Blood & Thunder, page 10part #2 of THIRDS Series
“No you’re not,” Sloane muttered. “You just want to see him shake his ass.”
“He’s actually a good singer. At least this time he’ll have lyrics to follow when he’s too drunk to remember them. Besides, who doesn’t want to see your boy shake his ass?” Bradley gave him a wink and called out over his shoulder as he walked away. “I’ll get you that special.”
Bradley seemed to have gotten it in his head a few months ago that Sloane and Dex were meant to be together. Little did he know, they already were. Sort of. Sloane tried not to put a name to whatever it was he and Dex shared. All he knew was that for all his griping and grumbling, he liked being with Dex. He liked who he was around him, liked how Dex made him feel, and the sex was damn hot. Things were good between them. That was enough for him.
“Here you go.”
Sloane lifted the tall shot glass with the foggy concoction, a mix Bradley had put together just for him. “Should I be worried you refuse to tell me what’s in this?”
The speakers came on, along with the small stage’s spotlights. Crap. It was starting. He threw back the shot and shook off the sweet, tangy taste before placing it on the bar’s sleek black surface. “Better give me one more,” he wheezed. “And a beer.” A minute later, Bradley returned with his order, and Sloane made quick work of the shot. He thanked Bradley before making his way over to the small cluster of tables his team occupied in front of the stage Dex was walking up to. His partner took the microphone, that cheeky thousand-watt smile aimed at the growing crowd.
“Hi there,” he said, his voice throaty. The regulars who were already familiar with his antics cheered and applauded. Wherever his team went, Dex seemed to pick up a fan following. Something about the guy fascinated Humans and Therians alike. Sloane was still trying to work out what it was. Especially since the guy was… well, kinda weird. Then again, crazy had a way of attracting crazy.
“For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Agent Dexter J. Daley, but you can call me Dex when I’m not on duty. I am literally, licensed to kill.” He held a hand up to stifle the cheering. “Don’t let that scare you. That’s just the day job. At night, I’m—” Dex grinned wide and wriggled his brows. “—licensed to thrill.”
Sloane covered his face with his hand and groaned. He should have had at least two more of Bradley’s “specials.” Maybe three. No, four. Oh, sweet Jesus, what had he gotten himself into?
“That’s my team. Say hello, team.”
Sloane peeked through his fingers, watching Letty, Rosa, Cael, and Calvin wave enthusiastically, receiving a round of applause and catcalls. Hobbs ducked his head in an attempt to hide behind Calvin, and Ash looked pissed. Nothing new there.
“Yeah, they’re pretty awesome,” Dex added. “Especially that guy there. Agent Keeler. He is the biggest, squishiest teddy bear you’ll ever know.”
Sloane burst out laughing, much to Ash’s annoyance. His friend let out a low growl, his murderous glare on Dex, who smiled wider. “Kidding. He’s an asshole. But, next to him is my partner and Team Leader, Agent Brodie. Say hello, Agent Brodie.”
Although it wasn’t said, it was in Sloane’s expression. I’m going to kill you.
“He’s shy,” Dex said, removing the microphone from its stand. “This one’s for you, partner.”
“Oh, dear God.” He wasn’t…. He wouldn’t…. Sloane sat mortified. The piano started on a power ballad. He would. Sloane groaned when he recognized the song. “Oh God. It’s Journey. He’s going to sing Journey.” Dex owned every Journey album imaginable and was always driving him nuts with those damn songs. He recognized this one. “Faithfully.”
Rosa and Letty swayed with the music, whooping, and waving their arms in time to the ballad. Ash’s glare was deadly. “Really?”
“Leave the guy alone. He’s a good singer, and unlike some grumpy jackasses, he knows how to have fun.” Rosa didn’t bother looking at Ash, whose frown deepened.
“You’re saying I don’t know how to have fun?”
Rosa rolled her eyes. “There are other ways to have fun that don’t involve shooting things.”
“I agree, but you and your girlfriend keep turning me down.”
