boys #1) by K.M. Neuhold
“Great. So, what caught you up?”
I kick off my shoes and get comfortable on the bed, trying to decide how much to tell him. Unfortunately, he knows me well enough that my silence speaks for itself.
“Who is he?” he asks, his voice dripping with amusement. “Let me guess, some pretty little twink who batted his eyes at you and pressed all your Daddy buttons? He didn’t pickpocket you while you swooned over him like that boy in New York, did he?”
“It’s a little more complicated than that.” Although, granted not by much. I can’t imagine Sterling batting his eyelashes and pulling the whole help me, Daddy bit that most boys do as soon as they catch sight of my black card. No, Sterling is guileless, which makes him all the more intriguing.
“It’s sex; how complicated can it be?” he asks, and I chuckle.
“I haven’t fucked him.” Not that I didn’t spend my time in Dallas fantasizing about getting back here and bending Sterling over the bar. But after today, I have a new goal: getting him the hell out of Billow.
Kiernan is quiet for a few seconds on the other end of the line. “Be careful, okay?”
“He’s a tiny little thing, couldn’t hurt me if he tried.” I absently smooth the wrinkles on the comforter.
“You know what I’m talking about.” His voice is stern, and I almost laugh again at his attempt to use his Daddy voice on me.
“I’ll be fine,” I assure him. “And, hopefully, I’ll be home within a week.” If I can convince Sterling to come with me.
“All right, well, have fun and let me know when you’re back in the city.”
“Will do. Talk to you later, man.”
We hang up, and I decide a shower is in order. Stripping out of my clothes, I head for the bathroom, trying my best not to wonder how often this place gets a thorough cleaning, because I’m certain I wouldn’t like the answer. Instead, I focus on Sterling. More specifically, how I can prove to him that I’m not trying to give him charity. It’s an interesting problem, because all of my instincts are screaming at me to shower him with fancy dinners and whatever else his heart might desire. Hell, I’m not even sure he’s interested in men. I need to get to know him before I get myself all twisted up trying to woo him.
But, how am I supposed to get to know him when he so stubbornly seems to want nothing to do with me? The bar he works at is probably a good place to start. He can’t run away while he’s working a shift, which means I’m about to become a new regular.
I grin, stepping under the hot shower spray, pleased with my plan of action. I’m going to find out as much as I can about the sweet, insecure boy who refuses to take anything from me, and then I’m going to find a way to give him the things he deserves, even if it turns out he’s not interested in me.
I think back to the heat in his eyes when I told him to be a good boy, and my whole body buzzes at the memory. I’d bet my vast fortune that he’s not only interested, but that some part of him is dying to be a good boy for the right Daddy; he just doesn’t know it yet.
I’m ashamed to say that I think about Barrett while I make myself a sandwich and get ready for work. I think about the dangerous look in his eyes when he grabbed Bryson by the throat, starkly contrasted by the softness in them when he looked at me. It’s silly, but it made me feel sorta…special, I guess.
Butterflies dance in my stomach until I sternly tell myself to quit. A guy can get himself hurt getting all caught up in a fantasy like that. Of course Barrett doesn’t think I’m special. I’m not special. Heck, I’d settle for ordinary if I could.
I avoid looking into the bathroom mirror while I brush my teeth and run a comb through my hair, and then shuffle down the hall to my room to get dressed for work. I can hear my mama rustling about in her room when I pass it. Hearing her settles some of my worries. Sometimes I get to thinking terrible things might happen to her, but it doesn’t feel like I can do nothing to stop them. All I can do is keep a roof over her head and hope for the best.
I keep an eye out for Bryson or Tommy as I walk to Billow’s Tavern, relief filling me when I reach the bar without any trouble.
“Evenin’ Sterling,” Miss Maggie greets me when I step inside. She’s owned the tavern since before I was born. Her husband owned it before that, until he died under what some people say were very mysterious circumstances. Now, I’m not saying Miss Maggie killed him, but that is what a lotta folks ‘round here think. She’s always been kind to me though, so as far as I’m concerned, either it was an accident or she musta had a darn good reason to do it.
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