Johnson and Billy come from different parts of the country, different backgrounds and different places in their lives. Maybe different is exactly what they both need.
Johnson figures it’s got to be a sign when cowboy Billy shows up at his garage after hours, just as he’s about to go find someone to spend the night with. He’s horny enough that a lot of guys would look good, but Billy seems special somehow.
Billy thinks Johnson’s the hottest ticket he’s seen since he moved to California from Texas, and after a good meal and some good fun, he takes Johnson home. They both find out they’re getting more than they bargained for. Can Johnson and Billy figure out why they feel so connected and can they make it last once reality sets back in?
|Publisher:||Totally Entwined Group|
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About the Author
Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organising his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channelling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago".
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.
Read an Excerpt
Johnson glanced at the clock as he locked up the garage. Eight minutes past five. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon — the last-minute customers that usually made him late had been non-existent today. Which was just as well — there was an early party at Dottie's and a half dozen others he wanted to hit before morning. Make the rounds. He hadn't done that in an age.
He was looking to get laid. Maybe more than once. It had been too long since he'd picked someone up and even longer since he'd had a steady. Tonight was his lucky night, he could feel it. Love was in the air. He started bopping around the place, cleaning up the office, putting away his tools as the theme song from The Love Boat played through his head. Grabbing a wrench, he stared singing loudly. "'Love is in the air, everywhere I look around ...'"
"Well ... You're not Garth Brooks, but I reckon you wouldn't kill anybody with your voice," a soft drawl sounded, echoing in the garage. "Is this a garage or a karaoke bar?"
Oh fuck — he hadn't locked the door. Cheeks heating, Johnson turned to find a ... cowboy, complete with black hat and fancy cowboy boots. Guy wasn't bad-looking either, even if he was short. "Until five p.m. we're a garage. After five, we're a karaoke bar."
"Oh, in that case, when does your bar change back? My Dodge needs rings, I think — it's smoking something awful." Bright blue eyes met his own, sparkling, making him smile back.
"I suppose you can drive her in, and I'll take a look on Monday — we do some work on Sundays, but at this point we don't take on new jobs before Monday. Will that suit?" He hated to leave people hanging, but he'd closed out the cash register and turned off the computer, and hell, it was close enough to five-thirty now that he wanted out so he could get his shower. The night was calling to him, and he didn't want to miss yet another round of parties just to fix another vehicle. Even if said vehicle's owner was hot.
"I suppose it will have to." He got a nod, the black hat dipping. "I imagine y'all will call me with an estimate sometime Monday afternoon?"
He grinned. Fuck, but that accent was cute. "I imagine someone will. Probably even me."
"Cool. She's a sweet little dark blue Lariat. Eight cylinder. Two thousand and two. King cab. Let me get you my keys." A set of truck keys were pulled out of one pocket, already separated from the others on the ring.
He took them, fingers stroking across the man's palm. Oh, that almost gave him shivers. Fuck, he needed this party to turn up a take-home or two. Maybe even three, though really, he wasn't greedy — one who could go for two or three would do. His rocks just needed some serious getting off.
"So where're you from?" he asked as he reached over the counter for a drop-off form.
"Little town outside of Dallas. Keep waiting for the hick to rub off so I sound more like y'all — it takes a little time." Johnson watched as the guy filled out the form. Billy Frederick. Lived nearby. Office number was in the city proper.
"I have to tell you — that 'y'all' will give you away every time."
"Yeah? I'll keep that in mind." Oh, that grin was something else. It just made Billy's eyes light right up.
He couldn't help grinning back again. "You need a lift anywhere?" Oh, that wasn't going to get him to Dottie's anytime soon. Still, maybe it would be more fun to see that smile again than to get to Dottie's tonight. It was that good a look on Billy.
"That'd be appreciated, if it's not too much trouble. I'll catch the train into the office Monday morning, but the bus ride to my apartment's a bitch and a half." A hand was held out. "I'm Billy. Pleased to meetcha."
"Johnson. Likewise." He shook Billy's hand, struck again by the smooth, cool palm. Nice. Very nice. "You left your baby on the lot?"
