If you're under 18, then go on and git.

Monday, October 20, 2014

All In Ch. 9

Copyright 2014
Bailey Bradford

Chapter Nine

When Axel had first seen West in the lobby, he’d actually stumbled then stood there, staring at the man’s profile. The chances of them running into each other again had to be exceedingly unlikely, yet there he stood.
Axel had come out of his stupor, a spurt of joy burbling to life inside of him.
Then that other fool had touched West’s dick. Axel’s mood plummeted to quickly the room seemed to spin with the weight of his disappointment. He’d have left if said fool hadn’t spotted him.
Even then, even thinking West had a handsy boyfriend, Axel hadn’t been able to resist a small flicker of hope that West would be happy to see him. There was, apparently, some idealized little romantic saga going on in the back of Axel’s mind.
It went something like—West would look into his eyes, and an electric energy would spark between him and Axel. Fool-boy would disappear into a vapor or maybe ashes, whatever. He’d be gone and West would take Axel into his arms, and kiss him as if he’d never wanted to be parted from him.
Axel was internally mortified by his hidden fantasy, and he wondered if he shouldn’t have read his grandmother’s old Harlequins. Perhaps they’d set him up for a lifetime of romantic disappointment.
But then…then Axel had run into Jukie and the guy Axel had thought was West’s boyfriend. When he’d bluntly asked, the guy had laughed like Axel’s question was the funniest thing ever before saying no.
Axel had never run down seven flights of stairs so fast in his life. The elevators had already left his floor and he’d not wanted to wait.
Winded more from nerves than the running, Axel saw West step into the rotating door and called out his name. Shouted it across the lobby, really, but he didn’t care that it got him several odd looks. It was only the startled one from West that mattered.
Axel rushed to the door, where West was still standing, temporarily entrapped between the door’s panels. West seemed to be stuck in place, and other people waiting to exit were glaring and muttering.
“Excuse me,” Axel said as he slipped past them, his gaze still locked with West’s. Axel’s heart was slamming in his chest like it did before a competition, right before the calm hit and he lost himself in his routine. He wanted to lose himself in West the same way.
And hopefully there were no zombies around.
Axel stopped and pushed on the door.
West jolted and took a few steps. Axel slid into the next space, then in short order he was standing outside, with West only a couple of feet away.
It would figure, then, that words would fail him. Axel gulped and began to sweat, which certainly wasn’t going to make him more attractive. West probably thought he was a moron, and one with a potentially contagious illness, sweating like he was.
“Um.” Axel licked his lips and was heartened when West dropped his gaze, watching Axel do so. It bolstered his courage, which Axel really needed. “Hey. I was wondering if you’d like to maybe go get a drink somewhere and talk. I never did get to thank you for helping me that night.”
West seemed to be having trouble meeting Axel’s eyes, his gaze still lowered.
Axel licked his lips again and heard the quiet hitch of West’s breath. “Or we could go up to my room and fuck.”
West snapped his head back, his cheeks darkening with a blush.
That was obviously the wrong approach and too strong of a come on. Axel stuttered, knowing he couldn’t let West get away without something more than this stilted conversation this time. “Or not. Maybe you aren’t—“ He glanced around then tipped his head toward the bench away from the entrance. “Look, could we at least sit and talk for a few minutes? Please?”
West scraped his top teeth over his bottom lip, then nodded.
Still fearing West would leave, Axel gestured to the bench. “After you.”
Axel only ogled West’s butt for a second before guilt had him staring instead at the man’s broad shoulders. As shy as West was—and Axel remembered now how nervous West had been simply taking off his shirt—Axel felt like a real perv checking out his ass. It would have made West uncomfortable to know he was doing it. Not getting caught didn’t matter. Axel wanted to respect West, he needed to.
West sat on the bench. The lighting wasn’t very good, and cast him more in greys and blacks than color. Axel still thought he was gorgeous.
Axel sat beside him, careful not to touch. “So, I was surprised to see you here. And I…I thought that guy was your boyfriend since he was, um, groping you.”
“He’s not,” West got out as he looked down at his hands. “Terrence just doesn’t understand boundaries.”
Axel’s heart thudded a little faster. “I do,” he said quietly, willing West to look at him, to see and hear the sincerity he was trying to convey. “I wouldn’t touch you unless you wanted me to. I’m sorry I was so forward. I made you uncomfortable and that was the last thing I wanted.”
There it was again, that tiny hitch as West inhaled. Did that mean Axel had said the right thing or the wrong thing?
West finally darted him a quick glance before studying his hands again. “I don’t…I have four siblings that I’m responsible for raising. I don’t have the…the opportunities a lot of men my age do. My brothers and sisters, they mean everything to me.”
Axel bobbed his head. He supposed that might mean that West was a virgin after all, which, usually he steered away from inexperienced men because they expected and deserved more than he was willing to give. Usually. There was just something about West that made walking away from him impossible. “I get that. I’m an only child, but I’d have loved to have even one sibling to play with. I’m glad you have them, and I think it’s admirable that you’re raising them. Can I ask what happened?”
West hesitated, then he sat up a little straighter, and he began to talk about his parents, haltingly at first, then with more confidence. He even looked Axel in the eyes several times.

