Authors: Sean Michael
Tags: #Gay Romance
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.
Sold: A Hammer Novel
An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers
PO Box 2545
Round Rock, TX 78680
Copyright 2011 by Sean Michael
Cover illustration by S. Squires
Published with permission
All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law. For information address Torquere Press. Inc., PO Box 2545, Round Rock, TX 78680.
First Torquere Press Printing: May 2011
Printed in the USA
By Sean Michael
Adam whistled as he pottered in the garden, tending the herbs planted around the edge. The day was beautiful -- warm, sunny -- and he was glorying in his beautiful yard. He spent all of his free time out here, weeding and adjusting, testing the soil. Making it beautiful.
His house was tiny -- literally a one-room cabin with a kitchenette and a closet, the bath area blocked by a screen. His grandmother had left it to him, and he loved how he could bicycle anywhere he needed to, how he could see the sky through the skylight over his bed, how the paint was bright blue. Best of all, though, was the yard.
He waved to his neighbors and their new baby as they passed by. So sweet, those two.
“How’re you doing, Adam?”
“Great, guys. Have a great day.”
He nodded and grinned. Then his eyes widened as he saw Marcus and Oliver heading down the street. There must be work for him.
Marcus grinned and waved, Oliver much more circumspect beside him.
“Good afternoon, Sirs.” He stood, smiled. “I wasn’t expecting you. Would you like some lemonade?”
He had some in the fridge, maybe. If not, he had frozen concentrate.
“Lemonade sounds good.” Marcus shook his hand and nodded toward the back of his tiny house “How is your garden?”
“Growing, growing. I’ll pull some mint for the glasses.” He led them to the little mosaic table, the little wire chairs.
“Thank you, Adam.” Oliver and Marcus sat.
He slipped inside and poured two mostly-full glasses of lemonade and grabbed a glass of water for himself. It was rare -- very rare -- for the Doms to come to him.
They made pleasantries as they drank their lemonade, but he could feel the other conversation sitting here, waiting. The real reason they were here. He waited patiently. They would tell him, when they decided to. He had been doing this job too long to misstep.
When they’d drunk their lemonade, Marcus looked to Oliver, who nodded.
“We have a job for you.” Marcus smiled, took his checkbook out of his pocket.
“Of course. What are the parameters?” He had performed many times for them, had even been on stage with Marcus. They were exceptional men.
“There is a man who has applied for membership. He’s from out of town. His references are genuine, but you know how particular we are.”
“I do.” In fact, Adam refused eight out of ten Doms in the trial phase. “How did he discover us?”
“Someone who used to live here and now lives in New York. They were both members at a club there.”
“Oh. Is it a couple?” He was confused, a bit.
Oliver chuckled and patted his hand. “What Marcus is trying to say is that Matthias was a member of a club in New York, the same club that Andy Bello became a member of when he moved out east. When Andy heard that Matthias was moving here, he told Matthias about the club.”
“Oh. Oh!” He chuckled, blushed. “Sorry, Sirs. How is Master Andy? Is he happy out there?”
“He is. Apparently he’s wooing someone. His word.” Oliver chuckled, looking pleased.
“Lucky someone.” Andy had been a sweet, calm man. Someone was going to have a beautiful, pampered life.
“So, Matthias is the job. He seems like a good man, but we want to make sure he’s also a good Dom.”
“Yes, Sir.” He nodded, the gentle rebuke noted, accepted. “When do you need me to start?”
“This evening at the club.” Marcus wrote out the check, three zeros before the decimal. “This is your down payment. Take as long as you need, Adam. Matthias’ home will be open to you, as of course, will the club.”
“Of course. Is seven good?”
“Come early and have dinner with Jack and me.”
“Yes, Sir.” He nodded, smiled. Jack made him absolutely insane.
“Do you need anything from us?” Marcus asked.
“Is there anything I should prepare for?”
“The usual -- clean inside and out.”
“Thank you, Adam. It is an invaluable service you provide.”
“It’s my pleasure.” And the easiest job on earth. “I’ll send you a report in the morning.”
“We look forward to it.”
Marcus and Oliver each shook hands with him, and then they headed back the way they’d come.
Adam chuckled, shook his head. Doms were so funny, and each one needed a different touch, a different type of care. Luckily, that was his specialty. He was the sub who cared for all the Doms, and he loved it. Almost as much as he loved his garden.
Matt arrived at the Hammer Club at six p.m. sharp. He’d been invited to join one of the founding members for dinner, and he wasn’t about to miss out on a chance to sample the best food on the West Coast, according to Andy. He also wasn’t going to be late -- he knew that he was being vetted for membership and would be nothing if not punctual.
He gave his name at the door, pleased when he was on the list and shown in, where a pretty twink gave him a half bow and a “This way, please, Sir,” before leading him through the maze of tables.
The club was very nice -- intimate and classy, the decor masculine and deep without being dark. He appreciated the class, the lack of gaudiness or tackiness. It was gorgeous.
He was taken to a table where an older gentleman sat with a lovely little blond at his side. Sitting across from the older man was a deeply tanned, dark-eyed man dressed in white.
“This is Master Oliver, Sir.”
“Thank you.” He gave the twink a warm smile and held his hand out to Oliver. “It’s nice to see you again.” He didn’t say ‘sir’ but it was tempting; the man exuded an aura of quiet dominance, like a master’s master.
“It’s a pleasure to have you back in town, Matt. Please, have a seat. This is my boy, Jack, and this is our dear Adam.”
Jack bounced and waved, and the tanned man, Adam, offered him a smile and a nod.
