On the Clock (Market Garden, #8)
L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
Blake Raleigh had been to Market Garden more times than he could count. Enough that the smoking hot security guards knew his face. They seemed to, anyway—every time he walked in, he got a slight nod and a wink from the one with the military cut.
Usually, he strolled on past them into the lounge filled with the gorgeous rentboys this place was famous for. The guards may have been easy on the eyes, but the prostitutes? Jesus fuck.
Tonight, though, he stopped inside the door and gestured at the cute guard, a silent “I have a question.” At least it wasn’t super loud in here—it couldn’t be if the guys wanted to seduce their johns and relieve them of a few hundred dollars. Or pounds. Whatever.
“Hey,” Blake said. “Could you possibly help me find somebody?”
The guard smiled, combining flirtation and sympathy into a single expression. “Well, I can try.” American? Interesting. “If you’re after the two you usually leave with . . .” He shook his head.
“No, not those two.” And what a pity. Tristan and Jared were just . . . shiver. “They told me to ask for Jason.”
“Oh.” The guard squinted as he scanned the dimly lit room. “I’m not sure if he’s here tonight. He’s not always— Oh, there he is.” He gestured toward the bar.
At first, Blake’s gaze went straight to the enormous Hispanic bartender. Holy shit. Was it mandatory for every employee in this place to be that fuckable? Maybe he should hit up the bartender if he didn’t have any luck with Jason.
He shook himself and shifted his gaze to the guy leaning against the other side of the bar, chatting with the massive bartender. He was hard to see from here, but what Blake could see, he liked. Tall. Lanky. Oh God—he was another stripper, wasn’t he? The way he leaned against the bar like a bored cat reminded Blake of both Tristan and Jared, and those two had certainly danced for money a few times in their lives.
Blake still wasn’t completely sure what had convinced the pair that Jason would be the perfect match for him now that they’d retired from the world’s oldest trade, but as he stared at that lean torso and ridiculously toned ass covered in painted-on leather, well, he was intrigued. And he’d had enough rest on the plane to make the most of whatever other assets this Jason had.
“Word of warning from one Yank to another.” The guard drew close enough that he could murmur in Blake’s ear. “Frank won’t forgive you if you make that one quit, too.”
“Nobody regrets them quitting more than I do, believe me.” Blake kept his eyes on Jason, but the guard’s proximity also revved up his hormones. That figured. After nonstop work for weeks, a long flight, and endless fantasies about returning to Market Garden, he was a borderline sexual basket case and ready for anything—especially this mysterious Jason.
“I’ll be keeping an eye on you.” The guard stepped back, and it was lucky he did, because both the voice and the suggestion—okay, mostly the suggestion—made all Blake’s remaining blood rush south. He certainly wouldn’t mind being watched by this guy, who could bring a couple of his strong-jawed friends if he’d like.
Blake took a deep breath and composed himself. Judging by that hint of a smile, the guard knew he’d rattled Blake’s cage.
“You know,” Blake said, “if I weren’t so curious about why the boys thought I should see Jason, I’d ask you when your shift ends.”
“I’m usually the last man standing in here.” Another wink and a grin, but the guard stepped back. “That said, if things don’t work out over there . . .” He didn’t break eye contact.
“I could leave you my number?”
“You’d have to pass the boss test first.” The guard pointed to the back somewhere. “Also, there’s your window of opportunity. I’ve been told Jason is worth it.” The emphasis on the last two words seemed to hold a hidden meaning.
“Well then.” Blake gave him a nod of thanks and approached the bar.
He was still a good five steps away when Jason turned around, and suddenly Blake was pretty sure he wouldn’t be chasing down the security guard after all.
Jason wasn’t as small and slight as Tristan or Jared, but he wasn’t big like the security guard or the bartender either. He was probably built like a runner, or maybe a swimmer with shoulders like that, but Blake was too busy staring at those razor-sharp cheekbones and impossibly blue eyes to notice. It wasn’t just the color—Jason had the eyes of a hunter. He was definitely not the type to passively wait for johns to come to him. He also didn’t look at things—he looked into them.
And that included Blake, who was standing right in the crosshairs of Jason’s unflinching gaze.
Abruptly, though, Jason gave a polite nod, murmured, “Pardon me,” and started past Blake.
Wait. Wait, where are you going?