Wow guys, it's been a long time I stopped in and say hey! I know there has been a lot of book posting but no word from me. Don't worry I've just been busy working on tons a new stuff. Over the weekend I had my first in person book event, it was tons of fun. Meet a few new people and got a chance to catch up with old friends. I also handed out teasers for my coming releasing that I will posting here throughout the week. Here's your first one for the week!
Blurb: Bailey York is a woman who refuses to allow her disturbing past to define her as a victim, despite the fact she is controlled by the tragedy. Trapped in a world of lonely desperation she runs back to the man that violated every part of her. With the promise of a mended relationship and comfort from her lonely world, Bailey allows her old lover dangerously close once more.
Spirited, strong willed, and rebellious, one look at Bailey and people often miss the suffering lying just under the surface. With her sanity on the edge Bailey is doing everything she can to keep herself from shattering.
Ayden Parks is a guy down on his luck. The world has spun around more than once on him in the last year, but that won't stop him. With a fresh break-up from his long time fiancée, Ayden is ready to pour himself into the success of his club, A-Jax. Until he crosses paths with Bailey.
Intrigued by her fiery nature and contradicting personality Ayden can't help but be drawn in. She’s the first woman who has been able to distract him from work in years. Despite the nagging voice in the back of his head warning of the darkness surrounding her, Ayden still gets involved with Bailey. Putting himself firmly between her and her violent ex, but Bailey’s old lover won't settle for anything less than her.
A-Jax contains adult themes and is recommended for readers 18+.
“Your pants came flying off. . .” Russ exclaimed on the verge of bursting into laughter as he tried to continue.
“You were wearing those hot pink undies, and everyone in the whole gym saw you standing there. . . Big pink ass hanging out.”
There was no stopping it, Russ's voice grew louder as the mortifying high school tale went on. His tone rose an octave with every word to stifle the boyish giggles bubbling out of that motor-mouth of his, by the time Russ got to 'big pink ass' he could be heard over the ear stunning rock music in the club. Everyone within a good ten feet heard about my big pink ass, and no doubt had a few ideas about how it became pink. Then again that could be my dirty mind being paranoid.
I responded to his outburst, and wonderfully detailed storytelling skills, with a fake smile and nod hoping he would shut-the-hell up. I should have known better than to put myself in this situation. Russ, a longtime friend of mine, loved to relive what he called our “glory days.” He was the only one that found any glory or joy in the memories, and reliving the past was inevitable when Russ was around. Most people had things they wanted to forget about in high school, I wanted to forget it all. Painful didn't come close to traveling down my potholed memory lane, but add in a packed club—surrounded by drunk strangers. . .
Yeah, I was going to be someone's bar story tomorrow, or many a spank-bank fantasy in a few hours. The thought of which sent disgust shivering through me, and the outcome from here wasn't a bright one. Russ already had a considerable amount to drink making his ability to shut his trap near impossible. There was no slowing him down from here, and the humiliating moments of my life were plentiful. This train-wreck needed diverted before he reached the truly—no showing my face in public again—stories.
Call me rusty after not interacting with Russ for the last five years, or disillusioned for entertaining the hope this wouldn't happen. After years apart you tend to forget how people are, you lose little details about them to time. Perhaps you don't lose them but instead you want to hang on to the good memories—the ones not tainted with a person's true nature. That was me right now, instead of remembering all Russ's flaws I fell into the romantic idea of an honest true friend—a beautiful false notion of old friends becoming like family once again. My expectations for this night were more of hugging, a few tears, filling each other in on the last five years, and laughs.
Well, one of us is laughing.
My god, reality sucks and it wasn't going to get any better from here. While the guys around us were drunk they weren't quiet drunk enough to forget my panties. My new fan base shamelessly leaned in our direction waiting to overhear more panty stories, or a past sexual exploit. Who knew what Russ was going to share next?
