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Hell on Wheels

Hell on WheelsResplendence Publishing
ISBN eBook: 978-1-60735-143-6
Genre: Paranormal, M/M
Series: Book three in The City Series.
Book Length: Novel
Release Date: May 5, 2010

Read an Excerpt | Order eBook at Resplendence Publishing

Cory Dylan takes his job as bartender at Ice Water in Hell very seriously. As far as he’s concerned, he’s the only person drawing the line between having a few drinks with friends and getting dangerously drunk. Refusing to serve a customer who had already imbibed too much has landed him a punch to the face more than once, but that doesn’t deter him. When, a customer attacks Cory on his way home from the club, his first reaction is to play the episode off as another quirk of his job. However, it soon becomes apparent the beating had nothing to do with his job and everything to do with his past.

Tao Kemoeatu works as the doorman and bouncer at Ice Water. His size often scares people away, including the one man he wants more than anyone. Watching Cory put his neck on the line every night has eaten at Tao. The sprite-like bartender barely speaks to him, yet Tao knows he’d walk through fire for the young man. He vows to protect Cory at all costs, but first he has to find a way to prove size doesn’t matter when dealing with the heart.

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Excerpt

Note for Readers: You must be over eighteen to read this excerpt.

Cory stripped off the stained latex gloves and smiled at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. The expression drew even more attention to the healing split in his lip that he’d received from a drunk customer at Ice Water.

His gaze moved back to his white blond hair streaked with color. Although the temporary green dye was darker than the normal Kelly green of St. Patrick’s Day, Cory thought it brought out the green in his eyes to perfection.

Since his interrupted interlude with Nick, Cory had barely managed to keep his libido in check. He prayed he’d be able to find at least one hot guy at the bar that was still sober at quitting time. Drunks did nothing for him except turn his stomach.

After a final inspection, he turned off the bathroom light and crossed to his closet. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations always brought out the happy in people, and happy people were big tippers. He selected a skin-tight white T-shirt that ended right above his belly button, and his favorite pair of ripped blue jeans. For the first time since Ice Water opened, Nick and Dominic had relaxed the strict dress code for the evening’s celebration.

As much as he’d like to wear something sexy on his feet, biking to work was hard to do in boots. He settled on his normal pair of sneakers and studied himself in the full-length mirror. The small diamond in his belly button caught the light and appeared to wink at him. The four-leaf clover tattooed over one nipple could easily be seen through the shear fabric of his T-shirt. Cory shook his head and laughed. “If this outfit doesn’t get me the tips or the man I want by the end of the night, I’ll give up.”

* * * *

Cory got off his bicycle and chained his ride to the lamppost outside Ice Water. He’d been lucky. When he’d worked at The Inferno, his bike had been stolen on several occasions, but it was safe at Ice Water. Tao, the club’s doorman, kept a vigilant eye on Cory’s baby for him.

After making sure the lock was secured, Cory walked to the front door and knocked on the frosted glass. Within moments, he heard the lock disengage. The door opened and Dominic’s eyes looked like they were about to pop out of his head.

“Holy Fuck, look at you.” Dominic stepped back enough for Cory to enter.

“You could have this view every day if you didn’t make me dress up all the time,” Cory said with a chuckle.

Dominic ran a hand through his short hair. “Maybe I should think about uniforms for the staff.” Dominic shook his head. “Wow. I’m…uh…” He shook his head yet again. “I’m going to go up to my office and call Lu.”

Cory nodded. By the erection straining the front of Dominic’s jeans, Cory knew it was going to be a good night for tips. He just hoped Dominic didn’t tell Lu what had made him so horny. The last thing Cory wanted was trouble with the big guy.

Cory crossed the room to the bar. A quick glance at the clock told him he only had forty-five minutes to make sure the bar was fully stocked. He spotted Nick and Galen coming down the stairs.

“Hey, Nick, did you already hook-up the kegs of green beer?” Cory asked.

“Yep. Did it this morning so it would be good and cold. There are four more in the cooler if we need them, but don’t try and change them yourself. Get one of us or Tao if he’s on break to help you out.” Nick took up his favorite stool and pulled Galen between his legs.

“You’re looking awfully sexy tonight,” Galen commented.

Cory smoothed his hands down the front of his shirt, drawing even more attention to his leanly muscled chest. “I need a new couch. I’m hoping to get enough in tips tonight to buy it Sunday.”

Galen pressed his body back against Nick’s chest and began to squirm enough to let Cory know that Nick’s hands were most likely down his pants. The thought of Nick’s hands fondling Galen’s cock had Cory hard in nothing flat. It was yet another reason he needed to get fucked, and the sooner the better.

“Baz coming in later?” Cory began checking each glass to make sure they were spot-free. His friendship with the threesome meant a lot to him, and he didn’t want to make any of them uncomfortable with his inappropriate arousal.

“He’s upstairs making dinner. He told the two of us to get out until it was finished. Something about how we were trying to distract him,” Galen said with a big smile.

