Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these!
I’ve been so busy as of late, working on multiple writing projects, as well as life. My most current WIP, which I’m almost finished with, I want to share with you all today for this long-awaited Teaser Tuesday! The story focuses on a new couple. One who comes with personal baggage and a past history of abuse. Whereas the other comes with his own brand of mental baggage. I try to put them through the wringer in their dealings with not only each other, but with people involved in their lives.
Y’all, I have to admit: I’m in love with this story a little bit. At least for right now. And that may be because I’m so close to writing “The End” on its first draft, but I’ve fallen for the story and the characters. I’ve also dedicated six long months to writing, and though I’ve had times of uncertainty, times where I doubted what I was writing was any good, and long bouts of procrastination, I am almost done! And I can’t wait to share it with you all. So please enjoy this *unedited* snippet of Chapter 1.
Title: N/A (Well, I sort of have a title, but I’m still iffy about it)
Nick glared at the hand on his arm, the grip tight enough to be offensive. His forest green gaze crawled its way up to the owner of that hand. The guy was handsome. Tall. European looking with dark blond, stylish hair, and piercing hazel eyes. Those eyes stared at him expectantly, waiting for his response. His full mouth was parted just slightly, startled.
Nick reminded himself he was at work. He couldn’t go off on a rude customer. Again. Not if he wanted to keep his job. Nick shrugged off the stranger’s grip. “Sorry, no.” He carried the empty water pitcher through the lively crowd toward the bar.
His best friend, Eric Ruiz, raised a brow at him. “What was that about?”
Nick shook his head. “No clue. He called me Christian.”
Eric frowned as he stroked his goatee. “Christian? What, the name or the religion?”
“Do I care?”
“Sounds like a poor attempt at hollering at you, hermano.” Eric sneered as he raked in the customer’s appearance. “Upper East Side boys ain’t got no game.”
Nick glanced over his shoulder, back at the table he’d just walked by. Even though he was with a colleague, the stranger still had his eyes glued to Nick. His expression had hardened, almost dangerously so. “What the hell is his problem?”
“Don’t worry about it, yo. Let’s just get back to work before Phil sees us slacking.”
Nick agreed. Taking his mind off the disconcerting stranger, Nick headed off to check on his tables.
Today was Valentine’s Day, so Jenkins’ Jazz Bar was busier than usual. Every single table and booth was occupied by loving couples and groups of friends celebrating their singleness. Food and drinks were flying out of the kitchen at a rate that was almost too quick to comprehend. Hell, Nick wasn’t even sure the house band had taken a break yet. Since the bar opened this evening, it’d been like this. One fast-paced blur.
Nick attended a married couple who looked like they should be dining on Madison Avenue, not a basement joint in East Harlem.
That guy too, Nick thought as he stole a glance at table nine being attended to by Mercedes. The stranger wasn’t looking his way anymore, so Nick studied him a moment. The guy was groomed and decked out in clothes that were nothing short of top-notch designers. Everything about him—from the way he sat to the way he sipped his cocktail—screamed money. He probably had a penthouse on Fifth Avenue, too. Nick gave a wry smile at the thought.
“We’ll have two of the rum cake. And I’d love to have another glass of this wine, if you don’t mind.”
Nick brought his attention back to the smiling woman. “Sure thing.” Nick headed to the brand new MICROS station to key in their orders when the front door opened and a young man wearing a black hoodie and black loose fit jeans stepped inside.
Nick sucked in a deep breath, inhaling the mingled scents of soul food. The visible tattoos on the guy’s knuckles and neck did not bode well for Nick. Had they found him already? After only a year? “Shit.” There were two tables Nick needed to check on, but he didn’t care about anything other than staying out of this guy’s sight. He rushed into the kitchen, glad for the safety of the steel double doors.
“You okay? Look like you saw a ghost.” Mercedes Shaw was the eighteen year old niece of Phil Jenkins, the owner of the bar they worked in. Beautiful girl. Nosy, but Nick knew she meant well.
“Yeah,” Nick replied. “Actually, you mind taking these rolls to table seven for me? I need a breather.”
Mercedes’ brown eyes softened with understanding. “Yeah, I got you. It’s been like this all day, huh?”
Nick nodded, even though the fast pace wasn’t the problem. He stepped out the back door with a sigh of relief.
The temperature was freezing. Low twenties. But the cold air was soothing to his flustered skin. Nick exhaled a cloud of smoke and leaned against the building. He raked a hand through his short black hair and tried not to think of the tattooed newcomer inside. Instead he focused on his immediate surroundings, though there wasn’t much to see. The back door led to an alley that smelled like trash and piss. Police sirens and the occasional gunshot were the soundtrack of life down here in their corner of Manhattan. This, he was used to. He didn’t want to give up the life he’d found here, not yet. More than anything, he dreaded being back on the streets. Living the life he’d lived before.
Nick didn’t stay outside long. His body had begun to chill over and he wasn’t looking to give Mr. Jenkins any reason to fire him. He only hoped the tattooed asshole was gone by now.