A great big thank you to everyone who made my slutting around to promote Bad Behavior’s release so much fun. I am loving hearing from readers about the book and their thoughts on the future for the guys in Baltimore. I couldn’t wrap up Bad Behavior until I had a little glimpse of what would be coming next, so I started a new book, which is in a holding pattern while I finish up something else.
To say thank you, or maybe to torment you, I’m not sure which it is, I have a look at that first scene for you here.
Bad in Baltimore 6
The second week of August was a great time to stand out on an open field with hundreds of shining steel heat reflectors. In Alaska maybe. But in Timonium, Maryland, way too fucking far from any place to catch a decent breeze, it was hot as fuck.
Scott didn’t know if talking about it made it any less nasty, but he repeated it out loud to Jamie as they studied the ‘65 Ford Galaxie Scott had his eye on.
“And exactly how hot is fuck ya think?” Jamie said, leaning in as he inspected the connections on the plugs.
“Don’t know about you but for me, depends on how tight his ass is,” Scott muttered, low enough so only Jamie could hear. They’d waited until the owner had gone to lunch, not wanting to show too much interest, but some things didn’t mix with the car show crowd. Openly gay guys were high up on that list.
Jamie snorted a laugh and lifted his head out from under the hood. “Ain’t that the truth.” He wiped his face on the sleeve of his arm. “At least it’s a dry heat.”
“Yeah, only ninety percent humidity.”
Jamie squinted at the glare on the windshield where the For Sale sign was. “So what’s he want for it?”
Jamie whistled. “The interior’s okay. But even though he cleaned up the engine it needs at least a couple grand to run smooth. You been under her?”
“Yeah. And I figure I’ll start him at eleven.”
Jamie sat on the grass and wiggled to get a look. “Fuck, the exhaust’s crushed. Probably chokes more than a virgin giving a blow job.” He turned his head back out toward Scott. “I mean, I’m all for you getting something besides that pussy wagon Mustang—”
“Fuck you.” Scott said without much heat. Jamie drove a big ass truck so no one would ask him how big his dick was. Scott didn’t need to prove anything. It was an old argument, so he let it go.
“But this baby needs some serious work.” Jamie rolled to his feet and then just as quickly sat back down. “Shit. I am really sorry about this, Scott. Maybe they didn’t see me.” He shifted his shoulders back and forth as he tried to get farther under the car.
“Huh?” Scott looked over his shoulder. From Jamie’s sudden panic, he expected bill collectors, process servers. There wasn’t anything out of place in the crowd of sunburned and sweaty people flooding the field at the East and Beast Car Show.
As he watched, a big guy who looked like the Rock with hair and a beard caught Scott’s gaze and stared back, then nodded. Scott looked around, because he sure as hell didn’t know anyone who looked like he was starring in an action film franchise, then realized the guy was nodding at someone with him.
Jamie called up. “Are they coming this way?”
Across the midway, the big guy was moving toward them, along with whoever he’d nodded at.
“Uh, if you mean a pro-wrestler, two preppy pretty boys, and some goth kid with a camera, yeah.”
The goth kid, black jeans, black T-shirt, spiky black hair and a metal-spiked leather cuff got to the Galaxie first. After studying Jamie’s feet, the kid kicked Jamie’s ankle with a black sneakered toe. “Why’d you ditch us, asshole?”
“Because I hoped you’d get the hint.” Jamie hauled himself out. “Uh, not you.” He said to one of the preppy guys.
However fun it could be to watch this kid harass Jamie, it was all too much drama and togetherness for Scott. “Thanks for the extra pair of eyes, Jamie. I’ll keep an eye out for the induction hood. Catch you around.”
The goth kid looked at Scott for the first time. “Nice sleeve.” He nodded at the ink on Scott’s left arm.
It was a part of him. And he was used to people commenting on it. But every time they did he flashed back to getting that first small tattoo, the one that everything else was supposed to be a distraction from.
That half second exchange took too damned long. Instead of being ten steps away, Scott was standing right next to the sweaty, pale preppy guy when he wobbled. The old first responder’s instinct had him reaching out to steady him, but the guy was going down fast. Then Mr. WWE got involved, lunging across the space, and they took out a cooler and someone’s shade canopy and all three of them ended up on the ground.
“I got him,” the other man growled. “Damn it, David. I told you to drink the water not carry it around.”
People crowded around, leaning over Scott’s shoulder.
“He’s okay.” The force of the big man’s assertion moved people back on his side. And he was right. The guy wasn’t out, he was just all pale and shakey.
“He’s not used to lifting anything but a drink outside of air conditioning,” Jamie said from behind Scott.
“I’m fine.” That was from the guy on the ground. “It’s just so fucking hot. And Eli took off like a bat out of hell after Jamie. We need to pick up these people’s stuff.”
He tried to get up, but there was a reason Scott had been thinking of the big guy as a pro wrestler. He had the fainting guy in a grip that meant he wasn’t going anywhere.
“You need to get out of the heat and get some fluids.”
“Fine, you’re right, but we’re sitting in mud—”
They were fussing like Scott’s grandparents over each other. It was obvious no one needed help, so there was no good reason for him to hang around. He was doing that same thing always led to rubbernecking on the highway, people’s inability to look away from a wreck.
A golf cart stopped in the middle of the midway, and a guy jumped out with a first aid bag. Yeah, it was definitely time to go. He pushed to his feet. That put him face-to-face with the first-aid guy.
His hair was cropped tight to his head, jaw clean of the familiar scruff, but it was Liam.
Seven years since Scott had last seen that face. And then woke up to a a five-word note instead of the man who’d been sharing his bed, his life, his dreams.
Instinct took over again. But it had nothing to do with helping.
Scott punched Liam right in his clean-shaven mouth.
©K.A. Mitchell 2014