John DeWitt loves men and sex. He’s good at his job and enjoys life to the fullest. But his self-confidence is about to take a severe blow. His new intern, Lee Pearce looks familiar, but John doesn’t figure out why until one evening when he sees Lee at Throwbacks, talking to the hottest bartender on the planet.
The bartender is Lee’s brother, Wei, who owns the club. John has been lusting after the man for years, but Wei always treats him like a pariah. Unfortunately, John finds out the reason why when he overhears a conversation between the brothers. Wei describes John as a slut and a brainless twit.
John confronts Wei and they end up in a heated argument. But eventually, Wei admits to misjudging John and apologizes, which leads to an admission of attraction and some really hot moves on a dance floor, among other things.
“Come with me,” he said.
“Are you ordering me or asking?” I replied.
He heaved an exasperated sigh. “Asking, all right? God! Could you just ... cut me a little slack?”
I smirked at him. “Don’t see why I should. Lead the way.”
Wei threw his hands up in the air and turned to stomp away. I chuckled as I followed. He was so easy to mess with. We stopped at a booth near the pool table area and sat down.
“Look,” he began. “Lee told me about the job.” He tapped his fingers on the table. “I ... I want to say I’m sorry.” That last word was mumbled.
“Say what now? I didn’t hear you.”
“Sorry,” he said, a little louder.
“God, you just push my buttons, you know?”
“I know. You need that, whether you like it or not. Come on, you’re almost there. Sorry for what?”
In measured tones he said, “I’m sorry for the things I said about you, and the assumptions I made. There, you happy?”
“Do you mean it? Or is this only because of Lee?”
“What more do you want, my goddamn left foot?” He sounded frustrated.
“I want the truth.”
“I just gave it to you! I can’t be more than I am. You ask too much.”
“I don’t think I do. You don’t ask enough of yourself.” I leaned forward. “It’s okay to be a little less in control sometimes, Wei. No one will think less of you. They might even like you more for it.”
“No one else calls me Wei except my family and people who matter,” he grumbled.
“What am I, then?”
He leaned back against the cushions and studied me for a minute.
“You matter.” He gave me a small smile which grew when he saw how shocked I was. I almost passed out at the sight of it. Wei’s faced went from handsome to downright sinfully gorgeous.
“You should do that more often.”
“Smile. Makes you less dour, more approachable.” The big, brash bartender actually blushed a little.
“Maybe it keeps the vermin at bay.” I laughed at that.
“Well, tough guy, your no-nonsense image is intact, but you might actually help your business if you were a little friendlier.”
“My business is just fine as it is.” A battle for another day.
“Suit yourself,” I said and got out of the booth. “Thank you for your apology. I accept. Are we cool? I want to spend some time with Lee at the trivia table before heading home.”
Wei quickly got up to join me. “But it’s early yet. Well, at least for you. Or it used to be, anyway.”
“I’ve changed my habits lately.”
“Yeah, I noticed. Sandy was complaining to me the other night that her favorite eye candy was MIA. She seemed to think it was my fault.” I smiled and started walking away, but Wei stopped me.
“Hey, wait. I thought we could, maybe, have a beer together later, or something.” My eyebrows went up at that.
“Uh, well, you know…you said you were into me and I thought --” Oh, I get it.
“Yeah, I see what you thought.” While I was happy we’d finally made a form of peace, I wasn’t that eager to go much further just yet. His words still rankled a little.
“Look, Wei. While I appreciate that we’ve cleared the air between us, I’m gonna need a little more time before I decide whether or not to have a beer with you or anyone else for a while. What you said about me really hurt and I’m working on getting my confidence back enough to move forward. Understand?”
“I don’t have a choice, do I?” he said, disappointment ringing in his tone.
“No, you don’t.”