“Hi, there. Nice to meet you both.” He sat, feeling a little like he was on trial. It was a good thing he’d always done well with tests.
“We haven’t ordered yet, but I took the chance and ordered a bottle of red for us.” Oliver was always so incredibly polite.
“Sounds good. I’ve been told the food here is actually the best in town.”
“It’s fab.” Oliver’s boy bounced, grinned. “And today is my favorite, fettuccini alfredo!”
He chuckled. Oliver’s boy was so obviously happy and loved, and that was all the recommendation for this club that Matt needed.
“What’s your favorite, Adam?” he asked the other man.
“I prefer the curry, Sir.”
“Adam’s a vegetarian. He’s a body-is-a-temple type of man.” Jack leaned over, squeezing Adam’s hand. “We don’t hold that against him, do we, Master?”
“Indeed we don’t.”
Matt smiled at Adam. “I’m rather fond of vegetables myself. I admit that well-prepared vegetables are the highlight of the meal for me. Especially if they’re local.” He was into sustainable foods, so he knew what it was like to have to do a little more for food.
“There is a lovely local food movement here. I’d be happy to make some introductions for you, when you’re settled.”
“Thank you, Adam, that’d be wonderful.” Their waiter came with their wine, and Matt let Oliver take the lead in tasting it. He had to admit, he didn’t know a whole lot about wine.
Adam refused a glass, staying with water, but Matt found the flavor was sweet, strong, almost berry-like.
The waiter then took their orders, Oliver and Jack having the fettuccine, Adam the curry, and Matt choosing the shrimp stir-fry.
Their orders in, Matt turned his attention back to his dining companions. “So tell me more about the club.”
Oliver smiled. “We’ve been in operation for fifteen years. We have an active membership of thirty-five committed couples and fifty to sixty single memberships, and a staff of twenty-seven.”
“Very impressive. I see there’s a stage; do you have regular shows?”
“We do. Every Friday, and most Saturday evenings. On Wednesdays, it is Dom night. The only subs allowed are servers and then professional submissives like our Adam, here, to offer himself for demonstrations.”
“That sounds like it could be a lot of fun.”
“Adam’s a little like magic.” Jack beamed at the man.
Adam’s response was a gentle chuckle.
“Magic, eh?” He raised an eyebrow in inquiry.
“Jack flatters me. It’s a blessing to be able to do what you’re good at for a living.”
“It is.” Wow, a professional sub.
He’d never actually met one before. Oh, there’d been boys hired at his club back home, but no one did it well enough to make a living at it.
“Adam has lovely control, and he’s here to assist us and you, to make sure we’re a match.”
“So you’re the one I have to impress, hmm?” He took a closer look at Adam.
The man offered him another smile. “No, Sir. My goal is to find out if you’ll be happy here.”
“Oh. That’s...” He was actually touched by the club’s concern. “I look forward to our time together.”
“As do I.”
Oliver nodded. “Membership is a huge financial and emotional commitment. We want our members to belong, to feel safe.”
“It’s a lovely environment. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to belong.” Of course, there were assholes who thought the lifestyle was an excuse to beat on their partners. They’d probably dislike this environment.
“Certain people have chosen not to apply for membership. We do have rules for our couples that have been questioned -- most specifically Dom night -- and there is a system in place to prevent abuse.” Oliver sounded very serious.
“I like the sound of safeguards.”
Subs were meant to be cherished and cared for, given what they needed and wanted, made to fly, not be abused.
“We also have a submissives’ council. A place for us, you know?”
“What a wonderful idea. I don’t know why more clubs haven’t adopted one.” He was more and more impressed with the Hammer. It was clearly a place built on love, on making things safe for everyone involved.
Of course when their food came, he was sure that it was also a place where only the very best would be accepted. The shrimp was perfectly cooked, the vegetables crisp and bright.
“What do you think?” Jack asked, bouncing where he sat.
“It was delicious.” He smiled at Adam. “A promising start.”
Adam nodded to him, his food barely touched. “It has been. Master Oliver says that I’m at your disposal, Sir, should you be interested.”
“I’d like that, when you’ve had your fill.”
He nodded to Adam’s plate. He knew some subs didn’t like eating before a scene, but he wouldn’t have Adam going without just because he didn’t want to make Matt wait.
Oliver’s eyebrow arched, but the man didn’t argue.
“If you’re sure...” He stood and held out his hand. “I’m sure there are private rooms where we can get to know each other better?”
“Of course, Sir. I took the liberty of reserving us room six.” The man stood, slender and graceful.
Matt let his eyes run over the lovely body, letting Adam feel the weight of his stare, of his admiration.
Long fingers slipped into his, the touch surprisingly rough and callused. “If you’ll follow me.”
He wrapped his fingers around Adam’s, letting the man lead him.
They paused at the bar, Adam stopping a large, sharp-eyed man. “Sir, this is Xavier. He is the club manager. Mr. Xavier, this is Master Matthias.”
Matt reached across and shook the man’s hand. “Nice place you have here.”
“Thank you. I hope to see more of you.” A crash and a spate of cursing came from the kitchen. “If you’ll excuse me.”
Matt chuckled. “Kitchen sounds busy.”
“The cook is quite temperamental and very talented. Please, I’ll show you to our room and we can discuss your preferences.”
Adam gave him a quick, curious look, but didn’t question him. “Please, Sir. Our room.”
The door was opened, a luxurious room offered to him.
“This will do nicely.” He closed the door behind him and drew Adam over to the couch.
The room was quiet, no sound from the club leaking in. Adam sat, eyes on his.
He looked into the blue eyes, soaking in the ambience, the peace and quiet there. “What do you like?” he finally asked, breaking the silence.