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Man On (The Black Jack Gentlemen), page 1


Man On (The Black Jack Gentlemen)

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Man On (The Black Jack Gentlemen)

  Man On

  (The Black Jack Gentlemen – Book 1)


  Liz Crowe

  Man On

  (The Black Jack Gentlemen – Book 1)

  A Sizzlin’ Book published by permission of the author

  Copyright © 2013 by Liz Crowe

  Cover Art and Design by Mina Carter

  All rights reserved.

  This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced

  in any form without permission.

  For more information: Sizzlin’ Books

  a division of Tri Destiny Publishing

  P.O. Box 330 Arcola, IL 61910

  ISBN: 978-0-9893069-1-1

  Visit our website at

  Sizzlin’ Books are published by Tri Destiny Publishing

  This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. They may not be re-sold or given away, except as provided in promotions sponsored by Tri Destiny Publishing or the author. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.

  If you are reading this book and you did not purchase it, win this copy during a promotion or, if not purchased specifically for your use only, then please delete this copy, notify us at [email protected] We encourage you to purchase your own copy and support the author’s hard work in their craft.



  Title Page


  Table of Contents


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen


  About the Author

  Other Books

  To all professional athletes

  who struggle with their sexual identities

  for the sake of their sport.

  Chapter One

  Nicolas stared out the airplane window as the last view of his beloved Valencia faded beneath him. Shifting in his seat to accommodate his extra-long legs, he accidentally knocked into his seatmate, a striking brunette woman who shot him a nasty look before doing a double take.

  He sighed and ignored her. She had obviously flunked Body Language 101. Her attempt to give him a nice cleavage view despite his clear signals to leave him the hell alone grated on his frayed nerves. He clenched his eyes shut, determined to make it all the way to the States without speaking a word to anyone.

  The plane shuddered and made terrifying noises as it rose into the air. He nearly leapt out of his skin at the touch of her palm on his unknowingly white-knuckled grip of the seat arm. But he gave her a weak smile and forced himself to relax. Running a hand over his days-old stubble, he took a breath and closed his eyes again, praying the sheer force of his will could maintain the aircraft’s ability to stay aloft.

  Nicco hated flying. He had gotten used to it as a member of three different European football teams and, for one brief shining moment, the Spanish national team. But he certainly never enjoyed it.

  “Whew,” the woman sighed and stretched her arms out, bumping up against his shoulder. No accident, he knew. “Glad that part’s over.” Her accent screamed American, but her chic dark suit and olive-hued skin spoke equally of “Latina”.

  “Huh,” he grunted and stuck ear buds in his ears in an effort to ward off any further conversational gambits, not in the mood for flirting, explanations, or small talk. He was Nicolas Garza, former star attacking midfielder for Real Madrid, Deportivo, and most recently Valencia. And now well on his way to utter soccer ignominy as part of a startup team in the United States, in bloody Detroit of all places. Essentially, he’d been forced into retirement and resented every cocky asshole of a rising superstar who’d jostled him out of his position.

  Harsh rap music filled the space between his ears as he gazed out into the increasingly blue sky. Nicco put his aching forehead against the small window. Images rushed at him, jumbled, like a movie stuck on fast forward. Voices he never wanted to hear again berated him, still.

  His agent, his erstwhile ex-wife, his own mother, all of them yelling at him in various stages of pissed off at his seeming inability to control himself, to stay out of trouble. Nicco winced, recalling the exact moment his big-time agent handed him over to one of the agency minions with a disapproving frown. Which hurt way worse than the moment the lovely, expensive, ex-Mrs. Garza heaved an empty wine bottle at him, nailing him in the temple, then stomped out yelling curses and promises about her attorney and alimony.

  He sighed and kept staring out the window. She’d made good on all of it, but he was shed of her, thank the blessed virgin.

  Nicco closed his eyes and let the curse-riddled rap shove out the one voice he wanted to hear so badly he could feel it deep in his gut, like an insatiable hunger. A memory floated across his unsuspecting brain, making him gasp and clench his hands into fists. A dark face, handsome beyond imagining, soft full lips, an impish smile and sparkling deep brown eyes—all of it, the complete package of his beloved, sexy, Leandro. The man who’d proven to him what it meant to feel, to go beyond the raw physicality of sex and connect on a deeper level.

  “Shit,” he muttered, a familiar burn firing up behind his eyes. He pressed his fingertips to the bridge of his nose as agony bloomed in his chest.

  They’d been together nearly six months, truly together. Nicco wanted to come out, to claim the man in public, while Leandro cautioned against it. They were both highly paid European soccer stars in the spotlight. Despite attitude advances in some pro sports regarding gay team members, soccer seemed to be the last bastion of homophobia.

  Nicco had plenty of experience, sexually speaking—maybe too much—before Leandro burst into his world. He rarely turned down a new opportunity, and one of his favorite positions had been right between a lovely, sexy woman and the hard, lean muscular body of a man. No big deal, he’d thought. My business how and with whom I get off. He’d been proven very wrong about that, among other things.

