Vivi Anne Hunt
Look Inside: To Trust and To Touch (Chapter One)
Hi peeps. :)
While To Trust and To Touch is on pre-order until December 13, there is no 'look inside' option on Amazon, which is why I want to show you Chapter 1 early!
Happy reading! :D
You can watch, but you can’t touch. Alex performs at the infamous adult club, Kink World. He’s only in it for the money, and he has one rule: no touching. He doesn’t trust anybody that much. However, a chance encounter with a man who is the very epitome of the word safe may change all that. A man who runs a charity for abandoned queer kids, who has a five-year-old daughter, and who is unlike anyone Alex has ever met. After years of focusing on raising his daughter and running his charity, Sigh’s status quo is shaken up when he meets a man covered in vine tattoos outside his brother's club. The young man stirs a longing he has ignored for far too long. However, he seems unwilling to let anybody in, so Sigh faces an insurmountable challenge to overcome these barriers and find some way to connect. Will Alex ever let someone touch him? Will Sigh find somebody to fill the emptiness? Will the men find a way to heal together?
Tropes: age gap, single parent, hurt/comfort CW: SA, PTSD, unaliving, drug abuse, mature language, content, and violence
It’s Wednesday, my night at Kink World, and I’m running late. I have to speed my bike through a couple of intersections, but I come out unscathed. I could die about a dozen ways riding like this. I know it won’t be that easy, though. When I go, it won’t be soon and it won’t be easy. It’s someone else, who is lucky. I’ve never been lucky in my fucking life.
I almost crash into the building’s entrance, regain my balance, and tie the bike to a nearby rack. Quick as lightning, I sprint to the entrance and knock three times. A small window opens. “Pass?”
I roll my eyes. “It’s me, Frank, open up.”
The window closes and the big gate opens, revealing a smirking individual. “Oh, you’re still with us, are you, Shade?”
Shade is my pseudonym at Kink World. My stage name, if you will.
“As long as there are greedy, horny fuckers in the world, I’ll always be employed, my friend.”
Frank scoffs and lets me pass. I practically run through the few people that have already populated the club at this early hour—losers—and head for the secret entrance to the second level. I run my ID card and the light turns green. Then, I take the stairs two at a time under the dim red light, sweating like a pig, but whatever. It might actually come out in my favor when I start working myself up.
The second level of Kink World is for the fuckers who like to watch. The peepers, the perverts, or whatever you want to call them. They usually have specific kinks, and they pay extra to have them available. I’m not doing this for them, though. I’m doing it for the money. It’s the only gig that pays as well, and I still can’t believe the owner lets me do it solo.
If I had to do it with a partner, I’d be out of here in two seconds flat.
The second-floor changing room is empty other than me because I’m late; the watchers are probably waiting, frustrated. I quickly change into my skimpy outfit and jump into my designated room—number fifteen. It is bare except for a big master bed in the middle and a table with all kinds of props. There’s lube, dildos of every size and type, butt plugs, et cetera. I’m required to use at least three items per scene, per my agreement.
Oh, yeah, I signed a contract and everything, but I insisted on a clause that no one is allowed to touch me. No one who works here and none of the patrons. If someone does, I can call security.
I was impressed with Mason’s professionalism, to be honest, though I guess you don’t get to own a club like this without being a professional. I just regret there aren’t more slots in the week. If I could, I would just work here and quit my stupid Starbucks job. Oh well.
Getting paid to play with yourself for an hour is a good gig.
I look at the big one-way mirror on the wall, on the other side of which the onlookers are. I wink and tease them because I can. They’re never going to get anything else from me, so I might as well make this good for them.
I take my place on the bed and sprawl my legs so that everything is visible. I let out a deep sigh and prepare to give the fuckers the show of a lifetime. I’m already strung up because I haven’t jerked off in more than a day, and the resulting orgasm is going to be mental.
Good. It might mean more tips, too.
Slowly, sensually, I start the program. It’s an hour of my time, pleasuring myself, letting strangers watch.
They can watch, but they will never touch.
Just as I head to the bar for the one free drink that’s included in my contract, I feel a presence behind me. I turn around—fuck, of course it’s Daniel. He’s a rich businessman who always wears fancy suits and sits up in the VIP section, which is why I don’t go there anymore. Did he sneak up on me on purpose?
