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Hair Balls
Author: Tara Lain

 

Chapter One

 

 

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly—”

Rick Ronconi cringed and suppressed the aching desire to throw his beer glass at the sound system. At least the shrieks of drunken laughter around him made the goddammed song almost indecipherable over the din—until Melanie, his date, threw back her head and sang, “Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.”

“Fuck, Mel, put a sock in it.” Rick slugged back a last mouthful of beer.

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Come on, Mr. Scrooge. This is my last chance to celebrate the season. It’ll all be gone tomorrow or the day after.”

“Can’t get here soon enough.” He thrust his chin, drowned in a blanket of dark whiskers, at her half-empty cosmo glass. “Want another one?”

“Sure. Why not? Can’t dance.” She gave him a look of pure accusation. She’d wanted to go to some big party in LA where they’d get all dressed up and dance with the other suckers dumb enough to shell out hundreds of bucks for tickets. Hell, she’d even offered to pay for them since Mel was a pretty successful makeup artist. That’s how he’d met her. She was doing the makeup for his sister Amy’s wedding. But the thought of the party had made him sick. Crowds, bodies, too much perfume. And he never seemed to fit into those ritzy events. He felt like a hairy bear in a china shop or some mixed metaphor like that. Yes, he was in danger of never seeing Mel again, but fuck it. Of course, Alice would be disappointed. She was all excited about him and Mel. Shit.

He grabbed his empty glass, scraped back his chair, banging into some girl dancing in the space between tables behind him, and made his way to the bar where he pushed his big shoulders between two dudes and waved at Joe, the bartender closest to him.

“Want another one, Rick?”

“Yeah, and a cosmo.”

Joe moved away, and Rick leaned on the bar, ran a hand through his thick, uncut hair, then looked up casually.

Oh yeah.

Quickly, he stared back at his hands, but his heart beat way too hard.

You don’t need to do this. Come on. Go home. You don’t need to do anything. Sleep. You’ll feel better tomorrow.

Joe slid the bottle and glass toward him, followed by the cosmo. “Here you go, Rick. On your tab?”

“Uh, no. I’ll settle it all.”

Joe grinned. “We’ve still got forty minutes to midnight. You sure you won’t want another one? Or six?” He laughed.

He shook his head. “Mel needs to get home.”

“Too bad. Unless you’re going home with her.” Joe waggled his eyebrows, picked up the money Rick lay down on the bill, which included a hefty tip, and walked away laughing.

Fighting the heat in his face and forcing himself not to look down the bar, Rick grabbed the bottle and glass and maneuvered his way back to the table. As he set the drinks down in front of Mel, who was currently singing the twelve days of Christmas and missing half the words, he allowed himself to look up.

Denny perched on a barstool across the room, his muscular thighs straining his jeans, talking to a guy who occupied the seat beside him. Rick couldn’t see the dude’s face, but he had long hair, and the jeans he wore masqueraded as a coat of paint—bright yellow paint. Denny laughed as the yellow-pants dude waved his hands in some grand gesture, but halfway through the laugh, Denny’s gaze met Rick’s. Rick caught his breath, blinked, and then looked away fast.

“You going to let go of that cosmo so I can drink it, or what?” Mel stared up at him.

“Sorry. Thought I saw somebody I know. Uh, that I work with.” He pushed the glass toward her and downed two huge swallows of beer as he sat.

“Hell, I thought half the construction workers of Orange County frequented this place. Isn’t that why you always want to come here?”

He shrugged. “I like going places I know.”

She sighed, though it was hard to hear over the shouting that escalated as they got closer to midnight. “I know.” She frowned into her pink drink.

He pulled at his shirt collar that he’d worn because Mel expected him to look presentable for New Years—as presentable as he could look with a beard to his clavicle and hair that hit his shoulders in a dark-brown tangle. Coming to the Breakers bar had been his compromise since she’d made fucking reservations at some ritzy Newport Beach restaurant where the managers had doubled the tables for New Years and crowded people in so bad that their elbows hit while they tried to eat. At least he wanted after-dinner drinks someplace he felt a little comfortable. But she was tired of the Breakers. And he was tired of—everything.

Halfway through his last mouthful of beer, he stopped and set the glass back on the table. “You know what? I’m not feeling so good.”

She looked up, concerned. “The food disagree with you?”

“Maybe. I’m sorry, but I’m gonna go get in line for the men’s room.”

“Sure, baby. Want another beer if the waitress makes it this far?”

“Uh, sure.” He rose and headed for the back as fast as the crush of bodies allowed. As he walked, he caught the movement from the bar out of the corner of his eye. The long-haired guy was leaning in, laughing and pursing pink lips at Denny. For a second, a perfect image of those lips wrapped around Denny’s cock flashed in Rick’s mind. Fuck! Not even hesitating in the hall packed with guys trying to get to the head, he strode straight out the back door into the alley and kept walking. Sure enough, there was the van in its usual place. His pulse hammered and he swallowed hard, but no amount of self-talk slowed him down.

As he approached the battered blue van, footsteps crunched behind him. Rick didn’t even turn.

Denny circled him, opened the back of the van, Rick crawled in, and in seconds without undressing, there was the snap of latex, and Denny’s big cock was buried to the hilt in Rick’s throbbing ass. Just this once more. Last time. No more. But come on….it’s New Years.

“Oh fuck, yes, yes.” Rick rode against the burn, pleasure streaking into his balls until he spilled into the handy towel Denny had waiting, then rested his head against the inside of the van. No. Fuck no.

For a full minute, no one said anything, and then Rick started yanking angrily at his clothes.

Denny said softly, “Come on, Rick. This isn’t some failing. You’re fucking gay. Give it up.”

His hands stilled on his fly. “Bisexual.”

“Maybe. Hell, you’d know best.”

Yeah, he did know, and what he knew was that women almost never did it for him. Back when he was in his early twenties, a stiff wind would get him off and any set of lips had been okay. Not anymore. His cock had developed certain preferences, which was too damned bad because what Rick wanted, he never got.

Rick finished tucking in his shirt. “I better get back. What can I do?”

“Dinner at Nick’s.” He chuckled at the name of one of Laguna’s best restaurants.

“I’ll call and buy a gift certificate. It’ll be waiting for you.”

“Thanks.” Denny opened one side of the van. “Think about what I said.”

Rick didn’t answer. Instead, he asked, “Aren’t you going back in to that guy?”

“Guy?”

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