LATE JUNE 2018
THE PEOPLE milling around at the coffeepot scattered when Galen Merriweather stormed into Primal Imports and headed for his office. He’d gone to see his brother, Lincoln, at Park View, the diner he owned, to tell him about the betrayal of Noel Simmons, Lincoln’s lover. When his father had offered Noel a quarter of a million dollars to walk away so Lincoln would be forced to come back to the family business, Galen had been incensed. Their old man had pulled some shady crap over the years, but this was a new low, even for him.
His personal assistant, Olivia, greeted him with a warm smile when he stepped through the door. “Good afternoon, Mr. Merriweather.”
Galen sneered at her and stomped into his office, slamming the door as he did. He dropped into the stylish leather chair that sat behind the imposingly large oak desk, wondering why the hell he’d bothered to talk to Lincoln at all. His feelings about Galen had been made perfectly clear when he chose that… person over his own family.
Plus, what was up with their father? His private investigator had somehow acquired pictures of Lincoln from a BDSM club he’d frequented at some point in his storied past. They showed Lincoln and some of the submissives he’d played with at the clubs. It turned Galen’s stomach to see. Not that he had a problem with BDSM. The problem was how his father had gone about it. The guys in the pictures were innocent, but anyone could clearly see who they were. Galen had to wonder if the PI had stolen the pictures or had worked out a deal with a club owner.
Either way, the whole thing stunk, and Galen hated the thought that he’d done nothing but sit there as his father rode roughshod over Noel. He had to admit, the way Noel had played his father was masterful, and there wasn’t a doubt in Galen’s mind that when he found out, his father’s retribution would be swift.
Galen didn’t like Noel, but he had to respect the ginormous set of balls he obviously had.
Still, what the fuck was up with his father? He’d seen the man pull some awful shit, but this? It went way beyond the pale, even for him. Galen’s ire rose as he thought about how any hope of Lincoln coming back to Primal had now been dashed, and all because their father was a total asshole.
When his phone rang, Galen took a moment to compose himself, then answered it without checking to see who it was.
“Primal Imports, this is Galen. How can I help you?”
Galen groaned. Andy might be the closest thing he had to a friend, but Galen couldn’t muster the energy to talk to him now. Best to find out what he wanted, then politely get rid of him. “What can I do for you, Andy?”
“Don’t be like that. We haven’t talked in weeks.” If it was possible to pout over the phone, Andy was doing so. “How come you haven’t called me? Last time I saw you was at Tyler’s party, when you were puking your guts out, and he was—”
“It’s been hectic here. Was there something you needed?” Keeping the conversation focused was the only way Galen would get off the phone sometime today.
“YP is having strippers tonight. I thought we could go.”
Not just no. Hell no. The last time he’d gone to a bar with Andy, Galen had been forced to duck out the back when he thought he saw someone from the office walk in. While Lincoln was out and proud, Galen was firmly rooted in the closet, and that was the way it was going to stay. Having already borne witness to the disappointment of Lincoln’s “lifestyle,” as their father called it, Galen had no intention of being on the receiving end of that treatment. How the family friends discussed Lincoln was bad, but hearing it from his father was infinitely worse.
“Michael is going to be there. He’s been asking about you.”
Galen’s stomach knotted. Michael had been a one-night stand about a year ago. Galen wouldn’t deny he enjoyed the sex, but he would say Michael’s crude behavior made it obvious the man should never be seen in the light of day, and he certainly would never fit in at family affairs. No, with his oversized muscles, gruff voice, and arrogance, Michael would be more likely to fit in at Lincoln’s diner.
“No, but thank you for asking. I—”
The door to his office was flung open so hard, it bounced off the dark wood panels and caused Galen to flinch.
“I have to go.”
Andy’s protests were cut short as Galen hung up the phone. His father stomped in, a sneer on his face. He stalked over to Galen, put his palms flat on the desk, and leaned in close. “Explain this… mess to me.”
What was there to explain? Noel had played them big-time. His father’s reaction came as no surprise. Jonathan Merriweather was no one’s fool. In all of his dealings, he made it very clear what was expected of people. He used it against them, more often than not, as a means of acquiring their business. Galen had enjoyed observing his father’s cutthroat tactics. Seeing men who thought they had power brought to their knees because of some slight slip of the tongue had been fascinating to watch, and Galen had taken those lessons to heart. Father wasn’t happy about having them turned against him.
“Simmons played you, Father. He followed your instructions to the exact letter, and after he had the check in hand, he left.”
