Manbuns & Martinis (Drinking #1.5), page 1
Manbuns & Martinis
Copyright © 2016 by R.L. Griffin
Cover by Michelle Carroll of Silver Plum Creations
Cover Photography by Scott Hoover Photography
Editorial services by Ellie McLove
Interior text design by Lisa DeSpain
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. Contents and/or cover may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the express written consent of the Publisher.
For those of you who read Sunshine & Whiskey and loved it. You taught me there is a beauty in escape. Those that need that happy ending, thank you for showing me the need for the knowledge that you will be soothed at the end, no matter what else happens. Because in life there is no guaranteed HEA and I will do what I can to help offset that reality with this book.
Table of Contents
1 Another Day, Another Dollar
2 Not Just Another Pretty Face
3 Respect the Hustle
4 Not the Happy Ending I Was Expecting
5 #Vagfest is Accurate
6 Your Sexy Voice Sucks
7 You Think if You’ve Eaten Ice Cream on Someone You Know Them
8 And After the Party it’s the Hotel Lobby
9 Viral Dick
10 Are We Doing This?
11 Mind Blown
12 Make it Perfect
Chapter One The Future’s So Bright
Chapter Two Six-Pack
Chapter Three Still Breathing
Chapter Four Here’s the Plan
My eyes pop open suddenly, my internal clock waking me. I rub my semi-hard dick, fart, and yawn. Bleary eyed, I glance around realizing I’m not in my apartment. I close my eyes again and give myself a few seconds to recall last night. My hands reach to my forehead massaging it hoping my headache will go away. Last night was not a good idea, but I’d had a shit day.
I blink and sit up. Long, smooth legs are intertwined in mine and my dick stands at attention. Madison Claire’s legs are my drug. Who is she? She’s my fall back. That sounds shittier than I mean it. She’s my constant. I can fuck up and she’s still there. I can screw whomever and she understands what she and I are, I like her so much. She knows me. She gets me. I think she may love me, even though I’ve told her not to a million times.
“You’re leaving,” she groans, her voice thick with sleep. Her fingernails trail over my thigh as she extricates her leg from mine and rolls over.
“Gotta client in thirty minutes. I definitely need coffee and a shower.”
Getting up, I walk over to where my tank top and jeans are crumpled in the corner. I pull up my jeans, shove my sort of hard dick in and zip them quietly. By her breathing, I know she’s already back asleep. A low whistle comes out of her nose and I chuckle to myself.
I’m just closing the door to her bedroom when I hear her whisper, “I miss you.”
I shake off the guilt that builds around my heart where she’s concerned. I hustle down the stairs and out in the oppressive heat that is Austin, Texas this May morning. I moved here from College Station when all my dreams came to a halt on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
I drive the ten miles to my apartment quickly, there aren’t that many cars on the road at 5:30 am on a Saturday. I have a full schedule at the Builder gym today. That’s where I see my clients for personal training.
I have fifteen minutes to shower, grab a coffee and a protein bar. I want grease in my stomach after last night’s debauchery with vodka, but I can’t. I’m trying to get on point for my book signing in a few weeks. Amelia Anderson, an author who just released a book with me on the cover, is paying for me to travel to Nashville to attend a book signing with her. I’m looking forward to the break, but my abs are not as defined as I need them to be. This week I’ll eat nothing but egg whites, spinach and chicken breasts.
Stripping off my clothes I notice Snape, my English bulldog, is missing from my bed. He must be sleeping with Duncan, my roommate, in his room. He’d met me out last night to blow off some steam, but went home alone early, said he was tired which was weird. I need to remember to figure out what has his panties in a bunch. The water washes away the sex, cobwebs and alcohol at the same time. I use the brand of shampoo that I stole from Megan Walker in Vegas last year. I like the way it smells and I’ve gotten a lot of comments about it.
I don’t have time to shave. I brush my teeth as I wash the soap off my body. I run through my day in my mind. I have Stephanie, Katie, Shelly and Brandi. Why do all my clients today have the same ending sound?
Four clients before noon, that’s four hundred dollars. Then I have to head over to the construction site to paint for a while, that’s two hundred more.
I’m shoving my feet into socks when I hear the clip clopping noise of Snape’s claws on the tile in the kitchen. Then I hear his bowl scrape across the floor. A grin spreads across my face.
“Okay, okay,” I say with a laugh as I walk into the shotgun style kitchen. Snape looks at me with anticipation and nudges my leg in a hello. “Hey boy,” I greet bending over and rubbing his ears. As I pour food into his bowl, I check my phone.
“Fuck,” I mutter as I put some fucking pep in my step and grab a protein bar.
My red gym polo hasn’t been washed in a few days, but I turn my nose into my under arm and sniff. It seems okay. I dip down and rub Snape’s ears again. I know Duncan will let him out when he gets up. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem like I take care of my dog, but I do. This is an exception.
