Authors: Moxie North
Copyright ©2016 Moxie North
All Rights Reserved
Cover Design by Jacqueline Sweet
he phone ringing
in his pocket caused the muscles in Angel’s neck to tighten a bit more. It was his brother Eddie calling for the third or fourth time; he’d lost count.
Eddie was calling because one of Angel’s older cousins was probably blowing up his phone and needed him to do something in the morning.
He was ignoring all of them. It wasn’t like there was going to be a wood emergency or anything. He was tired today; his mind hadn’t been able to focus on his work or his music. He felt out of kilter with the world around him. It was an unsettling feeling and he just wanted to push the emotions away for a while.
Tonight was about not thinking about work or his life and the choices he was or wasn’t making. It was about drinking and ignoring all the come-hither looks from the bar bunnies.
The napkin in front of him was covered in scribbles. He was trying out lyrics for a new song he was working on. Music was his life; it was the only thing he liked doing. When other guys were out dumping money into slick rides, he was saving for a 1959 Gibson Les Paul. He wanted to play, write, and perform. But with nobody but the trees to hear him, it wasn’t going to be his ticket out of the woods.
His phone chimed again, this time with a text notification sound. It was his buddy Rain’s tone. Pulling the phone out of his pocket, he ignored the little voicemail icon that meant someone was looking for him that was family. They were the only ones that would leave a voicemail for a twenty-something-year-old. Clearly, they hadn’t learned to text. Instead, they preferred to leave long-winded voicemails.
Is that what college is teaching you?
Typical Husky education.
Hey, at least I went, asshole. What are you doing?
Besides disappointing my parents and clan? Sitting in the Chinook trying to get tanked.
How’s that going?
Not bad actually. Got a decent buzz on.
Gonna suck when we get older and drinking doesn’t work anymore.
That’s why you get to go to all those keggers. Kill those brain cells.
Eh, I’m set on credits. I’m pretty much coasting at this point. No brain cells needed.
Christ, the women in here are not getting it. A pair keeps trying to dance in front of me rubbing up on each other.
So… just hook-up for the night.
Not interested. What’s the point?
I hear ya. Just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
That list is shockingly small, asshole.
True. Hey have you seen my niece and nephew lately?
Nah, laying low. I hear they’re cute though.
Of course, they have my genes.
I don’t think you had anything to do with that.
Whatever, Axel looks just like me.
So does Jett. What does that mean?
I’d make a pretty woman?
You said it, not me.
Well, have fun. I’m off to a campus meeting to plan a rally against plastic bags
You love it.
Angel stuffed his phone back in his pocket. Scanning the room, his eyes didn’t stop on anyone of interest. His bear didn’t like it in here. It was loud and bright, and he usually wanted to give his opinion anytime Angel started drinking.
Tonight, his phone wasn’t the only thing he was ignoring.
Angel closed his eyes and let the thumping of the music pound into him. It was loud, and that helped drown out his animal’s insistent grumbling.
He was about to open his eyes when a sweet scent filled his lungs. He took a deeper breath, trying to savor the flavor. It was like a hot sunny day at the beach. It immediately quieted his bear which caught his attention.
Angel opened his eyes and scanned the room. Somewhere out there was someone he needed to find. His evening was looking up.
h come on
. One more isn’t going to hurt you.”
Rebecca Siobhan Kelly was already three sheets to the wind. Her best friend Alicia had dragged her out to The Chinook, the only decent place to get a drink. Their toddler coworker, Sybil, had announced her engagement today to a man that was almost twenty years her senior, and Becca felt the need to drown her big green envy monster.
Not that Becca wasn’t happy for her. She was, sort of. Everyone deserved to find their happy. Although, she wasn’t so sure this was a love match but an advantageous income jump for dear Sybil.
Still, at thirty-five years old, how on earth was she supposed to compete with women just out of college for men that were her age? It wasn’t even fair to think of it as competition. She knew not all men wanted younger women. That was just something that television used in sitcoms and dramas for a humorous moment.
