Read The Pinch of the Game on October 1, in time for Halloween!
Jeffrey Overton, unemployed IT professional turned poker player, pushes his luck once too often and runs afoul of the host of an illegal card club. The man sent to escort Jeffrey to a “meeting” about his supernatural winning streak arrives at Jeffrey’s crappy North Portland apartment, lock-picking tools in hand and a charm to block Jeffrey’s magick.
Head muscle for said host, Mike Wells, is a Daisy from Daisyville. He isn’t a witch. What he lacks in magickal talent he makes up for in brawn, so he doesn’t expect the guy he’s after to overpower him. But once Mike renders Jeffrey helpless, he’d rather seduce him than bring him in.
Jeffrey and Michael ditch the “meeting” and end up hunting some of the same people they ran from, trying to get Jeffrey back into his own body. And that’s only part of the adventure. The pair travel halfway across the country on the quietest road trip in history and find missing people, empire-building witches, and maybe even the families they’d both thought lost to them.
Excerpt from Chapter One:
Usually I stayed clear of Sal’s club, but slim pickings in the smaller establishments of late had left me dangerously close to dipping into my emergency stash. And, to be a little too honest, close to broke and closer to stupid. Hindsight. If I’d listened to my gut, I wouldn’t have had to try sneaking out the back of my own crappy apartment, hoping to beat a mountain on legs to the back fence. It had to be Sal’s muscle picking the lock on the front door, because I couldn’t change the configuration of the lock to keep him out no matter how many times I tried to magick the damned door.
Everyone has to make a living somehow. It’s not like Sal couldn’t afford a few hundred, but no, nobody got to use magick inside his club except him.
The guy stopped trying to get in, for the moment, so I guessed I was going on the lam in jeans and old Doc Martens. Great. Never thought I’d be running for my life in the clothes I wear to take out the trash. With a few minutes to change and secure my usual glamour, I could hit a poker game in Southwest after ditching the goon, but maybe an indulgence was in order. If Sal had sent someone after me, a short trip up to Seattle might be a good idea, maybe even BC. That called for some new clothes, so I grabbed my battered gym bag—my quick escape kit—and was almost home free when the kitchen door burst open. It would’ve been dumb to turn off the light when the goomba first went to work on the lock—I can’t see any better in the dark than your average Daisy, not when I’m blocked. Once that massive body filled the doorway, I wished I had. Wished I’d done something.
He hesitated, barely a moment, and I bolted for the front door. He grabbed me before I made it out of the kitchen and pinned both of my arms to my sides. It wouldn’t work, I knew that, but I still tried to burn his hands. All I needed was enough time to—fuck, is he laughing?
“Give it up, pretty boy. You’re blocked.”
The big man pushed me against the wall face-first and pulled both hands behind my back.
“Hey, wait a sec, big guy. Let’s talk about this. I can—”
He pushed me flat against the wall, and the rest of that sentence disappeared in the rush of air he squeezed from my lungs. I couldn’t help being turned on, even though pain and domination usually aren’t my thing. Neither are bears, but underneath the padding he felt nice and solid, leaning full against me. He tightened a plastic zip tie around my wrists with shaking hands. And then he held me there.
“You done? Because this ain’t a negotiation. I gotta bring you back to Sal.”
He still leaned against my back, so I couldn’t answer with more than a soft groan. It almost sounded like a sigh of relief—if he wasn’t going to kill me, maybe I could talk my way out with Sal. Since Mom left, Sal’s temper—always unpredictable—had gotten out of control. Sal probably wouldn’t listen to me, even if I knew where she was, but maybe I could bluff and buy enough time to disappear.
“Sal’s had trouble with too much magick in his place. He needs to make an example outta someone, and he picked you.”
Fuck. I’d rather take my chances with the big man. “What’s your name?”
He turned me around and gripped my upper arms. “I don’t have one. Mr. Jeffrey Overton.”
“Come on. Big sexy guy like you has to have a name.” I took a better look at him and shivered. He really was sexy. In a rough, bad boy kind of way. He towered a head taller than me, bald—the kind of bald that said he shaved his head, and not to hide pattern baldness either—full beard, and hair peeking up from the collar of his shirt. A sexy mountain. “If you’re gonna feed me to the wolves, at least tell me your name first.”
He’d started breathing heavily, and I wasn’t even trying to charm him. Well, only a little, but if Sal had sent him, I was well and truly blocked. No magick for Jeffrey, and since that’s about all I have, I was also well and truly fucked if I couldn’t sweet talk him into releasing me.
The guy’s hands were so big he could wrap them all the way around my biceps, and he did. Both of them. I might be slender, but I do not have skinny bird arms. So hot. He bent forward and smelled my hair at the same time he pressed his thigh against my cock. His moan started my blood rushing faster.
“Gotta bring you back.” He rubbed the length of his hard body against mine. His heart was about to thump out of his chest, and mine would’ve been happy to meet it halfway. “Just business.”
If I didn’t know better, I would’ve sworn he was under some kind of spell. Not even Sal had that cruel a sense of humor—to send a man after me and have him feign interest.
He whispered the name “Mike” in my ear, and then his mouth covered mine. Everything about the guy was big, from the mouth devouring mine to the cock pressing into my stomach. I should’ve been working on how to use this attraction to my advantage, but as soon as his tongue invaded my mouth—exploring, tasting, battling mine into a quick submission—my brain shorted out. I kissed him back—bruised my lips, I kissed him back so hard. He pulled me away from the wall and crushed me against his chest until only my toes touched the floor. It was so hot I would’ve climbed him like a tree if my arms hadn’t been secured behind my back.
Mike—Michael—wrapped his arms around me and squeezed. When I moaned, he slipped one hand under my arm and filled it with my ass. He kneaded and pulled me up even higher. When he moved his mouth to my neck, I bounced on the balls of my feet and jumped to wrap both legs around his waist. A growl rumbled deep in his chest as he sucked on my neck.
“This is the best price I’ve ever had on my head. Fuck me before you take me to Sal, Michael.”
Cover Artist: AngstyG