And my blind date.
Tag Calloway is toxic. If you aren’t in his small inner circle of friends, you’re nothing.
An inconvenience at best.
And it’s just my luck that my first blind date—heck, my first date since ‘The Incident’––happens to be with him.
I’ve spent years hiding myself from men. From life. Wallowing in guilt and camouflaging my body.
I live for one reason. Gigi. The broken-condom accident who has become the singular light of my life.
Why did I let my friends talk me into this?
He’s the last person I should trust with my feelings. My body. My scars.
But when our night turns into something I never expected, common sense fails me and I fall hard, knowing this time, it won’t be my body that suffers gruesome damage, it will be my heart.
Release date: April 30, 2022
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“I don’t get it,” Jaxon says, sinking his teeth into a foot-long chili dog. He studies the impressive ass of the busty blonde waitress who just tucked her phone number into my breast pocket. “We have the same DNA. Share the same parents.” He glances down, eyes sweeping over his jeans, Doc Martens knockoffs, and standard-issue Nighthawks fan tee. “Is it my clothes?”
“It’s my charm,” I deadpan.
“Charm?” He chokes down another bite. “Brother, you couldn’t charm the deuce I took this morning back into my asshole. Seriously, how do you do it? I mean, you’re such a dickwad.”
My left eyebrow spikes at his choice of words. “Dickwad?”
“I teach teenagers all day. What do you expect?”
The suite roars when the Nighthawks score a run, putting them up 7-2 over the Indians in the eighth inning, all but ensuring a win.
The more the Hawks win, the better my job security. They’re my biggest client. And as owner, president, and CEO of a sports marketing firm, every run they score is more money in my pocket.
Brady Taylor, the former Nighthawk who still holds the team record for pitching the most perfect games, crosses the room. “You see my kid pitch that fastball in the fifth inning? He’s pushing one hundred miles per hour. That’s Hall of Fame territory.”
“Sure did. Stryker is the reason the stands are packed.”
He smiles proudly. “Hell yeah, he is.”
The inning turns over, and the Hawks take the field. Brady thumbs to his wife, sitting in the front row biting her nails. “Better get back to Rylee. She can’t watch him pitch without squeezing all the blood out of my hand.”
“Give her my best.”
“Will do. Catch you later, Tag.”
A pair of kids duck around Brady and bump into me as they zoom by. I check my tailored pale-gray Hugo Boss dress pants to make sure they didn’t smear food on them. Fucking kids. They shouldn’t be allowed in here. I get out a smoke and nod to the door. Jaxon shakes his head but doesn’t say anything. He gave up years ago on trying to get me to quit. I step outside the suite and find the nearest designated smoking area. A semi attractive woman talks to me as we puff away. I oblige her, proving my point that despite my dickwad tendencies, I can still charm the pants off a snake.
I toss her number into the trash can, then look back. Yeah, she saw me do it. She shoots me the bird and turns in a huff. That’s right, honey. Mentioning your seven-year-old when you want to ride my cock all night is not how to get me into bed.
As soon as I’m back in the suite, Dylan Graff crosses the room with two drinks in his hands. I lean into Jaxon, eyes still on Dylan. “Here it comes.”
“Here what comes?”
A fresh beer is placed before me as if I can’t snap my fingers and have Miss Hotpants appear with one in ten seconds flat. Probably with her address this time. And maybe the key to her place. Yeah, it’s happened.
Dylan is an intern for the New York Nighthawks. Someone who wipes noses and asses if he’s told—of adult baseball players. He’s got his head so far up my butthole that it must be hard for him to breathe. I get it. He’s young. A recent grad who’s trying to make connections with anyone and everyone. But he’s taken his suck-up-ness to a whole other level.
He wipes the wetness from the beer off his palm and onto his Old Navy chinos before extending his hand. “Mr. Calloway,” he says.
I hate it when people call me Mr. Calloway. Unless said person is a stacked woman with tits that stand at attention when she’s flat on her back, and I’m driving into her like a jackhammer.
“Tag,” I say with my handshake.
He nods to the stadium below. “Looks like it’s going to be another good day.”
“I guess you get to keep your job.”
He laughs a little too loudly. Fucking suck up. Jaxon chuckles beside me.
“So, hey.” He wipes both palms now, hesitating.
“Spit it out, Dylan.”
He looks nervously across the room. I follow his gaze to the attractive brunette leaning against the wall chatting with another familiar Nighthawks staffer. Her cheeks pink when she sees three pairs of eyes on her.
“My cousin Ingrid was wondering if you’d like to, um…” His palms run down the side of his pants again. If the guy doesn’t change soon, I could wring him out like a sponge. “Meet her?”
