Hollis Milnor didn't think twice about moving to Marionville. His ailing cousin needs his help running his nightclub, Frolic, and Hollis needs to put some space between himself and an ex-boyfriend determined to make his life miserable. Management skills he has. Experience running a nightclub, not so much, but he's a quick learner.
Caleb Brewer is a steady, hard-working man establishing a microbrewery. He's got a great product and demand for it is growing. When a new manager takes over the hottest nightclub in Marionville, Caleb is determined to maintain the arrangements he made with the owner.
What starts out as business quickly heats up the summer nights. Hollis hesitates, reluctant to step over the legal line. Caleb isn't just a vendor. He works part-time at the nightclub. Becoming involved puts them both in murky waters, waters that become crystal clear when the past catches up with Hollis and puts everyone he loves in danger.
Caleb eased down in the wing chair and stretched out his long legs. "Did we sorta get off on the wrong foot here? I can't afford to have that happen."
I gave him points for directness. He didn't aim to come off as being abrupt. He simply kept everything right out front.
"I know. It's my fault, Caleb, and I'm sorry. I'm here to manage the nightclub, not get personally involved with any of the men working within the business end of things."
"Fair enough. I thought that might be it, but I wanted to be sure that's all it was. Now I need to ask you this." He took a deep breath. "Would you like to have dinner with me tonight? I'd like to talk about some business."
I admit getting involved with the hired help wasn't a good idea and he comes back with an invitation to dinner?
We could talk ideas and possibilities for our respective ventures right now. We didn't need food, wine and the privacy of a crowded restaurant, but what better way to learn more about him?
"I guess I do need to eat sometime."
His blue gaze locked on mine. "I think I like that you had to consider it. Too much impulse can lead a man astray."
"Is that where you'd like to go? Astray?"
His eyes sparkled with humor. "I've been there before so I know which road not to take."
"Same here. Tell me something. How long have you been connected with Frolic?"
"Not long. Maybe a year. Why?"
I grinned at him. "You might have information useful to me."
He rolled his eyes and lifted his gaze to the ceiling. "And that, Caleb Brewer, is why the man agreed to have dinner with you."
I chuckled. "Talk to yourself often, do you? I like to keep things above board, too. So, yeah, I'm going to ask you a bunch of questions, but I think I'll really enjoy having dinner with you."
"I get it, and it's okay. So how about I meet you about seven o'clock? At The Wharf?"
"I've heard about the place. Give me your phone number in case something happens and I can't get away on time. I can at least let you know I'm running late and why."
We exchanged cell numbers and he held his hand out as he stood to leave. I reached out and his fingers closed around mine. The shock of his warm palm against mine turned my arm to lead. He let go of me.
"It's not a date, Hollis. Not if you don't want it to be."
It wasn't until he'd disappeared I realized I rather wished it were.