Delilah Devlin: When a short story deserves a longer story…
If you picked up a copy of the last collection, Stranded, then, hopefully, you read my short story “Quincy Down Under”, which was set in my Montana Bounty Hunter’s world. Well, I couldn’t let Quincy and Tamara’s little liaison be the end of their romance. Tomorrow, you can read the rest of the story! There’s plenty of humor, sexiness, and action to keep you humming along. You can pre-order your copy now, so you don’t miss the next installment!
Quincy is coming tomorrow!
Located in Amity, Montana, the Suds & Saddlebags, or “S&S” for short, was your typical seedy biker bar. The popular dive smelled of sour beer, stale sweat, and motor oil. From the looks of the patrons, there were more firearms worn on hips or hidden under leather vests and jackets than likely sat in the local Army National Guard armory.
Quincy James hid his irritation that this stakeout was taking so long. He was finally here. In Amity. Near enough to whistle at the object of his fascination—the sexy proprietor of an unusual beauty shop, who by this point in time would likely flip him off rather than welcome him with open arms should he ever find the time to seek her out.
Shoulders slumping, he let out a deep breath.
Nearly a month had passed since he’d seen her. Her business card remained tucked inside his wallet. After they’d spent a very amorous afternoon trapped inside her doomsday-bunker-beauty-shop, he hadn’t called. At first, he’d reasoned he sucked at telephone courting and wanted to surprise her, in person, but after he’d spent ten days tracking a skip from south of Bozeman all the way through the Glacier National forest, and then being tapped to be a part of teams hunting two more serious offenders, he knew he’d waited too long to even make an awkward as fuck call.
Tamara likely thought he was a bastard—a hit-it-and-quit-it kind of guy, but she’d be wrong. He’d had all the best intentions. When he’d had two minutes to fly down the aisles of a hardware store in Whitefish, he’d bought a new door lock and deadbolt to take care of the problem that had trapped him inside Tamara’s beauty shop to begin with. The last thing he’d wanted was for the wrong person to find himself in that same tempting situation, someone who wouldn’t be quite as concerned as he’d been that the sexy things they’d done were welcomed and consensual.
The hardware was still in a paper bag beneath the front seat of his SUV—better than flowers, he’d thought at the time, but if he worked up the courage to face her wrath, he figured he’d better bring her at least a couple of dozen roses, too. Just to emphasize the fact he didn’t consider the gift she’d given him something he didn’t value. He did.
So much about their romantic encounter had stuck with him over the weeks since he’d left her behind after being freed from the locked bunker by his teammates. He remembered how soft she was—everywhere—from her fluffy pale blonde hair with its cotton-candy pink streak to the lush curves of her pocket-sized body, and her pink pouting lips. Good Lord, remembering those lips closing around his dick had left him sleepless and horny nearly every night since.
Damn, if they could just nail Tommy Walton’s ass quickly, he could be at her doorstep tonight. He wasn’t good with words, but he hoped if he came bearing gifts and she let him have just one kiss, she’d remember how good they were together, and then maybe she’d give him a chance to mutter through his litany of excuses for why he hadn’t so much as picked up a phone to call her.
He let out a deep breath. Hell, he didn’t deserve a second chance. A girl like her had to have plenty of more attentive suitors. Ones who didn’t disappear for weeks on end. Or who didn’t have dangerous jobs where they sat on their asses in smelly bars waiting for a dirtbag to show up.
“Goddamn, Winnie said Tommy always slips in here when it gets busy,” Hook groused from his table situated close to the entrance of the bar. “Safety in numbers, she said. He knows his crew will have his back if anything goes down.”
After all this time working with the Montana Bounty Hunters, Quincy still wasn’t used to hearing them in his ear. They used state-of-the-art devices, nearly impossible to detect because they were so small. He picked up his beer to hide his lips as he replied, “Some girlfriend, selling him out for a hundred.”
“Winnie’s got her eye on the club’s number two,” Hook said softly, “but Tommy keeps escaping arrest. She knows she’d be in deep shit if she sleeps around on him before he goes to jail.”
“Sounds like a sweetheart,” Dagger murmured, then, “Shit, think I’ve been made.”
