Series: Brawlers #1
Publication date: March 21, 2017
Length: 129 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Welcome to Brawlers Bar…
A quick pit stop for a comfortable bed to sleep turned into an eight-year stay. Vincent “Crave” Butler hit the road the day after college graduation and hadn’t looked behind him since. He’d swore to never stop moving, but the night he drove into Powers, Georgia changed the course of his life. He’d hit a bar called Brawlers with its rundown exterior and pride flag beside the door, the next day he had a job. Second in command to the Head of Brawler security, Crave found the place he didn’t have to run from. No one would call Crave sane. He lived to make people as uncomfortable as possible just for his own twisted amusement. That all changed when a certain cute as fuck bartender walked in for an interview.
No one wanted Twitch Harrison around. He was small, femme and annoying on his best days, downright abhorrent on his bad ones. When college turned out to be a no-go, and the parents canceled his credit cards he’d needed a job. Walking into Brawlers, the roughest gay bar in his hometown, was like a game of pick the thing that didn’t belong—him. The two owners, Scary and Tank, hired him on and four years later he was still that thing that didn’t belong. No one made it more apparent than bouncer Crave Butler who didn’t hide the fact he barely tolerated Twitch’s presence.Crave threatened every man who thought they’d get the pretty Twitch but would Twitch rather be in their beds than his? Only one way to find out and he hoped Twitch was ready for forever because that’s what Crave was determined to have.
If you read JM Dabney’s Twirled World Ink series you are aware of the Brawlers. Well Crave opens this series. Him and Twitch! Yeah, if you read the other books you know Twitch too. And he is just as awesome as you hope he will be!
I want to say you don’t need to read the Twirled World Ink series to read this book. It’s totally a standalone and you will not be confused. But, you want to read the other series because it’s awesome.
Crave and Twitch are mentally shattered. They see only the flaws in themselves. But when they look at each other they see the other’s beauty. Isn’t that what true love is? Crave of course handles himself in the worst way he possibly can. For Twitch, he needs to calm down. Crave lives his life so afraid of becoming something or I should say someone that he doesn’t even realize his own amazing worth.
Twitch is a caffeine firecracker of amazing. I want to hang out with him because he makes me laugh, he loves hugs, he’s beautiful inside and out, and he needs love. These are like the best things ever!
Watching these two navigate whatever it is they are, was something else. They have a lot of ups and downs, but the author gets them to act like adults and shake off their insecurities. They are masterful together and this book is an awesome way to start this series!
Chaos reigned at Brawlers Bar. Fists flew from every direction and bodies fell against Crave Butler. He was about to spin to take on the guy at his six but pulled the punch at the last moment as Bull his coworker came into view.
“Motherfucker, are all your brains in your fucking dick,” Bull growled.
He protested, “This wasn’t my fault.” He ruined the innocent tone as he laughed like a maniac.
He hadn’t thrown the first fucking punch, so actually, he wasn’t lying. Bodies started flying up and out of the crowd as he spotted Psycho tossing people around like they weighed nothing. Almost seven-feet of pissed off man was downright fucking Scary; no way in fuck he’d admit that to anyone, though.
Then the realization came. Shit, Psycho was after him. He started to duck and weave, disappearing for someone Crave’s size was impossible. He lifted weights at least three times a week, he was the shortest of Brawlers Security team at six-two but other than Psycho he was definitely the bulkiest in muscle mass.
“Elijah is fine,” he yelled and tried to hide behind Bull.
“I told you no fights when my pretty boss is in-house.”
Crave rolled his eyes, he swore Psycho had a massive hard-on for Elijah. If true, Psycho had a death wish.
“Scary and Tank—”
“Not my bosses. Now, come here so I can kick your ass.”
“Bull, do something.” Crave peeked over Bull’s shoulder. “The fucker is insane.”
“Just take it like a man, Crave.” Bull walked away.
Crave was exposed. “Come on, man, I didn’t throw—”
He ducked a right jab but grunted when a left hook landed against his ribs “Motherfucker, are you wearing brass?” The question ceased when huge hands grabbed his shoulders and pushed him down. Psycho’s knee came toward his nose in slow motion. He barely pushed himself out of the way, and the worn denim of Psycho’s jeans grazed his cheek.