Their necks strained to get closer for the tiniest bit more as the music threatened to drown out Russ's loud voice. That wasn't so bad, it made them look stupid more than me, but their lopsided grins and aroused stares that settled on my large ass made me squirm. Their wild imaginations probably trying to guess what color panties I had on, while slobber dripped from the corners of their mouths.
Drunken perverts. . .
I tried to ignore their goggling, but all eyes were on me. Anxiety prickled across my skin as I shifted on my stool uncomfortable with the staring, and I turned to face the dancing crowd in an attempt to busy myself with anything else other than a bunch of men eye-fucking me.
Huh, I didn't notice how shitty this place was before.
Outside, when we first arrived, I thought Russ was taking me to some warehouse rave, and I almost turned my car around in defiance. I wasn't into the party scene anymore. The area on this side of the city was full of abandoned warehouses from the area's booming trade and transportation days, but when the new highway was put in it shifted the location of the warehouses. Today the delivery, truck, and storage companies have buildings scattered throughout the city, which grew around the new highway. Smart business move since the highway was the main route from the New England states down to the Carolinas, but it did leave all these places empty and decaying. A real eyesore, if you knew where to look for them. Most of the warehouses were a mile outside of town, and hidden by the forests in the area. Great place for illegal partying and pop-up raves.
It wasn't until we pulled around the back that I noticed a large red glowing sign that read, 'A-Jax' facing oncoming traffic from the highway, and the impressively long line to get in. While the outside was nothing too impressive to look at with large rusted patches and fading paint, I was hopeful for what lie inside. With a line of waiting people stretching into the main street from the parking lot, and booming live music from inside I figured this place had to be somewhat decedent and lavished on the inside. I was wrong.
Old beams still remained exposed twenty feet in the air with ugly brownish-red patches, the floors were still the crappy cement poured in haste found in most places around here. These buildings were put up as quickly as possible to fill the demand for more space, and it showed. It was a clever idea, turning a warehouse into a club, there was plenty of space but not a lot of effort went into the conversion. Whoever owned this place couldn't even be bothered to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, good thing the lighting sucked.
We entered down by the band that was a good half a football field away now, the stage looked like shit. Some leftover plywood slapped together and painted black. How it was supporting the bad and all their sound stuff I had no idea. Between here and there were a few high-top tables around the perimeter, and a good hundred or so people drinking and dancing. The only thing in the whole place that looked like money was spent on was the bar we were sitting at. A solid wood monstrosity, it's polished finish and beautiful cherry stain didn't fit in a place like this. It stood out but not in a good way, it served to make the rest of the club look twice as shitty.
Leave it to Russ to find a place like this, the biggest party place in a growing town on the verge of becoming a full blown city. I hated crowded places, or any number of people beyond two. It made me edgy being out in public, my therapist said it was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder paired with a healthy dose of some type of anxiety disorder, and topped off with a big pile of depression. It made no sense to me, I got the depression part. Someone that went through what I went through, yeah they were going to be depressed, but the PTSD and anxiety?
The fear of being around people or crowds?
That I didn't understand because what gave me these wonderful mental problems was something that took place behind closed doors. It happened in secret—in the shadows between a family, not out in the open. Very few people knew about what happened in my marriage, even less had knowledge of what transpired that week I was put through hell. Regardless I had an irrational fear of people in general, their eyes always seemed to be judging me and my mind didn't help matters. For some reason everywhere I was, it felt like people knew—like they could see the internal damage tattooed all over my skin. Over the years the anxiety started to come and go, some days I could manage the anxiety enough to make it down to the corner store for a burrito I would later regret. Other days the idea of walking down the stairs of my loft seemed like I was trapped in a horror movie, a killer waiting at the bottom to cut me groin to chest. That was my life for the last so many years, but today was different.
