Excerpt: Beach Remedy

Slinging his duffel bag over his shoulder, Lee surveyed the hotel. There were palm trees—honest to fucking god palm trees—lining the walk to the front door, seven or eight stories of balconied rooms lining every face of the building he could see, and the entire building was done in a light, sandy color.

It was perfect. Slamming the trunk shut, Lee headed towards the front office, wondering idly what the place was running his cousin. Way more than anything Lee could afford, that much was obvious. His original reservations had been a good six blocks from the beach, though with his luck Astor would guarantee he got the only room in the hotel with no windows and a single twin bed.

Still, right on the beach was enough to make him happy. He hadn’t been looking forward to trudging the six blocks each day, and the beach itself was the entire point of this vacation. Lee eschewed the normal glass doors, stepping into the revolving door and entering the lobby.

It was sleek, wide open with a dozen sets of chairs and tables scattered across it. There weren’t many people about: three or four business casual types loitered near the fountain, looking boring and likely discussing something equally boring; there were a handful of laptop dwellers in the chairs; and a few bellhops attempting to look busy near the door.

Striding over to the desk, Lee side-stepped the older woman badgering the one clerk about towels or something and approached the second clerk. The man looked to be about his age, with a pretty, tanned face and short, wavy brown hair that fell, disheveled, across his forehead. He had lovely full lips, pretty brown eyes, and while the hotel jacket didn’t do him any favors, it didn’t do him a disservice, either.

“How can I help you?” The clerk said, tapping a few last keys on his computer before looking up with a smile that dimpled his cheeks, and Lee was sold.

“I’m checking in,” Lee said, leaning on the desk and pushing his sunglasses up to rest on the top of his head.

The clerk—Jayden, his name tag said—smiled a little wider, and asked, “Name?”

Lee wrinkled his nose. Astor had made the reservation for him, and knowing Astor, he’d have refused to make the reservation under anything other than Lee’s real first name, just to piss him off. “Barnaby White, but please call me Lee.”

“Middle name?” Jayden asked, tapping a few keys on his computer. “I’ll need your driver’s license.”

“Yes. Barnaby’s a family name, though why they couldn’t just stick me with it as a middle name I’ll never know,” Lee said. That was more polite than saying that Grandpapa Barnaby would have pitched a fit to be relegated to the middle name of a grandchild, and that after his oldest had refused to use his name at all on her two sons.

Jayden took his license, sliding it from Lee’s hand a tad too slowly to not be flirting. Lee smothered a grin; it looked like he’d found his first bit of fun for the trip. Jayden entered a few more things on his computer, then handed the license back. He moved slightly down the counter, picking up a few odds and ends and tucking things into an envelope.

He had nice hands, long and dexterous, and Lee would have fun with this. Jayden slid his license back across the counter and quickly did something with two plastic cards bearing the hotel’s logo. He tucked them into the envelope—which was really more of an open-faced flyer—and slid that across the counter as well.

“You’re up in room 407,” Jayden said. “Payment was already settled, so you should be set. There’s a selection of local restaurants in the guide in your room, and of course the hotel restaurant is readily available,” Jayden pointed across the lobby to the open-faced restaurant. “If you’ve got any questions or need anything, please don’t hesitate to let us know.”

“I will,” Lee said, then exerted a bit of alluring power. “What time do you get off?”

“A few hours,” Jayden said, flashing those dangerously enticing dimples again. “I don’t do room visits.”

“If you decide to make an exception,” Lee said, throwing a bit more power at Jayden, “You know where to find me.”

“I do,” Jayden said agreeably.

Giving Jayden a last parting smile, Lee scooped up his driver’s license and paperwork, then headed towards the elevators. It was a little odd Jayden hadn’t fallen all over himself to agree, but then, Lee hadn’t used too much power on him. That would draw attention. Jayden might have a natural resistance anyway. Some people did, much to Lee’s annoyance. Everything was much easier when he could sway people into doing his bidding.

Not that he abused that; his mother would whoop his ass. It was also easy to tell when someone wasn’t into it, even with his encouragement, and that was the biggest downer. Jayden hadn’t not seemed interested, so maybe Lee would see him tonight. If he didn’t, well, it was a beach town. He’d find someone to spend the night with.

The elevator chimed as it reached the fourth floor, and his room wasn’t far down the hallway. He let himself in, letting the door swing shut behind him with a clang. It was a nice room; a king-sized bed dominated most of the room, and the bedding, curtains, and walls were done in a nice dark red and cream theme. A large dresser sat opposite the bed with a large TV settled in the center. There was a desk, a chair and low table, and a patio visible through the sliding doors.

He also had an ocean view, so Astor really, really wanted details on the haunted lighthouse up the street. Dropping the key cards and welcome packet on the dresser and his duffle on the floor, Lee kicked off his shoes and headed for the patio. Tossing himself into one of the two chairs on the balcony, Lee settled his feet on the ottoman and leaned back, watching the ocean roll in on the beach below.

A knock on the door startled Lee awake awhile later. Lee rubbed at his face, swinging his feet to the floor as he wondered when he’d even fallen asleep. He didn’t remember even getting sleepy. Yawning, he crossed the floor to the hotel room’s door, peeking through the peephole.

Jayden stood on the other side of the door, and Lee immediately felt more awake, his pulse quickening. Opening the door, Lee leaned against it, giving Jayden his most seductive smile. Jayden no longer wore the hotel’s uniform; he’d changed into a snug, dark blue t-shirt that showed off his abdomen and chest to great advantage. He wore baggy cargo pants and easy-to-remove flip flops, and completed the outfit with the stereotypical surfer boy hemp necklace, though with a few small brown beads instead of a conch shell.

“Hey,” Lee drawled, dragging his eyes down Jayden’s front and then back up to catch Jayden’s dimples appearing. “I thought you didn’t do room visits.”

“I don’t,” Jayden said, lifting his chin in challenge. “I can always leave, if you want.”

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