“Psycho,” Elijah’s raised voice came out of nowhere.
He turned his head in time to see Elijah with his hands on his hips and a dark brow raised.
“What are you doing?”
“Kicking Crave’s ass.”
Crave rolled his eyes as he took advantage of Psycho’s distraction and tried to pull away only to earn himself a sucker punch to the gut. The air whooshed from his lungs as he planted his hands on his knees and tried to draw in a breath.
“And why are you kicking Crave’s ass?”
“Because he didn’t listen to me,” Psycho answered.
“Is that a question or an answer?”
“Um, it’s an answer, he didn’t listen and put you in danger.”
Crave snorted. Elijah might be lacking in muscle and height, but the man could wield a mean bat when the time arose.
“I was perfectly safe, Psycho, what have we talked about?”
“Don’t beat up on people weaker than—”
Elijah had the nerve to laugh. Bastard.
“No, what did we discuss?”
“To think before we punch, but I thought about it. And after careful consideration, he deserved the beating.”
The big bastard exhaled heavily and hung his head.
“We don’t fight with friends. He’s not my friend.”
“Psycho, come on, let’s have another talk, come on.” Elijah held out his hand.
Crave straightened and earned an elbow to the gut. “Dammit.”
“Psycho, no, bad Psycho, are we going to have to talk about another visit to the doctor?”
Psycho huffed and Crave watched him walk away.
“No, boss, I’m—” Psycho growled, then cleared his throat, “Sorry.”
“Shouldn’t you tell Crave you’re sorry too?”
“Do I have’ta?”
“No, but we still have to talk, buy me a coffee.”
Elijah was insane, he’d thought it when the cute man hooked up with his bosses Tank and Scary, but when he adopted Psycho, it turned into a fact. The small man slipped his arm through Psycho’s and led him away. Crave breathed a sigh of relief and jumped back as a massive fist came back to pop him in the nuts.
“Dude, that’s low.”
“What did you do?”
Psycho smirked over his shoulder as he walked away with Elijah on his arm.
“Your boss won’t always be around to save your ass,” Crave called out and grimaced as he ducked away as Psycho tried to turn back to him.
“He’s gonna kill you one of these days.”
Scary’s gruff voice made him turn his head to see his boss’s amused expression.
“Why haven’t you fired his oversized ass yet?”
“Elijah loves that man like a son, which is weird as fuck since the man is only a year younger than him.”
“Does he join—”
“I’ll kick your ass if you finish that shit right there. I don’t know what the fuck is going on with you, but you cause one more fight in my bar, I’ll let Psycho kick your ass to the door. Got me?”
“Sorry, man, I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Damn right,” Scary growled and headed toward where Elijah and Psycho were sitting at the bar.
Fuck, Crave slid his hands into his back pockets and watched as Bull cleared the mess. Setting some of Psycho’s casualties up with a free round. He probably deserved the beating Elijah saved him from, but he probably needed one from Scary too. Crave lived with a constant inappropriate comment fighting to get free from his mouth. He knew it, and mostly he didn’t give a fuck if it got him in trouble, but he knew better than to try his shit with Scary. That mean fucker would hide his body and never think twice.
Scanning the crowd, he noticed most of the rowdy crowd departed. He made his way outside to take his usual spot on a barstool beside the door.
He stared out across the parking lot to the deputy vehicle in the empty lot on the other side of the road. He gave the guy a two-finger salute, and the deputy flashed his headlights. The new guy seemed cool enough. He didn’t fuck with them as much as the others did.
He yelled as a bag of ice slammed into his sore stomach. “What the fuck, man.” Crave turned his head to find Twitch standing next to him. The man tucked his long curls behind his small ears and crossed his arms over his thin chest. Crave never met a man he’d consider beautiful before, but that ended the minute Twitch sashayed into Brawlers for an interview.
“You pissed off the bosses again.”
“Don’t fucking start, Twitch.”
“I’m not starting anything. Just saying.”
“Am I fired?”
They’d threatened to fire him before and with any other job he’d taken he hadn’t given a shit about it, but he loved working there.
“They finally have a solid crew they trust, but whatever’s going on in that head of yours, you better work it out before they change their minds.”
