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What am I Working On?

Yesterday, in my Facebook author group, Jodi’s Gents, I was asked what I am working on right now and could I post a snippet from it. No problem, I replied, and then had a look at what I am working on. Wow. I’m busy.

Here’s the active list:

Solo Work:

  • Finishing Soft Limits (still), the prequel to the Deviations Series.
  • Finishing a holiday story titled “A Whole Latke Love”, potentially for DSP’s 2019 Advent Calendar.
  • I’m working through the middle act of a novel called “Mergers & Acquisitions” about a young attorney and an exotic dancer.
  • I have plotted out (to the degree that this panster plots) a new novel I’ll be starting in June that is untitled at the moment but is a second chance/former lovers/enemies to lovers/coming back home romance.

Co-Writing with BA Tortuga:

I can’t even. We have at least three things going and one big thing in edits and really, they’re all still in places where I can’t tell you about them yet. But generally, we have another BDSM project for you (not the DSP one, that’s about to go into edits), a romantic suspense and possibly a cute new adult.

Coming Soon!

  • Lone Star in Jersey: a co-written trans YA romance set in New Jersey from Anne Key and my alter ego, Gina Harris, release date April 30.
  • Stable Hill, my solo m/m/m menage, release date May 21.

Now. I promised a snippet, but you’re really getting an excerpt. YAY!

Teague Whitaker is a young, ambitious attorney at a prestigious New York law firm. Jason (aka Dallas in this scene) is a pretty damn happy exotic dancer. In this passage, Teague has had a bitch of a day and goes to a club in Hell’s Kitchen to forget his troubles.

(Disclaimer: this is unedited and will have typos and grammar issues and all those things I count on my editors and proofreaders to help me with. Also, this is my original, unpublished work. Please don’t copy it, but feel free to link folks to this post. Thank you!)

Goddammit. Teague needed that drink. Now.

He’d been walking east into Hell’s Kitchen from his office in Times Square, toward those places he frequented when he was in a certain mood and wanted to drink alone. There were plenty of bars that were better suited for socializing when he wanted to. Places with a nice bar, a neighborhood feel, a friendly bartender. Places where he could hang out and meet people. Meet men. Have a good time.

Most of those places didn’t have a cover, and the drinks were reasonable for New York. But he didn’t give a shit about the money, and friendly wasn’t what he was looking for tonight. Tonight he wanted to look, to watch, to be entertained. Distracted. He wanted out of his head, to fantasize. He didn’t want to know anyone, and he wanted to be able to pay some hot dancer good money just to pour him into a cab and send him home alone once he got drunk enough he could barely walk.

He walked past one club and then another, settling on one he’d only been to a couple of times. The Wiggle Room had a reputation for walking the razor’s edge. The place also had a reputation for being hard to get into, so he straightened his jacket but loosened his tie and opened a button at his throat. He ran his fingers through his hair as he stood in the entrance line, working on that rakish but loaded vibe, wanting to look like he was ready to spend his money.

“You’re alone?” The bouncer looked him over, head to toe.

“Yes.”

“I.D.?”

“Rough day, looking to have a drink and blow off some steam.” Teague pressed a fifty into the guy’s palm along with his license, and the guy gave him his ID right back and stamped his hand.

“Came to the right place.”

“I’m sure of it.” Teague made his way inside. The music was loud, the dance floor busy, and the bar was lit up and crowded. He made his way over to see if he could find a spot to settle, and he was finally able to shoulder in right as a couple moved away. He slid onto a bar stool that was still warmed by the ass that just left it.

He pulled out his credit card and set it on the bar in front of him, and a bartender was over in an instant. One of four behind the bar tonight.

“Boilermaker.”

The bartender was a fine specimen of man. Easily six foot something with broad shoulders. His muscle top was tight and his shorts were tighter. “Tab?”

Teague nodded.

“Stockbroker, honey?”

“I beg your pardon?” Teague looked over at the young man in the cowboy hat who’d appeared at his side, noticing right off how stacked the guy was. A sleeveless shirt showed off major biceps and the guy’s thighs seemed ready to pop right out of his cutoffs.

“Wall Street?” The cowboy asked and leaned an elbow on the bar.

“God, no.”

“How about investment banker?”

“Nope.”

“Market analyst?”

He snorted. “How long are you going to keep this up?”

“Tell me.”

Teague raised an eyebrow. “Attorney.” Possibly an unemployed one.

“Well, I’ll be. I could of kept right on guessing. I’d’a got it eventually, but you don’t look like a man with a whole lot o’ patience right now.”

The cowboy had that right. “Tie gave me away, huh?”