Quincy leaned back in his chair next to the window overlooking the street outside and glanced around. Sure enough, two men at a table nearer the bar were staring at Dagger, leaning close together and whispering between themselves.
“The ballcap didn’t cut it,” Hook said.
Dagger was one of the breakout stars of the reality TV show, Bounty Hunters of the Northwest, which featured most of the hunters in MBH. Dagger was a standout due in most part to the fact he was “Bounty Hunter Barbie’s” man. Most times, he had to wear intricate disguises when he wanted to remain unnoticed, but they’d been in a hurry to hustle to the S&S after hearing from Winnie.
“Sucks to be famous,” Hook said then chuckled.
Dagger grunted. “Your turn in the spotlight’s comin’.”
“Maybe they just want an autograph,” Quincy said, his lips twitching. No way in hell would he ever sign up for that gig. He liked his privacy, thank you very much.
From the corner of his eye, Quincy saw one of the men stand then glance around. The biker tipped his goatee at the bald dude behind the bar then turned his gaze to Dagger.
Nearly every gaze in the place moved to his teammate. Quincy turned in his seat, pretending not to know what was going on, and cast his gaze over the suddenly silent crowd, hoping to guess the direction from which trouble was most likely to come.
From the corner of his eye, he watched as Tommy Walton stepped out of the hallway that led to the back of the club. “Well, fuck,” he muttered under his breath.
Instantly, tables emptied as men pushed up from their seats to crowd around Tommy.
Quincy shrugged nonchalantly and tossed a twenty on the table. Then without looking back at Tommy, he headed toward the doors. “Once I’m outside, I’ll circle around back in case he tries to slip out the same way he came in,” he said, not caring who saw his lips move now.
“I’m not letting him out of my sight,” Dagger said and smacked his fist against his hand as he and Hook waded into crowd, a brawl erupting a nanosecond later.
Nearly at the door now, Quincy was suddenly shoved sideways.
“Where the hell do you think you’re goin’?” came a gravelly voice.
Frowning, he turned toward a very tall man with a large belly and a long, bright orange beard. Distracted by so much orange, he almost didn’t see the beefy fist flying toward his face, but he blocked the punch and aimed one of his own at the big man’s hard, round belly.
Blue eyes bugged, but the man didn’t so much as gasp as he reached out to grab the collar of Quincy’s jacket.
Quincy struck first, giving the giant a head butt that rattled his own brain. The hands loosened on his collar, and he waited for the next punch, ducked beneath it, then squatted lower, letting the man’s momentum carry him over his shoulder. Quincy pushed up, his shoulder hitting the Orange Beard’s hips and flipping him over to land flat on his back.
The impact left the biker gasping like a goldfish.
Hoping his teammates wouldn’t be delayed too much, because every wasted second was a second Tommy had to make good his escape, Quincy hurried outside…
Tamara Adams blew at a strand of hair that flew into her eyes. Her hands were filled with flyers advertising her beauty shop, Curl Up & Dye, and she’d been papering the windshields of vehicles up and down Main Street. This was her latest idea to draw attention to her shop. If something didn’t give soon, she’d have to pay for a station in someone else’s shop, and she’d never realize her dream of owning her own business.
When she came to the line of motorcycles parked in front of S&S, she nearly passed them by. She really didn’t want to attract that caliber of customer, but then again beggars couldn’t be choosers.
Without windshield wipers to clamp against her papers, she used pretty washi tape to attach the flyers and quickly made her way down the row, eyeing the window of the bar with trepidation, because she really didn’t want any ornery biker confronting her about “trashing up” his bike.
Just as she was taping the last flyer to bug-spattered glass, she heard a commotion erupt inside the unsavory establishment. Curious, she strode toward the plate-glass window to peer inside, but the window was dirty and the interior of the bar wasn’t brightly lit, so she shielded her eyes and leaned closer to the glass. What she saw had her eyes widening.
An honest-to-goodness barfight was underway inside. From what she could tell, a bar filled with brawny biker-types faced three equally brawny dudes, but what the trio lacked in numbers, they made up for in sheer meanness.
