Caleb was sound asleep by that time, snoring softly with his arm flung over his head. Thank God, I thought to myself, happy he was able to escape his thoughts for a time. I hoped that by the time he woke, he’d be feeling a little more like himself.

Ten minutes later, I was dressed, my hair was styled, and I was out the door. Before I locked the door, I’d left Caleb a water bottle on the nightstand. I didn’t know how much he’d had to drink before he got to my place, but he’d surely need some hydration by the time he awoke.

Parking behind the club, I walked through the back door toward the elevator. Thankfully, I didn’t run into anyone on the way. Not that I’d ever tell him, but Caleb’s mood brought down my own enough so that I just didn’t feel like dealing with anyone at the moment.

Reaching the elevator, I punched in the code only Caleb and I knew, and waited for the doors to open. When they finally did, I stepped inside.

Once on the second floor, I unlocked the door to my office, walked in, and locked it back up. I didn’t worry about any of our employees coming up here, but locking doors behind myself was a habit. I hadn’t escaped the marines totally free of paranoia. A locked door helped me feel secure. Sort of.

I glanced around the office, taking in the two desks at either side of the room, the small sitting area between them. We’d decorated in dark browns and the room felt distinctly masculine.

I sat down at my desk and looked at the stack of papers piled high before me. It was unlikely I would get through them all by the time went home, but I could at least make a dent. There were plenty of perks that came with owning a successful club, but the more successful something was, the more work you often have to put back into.

Our club, the Overground, hadn’t even been open a year yet and we were already wildly successful. It nearly gave us whiplash just how successful it was. We’d somehow managed to triple our investment in the first month and a half, bringing in higher revenue each week since then. It was unprecedented.

Granted, Vegas was the perfect place for our particular club, the kind of club people loved to visit while on vacation, far from anyone who knew them.

After about two hours of staring at invoices and inventory lists and a ton of other things, I rose from my chair and stretched, my joints popping as I did so. At thirty-three, it wasn’t too surprising I sounded like popcorn when I stood, especially after spending so long in the marines. However, it did remind me I wasn’t getting any younger, that as time passed, more and more problems with my body would inevitably arise. I didn’t plan to fight aging, but between eating well and exercising, I hoped to put it off a little.

I headed down the stairs and walked through the hallway that led me out to the club. Despite being a weeknight, the club was bustling with people. That certainly put a smile on my face.

One of our bartenders, Seth, nodded at me when he saw me approaching the bar. “How’s it going, boss?” he asked.

“Good,” I said, “I’ve just been upstairs working.”

Seth’s dark eyes took in the exhaustion on my face and grabbed a bottle of our finest scotch. “You need a drink, yo.”

Chuckling, I said, “Why do you think I came over here?”

Seth grinned and poured my drink, sliding it across the counter to me. It stopped right in front of my hand and I grabbed it.

“Thanks,” I said, raising my glass to him and drinking.

“No problem!” he said and moved on to take another order.

I did a lap around the club, stopping to chitchat with some of the regulars.

About twenty minutes later, I walked back to the hallway. Rather than heading upstairs, I opened another door and began to descend the stairs. A familiar anticipation filled my stomach just as it did each time I went down to the crowning jewel of our club, the real moneymaker.

Caleb was awake by the time I got home, redressed and looking through a stack of menus I kept in my kitchen drawer. He looked up when I walked in, and I was relieved to see he looked well-rested and more like himself.

“Hey, man,” he said when I slumped into a chair across from him. “How’d it go at the club?”

“It was good,” I admitted. “Really good. It was packed, both the upstairs and downstairs.”

He smiled at me, nodding. “Good, that’s what I like to hear.”

“The numbers are all looking good too. Strong. We’re looking at another record-breaking month.” I leaned forward and flipped through the menus spread out on the coffee table.


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