We’re thrilled to host Amelia C. Gormley with the first chapter of The Houseboy: Initiation, her story in Unconditional Surrender. Don’t forget to scroll to the end to enter the tour contest. To travel to other tour stops, click on the Tour Banner.
When I stumbled upon a post in Facebook m/m romance circles asking for authors to contribute to a military-men themed m/m bundle, I jumped at the opportunity. Who wouldn’t gleefully embrace the chance to keep company with such an amazing group of authors?
It also gave me a chance to brush off a small bit of erotica I’d started writing quite a while back and had never found an appropriate venue for. Sometimes it embarrasses me, because I don’t often go to the pure erotica place. Usually my stories have something else going on within them. But sometimes a bit of PWP can be fun, and I hadn’t written something to that effect in quite a while. And since several of the other authors writing for the bundle have so beautifully addressed some of the emotional and psychological journeys that can come with serving one’s country, I was free to step in with a little bit of light-hearted smut.
I’m sharing the first chapter here. I hope you all enjoy.
Fowler Vale wasn’t an attractive man, at least not at first look. Bryce’s fantasies had always been filled with guys his own age, or maybe only a little older. Lean, fit, cover-model gorgeous.
Vale was huge and rugged, with a nose that looked like it’d been broken a few times and a half-bald, half-shaved head. He was decked out in leather and he looked like he belonged on the back of a Harley Davidson leading a band of bikers to some sleazy hideout bar on a dusty California highway.
Bryce wasn’t exactly in a position to be critical, though. In the three weeks since he’d been caught in the janitors’ closet with Ham Berkel’s hand down his pants, he had well and truly fallen from grace. He’d bolted from his father’s apparent intention to beat him to death, only to wind up stopping on a bench outside a bar where two drunks decided to finish the job Mr. Better-Dead-Than-Queer had started. The interference of a kindly—and large—stranger had saved him, and that guy had called Harry, who had let Bryce stay with him since then. But, he said, he didn’t have the space, money, or temperament to put Bryce up long-term. At eighteen, he was too old for the foster system, and shelters could get full and weren’t always safe. So Harry had begun investigating “other arrangements” and now here they were.
Vale was Harry’s potential solution to Bryce’s “problem.” His only hope of salvaging the bright future he’d taken for granted. The chance to go to college and avoid scraping by at minimum wage for the rest of his life. Up until that point, all the prospective—Bryce didn’t even know what to call them. Employers? Hosts? Sugar-Daddies?—had been clean-cut, obviously wealthy, educated men. Vale didn’t look like the type of man who had the money to support a houseboy.
“I’d recommend you wipe that look off your face, kid,” Harry murmured as Bryce watched Vale cross the bar. “Books and covers. All that shit. Of all the guys I’ve checked up on, this one got the best recommendations. Found him through the leather community. He’ll probably want a boy who’s submissive. When he gets here, be courteous. Defer to him, show respect. Offer to get him a beer. Wait on him a little. Call him sir.”
Bryce nodded grimly and came to his feet when Vale reached the table. Jesus, he was enormous. Bryce was five-foot-ten, and lean. Vale towered over him by a good six inches, and probably weighed double what Bryce did. It didn’t look like fat, either, or if it was, there wasn’t much of it and it was underlaid by a layer of heavy muscle.
He looked…powerful. An image flashed in Bryce’s mind, unbidden, of what a brute like that could do to a guy like Bryce in bed and he had to grab the table to keep his knees from buckling.
It wasn’t entirely from fear.
“You’re Bryce?” His voice was a deep rumble, even when he was speaking normally. He sounded like he’d smoked two packs a day for the last twenty or thirty years. Bryce guessed his age to be in his late forties or early fifties, though it was possible that the facial hair made him seem older than he was.
“Yeah. Um, yes. Can I get you a beer, Mr. Vale?” Harry cleared his throat loudly. “Um, sir.”
Vale chuckled. “You got the I.D. to get me a beer?”
“Huh? Oh!” Bryce felt his face ignite. He slid an accusing glance at Harry, who had the grace to appear sheepish. “No, I guess not.”
