Command & Care
When a middle inherits a kink club, he’s terrified. Can his dad’s best friend rescue the business while also protecting him from danger?
Unexpectedly losing his father is devastating, but when Noah’s dad leaves him the wildly successful Club Playpen, it’s more responsibility than he can face. Noah’s business skills are nonexistent and his interest in taking charge is zilch. The pressure to keep the club open has him scrambling to find someone to take over, but who does he dare trust with his father’s legacy?
Sawyer is stunned by the death of his best friend. His heart also aches for Noah, who insists he can’t handle the obligation of running his dad’s popular club. When Noah begs him to take on the role of manager, Sawyer is faced with an uncomfortable dilemma. He’s been attracted to Noah from the moment he laid eyes on him. However, his best friend made Sawyer promise he’d never cross that forbidden line.
As Noah and Sawyer dance around their growing desire, Sawyer struggles to remain true to his vow. Then outside forces interfere and threaten the future of the business, and Sawyer rushes in to keep Noah safe. Will Sawyer save the club before it’s too late? And will he abandon his oath to his best friend and claim his boy?
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Knight Ever After Publishing
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Age Difference, Death of Parent, Forbidden Love, Hurt / Comfort
Word Count: 51400
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Noah stared at the haphazard piles of papers on the desk in Club Playpen’s office. He raked his fingers through his hair, his stomach twisting as he fought off yet another bout of panic. Invoices, lists, job and membership applications, employee requests, bills… Nothing made sense. He didn’t have a clue how to begin resolving all the issues that needed to be addressed.
Once again, he was reminded how out of his element he really was.
Tears welled in his eyes for the…twentieth? Fiftieth? Hundredth time that day? He couldn’t keep track anymore.
God, he missed his dad so damn much.READ MORE
Noah quickly swiped under his eyes in case he got caught by any of the staff crying like a baby. They already didn’t respect him, questioned his competence. He grunted and shook his head. Fuck, he was right there with them. He had zero faith in his abilities to own and manage Club Playpen, the only kink club in San Francisco to cater exclusively to age play enthusiasts.
But three months ago, his dad died of a sudden, massive heart attack, right in this very office. He hadn’t even made it to fifty, and now he was gone. Noah was still reeling from the loss. Then after the will was read, he’d discovered his dad had given him the club instead of willing it to Jonathan, the manager who’d worked by his side from the day the club opened. Jonathan was infuriated, storming out of the lawyer’s office, not setting foot in the club ever since. He’d even blocked Noah’s number after Noah had left many desperate pleas for help on the ex-manager’s voicemail.
So now, here he was, the clueless owner of a kink cub.
The door flew open and Dirk, the bar manager, burst in. He hadn’t bothered to knock. No one ever did.
“Yo, boss man. Did you ever order the syrups for the soda fountain? We’re out of cherry and grape, the two most popular. I’ve got a birthday party for a group of littles coming in this afternoon, and they’ll shit their drawers if they don’t have their fruity sodas.”
Noah pressed his lips together. He didn’t care for Dirk’s attitude. For one, he knew the ‘boss man’ title he used was more of a mockery than genuine. And although Noah wasn’t the greatest judge of character, he had a feeling the bar manager thought age play was a joke. Since Noah was a middle, he took it even more personally.
“Uh…let me check and I’ll get back to you.” Noah made a show of shuffling some papers around. “The order sheet is here somewhere.”
Dirk rolled his eyes. “I gave it to you a few days ago. Did you lose it already?”
Noah gritted his teeth then took a deep breath before answering.
“I didn’t lose it. It never left this room.” He huffed. “It’s not as if it got up and walked away.”
He swallowed past a lump in his throat as the familiar saying his dad had always used threatened to set off another round of tears.
Dirk shrugged. “Whatever. It’s on you if the stuff isn’t here.” He gave Noah a fake smile. “I’ll just send the Daddy who booked the party back here if he has a problem with anything.”
I’m sure you will.
Noah had already refunded so many patrons as it was to keep from having to deal with conflict. At this rate, he’d destroy the business his dad worked so hard to build, a unique contribution to the kink community and his legacy. His dad would be so disappointed in him.
Noah fixed his gaze back on the confusing sea of paper commanding the surface of his desk. “Well, I have to get back to work.”
“Work? That’s a good one,” Dirk muttered as he left the room.
Noah glanced up to see the door still wide open. “Hey, could you—?”
He groaned then rose from his chair. No matter how many times he asked the employees to shut the door on their way out, they simply ignored him. Only his bestie, Arlen, treated him with any respect, honored Noah’s new position.
The friendly club host and floor manager had been his best friend for eight years, ever since they’d both turned eighteen and Noah had informed his dad he was done waiting to go to the club. His dad had reluctantly agreed, acknowledging that Noah was an adult, so Noah had dragged Arlen along with him. While they’d both started out exploring their little sides, they’d both eventually realized they were actually middles.
A knock sounded at the door, and Noah knew for sure it had to be Arlen. Unlike everyone else, he was the only one who bothered to knock.
“Come in, Arlen.”
Arlen poked his head around the corner. “How’d you know it was me?”
Noah smirked and waved him in. “Who else around here shows me any common courtesy?”
Arlen sighed as he entered and closed the door behind him. “True.” He cleared his throat, and when he didn’t sit down, Noah knew he wasn’t there for a friendly, mid-afternoon chat.
Noah groaned. “What now.”
Arlen fiddled with his hands and bit his lip. “One of the toilets in the downstairs bathroom is overflowing. I’ve been mopping it up, but I don’t think I can unclog it before the party gets here. I didn’t want to bother you, but I couldn’t unclog it on my own and I have no idea who your dad—” Arlen’s hand flew to his mouth. “Sorry. I meant I don’t know who you use.”
Noah’s bottom lip trembled. “I don’t know who I use, either.” He woke up the screen of the old desktop’s monitor. “I finally found the vendor list in the services folder under some weird name, but I don’t remember there being a plumber listed.” Noah clicked on the folder he was searching for. His dad, or maybe it was Jonathan, didn’t have things organized the way Noah would’ve done had he set everything up. Not that he knew how to set anything up. “Okay, let me see…”
Scroll, scroll, click, back arrow, scroll, scroll, scroll, click, back arrow, scroll…
Noah groaned in frustration “These damn acronyms are driving me crazy!”
He’d been trying to locate everything important, reorganize and rename the computer files in conjunction with the paper files, but fuck. Who had time when there was a constant stream of questions, problems, shipments, weekly payroll, employee schedules, ordering, and other day-to-day issues to deal with?
Plus, the learning curve. The awful, brain-exploding learning curve. He rarely got home before four in the morning anymore, and still couldn’t seem to get a handle on things—never mind handle life outside of the club.
Cleary, he wasn’t cut out for this job.COLLAPSE