To Live Again

By: L. A. Witt

I worked at the label some more. The offer was tempting. Whether I liked it or not, I was single. I’d continuously felt like shit for the last couple of weeks. Indulging in some decade-old curiosity was quite possibly what I needed. A night out—particularly if I wound up in someone else’s bed—might be exactly what the doctor ordered to get my mind off the fact that I was no longer welcome in my own house.

“You know what?” I sat straighter. “I think I’m gonna take you up on that.”

Ethan grinned, but Rhett stared at me incredulously.

“Really?” he asked. “Are you sure you—”

“To be honest, I need it. I need…well, something other than sitting on my ass, feeling sorry for myself, and pining after someone who doesn’t want me anymore.”

“That’s the spirit.” Ethan glanced at Rhett, and they had one of those telepathic exchanges they always seemed to share. Kind of like Becky and I used to—

Stop it, Greg. Stop it.

Facing me, Ethan said, “I’d be happy to take you to one of the clubs on Capitol Hill. Maybe let you feel out the gay scene before you start diving into any of the apps and hookup sites.” He glanced at his watch. “It’s still early for a Saturday, so if you’re not too tired, we could go tonight.”

This time it was Rhett who produced the wicked grin, and he nudged Ethan with his elbow. “You could take him to Wilde’s.”

“I could.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Wilde’s? Isn’t that place… I mean, I’ve heard it’s…”

“A meat market,” Ethan said matter-of-factly. “It’s a meat market.”

I swallowed. “Right. That’s what I’ve heard.”

Rhett nodded. “It’s true. Which means if you want to meet someone just to fool around and get your mind off everything…”

“It’s perfect,” I said. “Sounds like exactly what I need.”

Rhett glanced back and forth between us, and then shrugged. “Hell, if you guys are going, I’ll go. They do have pretty damned good Kamikazes.”

Ethan laughed. “That’s just because you like the guy who mixes them.”

“Yep. Guilty.” Rhett looked at me. “Kieran’s a bartender there. His Kamikazes are second to none.”

His ass isn’t losing any competitions either.

“He’s married, though, isn’t he?” I asked.

“Yep,” Ethan said. “Half the bartenders there are now, which is a damned shame. But there are plenty of guys there who aren’t.”

“And most of them?” Rhett whistled, tugging at his collar. “Hot.”

“Well.” I drained my beer. “What are we waiting for?”

Chapter Two

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

After grabbing a shower and a shave, putting on something presentable, and getting into a cab with Ethan and Rhett, we were here. At Wilde’s. At a gay bar.

I looked around, my heart pounding so hard it almost drowned out the thumping bass. So this was the infamous Wilde’s. The guys—especially Kieran and his husband—always had colorful stories from this place, which they’d tell at house parties after a few drinks, but I’d never actually been here until now. In fact, it had been ages since I’d set foot in anything that qualified as a club, and this was nothing like the places I’d been back in that era.

There were fewer women, for one thing, though I saw a few here and there. At least one bachelorette party, judging by the cluster of women—one of whom wore a fake bridal veil—laughing hysterically over margaritas at a booth near the back.

But for the most part, this crowd was male. Gorgeous. Dressed to flaunt every asset they had. Dancing. Drinking. Kissing. Male. All of them male.

My heart beat faster.

Even the employees were a sight to behold. The bouncers were as hot as they were intimidating. Ethan had said something about a couple of them being ex-Legionnaires, and I didn’t doubt that—they stood like they were used to standing in ranks, and studied every man who came through the door like they were ready for anything. Pity all three of them had wedding rings on, or I could’ve tried my luck there without moving into the rest of the club.

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