It’s like none of them knew him. He was the same as he was the minute he’d walked into Brawlers. Eight years he’d worked the door of Brawlers as second in command to Tank. Like the rest of the crew except the bosses, he’d taken up residence in Bull’s house. They lived and worked together sooner or later shit was going to get tense, they’d fight and be done. He had to admit his head was fucked up lately. Crave remembered the minute shit went fucking nuclear—Twitch had smiled at him.
“I ain’t got shit going on in my head,” he lied like a motherfucker. “And I didn’t throw the first punch.”
“You rarely do, but you sure as hell don’t back down.”
“Kinda my job.”
“I’m going back inside, Hunter isn’t screwing up my paperwork again. How fucking hard is it to learn the POS?”
Twitch didn’t wait for him to answer and headed back through the open door. Crave dropped the bag of ice to the ground. He hadn’t gotten laid in almost a year, and it was all Twitch’s fault. His usual type was a big and muscular, but submissive.
Twitch was too fragile for him, yet he didn’t want anyone else. Okay, he hadn’t turned into a monk since he’d first laid eyes on Twitch. The unfamiliar guilt he had over the men he’d brought home or hooked up with caused him to hook up infrequently until it ceased completely last summer. He loved sex. Fuck, he just missed fucking, but he only wanted one man.
He’d wanted to touch Twitch’s smooth tanned skin and trace every inch of that beautiful slim body from the second Crave had spotted him. Crave dreamed of tangling Twitch’s long dark hair around his fist as he fucked Twitch’s tight, rounded ass till Twitch screamed for him. He wanted to own Twitch; the man’s pleasure and pain all his.
Crave didn’t understand the concept of jealousy and didn’t become attached, but every man who even looked at Twitch got a warning. With his size, they never went against him, and he made sure they knew he wasn’t fucking around.
He wouldn’t share his boy, and every motherfucker knew it; if they didn’t, they learned quickly and painfully.
“No more fighting tonight,” Bull’s deep, gravelly voice jolted him out of his thoughts.
“I know that look, and it’s never good.”
Crave shot a glance at the silver haired man and found Bull’s glare promising retribution. Bull had worked there even longer than him. He called the grumpy bastard one of his best friends, but Bull wasn’t a man to fuck with no matter how long they’d been friends.
“I’ve gotten enough shit, Bull.”
“Listen, we don’t fight amongst ourselves. That shit is for the ring, remember it.”
Oh, he remembered, he’d tangled with Bull and Psycho, even Tank and Scary a few times. At Bull’s they settled arguments in the boxing ring Bull had set up in the barn. When the fight ended, they left it on the mat.
“Psycho came after me.”
“I already talked to him. This shit won’t keep happening. I ain’t the parent here.”
“I got it, no need—”
“Definitely a need since you threatened that fucker because he flirted with Twitch. Don’t try to deny it because I saw you smile when he threw the punch. I ain’t saying nothing about it, but either you take care of claiming your boy, or you let him go.”
Again he wasn’t given a chance to respond, and Bull disappeared.
His secret was out, fuck. Hopefully Bull would keep it to himself. There was only so much he could take from his co-workers and friends. He had to live with these people, even Twitch took up residence in what became known as Brawlers Farm.
His control was slim on a good day, nonexistent any other time. Crave already caught Twitch sneaking out on several nights over the past couple of months. He was positive there was someone out there he couldn’t threaten. Some strange man putting his hands on Twitch—fucking Twitch. The beautiful man didn’t know it yet but Crave owned him. His fists clenched so hard his knuckles cracked. He growled low in his chest and caused two men leaving to jump. He didn’t apologize, something in their retreat satisfied him.He just had to find Twitch’s boyfriend, destroy the motherfucker, and prove to Twitch Crave was the man for him. Easy, right?
By day, J.M. is an introverted cook hiding out in her kitchen in the middle of nowhere Ohio, by night and any free time she may have, she is a writer of mainly LGBTQ Fiction and Erotica. Although. she's equal opportunity when it comes to telling a story, she'll even write a bit of straight erotic romance when the mood strikes.
She has been writing for years in old notebooks. At the age of eight, she wrote the worst poem in the history of poetry, but it sparked her love for writing. She reads too much and loves to get lost in other worlds and her favorite stories have to include laughter and having the reader doing at least one double take. Thirty-something, forever restless she uses her stories to ground herself, and find her place of peace.
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