Author and Publisher: Gary Alan Hidalgo
Cover Artist: Ambhen Dacasin
Release Date: May 6, 2023
Genres: Gay Romantic Comedy, Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: May/December, Boss/Employee, Enemies to Lovers, Slow Burn
Themes: Coming of age, Welcoming love at any age, Finding home
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 158 553 words/561 pages
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
You are cordially invited to the Hotel Cairo, where everyone’s love story is welcome.
Hughie must sell his hotel shares to save his dream. Fabian must persuade him to keep them for same sex weddings' sake. You are cordially invited to the Hotel Cairo, where everyone’s love story is welcome…
At the peak of the steep last length of the driveway, two men appeared to have been already waiting for his arrival. Behind them, the porters in their old-world maroon uniforms with their slick gold buttons and frilly trimmings gawked alongside their guests. Everyone took their time to stare, point, and snicker at their latest and most important arrival.
From where he caught his breath and scrutinized his surroundings, Hughie shook his fist and blasted XENIA1. Why had such a classy automobile behaved so crudely? It called the very attention Hughie preferred to avoid until he could sneak into a bathroom or, if worse came to worst, wait for the sprinklers to turn on so he could “freshen up,” as Rusty suggested. Oh well, at least the men welcoming him to the Hotel Cairo lost no time reaching him.
“Hello,” Hughie greeted, “which one of you is Fabia…” Before he could finish his friendly how-do-you-do, a well-dressed man with gray-green eyes immediately punched his face with wanton disregard. With that, he lost consciousness for at least a minute, in which he fantasized he cuddled an Oscar like a long-lost child.
“Whoever the man is, James, you should never have hit him. You’re the lawyer. You should know better.”
“What’s this drunken bum doing with expensive luggage like this? He must’ve stolen it from one of your guests.”
“Don’t call him that. It’s disparaging. He’s an unhoused person with an alcohol use disorder.”
“Haven’t you lived long enough in this state to call a spade a spade?”
As the Oscar tore itself away from his forlorn embrace, Hughie woke up to two men fighting over him while he lay crumpled on the blistering asphalt. He groaned in relief, then rubbed his left cheek. The thickness of his beard had protected his precious face from any superficial damage, but the shock of the ambush itself knocked him out cold.
“I’m… I’m…” He stammered.
“Thank God, you’re awake.” One of them kneeled down to check on him. It wasn’t the man that struck him. This man had beaming brown eyes that matched his carefully tapered chestnut hair. His face was cheerful even as he worried about Hughie. If he wasn’t already fully awake, Hughie would’ve mistaken him for an angel arriving to shield him from the nasty piece of work in the blue blazer who continued to disregard him. “I’m sorry, sir. The Hotel Cairo is private property and James just wanted you to go. But he should have asked and not laid a finger on you. Is your jaw okay? Do you want me to call an ambulance?”
Hughie turned his head to show off his chiseled jaw, all still in one piece. The nice man saw he was okay, sighed with relief, and caressed his cheek with tenderness.
“Fabian!” the mean man shrieked at the angel. He was so disgusted he almost spit. “You don’t know where he’s been.”
“Fabian Flores?” Hughie Roman finally regained his bearing. Hughie took notice that his good Samaritan wore a burgundy blazer similar to the hotel porters but without the gold trimming. Sewn on the right breast pocket were the initials “T-H-C” in classic gold embroidery. On the left, he wore a name tag that readily confirmed his identity.
“As I was trying to say before your security guard pummeled me without mercy, I’m Hughie Roman.” He stood up and offered his hand to the hotel manager. “We spoke last Monday. You invited me to the shareholders’ meeting.”
“I am not the security guard,” The one named James growled at him, “and you aren’t Mr. Roman. But this is probably his luggage.”
He unzipped the leather duffel bag and dumped its contents on the ground before Hughie or Fabian could protest.
“James, please stop it,” Fabian said to his crazed co-worker. He turned to Hughie and asked, “Do you have any I.D. to prove you’re Hughie Roman?”
“Yes, I do.” Hughie reached for his wallet, but his back pocket was empty. “No, I don’t. I must’ve dropped it in the Uber.”
“You took an Uber here?” Fabian asked. He crouched on the ground and scooped up Hughie’s belongings, repacking the gaping bag James dumped on the ground beside the mess he made.
Hughie saw a familiar wine-colored legal-sized envelope sticking out among his unmentionables. He grabbed it and presented it to Fabian.
The hotel manager’s eyes dilated as he recognized the gold “T-H-C” seal that shared the same logo on the blazer he wore. “It’s our seal, and it’s sent courtesy of Carraway & Sons.”
About the Author . . .