“Hello, pretty thing. How about I buy you a drink?”
“I’ve told you, man, you’re wasting your time,” I say as I put distance between us and continue on my way.
Unfortunately, he follows me to the bar. “Why are you being so difficult, baby? I just want to talk to you.”
“Come on, there must be something you want.”
“I want you to fucking leave me alone,” I bark and wave the bartender, Nate, who already knows what my order is. He nods, smiling.
Shit, I can’t even fucking relax because the fucker is still near; I can feel him.
“Let me make you feel good, baby,” he hisses in my ear.
I jerk around and say, “I’m not your fucking baby. Go away.”
He laughs, the fucker. “This is fun for you, isn’t it? Teasing the men with your tight little ass and making them work hard for it. Well, darling, you won’t meet anyone who’s going to work harder than me.” He leans closer, invading my personal space, licking his lips, and his gross fingers envelop my wrist.
Oh, hell no!
In a matter of seconds, I pull out of his grip and twist his arm behind his back, pushing him to his knees. He curses up a storm.
People around us look and someone mighty big pulls me aside and barks, “Shade, what the fuck, man?” It’s one of the security guys. “Get out of here and get some fucking air.”
Of course. Because this fucker paid to be here and I didn’t, so I’m disposable, but their precious members aren’t.
“Whatever,” I mutter, then leave through the front entrance because it’s closer. I don’t want to think about the stupid prick or his sleazy hands on my body. Fuck! They always find a way to touch me.
Trying not to shake too badly, I get out a cigarette and light it. There’s a huge line on one side of the entrance, so I stand on the other side, leaning against the wall, trying to calm down as I struggle with my shitty lighter. Fuck, come on, damn it, light up.
As the smoke billows, calm engulfs me and I can finally breathe again.
There’s another guy there, busy talking on his phone, so I focus on the stupid breathing exercises my therapist gave me. I would much rather punch someone, but I wouldn’t be paid in that case, so I just count backwards from one hundred. It’s not like that guy could have hurt me, I know that. I’ve trained in five different types of martial arts, so you’re not likely to get the drop on me in this lifetime, no matter how big you are. I could even take on two or three guys, as long as they’re not military-trained or something like that. The problem isn’t the inappropriate touching or the threat of more. The problem is the flashes, the memories, the fucking things that always keep me from hooking up with anybody.
It’s been three years since a man touched me.
I mean, in a sexual way.
To get release, I have to use toys and my hand. Sometimes, I close my eyes and pretend I have someone with me, but it rarely works, which means most of the time, I am really fucking strung up. Like right now.
“Daddy loves you too, sweetheart,” the man on the phone says. The one near the entrance. He’s tall with wide shoulders, short, dark hair, a soft smile, tidy clothes, and scruff on his chin. Probably in his forties because of those lines around his eyes, but the smile makes him look younger and more attractive than he actually is. He doesn’t look like a rich asshole. More like a regular guy, which is another point in his favor.
Suddenly, I realize what I’m doing. What the fuck? I don’t know him, and I don’t want to know him.
“Yes, baby, Daddy can’t wait to come back home and read you a story.” He pauses, then the lines around his eyes pinch as he smiles. “Yes, your favorite one, princess.”
So, he’s straight. All right, then. A strange feeling fills my chest, then I realize that feeling disappointed over a stranger’s sexual orientation is ridiculous.
I’ll pretend it was heartburn.
“Tell Uncle Dave to make dinner. No pizza, all right?”
Uh, is this a menage kind of thing? And who the fuck calls their partner uncle?
“Kisses, baby. I’ll see you tonight. Give the phone to Uncle Dave.” He pauses again, then his tone changes, and the sweetness drains away with the flick of a switch. “If you order pizza again, I will smother you in your sleep, got it? She needs to eat nutritional food, not the shit you give her.” Another few moments of silence while he rubs his hand across his forehead and pinches the bridge of his nose. “Fine, I’m sorry. Thank you for taking care of her while I’m out wilding, to use your words, but I really just want you to make sure—” He stops abruptly, then lets out an exasperated huff and rolls his eyes. “Jesus, I don’t care about the twinks inside. I just want to know my daughter is well taken care of.”
