Years before, Saul Mandisa came to Vegas to work on stage…only to find out it requires a lot of dancing, and he has two left feet. When his minimum wage job didn’t quite cover food and rent, he took a few side hustles that he wasn’t proud of. Finally landing steady work allowed him to extricate himself from that life…or so Saul thought.
Even after five years, Saul would never forget Reagan the Hammer—right hand and enforcer to the infamous crime boss—Luigi Arnasta. At first, he ignores Reagan’s calls. Then he does his best to avoid the man—and his henchmen—at all costs. After all, Saul wants nothing to do with that life, and he never had. His luck runs out when he meets a couple of friends for drinks and discovers one of them essentially sold him out.
To Saul’s shock, a sexy Frenchman steps in and sends Reagan packing—a man named Jean-Paul Tremblay. When Saul discovers his savior is a vampire who seems to think he’s the other half of Jean-Paul’s soul, will he risk taking a chance on the devil he doesn’t know?
Feeling his phone vibrate in his pocket, Saul Mandisa ignored it as he led a pair of customers to their table. He placed their menus in front of each, starting with the woman. After letting them know that their server would be Kyle, Saul wished them a great meal and started back toward the front where he knew more people waited.
Saul took a few quick seconds to pull out his phone. Waking the device, he spotted the text message and grimaced when he saw who it was from—Reagan, no last name. He shoved the phone back into his pocket. Saul didn’t need to know Reagan’s last name. He knew the sender.
Reagan the Hammer.
A chill worked its way up Saul’s spine, even in the heat of the casino restaurant. He did his best to ignore it as he returned to work. Saul had another hour to his shift, after all.
Then I need to figure out another variation to my way home.
On autopilot, Saul greeted the next group—a trio of women. He absently recognized the flirting of the brunette as she touched his arm. On reflex, Saul flexed his bicep before easing to the left and urging her and her friends to follow him.
While Saul could acknowledge the woman was beautiful, he wouldn’t bother pursuing her interest for a couple of reasons.
First of all, he never picked up dates—or tricks—where he worked. If things didn’t work out, the person would know where he worked, could bother him there, and things could end up awkward. Saul would never jeopardize his job by acting so foolishly. It had taken him years to get his position as host and waiter at Emeril’s, and with tips, as long as he lived fairly frugally, he made a pretty comfortable living.
Besides, between working out and the occasional night out with friends, Saul really didn’t need much.
The second reason was common sense. Having someone in Saul’s life meant there would be someone Reagan could use against him. When dealing with the seedy parts of society, romantic relationships were a liability.
Probably a little cynical, but Saul knew it to be true. He’d seen it happen. Never had he been happier to land a job that allowed him to pull himself out of that life. Saul had never wanted to be a part of it, anyway, but desperate times had called for desperate measures.
Had to find a way to eat.
And now, after nearly five years, Reagan’s coming round again. Why couldn’t he just leave me alone?
Saul knew the answer, however. If they were coming to him, it was because they wanted him to drive for them. Years before, he’d used skills learned racing his buddies on dirt roads back in Hicksville, and he’d been a wheelman for the crime boss, Luigi Arnasta.
He’d counted himself lucky that the guy had seemed to forget he existed. Of course, him moving to a new place probably helped. Between a new home not in Luigi’s territory, plus a job clear of it, too, he’d successfully slipped off Luigi’s radar.
Pushing thoughts of his problems to the back of his mind, Saul returned his focus to finishing out his shift.
“You doin’ anything fun tonight, man?”
Saul glanced toward Billy, a bus boy whose shift had also just ended. Offering the friendly and young—Saul figured Billy couldn’t have been more than nineteen—man a small smile, he lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Working out,” he hedged. Lifting his right arm, he flexed his impressive bicep. “These babies don’t stay pumped on their own.”
Billy’s eyes widened as he stared at Saul’s arm. His cheeks took on a hint of pink, and he glanced away. He even swallowed hard enough for his Adam’s apple to bob.
Quickly lowering his arm, Saul did his best to ignore the young man’s obvious attraction.
Yeah, he has needy bottom boy written all over him. So not my type.
On the occasion that Saul took a man home, he chose someone robust enough to go all night…and who could switch it up. Saul enjoyed bottoming just as much as topping. The feel of a hard cock stretching him, of a man’s thick meat sliding over his prostate, was just as tantalizing as feeling the squeeze and heat of a body wrapped around his erection.
Hmmm…maybe I’ll pick up a guy to have some fun with this evening. I don’t have to work tomorrow.
Plus, Saul was meeting a couple of friends for drinks at a wine bar that evening. The place wasn’t his usual haunt, but he didn’t mind. He knew there would be next to no chance that Reagan or his goons would happen to drop by a place like that, either.
“Well.” Saul slapped Billy on the upper arm lightly, making certain to moderate his strength. After all, it looked like a stiff wind could knock over the young, slender guy. Doing his best to try to move past the awkward moment, Saul added, “Have a great night, man.”
Without waiting for a response, Saul opened the door and hustled out of the room. He turned left and took a side hall. While the exit he chose wasn’t the closest to his route home, he hadn’t used it in a while.
Plus, the prior day, when Saul had intended to use that door, he’d spotted Dario leaning against a nearby building. The man had tried to disguise himself by wearing a ballcap, but it had been an epic fail. Saul would be able to recognize the hulking man’s broad shoulders anywhere.
Saul had been able to slip back into the casino, choosing another way to get home.
God, how long am I going to have to dodge these guys?
However long it takes.