The Man Club. It’s the electric place where gay gents pick up one-night stands, hot male dancers work for big tips, and fresh bachelorettes have their steamy, pre-marital parties.
Running The Man Club is a crazy job for middle-aged Gyles Beare. Between hiring and firing dancers, keeping wait staff in line, and paying the bills, Gyles tries to have a love life, but it isn’t easy. Not at all.
Enter Car Tate. Car lives with Gyles, and has been a solid tenant for the last few months. Handsome. Charming. A good head on his shoulders. Car sometimes works at the club to help Gyles out. He always has Gyles’s back.
Lately, though, Car’s been over-the-top nice to Gyles. The sweet and romantic things Car’s been doing for Gyes are oddly pleasant. What’s going on? Is Car in love with Gyles? Is it time for Gyles to confront his hidden feelings and land the man of his dreams?
I leave the club and drive home. Car has dinner ready for me at the house. The dining room table is set for two with candles, white wine, and triangle-shaped ricotta-filled fried ravioli as an appetizer. He tells me to have a seat and adds, “I thought I would do something nice for you for a change.”
He’s always nice to me: Car runs errands for me when he dog walker, he cleans the house, floor by floor, and he does minor repairs around the Cape Code, like fixing the leaky faucet at the kitchen sink, trimming the ancient oak tree out back, and glued a twenty-gallon, ceramic flower pot together after I accidentally hit with my Frontier. Plus, he does numerous loads of laundry, grocery shops, and keeps the house warm, adjusting the thermostat.
“This is nice, Car. You shouldn’t have.”
He rolls a palm up and down my back, offering comfort. “I wanted to.”
“You don’t have to take care of me like this.”
“Maybe I want to. Never knock a good thing.”
I ignore his sweet comment and we sit and eat the ricotta triangles together. When we start to discuss and compare our days like an old married couple, he tells me, “Mrs. Windermere’s poodle, Thrasher, jumped her fence again and started humping all the neighborhood bitches down at the park. Thank god Thrasher’s fixed or we’d have the ugliest dogs around eastern Pennsylvania. The dog owners freaked out and the police were called. It was madness. Pure craziness.”
“Thrasher’s like my new employee at the club.” I mention my meeting with Tuck Marcell, which sets off a light bulb above Car’s head.
“Do you mean the Tucker Marcell who broke up Mitch and Benny Grant’s marriage?”
The wine tastes soothing. Not expensive. Not bitter. Not too sweet. Just nice. “I don’t know. The Tuck I’m talking about is a ginger, nineteen, and is over-the-top sexually arrogant. He’s my new assistant and claims he can sleep with any man, straight or gay. Who is Mitch and Benny Grant? Do I know them?”
“You might. They live on Presque Isle. Mitch teaches philosophy at West End College. Benny writes the gossip column for The Teller. They’ve been together for the last twenty years. Rumor has it that Tucker Marcell met Mitch in Plimpton Park. The two were running and bumped into each other. Supposedly, Tucker wooed Mitch. Then Mitch banged Tucker in the park’s snowy brambles. Benny left Mitch and is living with his sister in downtown Erie. It’s an ugly situation that seems irreparable. I don’t see a bright future for the couple.”
“Tuck’s trouble,” I tell Car.
“Lots of trouble.”
“I have something that is going to sound just as troublesome.”
Car sets his wine glass down, both eyes on me. “I’m listening.”
“His mother has paid me ten grand to keep him as an employee for two months at the club.”
He raises his brows and his mouth falls open. “You agreed to her conditions?”
I nod. “At the time, I didn’t think he was trouble. Jane Marcell painted him as a quiet young man, someone who doesn’t know how to handle being gay. She told me that he went to Temple and couldn’t fit in because he’s queer. I thought I could help the kid out.”
I take the next few minutes and tell Car about my behind-a-closed-door meeting with the ginger. Every detail is exposed. Every word shared. “He’s a horny guy without any limitations. I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into.”
Car’s mouth still hangs wide open. It doesn’t look to me that he’s hungry any longer. “Shocking,” he whispers. “Totally shocking. Tuck actually stripped down for you?”
“And pulled his bottom apart for me to get a gander.”
Car finishes off his first glass of wine and pours himself a second one. “He wanted you to fuck him?”
I nod. “Right in my office.”
“It’s none of my business, Gyles, but maybe you should think about returning the money to his mother and not letting him work in your club. He sounds like he can do some damage, quite the handful.”
I sit back, calmly take a sip of my wine. Car is so easy to talk to. Boyfriend material. Just a sweet guy. Husband material all the way. Someone I look up to and respect. Maybe the man of my dreams. I’m not sure. What I do know is elementary: I don’t feel at ease with any other guy on the planet. No one. And I’m attracted to him, physically, emotionally, and mentally. It’s as if we are one in the same man, different yet similar on all levels. Equals.
I say, “Tell me what you know about Rocco’s personality?”
“He’s quiet. Doesn’t react much. Likes to keep to himself. Respects people and never starts any shit at the club.”
“Exactly. Which means he’ll ignore Tuck.”
Car nods. “I hope so. It’s sounds as if Tucker Marcell has the potential to ruin parts of Rocco, if Rocco lets him.”
“Rocco’s a smart man. I doubt he’ll let that happen.”
He shrugs. “Fingers crossed.”
“And how do you think Titan will react to Tuck?”
A light chuckle escapes Car. “He’ll have a round of heated sex with him and ditch him, just like he does with all the other men he fucks around with.”
“Again, exactly. You get where I’m going with this, right? Tuck sounds like he has some lessons of life to learn, and maybe the club can help him out with these. What do you think?”
He’s silent for a second ... two seconds ... three seconds. “What about Daddy? Should you be worried about him?”
“Do you think he’s going to be a problem?”
“He’s someone you need to keep an eye on. You know the reputation he has regarding younger men.”
“You have the wrong guy. That’s Titan.”
“And Coben’s the one who no longer works at the club, right?”
“You got it.”
“It’s hard to keep your dancers straight.” He takes a sip of his wine. “What about Danny? Will he have an issue with Tucker?”
“Married to a fine woman. Father of two boys. He’s harmless.”
A timer in the kitchen buzzes. Dinner is ready.
It’s cubed beef in thick gravy over egg noodles. Apple cobbler for dessert. A fine meal. Tasty.
Yeah, maybe Car Tate is the perfect man for me. Who knows?