Axel thought he could live just for those moments. 

Monthly Winners!

Late again, my apologies. Took a while to get everyone's names sorted what with all the sick and achy going on around here.

But anyway, ST has drawn two winners! And wow, I don't know if these two have ever won the monthly drawings before--

Congrats to Julia Matthews and Mary Barrett! Mary only had one entry-- you've got some incredible luck, Mary!! There could be two people in a drawing for a prize and I wouldn't win, lol.

Anyway, if y'all will email me at itsbaileybradford@yahoo.com with the addie you use for allromanceebooks.com I will get those $25 in ARe bucks sent out to y'all.

I am trying to get organized to do the monthly birthday drawings. If you haven't left your birthday (just the month is fine) yet, feel free to do so and I'll try to get that one up and running by January.

Installment will be up at 5 pm Central :D

Sunday, October 19, 2014

All In Ch. 8

Chapter Eight

Yolanda took the toothpick out of her mouth. “You know what you gotta do, Ax.”
He watched Jukie’s performance. It was obvious Jukie was doing a sub-par job of it. He was unsteady on his board, and his jumps and turns were barely better than a beginner’s.
“You really think it’s me that’s made him like that?”  Axel asked her.
“That’s all him,” she scoffed. “He’s the fool that decided to start snorting that shit. You gotta cut him free or you’ll be dragged down with him when he gets busted. Plus, maybe if he don’t see you all the time, he can get over his stupid self.”
“So I’m at fault,” Axel surmised.
“No, he’s at fault and he ain’t strong enough to deal with you and him not being a couple. I know he also feels like shit for leaving you in the desert,” she added.
Axel shuddered. He hadn’t bothered to tell anyone what he’d seen out there after his rescuers on the ATV’s told him he had to be hallucinating. They’d sure got him to thinking about what anyone else would say if he told them he’d seen zombies. Short of West, who’d obviously had no interest in him at all, everyone else would have thought Axel was crazy. He thought he was crazy sometimes.
Seriously, zombies. Axel still had nightmares about them.
And a morbid curiosity as to what they looked like up close. He’d watched every episode of The Walking Dead twice. Maybe he had a little bit of a crush on Daryl. Just a tiny one.
“Are you hearing me?” Yolanda snapped. “Jukie’s going to ruin both of y’all’s careers.”
“What about yours?” Axel asked.
Yolanda shrugged. “Won’t be so much shit flung my way. I wasn’t fucking him.”
Axel ducked his head, holding in a groan when Jukie fell. It wasn’t a bad fall physically, but it would ensure Jukie didn’t get to compete any further. His score would suck. “But you’re his best friend.”
“Which is exactly why I’m telling you, cut him loose. You two are toxic together, even when you’re not screwing.” She stuck the toothpick back in her mouth. “N besides, I’m about done with this sport.” She pointed at him. “Think about it.” Then she jogged over to greet Jukie.
Axel watched them for a moment. Their heads nearly touching as Yolanda moved her hands while she spoke. He could tell from her gestures, whatever she was saying was urgent, to her at least.
She probably had a point. Axel might have accepted Jukie’s apology, but he’d never trust him again. He’d also put a distance between him and Jukie, one that left them as people pretending to be friends more than anything else.
Axel rubbed his hands over his face. A dull headache was beginning behind his eyes, tension and fatigue kicking in. He’d done well enough to place for tomorrow’s competition, so he should feel relieved.
He just felt exhausted on a level that went beyond the physical.
And the more he thought about what Yolanda said, the more he thought she was right.
Axel left Sand Master Park, catching a cab to his hotel. He had his own room at least, though Jukie had bitched about that. Called it an extravagance they couldn’t afford.
He was right, but Axel had been growing less and less patient with Jukie, and he hadn’t wanted to be kept up at night while Jukie did whatever shit he did.
The hotel room was nothing fancy. If Axel had gotten more commissions for his art, he’d have been able to stay somewhere nice, like a Holiday Inn Express. That was way out of his budget. As it was, he’d do well to not to overdraft his checking account to pay for the room he had.
Once in his room, Axel was restless. It was probably because he was stressing over what Yolanda had said. That, and he hadn’t gotten laid in a long time. Too long for a guy his age, that was for sure. As tempted as he was to jack off, another idea held much more appeal.
