The Other Team, Book 4
Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.
Copyright © 2016, G.R. George.
All rights reserved.
6 ounces of Vodka
A dash of Vermouth
1 ounce Green Olive Brine
4 Stuffed Green Olives
Mix all the ingredients into a tall glass. With a Cocktail strainer, pour the mixture into a martini glass, garnish with olives, and enjoy. For variety, try it over the rocks. Invite a friend—double the recipe and double the dirty.
Bad News is Bad News
Chris Lawson watched from behind the bar as Jay Lincoln, the owner of The Other Team Sports Bar & Grill, gave his new boyfriend, a middle-aged doctor, a kiss good-bye at the door. He rolled his eyes as he methodically cleaned highball glasses. He wasn’t jealous, not in the least. Those guys were idiots. The Other Team filled up with hot men almost every night, and the idea of only taking one home FOREVER, didn’t appeal to Chris even a little.
At twenty-four, he still had a lot of field he wanted to play before settling down. The fact that Tucker and Todd were glued at the hips—which damn, he sure missed Todd, a hot guy, a hot body, and a hot fuck—and Alex and Ricky—the odd couple—who seemed oddly happy, made Chris want to gag on all the sappy romance going on around him. Though, he really regretted not tapping Ricky. That dude was sexy with a capital S.
As if on cue, Ricky poked his head out from the kitchen. “Order up.” His dark hair fell over his light-green eyes. The way the muscles in his arm flexed and brought his tattoos to life, made Chris’s dick hard. Fuck. He needed to stop window shopping unavailable men.
Jay knocked on the counter to get Chris’s attention. “Okay?” Jay had short, brown hair—all business-like—but his eyes, the color of aged whiskey, always fascinated Chris. He’d never seen another person with that exact shade of amber. Those warm eyes made Jay hard to ignore—not that Chris would sleep with his employer. He’d learned from previous experience not to shit where he ate.
“Yeah, Jay,” Chris finally said. “I’m good.”
“You have a call on my office phone.” Jay narrowed his dark brows.
“Who would call me here? Anybody who knows me would call my cell.” Shit. Had he forgot to make a loan payment for his car? No. He’d covered that last Tuesday. Maybe a late credit card…No. He’d never missed a payment, but because of the way he grew up, his family always dodging one bill collector after another, it made Chris worry about getting in over his head.
Jay shrugged. “She said she’s your mother.”
Chris dropped the glass he’d been drying. It fractured into tiny pieces when it hit the floor.
Sergeant Martin “Marty” Lincoln, a Ranger in the U.S. Army pushed his way inside The Other Team Sports Bar & Grill and leaned heavily on his cane. He hadn’t seen his brother Jay in four years. Marty smiled. It was a Saturday afternoon, and his brother’s new place thrived. The bar stools were full, and he didn’t see a single empty booth.
Marty was younger than Jay by seven years—their parents’ oops child. He’d always looked up to Jay. When Jay had told their parents he was gay, Mom and Dad had initially reacted badly. Mom wept for days lamenting the fact he’d never be able to marry or have kids.
Luckily, time was slowly changing things, and if progress continued, Jay would have all the rights of a heterosexual soon enough. Time had also changed their parents’ attitude. The past week he’d spent with them, they both went on and on about how well Jay was doing—how he was dating a doctor. Mom had seemed especially happy about the doctor part. She’d always wanted one of her boys to go to medical school. Instead she got a bar owner and a soldier.
Jay had texted and e-mailed Marty with selfies of Harvey and himself. At least one Lincoln brother was happy. Marty had spent two years between Afghanistan and Iraq, and during that time he’d been awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. The Silver Star had been for bravery in the face of enemy fire, and the Purple Heart, for taking shrapnel from an IED made of nails and chunks of metal into his legs, chest, and neck. One metal chunk had managed to miss his carotid artery by just a few millimeters.
The field surgeon had told Marty he was lucky. He certainly hadn’t felt lucky. The injury to his left leg had been severe enough, even after two years of rehab, to give him a permanent limp and take him out of combat. The commander of his unit recently asked him if he wanted to be a trainer for RASP (Ranger Assessment & Selection Program). But even though it was an honor to be asked, it was also like telling the quarterback he couldn’t play football anymore, but they’d let him coach.
Marty asked for some time to think about it, and put in for his leave. He wanted to spend his last week with Jay before he had to go back to Fort Benning and give his decision.
He glanced around the crowded bar until his eyes rested on young man with short, chestnut colored hair walking toward the door. His hands shook, and he swayed a bit. The guy’s eyes were glassy, and his skin flushed. Marty had seen that look before. He was going into shock.
Before Marty could take a step, the dark-blond collapsed face first to the floor. A tall, lanky waiter rushed to his side. “Someone get Ricky!”
Marty’s field training took over. He rushed as fast as his bad leg would take him to the fallen man. “Here. Let me help.” He scooched the lanky fellow aside and rolled the young man over to assess his injuries. He had a rapid and thread pulse. A small welt formed on his forehead, and he had a minor cut on his upper lip. When Marty spread the guy’s eyelid open to check his pupil, the injured man moaned and rolled his head from one side to the other.
“Just hold still.”
“Is Chris all right?” the waiter asked.
Now he had a name for the man. “Chris?” He brushed Chris’s hair away from his face. The man’s eyes fluttered but he didn’t open them.
The bar crowd’s excitement resulted in louder conversations and pushing in to see what happened. Marty had seen people hyperventilate before. Hell, it wasn’t uncommon in combat. He had to get Chris to a quiet place. “Is there a quiet place to take him?”
