Story Excerpt
Precious Love

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Frankie Di Salvo lifted his head and glanced toward the assistant manager. It was never a good thing when that man was left in charge. He might be the owner's nephew, but he was an idiot and a bully. Frankie had cringed the day the guy was hired. In the six months since Bradley had been the assistant manager, that gut clenching feeling hadn't changed.

"You have table fourteen."

Frankie's gaze moved to the table on the far side of the restaurant. It was about as far from his assigned tables as he could get while still being inside the same building. Damn. He'd be running back and forth until the customer left.

"I was assigned to the tables by the kitchen."

His usual tables were in the back of the restaurant near the kitchen doors. It was where the hostess—who had her nose so far up Bradley's ass, they were practically engaged—liked to place the customers she felt weren't the quality clientele she preferred. How she figured the riff raff Bradley allowed into the place was quality was beyond Frankie.

"Well,"—Frankie felt Bradley's glare all the way from the bar—"now you're assigned table fourteen as well."


His night just got a whole lot busier.

Frankie heard Bradley and a few of the other servers laughing as he crossed the entire length of the restaurant and headed for table fourteen. He smiled as brightly as he could under the circumstances and pulled out his order pad.

"Good evening, sir. My name is Frankie and I'll be your server tonight. Can I tell you about our specials?"

Frankie glanced up and lost his ability to breathe. He was looking at what was without a doubt the sexiest man he had ever seen in his life. Tall, muscular, and just enough of a hint of danger to make Frankie rethink the lustful thoughts running rampant through his head.

"Hello, Frankie."

Frankie's knees shook at the deep timbre. He'd give a month's salary to hear that man talk dirty to him. He could probably come from that alone.

"I would love to hear the specials."

"Um..." Frankie licked his lips as he tried to remember what the specials were. Oh man...what were they?

"Breathe, Frankie."



Frankie felt his face flush with heat as he inhaled. "I am so sorry, I—"

There was no excuse.

"What are the specials, Frankie?"

"Oh,'s Thursday so the burger is the Rogue Elephant, made with two all beef patties, three slices of salami, cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, and an elephant garlic sauce. It comes with a side of fries or a dinner salad."

The beautiful man arched up one of his light brown eyebrow. "Is it good?"

Frankie grinned. "Oh yes. I believe it is one of the better burgers on the menu."

"Then I'll have that, extra onions." The man closed his menu and held it up. "I'll take it with fries and a cold beer."

"Glass or bottle?" Frankie asked as he quickly wrote the order down. He had learned early on to always write it down. His memory was for shit when he got busy.

"Bottle is fine."

Frankie paused with his pencil hovering over the pad and glanced up. "Domestic or imported?"

"I'll let you choose."

Frankie swallowed tightly. "Me, sir?"

"Pick a beer that will go good with my burger."

Frankie smiled again, his shoulders relaxing. "I'll be right back with your beer, sir."

He hurried back to the kitchen and dropped off the man's order. After grabbing a beer he thought his customer might like, he carried it back to the table.

"Your beer, sir." Frankie smiled as he set it down on the table in front of the man. "I'll bring your burger out just as soon as it's ready.

"Thank you, Frankie."

"Can I get you anything else, sir?"

"That will be all for now, Frankie."

As much as Frankie hated to do it, he forced himself to turn away and head back to the other side of the restaurant. He wanted to stay and just stand there and stare at Mr. Gorgeous, but he'd probably get fired if he did. He still had other customers to take care of.

Frankie took care of his other tables as best as he could, but he couldn't help the looks he kept shooting back across the room toward table fourteen. He couldn't keep his mind from wondering to the sexy man he waited on.

Every time he did, he found soft sage green eyes staring back at him. It was as comforting as it was disconcerting. There was a glint of danger in the man's deep eyes that gave Frankie pause and made him wonder if there was something wild loose in the restaurant.

Frankie was surprised at how well he was able to perform his duties considering he couldn't stop thinking about table fourteen. Normally, if he wasn't concentrating on exactly what he was doing, he was a complete mess.

After making sure his other customers were well taken care of, Frankie hurried back to the kitchen to check on the order for the other table. He was a little worried when he didn't immediately see the burger and fries until he saw the cook working on it. Knowing he had mere moments, Frankie grabbed a condiment caddy and carried it over to table fourteen. When he set it down, he noticed that only half the man's beer had been drank.

"Would you like another beer, sir?" he asked, wondering if he had made the wrong choice in beers.

"No, thank you, Frankie. I only allow myself one beer."

When Frankie glanced down the man's muscular body, wondering if there was something wrong with him that couldn't be seen, the guy chuckle.

"I prefer to keep my wits about me at all times."

Okay, that made sense. Frankie could see that.

"Could I get you something else to drink?" Frankie asked. "Some water maybe?"

"I'll take some water with my meal, thank you."

He was polite. Frankie liked that. He was a waiter. In his experience, most people tended to treat him as if he was a piece of furniture or a robot. He had feelings too. He had good days and bad days just like everyone else. Just because he carried an order pad and delivered food didn't mean he wasn't human.

Polite was nice.

Frankie hurried back to the kitchen. After a quick look, he knew he had just enough time to get the handsome stranger his water before he would need to go back for his order.

Frankie felt the weight of the man's stare when he walked out of the kitchen and headed back toward his table. His breath seemed to stutter in his chest, making it harder to breathe. He swallowed hard, trying to remember to put one foot in front of the other.

What was it about this man that drew him so much?