What would you do if you rang your best friend’s doorbell ... and a stranger answered?
Evan Romer is astonished when he stops by his friend’s apartment and finds Ty Mitchell in the shower instead. Turns out Ty has swapped houses with Evan’s friend and is spending two weeks in San Francisco, a long way from his country home in South Carolina.
Unable to deny the attraction between them, Evan offers to show Ty the town and romance blossoms. Ty wants to keep things casual, but Evan is falling in love fast. Will romance blossom before it’s time for Ty to head back?
“I gotta admit, I never thought I’d be doing this.” Ty glanced around the room with a smile.
“Just remember to keep your pinky up,” Evan joked.
They’d just been seated in the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel. Ty had discovered that the hotel had been in existence since the 1870s. He professed an interest in old buildings, and had suggested they investigate the place. It was Evan’s idea to partake of afternoon tea.
“I’m glad we dressed up,” Ty said now, holding his menu before his face as he surreptitiously studied the other customers in the large room. Most of the men wore suits, and the ladies were in their “Sunday best.”
Evan put on his best Old Brit accent. “One must always dress for tea, old man.”
“Says here that this used to be the entrance of the hotel,” Ty murmured. “Can’t you just imagine driving up in your coach and four, dressed to the nines with your top hat and tails?’
“And a corseted lady on your arm,” Evan countered. “We could never have had an open relationship back then.”
“True.” Ty studied the menu. “It wasn’t exactly the good old days for men like us. You know, I can honestly say I’ve never had a poached asparagus sandwich in my life.”
“It’s good to try new things. Expand your horizons.”
“I’m already doing that just by having high tea.”
“I had no idea you were a picky eater.”
“I’m not. It just never occurred to me to make a sandwich out of asparagus. Or cucumbers, for that matter. Sandwiches ought to have meat in ‘em.”
“They have chicken curry and smoked salmon. That’s enough meat for anyone.”
Ty gave Evan a skeptical glance. “Maybe we can stop somewhere for some real food after tea.”
“We’ll see if you’re still hungry later.”
By the time the waiter had returned, they’d decided to start with the “Legacy Blend” black tea, blended exclusively for the hotel (and available for purchase if you wanted to pay over thirty dollars for a tin).
Ty still had a skeptical look on his face as the sandwiches were brought out. This changed as he nibbled at one corner.
“This is pretty good.” He polished off the sandwich in three bites and reached for another one, egg salad this time.
“Save room for the scones and pastries.”
By the time the last pastry was consumed, even Ty had to admit he didn’t have room for another bite. “I didn’t think I’d get full on those little sandwiches, but they were really good.”
“And now you’ve had high tea, so there’s another tick mark for your bucket list.”
“And visited a building that’s nearly a hundred and fifty years old. That’s pretty cool. I’ve been to some old houses in Charleston, but I think this is the oldest hotel I’ve seen.”
Evan reached for Ty’s hand as they left the restaurant. “Of course, that’s nothing compared to what you’d see in England or Europe, but it’s pretty old for the good old USA.”
“What’s next on the agenda, tour guide?”
Evan just gave him a wink and tugged him toward the street corner. “Since you like history, this little alley ought to amuse you.”
“Maiden Lane? Are we headed back toward Union Square?”
“Good sense of direction. I figured we could relax and take one of those hop on and off bus tours while we digest our tea.”
Ty glanced around as they entered the small alley. “So what’s so interesting about this street then?”
“Back when that hotel was new, this was called Morton Street and it was the red-light district.”
Ty chuckled. “So you could pick up a date and swing by the hotel for some fun.”
“I imagine the people who could have afforded the Palace would have sprung for a high-class hooker, but I guess there were other hotels nearby, yeah.”
“Maybe we can play ‘Street Hustler and John’ later,” Ty said with a wink.