“Cabron,” Rosa muttered under her breath, smiling brightly at Dex who returned her smile with an added a wink.
Ash shook his head, his expression one of disbelief. “I don’t get it, man. How can Butt-Boy have more game with women than me?”
Sloane turned to look at Ash, his expression deadpan. “It’s a mystery.”
“Fuck you and your boy toy.”
That made Sloane laugh. “How are they not falling at your feet? Clearly there’s a conspiracy at work here.”
Ash glowered at him, his bottom lip jutting out tragically. “He’s turning you against me.”
Cael patted his bicep, reassuring him sweetly. “I think you’ve got game.”
“You do?” Ash perked up and flipped Sloane off. “Cael thinks I’ve got game, so you can bite me. Keep it up and you’re getting demoted from BFF to BF.”
Sloane held back a smile and saluted him with his beer. “Duly noted.”
Cael hung his head in shame. “He’s doing the grabbing air thing.”
It wasn’t so much the grabbing air thing that made Sloane cringe as the lyrics harping on about love affairs and strangers falling in love again. Why the hell did Dex have to look at Sloane when he sang? Sloane tried not to fidget in his seat, pretending the lyrics didn’t mean anything, or that Dex’s throaty singing didn’t go straight to his dick. His jeans were starting to get uncomfortable.
“Aw, he’s serenading you,” Ash teased.
Sloane gave him a daggered look. “Fuck off.”
My God, when will it end? How long was this damn song? He snuck a peek at the rest of the audience, a good deal of whom were swaying and gazing dreamily at Dex. How the hell did the guy do that? Okay, so maybe he could sing, and he did know how to move. Damn, but he knew how to move. Dex was dressed in his usual black and white Chucks, a pair of scruffy jeans, a gray T-shirt with aviators hanging off the chain from his dog tags, and a black leather jacket. Damn, okay, the guy was fucking sexy. His dirty blond hair was ruffled, his jaw stubbly, he had a smile that was slightly crooked and dopey, and an infectious laugh. He could be as perceptive and sweet as he was frustrating and over the top.
Sloane snapped himself out of it, his gaze shifting warily to Ash. “What?”
“Your gay is showing.”
“Screw you.” He snatched Ash’s beer. “Just for that, this is mine now.” Stupid Ash. Maybe Sloane was spending too much time with Dex and his brother; he was starting to sound like Cael. Ash leaned over, though for what purpose, Sloane had no idea, considering he didn’t bother lowering his voice.
“Admit it, you’d hit that.”
“That’s a stupid question,” Letty pitched in with a snort. “Who wouldn’t hit that?”
Rosa perked up, turning to her friend. “Letty. Fuck, marry, kill.”
This night just got better and better. Onstage, Dex was singing away, playing to the crowd, and now his team was going to start playing the worst game ever. Maybe Sloane could slip away, pretend he was going to the bathroom, and run. He considered it, until Letty offered her choices.
“Too easy. Fuck Sloane, marry Dex, kill Ash,” Letty said.
Sloane’s embarrassment was superseded by Ash’s expression of disbelief. “Wow. Thanks, partner.”
Letty shrugged. “Rosa?”
Rosa took a sip of her beer, considering her choices carefully. “If I was into cock? I’d totally fuck Dex, marry Hobbs, and kill Ash.”
“Seriously?” Ash threw his hands up, and Sloane tried not to laugh. The girls didn’t bother. Poor Hobbs went red in the face to the tips of his ears, and Rosa gave him a wink. For a moment, Sloane thought Hobbs was going to run. Like hell he was. Not without taking Sloane with him.
“Calvin?” Letty asked.
Letty gave him a playful slap in the arm. “Come on, Cal, it’s only a game. Besides, you and Hobbs act like an old married couple anyway.”
Calvin scratched his head, looking embarrassed. “Okay, uh, I guess fuck Dex, marry Hobbs, and kill Ash.”