“He’s still here. I’m not a stupid man, Galen. I had Tate follow him. He went back to the diner. We had an agreement, and the little shit took the money.”
“The office, Father. He left the office. You weren’t specific enough about what you wanted from him, and he used it against you. As there were no contracts signed, the only thing you have is a verbal agreement, which could be argued in court. I can’t believe you showed him pictures of Lincoln with his… whatever.”
Nostrils flaring, Galen’s father stood to his full six-foot, six-inch height. “Don’t question how I do things, Galen.”
Galen wanted the chair to swallow him whole. His father’s glower never failed to make him feel small and helpless. He’d gotten Galen to fall in line ever since he was a child, simply by turning it on him. “No, of course not, sir.”
His father splayed his fingers on the desk and leaned forward, his gaze locked with Galen’s. “I’ve already spoken with Lincoln, and do you know the bastard laughed at me? I want you to get that money back. I don’t care what you need to do, but no one cheats me. Do you understand?”
“Why not just cancel the check?”
His father sneered. “Because I want you to put the fear of God into all of them. They need to learn not to screw with me. Do you think you’re able to handle this?”
Galen stiffened his spine. “Yes, of course.”
“I’m going to sue that little shit into the ground.”
“Maybe it would be best if—”
His father’s expression was ice-cold. “When I want your opinion, I’ll ask. Until then, keep it to yourself and do as you’re told.” He turned on his heel and huffed like a bull as he barreled out the open door.
Galen leaned back and ran a hand through his hair. God, the old man was a prick. He’d never been a nurturing person, leaving that to Galen and Lincoln’s nanny. Of course, they never lasted long either. As soon as either he or Lincoln began to feel close, they’d be terminated and someone new would be brought in. Galen was never sure if it was because their father wanted to control his sons or if he’d been screwing the nanny and was done with her.
The sad thing was that his mother was every bit as bad. She’d had affairs with the chauffeur, one of the cooks, and if rumor was to be believed, she’d even bedded a few maids. She wasn’t discriminating about who she had sex with, nor was she shy about sniffing around them when his father was nearby. But in public, they were one big, happy family.
Yeah, he knew what a fucked-up life he led, but he couldn’t complain too much. He had money, power, and when his father retired—God, let it be soon—he would take over the company. Pity Lincoln didn’t want anything to do with it. The two of them together could rule their empire with an iron fist.
His phone rang, and this time he glanced at the caller ID. With a sigh, he picked up. “Sorry, Andy. I had someone come into the office.”
“You hung up on me. Do you know how rude that is?”
“I said I was sorry. What more can I do?”
“Come out tonight. You can buy me a drink, we can dance, watch the strippers, have a good time, and maybe we’ll even get lucky.”
It had been better than three months since Galen got laid, and his ass clenched at the thought. Still, he’d been given a task by his father, and he needed to get on that right away.
“Tonight’s not good. Are you willing to give me a rain check?”
When Andy gave that weary, put-upon sigh, Galen knew he was going to give in. He always did, just because he didn’t want to hear Andy—
“Just one drink, Gale. Please?”
—whine. He knew he was going to regret it, but really, what could one drink hurt? And it wasn’t like the job was his life or anything.
“One drink, one dance. Then I have to go.”
Galen shook his head. This had bad idea written all over it.
THE ANNOYING ringtone on the phone dragged Galen out of a drunken stupor. He glanced over at the clock and groaned. Nearly 4:00 a.m., and he was still wasted.
Despite the fact he’d repeatedly said he had to go, Andy had kept plying him with drinks, and like an idiot, Galen drank them. When someone took his hand and dragged him along, Galen stumbled onto the dance floor, where hot, sweaty men surrounded him, their skin glistening under the pulsating lights. He remembered a mouth on him, sucking at his chest. When he tried to push the person away, they sank to their knees, undid his zipper, and right there in the middle of the club, they’d gone down on him. It was such a shock, and Galen knew he ought to run, but the mouth was hot and wet and Galen was horny, so he grabbed the head and thrust in deep. As he fucked the guy’s mouth, other hands pulled down Galen’s pants. Something cold and wet touched his ass, and Galen shivered. The guy blowing him chuckled. The sound of foil ripping told Galen what was about to happen. The man blowing him pulled off and Galen was urged down to his knees. Without preamble, a thick cock pushed inside him in one stroke, burying to the hilt. Galen moaned. It had been so fucking long.