I traveled five hours outside my comfort zone to Castleton, PA. Go me. My therapist would tell me to celebrate this victory, but also state how it might be too much too soon. Screw him. I lost count how many hours I wasted on the phone with that guy, his monotone voice with the occasional acknowledgment of my existence said it all. So I stopped seeing him, and he would probably make me feel like shit for coming out here to see Russ. My Therapist didn't care for him from what little I shared about Russ, I have no idea why. Sure, Russ was an ass and a bit of a bad influence, but he wasn't a bad guy.
I wasn't any better, and when the two of us were together. . . Things could get out of hand, but that was the old me—an irresponsible ass. A short visit wouldn't hurt, and how could I refuse a friend?
Two weeks ago, out of the blue, Russ called. Hearing his whisper, “Hey Bailey,” when I answered the phone was a shock. I stood there still and silent, fearing that if I made any sound whatever dream I was having would come crashing down. Till then it felt like a lifetime since I last heard his gruff voice, and an eternity since I heard tears chocking his throat. Our relationship didn't end of the best of turns, in fact it imploded under the weight of both our problems but here we were. Two friends after life left us raw.
Three months ago I read Russ's mother died in the newspaper, and at the beginning of August his father passed away too. Not that I would miss his parents, but I understood his pain. I had felt it before, and I knew he was seeking something familiar to grab onto—something to ground him since his world got turned upside-down. So when he asked me in a heartbroken tone to come visit, I agreed never thinking I would regret it.
Fast-forward to now as I sat in the club rethinking my movements between here and my loft, trying to come up with a moment where common sense might have tried to stop me. Maybe after I hung up the phone that night. . . no. Or as I packed my clothes, when I was printing directions to Russ's apartment. No, and no. Nor when I pulled away from my loft or sat at the traffic light to jump on the highway. Common sense did not stop me because it was overtaken with my joy of spending time with a familiar face, and trapped in the memories where I used to smile. At least I think I used to smile.
Now my common sense was back and blaming me for putting myself in this overwhelming situation that was making me anxious. All the packed bodies dancing and bumping each-other, the drunks eying me, and their girlfriends giving me the look that said, 'slut'. . . I couldn't take it. My chest slammed to a halt sending panic through my body, my awareness not a welcomed thing. I was on the verge of a full blown panic-attack as I grew light-headed, and the room started to spin. Tingling started in my fingertips which brought the fear, increasing the intense reaction as I tried not to gasp for air. I didn't want anyone knowing how close I was to losing it.
Suck it up! Don’t be so damn weak.
I heard my mother's voice yelling at me, outward appearance was everything. In my family there was no such thing as mental illness or panic-attacks. Those happened to pathetic losers, I just needed to get control.
They are just people. . . They don't care about me. . . They aren't staring.
Turning around on my stool the anxiety eased a little without the view of an endless sea of people, but it wasn't enough. One negative thought—one slight thing out of order would send me down the rabbit-hole head first. My mind turned to what would happen if I did have a freak-out. Something along the lines of group panic, 911 being called, and emergency people showing up all to find out I was having an anxiety-attack instead of a heart-attack. Then the looks—judging looks that said I was everything my mother said I was. Pathetic, a loser, weak. . . A child. Not to mention the story it would give Russ for later use. Thinking about all that was enough to increase my heart-rate and bring the possible outcome closer. I was struggling to breathe as I turned my attention to my jack and coke.
Fuck, get a hold of yourself Bailey!
Not here. . . Not now. . . Come on girl!
With a shaky hand I downed the drink welcoming the sting of whiskey with the sweetness of coke. Another. . . I needed another because I was still shaking.
I raised my hand to motion for another drink when Russ's hand slapped me hard on the back.
“Come on Yorkie. Liven up a little, we’re celebrating,” he beamed as I choked on my tongue.