“I hate all of you,” Ash grunted, his beefy arms folded over his chest as he leaned back in his chair. Letty ignored him and moved on.
Hobbs whispered in Calvin’s ear, and Calvin’s face went as red as his partner’s. “Um, same for Hobbs. Fuck Dex, marry me, kill Ash.”
“You too, bro?” Ash shook his head at Hobbs who gave him an apologetic smile and a shrug of his big shoulders. He shifted his chair, so he could hide behind Calvin, but unless Calvin suddenly gained an extra foot and a half in height, that wasn’t going to work. Seeming to realize that, Hobbs let his chin rest on the top of Calvin’s head with a sigh. Calvin was so accustomed to it, he took a sip of his beer as if he didn’t have a tiger Therian twice his size using him for a prop.
When Letty turned to Sloane, he shook his head. “No way. I’m not touching this.”
“Come on, don’t be a wuss. Say it. You’d totally fuck Dex.”
Already have. In the kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom, car, work… “Not touching this.”
With a pout, she moved on. “Fine, Ash?”
Ash scoffed. “I wouldn’t fuck or marry any of you, but I’d have the time of my life killing your asses. All of you. Assholes.”
Beside him, Cael huffed, giving Ash’s bicep a prod. “Hey, what did I do?”
“Not you. Cael’s the only one who gets to survive. The rest of you can kiss my ass.”
“Cael?” Rosa wriggled her brows. “Come on, gatito. Who makes you purr?”
Cael shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his whole face going pink. “I don’t know that I want to—”
“Come on,” Rosa teased.
“Leave him alone.” Ash threw an arm protectively around Cael’s shoulders. “He doesn’t want to play your stupid game.”
“Touchy. Fine, who do you think Dex would choose?”
Ash got that look in his eyes and Sloane groaned. He fortified himself by downing half his beer in one gulp. Dex was on his third song. Something about being wanted dead or alive. The part about being a cowboy had Sloane picturing Dex in nothing but torn jeans and a cowboy hat. He didn’t know what was worse, what was happening on stage or at their table. His choices were watching Dex and possibly getting an erection, or listening to his team argue over who they’d imaginary fuck, all of which led back to Dex. He was far too sober for any of this.
“Easy,” Ash said, far too happy for his own good. “He’d clearly kill me, and he’s already Sloane’s wife, so there you go. Two for one right there.”
Sloane finished the rest of his beer and pinned Ash with a glare. “And you wonder why everyone wants to kill you.”
Ash shrugged. “What? It’s the truth. You want proof?”
Dex finished singing and the crowd erupted into cheers. When he got to their table, he pointed to Sloane’s empty beer bottle. “Want me to get you another one?”
“While you’re at it,” Ash said sweetly, “why don’t you fetch him a snack and when you’re done, bend over. Hubby’s had a long day and needs to unwind.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I bet a ‘bite me’ is in order.” Dex snatched up Sloane’s empty bottle and stormed off. Sloane shook his head at Ash in disbelief.
“Why do you have to be such an asshole?”
“Aw, isn’t that sweet? Defending his honor. Want me to tell him? It might get you a blow job at the very least.”
Dex came back, handed Sloane a beer, and took a seat next to him. “So what’s going on? I take it Ash’s pleasantness stems from something besides life in general.”
Rosa chuckled, her gaze checking out the waitress in the tight black jeans. “He’s pissed because everyone wants to kill him.”
“How is that different from any other day?” Dex asked, following Rosa’s line of sight before arching an eyebrow at her. She gave him a guilty smile and answered his question.
“We were playing fuck, marry, kill. It was pretty unanimous we would fuck you and kill Ash.”
Dex put a hand to his heart. “Aw, you guys. That’s so sweet. I’m honored you’d all choose me as the one to bang.”