There were clubs in Portland, and one in particular he’d heard of. He could spare five bucks for a day-pass… Or he could go to one of the numerous other gay bars. After all, he was only looking for a little play, not even a one-night stand.
Yeah, he could do with a bathroom blowjob. He hadn’t gotten laid since he’d broken up with Jukie. It was time for him to move on, and while he wasn’t up to a relationship, he sure wouldn’t say no to an orgasm or two.
“This feels like stalking,” West complained. “I mean, I shouldn’t have agreed to this. It’s creepy. Like stalking.”
Terrence rolled his eyes. “Please. So we found out what hotel he was staying in by calling around a few dozen hotels. So what. We aren’t going to hurt him. I just want to look at the pretty man.”
“He’s not pretty,” West grumbled, remembering Axel’s masculine features. “He’s handsome.”
“Same diff.” Terrence blew in West’s face. “How’s my breath?”
West coughed and fanned his face. “Stop it. You aren’t going to be getting close enough to Axel for him to tell if you forgot to brush or not.”
“I didn’t,” Terrence said indignantly. “And how do you know? I might have him naked and fucking me before you get past how do you do. It could happen.”
West didn’t understand why he was getting so angry, but the sudden urge to smack Terrence into next week was almost irresistible. “Cut it out,” he growled.
Terrence blinked. “Oh. You have the hots for him. Why didn’t you say? I can ask him to introduce me to his ex. Jukie’s fuckable, too.”
“I don’t have the hots for him,” West denied, while his heart sped up and his pulse followed suit. He could remember, suddenly and vividly, the scent of Axel, the dark shadows under his eyes, the feel of his lean body as West tried to help him walk. Then there was the low rumble of his voice, and the curve of his lips—“No, I don’t. Stop smirking like that.”
“But you’re hard.”
West started to deny it, but Terrence ran a finger down the length of West’s erection. It was a surprise; West hadn’t really been aroused in months. He hadn’t wanted to be, either. “Stop it,” he hissed, swatting Terrence’s hand away and glaring down at his stupid cock. “Keep your—“
“Er, West?”
Terrence squeaked. “Oh my god! It’s him!
West didn’t have to ask who. He knew that deep, rough voice well, even if he’d only had a short time to memorize it. Still, it was a shock to look up into those gorgeous eyes. Dark circles didn’t ring them this time. West upgraded Axel’s appearance from handsome to effing stunning.
“It is you, right?” Axel said, taking a step toward him. “West. From the desert.” He laughed. “God, that sounds like an old silent film.”
West licked his lips. He was afraid his voice was going to break if he spoke.
Axel looked away. “Sorry. I guess I’m mistaken. You look—“
“He’s West,” Terrence said loudly, “And I’m Terrence.” He kind of purred his name out.
West thought about thumping Terrence on the back of the head.
“Hi Terrence, nice to meet you.” Axel shook his hand. “So, you’re, um, well. I guess…it was good to see you again, West. Without the desert creepers. And it was nice to meet you, Terrence.”
But Axel winced a little when he said that last bit, like he’d had to force himself to say it.
“You two have fun doing, um, whatever you’re here doing.” Axel took a step back.
He seemed to be waiting for something, but West had no idea what. He still couldn’t get his tongue to work.
Axel sighed and his shoulders rounded as he turned and walked away.
“Wow, you’re just gonna let him go?” Terrence asked. “Are you stupid?”
“What do you mean?” And yeah, West’s voice cracked.
Terrence gave another eye roll. “Please. He was all about you. He didn’t even notice how adorable I am. Damn it. Hm.” He tapped his chin. “I wonder if he saw me touch your dick. If so, he probably thinks we’re together. You just broke his heart.”
“I did not,” West protested. “We don’t even know each other, so I can promise you his heart has nothing to do with me.” Wait, that didn’t make a lot of sense. “Whatever. He’s getting on the elevator, so I bet he’s going back to his room. You got to meet him, and—“
“Oh my god!” Terrence squealed again. “It’s Jukie! I am so nailing him!”
“But—“ West closed his mouth as Terrence sauntered up to Jukie. In short order, they were entering another elevator. The speed with which Terrence worked was mind-boggling.
West stood there like an idiot in the lobby for five full minutes before he realized he had no reason to be there. A strange tug in his gut made him want to head toward the elevators himself, but that made no sense. He shouldn’t worry about leaving Terrence here. Terrence was a grown man and knew how to get back to the coven.

