Authors: Desiree Holt
A Total-E-Bound Publication
All Jacked Up
©Copyright Desiree Holt 2011
Cover Art by
©Copyright October 2011
Edited by Lisa Cox
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2011 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
ALL JACKED UP
To Regina Carlysle, Allie Standifer, Cerise Deland, Nicole Austin and Samantha Cayto, the Allipalooza chicks, for putting up with me.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Styrofoam: The Dow Chemical Company
Barbie: Mattel, Inc.
Kleenex: Kimberly-Clark Worldwide
Forty and fucked.
Actually, fucked up is more like it.
Jack Manning leaned against the bar, sipping his drink and indulging in his own private pity party. Friday night and all around him in Eli’s, their favourite bar, his friends were celebrating his fortieth birthday. A death knell that had crept up on his rapidly dissipating youth. Not that he didn’t appreciate the cheer and good wishes—it just sucked that everyone was coupled-up except him.
“Still looking for the perfect woman?”
A hand clapped his shoulder and he turned to see his closest friend, Mike Moreland, grinning at him. Jack just shrugged and took another slug of bourbon.
“She won’t find you if you stand there glaring at everyone,” a musical voice said.
Carly, Mike’s wife. Great. They were double-teaming him.
“It’s my birthday,” he told them with an edge to his voice. “I can glare if I want to.”
Carly stood on tiptoe and whispered in his ear, “Loosen up a little, will you? Lose the jacket and tie. Forty could be just the beginning for you.”
“Come on, buddy,” Mike urged. “Let’s have a little cheer here.”
Jack did his best to stretch his mouth into a smile, but the effort was obviously so bad Carly burst out laughing.
“Okay, okay. I think the glare suits you better.”
One by one his friends settled up their tabs, wished him a happy birthday and drifted out, off to their homes or whatever couple of activities might be on their calendars.
How the fuck did everyone else find the right person and I’m still going home to Mr Big?
Mr Big was a cat of indeterminate heritage who had adopted him a couple of years ago and seemed to be the only housemate in his future. He wasn’t a bad catch. His friends told him that all the time. He owned a one-man financial services business that did well. A house that was small but well-furnished in a good neighbourhood. Had no really bad habits to speak of. Considered himself fairly intelligent. He worked out regularly and kept himself in good shape. He might’ve liked to have been a couple of inches taller but it wasn’t a game changer.
So where was the woman for him? At forty, surely he should have found her. Instead he was a single man in the coupled-up crowd of his friends. With no change in that status in the foreseeable future. When people asked him why he wasn’t married yet he wished he had some other answer to give them other than he hadn’t yet met the right woman.
But that was a big part of it. His friends told him he was too picky. Had expectations that were too high. That there were plenty of women right under his nose who were perfectly acceptable.
Trouble was, he didn’t want an ‘acceptable’ woman. He wanted one who would make his friends look at him with envy. One who would validate him as a babe magnet, something he’d never been able to lay claim to.
Looking around, he realised he was one of the few people left in Eli’s. Well, it was a week night. He supposed he should be grateful his friends had made the time to celebrate with him, however briefly. But a wave of loneliness swamped him as he hitched himself on to a bar stool and signalled the bartender for a refill.
“What’d you do to chase the crowd away?” the man asked, putting a fresh glass of bourbon on the rocks in front of him.
“Must be my charming personality.” He tried to keep the resentful tone out of his voice.
“Don’t sweat it, buddy. It’s a week night. Eli’s usually clears out pretty early during the week.” He studied Jack with a bartender’s experienced eyes. “So how come you don’t have some arm candy hanging on you? You’re not a bad-looking guy, you know.”
Jack couldn’t help chuckling. “You’re really handy with the compliments, aren’t you?”
The bartender shrugged. “Just making conversation.”
“Well, put a cork in it and fix me another drink.”