  The plane bumped, jouncing Nicco’s head against the window and sending a fresh jolt of visceral terror through him. But at least Leandro’s face was forced out of his mind for a brief moment. He bent over his knees, determined not to panic and leap up to pace the aisle, or puke. But both felt fairly imminent. So he focused downward, saying his “Hail Marys” in preparation for the no doubt impending plummet into the ocean.

  “Hey.” The girl he’d been ignoring touched his shoulder. “You okay? Want some water?”

  Her hand dropped to his thigh. He stared at its well-manicured tastefulness, complete with a silver band on her left ring finger. His gaze traveled up her bare, toned arm, followed the slim line of her neck to her jaw and lingered over her full lips.

  What the fuck? Why not?

  He’d do anything to ease the knot of frustrated anger in his chest. Besides, sex relieved his stress—it was a well-known fact and something he’d embraced as a much younger man. He’d actually pondered seeing a professional about it—this near constant requirement for physical connection.

  He allowed a smile to light his face and covered her hand with his, giving it a squeeze, shifting his thigh slightly so her palm slipped a little farther down into what could be considered a fairly intimate caress. His body t
ingled in a distracting way, bringing a hint of legitimacy to his grin. She met it halfway and tugged the blanket she’d had tucked around her bare knees across his lap. He shifted the armrest between them up and out of the way never removing his gaze from hers.

  Stop, Nicco. Remember, you were going to leave this behind. All the random hookups and bullshit that ruined your marriage and your relationship with Leandro.

  Ironically, it had been his ex-wife who’d broken the news flash to the panting press. Nicco Garza was maricon, el homosexual, and had been for years. Nicco shook his head at the memory of her flawless body, perfect face, and evil mind. The damn woman had participated in her fair share of three-ways with him and women and other men. She’d watched him get blown by both sexes. Observed him fucking a woman while simultaneously getting ass-fucked by a guy.

  Jesu save him from hypocritical, jealous, vindictive bitches. But no one had saved him. His reputation truly suffered once she figured out that Leandro, a member of a rival team, ten years younger than Nicco, had captured his heart, shoving her out of the picture once and for all.

  His agent had been stoic at first, taking it in stride. Nicco had always been fodder for the gossip-mongering press corps following European soccer players’ every move both on and off the pitch. He was tall, handsome, almost scarily talented, and knew his way around the party scene like no one else.

  He’d managed to keep his main obsession a secret, or so he thought. Gay players in soccer were simply not tolerated. He understood that. He also knew at least a dozen players between England, Germany, South America, and Spain who held their own secrets close to their hearts. Of course, he would be the one to be a pace setter, thanks to his cunt of an ex-wife.

  Ghostly images of all the men and women who’d paraded through his life and bed lit his brain as he moved close enough to run a finger along his seat mate’s knee under the blanket.

  “You’re nothing but a whore, Nicco. If there’s a hole, your goddamned cock is in it.” The last words of the only person he’d ever truly loved echoed in his brain but he shut it out, deciding instead to take a deep breath of feminine perfume—a heady mix of soft citrus and pure, spicy lust. Screw Leandro. He flew off in a plane that never brought him back. He left me—and he was the one man who quelled my need, who calmed my whole self.

  Fate, they said.

  Pilot error, others said.

  His lips found the woman’s neck and his fingers their pleasantly warm target between her legs as his brain shut down, briefly quieting the fury that had been building for weeks. The breathy sounds of her satisfaction made music in his ears and the sensation of her soft palm gripping him under the blanket forced the memory of the one face he yearned for, the one voice he dreamed of nightly, up and out of his brain, at least for a few moments.

  Wrong, his better self said. Stop. Don’t do this with this total stranger on a plane, under the noses of every other passenger.

  Shut up, his true self retorted. Fuck off. Who cares? Nobody. That’s who. Not anymore.

  Chapter Two

  Rafael Inez glared at the man seated across from him, then rose and walked to the door of his office. Nicolas Garza was a guaranteed pain in everyone’s ass from day one. Rafe knew it, but he’d thought it worthwhile since he got to scoop him up on the cheap. But now….

  “Look, Garza, do what you want on your own time. We’re all adults here.”

  Nicco glared at him but stayed quiet. Rafe set his jaw. “I know what they say about you, and I want you to know that I don’t care. You can be a completely out-of-the-closet player on my team. I will fully support it in public. The marketing department agrees with me. They even have…um….” Rafe ran a hand through his hair. “There is some kind of search for the first active pro athlete to come out. Sports Inc. has a crew ready to cover it, to show how open-minded we all are. Or something.”

  Nicco’s gaze never wavered from his. His square jaw clenched, which was the only indication Rafe had that the man had even registered his words. He leaned on his desk, staring at the one guy he had hoped would help build his team. Nicco would—could—bring a level of maturity the Black Jacks desperately needed, riddled as they were with raw rookies.