I shamelessly appraise her from thirty feet away. I pride myself on assessing the fuckability of any woman from afar. It’s one of my best qualities.
The rounded globes of her tits, which scream push-up bra, are squished together by her tighter-than-spandex V-neck T-shirt. Her honey-brown hair falls loosely, a chunk of it trapped in her cleavage as if asking to be pulled out. By me. “She seems nice.”
He smiles like a kid who’s been given a silver dollar and a pat on the head. “She is.”
“And by nice, I mean her brunette curls would look amazing bobbing between my legs.”
Jaxon spits beer onto the table. Dylan stiffens. He’s probably trying to decide if standing up for his cousin is worth burning bridges with me. I meet his gaze, challenging him. What’s it gonna be, kid?
“I, uh…” He fumbles in his pocket, pulling out his phone. “Damn, I just got a text from the boss. I’ll catch you later, Mr. Calloway. Uh, Tag.”
“Your assholery really knows no bounds, does it?” my brother says.
Ignoring him, I finish my beer and start on the one Dylan gave me, focusing on the guy on third and hoping the Hawks can get him out before he scores.
Someone clears his throat. “Tag Calloway?”
I love that I get invited to watch the game in a suite and all, but sometimes I just want to watch the fucking game. I turn and paste on my CEO face. “You found him.”
His hand juts out. “Stu Richards. We met at a convention last year in Stamford. You were on a panel of business entrepreneurs that I found quite interesting.”
And I went back to my hotel room with the bleach-blonde keynote speaker who made me forget you and my own name.
“Right. Stu. How are you? Enjoying the game?”
“Immensely. I come to the city whenever I get the chance. I’d love to move here, but Lisa—that’s my wife—has a boutique in Southbury she just won’t part with.”
Is there a point to this conversation?
“It’s interesting,” he says. “Last week I ran into someone who knows you.”
“Hunter McQuinn. No Mickaid. Wait, what was it?”
Hatred spews from my pores. “McQuaid.”
“Yeah. That’s it. Hunter McQuaid. When he said he was from Calloway Creek, I remembered your name.” He laughs. “When I did, he looked exactly like you do now. Like I’d said the name of the devil himself. What’s with the two of you?”
“It’s not just the two of them,” Jaxon says. “It’s our families. They hate each other. Always have. Always will.”
“Is that so? What happened? Someone kill somebody or something?”
Jaxon and I share a look. We’re tired of regurgitating the same story over and over about the Calloway-McQuaid feud.
“Or something,” I say. “Hey, look at the time. I have another obligation I need to attend to.” I shift as if I’m going to stand. “Nice seeing you again, Stu.”
He hands me his business card. I barely scan it before shoving it into my pocket. When I do, I feel the napkin the waitress wrote her number on.
Stu leaves and I toss the napkin to my brother.
“I don’t need your hand-me-downs, Tag.”
“I believe, in fact, that you do. When is the last time you tossed the hotdog down the hallway?” The waitress across the room holds my stare as she runs her tongue across her lower lip. “We look enough alike. Call her in a few days. She won’t remember who she gave her number to.”
“Thanks. I’ll pass. And not that I want you to take her home, which would result in my having to suffer through yet another play-by-play on how you made a woman come, but isn’t it unlike you to turn her down?”
“I have a thing. And I’m already late.”
Gotta go fuck some flower girl.
“A thing? Is that why you made me drive? Normally, you won’t be caught dead in my Honda. You seem to have an unnatural attachment to your Range Rover.”
Because women cream their panties over it.
“I’m staying in the city this evening.”
“For?” He lounges back in his chair as if awaiting some breaking news.
“It’s nothing. Something Amber did. Signed me up for a dating service.”
“No shit? Which one?”
I pick up my phone and swipe it. “After Dark.”
He fingers the edge of the napkin with the phone number on it. “I’m confused. Why would your best friend, who recently found her soul mate and wants everyone else to do the same, sign you up for the most popular one-night-stand app? Enlighten me, please.”
“She met Quinn on a one-nighter. Some shit about finding love when you least expect it.”
“Hey, who the fuck cares what Amber thinks will happen? Thanks to her, I’m about to be balls-deep inside FlowerGirl529 while you go home and rub one out to reruns of Baywatch.”
“Not fair. Getting divorced does not mean I’m dating my right hand. Besides, I met someone. Technically, we’ve known each other since high school, but she recently moved back to town. She’s a teacher at the high school.”
This conversation is starting to bore me. I stand. “I’m late.”
“You’re coming to dinner at Mom and Dad’s tomorrow, right?”
“Mom won’t let me forget,” I say on my way out.