Hopping down the stairs leading from our apartment I see the sun peering from underneath the trees in the distance. I slide into my hand-me-down Toyota truck that’s held up well under the weight of the ten years my family has owned it. I turn up a little country music to wake me up since I wasn’t able to have the coffee I so desperately need.
My phone vibrates in the console as I pull into the gym.
“Hey, I forgot you had to be at the gym early today. I’ll be in at 9:00, you need anything?” Duncan asks.
“Coffee. Please bring me coffee.”
“You regretting the shots?”
“That and a few other things,” I answer as I open the door to the gym where I’ve been a personal trainer for two years now.
“How is Mad?”
“She’s good. Hey, make sure you walk Snape pretty long because I have to go straight to the site after the gym.”
“I got you.”
“Thanks man, I owe you.”
“Like always,” he says and disconnects the phone. Duncan has been my best friend since my dad, sister and I moved to Odessa, Texas when I was in seventh grade. We lived in the same trailer park and were basically inseparable until I left for college and he didn’t.
I smile at Keisha at the front desk.
“You look tired Ellis.”
“I feel worse than I look,” I comment and head to the mats where I know Stephanie will be waiting. “I like the teal,” I call back to Keisha, her hair is always a different color. I wonder how she affords that as I walk around a woman doing walking lunges. Ladies, lunges are the greatest exercise for that ass. That one is free.
Listen, I know how I look. I know how people view me. That’s fine. I’ve been underestimated all my life, except on the football field. Honestly, I’d rather be underestimated.
I’m sitting in the office waiting for Shelly to sashay through the door in her three hundred dollar workout outfit with her two hundred dollar shoes. I hear a knock on the door and my face contorts into the Ellisland smile I roll out for these sort of people. I’m relieved to see Duncan in the doorway, his blond hair slick from a shower and holding my coffee, and my face relaxes.
“You are a god amongst men,” I tell him taking the coffee from his outstretched hand.
“Rough morning?” He smiles and throws his bag down on the table in front of the desk.
“Not as bad as it could be I guess.” I sip the coffee, it’s black. I don’t use artificial sweeteners. They are hell on your body and they disguise it as good for you because it has no calories.
“Who you got left?” Duncan asks as he pulls out his phone and looks at his schedule. “I have four today.”
“I got Shelly and Brandi left.” I sip more coffee.
“Oh Shelly…” Duncan has a huge crush on her. “She’s an easy one, she’ll be thirty minutes late and then kick ass the rest of the time.”
“She really doesn’t need me anymore,” I agree.
“I need her to need you so I can look at her in those tops.” He laughs.
“Hey, what was up with you last night?” I get up and walk over to the door overlooking the floor of the gym that’s below the office. The cardio machines are right under us, next to the mats for stretching. On the other side of the gym are free weights and the rooms for aerobic type classes.
I love summertime in this gym because it gets so hot outside they can’t quite keep the gym cool enough and sweat hangs in the air just like it used to in the weight room in college. I can close my eyes and hear the clanging of the free weights and almost pretend I’m back there, living the dream. Almost.
Dreams have to change, you know? I learned that lesson way too early if you ask me. This life is one hell of a motherfucker. Just when you think you’ve got something figured out you get knocked on your ass, sometimes literally. See, I’m not as dumb as you thought I was, am I? I have two years of college under my belt. I’d like to graduate one day, but right now I gotta hustle to pay the bills.
“Oh fuck yes, there she is. Oh my god, she’s wearing that yellow top that gets see-through when she sweats.” Duncan is almost vibrating with glee. “You better work that ass.”
“I’m sure I will,” I comment as I throw my empty coffee cup in the trash. “I’ll make sure she gets real sweaty as a thank you for my coffee.”
“You’re my hero,” Duncan offers, laughing.
My dark brown hair is a little longer than it’s been in awhile, I’ve actually been growing it a bit so I can get a manbun and get some pictures taken for covers like that. I’ve seen a bunch of chatter on social media about how sexy a manbun is right now. #manbun. Next week it will be something else, but you have to be able to adapt to the trends to sell covers, that I know.
“Hey Brad,” Shelly calls from the mat. Her nipples taut under her thin sports top and I’m really glad I just got laid, because she’s hot. I’d never fuck her though. That’s a rule that I have, I don’t fuck clients. Former clients, hell yes, current clients? No.
I hear you calling me a whore. I don’t know if that’s true or not, really. I appreciate a one night stand every once and a while, usually while I’m travelling, but when I’m here I usually end up inside Mad. That’s my nickname for her because she stays mad at me… So I like sex and like I told you before, Mad and I aren’t exclusive, but I’m not whoring around all the time. I travel like five times a year.
“Run around the track for five and we’ll start with squats,” I answer her hello. I hate when people are late. It’s disrespectful of other’s time. I have a client right behind Shelly and I’m not planning on going over, I’m about to work her out so hard she’ll only be able to take thirty minutes.
