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Mad & Marvelous (Sassy Boyz #4)
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Hop Lovette isn’t afraid to take risks. Being the bastard son of New York royalty has never given him anything but heartache. So when the Sassy Boyz land a contract at club Switch, he knows it’s only a matter of time before his marvelous world is turned on its head: the owner is his childhood rival.
Rafe Marson owes Hop’s father everything, and he’s on a mission to repay his debts. Nothing will stand in his way—not even a wild, beautiful, maddening blast from his past. Not even when Hop stirs up feelings better left dormant. Not even when Hop begs to be taken.
When opportunity knocks, Hop is the one who needs to step up and help Rafe. But working together without being together is harder than they thought—and when everything they’ve been working toward is threatened, Rafe will need to prove that true love is one in a million.
This book is approximately 87,000 words
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Rafe hung up the phone and sat back with a relieved sigh. They were one step closer.
It seemed like he’d been working toward this goal forever even though it’d only been three years since his club, Switch, had opened.
“Well?” Mark asked from his spot across Rafe’s polished metal desk. Mark was more than the club’s general manager; he was a good friend and confidant.
“We’re in the running.” A smile stretched his cheeks. “They want to see our proposal a week from today.”
“Shit, a week? That’s not enough time.”
It was a lot to ask, but this was their chance to host a fashion week extravaganza. It’d mean exposure. It’d mean a huge contract with an influential new client and introductions to at least a dozen more. It’d mean paying off his debts and being released from Roland Lockwood’s control.
“Let me bask for a minute, would you?” Rafe stared at the mirrored ceiling of his office, ignoring his tired reflection, the pleasure of having finally gotten this chance still coursing through his veins. Nothing, not even Mark’s pragmatism, would dull the sense of accomplishment.
“Sorry, sorry.” Mark held his palms up. “You’re right. Take it in, you deserve it.”
“We deserve it.”
“This is all you, boss.”
“Don’t be modest. These last three years wouldn’t have gone half as smoothly without you running the day to day, and you know it.”
“Remember that when I ask for a raise.” Mark grinned. “Seriously, you should be proud of yourself. This is a big deal and you managed it two years before your projections.”
“I’m nothing if not persistent.”
Mark’s laugh was straight from his core. “Which is another word for dog-headed, right?”
Rafe’s answering grin was all teeth. “All we have to do is nail the presentation.”
“On that note, what are you thinking?”
“Parker Prince fancies himself the next Marco Morante and we’re going to target his dream. I’m thinking major branding, big names, neon colors, lots of skin to titillate, artistic and modern with a sleek sexy edge. Push the envelope, you know?”
“Like a 90s Rave and Cirque du Soleil had a baby?”
“And it’s an androgynous alien masterpiece of rapture and frenzy.”
The corner of Mark’s mouth tipped up. “Genius.”
“Let’s hope our competition isn’t.”
“Any idea which clubs we’re up against?”
Rafe scratched his jaw. “Only suspicions.” He paused wondering exactly how short this shortlist was and who was on it with them. “Let’s keep this under wraps until the contract is signed.”
Mark tilted his head. “Even from the staff and talent?”
A single nod, hard and uncompromising. “For now.”
“Whatever you say.” Mark didn’t bother hiding his eye roll.
“You think I’m paranoid.”
“You think I’m gullible.”
“Not gullible, trusting.”
“Same thing.” Mark frowned.
“I don’t want to take any chances. I know the kind of temptation other owners could present.” Especially if his hunch was correct—and it usually was. His wasn’t the only club in the city bankrolled by the Lockwood fortune. “Until we’re sure, no one but you and I know how close we are to landing the Prince launch party.”
“So what are we supposed to tell the performers when they ask why they need to come up with new routines in less than a week?”
Rafe steepled his fingers. “Tell them we’re planning a themed event or we want to see what they can come up with on short notice. I don’t know.” He waved his hand. “Tell them whatever you want, except the truth.”
Mark sucked his teeth, obviously unhappy. Too honest for his own good, Mark always complied, but never quietly. Rafe resigned himself to weeks of Mark’s complaining because landing this gig was more important than pandering to the staff’s sensitivities. Deep down, Mark understood too, which was likely why he kept his mouth shut—for now.
They couldn’t afford to be anything but ruthless. The waters Rafe navigated, and had for the past fifteen years, were teeming with vicious bloodthirsty sharks. They’d taken a bite out of him more than once when he’d been naive, and even his benefactor’s influence hadn’t stopped the hemorrhaging. He wouldn’t let it happen again. He had too much on the line this time, too many people counted on him, too many years lost and effort put in, too much goddamn money spent for his plans to go down in flames for the sake of being nice.
Nice was no longer part of Rafe’s vocabulary anyway. After all, he’d learned from the best. He liked meticulous and professional far better. Nice was useless. Nice was weak.
Nice was submissive.
With an internal grunt, he straightened his tie and sat forward. “Let’s get started.”
* * *
It was in his blood. The rhythmic beat was his heart—his life. It was so loud it shook the walls and rippled through his pulse. The glass-paneled floor flashed with colorful lights, and above them spun a dazzling swirl of beams and shadows. Switch was a psychedelic paradise where his inner troublemaker felt right at home.