EMPLOYING PATIENCE: Divorced Men’s Club – Book Four
When it comes to regrets, I have none. My life is perfect. I own a bar, work hard, party harder, and smother my niblings in all the love they deserve. I don’t need to settle down, as much as my sister might want me to.
But then Joey Manning walks into my office and leaves me all but begging to give him a job … and wanting to give him so much more.
The self-professed straight man is in my head and while I know that I need to move on from him, my body isn’t getting that message. It doesn’t help that Joey is a grade A flirt who can banter with the best of them.
I’ve never had regrets. Not until Joey Manning.
The bills keep piling up and the pressure to get my sisters through college before we’re evicted is always on the back of my mind. Whoever said life was for living, clearly forgot that living’s expensive.
My default mode is stressed AF and working myself to the bone, and there’s only one person who gives me a break from all that.
Art de Almeida.
The one man I shouldn’t flirt with, but I can’t seem to stop. I want to get under his skin. To leave him panting for me. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing except that he thinks I’m straight, and I’ve never bothered to correct him.
I need this job.
But some days I worry that I need Art more.
Genre: M/M Later-in-Life Romance
Trope: Bi-awakening, employer/employee, rich/poor, small-town
Release Date: May 31, 2023
Cover Design: Story Styling Cover Designs
Photo: Xram Ragde
Model: Marko Ilkic
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“Joey, stop flirting with the boss,” Courtney says like she wasn’t doing the exact same thing. Only, in my case, I have a chance.
Art’s gayer than gay, and with the number of men he has in and out of here, no one is likely to forget it anytime soon. Every time I have to serve one of those bastards or watch them sneak down the stairs at the end of the night, I try my hardest not to get resentful.
I’m not trying to lock the guy down or anything; I just need to do something to relieve all this consuming want. I’d like, just once, to get through a shift focused on my job and not constantly waiting for him to appear.
The consuming need to reach out and touch him simmers through me, so I sling my rag over my shoulder and tuck my hands into the back pockets of my jeans. My tank top is loose, and in this position, my arms are on full display. I barely feel the cold, which helps when I want to show off for my boss.
Something he doesn’t hesitate to admire.
Art’s white teeth flash at me. “Yeah, Joey, stop flirting with the boss.” He shifts away slightly, and his full attention returns to Courtney, leaving me empty and frustrated. “How’s the hand?”
She lifts the paper towel, and they both lean in to inspect the cut.
I desperately wish I could take her place.
That’s it, I’m the only one cutting limes from now on.
“Stopped bleeding,” he murmurs. “Go put some antiseptic on it and a couple of Band-Aids.”
Courtney twirls her hair with her good hand. “Thanks, boss man, I will.”
Normally I like Courtney, but as she walks away, I want to roll my eyes. I know there’s nothing behind her flirting; almost everyone here does it. Art is hot as fuck, our boss, and … he’s the kind of guy you want to have favorites, and you want that favorite to be you.
“You gonna jump back here and help me out, then?” I suggest, but I’m being a smart-ass. There are another two people serving down the other end of the bar, so it’s not like I’m struggling without her.
But Art just gives me that confusing, cocky look of his, rounds the bar, and pulls on an apron.
“If you’re done standing around checking me out, we have customers waiting.”
And a few of them since we’ve been talking. Great. Nothing like a full bar with a raging hard-on pressed against my thigh.
We work in tandem for a few minutes before Art reaches around me for the bottle of rum on my other side. He’s taller than me, wider, and smells like goddamn candy apples, and when he tilts his mouth close to my ear, I get a hint of mint.
“Might want to work on your phrasing too. Asking a red-blooded gay man to help you out could end in ways you’re not prepared for.”
“Or ways I’ve been picturing for a while now.”
Because yeah, I’ve jerked off over him. Many, many times. And on the odd occasion I take someone home, there’ve been moments I’ve slipped. Times I’ve regretted. Where I’ve been with a beautiful woman and couldn’t stop from wondering what it’d be like to plow him instead.
Art’s eyes darken. Send my pulse rate skyrocketing. If I don’t pass out from having all the blood in my cock, he’s going to kill me from a damn heart attack.
His lips and his throat and his chest, all right there within licking distance.
“Careful, you cocky little shit,” he says in warning.
“What are you going to do?” He’s had more than enough reasons to fire me and hasn’t.
Art swallows. “I haven’t figured that out yet.”
“Okay, okay, sorry, I’m back.” Courtney pushes her way between us and sets her hand on Art’s arm. “I can’t believe you covered for me. Absolute angel.”
He chuckles, turning kind eyes on her. A look he’s never once given me. “I’m no stranger to hard work.”
She hums and gives his bicep a playful squeeze. “I’ll say.”
Art takes off the apron he borrowed and hangs it back on a hook. With every step he moves away, my disappointment grows heavier. I’ve got it bad.
“I’ll leave it to you both. We all know my customers would rather see your pretty faces than my old one.”
Courtney flicks her hair, and I can’t stop my mouth from opening.
“You think I’m pretty?”
“You’re fucking gorgeous.” Art sneers. “That’s part of the problem.”
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About the Author
Saxon James unapologetically writes happy endings for LGBT+ characters.
While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.
Member of SCBWI.
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