Of Love and Corn Dogs By Parker Williams
With more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, Darwin Kincade still couldn’t keep death from stealing his lover. A little older and a whole lot wiser, flirting with his twice-a-week waiter is the perfect no-risk substitute for a real relationship. Until the night his routine is upended by the restaurant’s newest employee.
Ricky Donnelly loves people. While being a server isn’t his dream, he’s good at it. When a grumpy man is seated in his station, Ricky sees there’s more to him than he lets on, and when the man relaxes, he’s actually sweet.
As the two men bond over a discussion about corn dogs—something Darwin’s never heard of—he realizes how much he’s missed out on in his life. He vows to open himself to new experiences—including, perhaps, a chance at finding love again.
Not wanting anything to muddy their blooming relationship, Darwin hides part of himself from Ricky. He likes the look in Ricky’s eyes, unclouded by Darwin’s notoriety. Unfortunately, the truth can never stay hidden, and when it comes out, Darwin may lose any hope of holding onto the future they’ve begun to build.
Darwin sat at his usual table and scanned the restaurant, anxious to see Roy, his favorite server. From the soft lighting of the candelabras that dotted the walls and the gleaming hardwood bar to the deep, rich brown carpeting, everything about Asiago screamed class. As the only five-star restaurant in the area, everything had to be the best. But Roy outshone all the glitz of the dining room. While Darwin knew Roy saw him as a customer, he secretly hoped that one day the waiter might realize he hadn’t been coming for the food all these months.
He frowned when the young man who approached the table looked nothing like the raven-haired beauty Darwin had grown accustomed to seeing twice a week for the last six months. He tried to school his features to hide his disappointment, not wanting to hurt the slender blond with the wide smile who drew near.
“Good evening, Mr. Kincade. My name is Richard, and I’ll be your server for this evening. Would you like to start with a drink?”
“Where’s Roy?” Darwin growled. His cheeks heated when Richard stepped back, looking every bit the kicked puppy. Darwin winced. He knew better than to snap at people. He scratched his cheek before he glanced up. “I’m sorry. It’s been a long day. Please forgive me. I assume Roy isn’t working tonight?”
“Roy quit a couple days ago,” came the hesitant answer.
Darwin’s gut clenched. He’d been coming to Asiago simply for Roy. Truthfully, the merely palatable food hadn’t been a drawing point. Seeing Roy had become the highlight of his week, and now he was gone.
“Did he say where he was going?” A hint of whine escaped, but goddamn it, he’d been in lust with Roy.
“He and his wife moved to be closer to her parents.”
Nausea rolled through Darwin. He hadn’t even considered Roy might not have been gay. Such a fool he was.
“Would you like that drink?” Richard asked hesitantly.
Darwin knew Asiago was one of the few places in the United States that had the drink he loved most. “Yes, please. A shot of Macallan M. Neat.”
Richard gasped and then covered his mouth. “Sir, that costs—”
“I damn well know the cost,” he snapped. “Bring me my drink.”
Once more Darwin’s anger had gotten the better of him. Green eyes shimmered in the dim lighting, and Darwin worried the young man might break into tears.
“Again, please accept my apologies. It’s been a rough day, and I should probably just go home.” He reached over and grabbed his briefcase, ready to stand, when Richard held out a hand and graced Darwin with a genuine and disarming smile.
“No, please. Stay. Let me get you that drink, okay? I’ll let you know the dinner special when I come back. My grandma always said any day can be made better with a good meal.” Richard hurried off in the direction of the bar without waiting for a reply.
Darwin fumed at his lack of self-control. Not only had he made a fool of himself tonight, but he’d also hurt the feelings of someone he didn’t know. Though Richard would be right to refuse service to Darwin, he’d run to get a drink. As much as he wanted to believe the attentive attitude came down to getting a decent tip, Richard seemed too genuine for that. Darwin sighed and put his briefcase back on the leather seat. His mother would be so disappointed in him.
A crystal glass thunked against the table, startling Darwin. The amber liquid rippled gently. Darwin picked it up and gazed into the glass. He’d thought about downing it in one go, relishing the burn that would inevitably follow, but he hated losing control. He took a deep, steadying breath.
“Most people call me Ricky. You can, if you want.”
Of Love and Corn Dogs sales links:
Romance, Gay Romance, Contemporary