I flash one last look at Ingrid, part of me bummed that I won’t be living out my fantasy. Then again, I’m on my way to a sure thing. Dylan, at Ingrid’s side, gives me the stink eye. I lift my chin to him.
Outside the stadium, I have trouble finding a cab. The game is almost over, and people are pouring from the stands. I decide to walk a few blocks over to see if I have more luck.
New York City is bustling. It’s Saturday night, after all. Not that there’s ever a night the city isn’t alive. And while I’m no stranger to the area, I’m still a visitor. The place I call home is a thirty-minute train ride north of here, twice as long by car. So unlike native city dwellers, it’s harder for me to ignore the sounds. The incessant honking, as if cars think that will move traffic along any quicker. The chatter of people on their cell phones. Heels clacking on the sidewalk. Buskers playing music. Construction noise—even at this hour.
There’s not an available cab in sight, and I’m getting later by the minute. FlowerGirl529 will be pissed. Then I realize I don’t care.
Still, in an effort to show I’m trying, I descend the steps into the nearest subway tunnel, cringing when I sidestep a puddle of stagnant water, or worse, urine.
A train stops and I step in, careful not to touch anything. My bare dick inside a hundred women would be safer than what I might pick up from one of the poles on the subway. Case in point when I see a meth head lick one.
My nose turns up. It smells like feet and cheap perfume.
I should have waited for a cab. Even the stained seats, the smell of bad Chinese takeout, and the mindless chatter from the driver about his ten snotty-nosed kids would be welcome over this eclectic mix of strangers who are doing their best not to make eye contact with one another.
A woman bumps her baby stroller into me as she struggles to get off the train. She shoots me a venomous look as if I’m here for the sole purpose to help her unload.
Finally, I reach my destination, climb the exit stairs, and turn the corner, arriving at the agreed-upon location, albeit twenty-seven minutes late.
I come to the city frequently. Business meetings. Guys’ nights with my brothers. ‘Dates.’ I air quote that in my head because I don’t go on dates. Oh, the women might think they are. They aren’t. Sure, we eat and drink and sometimes even talk about crap I couldn’t care less about, like their jobs and their families. But in reality, it’s all a show. A game. A choreographed dance I learned a long time ago that always ends the same way: with me on top of, behind, or below a gorgeous woman. If all goes well, all of the above.
I enter the restaurant. It was her choice. Nice place. Doorman. Impeccably dressed hostess. White linen tablecloths. I wonder if she thinks I’ll be paying. I will, of course, because it’s all part of the dance.
I wait behind a couple as the hostess speaks with them. She notices me and eye-fucks me even as she taps something on her iPad. The couple is escorted away by another über attractive female in a pencil skirt tighter than a rubber on an elephant’s dick. I step up to the stand. “I’m—”
“Here on business? Meeting friends?” she spews hopefully. The phone rings. “Excuse me, Mr…”
She answers the phone, scribbling on a notepad while speaking to whoever’s on the other end of the line like she’s kissing ass in a job interview, then hangs up. “Sorry. You were saying… Mr. Calloway, was it?”
She playfully pushes two fingers into my bicep and giggles. “You’re it.”
For fuck’s sake.
“My name. It’s Tag.”
She giggles again, louder this time, and throws her hair back. “Mel.”
“I’m meeting someone in the bar, Mel.”
She sighs as if I delivered the worst news since the toilet paper shortage of 2020.
“It’s right through there.” She points with a manicured fingernail longer than Hunter McQuaid’s cock. Then she rips a piece of paper off her pad and tucks it into my pocket. “Just in case.”
I nod my thanks and walk into the bar. I spot my next dancing partner immediately. Black dress with red stripes—exactly as her description stated. We followed the rules of the dating app. No names. No pictures. You just fill out a questionnaire about your likes, dislikes, and personality (or Amber did on my behalf) and are matched with others their algorithm deems compatible.
News flash: having a vagina and a face that doesn’t repulse me are the only qualifications.
FlowerGirl529 is flirting with a bartender. Her body bounces with laughter. I can hear it all the way across the room. It’s the throaty kind that belongs in a seventies porn movie. I can already see how this night is shaping up, and it’s giving me a semi.
Her strawberry-blonde hair flows in waves down her back, which is bare from her neck almost to her waist. Points for no bra. Her legs are long, her thighs disappearing halfway up her leg under a tight dress that she tugs on every so often so it doesn’t ride too high.
That’s right. I’m the only guy here who will see what’s underneath it tonight.
Her dress is a contradiction in itself. While there’s not much room for imagination when it comes to her legs, her arms are entirely covered. All the more for me to discover later.
If her face is anything like the rest of her, I’m done for. In the most hellacious, dirty-talking, pile-driving, pussy-eating kind of way.
Damn, I love my life.
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