Box of Nails: This Old House
by Sean Michael
||Erotic Contemporary Romance
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Devon used to be a server at the Hammer Club, the most exclusive BDSM club in town. But that was before he inherited a lot of money from his grandmother and decided to buy a big old house and convert it into apartments for Hammer Club waiters. It's hard to find decent, affordable housing and he wants to do something good for his fellow twinks. Unfortunately the house is in much worse repair than he knew when he bought it and he's slowly drowning under the weight of the demands from both the house, and the boys who live in it.
Enter Barney, the contractor Devon calls in for an emergency fix of the building's pipes. Barney's heard of the Hammer Club, in fact he's saving up for a membership, but it's going to take a while on his blue collar salary. He falls for Devon on the spot and can only hope the feeling is mutual. He also wants to make sure none of Devon’s twink friends are running roughshod over the man, and he’s determined to help.
Can they work together to find a way to keep Devon, and his old house, afloat?
"Devvie? Honey? The toilet is stopped up again in mine and Danny's apartment. Can you help?" Rhett was staring at him, eyes wide and panicked. "I don't know. Maybe you should call a plumb--"
"Should? Get on the God damn phone, Dev. This place is a fucking dump!" Geordie stomped one foot. "I can hear them flushing all night. I have auditions today! I look like shit!"
Devon was going to cry. "I'm sorry, guys. I am." It wasn't supposed to be like this.
He'd been so pleased when he'd found out that Gram had left him a huge amount of money, and even more pleased when he found the huge old building a block away from the Hammer. A place, a big, safe place for the Hammer servers to stay if they needed to, for a reasonable amount of rent. There were twelve apartments -- well, thirteen, including the little place he kept for himself -- and ten of them were two bedrooms. That was twenty two guys he could help, offer a place to live.
Devon just hadn't known how hard it would be.
Rufus came out of his little one-bedroom place, quiet and careful as he always was. "The toilets really do need fixing, Devon. Mine's backed up too, and came this close to overflowing."
"Okay. Okay, I'll call. I promise." He was down to under thirty thousand in the bank and, if this place didn't start making money...
There was a shriek and Anthony came tearing out of his apartment, wearing only a towel, which wasn't mitigating the fact that he was dripping. "The shower exploded! There's water everywhere and it just won't stop!"
"Okay!" He ran outside and turned off the water to the house, grabbed his phone and Googled 'plumbing help', hitting call on the very first number that popped up. He was going to just cry.
A gruff voice answered. "Yeah?"
"I need help. Please. There's all this water and everybody's screaming."
"Have you turned the water off at the main?"
"Uh-huh. Can you please send someone?" Devon sat on the side porch, head in his hand.
"I need you to give me the address, honey."
"Oh. Oh, right. 1800 West Beech. I'm right off the industrial row."
"Gimme twenty minutes. Or thirty, if the traffic's bad."
"Thank you. Thank you so much." He hung up the phone, looked around to make sure he was alone, before he just sobbed.
He was so incredibly, very fucked.
Barney tapped a beat out on the steering wheel in time with the music on the radio, willing the red light to turn already. He was almost there. The guy on the phone had sounded more than a little panicked, and he figured it was the least he could do to get there quickly.
The light finally changed and he turned onto West Beech, looking for 1800. It was on the edge of the industrial district and the houses here had a fair bit of space between them, most of the buildings being big and old with these amazing rambling yards. They'd been stunning in their day. Finding 1800, he pulled the truck up to the curb and whistled as he turned off the engine.
This place was one of the biggest places he'd seen, just gigantic. Dilapidated as all get out, but the bones on her were solid. She'd been a real beauty in her day and with a significant amount of TLC, he'd bet she could be again.
He climbed out of the truck and started up the walk.
"Are you the plumber?" A little blond man stared at him with huge blue eyes. "Devvie's absolutely melting down."
"I'm the plumber. Lead on."
"I'm Paul. I live on the third floor."
"Are you the one who called me?" He needed to make sure he knew who the owner or the super was before he put in any serious work.
"No. No, that's Devvie." Paul led him around the back to where the most beautiful man Barney had ever seen in his entire life was standing, red-eyed and panicked. Lean and compact, the little dark-haired, blue eyed guy made his mouth dry.
He just stood there for a long moment, utterly entranced.
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