Bad so bad.
Caleb DeLuca knew that tattooed, scarred ex-cons didn’t usually get trusted with anything precious. He’d spent the second half of his forty-three years atoning for the lives he had destroyed in the first half and was shocked to get invited to the club his brother-in-law owned, especially when he found out what type of club it was.
Max was too young, too beautiful, and too fragile for Caleb to get any ideas they could ever be more than friends. Besides which, Max was searching for a man that could inflict the pain he craved, and Caleb was done hurting people.
Even if that was what they wanted.
Bad Daddy is the story of a man who doesn’t believe he deserves anything good and the boy who finds out that sometimes the best things might come in the most unexpected packages.
“Max?” Caleb called out loud enough to rouse him but not to frighten him. Max grunted but didn’t open his eyes. “Max, you’re going to have to take the cock cage off. It needs to come off.”
Max mumbled and tried to turn on his side again. Caleb sighed, then as quickly as he could, eased the strap that the key was hung from over his head. Max never stirred, and he eased the shorts down and unlocked and removed the cock cage, trying really, really hard not to look. He would not lech over a barely conscious man. Even if he would really like a second look when Max was conscious.
Although when Max knew where he was and who he was with, he would probably go back to being disdainfully polite. He’d seen the dismissal in Max’s eyes when he’d walked in and had taken the hint that Max had dropped like an anchor. Not that he blamed him. At forty-three, Caleb had to be at least double his age. Caleb huffed as he eased a pair of his sleep pants on Max. They were ridiculously large, but he hoped Max would appreciate waking dressed. He followed that with a too-tight T-shirt—or too tight on him anyway—and managed to rouse Caleb sufficiently to get him to swallow a couple of sips of water before rolling him over and putting a bowl on the floor in case it was needed.
He could go downstairs and sleep on the couch. That was easy, and he’d slept in far worse places, but what if Max got sick again? He was still pretty much out of it, and Caleb wondered why. He’d been better at the club, but this seemed like more than exhaustion, and he knew he’d had a glass of wine, but he knew two was everyone’s limit. Not that that had stopped him from drinking anything beforehand.
Or taking anything.
Should he get him to a doctor? Although Adrian hadn’t suggested it. It was a good job he was off tomorrow. He’d just finished the Morgan order and was ridiculously proud of it, and he had at least twenty-four hours before he needed to start his next one. His new part-timer, Rachel, could handle orders.
Caleb chewed his lip and gazed at Max. Then, getting a cloth from the bathroom and a little moisturizer he occasionally tried to use on his back, he very carefully wiped the black smears away from under Max’s closed eyes. If he slept with all that on, they could be sore in the morning. Max never moved. He was completely out of it. Caleb pushed a pillow against his back so he couldn’t roll on it, then tucked him up. Caleb’s lips curved into a smile. He was really cute.
He got the spare blankets from the cupboard and a pillow and made himself a bed on the floor. Close enough to be near in case Max needed him, but far enough away to resist temptation.
A little while later, Caleb wasn’t sure what had woken him at first until he heard the toilet flush, and everything came back to him in a rush. He immediately sat up as the bathroom door opened and Max crept out.
“You feeling any better?”
Caleb kept his voice low and steady, but Max still jumped a little, then groaned. “My head’s going to explode.”
Caleb stood, glad he had sleep pants on, and walked over to where Max sat on the edge of the bed, shivering. “Did you have anything earlier that would interfere with taking some Tylenol now?”
Max hesitated for a fraction of a second, and Caleb knew he was going to lie before he did so.
Caleb’s heart sank. He guessed this was what had been wrong earlier, and he sat on the bed next to him. Much as Caleb wanted to wring Max’s pretty little neck, Max was an adult, even if he wasn’t acting like one. “How about we try that answer again?”
Max’s head shot up, and his eyes widened as if he hadn’t been expecting to be called out.
Caleb could see his pupils were normal even in the dim light. He was conscious and alert, just miserable. “I’m not going to give you anything.” Max shivered again and seemed to fold in on himself. Caleb’s heart went out to him. “Come on, let’s get you back in bed.” Max obeyed instantly, shuffling down and closing his eyes.
“I assume this is your place?”
“Yep,” Caleb acknowledged. “You felt sick in the car, and according to my GPS, your address was over twenty minutes away.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” Max murmured, opening his eyes again and biting his lip. Caleb didn’t correct the “sir” again. Whatever made Max feel comfortable was fine by him.
“No worries. Try and get some more sleep. Is there anywhere you have to be in the morning?” He checked to make sure Max had some water.
Max’s response was really quiet, but Caleb heard him loud and clear. “There’s never anywhere I have to be.”
Caleb didn’t reply. What could he say? He closed his eyes again, determined to get some more sleep, but when Max had turned over for what seemed the hundredth time in half an hour, he sat up again. “Is it your head?”
Max waited for a moment before answering. “I-I guess.”
Caleb thought about that. He didn’t seem at all sure. He also didn’t sound in as much pain as before, just frankly miserable. His eyes narrowed on the mound in bed. Maybe he was cold? He seemed to be trembling. Caleb got up and padded over to the bed, perching on the edge and touching Max’s forehead, which was about the only part of his body visible. He trembled again.
“Are you cold?” For an awful moment, he was worried it was fear that was making Max shake. He didn’t exactly inspire confidence in a lot of people. Which was ironic as for years he’d tried to make himself as frightening as possible.
“I think it’s a reaction from earlier,” Max whispered pitifully. “I’m sorry I disturbed you. I’m afraid I don’t sleep very well.”
Caleb chewed his lip indecisively, which was totally not his thing. Mel would have asked Max if he needed a hug, but Max didn’t know him, and he knew he scared a lot of people. Max shivered again. Sighing inwardly, and hoping he wasn’t making things worse, he lifted the top blanket and comforter and got in, making sure a sheet still separated them. He tugged at Max’s arm wordlessly, but Max didn’t seem to need things spelled out because the speed at which he rolled over and practically buried himself against Caleb’s side shocked the fuck out of him.
Caleb tucked all the blankets firmly around Max and shushed him soothingly. In another moment, Max had stopped shivering. Maybe five after that, his body relaxed. Caleb doubted it took another five minutes before he was asleep.
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but never stopped loving her heroes and decided to give them the happy ever afters they fight so hard for.
She loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—and creating a family for them to adore. Thrilled to hear from her readers, she can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.