Jack swivelled his head at the sound of a new voice. Then he blinked. He must have been hallucinating because the little pixie who’d hitched herself on to the bar stool next to him looked like something straight out of a funky fairy tale. Short ebony hair stood up in what he supposed were fashionable spikes but just looked to him as if she’d spent the day running her fingers through it. Her eyes were heavily made up but somewhere along the way she’d forgotten about lipstick.
A sweater in a weird shade of green clung to her in a way that drew his eyes to her nicely-rounded breasts while skin-tight jeans hugged the rest of her body, revealing plump curves. Her feet were shod in boots with stiletto heels and a dozen silver bracelets jingled on one arm. And the entire package couldn’t have been over five feet.
She was so far away from the willowy sophisticated blonde of his dreams they weren’t even on the same planet.
The pixie stared at him with a penetrating gaze. “It’s after five o’clock. Don’t you ever take off your tie?”
Her voice reminded him of a magic flute and he found himself staring back at her.
“Leave him alone, Darcy,” the bartender said, pouring ingredients into a blender. “It’s his birthday.”
“That right, Hank?” She made a show of looking around the tavern. “Oh, yeah, I see he’s celebrating with all his friends.”
“They left to go home,” he told her in a tight voice then ground his teeth at his stupidity for offering any kind of excuse. It was none of her business.
“Well.” She crossed one leg over the other, swinging her foot. “They all leave, anyway.”
Jack frowned and leaned a little closer to her. Big mistake. Some indefinable scent teased at his nose and surged through his body, tightening his balls and making his cock swell. Great, just great. What kind of idiot got a hard-on from a pixie?
He frowned and shifted slightly away from her. “Is that some kind of Zen saying?”
“No, it’s a Darcy saying.” She leaned on the bar. “Hey, Hank. You fall asleep making my drink?”
“Coming right up, babe.” He placed a wide-mouth glass rimmed in salt and filled with slush in front of her. “Margarita, just the way you like it.”
She picked up the glass and took a healthy sip of the frozen liquid.
“Rough day?” Hank asked.
“You have no idea.” She took another swallow then licked some of the salt from the rim. “Absolutely no idea at all.”
“Bad day at pixie school?” Jack couldn’t help himself. The comment just popped out.
Beside him Darcy tensed, set her glass down carefully on the bar and turned to look at him. “That’s some smart mouth you have there. Probably why you’re celebrating your birthday all by yourself.”
Jack mentally kicked himself. “Sorry. I’m just not in the greatest mood tonight.”
“So I gathered.” With a studied, deliberate movement she picked up her drink again.
Jack swallowed what was left in his glass and waved at Hank.
The bartender looked at the glass and at Jack. “You driving home, buddy?”
Jack nodded. “But I’m good to go. Promise.”
“You drinking to relax?” Darcy asked. “Maybe if you took off that jacket and tie it would help. You look like Mr Uptight trying to have a good time.”
Anger built inside him. What the hell business was it of hers the way he dressed? Anyway, he was a businessman, wearing business clothes.
“Maybe if you dressed like an adult you wouldn’t have had such a rough day,” he snapped back at her.
A red flush crept slowly up her cheeks. “And you’re the expert on that, right?”
Rather than answer her he asked his own question. “What
you do, anyway?”
She lifted her chin. “I’m a technical assistant with a television production company.”
Jack couldn’t help himself. He burst out laughing. “You? A technical assistant? On television production?”
“We do a lot of political ads, among other things,” she told him in a haughty tone. “And they’re all tight-asses like you. A real pain.”
He did his best to get himself under control. He could picture her hanging stars from trees or sprinkling fairy dust on people, but something technical? He swallowed the laughter still pressing up in his throat.
“It just so happens I do some volunteer work for political candidates,” he told her.
“Well. That fits.” She let her gaze travel the length of him. “You look just like those uptight jerks we do video for.”
Irritation simmered just beneath the surface. Who the hell was this idiot to criticise him like that?
“Listen.” He put his hand on her arm.
Oh god. Big mistake.
Electricity shot through him with the force of a thunderbolt. He jerked his hand back as if someone had set fire to it. When he looked at Darcy she had a strange expression on her face but something hot lurked in her eyes.
