With Gems now under new management, change is certain to be coming. As the men grapple with the upheaval, legalities, and updated rules, certain things never change: the clientele, the soft beep of a credit card being scanned, and the beauty that the men of Gems are known for.
When Garnet is employed to escort a client to a charity fundraiser, he catches the eye of Colchester Colts star quarterback Sterling Vesco, and is instantly attracted to the tall, dark, handsome, and incredibly aloof footballer.
Try as he may, Sterling can’t ignore the captivating ginger on the arm of another man. A chance encounter in the men’s room leads Garnet and Sterling into a passionate but hidden affair that just might end up ruining a career or ending a life.
Or perhaps both…
One – Sterling
“Vesco! Hold up a minute!”
I paused by the Gatorade coolers, helmet in my hand, as the Colts owner jogged along the sidelines, grinning at me as if I held the secrets of the ancients. Seeing Aubrey Lewes made the gloomy November day seem even more overcast. If I’d have been a little quicker leaving the field after our light workout/strategy meeting, I might have been able to avoid him at least until after the game tomorrow.
“Mr. Lewes,” I said with a smile that I prayed looked authentic. “I didn’t know you were in the state today.”
He smiled up at me; a man with a plan, I could see it in his eyes. “Flew up early from Mar-a-Lago for the game tomorrow. Bergman didn’t work you too hard today did he? Didn’t tax that arm of yours too much?”
“No, sir, it was just a light walkthrough practice. My arm’s good to go.”
“Glad to hear it.” He gave me a grin that chilled my marrow. His eyes were blue as a cornflower, his hair thick and silver. Always impeccably dressed. He was a tall man, not quite as lanky as my six foot five frame but well over six feet. He also lacked about a hundred pounds off my two hundred and forty-five. What he gave up in height and weight, he made up for in other ways. I’d been hoping I’d be able to avoid this. My gaze met Stew Rankle, one of my offensive linebackers, then I quickly averted my eyes. “I can’t have our starring quarterback sidelined against Minnesota because his head coach worked him too hard.”
“No need to worry, sir. I’ll be one hundred percent tomorrow,” I said, wishing like hell I could have gotten to the locker room faster. That’s the last time I stick around to talk to Borkowski about his pulled hamstring.
“Of course you will. And we’re going to win this game. You’d not want to let the gubernatorial booster squad down, would you?”
My stomach bottomed out. Motherfuckers. He studied my reaction closely. I merely nodded that I understood the message that had been hand-delivered. A rarity, as it was usually Lewes’ weaselly little personal assistant, Morton Briggs, who tracked me down to whisper in my ear. Maybe the little ferret had rabies and had been put down. I’d grown to hate both men with equal amounts of venom.
“No, sir, I’d not want to let our boosters down,” I replied with all the emotion of a stone.
Call me boy one more time…
“Ah, here’s the press.” He smiled and made nice with the glut of reporters that had swooped down on us. “I’ll leave you all to chat with Sterling.” He grinned and shook a few hands, then strutted off to talk to the head coach. My fingers tightened around the facemask on my dark blue helmet as I answered mundane questions while staring a hole through Lewes.
If I beat that asshole around the head with my helmet, would my agent be able to negotiate a contract for me on another team or would that be the end of my career? Would jailtime be worth it?
Yes, yes it would be.
The informal presser lasted for about ten minutes. I’d been polite and the owner was still alive, so I felt good about that. There wasn’t much else to feel good about anymore. If I had known just how things would go down on this team, I wouldn’t have signed that rookie contract after being drafted by the Colts. I’d have taken my first round draft status and gone somewhere else. But I’d been impressed with the way the team had been playing and my agent had said I’d not get a better offer now that the rookie wage scale was a thing. So, I signed for the twenty-five million. Now, I had two more years left out of the five year contract to muddle through while trying not to accost the man who was paying me five million dollars a year.
Leaving the field as if my ass were on fire, I found the locker room filling up now that our light practice had wrapped. Keeping my eyes on feet or faces, I moved through my team, talking, rapping knuckles, and doing my best to keep morale high. We’d lost a tough one last week to Baltimore, so were looking to crush Minnesota tomorrow to try to keep from sliding any closer to the bottom in the northern division. We’d only played four games so far, losing them all aside from the opening day game.
Showering helped ease the tension in my neck that Lewes caused, but I was always careful to not look down when a teammate walked into my stall to talk to me. Eye to eye contact only. That had been drummed into my head by my father the day that I’d started playing football.
You don’t want other men to think you’re one of them filthy homosexuals, do you, son?
My father had a ton of rules that governed his life, most of them having to do with how and why it was important to be a hard man in a world gone soft. His sermons backed him up on his theories, preaching how God had made woman to be subservient to man. Which was why my mother had left him when I was five, taking my baby sister with her to ensure Diana never had to be subjected to that level of misogyny. How I’d wished she had taken me, but she said a son needed a father in his life. Yes, he did, but he also needed a mother. One that maybe would understand the peculiar urges her teenage son was having and fight for his rights to live without hate and brimstone. But no, Diana was saved, and Sterling was the burnt offering. I’d not seen either of them since the day that they’d left. Part of that was on me, most on my mother for abandoning me and choosing one child over the other.
Bitter much, Sterling?
“Just the tip of the iceberg,” I mumbled to myself.
“What? No, man, this woman is no iceberg. Why don’t you have dinner with us? Katie has a girlfriend from college coming in to visit.”
I blinked the water off my lashes as Keandre Marx rattled on about his girl and her friend and the way her friend loved the way I filled out those sexy football pants.
“I’m telling you right now, this chick will put out.”
I ran a hand over my face, cranked off the taps, and walked around my top wide receiver as I wrapped a Colts towel around my waist.
“Thanks, but I’m doing a night in.”
Keandre danced around in front of me in nothing but his jock strap. “Ster, come on, you can’t be all work, all the time. When’s the last time you had some prime pussy in that big old bed of yours?”
I chuckled at him. “It’s been a long time, but I have films to study. Someone on this team has to be a professional,” I tossed out, which got me a wet washcloth to the face.
“Fine, whatever, be a boring shit,” he said, slapping my bare shoulder soundly before sauntering off to try to lure someone else into making it a foursome.
I’d made it known early in my career with the Colts that I didn’t drink, smoke, dope, or chase women during season. That pretty much kept the other guys off my back, but every so often, someone felt I needed to get laid. Which I did: the itch was bad now, really bad, but for that to happen I’d have to sneak over the bridge to the south side of town. There were a few places over there that I’d heard of… bath houses, queer brothels, and bars that were dark, dirty, and probably disease-ridden. The clientele in those nasty places didn’t care if you kept your hoodie over your face as long as your dick was out. So far, I’d managed to stay clear of those dens of sin when the stress and need was heavy and the urge to be with a man became a howling agony.
Want coursed through me just thinking of those dank and dirty places. I shoved that gay shit down, hard, and put on the righteous face of the preacher’s son.