Man about the House (Wicked Wraiths), page 1
MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE
Blue Hedgehog Press
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About the Author
Other Titles by Mina Carter
Like most men, Corvin had always had an idea of what would happen the moment he met the woman of his dreams. The usual romantic moment where their eyes met across a crowded room and, Corvin being male, the normal “getting to know you” crap was minimal, replaced instead by a bout of hot, sweaty sex en route back to his apartment.
In all his thinking on the subject, which was rare since men as a whole and Corvin in particular didn’t tend to think in happily ever after — more happily for now, preferably ones involving blow jobs — he certainly hadn’t expected said moment to occur at the worst possible time for romance.
Namely, when he was in drag.
“Jesus Christ, these heels are fucking killing me.” Hex stumbled into Corvin’s back. “How do women wear these things?”
“Intelligence and a higher pain threshold than you pathetic men,” Storm, the only girl in their trio, threw back. The comment earned her a sneer from Hex as he tried to negotiate climbing onto a barstool in a miniskirt and the heels he was complaining about.
One eye on the woman and one on the farce unfolding to his left, Corvin had to smother a smile as Hex approached the puzzle in his usual manner, bull in a china shop.
“Would you two give it up and get a fucking room sometime this century?” Corvin’s voice was bored as he slid behind the opposite side of the table to Hex. Both of his friends turned toward him, horror and disgust on their faces.
“What, with him?”
“…her? You gotta be fucking kidding me. I’d rather screw a keres demon.”
“You look like a fricking keres demon!”
“Better than sounding like a harpy all the time!”
Corvin shook his head as the two started to squabble again. They were perfect for each other; they just couldn’t see it. One day he was going to lock them up together in a room for a weekend. They’d either kill each other or fuck each other’s brains out. Either way, he’d get some peace.
A waiter approached their table, and Corvin let Hex order as he looked for his dream woman again. The club was crowded but they’d had no trouble getting a table. They never did. Known as the god pack, all three had divine blood but they weren’t full demi-gods, just the offspring of a few.
Hex was the son of Hecate so he threw a mean spell when pushed or pissed off, which was often. Storm’s mother was Tempestas, Goddess of Storms — even deities struggled for originality when naming their offspring — and she’d inherited her mother’s temper. Last but not least, Corvin’s mother was Minerva, Goddess of Poetry, Medicine, Crafts, Magic… blah, blah, blah.
Corvin wrinkled his nose and glanced past his friends again. There she was, over on the other side of the bar, collecting empty glasses. Corvin took a moment to admire her. Small and curvy, her dark hair was pulled back from a heart-shaped face and clipped up to reveal the slender curve of her neck. His gaze devoured her as she turned, and the sensual curve of her breasts was outlined for a moment in the club lights as she tried to juggle glasses.
Lust hit him like one of Cupid’s arrows. Or rather would have if the God of Love hadn’t said “fuck it” and gone AWOL last year after breaking up with his latest squeeze.
“Need a piss, back in a minute,” Corvin announced as he slid off his stool. Still squabbling, Hex and Storm didn’t notice his departure. Corvin put them from his mind as he negotiated the crowded club, heading toward his target like a tiger on the prowl.
Busy, busy, busy. The litany ran through Janelle’s mind as she scurried around the main floor collecting empties. It was near closing time. If she could get most of the bulk cleared away before the club closed, then she had a chance of getting away at a reasonable time. Which meant she could get a couple of hours study in before she had to crash.
You carry on like this, you’re going to burn out, honey.
A sigh escaped Janelle’s lips as her friend Tori’s words came back to haunt her. Two jobs and study to boot? Burnout wasn’t an optional extra; it came fitted as standard. A table to her left came free so Janelle darted in behind the departing patrons and snagged the empties in quick movements.
Listen, let me help. I’ve got this scroll…
Looking about her for more glasses, Janelle couldn’t help the smile spreading over her lips. Magic was Tori’s answer for everything. Mind you, if Janelle were married to a sexy-as-hell sorcerer like Jacob, she’d be a big fan of magic as well. The guy was gorgeous and the way Tori had met him? Something out of a fairytale.
Love for Janelle was not on the agenda. She had too much on her plate as it was, without having to deal with a relationship as well. Sex… yeah, sex would be nice. But then again, her battery-operated friends could be ridden hard and put away wet. They didn’t pout and complain when she ignored them and spent half the night pouring over books or cramming for endless exams.
Her gaze caught on someone approaching her. Janelle’s breath hitched in her throat. She bit back her whimper as a god of a man strode toward her. Standing between the tables, she felt like a rabbit trapped in the glare of a car’s headlights.
Oh God, what I’d give to do some practical study on him!
