Series: Foothills Pride #1
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 21, 2015
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Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it's a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.
Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender's first name since he's worn a different name tag every time Jimmy's seen him. "Guy" Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.
While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he's distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.
Also in this series:
“IF I tell you my real name, I might have to kill you,” the bartender with the tag proclaiming him to be “Alex” said. It was a joke. I knew it was a joke. But still.
Over the past half year or so, I’d seen him with numerous nametags, all with a couple dozen different first names on them. Tonight I just wanted to know what his real name was. But it didn’t look like it was in the cards.
“Right, Alex.” I sighed into my beer. “You’re already killing me.” I took a breath, letting the alcohol fumes go from my mouth back through my nose. “Alex,” or whatever his name was, seemed to be my only friend tonight. I was ready to wallow. “I’ll have another one.”
Alex glared at me. “He isn’t worth it.”
Tell me something I didn’t know.
“Right. Another beer?”
His glare solidified. I’d asked if Alex was his real name when I was between beers four and six, or maybe five and nine. I was making small talk, you know, not really trying to get personal or anything. I wanted to know the guy’s name, not his inseam.
Or maybe I was right and he was joking. I couldn’t tell. My ache was eating me alive.
I’m a lightweight, a twink I guess most people call me behind my back. I’d just been dumped by my boyfriend of all of a year. On my birthday, no less. I wanted to know something real.
The shit’s name was Alex too, which was why I asked bartender Alex, Alex2 in my mind, if it was his real name.
For the last few months, Alex the Shit and I had been coming into Stonewall Saloon and always seemed to end up fighting. He would sit with me at the bar, we’d order drinks, and then after a few minutes, he’d wander away. Most of the time I’d sit at the bar and talk to the bartender, the guy in front of me now, the very bear Alex, and most of the time, Alex the Shit Alex would find someone alone and cozy up to him. He’d always go home with me, but still.
I focused on the bartender who thought he might have to kill me. He’d never threatened me before, so it had to be a joke. Still, I knew about bad names. After all, my real given names are King and James, but since, fortunately, nobody knows that, they call me Jimmy, which is what I tell them my name is.
Bartender Alex, A2 to me, was a real cutie—a bear, a bear wearing a black leather vest and a scowl, acting all like he didn’t want to serve anyone, even harmless old me. He had a really bad attitude going tonight, which didn’t make my heartache any lighter.
The bar was located in Northern California nowhere, a suburban outcropping consisting of a Home Depot, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, and other gotta-have places, with a gazillion look-alike houses that sprouted up like mushrooms. The suburb surrounded a really small Old Town left over from the Gold Rush and passenger train days. The bar was one of the few places locally owned and operated within miles.
I giggled at the thought. Locally owned and operated. Like me. I’d been locally owned and operated by Alex the Shit, until tonight.
“Just one more,” I begged A2. “I won’t even ask about your name again,” I added with a slight burp, or maybe a hiccup.
A2 just stood there, shaking his head and frowning.
I gave him sad cat eyes, you know, the kind Puss in Boots gave Shrek. My friends say I do it really well, but it didn’t seem to work on A2.
I sighed. The alcohol stench again went from my mouth through my nose.
“Aren’t we friends?” I asked. “I thought we were friends.”
Okay, maybe I was whining now.
“Can I see your keys?” A2 snarled.
“Your keys? Let me see them.”
I fumbled with my pockets, and my wallet and a couple pieces of paper fell on the floor. I bent to pick everything up while trying to dig my keys out of my pocket, then landed on the floor myself. I grabbed my wallet just as my keys popped from my pocket. Both went flying.
A sturdy hand under my arm helped me up.
“Alex?” I asked.
“Yeah, sport. Let’s get you into a cab and on your way home.”
“No, not necessary.” My words came out a little mushy but, I thought, understandable. Maybe not. “I can drive,” I said, forgetting that I didn’t even have a car with me. Alex had driven us in his truck, and he’d walked out with some other guy. Just like that. Walked off and left me.
The hand was gripping me too tight now, so I tried to shake it away.
“Not happening, pal. You’re going home.”
“Can’t go home. Got no home,” I said to the hand that had pulled my arm next to my mouth. “Going to sleep in the car. Sleep it off. Off it sleep, A2.” I had a car somewhere, right? I could just sleep in it. Off it sleep, I will.
I giggled at how Star Wars I sounded and repeated it.
The hand got me pulled up to the barstool. I tried to sit on it but overshot, almost going down again.
“Whoa! The barstool shrunk,” I said, glaring at it. “Naughty barstool. Don’t do that.”
I tried a third or fourth time, but the barstool was even smaller each time.
I turned and looked at A2, who was holding me by the arm. He was out from behind the bar and standing next to me. I’d never seen him without the bar hiding him from his waist down. He looked fine. His hairy chest was nearly in my face, but since my head hung down, his tight leather pants were all I could really see.
“I could blow you,” I muttered, watching his bump jump. Then I giggled again. “Your dick jumped,” I said, laughing. The contents of my stomach weren’t happy with laughter. They took offense and rose to punish me. “Oh, God, I’m gonna….”
Then I was zooming across the nearly empty bar, and my head was pushed over a toilet, where everything let fly.
Not better. Definitely not better. In fact, I felt worse, much worse.
A hairy hand roughly swiped a wad of toilet paper across my mouth.
“How we feeling there?”
I started to shake my head, but more beer left me.
A nap sounded good after that, so I started lowering my head. Only the hairy hand again swiped across my mouth. Then I drooled, and the hand with toilet paper was back again.
“I gotta go,” I slurred, trying to stand. “Sleep in car.”
The toilet next to my head flushed. I winced. Did all toilets sound so loud? Jeez, where was a silent toilet when you needed one?
“I gotta go,” I repeated as the hand and his friend, another hand, lifted me under my arms.
I stood and stared at A2’s hairy chest. His nipples were erect, so I swiped my tongue over the closest one.
“Oh God. Yuck. Stop,” he said, dropping me with one hand as he started wiping his nipple with the toilet paper. “That’s gross.”
Oh, yeah. I’d just vomited. He was right. I was being gross.
“Sorry,” I said, trying to wipe away the saliva on him. “Gross, gross,” I muttered, missing his nipple and running my fingers along his chest hair instead. “Sorry. Too gross.”
Then I purred because his hair was so soft and cuddly warm under my hand.
I peered up at him. He was still scowling, but this time he looked gorgeous.
“You’re beautiful,” I said, bringing my hand up to his stubbly face.
He reared back as if I were going to spit on him.
“Oh, no you don’t, pal.”
He straightened me up and pushed me along, letting me stumble away from him and back into the sink area of the bathroom.
He turned on the water and grabbed a couple of the paper towels. Wetting down the towels, he ran them over my face. The cool water felt wonderful. So I purred again. When I opened my eyes, his nipples were rigid. This time I didn’t try to touch them.
He tossed away the paper towels without looking at me, grabbed another couple, wet them down, and ran them over his face, then his chest.
Before I could say anything, he was marching me back out of the bathroom and to one of the tables in the nearly empty bar.
“Sit,” he said as he pushed me into a chair.
“Stay,” he said, putting my arms on the table.
I nodded, my head bowing to my arms. A nap. A little nap seemed like a good idea. I wasn’t going anywhere without A2, my second Alex.
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