Rio Garcia was not prepared to become a surrogate father to his seventeen year old brother, but he didn’t have much choice in the matter. He did have a choice of the men he could have in his bed. Steve Coulter was on his two strikes and you’re out list. Rio didn’t trust anyone especially cops. So, why did the man get under his skin and make him sweat.
Steve Coulter had never wanted anything more than to be a cop. Being gay did not fit into his career choice. Keeping things on the down low he could have both, but there was no way he was coming out. He didn’t trust anyone that much. Rio Garcia the hot bartender at the Knights Club made him want things he knew he couldn’t have, so why did he keep going back.
Trust. It’s a big thing. Can Rio and Steve overcome their past issues with trust to find a happily ever after that works for them? Life and family at the Knights Club is always a challenge.
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Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Coming Out / Closeted, Families/Raising Kids
Word Count: 27000
Setting: ATlanta, GA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
The man made him sweat. Rio hated that. Steve Coulter never said a word, just sat there at his end of the bar and watched him. When he wanted a refill, he’d tap the bottom of his beer bottle on the bar and smile at Rio. He hated that, too.
Oh, he knew who the man was. A cop... Malachi Brady’s partner and Seb Brady’s brother. Seb was his boss’s partner, in more ways than one, and Rio didn’t give a flip about that. He’d gotten over that and the fact that Seb was an ex-cop, a long time ago, but having off duty active cops in the club bothered him. In fact, all cops bothered him. He had his reasons.
That wasn’t the only thing about Coulter that made him sweat. If he were being honest, the man was just his type. Fucking hot. His rugged good looks were exactly the kind that made Rio’s pulse race and his abs tighten. He wasn’t a pretty boy. The lines on his face showed the wear and tear life had on him.READ MORE
He heard the tap on the bar and immediately pulled a Coors from the cooler, opened it, and sat it in front of Coulter. Their eyes locked. Rio bit his tongue so hard he tasted blood. Steve smiled at him and Rio cursed under his breath.
“What the fuck? Earth to Rio!” Pixie yelled at him from across the bar.
Rio jumped, gave Pixie the finger, and left Steve Coulter smirking where he sat. The woman was barely five foot tall. You could miss her in a crowd, if she didn’t have such a big mouth. For someone in her late forties, she sure was a force to be reckoned with. If Rio didn’t like her so much, she’d be another pain in his ass. Just like that asshole, Calypso.
“Sorry, Pixie. What’s the order?”
“Two Long Island Ice Teas and four Bud Lights. What’s up with you and Coulter? I’ve seen monkeys in heat go at each other with the looks you two are sharing.” She laughed and picked up the beers, placing them on her tray.
“What? NO!” Rio yelled, then turned to the bottles on the shelf behind him to make the mixed drinks.
“Why not? He’s a hot one,” Pixie said.
“Two strikes and you’re out as far as I’m concerned,” Rio said counting on his fingers. “One, he’s a cop. Two, he’s straight.”
“Like hell. That man wants you bad. It’s written all over his face.” Pixie laughed as she lifted her tray and walked away.
Rio glanced back at Coulter. The man smiled at him and winked. Maybe Pixie was right, but damn it, he was still a cop. Rio’s phone vibrated in his back pocket. He didn’t have to look to know it was Marco.
“I’m bored,” his kid brother groaned into the phone.
“It’s a school night, do your homework,” Rio offered.
“It’s done. I’ve already taken most of these classes back home at Saint Paul’s. I would have already graduated, if I was still back there.”
Marco was right. He would have graduated during Christmas break had ICE not come in and destroyed their lives. The kid was smart and the private Catholic school he attended back in California was totally different than the local Atlanta high school where he would finish his classes. But, if he wanted to attend college in the fall, he had to graduate.
“Look, that scholarship is not going to do you any good if you don’t keep your grades up and graduate,” Rio reminded him. The last thing he wanted to do was nag, but Rio was the closest thing to a parent Marco had now.
“I miss mom and dad,” Marco said softly. “I know this isn’t your fault, but it isn’t my fault either. I just want to go home. Go back to where I belong. I don’t fit in here.”
“Marco, we’ll talk about it later. I’ve got to get back to work,” Rio said. “Don’t stay up too late. You’re a bear in the mornings.”
“You mean I’m an ass in the mornings,” Marco chuckled.
“Good night, kiddo.”
Rio turned to come face to face with his boss.
“How’s he doing?”
Xavier Knight was one of the few people Rio trusted on this earth. Xavier had been amazingly supportive while he was getting his footing with this whole Marco thing.COLLAPSE