Scary (Twirled World Ink 3)Blurb:
Welcome to Twirled World Ink where the crazies run the asylum.
Gene Sheridan earned the appropriate nickname when Legend Gib Phelps employed him at Twirled World Ink—Scary. No one made it out of his old neighborhood without scars both mental and physical. At one time, Scary thought he had a chance that is until his ex-boyfriend discovered slumming with someone like him wasn’t worth his trust fund. No-strings hookups became his go-to when he needed to relieve some tension. Co-owning a bar called Brawlers with his best friend, Tank, made it easy to find a body to use for the night. If not happy he was content with his life, but one man made content seem like such a terrible thing.
Elijah Vaughn worried about everything. His life was put on hold at eighteen when his mostly-absent parents died on one of their many adventures leaving him to raise his six-year-old brother, Brody. He’d never had anything or anyone that was just his. When Brody met a tattoo artist named Trouble, Elijah hadn’t realized how much it would change his life too. He met a huge man named Scary and how the man made him feel terrified him.
Tank Davis lost his voice the night he was attacked and had this throat slit ear-to-ear. It kept him in a world of silence. Silent and intimidating, he scared off more men than he drew to him. His best friend Scary and him made a life for themselves in small town Georgia with their bar Brawlers. Most night everyone could find him working security at the door. Scary called in a favor, and Tank met the one man he couldn’t resist, proper and upstanding Elijah Vaughn.
Can one man accept that there’s not one perfect man for him, but two damaged souls who need him to be whole?
The music from inside Twirled World Ink vibrated the door as Gene “Scary” Sheridan pulled it open and walked inside. He shouldered off his leather jacket as he strode across the room to make his way behind the reception desk. Scary threw the jacket over the back of the chair and sat down picking up the stack of messages. He flipped through them not paying much attention. Shop manager or not, he didn’t fuck with the paperwork.
When he’d hired on to the Twirled World Crew he damn sure didn’t anticipate becoming the keeper of the rest of the crazies who worked there. When he heard the breakroom door creak open he jerked his head around.
“Scary, when did you sneak in,” Trouble, artist and piercer, popped out of the door.
“Just now, glad I wasn’t a fucking customer.”
“The chime just went off, so relax.”
That was Trouble, he was the most laid back member of the crew especially since he hooked up with his boyfriend, Brody. This one seemed to be on the road to permanent commitment just like the only other attached artist, Berzerker.
Scary looked up as the chime went off, he groaned as Mayor Elijah Vaughn, Brody’s brother, breezed in. His perfectly tailored suit highlighted the trim lines of his body. All dark hair and clear blue eyes, wholesome and shit, All American Apple Pie.
“Mr. Sheridan,” Elijah’s smooth Southern accent and smile brightened the room—how fucking clichéd was that?
“Scary,” He corrected a bit more briskly than he intended, but it wasn’t like his nickname didn’t fit him. He was a fucking beast and Scary had no problem playing it up mainly to keep men like Elijah away from him. Because what he wanted to do to that slim body was probably illegal in most states, at the very least it would send the proper politician running in the opposite direction. “What can I do for you, Mr. Mayor?”
“Please, call me Elijah, we go through this every time, Mr.—Scary.”
“What can I do for you?” He enunciated and knew he was a major dick, but at the moment he didn’t care. People didn’t call him a bastard for nothing.
“Yes, well, I was just walking by and thought I’d say hello.”
He remained silent and stared the man down. Elijah shifted nervously from one foot to the other and shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his tailored slacks. What the fuck would he do with a perfectly primped man in tailored suits? No man like that wanted to get dirty with a fucker like him.
“I better get going. I have a lunch engagement. It was nice to see you again—Scary, have a good day, Trouble.”
“You too, Elijah. Hey, you need to come to dinner. Brody and I were talking it’s been awhile since you’ve seen your niece.”
“That would be wonderful. Tell Brody to call me. Keeping track of his and Mina's schedules is hard. I don’t want to be—” Elijah fell into silence and stared down at the spotless, shined toes of his wingtip dress shoes.
“You’re never a bother, Elijah. You can come by Twirled house anytime.”
“Thank you, Trouble. Good day.”
Elijah did a perfect turn on his toes and strode quickly to the exit, within seconds he was through the shop door and out of view of the large picture windows.
“Do you always have to be a dick to him?”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
He knew what Trouble accused him of and he didn’t know why he shrugged it off as if he didn’t know. Scary had his reasons and they weren’t Trouble or anyone else’s business.
“You make him feel like something disgusting you stepped in. He’s a good guy. A bit shy and lonely, but he’s nice to me, to everyone since Brody and me got together. No better than attitude.”
“I don’t care what his attitude is. I got shit to do and don’t you have better things to do than get into shit that ain’t your business?”
“Yea, I do.”
He barely paid attention to Trouble leaving him alone in the main room as he exited to the employee’s only section.
He was a fucking asshole. They’d known it for years, so he didn’t see why Trouble made a big deal out of it. He didn’t have time for pretty boys in the mood to slum. When he wanted a fuck, he found a man like him who knew the score and didn’t have dreams of some fabled happily ever after in their damn eyes.
