Authors: Karyn Gerrard,Gayl Taylor
The Hero Sandwich
Karyn Gerrard & Gayl Taylor
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The Hero Sandwich
Copyright© 2012 Karyn Gerrard & Gayl Taylor
Cover Artist: Victoria Miller
Editor: Deadra Krieger
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in reviews.
What started as mutual admiration for a certain model grew into an idea for a collaboration. Within a few weeks, we had The Hero Sandwich written.
Never did I dream co-writing could be so rewarding, satisfying, and fun. The experience was made all the richer for I did it with a dear friend. Thank you, Gayl.
There isn’t much more I can add to the sentiments above except to include my deepest gratitude to Karyn, my critique partner, collaborator, and good friend. Thank you for sharing your humor, creativity, encouragement, and friendship.
As far as Connie Hollingsway was concerned, she’d just found the meat filling for her hero sandwich. She cast a quick glance to her best friend, Nicole Sullivan, and amended her statement to
Bass from inane techno music reverberated off the wood-paneled walls of the club called the Cougar Cave that she and Nicci were at tonight. Connie’s gaze slid back to the man sitting alone in a booth directly across from them and further down the wall. The man, in a word, was perfect. Ascertaining his age was difficult under the flashing strobe lights, plus he sat directly underneath a neon sign for Budweiser, which cast a reddish glow over a stunningly rugged, handsome face. The layered and tousled hair looked as if he had just rolled out of bed. Milk chocolate would be the way she’d describe the color. Like all young guys, he had a scruff of facial hair, but Connie’s keen eye could make out the sexy cleft in his perfectly shaped chin. There were six empty beer bottles in front of him, and he’d just waved his arm to the waiter for more. A sly smile curved about Connie’s mouth. If man-meat was drunk enough, he may be open and willing to consider her suggestion.
Leaning toward Nicci to talk about her idea, the words died in her throat when man-meat stood, shook off his leather jacket, and hung it on the coat rack attached to the back of the bench seat. Connie’s mouth went dry and her pussy went wet. He was taller than she first imagined, a few inches over six feet to be sure. A skin tight black T-shirt hugged every valley and plane of his powerful physique. Man-meat was cut, chiseled, honed, and sharpened into hardened precision, enough to rival those marble statues of Greek gods. The T-shirt, tucked into a pair of incredibly tight blue jeans, showed his torso to sculpted perfection. Fabric strained across rock hard thighs, a muscular ass and—Connie’s held breath whooshed out in a moan—showed off his impressive package to perfection.
She had to get a closer look.
“Nicci, order me another Long Island Iced Tea, I have to use the bathroom.”
Connie stood, smoothed her leather skirt over her hips, tucked her purse under her arm, and sauntered off toward the restroom. Purposely slowing her walk, her eyes narrowed as she scanned his surroundings. Well, man-meat not only guzzled beer, he consumed boilermakers. Connie watched as he dropped a shot glass in the beer, threw back his head, and drank. The muscles in his throat moved with such fluidity and grace another gush of hot liquid blasted between her legs. His forearms were powerful and roped with veins. A brief flickering image of running her tongue along the road map of veins over his entire body shot through her fevered brain. When he slammed the glass on the table, he gazed up at her briefly, and then glanced away.
She stumbled as his look seared with a decided potency. The man had magnetism to spare. And damn it all, his eyes were blue—a hypnotic shade rivaling the color of the sky above. Men with blue eyes were a particular weakness of hers.
Connie pushed through the ladies room door and walked to the sink. Jesus, she felt dizzy. Was she drunk? Turning on the taps and running her hands under cold water, she wondered at his age. While his build and his aura evoked a certain maturity, there were no telltale lines fanning out from the eyes to show he may be in his thirties, nor were there heavily cut lines around his mouth. Damn, how young was he? Who cared? He was getting drunk at the Cougar Cave so naturally the man would be interested in an older woman.
Wonder how he would feel about two women?
Nicci tentatively signaled the bartender and gestured toward the empty glasses in front of her. As she shifted and crossed her legs, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the gilded mirror behind the array of bottles lining the bar and quickly looked away. What the hell was she doing here? She should never have allowed Connie to talk her into clubbing, but it was always difficult for Nicci to say no to her. All Connie had to do was mention how Nicci’s presence would keep her from doing anything too outrageous. Worked every time. Even in high school, Nicci would go along with Connie’s adventures—toilet papering the baseball team’s houses in the middle of the night, cutting school to sneak off to a baseball game in the middle of the week. Nicci smiled as she absently tossed a stray lock of hair behind her shoulder. To be honest, she loved the adventures she and Connie experienced and would not have traded them for anything. Well, maybe for one thing…
She promised Connie she would try to be receptive if a man approached her tonight. Grateful for the loud music echoing off the walls, she took her gin and tonic, swirled it around, and drank.
. She was determined not to be a wet blanket on Connie’s evening. At least she could use the pounding music as an excuse not to engage in conversation with the men around her. It was easy to smile, point to her ears, and shake them off apologetically.