“Nah, the perfect hair.” The guy reached for Teague’s already loose tie and slowly untied the knot entirely, rolled the silk fabric around one hand and then stuffed it into Teague’s jacket pocket. “There, now. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Teague knew the game here, this pretty dancer with the brilliant smile wanted him shell out twenty bucks for a private lap dance. Everybody had to make a living, right? “It does.”

Teague’s beer and whiskey arrived, and the cowboy reached for the shot glass. “What’s your name, Wall Street?”

“I’m an attorney. I actually work midtown, not in the financial district.” Why the hell did that even matter? He wasn’t interested in small talk.

The cowboy shrugged. “All the same to me, honey. I’m Dallas.”

Dallas. Sure. If the man was born below the Mason-Dixon line, it wasn’t any farther south than Baltimore. He was more like good old down-home Jersey City. “Teague.”

“What kind of name is Teague?”

“It’s Irish.” His name actually meant “handsome”, which he tried to use a few times as a pickup line, but it never once worked.

The cowboy smiled at him and dropped the shot glass into his mug of beer, then licked mischievous fingers. “Ooh. Leon’s givin’ you the good stuff right off.”

Of course he was. Teague was a man with cash to burn who probably looked like he knew a good whiskey. Leon wanted to make a buck, too. But Teague knew that a couple of drinks in Leon would switch to the cheap shit figuring he would be just drunk enough not to notice.

Well, the joke was on Leon. Teague didn’t actually know dick about whiskey, except that it burned just right going down and was going to help him forget his day. Leon could have given him the cheap shit right off the bat, and he’d have neither noticed nor cared. He picked up his laced beer and took a long gulp, then loosened another button on his shirt and put his glass down.

“That’s it, honey, relax. Let your long day go.”

Teague looked at Dallas and gave him a wink. “Not drunk enough yet Jersey Cowboy. Try me again in an hour.”

“That’s Dallas to you, partner. Dallas, and I’m living in Brooklyn nowadays.” Dallas winked at him. “Talk doesn’t cost a thing.”

“I don’t have much to say.”

“Well. Then you drink, and I’ll talk.” The guy braced a foot on his stool and hopped right up, planting his ass on the bar and bringing everything from his hips down into view.

He wanted to touch those muscled thighs but he knew better. You didn’t do that unless you were ready to get thrown out. He could look though, and he did, then lifted his glass in salute and took another sip.

“So. A hot guy in a nice suit comes in after ten o’clock on a weeknight wanting whiskey and a beer chaser. There’s no good story behind that.”

“Yeah, well.” He shrugged. That was the truth.

Dallas planted one snub-toed fancy boot on Teague’s bar stool, right between his legs. Jersey Cowboy had some sweet boots. He didn’t realize you could make that kind of cash in a place like this.

“I guess you’re fixin’ to forget your day.”

“Big time.”

He’d kind of like to forget his whole week. Maybe the whole damn month. What the hell was he going to do tomorrow? Should he show up at the office? And do what? Sit at his desk and stare at the walls until someone came in and gently – or not so gently – let him go? He couldn’t imagine any other scenario. It was possible, he supposed, that they’d throw some busy work at him just to be kind, maybe see if he’d try to bring in anyone else, but really that would waste their time, and his, too. He wouldn’t take that offer.

He could he find another job, but how quickly? Did he even want to put this one on his resume? What kind of reference would he get from his current firm? “Can we talk about something else?”

“Sure, honey. How’s your—”

“Gentlemen!”

“Oh, boy.” Dallas winked at him and Teague raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, boy?”

“Straight outta Texas, everyone give it up for the beautiful boy from the Lone Star State, the Wiggle Room’s own yellow rose. It’s Dallas!”

“Kiss me.”

“What?” Had he heard that right?

A spotlight hit the bar as the music started, making Teague squint, and the next thing he knew Dallas had a hand behind his head and was kissing him. Teague was so startled he just kissed the cowboy right back. A shiver shot up his spine and as Dallas pulled away, Teague got a look into the cowboy’s moss green eyes.

Dallas laughed and winked, delighted, and stood right up on the bar as the first verse kicked in.

No longer in the spotlight, Teague ran his fingers over his lips slowly, feeling himself smile. What the hell was that? He shook it off and scooped up his beer again, swallowing most of it down in one gulp as the country song grew louder. It wasn’t anything he recognized, but it had a great beat, a steel guitar, and a woman was singing about leaving her man and his cheating ways.

Teague approved.

“Another?” Teague nodded at Leon, watching Dallas shake his hips like Shakira as he made his way to the far end of the bar. Teague approved of that, too.

Once Dallas hit the end of the bar, he was helped down by a burly bouncer. Teague suddenly caught on.

He’d been part of that cowboy’s show since hello.

–Mergers & Acquisitions, by Jodi Payne – original work, do not copy or distribute.

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