Yours After Dark

By: Marie Force

Chapter 1

“What in the name of hell is on your head?”

Arriving to work slightly hungover and in bad need of coffee, Finn McCarthy ignored the question from his brother, Riley. Finn had forgotten to buy coffee—again—and had gone without this morning. Living alone sucked. Before his dad and Riley moved out, one of them had bought the coffee. Now he had to do it, and he never remembered it until he woke up late and realized he’d forgotten. Again.

Riley wasn’t giving up. “Hello?”

“What is what?” Finn choked back a yawn and tried to remember if he’d brushed his teeth before he left the house. He had, hadn’t he?

Riley stepped closer to him, boasting the freshly fucked look that had made Finn want to stab him more than once in the months since his brother moved in with Nikki. “That.” Riley pointed to the top of Finn’s head. “What is that?”

Finn had no idea what he was talking about until he reached up and encountered the lump of hair he’d secured with a rubber band to keep it out of his face.

Their cousin Shane joined them. “It’s a man bun, and it looks ridiculous.”

Riley, that asshole, busted up laughing. “What the hell is a man bun?”

“That.” Shane pointed to Finn’s head. “Is a man bun. They’re all the rage.”

Riley couldn’t stop laughing. He laughed so hard, he howled, while Finn prayed that his cousin Mac would bring coffee the way he did most days.

Thankfully, Mac walked into the Wayfarer a minute later with his business partner, Luke Harris, right behind him. And was that a tray of coffee Mac was carrying? Yes! “What’s so funny?”

“Finn has a man bun,” Shane said.

“And it looks ridiculous,” Riley added.

Finn stole one of the coffees and took a big sip. Ahhh, pure bliss. “There’s nowhere to get it cut out here.”

“Go see Chloe at the Curl Up and Dye,” Mac said.

“I don’t get my hair cut in salons,” Finn said disdainfully. “I go to barber shops, and there isn’t one on this island.”

“The way I see it,” Riley said, “if it’s a choice between a man bun or a salon, I’m choosing the salon every time.”

“The way I see it,” Finn said, “no one asked you.”

“Wait till Dad, Uncle Mac and Uncle Frank see the man bun.” Riley started laughing again. “I gotta get a picture so we can show them in case they miss it.” The bastard whipped his phone out and had the picture before Finn could react or turn away. That picture would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Maybe the guys were right—a salon was preferable to putting up with this bullshit. His hair had gotten so long, it was either restrain it or wear a hat to keep it out of his face. Hats annoyed him when he was working, so he’d grabbed a rubber band to contain it without a thought to what it might look like. Apparently, that had been a mistake.

Today, they were finishing up the shingling on the exterior of the Wayfarer, which was due to open in a couple of weeks. They were on track to meet the aggressive deadline Mac had set for the project and had turned the interior over to Nikki, the general manager. She and the team she’d hired over the last few months would be loading in furniture this week, setting up hotel rooms and the dining room, hanging wall art and making finishing touches ahead of the grand opening on Memorial Day weekend.

On Saturday of that weekend, the Wayfarer would host its first major event—the wedding reception of Shane and his fiancée, Katie Lawry. They’d joked that they were the guinea pigs to test out whether the McCarthy family’s latest Gansett Island business venture was ready for prime time. The day after the wedding, Finn’s famous cousin Evan McCarthy would headline the outdoor stage at the grand opening to the public.

So far, the Wayfarer was a huge hit, with Nikki reporting that the hotel was sold out for the summer and ten other weddings were already booked. That was what they wanted to hear. Each family member had a stake in the business—some bigger than others—but everyone had put something into his uncle Big Mac’s latest venture so they could all be owners. Finn was proud of the work they’d done to bring the old place back to life and even prouder of being part of something the family had done together.

Before going outside to get to work, Finn slathered sunscreen all over his face, neck and arms, gathered his nail gun and a ladder and followed the others to the scaffolding that was set up on the north side of the huge building they’d spent the winter renovating. They’d done a damned good job, if he said so himself.

With the end in sight, Finn was making plans to move to the mainland after almost two years on Gansett Island. It’d been fun to hang with the family for a couple of years, to see his father and brother fall in love with women Finn liked and respected and to be part of Mac’s construction company. But it was time to get back to his real life, and that wasn’t going to happen on a tiny island located off the southern coast of mainland Rhode Island.

He looked forward to skiing in the winter, driving the vintage Mustang he kept garaged at home and spending time with the friends he’d left behind. Not to mention taking his career to the next level with the large construction company he’d worked for in Stamford, Connecticut. There, he’d put his degree in civil engineering to good use. Here, he was banging nails. Not that he didn’t enjoy the work, but he hadn’t spent four excruciating years in college to end up a glorified carpenter.

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