The waiter nodded. “We can take him to the back. Jay, the owner, stepped out for a minute, but he won’t mind if you use his office.”
Marty lifted Chris with some effort, taking the burden even with his injury, and carried Chris until he could lay him down on Jay’s couch.” Marty pointed to the waiter. “What’s your name?”
“Alex, can you get a cold washcloth?” He put Chris’s feet up on the arm of the sofa.
“My, uh…friend is a doctor. I’ll go get him.”
“All right.” Convenient that. Jay was dating a doctor. The waiter was friends with a doctor. He wondered if Jay’s boyfriend and this waiter’s “friend” was the same person.
“Okay, fella.” Marty patted his cheek. It felt cool and damp, but Chris’s pulse had slowed down to about seventy beats per minute. The young man’s black shirt was buttoned to the neck. Marty undid the top buttons to loosen the collar. By the third, he could see Chris’s smooth chest. Natural or manscaped?
His curiosity won out over better judgment, and he ran his fingers along Chris’s exposed skin. It was incredibly smooth, no stubble.
Chris’s hand moved over Marty’s, holding his palm flat to the sculpted chest. His eyes opened, a warm hazel color-thick with golds and greens, and seemed to stare right through Marty.
“Feel something you like?” he asked.
Marty, caught off guard, quickly withdrew his hand. “Are you serious? I was just trying to make sure you were breathing.”
Chris raised a brow. “I haven’t heard that one before.” He tried to sit up, but stopped. “Ow!” He pressed his fingers to the knot on his forehead. “Shit. Did someone get the number of the bus that hit me?” He licked his upper lip, running the tip along the split in his skin. “At least, one good thing came out of it.” Those intense hazel eyes raked over Marty. “Okay, tall, dark, and dreamy. Who are you?”
A familiar voice answered from behind them said, “He’s my younger brother, Chris, and he’s straight. So you’re wasting your time.”
Marty’s gut clenched. If he was so straight then why was his dick struggling against the front of his jeans?
Chris raised a brow at Marty then lay his head back again. “Yes, Boss.”
How’d You Know?
Chris squatted down in the alley by the back door of the bar. He cradled his neck with his hands, his hair shading his closed eyes. He couldn’t believe he’d passed out. It was fucking embarrassing. To make matters worse, his really hot babysitter was his boss’s straight younger brother.
“Hey, you doing okay?”
Chris turned his head and gazed at Marty. “Better, I think. You can go back inside.” Ricky, the cook, who happened to be an intern at the hospital, had checked Chris over. He’d looked in Chris’s eyes with a small light then told him to watch for warning signs of a head injury like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, double vision, and a severe persistent headache. Chris had told Ricky, and Jay, and everyone else who’d congregated around him, that he just needed some air. He’d been surprised when Marty had followed him to the alley.
“What the hell happened in there?”
Chris shook his head, his temple throbbing with the effort. “My dad died.”
“No.” Chris chuckled. “A couple of days ago, apparently. But it might as well have been four years ago.”
“Long story.” Chris didn’t want to talk about his private family drama with anyone, let alone his boss’s brother. He scratched his chin, his eyes fixed on Marty. God, those eyes. They were same color as Jay’s—a warm liquid amber—and their heat thawed Chris’s composure. With an almost imperceptible nod, he spilled. “I’m gay. My dad couldn’t handle it.”
Marty shrugged. “Doesn’t seem like a long story.”
This brought a real laugh from Chris. “No, I guess not.”
“So.” Marty toed an empty beer bottle near his feet. “How’d you know?”
Chris raised a brow. “You thinking about coming out of the closet?”
The broadly muscled man nervously straightened to a full stand. “No.”
“Don’t get twisted.” Chris laughed again. “I was teasing. Do you really want to know?”
Chris stood up, his full height an inch or two taller than Marty. He moved close making Marty step backward until the heel of his foot hit the wall. Chris leaned forward, his face so close he could feel Marty’s warm breath on him. “The truth is,” he said softly. “I kissed a boy.” He tucked his finger under Marty’s chin. “And I liked it.”
The look of sheer fear on Marty’s face brightened Chris’s mood. Nothing like scaring a straight boy to get over the death of an estranged father.
Chris grinned and winked at Marty. It was enough to make the man retreat. Marty sidestepped out of his trapped position and put his hand on the door handle. “Ha, ha. Very funny. Well, you seem to be doing better, and I gotta go.”
Chris reached out and touched Marty’s sleeve. “Thanks, by the way. For…you know.”
“You’re welcome.” Marty stopped before going back inside. “Do you have someone to stay with you?”
“Are you offering?” Chris was teasing again, but there was also an edge of seriousness in the question.
“Jesus, you don’t let up.” Marty shook his head. “If you have a head injury, someone needs to stay with you overnight. Just in case.”
Chris didn’t have anyone. He lived alone. He had no family in the city, and the family he did have hadn’t talked to him in years…Until today. He’d been surprised when his mother had called. The news of his father’s death had made him completely numb. He didn’t even know why he cared. The man had hated Chris. He’d made a point to make sure that Chris knew exactly how much.
Chris wasn’t one to wallow in things he couldn’t change, but to the question: Did he have someone? The answer was a pitiable, “No.”
“I don’t have anyone who can stay with me.”
Marty nodded—a new resolve in his gaze. “All right. I’ll talk to Jay. You can stay at his place tonight with us.”
Chris grinned again and raised a questioning brow. He hadn’t had an offer this good from someone this hot in a very long time.
Marty rolled his eyes. “On the couch.”
Raising his hands in surrender, Chris nodded. “Got it. The couch.”