Mixologist Nick Valentine never thought love was in the cards, but after a scorching Valentine’s Day kiss from bouncer Davis “FatBoy” Newman, he’s beginning to think it’s possible. After four weeks of dry spell, Nick’s losing patience—it’s time FatBoy stop acting the gentleman and just throw him over the bar or Nick may just change his mind.
All FatBoy wants is a shot at winning Nick’s heart. As long as meddling bosses, an Irish hurling team and a bar riot don’t ruin his chances forever, he might just get lucky and take the man of his dreams, home.
I’d been a bartender a lot longer than I’d known FatBoy, and in much seedier places than Frisson: places that kept sawdust on the floor to help soak up the blood, vomit, and spilled beer left in the wake of a typical weekend.
When I was bartending at twenty-one, I was smaller, less muscled than the clientele. It was harder to intimidate the drunks with my physical presence, and the places I worked didn’t employ beefy bouncers to keep the peace, so I developed numerous strategies to head off the worst of the altercations. Having the sheriff close you down at midnight just when the wallets had finally been pried wide open was akin to flushing half a week’s wages away, so I adapted.
Bar defense is a skill set, not unlike proverbial bicycle riding, which you just don’t forget. So when I hopped up on my bar and hosed down a bunch of angry Irishmen with water, it felt like just another rowdy Saturday night on the outskirts of town.
And just like that, silence fell.
Thirty faces stared at me in shock, and in the void, you could hear wet gasps and the sound of water making fat splats as it hit the floor.
Rory stood shuddering in front of me. He was soaked, looking like a large wet rat with his hair plastered to his head, making the point of his nose and chin more pronounced. While still wet, Corwyn had managed to avoid the same full body drenching as Rory—either he was lucky or he had the reflexes of a Formula One driver and had used Liam as a shield to avoid the bulk of the deluge. Fortunately for them, all the high-tech athletic gear they were wearing already seemed to be doing its job, wicking away most of the liquid. They’d dry fast.
Maybe I’d send them outside to run laps around the parking lot.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Juan standing in wait, a mop in his left hand and Louisville slugger in his right. I guess Juan had worked in the same kind of bars I had.
Our chef Marco had joined him, standing at his shoulder, arms crossed over a nine-inch omelet pan. I wasn’t sure if he had plans on feeding the rabble to death or using their carcasses in the night’s specials, but he seemed particularly amused by the proceedings.
I glared, the water nozzle still clutched in my hand, and addressed them.
“Are you all done being assholes, or do you need to be run through the rinse cycle one more time? I’m assuming this isn’t what y’all meant by an exhibition, but maybe I’m wrong and this is how you normally behave at home…”
Juan moved in with the mop and a large stack of clean bar towels, tossing them to the men who dispersed to tables and stools, drying themselves off out of the line of fire as I waited for my apology. It looked like I might get one from each and every one of them. With their sheepish shuffling and lowered eyes, they resembled a group of chastised children rather than the aggressive angry men they’d been channeling a minute before.
As cute as some of them were, they either needed to settle down and go back to drinking peaceably or get the hell out of my bar. I wasn’t paid enough to babysit.
Corwyn alone was willing to look me in the eye, or at least in the direction of them as I stood above him actively ignoring the water droplets clinging to his bangs and dripping onto his cheeks and how they made me think of showers and naked wet skin…
“Ah, deepest apologies, Nick. We didn’t mean to disrespect your place here. Forgive us. Here… let me help ya down…”
His dimple was back, and when he reached up to me, it seemed safe enough to risk. Corwyn put his hands on my hips after guiding mine onto his shoulders and stepped back, muscling me off the bar and against the safety of his body.
He leaned back far enough to give me room to slide slowly down the front of his wet torso, avoiding barstools and hurlers alike.
I felt a shiver as I stuttered to a halt, eye to eye with the man. His were warm and liquid—full of invitation, the look hot enough to quick dry the bar itself. I swallowed, unable to look away. For a split-second, I didn’t move, frozen like a bunny cornered by a cobra.
I blame his wet shirt and my damp apron for causing the friction that prevented me from slipping easily away from danger, but like everything else in my life lately, I seemed in need of perpetual damage control.
I felt someone large move up behind me, hot breath teasing my ear as the drawl I’d been dying to hear just moments before was now making my balls shrivel at being caught hung up like this.
“I didn’t realize you started having Wet T-shirt Tuesdays, Nicky. I can’t wait to see what you plan on givin’ the winner.”
Excerpt from 6 Days To Get Lucky copyright 2018 LE Franks
About The Author:
LE Franks is an author of Gay Romance fiction, living in the SF Bay Area surrounded by inspiration; and after years of ignoring the voices in her head, she’s now giving them free reign. Her stories are a unique mix of humor and drama with enough suspense to produce fast-paced action filled with emotion and passion, featuring characters that are quirky and complicated.
For the latest, check out her website for links to current works, news, and social media. www.lefranks.com