Russell had been my best-friend and a continuous pest in my life since we were nine. From the first time I saw him I knew we would never get along, and we didn’t. Our interactions were very. . . combative. Playground arguments when he wouldn't leave my friends alone, the random wild dodge-ball to the head in gym class, and other childish things. What put an end to our hatred for each other was a fist fight at eleven years old. Russ finally pushed one too many of my buttons and I jumped him, and I kicked the little shit's ass too. That was a story he never told, but afterward, sitting outside the principles office, Russ apologized and spilled his guts about his abusive older brother. From then on we were a team. An awful team full of hate, love, and more hate, but a team. He did all the trouble making and I cleaned it up, that was how we worked for a long time.
“You drive five hours on that highway surrounded by assholes, and see how you feel.” I growled at him trying to work out some of the anxiety. “And I told you to stop calling me that.”
Yorkie, his nickname for me. Russ thought he was so clever when he came up with, all he did was add 'ie' to the end of my last name. What made it brilliant, in his mind, was because I acted like a little Yorkshire dog. All bark with nasty fangs, but no bite. . . Jerk.
“You're ruining what's suppose to be a fun night,” Russ groaned and I glanced to my side catching his look of disappointment.
I got it, he wanted to pound down the drinks and forget about all the shit happening in his life. I knew how to do that better than anyone, and me putting a damper on his night brought the guilt. At least it was better than the anxiety.
Here I go fucking everything up.
“I’m sorry, it was a long drive,” I apologized. “Why don’t we go back to your apartment, eat some crappy Chinese and you can talk about the day you murdered the glass swan collection.”
To my dismay Russ shook his head like the spoiled brat he was.
“No, I like it here. A-Jax is my home till closing, so drink up Yorkie.”
He demanded tipping his empty glass toward the bartender at the other end as I rolled my eyes.
Fuck, it's going to be a long night.
“How’s Rob been?” I asked after his boyfriend, and mutual friend, in hopes of shifting the topic off of me. Anything was better than Russ sharing the highlights of my past embarrassments.
Rattling the ice cubs in my empty glass I paused feeling Russell’s breath on the side of my neck, a shiver that was all too familiar snaked up my spine with all its wrongness.
“I would rather talk about your panties,” he teased with a seductive tone. “What color do you have on tonight? Those innocent white ones I bought you?”
Oh hell no, I cringed.
The last thing I wanted to do was pick up where we left things off. We were friends first before anything else—the best of friends. In fact we were often confused for siblings, but things got more intense as we got older. When college began and life started pulling us in different directions as it often happens, but Russ and I became determined to stay together. What better way than sleeping with each other, not my proudest moment but there were good times. However; going back to that heated and extremely wrong relationship was not in the cards. I came for a visit to have my friend back, not a lover no matter how much my starved body screamed for it.
I did my best to hide the little spark of arousal his suggestion caused, and spoke firmer this time.
“Not going to happen buddy. No one is going to, or wants to hear about my panties.”
“I wouldn’t mind hearing a little more,” a voice behind the bar intervened.
Blood flooded my cheeks in full embarrassment as my temper flared. In a knee jerk reaction I spun around to blast the person who interrupted.
“You nosy son of a—”
Both the words on my lips and every thought in my head blanked when I looked at the god setting down our refills. My lips froze in place, parted somewhere between a gasp and a swear as I took him in. He appeared causal, it was simply another night for him as he took a glass from under the bar and started drying it, unaware of how frazzled he could make a woman's brain.
The nerve of this guy.
Brain is working again, the rest of me. . . juries still out. I couldn't be held accountable for my actions, or lack thereof with this guy standing in front of me. My eyes went right to his body, what was not hidden by the bar-top, the black cotton shirt sporting the club’s name was a size too small for his bigger frame. Cotton gripped his torso in all the right places hinting to defined peaks and valleys of a well toned male physique. With each twist of his hand inside the glass he was dying his arms flexed in such a way that made his shirt grow tighter for a second.
I felt my cheeks grow warmer the second I realized my mind was in the gutter (deep in the gutter), imagining how firm he must feel. Not just his torso.
Pervert. . . Yes, yes I am.