"Yes, sir, I did. Next to the garage proper. She'll be good there?"
"Yep, she'll be just fine there. Let me finish locking up and I'll run you home."
He put Billy's keys on the spokes in the locker, then set the last of the tools under the bench. Stripping off his overalls, he then balled them up and put them under his arm to throw in the back seat — it felt good to get out of them. Then he led Billy out, locking up behind him.
"I'm the beat-up Jeep," he said pointing to his baby, which wasn't much to look at but which ran like a dream. 'Sides, no one looked twice at her, and she'd never once been stolen.
Billy nodded and climbed up into the Jeep. "Ah, the CJ7s. My best friend Mike had one when we were kids. Loved toodling around in it. Damn thing ran like a top."
"She's a good ride." Johnson stroked the steering wheel before starting her up, just like he always did. "So where am I taking you?" He turned to Billy and smiled, ignoring the voice in his head that had suggested he tack on 'my place?' to the end of that. Slow down Johnson, you just met the man.
The black hat was tipped up, blue eyes hidden behind dark glasses. Fuck, that was a hot goddamn look. "If you could drop me at Eleventh and Blackthorne? I'm itching for some chili and cornbread, and I'll walk home after a beer or two."
"It's authentic there, is it?" he asked, pulling out of the lot and turning left.
"It's not Momma's, but it'll do a good ole boy in a pinch, and they serve their beer ice cold and the music's good." He got another of those smiles, slow and honey-sweet. "They have a blackberry cobbler that's better than sex, when you add the ice cream."
"Better than sex? Now that's something a man's gotta try to believe." He gave Billy another smile and a bit of a wink, flirting like crazy. Hell, Billy was the one who'd brought up sex and if he couldn't make it to the party at Dottie's, he could still get some flirting in. Unless his 'dar was way off, Billy was as queer as he was. A gay cowboy. Who'd have known?
"Well, you're welcome to join me, if you're at loose ends. 'S not healthy for a man to drink alone." The offer sounded honest enough, although he couldn't imagine that drawl sounding ... not.
Johnson revised his evening plans. He could have dinner and a couple of drinks with Billy, and if that didn't lead anywhere, he was still good to go for the later parties. Not Dottie's, but he could find a place or two where he might get lucky. "You do make it sound like a good deal."
"Yeah? Excellent." Another smile, then Billy tilted his head. "So, Johnson? Is that a last name or a first name?"
He chuckled. "First. I'm Johnson Coleman Bird. I like to joke that my mom lost a bet, but the truth of the matter is that my mother was a bigger baseball fan than my father, and they named me after their two favorite players' last names."
"Yeah? Well, I'll be. That's pretty damned cool. I'm Dallas William Frederick, but nobody but Momma calls me Dallas, never has."
"You got named for a whole city?" He had to grin — he'd always thought his mother was nutty when it came to names. Nice to know she wasn't the only one.
"After my granddaddy. My brother's named Austin." A low laugh sounded and filled the jeep. "Good thing granddaddy only had two names, or Ellen and Kathy'd be doomed."
He laughed at that, giving Billy another grin. "Good thing. We're coming up on Blackthorne — which one's your taste of home cooking?"
"Black Velvet — lady that runs it's from San Antonio." Billy pointed to a little hole in the wall between a Chinese restaurant and a tattoo parlor. "You can park behind."
"Cool." He drove around and pulled into the tiny parking lot behind the restaurant. "This must be one of those word-of-mouth places."
"Probably so. I haven't been in town long, but one of the fellas at the office is a displaced Texan, too. Figured I'd be homesick." Man, Billy had a bit of a stretch to get out of the Jeep.
"What do you do?" he asked, realizing as they walked side by side that he was probably a foot taller than Billy. Not that the man was small — sure he was short, but nicely built. Just Johnson's type, in fact. And dropped right into his lap like this. Someone up there was looking out for him.
"I'm a trial lawyer at Gosseman and Hart. Sort of the new boy on the block." Billy looked up, a wry grin on his face. "It's not the most fun in the world, but it's a good, solid firm."
