“Please welcome Mr. November, Andy Cunningham!”
Feeling more than a little nervous at having to stand up in front of a crowd, Andy still managed a smile and wave as he jogged up the steps to stand onstage beside Enzo. Andy clutched the cornucopia to his chest and hoped none of the fake berries fell out. The spotlights were hot, and there were a lot more people at the calendar release party than he’d expected—which was good, considering the calendar had been created for charity, with all profits going to fight childhood cancer.
Some cheers came from the crowd, and Andy stepped forward, held the narrow tip of the cornucopia to his lips, and did his best trumpet impression. He heard chuckles coming from some of the other guys who’d posed for the calendar, then he stepped back and lowered his prop because Mr. December was being announced. Andy enjoyed the limelight, but he wasn’t an attention-hog.
“And these are the gorgeous men who made this calendar possible,” Perry said once Mr. December was in place, joining them on stage. “Every one of them is much more than just a handsome face and gorgeous body. They’re generous, intelligent, honest men, and it’s been my pleasure to work with them.”
The applause was thunderous rather than the polite smattering Andy would have expected had he given the matter any thought. He, along with the other guys on stage, took a bow. He wondered how many people would have clapped had he been standing there in his clown costume. So many people are afraid of something that’s supposed to bring joy.
Well, he at least made the kids in the hospital’s cancer wing happy. Sometimes he did that dressed as a clown, and other times he wore different costumes.
He trotted down the steps and spent a few minutes chatting with his fellow calendar guys, half-listening to Perry go on about the calendar and the release party that was in full swing. Andy wondered how her dad, Marco, was doing. He’d been the original organizer and photographer, before his now-ex-wife had tried to kill him. She’d done a lot of dangerous things that had harmed many people, but Marco, she’d almost succeeded in murdering. Last Andy had heard, Marco was still in bad shape, though he didn’t know if that was physical, psychological or both. He’d lean toward both. It was hard for him to imagine the kind of betrayal Marco must have felt.
Shaking off his somber thoughts, Andy patted Dane’s arm. “Hey, Mr. December, I’m going after a drink. You want anything?”
Dane was a handsome devil—charming, too. Andy would have made a pass at him if there’d been any hint of a spark between them.
“Nah,” Dane said, gesturing toward the dance floor. “I’m going over there and shaking my ass until I either find a man I want to take home, or wear myself out. Been a while, you know?”
“Do I ever,” Andy groused. “Good luck.” As if Dane would need it. If Dane hadn’t been getting laid, that couldn’t have been due to lack of interested men.
Andy, on the other hand, had not been laid in months, which was going to cause him to overheat or…or something. Whatever happens when a person needs to get off with someone else but hasn’t had a chance in way too long. He’d been so busy with work— the kind that paid and the charity job, too—and family and everything. It was like the universe had conspired to keep him from getting any for almost half a year.
On the way over to the bar, Andy tallied it up in his head. It’d been closer to eight months since he’d last gotten off with anyone other than himself. Lenny and I split, then I went out and—yeah, it’s been almost eight months! What’s that saying about losing it if ya don’t use it? That had better only apply to other things, not any of his fun, sex parts.
There was a line at the bar closest to him. A check at the other bar, the one across the large event hall, showed far less people waiting for their booze. That’s the bar for me. He started for it, intent on getting something sweet and cool for his parched throat.
“Hey, you sure are a sexy little guy.”
Andy tried not to let his smile turn upside down as he glanced at the man seated a few feet away from him. “Thanks.” He kept his tone just a tad short of bland. He hated it when people pointed out his height deficit. As if there was anything wrong with him being five-six. Everyone knew good things came in small packages.
Not that his package was small. Andy kept walking past the guy even though he could tell the dude wanted to talk. No, not talk. He’s eyeing me like a starving man eyes a steak dinner. Pass. I want to get laid, but not with someone old enough to be my daddy. The very idea made him shudder. Andy did not have even a hint of a daddy kink. He liked his men to be closer to his own age— around thirty or so. His best friend Jorn always went for silver foxes, which was good. That meant they never were competing for the same guys when they went out clubbing.
But Jorn had accepted a temporary job in South Korea, and Andy hadn’t been out to anywhere more exciting than a mall since he’d left.
It was past time to rectify the having-no-fun and not-getting-laid issues, for sure.
Andy kept a smile in place as he wandered over to the bar. He spotted several potential hook-up-worthy men, but none that made him want to quit looking and dare an approach.
He stood in the short line, gaze sweeping to the left, the right, then it was his turn to order and he knew he’d been checking all the wrong directions until that moment.
The bartender had luscious black hair that fell in curls past his shoulders, and deep-set brown eyes that were the color of a fine cognac Andy had once been given a bottle of. He didn’t remember the name of the cognac, but he thought it fitting for a bartender to have eyes that color.
“What can I getcha?”
Andy blinked and dropped his gaze to the man’s mouth. Thin upper lip, slightly fuller bottom one, a flash of white teeth— Andy’s dick perked up, along with his libido. “What would you suggest?” He winked at the bartender and searched for a name tag. Kerry. Yum.
Kerry gave him a predatory look, gaze sweeping down Andy’s body, then up. Andy wished the bar wasn’t blocking his or Kerry’s view. He for sure wanted to see Kerry’s entire body. Preferably naked and on top of me. Or behind me, or—
He realized Kerry was watching him, waiting for an answer.
Andy licked his lips. “What was that?”
Kerry chuckled, the sound warm and inviting as well as arousing. Andy was going to have a full-on erection if he didn’t get himself under control.
“I said, I’ll fix you my special, if you trust me.” Kerry picked up a cocktail glass. “I’ll make you something sweet.”
Andy didn’t know if it was just his imagination or not, but he’d have sworn there was an unspoken ‘like you’ lingering between them. “I love sweet drinks.” He made his move. “And savory men.”
It was a lame line, but all he could come up with and he didn’t want to throw some old, used hook at Kerry.
Kerry’s warm laughter washed over him like a caress.
And there’s that erection I was trying to prevent.
“Savory men, hm?” Kerry set the glass down and picked up a bottle of something, Andy didn’t care what. “I’ve heard a lot of pick-up lines, but that’s a new one.”
“An original, just for you,” Andy informed him, relieved that Kerry didn’t call him out on how corny his pass had been. “Maybe if I’d had time, I’d have come up with something better, but you kind of scrambled my thought process.”
Kerry blushed, his tan cheeks darkening even as he gave Andy a heated look. “You’re pretty forward, aren’t you?”
Andy shrugged one shoulder. “Can’t get what I want if I don’t ask, right?”
“But you didn’t,” Kerry said. “Ask.”
Andy wasn’t sure if that was a statement or a command. He decided the latter was his best choice. “Would you like to spend a few hours together when you get done here?”
Kerry canted his head to the left. “Hm. Shouldn’t I know your name before you make a pass at me?”
Andy almost snorted but refrained. “Andy Cunningham.” He held out a hand and Kerry pressed his drink into it.
“Kerry Galeano. I get off an hour before the party’s over. Have to help close down the bars and load the trucks, then…” He ran one finger over the backs of Andy’s knuckles. “Then I’m all yours for the night.”
Andy almost drooled. He’d never been with such an attractive man before, and Kerry exuded sex like it was a scent he wore.
“See you then.” Andy grinned and picked up his drink.
Now he only had to wait three more hours, then he’d get to take his sexy bartender home for the night.