How long had it been since I found a guy attractive enough to drool over?
Two times came to mind, and both were in college for professors. It was hard to focus when you were having fantasies about your teacher bending you over the desk, or the image of sweaty hot sex among discarded term papers. How did I make it through?
I'm a sexual deviant, my mother was right.
Honestly, who could blame me? This guy was standing there, innocently drying a glass making me imagine what else he could do with those hands, and hitting all the right buttons. Hard. It was simply impossible to focus on anything other than him, but I tried moving my gaze away from his chest and skilled hands. As I reached is face I held onto hope my mind would be able to crawl it's way out of the gutter, nope.
Dark rich brown hair laid in a spiked mess on top of his head in the most attractive way, and those eyes. . . They stilled me the second I met his stare, the lightest of baby blue hiding within flecks of varying shades of deep gray. Unique, like the slanted smile that crept onto his lips.
Shit, busted you shameless heathen.
Abandoning my intense memorization of the man I turned to Russ hoping for some support, or maybe confirmation I wasn't the only one seeing how insanely attractive this guy was. Best friends did that—they double-checked when your brain cells were fried, and mine had exploded. I'm sure there was smoke coming out of my ears, or steam lightly sizzling out the top of my skull.
An icy stare of predatory warning greeted me, that cooled me off. Russ always hated when I flirted in front of him, even before we started sleeping together. Me and some of our friends used to joke about him being a protective big brother. Which was funny considering I was two inches taller than him (he denies it). I never understood his jealousy until after our relationship went to the next level, but that was then and this was now. Russ had no right to be jealous or to be staring at me like that, so I returned to the bartender.
“Whatever,” I huffed under my breath taking my fresh jack and coke and sipping it.
The bartender chuckled.
“I don’t know Russell, you sure they were pink? This one doesn’t look like a pink panty kind of woman,” he commented.
Why are my panties so damn interesting. . . bunch of perverts.
“Oh, I’m very sure,” Russ responded, the sharpness in his voice making me cringe.
What was he so pissed about?
“Trust me. I know this one intimately.”
The way 'intimately' slithered off his tongue made my stomach churn, a shiver of fear rushing through my body. I knew that tone, and nothing good ever came of it. After years of living with Russ, playing house, I came to recognize subtle warnings of his changing moods. I could read him well and predict what I was in store for by the way he spoke, or how expressive his eyebrows were. Right now I was afraid to look back at him. I knew what I would see, a glacier stare accented by big black bushy brows. It was the stare of a dangerous man at the edge of his tipping point, and the alcohol didn't help matters. I needed to fix this, fast.
“My panties are none of your concern. Go back to being eye candy for the perky-tits at the other end of the bar. My panties are a private matter.”
Russ gave a light huff of a laugh from beside me, thank god it appeased him. A drunken, belligerent Russ was the last thing I wanted. My mind kept going back to the night we had a sleep over at his parents house. Booze, underage teens, and a lot of bad choices. Not that anyone else was a problem, other than our friend Genie. She tried to light her cigarette backwards, which was good for a laugh. Russ on the other hand. . . When he had too much he did things. . . Strange things. I'm a firm believer that alcohol makes him insane, there was no other way to explain his actions that night.
In a fit of paranoia and rage he ranted on about his mother's glass swan collection, how they eye-balled him weird. Funny considering a lot of them didn't have eyes. Me and another friend thought nothing off it, until we found him hours later shoving swan after swan down the garbage disposal, screaming.
“I'll get you. . . Every last one. . . You can't kill me if you're DEAD!”
Insane and fighting down his irrational hysteria was not in the plan for the day. So Mr. Sexy was getting the cold shoulder, I would do anything to keep Russ balanced on the thin wire of sanity.
The bartender held up his hands in surrender.
“I’m sorry. Figured it was an open conversation seeing as how half the bar heard it,” he played back.