“Then have a seat.” He lifted a hand and a waiter appeared as if conjured out of thin air, then scurried off to bring back two beers and a cola. Bryce slid back into the booth, his face still aflame. “Relax. I don’t rip the heads off small animals and eat twinks for breakfast. Well, not unless they want me to.”
Bryce ducked his head, wondering if it was possible to get sunburn from blushing for too long.
Harry seemed to find the whole situation hilarious and laughed loudly. “Thanks for coming out to meet us. I’ve heard good things about you from Tod and Marv. Did they explain Bryce’s situation to you?”
Bryce squirmed at being spoken of in the third person, but neither Harry nor Vale seemed inclined to include him in their discussion.
“He’s looking for room and board, and help with tuition.” Vale sipped his beer as the ice melted in Bryce’s unacknowledged cola. Bryce ran his finger through the condensation on the outside of the glass, watching the beads meld together into streams as he listened. “He wants to go to Brown?”
“Yep,” Harry said briskly, taking a long swig of his own beer. “Seems a damn shame to let that acceptance go to waste when he earned it. He’s willing to do loans if he has to, he just might need help getting them.”
“I can cover it, if he works out.” Vale made the offer so easily that Bryce did a double-take. “Here’s what I propose. We give it a trial run, until August. That’ll leave enough time to drop his classes without owing anything if it doesn’t pan out. If it does, I’ll cover his expenses until graduation, as long as it continues to work for both of us.”
Harry gave an admiring whistle. “What is it you’re looking for from him?”
“Keep my house clean, run my errands, do the cooking, shopping, and laundry. You know how to do any of that, Bryce?”
He nodded carefully. “I can cook simple stuff, sure. My mom taught me.”
“Good.” Vale turned his attention back to Harry. “He’ll help me host when I have friends over. Accompany me to parties or wherever when I want him to. Other than that, his life’s his own. He’ll have a room in the basement with plenty of privacy if he wants to have company, though he’ll be responsible for making sure they treat my house and property with respect. As long as his work’s done and his grades are good, he can go out whenever he pleases.” Bryce licked his lips and prepared himself for the mortification of asking the obvious question, but Vale beat him to the punch, setting his pint glass down with a solid thunk. “I don’t expect fucking to be part of the bargain.”
Bryce’s head shot up, his eyes wide with surprise. The man was offering to pay over $50,000 a year plus room and board for a live-in housekeeper and companion and he didn’t even expect sex?
Vale caught his astonished look and smirked. “Sorry, Bryce. I prefer my fucks a little older and a lot more savvy.”
“Why do it?” Vale shrugged. “Does it matter? Maybe I’m just a big ol’ do-gooder under all this leather. Maybe someone saved my ass once and I’ve decided to pass it along. Maybe I just like making blushing twinks ask questions.”
Harry laughed again and slapped Bryce on the shoulder. “You’re not gonna get a better offer, kid.”
Bryce grunted at the rough clout, but his eyes never ventured from Vale’s. Surely there had to be a catch.
“If you’d like to come check out the place, inspect the situation, you’d be welcome.” Vale was talking to Harry again, and it took Bryce a moment to realize why.
He was treating Harry like he was Bryce’s guardian. The offer of an inspection was to appease any safety concerns.
Bryce bowed his head, coming to terms with the fact that he was almost certainly going to have to accept this offer. Harry was right. He wouldn’t get a better one. Things could be so much worse. He could be on the street right now, scavenging for food in garbage cans or selling himself for the cost of a value meal and a half-hour in a warm car. He could be beaten or raped in a shelter. Compared to the very plausible worst-case scenario, this was a fairytale come true, if an unconventional one. His reluctance came only from the fact that this whole idea of basically indenturing himself was foreign and scary. A few weeks hadn’t been enough allow him to wrap his head around it.
He’d be putting himself at Vale’s mercy. There was nothing to keep the man from reneging on his word once Harry was gone. It was a gamble. But it was either this or live hand-to-mouth for the rest of his life.
Drawing a deep breath, Bryce set his jaw and nodded. “Okay. Let’s go.”
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major ebook retailers, and be sure to check http://RiptidePublishing.com for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), her post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, new-adult coming-of-age tale, Saugatuck Summer, and her upcoming whodunit murder mystery, Player vs. Player.