But it wasn’t Terrence he wanted to go after. West was startled by the revelation, and it propelled him to the rotating door. He’d just stepped into one of the slots of the door when he heard his name called from behind him. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

ARe bucks winner & advice

I forgot yesterday, I'm sorry.

Yesterday I started with a back ache in the morning, and by evening, could hardly move without a lot of pain and stiffness. The day before, I'd ended up toting Elijah around a lot, and he's 40 lbs. I think I pulled something lifting him, and daaayyyyum, it hurts. Anyone have experience with lower back pain, and advice on how to treat it? I've tried hot showers, and Advil, some gentle stretches I remember my Dad having to do for his back. It's impossible to sit upright, so not much writing going to get done this weekend. Just the installments.

Now that's enough whining, lol. On to the weekly winner, and tomorrow I'll post the monthly winners.

For now, Random.org is doing the selecting, and congratulations to:
#54/Allia W

If you'll email me at itsbaileybradford@yahoo.com I will get your ARe bucks sent out to you :D

All In ch. 7

Copyright 2014
Bailey Bradford

Chapter Seven

West looked out the window. The glittering lights of downtown Portland mesmerized him for a little while, then he sighed and closed his eyes. He rested his brow against the cool glass.
Everything had changed so much. Not just recently, but since his parents had died. The vampire thing sucked—no pun intended—and all he could do was hope he’d get better adjusted to it.
Leaving his sire’s coven had been a difficult thing to do, too. West had done it because it was in the children’s best interest for them to move to the coven Claude had found for them. Herve was a good leader, much like Claude was. Herve also had a large coven, established firmly in the city of Portland, Oregon, and many humans were a part of it.
And a lot of them had kids. They had their own school which, while it only had a total of sixteen students not counting West’s siblings, that was still better than none. This wway, West didn’t have to put the kids back in public school where he’d be unable to get them if anything went wrong, like if one of them became ill.
Not being able to go out in the sunlight was very restrictive for a parent, West had learned. But here, in Herve’s coven, everyone worked together to make the kids’ lives easier, as well as the vamps.
West didn’t have to stay up all day to watch them. He slept in until they’d finished school and played for a couple of hours. It wasn’t ideal, but really, he didn’t see them any less than he used to before. On the weekends, he let his sleep schedule go to hell so he could spend time with them.
And the kids were flourishing. It made West’s heart feel like it was alive again every time he heard them laugh. Only the kids brought him any joy. Only the kids kept him from stepping out into the sunlight and letting death take him.
He knew he was depressed, but it was justified as far as he was concerned. West kept a smile on his face for his brothers and sisters, and he didn’t have to fake being happy with them.
But it was times like now, when he was awake and the kids were asleep, that West’s brain turned against him. He’d had his pint of donated blood so he wasn’t hungry.
West opened his eyes and pressed his palms to the window. He wondered how much snow there’d be in winter. The kids would love snow.
A tap at the door pulled him out of his brooding. West turned away from the window. “Come in.”
Janet came in and closed the door. “Hey, you know it’s not good to stay in here all by yourself night after night.”
West shrugged. “What am I supposed to be doing?” Janet was nice, and she might be a good friend if he let her get close enough. He didn’t think he could.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Janet said airily. “Maybe come with me to The Jax and dance a little.”
West barely suppressed a shiver. There’d be people and loud music and—“I’m not one for clubs.” Just look at what had happened the one time he’d tried it. “Sorry. I…”
“If it’s the gay thing, that’s not a problem.”
West looked at her. “The ‘gay’ thing?”
Janet waved him off. “Don’t get bent. I just mean I’m not coming on to you, and The Jax welcomes everyone. It’s not a gay or straight club. It’s just a club.”
West knew he was blushing. “I d-din’t think you were coming on to me.” He knew she wasn’t. Janet had never hinted that she was interested in him like that. She always tried to include him in her outings, which he didn’t understand. She had friends, what did she want with him?
Janet propped her hands on her slender hips. “Seriously, West. We’re all worried about you. Some vamps have trouble adjusting, and yeah, it’s hard knowing you’re different, but it is what it is. Staying in your rooms pouting won’t change any of it. All that’s gonna do is screw your head up and make you more miserable than you already are.”
“You don’t know me—“
