Giving up his life as a rent boy for his lover William Matheson is the easiest decision Theo Bascopolis has ever made. This smart, handsome man wants him in spite of his past and promises to love him forever. But that past has left Theo riddled with insecurities, which have a tendency to turn up when he’s at his most vulnerable.
Case in point: things seem to fall apart when Wills goes on an extended assignment and the number of times he contacts Theo is precisely zero. Theo might be willing to believe work is getting in the way, but then a message he receives appears to confirm another betrayal. Well, his heart may be broken, but he’s not dumb enough to hang around waiting for it to get shattered. He leaves town determined to have nothing more to do with Wills.
Wills returns home after an exhausting assignment only to find Theo gone with no explanation. It doesn’t take him long to piece together what’s happened and determine a plan of action. Wills is a man of his word who keeps his promises, and he has no intention of letting the best man he’s ever found walk away from him.
But having been betrayed once, is Theo willing to trust his lover not to break his heart again?
The annual Halloween Ball was being held this year at the William Henry Harrison Hotel, down the road from the Madison Arms. The ballroom was smaller, but since it wasn’t a night off for all the boys, the crowd wouldn’t be as great.
When we walked in, the orchestra leader took one look at Wills and signaled his horn section. They began to play the “William Tell Overture.”
Wills touched the mask over his eyes. Apparently secure his disguise was in place, he grinned and let out a breath. “This looks really nice, Theo.”
Orange and black draperies hung from the walls and pinned to them were cutouts of bats and black cats, ghosts and caldrons, witches and warlocks.
“Excuse me for a minute, babe.” He walked off, and I stared after him, enjoying the bunch and flow of the muscles of his ass.
Before I went after him, I was distracted by the approach of an angel. Tall, well-built, blue-eyed, blond ... his tunic was blindingly white, and a massive, golden sword hung at his side. An amazing costume, capped by white wings that rose above his head, the feathers tipped with gold. He had to be new to the area because I didn’t recognize him.
“Señor Zorro.” He gave a slight bow. “I am the Archangel Michael. His majesty would like to see you.” He gestured toward where Charlemagne stood, surrounded by his court.
Charlemagne was dressed as the Prince of Darkness, from the pointy little horns on his forehead to the red suede boots on his feet. Who would have thought someone with his hair coloring could carry off all that red?
Wills had just rejoined us. “Ranger, this is Michael.”
Michael ran his gaze over Wills. I slid an arm around my lover ... my lover. This Michael could just find his own.
The archangel gave a faint smile. “And your friend, of course.”
“Your friend of course what?” Wills was only mildly curious.
“A command performance before Le Roi.”
“Pardon me.” Michael gave a slight bow and crossed the floor toward the door. His movements were smooth and graceful.
I shook my head and turned to Wills. “Time to meet Chuckles.” No time like the present to see if Wills was drawn to Le Roi’s red hair. “Come on, babe. I’ll introduce you to him.”
I was concentrating on his reaction to Charlemagne and failed to notice the werewolf who staggered up to us and threw his arms around me.
“I love a man wearin’ a mashk.” He planted a slobbering kiss on my mouth. Although it was early in the evening, I could almost get drunk from the alcohol fumes on his breath.
The ballroom was noisy, but I had no trouble hearing the click of a pistol’s hammer being thumbed back.
“It might pay for you to remember that the bullets in the Lone Ranger’s gun are silver. Let him go, werewolf.” Wills was pointing the gun at the werewolf’s head.
“Uh ...” The werewolf blinked owlishly, staring down the barrel of a Colt .45.
“What don’t you understand about let him go? Find someone else to kiss. Zorro is mine.”
I took the werewolf’s arms from around me and stepped away from him, wiping my mouth with my sleeve.
“Shorry. There’s no need to be shelfish. Jus’ wanted a li’l kish.”
“Someone get Jay out of here.” Charlemagne had approached without any of us realizing it. Well, maybe Wills had. He didn’t seem surprised.
“That’s Jay? Oh, my God, I’m gonna be sick.”
“Want me to shoot him, babe?”
“Please, not here. Since the new people took over, it was hard enough to persuade the management to let us hold the Halloween Ball here.” Charlemagne let his gaze drift over my lover. “So, you want to introduce us, Zorro?”
“This is the Lone Ranger, Mephistopheles. Ranger, this is --”
“The Devil.” Wills holstered his pistol. “Your majesty.”
“I don’t recognize you.”
“He’s wearing a mask,” I growled.
“Even with the mask I’m certain I would recognize a body like that.” Chuckles leered at him, and a flush ran up Wills’s cheeks and disappeared under his mask.
I clenched my hands into fists. I’d never been so tempted to punch Charlemagne’s perfect nose.
“Would you care to spend some time at my table? I’m sure I can interest you in ... walking the wild side. After all ...” He glanced across the room to the entrance, where Michael stood, watching him. “... if I can convert an archangel ...”
“No, thanks. I’m here with Zorro.”
Charlemagne regarded him thoughtfully. “And you go home with the one you came with?”
My mask didn’t conceal my grin. “If you’ll excuse us?” The orchestra was playing “Isn’t It Romantic.” Had he gone to ask them to play it? I took Wills’s hand and led him to the dance floor.
I twined the fingers of one hand in his, while I kneaded his hip with the fingers of my other hand and drew him closer, and we began to move across the floor.