The man who’d been sucking him stretched out, his legs spread, holding his cock in his hand. He gripped Galen’s hair and pulled it toward his crotch. Galen opened wide, allowing the head to slide into his mouth. The guy locked both hands on Galen’s head, forcing him to take the considerable length.
A slap to his cheek made Galen yelp, as much as he could with a mouthful of cock.
They weren’t gentle at all, and Galen didn’t care. He’d never been spit-roasted before, and he was in heaven. Two men, each using Galen to satisfy their needs, not caring about him. This was what he wanted—no, this was what he needed. He had a hard job, a shitty family, and no one gave a fuck about him.
He wondered what his old man would say if he could see him now.
The man who he was sucking began to grunt, shoving Galen’s head down hard, forcing him to open up his throat. “Gonna come.” His voice was a growl, which inflamed Galen’s senses. “Fuck, this guy can suck a cock.”
“Yeah, I’m gonna seed his ass.”
The talk was filthy, and they were treating Galen like he was a hooker or something. He didn’t care. They still treated him better than his father.
The music volume kicked up a notch, and the words and grunts were drowned out by a thumping bass that went through Galen’s body. A hand reached down and grabbed his dick, jacking it while the guy at his head shot into Galen’s mouth. He swallowed it down, delighting in the musky flavor.
As soon as Galen had swallowed it all, the guy stood up, patted his head, said thanks, then disappeared back into the crowd. When the other guy pulled out, Galen felt empty. He smacked Galen on the ass before he, too, left.
Galen wasn’t sure why, but his whole world turned upside down after that. He pulled his pants up and lurched back to the bar, where he ordered another drink, downed it in one go, then stumbled out of the place.
The ringing phone was like a drumbeat in his head. He reached over to the nightstand and grabbed it. There were six missed calls from Andy. And now he was calling again. Might as well get it over with.
“What’s going on?”
“You tell me, stud.” There was a teasing quality to Andy’s voice that unsettled Galen even more.
“What are you talking about?” Galen’s stomach rolled over, and he got up and swayed a bit before he was able to get his balance. His bladder was screaming at him, so Galen figured he should listen for a change. He moved from his bedroom to the living room.
“Your little act on the floor. It was hotter than hell, and your fans wanted to know where you went and when the next show is. Shit, the Xtube video has nine thousand views already, and it was only posted a few hours ago. You, my friend, are going to be a star. Who the hell knew you had it in you? Well, I guess we all did, since we watched.”
Galen’s stomach lurched and he threw his phone onto the couch, then ran to the bathroom, dropped to his knees, and tossed his cookies. How had this gone so wrong? The old man had gotten pictures of Lincoln somehow. What would happen if he somehow saw this video? Shit, Galen’s life could well and truly be over. After discovering his father had hired a private detective to track down information on Noel, Galen could imagine him having people scour the internet to dig up dirt on both his sons. He had no idea to what end, but seeing how he had attempted to blackmail Lincoln, tried to pay Noel to leave, and how angry he’d gotten over a little nobody like Noel getting the better of him? What would happen if he learned both of his sons were queer?
Shit. Shit shit shit.
Galen swiped a hand over his mouth, stood, and trudged to the sink. He didn’t even need the mirror to know he looked like shit. Still, he wanted to see just how bad it was. Sunken cheeks, bloodshot gray eyes, and his dark hair was greasy. Galen could smell the smoke clinging to him. Even his normally tanned skin was sallow. He turned away. That was definitely not the image he needed to present when he went into work. He took a shower and brushed his teeth, then shuffled into the kitchen where he grabbed a coffee pod and started a pot. His phone rang from the other room, but Galen didn’t want to answer it. He wanted—needed—to put the whole thing out of his mind. It was a nightmare; that’s all it had been.
But despite the drinks at the bar and the beers he’d downed after he got home, Galen remembered some of it. Their hands on him, their cocks inside him. The taste, their forcefulness, the way they’d treated him. If anyone else had done that, Galen would have thrown a fit, but those two men? Galen realized he was nothing more than a hole for them to use, but that was okay. They saw him at least. He snorted, because apparently the whole world was now seeing him. One night fucked up everything, and Galen’s dreams were crumbling to dust before him.
His only hope—and that wasn’t saying much—was to get the money back from the shelter Noel said he’d given it to. If Galen could show his father he could be as cutthroat and ruthless as the old man, maybe it would go a long way toward helping him out of this damned mess.
One thing was certain: he sure as hell wasn’t going out with Andy again.
No matter how good it felt.
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