"Is it just the new part that sucks or the whole lawyering thing?" Johnson held the door open for Billy.
"Thank you, sir." Billy headed in, which gave him a nice look at a tight little ass in tight little jeans. "I love going to trial, love the work, but the new guy bullshit, here call this guy, here file this deposition, here suck this ass thing? Gets old. Gets real old."
"Funny, I never minded sucking ass." Johnson winked and pointed out a table near the bar that was empty. It was busy enough that it boded well for the food even without Billy's recommendation.
Billy started chuckling, cheeks pinking, sunglasses coming off. "Good to know. I don't mind — if the ass in question isn't an ancient, dried up skinny straight guy's. Those? So ruin a good tongue."
Johnson laughed, thinking that little splash of color looked good on Billy. "That definitely sounds nasty."
The cowboy took off his hat, baring a head with hair cut so short it looked clear. The denim jacket was shrugged off, too, exposing a tight little body, pecs and abs clear and defined under the shirt. "No shit, Mr Bird. It is a scary situation."
"I'll bet. How long does the yucky ass sucking last before you're not the new guy anymore?" Johnson figured Billy was definitely his type. Sitting, Billy spread his legs wide. Just look at that package ... Most definitely his type. Johnson was glad he'd waited a moment to sit — he'd have hated to miss this view. He took one last look and sat across from Billy.
Those blue eyes shone at him, twinkling. "I reckon it'll be when the next vic — I mean new guy shows up."
A heavy-set woman came over, long silver braid trailing over her shoulder. "Mr Billy! I was wondering where you were. It's Saturday night — you never miss your chili. And you brought a friend. Hey, darlin', I'm Carol — this is my place. Y'all want a beer?"
"That'd be great, thanks. I'm Johnson. The place smells great." He liked the personal service. If Carol cared about the food as much as she seemed to care about the people, it couldn't go wrong.
"Thanks, darlin'. I'll bring the beers and the chips. Two chilis?"
Billy looked up at her, giving the woman a bright grin. "There's cobbler, right?"
"Yes, son, there's cobbler. Hell, you've been coming in for six months, regular as clockwork, never missed a week, and I've always had cobbler."
Billy went a bright pink, but one eyebrow arched. "That you have, Miss Carol. That you have."
"I've heard about this cobbler. Billy here tells me it's better than sex." Johnson decided that Billy really did look good with some color. Good enough to eat.
"Honey ..." Faded gray-green eyes shone at him. "If Billy was having sex, do you really think he'd be here every Saturday night eating a widow's chili?"
"Depends just how good the food is." He winked at her and at Billy. She had a point, though. Billy was definitely footloose and fancy free, or he'd at least have been eating chili with a friend before now.
"Beer, Carol." Billy shook his head, grinning, as she walked off. "Well, there's a rousing interpretation of my Saturday nights, isn't there? I suppose 'I work hard' doesn't count as an excuse?"
"Hey, I don't work any harder than I have to, and I can't remember the last time I had any real fun." He gave Billy a sympathetic smile. "Of course, we're having fun now, aren't we?"
"Yeah." Billy grinned and relaxed back into the booth. "So, you from around here, Johnson? Or are you an import, too?"
"Yeah, I'm an import. I'm from the northwest originally. Jobs were hit and miss, though, and I decided to come on out and see what the big deal about California was."
"Yeah? And have you found it? The big deal?"
Oh, that was a wink. That was flirting.
"Not yet, but I live in hope. Maybe today's my lucky day." He could show Billy how it was done.
Those eyes looked him up and down. "Well, it looks like maybe I found the big deal, not you."
Oh. Oh, that was nicely done. He gave Billy a warm smile that matched the warm spot in his middle. "Maybe you did."
Their beers came, and Billy took a long drink, watching him over the top of the glass.
Johnson took a sip of his own, holding Billy's eyes. The day was looking better and better all the time.
* * *
The chili was good, the beer cold. The cobbler was promising to be perfect and the company?
Johnson was fine, nice eyes, great voice. They had started swapping horror stories from their childhoods — his own fights with his older brother, being the only boy cheerleader in a fifty-mile radius, Johnson's most hated teacher, pranks he'd pulled.
