Giving In

an excerpt

Chapter One

"Good thing we're closing. We're nearly out of Shimmer." Jaxon Hill held up the bottle and nodded to his coworker, Ronan. "Like maybe enough for two shots. I'll have to have management order more."

Ronan laughed. "It was a banner night. Now that everyone knows there's a reaction from the stuff, they want it." He brought over a tray of empty glasses and beer bottles. "I haven't run around that much in forever. How many people did we have in the door?"

Jaxon wasn't sure. He checked the computer. "According to the figures, we had over five hundred tabs opened between eight and closing. So...a little under a hundred per hour."

"Damn. Felt like it too." Ronan strode away and collected more empty bottles.

Jaxon tossed the bottles into the recycle bin, then glanced over at Ronan. He shouldn't keep sneaking looks at him. But he couldn't help himself. Ronan was so pretty in an unorthodox manner. Ronan had spiked his bright pink hair tonight rather than styling it in his usual Mohawk. Where some guys had their ears pierced, Ronan went straight for gauging. He could probably stick his index finger into the holes. When he smiled...that's when he made Jaxon's heart melt. One man shouldn't be that criminally handsome--piercing blue eyes, a dimple in his right cheek, and the perfect amount of hair on his chin to look sexy, but not campy. The guy worked out often and ran every day, but didn't act like a muscle-bound dick. He was just a nice guy who didn't take himself seriously. The kind of man Jaxon wanted to be with...if he ever got the courage up to tell Ronan how he felt.

"Are you going to keep staring or are you going to wash those glasses?" Ronan plunked the tray on the bar. "I'm not here just as a pretty face."

The tips of Jaxon's ears burned. He'd been caught. Again. "Sorry."

"Why are you sorry?" Ronan snorted. "I know I'm cute. I'm the cutest thing in this bar."

"You are." Jaxon busied himself with the glasses. He dunked a dozen of them into the hot, soapy water, then spread a towel out. "You were the hottest thing in the bar all night." Holy shit. Had he just said that out loud? Sure, he believed it, but he wasn't ready to tell Ronan that.

"Duh." Ronan rounded the bar. "I've got all of the highboys collected and there are a few more margarita glasses out there, but all of the bottles are turned in too. Want help washing that stuff?"

"No. Get the rest and I'll do it all at one time." He didn't look up at Ronan. He wasn't sure what had gotten into him. Keeping his feelings bottled up was his strong point. No one knew how he felt and few people got close. The more he kept people out, the less of a chance he'd get hurt.

"O--kay." Ronan left him alone behind the bar.

Well, damn. He noticed the nearly empty bottle of Shimmer. According to everyone who'd tried the liquor tonight, there had been a response. He hadn't paid much attention to the different combinations, but rather simply mixed them for the patrons. Bartending wasn't his goal in life. He had the job at Warm Glow just so he could get through college. He yawned and resumed washing the glassware. He shouldn't be thinking about Ronan as a sexy figure. Relationships didn't work for him. The guys he'd been with all found something wrong with him and left. If he stayed true to himself, then they said he was cold. If he tried to be more emotional, then he'd been accused of being fake. His last boyfriend, Brad, claimed he wasn't exciting enough.

"So." Ronan strode up to him again and grabbed a towel. "You wash, I'll dry, and we'll get out of here before three. I already locked up." He dried a glass. "The lights in the main room are off and I checked on the bathrooms. Ashley did clean them before he left."

"Great," Jaxon said. "I wasn't looking forward to mopping the men's room."

"Me, either. I don't know how those guys can't hit the urinals." Ronan dried faster than Jaxon could wash. "So there's not much Shimmer left?"

"Like two shots at most." He washed the rest of the glasses. "Did you want to try it?"

"Might as well. We're supposed to push it. We should know what it tastes like and what it can do." Ronan turned two of the high-ball glasses over. "Fill 'er up. One for you and one for me. What do you want to mix it with? I can't remember half of the combinations."

"What do you want to add? It's your drink and your experience." His hands shook. What the hell? He wasn't a big drinker. Beer made him sick and the fruity drinks had too much sugar. For a guy who worked at a bar, he wasn't much of an alcohol connoisseur.  "I'm going to mix mine with cola." It worked with rum. Why not Shimmer?

"Hmm...I think..." Ronan picked up the soda hose. "Lemon-lime." He poured the clear soda into one glass, then added cola to Jaxon's. "You add the Shimmer."

"Sure." He poured the liquor into the glasses. "Ready?" He picked up his. "Should we toast?"

"Why not?" Ronan grinned. He licked his lips and screwed his face up as he seemed to consider what to say. "How our health, friendship, and great sex. Bottoms up."

Jaxon downed the drink and ignored the way Ronan's words made him feel. Great sex. With him? He wasn't sure. The booze burned on the way down. Shit. He should've asked someone how Shimmer and cola made them react.

"Wow." Ronan smacked his lips. "That's awesome. It tingles."

"The carbonation does that." He finished his drink and turned away from Ronan. His brain buzzed--or was that the liquor? He wasn't sure. Holy hell. Blood thrummed through his body. He shifted his hips. His cock throbbed. Was that the tightness of his jeans or the booze? Shimmer couldn't be affecting him. Nah. He had control of himself.

"Hey, Jax?" Ronan gripped Jaxon's shoulder. "Is this stuff supposed to make you hot?"

"Huh?" He turned around. "Like how? Is your tongue burning?"

"Kind of." Ronan poured some more lemon-lime soda, then downed it. "Yeah, this isn't making me hot." He frowned. "Did anyone else order Shimmer the way I did?"

"I don't know. Even if I remembered how it was ordered, I didn't ask anyone." Jaxon dropped his glass into the soapy water.


He stared at his friend. "I'm the only other person in the bar. What?"

Ronan's eyes widened. "I like you and want to fuck you."