So the last one night stand I had, which really turned into a week long sexcapade in Vegas last year just informed me she’s getting married to a guy name Walker. I mean really, Walker? He sounds like a fucking douche...I see the irony in that. I like Megan. I liked her immediately, I want to end up with someone like her, but she lives in Napa and I’m in Texas and I’m six years younger than her.
“Okay, now what?” Shelly disrupts my thoughts of the red headed fireball that intrigues me on a daily basis. Shelly’s got her blonde hair in a ponytail and she’s bouncing up and down.
“I’ve set up a series of exercises we’ll do. You do each ten times and then go to the next.”
I demonstrate as I tell her the series. “Put the medicine ball between your knees and do ten squats.” I drop the ball and move to the box. “Then ten box jumps. Last, I want you to try to grab this flag ten times.”
She nods and gets to work. Halfway through the box jumps I see Duncan positioning himself so he can watch her from across the gym. He loves fake boobs and she’s got a set of them, they hardly move. I love real boobs, the way they fall to the side when a beautiful woman is laying under me. My dick twitches thinking about Mad last night. She’d gotten dropped off at the bar after hanging with her friends and then she drove my truck to her place. She wasn’t wearing a bra and it wasn’t five minutes after she got there that I asked if we could leave because there was somewhere I needed to be....inside of her. Yeah, you knew that was coming didn’t you?
“Another rep,” I call as Shelly walks from the wall where she’d been jumping to the flag back to the ball. I smile when I remember the puzzled look on Mad’s face when she asked where I needed to be. I’d leaned in and whispered, “Inside you.” She’d blushed and slapped my arm. We left immediately after that.
Sweat is dripping down Shelly’s neck and falling in between her fake boobs. “Last rep,” I demand then I look over at Duncan who is giving me a thank you with his eyes. I move toward my next station. Shelly finishes and walks over to me drinking water from her bottle, spilling some on her sports top.
“Okay, now let’s do walking lunges, ten on each leg. After you finish that you’ll do the leg press start with 12 then 10 then 8, I’ll add weight each rep. Then do twenty high knees.” Those are for Duncan. I really appreciate my coffee.
She starts lunging.
I pull my phone out and see I have a text from the ginger I was telling you about.
You haven’t responded to my message about me getting married. I know you’re happy for me you whore. Now tell me how much.
I laugh out loud at the text and then put my phone back in my pocket. Yes, I let her call me a whore. I’d call her one too, but I don’t think she’d let me. We text daily. I wonder if her fiancé knows that? Maybe I should tell him. No, no. I know what we are and we’re friends. She’s a good person and she deserves to be happy. I sometimes wish it could be me that made her happy, but she’s a little out of my reach. That doesn’t make sense? Here’s the thing, people are happy to fuck me, but they think I’m just a painter and personal trainer and that’s all I’ll ever be. Megan likes me for me, I know that about her, but my personal issues come up when I’m with a woman like her. She’s confident, smart and funny as hell. She’s a lawyer and sometimes I can’t keep up with her. Whenever that happened in Vegas I’d just pull her pants off and everything was right with the world, but you can’t make a life together like that, can you?
You know when you meet someone and you just click? We did that. That’s why we stayed friends, we like each
Shelly’s top is now soaked through with sweat. She puts her hands on her hips as she tries to calm her breathing.
“Last set will be you sprinting to that bench and then over to that weight, bend down to touch each ten times. After you do that set, we’ll go over and hit the quad extension machine and then do jumping jacks. To cool down you’ll jog around the track for five more minutes.”
“You’re all business today,” she comments.
“I don’t like you wasting my time.” When I don’t get enough sleep sometimes I lose my charm. It happens.
“I’m paying you.”
“It’s your money, you’re right.” My smile is tight. My time obviously isn’t that important. “Get moving,” I push.
Our time is about up when she finishes the extensions while she’s telling me something about a movie she saw recently. I see Brandi come in and look at me. I motion for her to warm up on the treadmill and I’ll come get her.
“Duncan,” I call to him as he leans against the counter at the reception area.
He walks over with a look on his face that makes me fight to keep from laughing. “What’s up?” he says casually, but flexing his biceps at the same time hoping Shelly will notice.
“I’ve got to get started with Brandi, would you mind stretching Shelly?” I motion over to where Shelly is now doing jumping jacks, her eyes look Duncan over before they smile. What? Eyes can smile. I slap him on his shoulder as I walk past him, knowing I just made his entire fucking week. He’ll be hovering over Shelly with her see-through top on for the next ten minutes stretching her and trying not to get a hard-on.
I finish with Brandi and saunter into the locker room to change into my own workout gear. I have an hour and forty-five minutes before I have to be at the site. I exit the locker room with my phone strapped on my bicep and my Beats on my ears. When I see Duncan on the side of the gym with his client, his grin is still in place. I chuckle as I sink down on the red pleather bench for bench presses. I stare at my reflection in the mirror and flex my arms to see the definition. I’m proud of my arms and have always been one to sport a tank top for all the girls to see.
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