Jesus. Did she feel it, too? What the fuck?
He wrapped both hands around his glass and eased himself slightly away from her.
“What?” she asked. “Listen, what?”
I should just get the hell out of here, go home and get drunk in my own living room.
Jack took another swallow of bourbon. “I just wanted to say, I’m not a tight-ass.”
Darcy burst out laughing and again Jack was reminded of the sound of flutes.
“Yeah? I’ll bet you don’t have the guts to take off that jacket and tie. Holy shit, you wear that suit like armour.”
He was mortally offended. The suit was a symbol of his success. Financial stability. Of what he had to offer the right woman. If she ever came along, that was. But a tight-ass?
“See?” she teased. “I knew you wouldn’t do it. It’s like your personality might disappear.” She laughed again and sipped at her margarita. ”I’ll bet you even wear it to bed. Don’t those buttons on the jacket scratch?”
Heat crept up his face. Suddenly his collar was too tight, even thought he’d loosened it, and his suit felt more like a straitjacket. If he had any sense he’d pay his tab and get the hell out of Eli’s. But somehow he couldn’t make himself move. The pixie seemed to have sprinkled some of her dust on him, only instead of thinking of clouds and magic it made his balls tighten and his cock swell. What the fuck was that all about?
For whatever reason, he had an urge to defend himself. His manhood. “I don’t get any complaints.” He jiggled the ice in his glass. “In case you were wondering.”
“So does that mean you’ll ditch the jacket and tie? Come on. I bet there’s some serious muscle under there.”
“Darcy.” Hank had wandered back from serving some people at the end of the bar and his voice held a note of warning. “Leave the customer alone.”
“Oh, come on. I’m just relieving a little stress here.” She plunked her glass on the bar. “Fill ‘er up again.”
“So, what kind of politicians do you work with?” Jack asked, stuffing his tie into his pocket and slipping off his jacket as surreptitiously as possible.
The pixie grinned at him, her eyes crinkling at the corner. “Well, since I finally got you to start disrobing I guess I can answer your question.”
“Wait a minute.” Jack held up a hand, aware they were now playing some kind of game and wondering how the fuck he’d fallen into it. “This is all that’s coming off, and it’s going back on if you don’t start talking.”
“Ooh!” Her eyes widened. “Are you going to make me?” She reached out a delicate hand and ran it over one shoulder and down his arm. “Just as I thought. Real muscles.” She took a sip of her drink. “Maybe I should make you take off your shirt, too.”
“Behave, Darcy,” Hank warned her, filling another order. “Remember, this is a public place.”
“Oh, Hank, where’s your sense of humour?”
“On the alert when it comes to you,” he told her. “Be good, okay?”
“If you insist,” she grumbled, running her finger around the rim of her glass.
“Politicians,” Jack reminded her. “The kind you work with.”
“Oh, right.” She placed the glass carefully on the counter. “The usual kind. Jerks. They’re all such pompous asses and fucking prima donnas. I don’t think I’d vote for any of them.”
Jack laughed again, a real laugh like the last one, not one to make someone else think he was having a good time. “There are many days I think I’d have to agree with you. So exactly what do you do as a technician?”
Actually,” she sniffed, “I’m a director.”
“A director?” Jack laughed even harder now, setting his glass on the bar so he wouldn’t spill the contents. “Yeah, right. Pixie, the director.” He laughed so hard he almost fell off his seat.
Darcy turned slowly on the bar stool and when he met her eyes he felt as if twin lasers were burning directly through him. The little pixie’s eyes were like matching death rays.
“You want to repeat that?” she asked in a voice that could have shredded steel.
Hank quietly refilled Jack’s glass. “You’ll need that if you plan to pull this tiger’s tail. Just sayin’, you know.”
“Um hmm.” Jack took a healthy swallow of his drink. “Ah, sorry. Just teasing you a little.”
“It wasn’t funny,” she snapped and turned away from him.