Nicci slid to the other side of the booth, stood, and adjusted the spaghetti strap on her bare shoulder. She picked up her drink along with Connie’s, and watched through the haze of multi-colored lights as couples moved to the music bumping and grinding against each other no doubt with hooking up as the end game. The urban mating ritual. She scanned the general area of where Connie disappeared hoping she would return soon. The club felt stifling hot and as Nicci raised her icy glass and slid it up her neck until it rested against her cheek, her gaze locked with the most compelling blue eyes she’d ever seen.
Her breath hitched, and her legs turned to gelatin. Molten heat rushed through her and settled in her belly. A hunger the likes of which she hadn’t experienced, let alone allowed, in ages. The man was drop-dead gorgeous, athletic looking, exactly the kind she would have noticed if she’d d been looking for one. His gaze swept over her casually, one corner of his mouth lifted slightly, and her nipples peaked through the thin silk of her camisole top. Could he see? Did he know his heated gaze aroused her? He leaned back and lifted his arm until it rested along the back of the booth where he sat. It might’ve been an invitation to join him, not that she was any good at reading men. Nicci doubted she could have taken two steps with her unsteady legs or if she’d even consider doing so. Or would she? At this moment, Nicci honestly didn’t know.
All the while, his gaze never left hers. Nicci couldn’t look away, wasn’t even sure she wanted to, and then shame and guilt consumed her. The last time Nicci made her deepest desires for a man apparent, she ended up burying him. He died because of her selfish, physical demands and the memories were still hard to live with. If she hadn’t been holding both her drink and Connie’s, she would’ve buried her face in her hands. Nicci nearly collapsed into the booth as she sat down. A waiter blocked her line of sight as he set another drink on the table, granting Nicci a reprieve from the man’s searing gaze. The waiter left and the man’s attention focused on the beer in front of him. Maybe she’d had too much to drink or mistook the intent behind his gaze. Either way, she felt strangely empty.
Connie finally emerged from the ladies room and glanced in his direction before making her way back to their table. From the expression on her face, a look Nicci knew all too well, Connie had noticed him too and planned to do more than admire from afar. Nicci looked away. Good. Connie deserved another chance at happiness. If she found it tonight—with him—that was what Nicci wanted.
Connie plunked herself back in her seat, reached for the Long Island Iced Tea, and took a long gulp. Her eyes never left the young stud sucking on his boilermakers. He seemed focused and intent in his desire to get drunk. Wonder why?
Glancing at her best friend, she was pleased Nicci decided to come out tonight. Nicci had no idea of her plans, would she be receptive when Connie finally revealed them to her? Ever since her divorce from “the Lizard,” Connie had gone a little crazy. She fell in with a wild bunch of divorced women and they called their group ‘The Posse.’ They made numerous trips to the nail salon and plenty of excursions to bars. Margaritas and exotic male dancers made up their agenda. Nothing dulled the pain like alcohol and tucking a folded ten dollar bill in a gorgeous man’s g-string.
Connie frowned as she looked down into the depths of her iced tea. All this high living actually masked a hurt so deep and so vast she didn’t think she would ever feel anything again. Nickelback’s rowdy
blared over the speakers. Connie raised her glass in silent tribute to the song, and then drank deeply. She was already halfway to feeling numb.
The Lizard cheated on her, more than once, and even brought his bimbos into their bed. Catching him fucking some Barbie doll from behind sliced her heart to ribbons.
Even in her deepest thoughts, she couldn’t think of her ex-husband by his first name. The Lizard would be his moniker until she ceased to breathe. The one time she gave her heart and trust to a man, he ground it into the dirt. Regardless of her outward attitudes and body language, when she fell in love and married the Lizard, she stupidly thought it would be forever. To Connie, the vows they spoke meant something, she loved him heart and soul. And the Lizard threw it all away. Ten years of marriage, and for what?
Well, she got her revenge. She took him to the cleaners, but it was a hollow victory. No one understood her pain and her sense of loss. No one except Nicci. They had been joined at the hip since high school. Propped each other up and encouraged each other when they needed it. They certainly needed the support the past couple of years. Nicci experienced a devastating loss of her own. Now both forty-two years old, the time had come for them to move on with their lives and put the past behind them. For some reason, Connie believed deep in her soul what she was about to propose would benefit them both in different ways.
Mercifully, the music stopped as the DJ took a break.
“Nicci, see the stud sitting under the Budweiser sign? What do you think?”
Nicci’s gaze swung to man-meat, her expression knowing and admiring.
Ah, Nicci had noticed him already
. Taking a sweeping glance about the bar, it was obvious other women had noticed him as well. They’d have to make their move, and fast.
“A little young, maybe?” Nicci offered.
Connie laughed. “He’s drinking at the Cougar Cave, of course he’s young, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Connie moved closer to Nicci, and leaned in to whisper. “Keep an open mind. I say we approach him and invite him to our table, have a few more drinks, and all three of us head to the hotel across the street. I already reserved a room in anticipation. I’ve wanted to do this for years, one of my secret fantasies. And I trust no one else to share a man with. Only you, Nicci.”
Nicci’s body went rigid, more than likely from shock. Connie laid a hand over hers in comfort. Of all the outrageous things she’d proposed over the decades, she knew this one topped them all.