He looks at me, surprised to see someone watching him. “Dave, I have to go. I’ll see you later, all right?” He uses all of a short pause to glare at me. “Yeah, bye.”
He hangs up, frowning.
I give him one of my famous smirks, challenging him to say something.
“Do you always eavesdrop on people’s conversations?”
“Only if they say words like daddy and twink.”
His eyes grow wide as he realizes where the fuck he is standing, then groans. “Jesus, did you think I was talking to—”
“Your sexy baby girl? Yep.”
He looks like he’s going to gag. “Great, now I feel sick, and I’ll probably never come back here again, if this is what I get.”
I laugh. “I mean, what did you expect? We’re in front of a sex club.”
“In my defense, I was just about to step into said club when my phone rang, and I didn’t think having this conversation inside would go very well.” The guy shakes his head, a smile playing at his lips. At least he has a sense of humor.
I puff out a ring of smoke, then another.
He looks me over. “Why aren’t you inside?”
I shrug. “I’m done with it for tonight.”
Nodding, he says, “I have to go in or my brother will possibly disown me.”
“Who’s your brother?” I ask, cursing my curiosity. Why do I even want to know shit like that? He’s just another fucker I don’t want to know, who I don’t want to touch me, and who I’ll never see again. Period.
“Mason,” he says.
Damn. “The owner?”
“Yes, and let’s just say that not coming here for five years means to him that I am a sexually repressed bastard who needs to get laid.” He shakes his head. “I don’t know why I said that to a complete stranger.”
I shrug. “No worries, I can keep a secret.”
“Great, thanks,” he says, but his smile resurfaces. “You’re one of those people who are easy to talk to, aren’t you? You probably collect people’s secrets as currency so you can blackmail them later.”
My eyebrows go way up. “Are you a millionaire or something? Because if not, I wouldn’t bother blackmailing your old ass.”
“I’m forty, not seventy.”
“Happy fucking birthday, then.”
He laughs, shaking his head again. It’s fun to talk to him.
“So, why are you repressed, anyway? Haven’t you got a twink or two on speed dial? All the smart daddies are doing it.”
“Ah, no. I had Emma—my daughter—five years ago. Let’s just say I’ve only been spending time with her and various cartoon characters.”
“No shit? So, you’ve been hibernating.”
“Something like that,” he says, rubbing the back of his neck. He looks even more attractive when he’s embarrassed, but I shouldn’t care about that.
“I can’t imagine.” I puff more rings of smoke.
“No, I don’t imagine you can.”
There’s something in his tone I don’t like.
“You shouldn’t make snap judgments based on people’s appearances, you know,” I say, thinking of what he sees before him—a skinny, wiry guy with vine tattoos all over his arms, legs, and torso, not that he can see it all. I am covered in barbed wire, basically. You can’t touch or you’ll get stung.
“I suppose that’s fair,” he says. “And what about you? Did you get everything you wanted out of Kink World tonight?”
I let out a breath, thinking about my miserable night. Playing with myself in front of strangers and then getting accosted by some asshole. A night like any other.
“I got what I came for,” I say.
Pursing his lips, he nods.
While he’s silent, I examine him more closely; not that I should. His clothes are not ideal for clubbing. He’s wearing a long-sleeved button down and khaki slacks held up with a leather belt. An expensive-looking watch flashes from his wrist, which will probably get stolen inside. His face looks warm and soft, his brown eyes adding to the effect.
Everything about him screams safe.
If I wanted someone, I would ask him out. I would keep flirting with him and tease him until he got the message and we went somewhere for drinks. But not the club. Fuck the club.
Unfortunately, I am who I am, and I don’t date or fuck anymore.
“So, I should go inside and face the music,” he says.
Oh, good. That saves me from having to rudely walk away, as I always do.
“Good luck with your wilding, man,” I say, giving him one last teasing smirk, which I am famous for. “Make sure to get it all out.”
He chuckles. “I’ll try, but no promises.”
I wink at him and watch him walk away, then he turns and gives me another curious look before the club swallows him whole.
Well, that was weird.
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