Friday, 23 August 2013

Week 4's release...


Today is the release of our fourth birthday story from the Second Chances anthology: Dirty Martini by Bette Browne.



Summary

When Daniel Fletcher runs into his ex with the man he caught him in bed with, vodka seems like the answer. Nathan Smith is used to men drowning their sorrows at the bar he tends, so the connection he feels to one is unusual.  Will a means to forget turn into something more?


Excerpt

“BARTENDER!” THE WORD was shouted like a curse. “Another one here, please”—the man held up his hand in an attempt at getting Nate’s attention, and as soon as he had it, he banged his glass back down onto the wooden surface of the bar—“and leave the bottle.”

Nathan Smith looked over at the man as he poured a measured shot of whiskey into another patron’s glass. “I’ll be with you in a minute,” he replied with all the patience he could muster, just loud enough to be sure he was heard.

“Sir.” He smiled at the older man sitting in front of him as he pushed the newly filled glass forward then wiped over the counter using the cloth that was permanently slung over his shoulder.

“Keep an eye on that one,” the older man said, tipping his head in the loud man’s direction as Nate moved to the touch screen and added the drink to the older man’s tab. “He’s already two sheets to the wind. A few more drinks and he’ll be three.”

Nate knew not to comment, bartenders were there to listen and not have an opinion. So he smiled instead, giving a slight nod of his head, making sure the older, and undoubtedly wiser, man knew Nate agreed.

“I’ve seen it before, lad. That one, he’s drowning his sorrows, that’s what he’s doing. Oblivion’s what he’s chasing.” Ironically, the older man lifted his own glass to his lips and took a healthy swallow, pursuing his own form of oblivion. Nate had seen it all before. It was not often a contented man who sat at a bar alone. “Is he staying here?” The man tilted his head toward the man along the bar.

Nate knew he wasn’t; the man had wanted a tab rather than charge his drinks to a room. “No.”

“Well, make sure he stops soon. Send him home in a cab.”

“I might just do that, sir,” Nate responded. It was more than likely that sending him home later in a cab was exactly what he’d do; in fact, the hotel encouraged it.

Nate turned to pick up the bottle of premium vodka the other man was now drinking. One or two more would be fine—he had no intention of leaving the bottle—and then Nate would convince him to go home for the night. He discretely glanced down the bar again, trying not to be seen doing so. The guy had been sitting there almost two hours now.

He’d come in earlier. Nate had watched him, both drawn to and intrigued by the attractive man standing at the door who clenched his hands irritably as he looked for a seat. He’d made his way determinedly to the farthest seat at the bar, looking neither right nor left, obviously, not in the mood for idle chit-chat.

Nate had promptly placed a bowl of nuts in front of him and handed him a cocktail menu, but the man hadn’t even bothered to open it. Instead he’d looked at Nate and asked him for something with vodka.

“Any preference?” Nate asked.

“Surprise me.” He raked a hand through his mahogany brown hair. “Just make sure it’s strong.”

After thinking on it a moment, Nate decided exactly what he’d make the guy. “You like olives?”

“Sure.”

“Well, I’ll make you my specialty.” His words were met by a raised brow. “A Dirty Martini.”

“Dirty seems appropriate.” The man pulled his cellphone from his pocket, turned it on and checked the display, then just as quickly turned it off. “Make me two.”

Nate knew even then that the guy was on a mission to lose himself to drink, and that was okay with him—he was used to it; it was part of his job. But that had been three cocktails and four shots ago. In Nate’s opinion, the guy was just about done. He was more than prepared to cut him off before he passed out, creating a problem Nate didn’t want to deal with.

Before he’d managed to move down the bar, the older man spoke again.

“Likely a woman.” The older man held up his glass as if that would confirm his words. “Only a woman can make a man look like that.”

As Nate moved away, he controlled the retort that was so close to the tip of his tongue. Love might make a man look like that, Nate thought, but it certainly didn’t have to be because of a woman. He was proof of that—heartbreakingly honest to goodness proof of that—and if his instincts about the man sitting at the other end of the bar were on the money, his problems had nothing to do with a woman either.

*****

Available now in the BDP Digital Shop
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The book is also available at the following retailers at the listed price:

Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Sony coming soon

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Next week's release on August 30 is: Notice to Appear by C. C. Lorenz.

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