Welcome to Brawlers Bar…
A quick pit stop for a comfortable bed to sleep turned into an eight-year stay. Vincent “Crave” Butler hit the road the day after college graduation and hadn’t looked behind him since. He’d swore to never stop moving, but the night he drove into Powers, Georgia changed the course of his life. He’d hit a bar called Brawlers with its rundown exterior and pride flag beside the door, the next day he had a job. Second in command to the Head of Brawler security, Crave found the place he didn’t have to run from. No one would call Crave sane. He lived to make people as uncomfortable as possible just for his own twisted amusement. That all changed when a certain cute as fuck bartender walked in for an interview.
No one wanted Twitch Harrison around. He was small, femme and annoying on his best days, downright abhorrent on his bad ones. When college turned out to be a no-go, and the parents canceled his credit cards he’d needed a job. Walking into Brawlers, the roughest gay bar in his hometown, was like a game of pick the thing that didn’t belong—him. The two owners, Scary and Tank, hired him on and four years later he was still that thing that didn’t belong. No one made it more apparent than bouncer Crave Butler who didn’t hide the fact he barely tolerated Twitch’s presence.
Crave threatened every man who thought they’d get the pretty Twitch but would Twitch rather be in their beds than his? Only one way to find out and he hoped Twitch was ready for forever because that’s what Crave was determined to have.
Crave clenched his fists so tight his knuckles popped. Twitch ran from him and to someone else. He tried to focus on the burn of the needle as it moved along his ribs. Trouble was leaned over finishing up the outline of Crave’s new ink. His friend had shaken his head when Crave told him what he wanted. He didn’t give a shit. He did what he wanted; when he wanted. Most of the time it got him in serious shit, but it was just a tattoo.
“Did you see how tiny he was,” Twitch’s animated voice followed the chime over the door.
Twitch sounded so fucking happy and Crave got even more pissed. Less than twelve hours ago, Twitch cowered in terror of him.
“So, we’re finally getting a boy,” Trouble asked, but never looked up.
“Yep, he had ten tiny toes and fingers, he was perfect. He looked like he was sucking his thumb. I got to feel—”
Twitch stopped talking and Crave finally looked toward him to find his man tucked under Lucky’s arm. His slim hands fisted in the man’s t-shirt. Twitch stared right at him and worried his bottom lip between his teeth.
“It took forever to get the gel off his hands because he kept following our son’s kicks,” Priest laughed as he spoke. “We’d get one clean and then have to take a wipe to the other.”
Priest actually leaned down and kissed the top of Twitch’s loose curls. Crave’s fingers dug deeper into his palms.
“But he was so happy, baby, Lou even let Twitch have extra belly cuddle time. Our son is going to know his voice more than ours.”
There was no heat in Lucky’s voice. Lucky and Priest took Twitch under their wing almost two years ago. When Lucky was almost killed in a hit and run, at the hospital, he’d watched Twitch climb into bed between the two men and barely kept himself from killing them. No one touched what was his. He was such an asshole, at least he admitted it.
Was there more than friends between his two friends and Twitch?
“Calm the fuck down, Crave, shit,” Trouble grumped, but never took his focus off his work.
“Yeah, right, sorry to tell you this, you don’t hide your jealousy well.”
“Who the fuck said I was jealous?”
“Even me who’s not rocking full brain capacity can tell.”
“He’s been sneaking out at night to see them.”
“You’re crazy. Lucky and Priest are the poster couple for monogamy. They definitely ain’t into a third or even an occasional threesome.”
“Then why the fuck is my—”
“He’s not yours. Done,” Trouble announced.
Trouble wiped down his side with a paper towel and antiseptic.
“You know the routine, so I ain’t gotta repeat it. We’ll give it a few weeks, and you’ll come back for color.”
“Thanks, man, it looks great.”
Crave held up his left arm and looked down at his side. The skin was red from hours of abuse and discolored from the black ink. He resisted the urge to touch it. To stroke the thin lines of the angel with long dark hair and wings wrapped around himself. Twitch.
He knew he was insane and surly, but Crave knew what he wanted. It was just a matter of getting the little man to agree to be his. At that point, he didn’t see that happening anytime soon or at all.
“Why don’t you talk to him? Ya know, doing the thing a normal partner would do.”
Crave snarled. Talking wasn’t Crave’s strong suit. He was more a man of action. While he waited for Trouble to cover his ribs with plastic wrap he reached for his shirt.
Twitch was still talking a mile a minute, but he was perched on the reception desk making Zerk, Landon’s husband, laugh. Landon’s parents owned Twirled World Ink.
Twitch never spoke to him like that. Yeah, they talked, you couldn’t work and live with someone for almost four years and not learn something about the person. Although, he realized he didn’t know a lot about Twitch.
The man didn’t talk about his past or what he did before he came back to Powers after leaving college. Twitch had barely turned twenty-one when he’d walked into Brawlers that first day for an interview. He’d worn a baggy pink t-shirt and jeans that hung on him. Twitch had had his long hair twisted into a messy bun at the nape of his long, elegant neck. His skin lightly tanned and dusted with the cutest freckles.
Crave swore his bosses would’ve sent the man packing, but they’d hired him. He’d started the next night. Twitch worked a bar like it was second nature. There wasn’t a drink Twitch didn’t know how to mix, and if the guys tried to stump him, he just came up with his own without batting his long lashes.
Also, he’d never seen someone talk a drunk down faster than Twitch could. All it took was a sweet smile and a soft touch. Crave hated those nights. Especially when those men took Twitch’s gentle compassion for something more. Crave set them straight and fast.
He might give Twitch shit about it and other stuff, but everyone knew he was an asshole.
He just couldn’t get the way Twitch acted earlier that morning out of his head. Twitch had curled his shoulders as if he were trying to make himself small and invisible. He wanted to know who’d done that to the man he wanted. Who’d caused that level of fear?
Crave slung his shirt over his shoulder and walked up the desk.
“I need another appointment for two weeks.”
“Earlier the better or you going to arrange for a day off?”
“Probably a day off. I want to get this one done.”
“Aren’t you always anxious to get it finished,” Zerk asked with a chuckle without looking away from the laptop.
“This time it’s special.” He didn’t realize he’d reached across his body to lay his palm over it until the wrap moved under his hand.
Twitch turned to stare at his side. Crave gritted his teeth when he watched Zerk put his arm across Twitch’s thighs, and Twitch started ruffling the thick hair on the other man’s forearm. His anger must’ve shown because Twitch instantly dropped his gaze.
What the hell was it with all these men thinking they could touch Twitch all the time? His man should be coming to him.
When have you given him a reason to trust you?
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