The two in the center of the bar sent one biker after another flying through the air from well-placed kicks and bone-rattling punches. One of the men wore a prosthetic arm, which he used to great advantage, following his powerful left-fisted punches with thudding body blows delivered by his mechanical arm.
To the left, she watched as a huge orange-bearded man grabbed the third brawler by his collar, only to be head-butted, and while still stunned, swing an arm wide, which propelled him over the hunched body of his adversary where he landed flat on his back and sucking wind.
Curiosity satisfied, and her original gut instinct to give the bar a wide berth confirmed, she moved back from the glass and returned to the curb where she reached over the hood of a car and stuck her pink flyer under a wiper blade.
The door behind her swung open, and she peered over her shoulder.
A familiar man appeared, his gaze sliding past her bent-over body before returning to glance up at her face. His eyes widened for a second, but then he quickly turned his head and walked away.
What. The. Fuck. The man she’d mooned over for weeks, before she’d realized he’d never intended to call her after they’d shared an afternoon of illicit delight, had just walked past her like he didn’t even know her. Not a nod. Not a “Hi, there.” Not a knowing, smirky smile. Nothing.
Her breath caught in her chest as she acknowledged the blow. She’d actually thought they’d shared something special. And she’d been making excuses for his failure to communicate all this time.
Just that morning as Miss Gracie had finished stocking the shop’s refrigerator with her eldercare protein drinks, Tamara had leaned an elbow on her table as she’d sat in her beautician’s chair staring into the lit mirror, remembering how he’d sat there and flirted with his sexy, hazel-green eyes—after she’d zip-tied him to the chair. After all, she’d just been locked inside her bunker by a bail jumper on the lam. The new stranger had claimed to be a bounty hunter, but why should she trust him? His dark beard and intense gaze had sent shivers of awareness through her body.
Okay, so she had a thing for bad boys. Obviously. She’d dated some real winners, but this time, she’d thought…well, she’d hoped…that Quincy James wasn’t a douchebag.
As he strode purposefully away from her, her heart hammered against her chest, and her eyes stung with tears that she quickly blinked away.
No way in hell was he getting away with pretending he didn’t know her. Or worse, that she was bubblegum stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Holding her sheaf of flyers against her chest, she ran after him.
When she caught him, she’d give him a piece of her mind. A man did not use a woman and make sexy promises with his eyes. He’d fooled her with his I don’t know how to flirt with a woman bullshit line. She’d swallowed it—and his big cock—and then she’d waited, day after day for him to call. Hell, she’d turned down a date with Mason Jernigan, whom she’d planned to seduce into asking her out on a date before Quincy had been trapped inside her shop. But no! She’d turned Mason down. A good looking man who owned his own small car dealership had asked her out on a date, but she’d held out for the hope of Quincy James, because she wanted more of his wicked kisses.
“Stupid! That’s what I am,” she muttered under her breath. “Thirty fucking years old and I wasted a month of my prime years for you, Quincy James.” She picked up her pace, but although she was running, his long-limbed gait still left her breathless. When he turned the corner to enter a dark alley beside the bar, she didn’t hesitate. She was too mad to take heed of the warning bells ringing in her head. The dark narrow space smelled like old beer and vomit, and her Sketchers made a sound similar to the one they made when she walked across the floor surrounding Miss Gracie’s station where the buildup of hairspray sucked at the rubber bottoms of her shoes.
Ahead, Quincy moved more furtively, running up to the corner of the building to the access road behind the business. She slowed and melted into the shadows, wondering what the hell he was up to, and then he flattened his back against the wall. She did the same, not knowing why, but the tension in his frame transmitted a jolt of fear into hers.
Just then a tall, greasy-haired, bearded man slipped around the corner, moving so quickly he didn’t see Quincy, but he did see her. His eyes widened. “You with those damn bounty hunters, too, bitch?” he growled, not slowing down as he came toward her.
“Not a bounty hunter,” she squeaked. “Beautician.” She raised her flyers to prove her claim, but it was too dark for him to read, or maybe he’d already made up his mind, because the snarl on his face nearly made her wet her pants.
Panicked, she tossed up the flyers like they were a ninja’s magic dust, turned on her heel, and ran for the street.