I was in the process of locking the front door of the French Chateau when a bright blue Mini Cooper with white racing stripes zipped into the driveway and stopped at the bottom of the stairs. A young man jumped out. He looked to be in his early twenties, and was devastatingly handsome, in that glossy way that soap opera actors and matinee idols (and gay Realtors) are. His skin was luminous and as poreless and smooth as a baby’s bottom, his soft, brown hair flopped over his forehead in shining waves, and his eyes were midnight blue bordering on black and surrounded by lashes almost as luxurious as Rafe’s. “Hel-lo, beautiful!” he caroled when he saw me, his teeth shining with the radiance of a toothpaste ad. I smiled politely.
He stuck out a hand. “I’m Beau. The house boy.”
“House boy. Here.” He dug into the inside pocket of his leather jacket and pulled out a business card, which he handed to me. I caught quite a load of skin at the same time, because Beau – an awfully appropriate name, and one I doubted was legally his own; it was just too fitting – was bare-chested beneath. His jeans hung low on his hips, exposing a taut, tanned stomach and admirable musculature all the way around.
I looked away, down to the business card, blushing. Way to go, Savannah; ogle the gay guy, why don’t you?
Beau Riggins, the card said, House Cleaning, followed by a phone number. Feeling Dirty? the slogan underneath said, Call the House Boy!
“I’m sorry,” I apologized, “I’m sure you are who you say you are, but I really can’t let you into the house.”
“That’s OK, gorgeous. I’ve got my own key.” He pulled it out and dangled it in front of my face, something which necessitated another display of skin. “Mr. Givens will be here any minute himself, I’m sure. He always comes home for lunch on Mondays. To watch me work.” He winked.
“I see,” I said. “Um... not that it’s any of my business, but wouldn’t it be better to wear a uniform of some kind? What if you spill bleach on yourself or something?”
Beau ran a hand down his chest and stomach. It was as manicured as the rest of him. Whatever he was doing to the house, didn’t involve chapping his hands in hot water and ammonia. No calluses on Beau. “This is a bona fide, genuine tan, sweetie. The real thing; I was in Acapulco just two weeks ago, working on it. Bleach won’t take it off. And wearing a shirt would totally ruin everything. Nobody’s gonna pay me $100 an hour to vacuum the floors while I wear clothes.”
“You clean in the nude?” I said. “For $100 an hour?” Truthfully, I wasn’t entirely sure which was more shocking.
“I clean in a pair of Wonderjocks,” Beau corrected, unconcernedly pulling down his zipper to show them to me. They were bright blue, the same color as the car, and fit him like a second skin. The waistband identified them as Property of Australia in bright red and white letters. I stared in horrified fascination, although I still felt like I was missing something.
“I’m sorry. Wonder... what?”
“Wonderjocks,” Beau repeated, with a fond look down at them. Or himself. “They work the same way as that bra you’re wearing.” He demonstrated on his own well-developed pectorals. “The Wonderjock lifts and separates, too.”
“Lifts and separates what?” I asked. “No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”
Beau grinned. “They’re wonderful, aren’t they? Boosts the appeal of even the smallest guy, and for those of us who are OK on our own, they take us out of the merely average and give us a little something extra. And $100 an hour is my starting price. It goes up from there.”
“Good Lord,” I said reverently, not quite sure whether I was reacting to Beau’s price or the briefs. They were the first pair of men’s undies I had seen since my divorce, and Bradley’s tighty whities sure hadn’t looked like this.
Beau chuckled. “I do just fine, darling. Nashville is full of rich gay men and bored housewives who’ll pay through the nose to watch me swing a feather duster. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.” He winked.
Just at that moment, a dark sedan pulled into the driveway and saved me the trouble of coming up with a response. A well-dressed, older man got out and came up the stairs. “Good afternoon, Beau.”
“Hi, Mr. Givens,” Beau grinned. Mr. Givens, Beau’s employer – and audience for the next hour or two – turned to me.
“Hello.” It was less a greeting than a request for me to explain who I was and what I was doing there, distracting his entertainment.
“Hi,” I said. “I’m Savannah Martin with Walker Lamont Realty. Previewing the house. I was just leaving.”
Mr. Givens nodded, but his gaze had already returned to the beautiful Beau. “Did you lose your key, Beau?”
“Not at all, Mr. Givens,” Beau said, brandishing it. Givens’s eyes glazed over at the display of skin, and Beau’s dimple made a brief appearance. “I was just shooting the breeze with Savannah. But now that you’re here, I guess I should get to work.”
Mr. Givens didn’t answer, just turned toward the front door. It was answer enough. Beau winked at me and followed.
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