  “A show pony, then. That’s why I’m here? The bad boy likes boys but look how cool we are in America. We embrace him. Fuck you, patrón.”

  Rafe gulped. He had not wanted this little wrinkle. The crazy bitch running the marketing department practically had a public orgasm when he’d told her he’d gotten Nicco signed.

  “Oh god, he’s that gay one, isn’t he? That is awesome!”

  Her gang of seeming teenagers that made up the huge promotions department for the team had concocted all sorts of media ops for the guy. Rafe had glanced at Jack Gordon, his boss in this venture and his brother-in-law.

  Jack had been frowning at the whole frenzy. Rafe had tried to explain to the tall, thin woman, recruited away from an internet social networking company on the West Coast to run all things marketing for them in Detroit, that getting out in front of the curve on the “gay athlete thing” might not be the best focus during their inaugural season. They had enough to worry about. Bringing the bright light of scrutiny over such a controversial topic made Rafe more than a little uneasy, contemplating what it could do to the team’s dynamic.

  She’d been allowed to run with it, at least to the point he was now telling Nicco about it. And the conversation was going about as he expected—straight into the shitter. He switched to Spanish, hoping their mutual native tongue could help them work this out, albeit his being what Nicco probably considered bastardized South American.

  “Nicco,” he kept his voice neutral. “I won’t do anything you don’t want to do with this. Trust me. I’m here to lay it out for you, to see if you’re interested in playing poster boy for gay pro athletes. I don’t like it and don’t think the team needs it this early, before we even play a game. However,” he straightened, remembering why he’d been pissed off at the man already, “I will not tolerate psychotic groupies hanging around my practices.”

  Nicco raised an eyebrow, his lanky body relaxed, showing no sign of stress over the fact that he had just been asked to do something no pro athlete who currently played had managed to do: to come out as gay, then simply resume his position on the team as if nothing had happened.

  “Seriously, patrón….” Rafe said, getting even more irritated by the man’s obtuse stance. “I don’t know who she is or where you picked her up between Spain and Michigan, but tell her if she shows up at my practice again, making a scene trying to get to you, I will call the police. And you, my confusing friend, are back to the farm leagues of Europe. I don’t need this bullshit distraction, and neither do you. It is immaterial to me what kind of sex you have and with what gender. All I ask is that you keep the crazies away from my field and your teammates. We clear?”

  “Ah, the farm leagues.” The tall, handsome Spaniard stretched his legs out in front him, not taking the hint that Rafe wanted him out of the office. He spoke in his accented English, as if rebuffing Rafe’s olive branch via their common language. “I thought that’s where I already was.” Rafe shook his head to keep from punching the cocky shithead in the pie hole. “Besides, aren’t you just filling in until the real manager is hired?”

  Rafe clenched his jaw and tried to keep his cool. “Think what you want. I’m telling you now that this team will be run like the pros. While I will tolerate WAGs, I will not put up with a psychopathic freak job you picked up on the fucking plane. Got me?”

  His high-priced, somewhat over the hill, superstar attacking midfielder stretched his arms over his head and got to his feet. The taller man walked straight into Rafe’s personal space.


  Rafe stood his ground. He’d played against this jerk in a World Cup qualifier the year before the career-ending injury that landed him alone in the American Midwest. The Black Jacks had deep pockets, thanks to the investors in town who wanted the “real deal
when it came to this particular sport, but he’d been careful to find a lot of American-based rising stars and a handful of European near has-beens like this one. He’d taken a calculated risk, signing Nicco Garza. He’d be damned if he’d let this fucker intimidate him.

  “Back off, Garza. You don’t scare me. And yeah, I’m filling in until I can convince that stubborn Turk to take the job. You know that. Jesus, man, you’re the only one in the building who gets this. Work with me. I’ll keep the marketing whiz kids off your back. I can nix the gay poster boy project with a single word. Just tell me now.”

  The other man’s deep brown eyes narrowed. Then he winked and patted Rafe’s cheek. “You got it, patrón.” He shouldered past him into the hallway, whistling.

  Rafe watched him go, fists clenched in repressed need to hit something. He’d been warned by several men who’d been in his position as Nicco’s coach and manager before.

  “A rare, raw talent. And a shit of a human being.”

  “Can’t see past the end of his own cock long enough to focus. Otherwise he’d still be world class.”

  “If you can channel him for the game, you won’t lose. If you can’t, your life is a guaranteed living hell of scandal, booze, and babysitting his ego.”

  Rafe knew about Nicco’s not-so-secret bisexuality. Realized that his marriage had dissolved when his ex-wife had discovered his affair with a man. That guy had been killed along with his entire team when their plane crashed between South America and Australia.

  Rafe had done his homework and also realized there were darker rumors about Nicolas Garza—drinking, drugs, and even some folks who claimed he had a sex addiction, which could rapidly destroy what was once one of the very best soccer athletes in the entire world.

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