Pluck and Play - With A Kick #5By: Clare London | Other books by Clare London
Published By: Jocular Press
ISBN # JCLPRS0000005
Word Count: 34500
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi)
Everyone knows Curtis Wilson around the Soho business scene: a hard-working, budding young entrepreneur, who can get you supplies of whatever you need, and always with a joke and a laugh. Only Curtis knows that’s a purely public persona. Secretly, he’s still licking his wounds after being beaten up by his ex-lover, and he’s not about to let his guard down again.
Handsome Riley Richmond was born to be a cowboy, on his father’s side at least. But after his parents’ deaths, he finds himself stranded this side of the Atlantic, an anachronism in the bustling capital, and without financial capital. His consolation is his music, albeit he’s not a very successful busker and he loses his only decent piano gig after standing up for Curtis against a homophobic bully.
After that, they keep meeting, partly by accident, partly by Riley’s design. He’s smitten, and doesn’t mind letting Curtis know. Their music brings them together – Riley’s guitar playing and Curtis’ sharp, sexy poetry are a powerful combination. But Curtis still has some unfinished business with his ex-lover that he’s struggling to handle on his own. Riley intends to be the man Curtis calls on for help, whether he likes it or not. He’ll do whatever it takes to show Curtis that people can still be trusted to be honest and caring – even if it means walking them both into danger.
An excerpt from the bookIn With A Kick now, the jangle of the door opening called Lee back to his serving duties and Curtis was able to relax again with his mug safely back on the solid ground–and gleaming surface–of the table top. But he wasn’t going to be able to, was he? Relax, that is. There were calls and deliveries to be made today, same as always, but he didn’t have the usual stamina for the job.
His fingers played with the phone in his pocket, without taking it out. He hadn’t needed to answer the night-time calls to know who they were from, but he just didn’t want to listen. Life had been getting back on track for him. He had steady work, a nice little network of local clients, plenty of friends and a place to live. Although he worked as many hours as he could, he still had time to have fun. And now…fuck it, he wasn’t going to let anything spoil that. His dad had always told him not to whine, not to make a fuss. Curtis got a back-handed slap if he did. But that wasn’t the same as realising what he deserved in life–and what he didn’t–and making sure that came to him. Was it? But he couldn’t seem to shake off the roiling feeling in his gut.
“Hi,” said a voice from the other side of his table.
Startled, Curtis looked up. Riley, the cowboy from yesterday’s Prawn Incident, as Curtis now thought of it, was looking down on him and smiling. He had the same strong features, the same sparkling eyes, the same comfortable-looking overcoat–even the same bloody hat. Perhaps he slept in it. Curtis bit back a yawn, wishing he just slept.
“Hi,” he said back. The all-purpose greeting would have to do. Though he didn’t think the sudden increased activity in his heartbeat had anything to do with polite niceties.
“You working today?” Riley asked.
“Yeah, but I’m just…” What? What was he just doing? Drinking tea very slowly, struggling to keep his eyes open, and trying to ignore a sick feeling in the bottom of his gut? “Just taking a break,” he finished, lamely. “What about you, Riley Richmond? Made your fortune yesterday and taking early retirement?”
Riley raised his eyebrows. Curtis could hardly see them under the brim of the hat, but it made Riley look kind of mysterious. “Gonna take more than a few days’ playing. Received some constructive customer feedback, y’ know? I’m rethinking my playlist.”
“Smart move.” Curtis grinned and gestured for Riley to join him.
“Thanks.” Riley seemed to have been waiting for the invitation. Curtis found that rather pleasantly old-fashioned. Riley slipped off his coat, draped it onto the back of the chair and sat down.
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