I shot him a glare that could kill a man under the right circumstances, the fiery person I thought I had lost coming back every time this guy opened his mouth for some reason. He pushed all the right buttons, and a few more, as he set the glass he had been drying on the bar. Leaning across the bar he closed the distance between us, and whispered low some perverted reassuring words.
“If it helps I see you more as a black or even lace type of girl, myself.”
A low growl of protest started in my chest but my body heated at his words, and I might have leaned a little closer to hear him. . . Just a little. Still the sarcastic side of me sparked into full play mood, but the bartender beat me to it.
“Forgive me for being such an ass. How about a shot on the house?” he asked louder this time, straightening himself.
I wanted to tell him where to stick his shot but Russ cut in, “I might as well get something out of this sickening mating display.”
Whiplash, that's what I had with how quickly I snapped around to Russ. A deadly jealous look held his face making his age show more, he was only two years older than me but Russ had lived a lot. Wrinkles carved deep into his face around those bold brows and tight lined mouth. By the way the corner of his mouth twitched I knew he was clenching his jaw, the guy was worked up and ready to fight.
“Anything the lady likes,” the bartender said drawing my attention back as he set out three glasses. “I'll even do one, on the house as usual.”
He winked at Russ, and that's when I first realized they might know each other. Of course they did, Russ was comfortable in this place. He called it his home after all, but Russ wasn't the type to make friends with the bartender. He was more the sit there and drink alone type, yet this guys seemed friendly toward Russ—like they were old friends. I would have to ask Russ about it later, because I was ready to strike. These assholes were tugging me back and forth with this crap, it was time to play a little myself.
Curving the most devious smirk I could onto my lips I leaned my arms on the bar, if he wanted a shot suggestion I would give him one.
The man’s jaw dropped a little at my request, perfect. Women around here didn’t drink drinks like that. This area was too city for them to drink like country girls, and just enough country so they didn’t drink like party girls.
“No, still too girly?” I teased. “Make it a Four Horsemen.”
He hesitated for a moment before that smile returned, the bartender shook his head with a little laugh as he poured the shots. I watched as he glanced up every few pours to double-check my reaction.
Yeah buddy, we're doing this.
Before he put the bottle of Jack away I grabbed one of the shots and downed it holding a stone cold face against the intense burn of whiskey. Mr. Smug looked at me in disbelief, but I didn’t falter grabbing up Russ’s shot, and downing it just as fast. My throat already numb from the first one as I slammed the second glass on the bar-top. With two down I grabbed the third glass, his shot, paused it at my lips letting the warmth of the previous two settle. My eyes landed on the sexy bartender, and I could feel my lips tugging into a dark seductive taunt before I downed the last shot.
My head was starting to buzz as I returned the glass back to the counter with a victorious slam, and running my tongue along my lips. It was a tease as I collect the lingering bits of liquor from my lips, but right away I regretted it. . . All of it. The feel of Russ's dagger eyes at my side, and the ear shuddering sound of teeth grinding had me fearful of his reaction. Russ was drunk, I was well on my way to being drunk, and he was pissed. That didn't stop me from throwing one last tease to the sexy man behind the bar. Standing up I leaned toward him, my little body all but laying on the bar-top as I whispered.
“Who says I’m wearing panties?”
I knew Russ didn't hear what I said, but the expression on the bartender said it all. His jaw nearly dropped into the ice bin, and his unique eyes sparkled with an excited blue. Russ was going to lay into me for sure now, so I did the cowardly thing. I ran for the bathroom as I jumped down off the stool and waded through the sea of dancing bodies, not giving Russ a chance to say a word. There as no stopping me from reaching that safe haven, but I did look back.
Through the people and swinging arms I saw Mr. Sexy staring at me. Despite all the others on the dance floor his eyes found mine, he whispered a single word through his handsome slanted grin.
Catch A-Jax this August to find out what happens next between Bailey and the handsome bartender!
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.
Copyright © 2017 J.N. Sheats
All Rights Reserved