The tie squeezed like a noose around his neck and though Tanim loosened it with a wince, the sensation of constriction didn’t ease. He nodded gratefully as the bartender refilled his tumbler of bourbon and downed the liquid without savoring its taste. He wasn’t drinking tonight for enjoyment; he was drinking to get drunk, to forget, to let go. And the sooner the better.

“Rough day?”

Tanim glanced sidelong as another young man slid onto the stool to his right, a drink already clasped between manicured fingers. Bright blue eyes gleamed from beneath pale lashes, the tightly curled hair above like coils of spun gold. The man might have been a Greek statue brought to life, his lips as perfect as if a sculptor labored over their graceful curves. Tanim swallowed, momentarily struck dumb by the creature smirking sweetly over the rim of his drink. “You could say that,” he finally replied, wishing he hadn’t finished his drink so quickly; he could use something to parch his dry throat, not to mention ease his nerves.

“Want to tell me about it?” Beneath the countertop Tanim felt the stranger’s hand slide slowly up his thigh, coming to rest obscenely close to his groin. Any other night he might have shaken off the touch and retreated with a stammered excuse, but not this time; this was what he had come for, after all, nervous or not. Although he’d never yet partaken in this particular dance he had observed it many times now and knew the steps well. First casual conversation neither party paid any real attention to, followed by a proffered drink, a little surreptitious caressing, and then the nonchalant yet highly orchestrated withdrawal to the privacy of a bathroom stall or motel room. No, he had never played a role in this dance, but he imagined it every night and witnessed it often.

The fingers on his thigh curled and Tanim had to bite back a groan at the pressure. Slender fingers, yes, but their possessive caress promised hidden strength, careless confidence. He wondered how they would feel digging into his skin, or perhaps dragging through his hair. “We can go somewhere more… private,” the man offered with a twitch of his mouth as if sensing Tanim’s struggle to maintain composure. Tanim licked his own dry lips and managed to not stammer, “I’d like that. Yeah.”

“Good,” The hand slid away, though the knowing smile remained. The stranger rose first, wending between tables and patrons on his way to the bathroom. Tanim followed a moment later.


[ Meet Alexander, the beautiful and unapologetic man-whore to whom Tanim surrenders his virginity – and then, you know, fucks a bunch more times. Alex is a paper doll character; he literally exists only to pick up men in bars (and probably 90% of the other places he goes) and toy with poor Tanim. Here he is mocking Tanim about being hung up on Daren, pushing Daren too far to spectacular results, and inadvertently getting in the middle of a lover’s spat. ]


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