“Because you won’t let me,” Janet snapped. “It’s fine for everyone to help out with your brothers and sisters, but god fucking forbid anyone want to help you. You know what? We’re a coven, and we all watch out for each other. You need to get that through your self-absorbed head.”
West gawked at her. No one had spoken so angrily at him since he’d been turned. Everyone tiptoed around him and didn’t push.
Janet wasn’t pushing; she was bulldozing over him.
“And here’s another thing. Your sibs are going to grow up and have their own lives. They probably won’t want to stay in the coven, and then what’re you gonna do?” she demanded. “You have to have something more in your life.”
“They’re enough,” he said quietly, his heart racing. He was scared but couldn’t pinpoint why.
“You need friends, and you need to become part of the coven instead of keeping yourself apart from it. You aren’t better than us, and we aren’t the epitome of evil.” She huffed then shook her head. “Look. You didn’t want to be a vamp? Well, here’s a surprise. It wasn’t the life dream for most of us. It happened. It can’t be changed. Stop pouting about it and move on, because you are setting a bad example for your family, and if you think they don’t know, you’re wrong. Those kids pick up on your unhappiness same as the rest of us do. They just imitate you and act like everything is perfect. That’s what you’re teaching them.”
She left him then, and West pondered what she’d said. Was he really not hiding his unhappiness from the kids? He was happy around them, but yes, somewhere not so deep inside, he still felt broken, violated. Like an abomination, which he’d never felt before being turned.
Another hour of brooding and thinking—mostly brooding—and West couldn’t stand it. He had to get out. Janet was right about some things, and one of those was that he needed to stop staying locked up in his rooms like some fairytale princess.
Clubs weren’t going to happen. West didn’t want to be around anyone else, he just wanted a change of venue for a little while. He let Zenida know he was leaving because that was coven courtesy, to tell the security chief is one was leaving.
Zenida didn’t grill him about where he was going. West was glad for that. He hadn’t a clue, other than he wanted to walk.
It’d been almost three months since he’d been turned. Maybe it was time to stop hating himself and what he’d become. West didn’t know if it was possible. He walked for hours, and the longer he was out, the better he felt. When sunrise threatened, he wasn’t anywhere near recovered from his moroseness, but he thought he might be able to get past it eventually.
He felt something he hadn’t since that night in the alley—hope. West ran the last couple of blocks back to the coven stronghold. “Cutting it close,” Zenida said when he slipped in the door.
“Yeah, I got distracted,” he said sheepishly.
Zenida snorted. “You almost got toasted.”
West gave her a half-hearted grin and hurried to the stairs. As he went, he bypassed the living room. Several people were awake and watching TV. He wasn’t really paying attention until he heard the name Axel Majors.
West stopped and looked at the TV. There was Axel, smiling and doing all sorts of nifty sandboarding tricks, waving and looking so darned handsome West’s lower region actually began to perk up.
That startled him enough that he gasped.
Three people turned their heads and looked at him.
“I, uh. I met him, in the desert. We were—there were zombies and—“ West snapped his mouth shut.
Terrence leapt up from the couch. “Oh man, you met Axel Majors?”
“Who the fuck is Axel Majors?” Rick grumbled to Ella.
“The guy who was just on that commercial, I guess,” she said.
Terrence bounced on his toes. His blue eyes gleamed with excitement. “You met him? For real? Can you get us in to meet him at the competition in Florence? That’s, like, twenty minutes away if we fly! He’s gotta be grateful to you if you saved him from zombies.”
West remembered pretty much ignoring Axel once they were ‘rescued’. “Um, I don’t know about that.”
“Please?” Terrence batted his lashes at West. “I’ll do all your chores here for a week.”
Apparently, once he’d started even thinking of letting down his barriers, he became susceptible to begging. West was shocked to find himself saying, “I can try, but he might not want to see me again.”
Terrence squealed and hugged him.
West didn’t know what to do with a double armful of wiggly, happy Terrence. He settled for awkwardly patting his back.
“Of course he’ll want to see you! You saved him from zombies, right?” Terrence asked with more enthusiasm than West had ever felt in his life.
“It wasn’t just me. There were other people involved.”
Terrence winked at him. “You’re so modest. I bet you’re his hero.” He darted off, calling over his shoulder, “I’ll start your chores today!”
West wasn’t modest, he was embarrassed. Looking back, he’d been a jerk there at the end. At least Axel hadn’t been hurt too bad if he was able to compete now.

Anyway, Axel probably wouldn’t want to see him. On the off chance he did, West would be able to apologize, and that’d be one less piece of guilt to deal with.