“One more and you’re going to have to roll me home,” Becca replied. She could hear the slur in her words, but there was no stopping it. Her last drink should have been at least two shots ago.
“I’ll roll ya!” Alicia cackled and ordered another round with a wave of her arm to the waitress.
The music and dark lighting in the bar matched her mood. She hated feeling jealous; it wasn’t a pleasant or particularly attractive emotion. There was a swirl of emotions inside her at the moment, and she didn’t want to face any of them in some big introspective breakdown.
Becca was feeling sorry for herself. That was just the sad truth of it. Every time she thought she had found her happy place while being single in her thirties, reality would smack her upside the head. What frustrated her most was that she felt she’d worked hard at becoming a whole person. She didn’t feel like she needed a man to complete her, but it would be nice to have someone to come home to.
She’d been working for the county government for fifteen years. After starting as a receptionist, she’d worked in various departments and now she worked in the permitting department. Her coworkers were a hoot, and she loved going to work each day. Her non-work time was spent decorating her cute cottage and working in her yard. Volunteering at a number of charities kept her busy on the weekends.
At the church’s food bank, she would spend her Thursday nights putting together the food boxes. That was really enjoyable. She knew a lot of the regulars and could ask about their lives and children. She spent three hours a week at the local cat shelter, even though that mostly involved snuggling kitties. And now she would spend Sunday afternoons at her latest discovery, an alpaca rescue. She hadn’t been aware that alpacas needed rescuing, but apparently, they did, and she loved their furry sweet faces. Bonus was that they weren’t mean and didn’t spit.
Her life was full, busy, and helpful, but even all that didn’t keep her distracted enough from realizing she missed having someone in her life.
She’d fallen in love during college with a boy that she was sure she was going to marry and make lots of adorable babies with. She came to find out that his plans were not the same as hers. It took her a while to mend her broken heart and start dating again. There were a few fun dates scattered through the years, but nothing lasting.
Her last long-term boyfriend, Brian, had a phobia—to commitment. They’d met through mutual friends, and even though he was a few years younger than her, Becca thought they were a perfect match. That was until she wanted more.
Brian didn’t understand why Becca wasn’t happy just living together and keeping everything else separate. She’d spent four years with him, and every time they split the electric bill, she felt the pang of her boyfriend being more of a roommate than a life partner.
When he said they should see other people, he thought offering to still “throw her a bone” occasionally would make her happy. It didn’t and she wanted to know why. Not just a—
it’s not you, it’s me—
excuse. She’d stupidly wanted details.
He laid them out for her. He was young and in his prime, he’d said, and needed to be free. That she was fun, but didn’t want to party like he did. She didn’t like his friends or the fact she’d wake up and find strangers sleeping on her couch. He hated that she complained about him being messy or that he’d quit jobs when he got bored. To Brian these were all unreasonable requests from her. Becca didn’t see it that way.
She wanted joint bank accounts, shared tubs of ice cream, and someone that understood laundry should be washed with fabric specific detergent. Brian didn’t think he should pay for detergent when she was washing her clothes anyway and could just throw his in too. Economics were not his strong suit.
Even after he told her he wanted out, he tried to stick around until he found a new place to crash. When her patience had worn thin, and she told him he needed to go, he got mean. At first, it was little digs about her appearance, then it got meaner. Telling her no one would want her because she was old and fat. Becca lashed back and the whole experience turned juvenile and uncomfortable.
Becca knew those hurtful words were the sad, but often necessary, cuts to sever ties emotionally from someone. It didn’t mean that the scars weren’t still there.
After she finally kicked him to the curb, she consoled herself with copious amounts of Mexican food and peanut butter cups. This left her normally curvy frame with a little more padding than she was comfortable with. But there really wasn’t any motivation to purge those extra fifteen pounds at this point. So her ass and hips were round, her boobs spilled out of her bra because she’d be damned if she was investing in bigger bras, and she wasn’t as happy as she could be.