It was fun, relaxing. A hell of a lot better than singing along with the jukebox and reading depositions.
Carol brought over the cobbler 'n' ice cream and Johnson gave him that sexy grin again. "Now for the real test."
He arched an eyebrow, licked his lips. "Yeah?" He waited to see what Johnson said, to see where the flirtation would go.
"Cobbler versus sex. That's quite the challenge."
"Hmm." He scooped up a spoonful, balancing the pastry and cream, and held it out. "Open up, tell me what you think."
Johnson gave him a slow, easy smile and leaned forward, mouth opening. Oh, now that was sexy as fuck. He fed Johnson the bite, watching as the hot-cold sweet hit Johnson's tongue. The man's eyes closed, a soft moan sounding, the whole experience sensual as hell.
Johnson took his time, savoring the bite, licking his lips. When his eyes opened, he gave Billy another smile. "Oh, now that was good. Of course, there's only one way to make a true comparison." Johnson's voice was low, gravelly.
"Yeah? How's that?" Oh, sweet fuck, he was hard as a frigging board and so ready to play.
"Have sex, of course." Johnson winked at him, that smile firmly in place, invitation in the almost-green eyes.
"Do you kiss on the first date?" Hell, do you put out? How do you feel about nice hard fucks?
Down, Billy. Up-and-coming lawyers do not go to bed with mechanics after beer and chili. Don't. Just ... Well, they might.
Okay, he would — he was bad that way. He had a lot of his daddy in him.
"That depends ... Is this a date?" Johnson was leaning forward, eyes on his, just focused as all get-out.
"I'm thinking, yeah. Especially once I fed you that first bite."
"If I say yes, will you feed me another?" Johnson's voice became thicker, huskier.
"You know it." Billy's nipples were hard, cock pushing at his zipper, belly rippling. Man, maybe he shouldn't have had that second beer.
Johnson's moan was sexier this time around, and the man's eyes didn't close, they stayed locked on his instead. "I've had enough cobbler," Johnson told him.
He looked at the uneaten food, then nodded. They could get a box. "What do you want now?"
Johnson gave him a long look, then answered, eyes and voice serious as hell, "You."
"I live two blocks over."
That was that.
To heck with the box. He stood and paid the bill, threw on his jacket and hat — one to disguise his hard-on, the other to hide his flushed cheeks. "You ready?"
"More than," answered Johnson, one hand finding the small of his back and encouraging him out of the door.
"You want to walk or ride?" The wind was cool and had a bite — it cooled the burn inside him some.
"You got parking closer to your place?" Johnson's voice was still low, husky and suggestive.
"Yeah. There's a parking garage. See the blue building? It's mine. The gray one beside is the garage." Hell's bells, but he was fucking vibrating. You'd think he was a fucking virgin on prom night.
"We'll drive." Johnson's hand stayed where it was, hot through his jacket, guiding him to the beat-up Jeep.
He nodded, following Johnson, feeling dwarfed next to the larger man, even if he wasn't. Hell, he was probably bigger in the chest as it was.
It took no time at all before they were pulling into a parking spot in the garage and Johnson was climbing out of the Jeep, waiting for him to lead the way to his place. He let them in, going up to the eighth floor. He'd been so impressed with all the apartments when he got into town that he'd picked a nice tall one.
Moving? Had been an evil, twelve-titted bitch.
Still? Two bedrooms, a nice bath, simple, stark, his? He'd keep it.
When he got the door open, Johnson all but pushed him in. The next thing he knew, he was up against the back of the door, the sound of it closing hard still ringing in his ears as Johnson's mouth closed over his own, plundering hard.
Oh, sweet Jesus. Billy opened wide, trying to push back into the kiss, tongue stroking alongside the hot one in his mouth.
Johnson groaned and pulled away, breathing hard. "Fuck, Billy, tell me you've got condoms and shit on hand."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Bruised"
Copyright © 2014 Sean Michael.
Excerpted by permission of Totally Entwined Group Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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