Fighting For Irish - Gina L. Maxwell Maxwell To all those who have been sexually abused.
May you always embrace the fighter inside, love yourself unconditionally, and never accept defeat. From the outside, it looked like a large single-story home that had seen better days.
As in before the second World War, if the dilapidated wood siding and cracked foundation were anything to go by. He pulled his bike into a spot by the door and used the rubber sole of his boot to kick the stand down. Barely suppressing a groan, he swung his right leg over the seat.
Riding from Boston, Mass. Unfortunately, it also turned out to be a great way to put his body through hell. A fire had lit in his tailbone somewhere between West Virginia and Kentucky.
Stretching his legs, he had to wonder if bayou were French for broiler. Hanging his sunglasses on the collar of his T-shirt, he pulled open the heavy, weathered door and stepped inside. Wooden booths lined the outside of the large room with as many tables as could fit crowded into the middle.
Each booth sat beneath what passed for lamps but were nothing more than lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling, covered with plastic domes yellowed by time and tobacco smoke. Another room in the back looked to have pool tables and ratty couches for those who liked to drink while wielding gaming sticks that made easy weapons for their short tempers.
A solid oak bar ran in a shallow U shape jutting out from the right wall. Since it was only early afternoon on a Tuesday, the place was all but empty except for the lone bartender and four old codgers playing poker at one of the front tables.
Swiping the back of his arm across his forehead, Aiden made his way to the bar. His throat felt like the Sahara and he meant to fix that. Hopefully it was.
Then he could give his friend the good news and be on his way. Not back to Boston, though. And that of his best friend. Pick the place he liked best and try to open a bike shop of his own. Aiden pulled out his wallet and thumbed out a five spot.
Holding it to the man, he said, Large water and some conversation. Probably trying to figure out what exactly Aiden wanted. On the other hand, it was a big tip for ordering a free drink. Aiden tried to recall how to manipulate his features into something resembling a nonthreatening expression.
It no longer came easy to him as it once had. But covering your body in brightly colored tattoos and sporting several piercings tended to make people think twice about talking to you without the counteracting friendly smile.
So Aiden would have to fake it if he wanted to find who he was looking for. Thankfully the bartender rescued him and made the first move. The guy held out his hand and introduced himself as Johnny Anders. Aiden grasped his hand firmly and pumped it a few times.
When Johnny raised his brows in question, he added, Just Irish.
No one down here, or anywhere, needed to know his real name. What was the point of leaving the past behind if every time you introduced yourself you invited it right back?
Okay, then. Just Irish it is. So where you from? Behind him, the poker gang exploded in obnoxious complaints. He peered over his shoulder. One man gestured so wildly while shouting suspicions his buddy had cheated that half his beer sloshed onto the floor a few feet from Aiden.
He exhaled with heavy relief and pushed it back, nodding a request for a refill. Boston, he said finally. He should probably try to speak more than a couple syllables at a time if the goal was to strike up a conversation for info. But before he could give it a shot, he heard footsteps coming from the back hallway marked with a sign that read offices.
Pulling her long red hair into a ponytail, a waitress entered the main room and used a mirrored Miller sign hanging on the wall to finish the style.
She was…stunning. Apparently his dick had no such problem remembering and wanted to prove it.
More like sundresses, hair blowing in the summer breeze, and the sugary bite of a refreshing lemon— Fuck. Aiden rubbed his fingers over his forehead. He must have heat stroke from the last few hours of his ride.
Yeah, heat stroke sounded good.
The alternative—comparing a woman to something like lemonade—would mean the demise of his virility, and he could kiss his Man Card good-bye. The living, breathing threat to his recent apathy regarding sex met his gaze in the mirror. She assessed him with a flick of her cool eyes.
Something he thought might be mutual interest flared for a moment like a struck match before she doused the flame and looked away. Feigning his own disinterest, he turned his attention back to his water, but he continued to study her from the corner of his eye.
She turned and reached over the bar counter for the open beer Johnny must have set there in anticipation of her arrival.