Tall and dark, he was Janelle’s deepest, darkest desires made flesh, every single one of them. His broad shoulders should have made him look stocky but didn’t. His height should have made him awkward, but instead he moved with the fluid grace of a hunter. A hunter whose sights were firmly set on… her?
She blinked. He was looking at her. Like, directly at her. She glanced over her shoulder, expecting to see some leggy blonde stick insect behind her.
The table was empty.
Too surprised to do anything else, Janelle swung back around and just looked at him. He nodded as if to say, yes, it was her he was looking at. He is looking at me. She was having trouble wrapping her head around the thought. Men like that did not look at women like her.
Whilst she was struggling with the concept, he’d closed the distance between them. It was only his sidestep at the last moment to avoid a loved-up couple that drew her attention to his clothing.
Sexy, clingy clothes. Women’s clothes. Complete with high heels. Oh my God, I am such a pervert. I’m drooling over a guy dressed as a woman.
“Hi,” he offered, with a charming smile that made Janelle’s heart do a hop, skip and a jump behind he
“Huh? What?” Mesmerised by the bright blue eyes looking down into hers, Janelle had completely forgotten the glasses she was carrying. Ugh, make that the glasses she was cuddling. Great, just perfect, Janelle. He’ll think you have a thing for bloody empties next.
“The glasses?” he said, nodding toward her loaded arms. “Awful lot of glasses for a little lady like you. Can I help?”
“Ohh… no. It’s okay, but thanks.” A flush heating her cheeks, Janelle readjusted the empties. “I work here. It’s my job.”
Duh, as if “I work here” didn’t clue him in on that fact. She floundered for something to say next. Usually men like this, hell, any men, didn’t talk to her. It was as if the club uniform of black t-shirt and pants rendered her totally invisible to the opposite sex.
“So, is the…” She indicated his clothing. “…a lifestyle choice?”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth Janelle winced. Way to go, just call the man a transvestite. Her mind was already conjuring up scenarios where she was pulled into the club manager’s office and sacked for insulting a guest when he chuckled. The rich sound rolled around her, whispering across her skin like a warm caress. She shivered. She’d always had a thing for men’s voices and he had a gorgeous voice. Who are you kidding? Forget the voice. He’s just plain gorgeous!
“Err, no. Not exactly.”
He looked over his shoulder. Janelle followed his gaze. Her heart fell. There, seated at the table he was looking at, were two women. One was leaning down to adjust the ankle strap on her shoe and the other… Janelle’s heart sank even lower. The other one was just stunning. Tall and slender, her red hair cascaded over her shoulders in waves, and her perfect porcelain skin had Janelle green with envy.
She sighed. There was no way, with a woman like that at his side, he was actually interested in her, plain and plump Janelle. “I’ll be over in a moment to clear the table. Just let me get rid of these.”
Corvin turned around to see her disappearing into the crowd. He was momentarily distracted by the sight of her delectable ass, rounded and curvy, then realised she was getting away. “Hey, wait! Come back.”
It was too late. She was already gone, lost in the heaving mass on the dance floor, and at her height, Corvin had no chance of spotting her.
“Great, just bloody great. Real smooth, Casanova. You didn’t even get her name.” He stomped back to the table and slid onto a barstool. “What is it with fucking women?”
Hex popped his head up from fiddling with his shoes. “Fucking women? Where? When?”
Storm slapped him upside the head smartly. “Not fucking women, idiot. He means fuck — never mind, forget it.” She stopped halfway through and sighed, rolling her eyes at Hex’s rapt expression. “Men. One-track minds. What’s up, Cor?”
Corvin shrugged one shoulder. Grabbing his drink he lifted the bottle to his lips and downed half in a series of long swallows. The glass base clinked as he set it back on the table.
“Drink up. Quickly,” he ordered, catching his breath before lifting the bottle again.
The two picked their drinks up obediently. That didn’t surprise Corvin. Hex in particular didn’t need an excuse to drink.
“Why? We moving on?” Hex cut a longing glance at the dance floor. Even just one or two to drink and he became a dance diva, assured of his talent and supremacy on the floor. Luckily his divine blood didn’t allow him to be anything less than graceful, much to Corvin’s irritation. Would have been so much easier if Hex dumped himself on his ass regularly; that way he and Storm wouldn’t have so much of an issue getting him to leave at closing time.
“Nope. I just want another drink.”
Corvin emptied the bottle and slammed it down on the table, instantly signaling the waiter to bring another round. His mystery woman was obviously a bar employee and clearing glasses. She’d escaped him for the moment. He’d just have to give her a reason to come out of hiding. If it meant drinking the bar dry, then that’s what he’d do.
Money wasn’t an issue and neither was inebriation. He could get as drunk as a skunk, but all that would happen was he’d wake up in the morning with a stinking hangover. No alcohol poisoning or stomach pumps in his future, thank you very much.