“So, how about you, Dex?” Rosa asked, leaning in keenly, followed by Letty. Everyone’s attention was on Dex, and Sloane told himself if there was ever a time to run, now would be it. He looked over his shoulder and waved a hand to get Bradley’s attention. Soon as he had it, he made the universal sign for “shot” then held up three fingers. Bradley laughed, and with a nod, walked off to make him his order. While he waited for his shots, Sloane took a swig of his beer.
“Easy,” Dex said. “I’d fuck Sloane.”
Sloane nearly choked on his beer. He snatched up a napkin to wipe the dribble from his chin. Smooth. That wasn’t obvious at all.
“Don’t worry, I’d be gentle,” Dex purred, patting Sloane on the back and oblivious to Sloane’s glare.
“As for marry. I’d marry Ash.”
Sloane and Ash sounded off like a couple of echoes. “What?”
“Explain,” Rosa demanded.
“See, you all should have put more thought into your answers. I’d marry Ash, make him fall in love with me, convince him to take out a million dollar life insurance policy then I’d kill him. Bam! I’m rich and free to keep banging Sloane.” The table burst into laughter and Dex wriggled his brows at Sloane. Dex leaned over to take his hand. “Will you wait for me, darling? We can start new lives down in Rio de Janeiro. I’ll become a card shark, and you can be my sexy cabana boy.”
Sloane couldn’t help his laugh. “You’re such an ass.”
“An ass with a million dollars. It’ll be painful, but I’m willing to do this. For us.” Dex gave him a wink, and Sloane felt him squeeze his fingers before releasing them. For a split second, Sloane wished he hadn’t let go. Dex took a deep breath, straightened, and met Ash’s gaze.
“Ash, you’re looking… less murderous today.”
“See that,” Dex said, slapping a hand against the table in victory. “I’ve already got him wanting to fuck me. We’re half way there. Rio de Janeiro, here I come.” He reached into his back pocket, pulled out his wallet, and took out a ten-dollar bill. With a wink, he slid it over to Sloane. “Here you go, baby. Buy yourself something nice that’ll set off your tan.”
Sloane snatched up the bill and stuffed it in his jacket pocket.
Dex blinked at him. “You’re not going to give me my money back, are you?”
“Damn, I should have thought that through.”
Cael shook his head at his brother. “Dude, how much money have you lost to Sloane for the sake of your jokes?”
Dex looked to Sloane for an answer that Sloane cheerfully provided. “In the last month? Enough to pay my next cable bill.”
“Seriously?” Ash gaped at him then turned his attention to Dex, leaning forward. “So, if I go along with your stupid jokes, will you pay my cable bill?”
“What the hell?”
Dex shrugged. “He’s my partner. And he’s pretty.”
Everyone laughed, and Bradley appeared beside Sloane with the three shots. “Perfect timing. Thank you so much.” Sloane handed Bradley a ten-dollar tip.
“Wait a second….” Dex waited for Bradley to leave before smacking Sloane in the arm. “That was my ten-dollar bill.”
“No, it was mine,” Sloane corrected. “You gave it to me to buy myself something nice, remember? I did. I bought myself alcohol.” He downed the first shot, cringing as the foggy liquid burned down his throat.
“What the hell’s in that?” Dex asked, eyeing the mysterious brew warily. “And
Was that jealousy Sloane heard slip into Dex’s tone? He had to admit, it gave him a tingly feeling, or maybe that was whatever Bradley slipped into his shot. He moved one of the small glasses in front of Dex. “I have no idea what’s in it. He won’t tell me. Give it a try.”
Ash took the shot glass and moved it away from Dex. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, bro. He’s already had a beer. Add a shot like that to the mix, and he’ll probably end up with alcohol poisoning.”
“Fuck you, Simba.” Dex snatched up the shot and threw it back. Sloane let out a groan. His partner had played right into Ash’s hands. Dex wheezed and coughed. “Jeeesus! What the….” He pounded on his chest, his voice hoarse. “What is that shit? Acid? It’s burning a hole in my fucking throat! Oh my God, it burns!”
Ash laughed and waved at Bradley, putting up three fingers. “Next round’s on me, Dex.”