The phone rang, and he picked up the receiver. “Twirled.”
“What was this I heard you were rude to a customer,” Gib Phelps his boss’s voice growled in his ear.
“Trouble,” Scary bellowed, and a grinning pain in the ass peeked out of the employee break room and then ducked out of sight.
“Don’t yell at Trouble.”
“It wasn’t a fucking customer just Elijah,” Scary scrubbed his hand over his shaved head and held in a growl.
“Quit being mean to Elijah. That boy ain’t done shit to you.”
“He ain't a boy he’s a grown ass man who can take care of himself.”
Okay, Elijah self-sufficient pulled at the reins of the possible. He guessed the man handled himself well at work, but personally he’d heard Elijah couldn’t get more lost. Gib’s voice jolted him out of his head, and he rolled his eyes.
“Says the bastard of Twirled.”
“I’m not doing this with you, old man. Elijah’s my business.” Fuck, he shouldn’t have said that. Scary already had too much responsibility with the Twirled Crew and his from the bar he owned. He sure has hell didn’t want to add to his personal and professional workload; soothing the timid Elijah would transition into a full-time job.
“He ain’t none of your business, but if you don’t start being nice, I’m gonna sic Peaches on you.”
Shit, to be honest, he was terrified of Peaches more than Gib. She’d worked as a public defender in Atlanta. Her connections are a hell of a lot more dangerous than his. He joked about hiding a body or two, but Peaches knew men who could make it happen.
“Don’t threaten me with your wife.”
“I’ll do what I want. He’s related to my son-in-law.”
“Trouble isn’t your kid, and Brody isn’t your son-in-law.”
“I adopted all you shits the day I hired y’all. Don’t make me come down there.”
Scary suppressed the need to laugh at the threat. It amused the hell out of him when Gib tried to play father figure with him. He was almost a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier than Gib.
“Like I’m scared of a geriatric canvas of skin and bones.”
“Peaches, Scary is being a bastard.”
He grimaced and held the phone away from his ear.
Scary huffed and tipped his head back to stare at the ceiling. He didn’t want to deal with Peaches. The beautiful middle-aged woman could be worse than a mama bear when she thought one of her boys was in trouble.
“Scary, are you hurting Elijah’s feelings again?”
“Dammit, he’s grown and able to handle his shit. He doesn’t need bodyguards.”
“He’s a sensitive and lonely young man. You know he comes to the damn shop just to see your ugly mug.”
Scary couldn’t ignore the truth of Peaches’s statement. The first time he met Elijah he would’ve had to be blind not to notice Elijah sneaking glances at him from under the long, thick fringe of his lashes. He’d caught Elijah moving towards him when Lucky one of the Twirled Crew tried flirting. Scary couldn’t be some too gorgeous man’s savior.
“I’m not ugly,” He wasn’t handsome either. Scary knew what he looked like; he’d stared at himself enough in his forty-three years to have every scar on his harsh face memorized.
“You’re not pretty and you’re over forty, you’re not getting any younger.”
“I do fine.” And he did, it didn’t matter if he didn’t remember half their names or even cared too. They got each other off and wasn’t that the point of fucking?
“With your left hand probably, actual human beings not so much.”
“Don’t be mean,” He growled.
“How does it feel?”
“Peaches, you’re not going to guilt me into being nice to Elijah.”
“I’m done with you, Gib, he’s all yours. When he acts like this, he’s yours. I’m not claiming this one.”
He hung up the phone without waiting for Gib to come back on the line. He didn’t have time for this shit. Scary tossed the messages back on the desk, ripped his jacket off the back of the chair, and headed for the door without a word.
He’d backed his Harley Softail up to the curb. Twirled World’s Main Street location considered prime real estate in Powers, Georgia. For small town American, it leaned towards eclectic, and he liked it here. He’d lived here over a decade, and he hadn’t had the urge to run yet.
Scary grabbed his helmet and slipped it on; he didn’t have any appointments today. A long ride would clear his head before he had to be at his bar, Brawlers, for the evening shift.
Why everyone had to jump to Elijah’s defense pissed him off? It wasn’t his problem the man was over-sensitive. His unwanted attraction to the man aggravated his bastard tendencies. He’d learned decades before pretty boys were nothing but trouble. The one time he’d let a man past his defenses he’d been fucked over. Callum was all innocent, appeared so fucking loving, but the moment Scary turned his back Callum fucked the first respectable man he could take home to the family.
Ugly, tattooed and scarred Gene Sheridan was just a piece of trash from the wrong side of the tracks. Men like Elijah were all the same and he didn’t give a fuck how many people talked about how sweet and lonely the man was. It wasn’t his fucking business. Scary wouldn’t let a repeat of the past come around again. Elijah could stay on his side of the tracks and leave Scary to his own life.
His bike rumbled to life and he rolled onto the deserted street toward the town limits. He was all right just like he was and he wasn’t going to change because some boy got his panties in a bunch. Clearing his head, he settled looser on the seat and lost himself in the warmth of the sun, the wind whipping around him and forgot his troubles for a few hours. On the road he felt at peace, he refused to let bullshit intrude and ruin it.