“Woo-hoo! Man’s on a mission… Hey, will you stop doing that?” Hex complained as Storm clipped him around the ear again.
“Well, keep your mouth shut and stop talking shit then, you bimbo,” she shot back, looking at Corvin with an odd look in her eye. He ignored it, concentrating on the drinks the waiter was offloading onto the table. In an undertone, he ordered the guy to get another round ready.
“So, big man,” Storm lined her drink up with the one she was halfway through, “what’s going on? Did the pot washer piss you off, and you plan on making his life hell? Or does this have something to do with the curvy glass collector who blew you off over there?”
Sometimes Storm was a little too perceptive for Corvin’s liking. “Just shut up and drink, okay?”
Storm shrugged her shoulders and picked her glass up. “Whatever you say, boss.”
Several rounds later and the table began to resemble the glass section of a hardware store. They were still missing one cute-as-hell glass collector though. Corvin frowned as he signaled the waiter yet again, watching the man eye the tower of pint glasses Hex was happily constructing. It swayed precariously, much to the other man’s delight.
Corvin suppressed a sigh. Simple things pleased simple minds. Sometimes dealing with Hex was like dealing with an overly excitable, hyperactive three-year-old. Scratch that. Dealing with the toddler would have been easier. At least toddlers didn’t have a tendency to curse people when they were drunk.
This time, though, he let Hex carry on. Worst case scenario was the whole thing would tumble down and cover Hex in the dregs, which would mean they needed someone to collect the fallen glasses. As far as Corvin was concerned, it was a win-win situation. He’d get to see his mystery woman and take the piss out of Hex. It was a plan with no drawbacks.
Draining his drink, he added it to the group of bottles in front of him. His vision swam and he blinked to clear it. Although he couldn’t get ill from drinking he could still get rip-roaring drunk. The waiter was talking into a small radio as he approached, clipping it back onto his belt as he slid the laden tray onto a small gap on the crowded table.
Corvin leaned back in his seat. “Any chance of getting some of this cleared away, mate?”
“No problem, sir, I’ve already alerted Janelle you’re a bit overloaded here. She should be over in a moment.”
Janelle. Her name was Janelle.
Corvin rolled the name around in his mind. He liked it. Delicate and feminine, like the woman herself. As though just thinking the name had conjured her up, the woman in question appeared at the other side of the table with a large tray. Efficiently she started to clear the empties away, smoothing Hex’s complaints with a smile as she firmly removed his toys.
“Hi.” Corvin smiled as she moved around his side of the table. Flicking a glance at him she smiled politely and carried on clearing glasses away.
Corvin tried again. “Come here often?”
“Yeah, quite a bit.” Her lips quirked but she managed to keep a straight face as she stacked glasses onto her tray.
Come here often — she fricking works here, you great idiot. Of course she comes here often! The little voice in his head reached full volume as Corvin kicked himself for stupidity.
Patiently he tried again, trailing off in the vain hope she’d provide her name. Of course, he already knew what it was, but getting her to tell him her name would be a minor victory since the only conversation he’d gotten out of her so far was a veiled query on his sexuality.
“I don’t normally dress like this, you know,” he carried on when she just nodded. “It was a bet. I lost –”
She eyed his sparkly top.
Not expecting that, Corvin lifted an eyebrow. “Why obviously?”
Glass clinked as she finished clearing the table and then wiped it down with a wet rag. Stuffing it between two glasses she nodded toward Storm. “Two guys dressed in drag and a woman? Either you three are real kinky or you both lost a bet with her.”
Corvin glanced at the other two, who were still sniping at each other, and smiled. She was right on the money. A girl with brains as well as looks; what more could he ask for?
She started to slide the heavy tray off the table, bracing to take the weight. In a heartbeat Corvin was by her side. He didn’t give her an option as he lifted the laden tray from her hands with ease. For a second she was trapped between him and the table, his arms on either side of her as he gripped the tray. The scent of mimosa wafted up from her hair.
He closed his eyes and filled his lungs. His mother had a mimosa tree outside her home on Olympus, a scent he remembered from his earliest days. The smell of home and comfort all wrapped around another scent… clean skin and an earthy, musky scent that had to be Janelle herself.
His breath punched its way out of his lungs as his cock hardened to full attention. God, he wanted her. Like right now. If he wasn’t so sure he’d get a glass where it hurt, he’d throw an obscurity cloak around them, boost her up on the counter and sink deep into her lush body.
Now, do it now! His cock jerked at the thought, and his balls drew up tight and aching against his body. Trying to be circumspect he rolled his hips, an attempt to readjust himself without using his hands. Risking a glance down, he winced. Another lesson learned, women’s clothing was so not designed to disguise a raging hard-on.
“What are you doing?” She tried to yank the tray back from him. All she achieved was a new level of tray instability as the contents slid across the surface. “You’ll get me the sack!”
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