Tonight, she was drowning her feelings that life was never going to change for her. Sure, she had friends, a job she liked, and did her part for the community, but was that going to be her whole life until she died? What a morbid thought.
Alicia slid another drink over to her, and she swigged half of it down before pushing it away. The jukebox blared, and Becca felt like her ass was starting to mold to the wooden barstool. Jumping up, and then wobbling for a minute, she got her balance and declared a little too loudly, “I’m dancing!”
She saw the big goofy grin on Alicia’s face although it was a bit fuzzy. Her friend joined her, both of them drunk strutting to the middle of a busy dance floor. They were lucky that tonight there was music. The bar could morph from tough biker bar to a hip (sort of) hang out depending on the mood of the bartender and who showed up. There were even a few nights of Karaoke that ended up being mostly locals tormenting each other with bad Roy Orbison and Shania Twain songs for the hell of it.
Becca found an empty spot that had only a few people nearby and started moving to the music. Nothing like a few drinks to make you lose your inhibitions and convince yourself you could dance.
It didn’t take long for Alicia to figure out what Becca was dancing to; clearly, it wasn’t the music that was playing at the moment judging by her lack of rhythm. The two danced like they were twenty-one and out to party. There was a little voice inside Becca’s head that told her she had to work in the morning, and there was no way she was going to make it through the next twelve hours without a wicked hangover. But hindsight was at the bottom of her last glass, and she was ignoring it.
Becca did have enough self-awareness to realize that there were more than a few sets of eyes on her. Whether those eyes were admiring or mocking, she really didn’t give a flying fuck. She felt temporarily good, she liked the music, her friend was with her, and the memory of her coworker flashing her engagement ring was becoming a distant memory.
As she shook her booty, a few guys tried to slide up behind her in the classic—
Oh, did my dick accidently rub against you?—
move. Even drunk, she knew how to spin away from them and switch places with Alicia. Alicia was tall, busty, and for some reason, incredibly intimidating to men. Becca figured Alicia was just too much woman for the average man, therefore they often turned tail and ran from her. She was an excellent cockblocker when needed.
Spinning around again, Becca’s gaze fell on a sexy, rough looking young man on the other side of the bar. He was leaning over his table staring into a glass like he was looking for something. The flashing strobe lights in the bar made it hard to get a good look, but he was handsome in a rough, sullen way. Way too young for her, of course, but she could still appreciate a good-looking guy. He looked like he could be in college, or good lord, still in high school. He was either barely legal age or had a great fake ID.
Realizing that staring him down was probably creepy, she turned back to Alicia and gave her a nod behind her shoulder. Alicia peered over and gave her a thumbs up and an eyebrow wiggle. Laughing at her friend, they kept dancing as the alcohol kept the room a little fuzzy and Becca’s groove machine revving.
The songs switched between fast rock to country jams until a much slower song came on that had most of the crowd clearing off the dance floor. Becca’s inebriation level was at a high point, and she could feel that this was as good as she was going to feel tonight. This was the high point before things started sliding downhill. Anyone that had ever gotten drunk knew that moment. Your rational brain would even try to warn you that you should enjoy the feeling, because you were going to regret what was coming next.
Alicia gave her a little wave and returned to their table as the music slowed. Becca stayed out on the dance floor, closed her eyes, and let her body sway to the music. She was floating, her body taking on that numb euphoric feeling that felt amazing. The song was sexy. She had gone from annoyed drunk to sadly, horny and drunk and was already thinking about whether she’d be conscious enough when she got home to get herself off.
Working on the plan of which of her battery operated boyfriends she was going to use later, Becca had a delayed reaction to the heat that slid up behind her.
Hands wrapped around her waist, and the firm ridge of someone’s erection pressed against her backside. Alarm bells went off in her head, but they were a little muted at this point. She was about to turn around when a warm, sexy voice spoke into her ear.
“You have the finest fucking ass I have ever seen.”
Whoever spoke those words was bold enough to place a wet open-mouth kiss right on her neck.