“So you decided to come down and distract me instead?” Cory picked up a glass and began rubbing it with a soft cloth.

“What?” Nick appeared genuinely puzzled by the comment.

Cory rolled his eyes and released a snort. “You guys are so used to touching each other whenever the mood strikes. I don’t think you even realize you’re doing it half the time.”

Nick and Galen both glanced down. Nick’s cheeks started to turn a delightful shade of red. “Sorry. I guess we don’t.”

“I do,” Galen cut in. “I like it. Why wouldn’t I?”

Cory shook his head. “No reason. I can’t say that I blame you. If you can get it, go for it.”

Galen nodded. “Yeah, that’s pretty much the way I think about it, too.”

Lu strolled into the bar wearing tight black leather. His gaze immediately zeroed in on Cory as he pointed toward him. “I’ll speak to you later. First I have a little emergency to attend to.”

Cory ducked his head. Dammit. He couldn’t believe Dominic had told on him. Hopefully Lu would be in such a good mood after getting his brains fucked out, he would forget all about Cory getting his lover worked up.

Nick’s cell phone rang and he pulled it out of his back pocket. “Yep. We’ll be right there.”

Nick placed a kiss on Galen’s neck. “Dinner’s ready.”

Galen moved out from between Nick’s legs and the bigger man stood. “It could get crazy in here later. Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it.”

“I won’t,” Cory told Nick. “Enjoy your dinner.”

After Nick and Galen retreated to their apartment upstairs, Cory continued to ready the bar while watching the rest of the staff slowly trickle in. He wasn’t even facing the door when Tao entered the club, but he knew it the moment the large tattooed Samoan entered. Like always, Cory’s skin broke out in gooseflesh.

“Evening, Cory.”

“Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Tao,” he answered without looking up from the bottle of red wine he was uncorking. Cory wished he knew why the giant man had that affect on him. It wasn’t that Cory didn’t find Tao attractive. Damn, anyone with eyes would agree the man was hotter than hell, but Tao made him nervous. At more than twice his size, Tao represented the bullies Cory had more than his share of run-ins with. In Cory’s opinion, size did indeed matter. The bigger the man, the more they felt they had a right to push Cory around.

“I like your hair. It’s fun,” Tao said.

Cory shrugged. “I thought it was appropriate for the day. I used to do it all the time before…I came here.”

Cory glanced up at Tao before quickly averting his gaze. Tao looked damn good in a suit, but in regular clothes, he was crazy sexy. Cory’s eyes went to the clock on the wall behind the bar. “It’s about that time.”

Tao patted the bar with one large brown hand. “Yeah. Guess it’s show time. Take care of yourself tonight, and call me if there’s trouble.”

“Will do. Thanks.” Cory watched Tao walk toward the front door. Tao’s back muscles seemed to ripple under the tight black T-shirt as he walked. Just because men of a larger size were intimidating to him, didn’t mean he didn’t enjoy the view.

* * * *

Tao put up a hand. “Sorry, sir, we’re at maximum capacity at the moment. You’ll have to wait.”

“Are you fucking joking? I’ve just waited two hours in this stupid line. I doubt one more person is going to bring the whole place down.”

“Sorry, but I can’t do that.” Tao didn’t get upset with the man even though the guy was screaming in his face. For the most part, Tao had always been even-tempered. Besides, the patron was right, he had been waiting a long time. Tao felt bad he couldn’t let everyone in, but overwhelming Ice Water with too many people would only cause problems for the wait and security staff.

The man tried to hand Tao a hundred dollar bill. “Can’t you please see if there’s room for one more?”

Tao fisted his hands at his sides. “Please put your money away before you offend me.”

As luck would have it, a small group of men and women exited the club laughing and singing one of the Irish jigs that was playing inside of the club. Tao stepped to the side and gestured for the obnoxious man to enter along with five others.

Before turning back around, Tao’s gaze sought out Cory. He couldn’t help but smile as the slighter man appeared to be singing for the patrons surrounding the bar. The large jar set on top of the bar was already stuffed full of money. Tao shook his head. If he weren’t on duty, he’d give an entire month’s wages to sit at the bar and stare at Cory all evening.

The man seemed to know just how far he could go in the flirting department to insure a nice tip without attracting unwanted trouble. Tao sighed and turned back to the long line of people still waiting to enter Ice Water.

He’d watched Cory flirt time and time again with perfect strangers while the good-looking man could barely bring himself to make eye contact with Tao. Lately, he’d wondered if it had something to do with his tattoos. He knew the tribal symbols decorating his body were misunderstood by most people. They were part of his culture, one he took great pride in. The fact Tao also chose to ride a motorcycle also helped in giving people the wrong impression of him.

Tao could do little about others’ perceptions, but where Cory was concerned, the misunderstandings hurt. Tao would do anything Cory asked, if only Cory would see him as a man, and not a monster.