Authors: Holly Hart
, it’s Holly Hart! Thanks for downloading my latest STEAMY romance novel — Hung. They call him ‘Hung’ for one reason - and you guessed it! I hope you enjoy the book. If you like it, please consider leaving a review
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hat's not a cock
, it's a goddamn python," I exclaimed, dropping the magazine onto my lap in shock and sending a few stray hairs floating down to the ground. "That thing should be kept in a zoo where it can't hurt anyone!"
"Hey, let me take a look," Keisha said. "You can't say something like that and then just leave me hanging…"
She put her scissors down onto the counter underneath the mirror and wiped a few of my thick black hairs from her hands before eagerly grabbing the magazine from me and flicking straight to the page that had startled me so much.
“Ho-lee shit, you weren't kidding…"
"Not even a little bit," I murmured quietly, my mind still reeling from what I'd just seen. "That boy's a black guy trapped in a white man's body."
"Mhmm," Keisha muttered appreciatively, eyes still glued to the page. "If all white guys had a cock like that, I'd have to think twice about staying with my man. I can't believe they're allowed to print this. It's basically porn."
"No, me either," I commented, grabbing the magazine back from my hairdresser's greedy hands, desperate to lay my eyes on Clay Hunt's massive cock once again. The paparazzi photographer must have sneaked in by boat to the private island that Clay, one of America's biggest pop stars, was vacationing on to get the shot, which looked like it had been taken from a few hundred yards away with an extra-high-definition, long-zoom lens.
"The magazine won't care; they'll happily eat the fine and clean up with all the extra sales they'll get. Hell, I haven't bought a copy of Celeb Today in years, but guess what's sitting in my lap…"
"I sure as hell can't say the same," Keisha giggled into my ear, picking up her scissors once again. I couldn't help but notice in her reflection in the mirror that she was keeping her eyes firmly planted on the offending page. I couldn't blame her, the sight of Clay Hunt's enormous penis hanging heavy between his legs as he stepped out of an enormous stone hot tub filled with sky blue water was magnificent.
"Hey, Keisha, eyes on the prize," I said with laughter in my voice. "I can't have you chopping off too much – not before tonight, that's for damn sure."
"Oh, that's right," she said, disappointedly dragging her eyes away from Clay's package and back to the rather less appealing sight of my long, bushy black hair. "It's your big night tonight, isn't it?"
"I like you, girl – but I'm not paying your prices just for a normal cut," I said with a chuckle. "I'm broke enough as it is without paying a hundred dollars for a haircut."
"I tell you what, because it's you – and because you brought that beauty into my life," Keisha said, pointing at the magazine with a wicked smile, "I'll knock fifty bucks off. I can't do any more; I've still got to pay to rent this chair, and it's a real killer…"
"You kidding?" I said with genuine surprise, a warm smile of gratitude filling my face. "You don't have to do that, you know. It's my big night, not yours."
"Nah, don't worry about it," she said. "Just promise me one thing?"
"You got it."
"When you're famous, Alicia, I want you to take me to some cool after parties…"
"When I'm famous," I repeated, enjoying the sound of the little fantasy as it rolled across my tongue, "I'll take you everywhere. The MTV Music Awards, London, hell, even the Oscars. When I'm number one, this town's going to be mine."
"You go, girl," Keisha said, "but we've got more important things to discuss – like, who's that girl draped across my man?"
I turned my head and looked out the window, thinking Keisha had spotted her boyfriend stepping out with some other girl, and she clipped me around the head with a joking tap. "No, you idiot," she laughed, "I'm talking about that skinny bitch draped around Clay."
"Oh, right," I said, glad that my rich cocoa skin covered up the slight blush on my cheeks. "I can see why they call him Hung…" I murmured, bringing my eyes back to the page and looking at the tiny inscription beneath the incriminating naked photo of Clay ‘Hung’ Hunt.
"Says here she's a Victoria’s Secret model," I said, feeling a slight pang of envy emanating from deep within me. Silly as it was, I couldn't help but wonder what this girl had that I didn't.
Was it because she was skinny?
Maybe it was just because she was born into money, and I wasn't. Hell, modeling couldn't be easy – I don't know if I'd be able to stop myself chugging back a cold beer at the end of a hard day – but I'd sure as hell give it a go. Couldn't be worse than being hit on by drunk stockbrokers in the bar all night, at any rate.
"Course she is," Keisha hissed with uncharacteristic venom. "Must be a nice life, huh, being flown around the world to fuck Clay just because you've got a twenty-five-inch waist and a firm pair of double-D breasts…"
"Hey, come on now," I said, tamping down the unexpected feeling of jealousy and turning back to Keisha with a smile. "We have fun, don't we? And what's the point in getting down about it, anyway? When are either of us ever going to be in a position to sleep with Clay Hunt…"
his your first time
I picked my gaze up from the floor and looked to my right, where my eyes fell upon a hella sexy bartender filling up the ice drawer, shifting around liquor bottles and generally getting prepped for the night ahead.
"No…" I blustered for a second, thinking he'd think less of me, before changing my mind when I realized how transparent my denial was. "Kinda. Is it that obvious?" I asked with a rueful smile.
Great, everyone in the room is going to see how nervous I am. That's the last thing I need…
"Don't worry, I see a lot of singers in here," he smiled warmly. "By the time the customers turn up, the lights will be on and they'll be three drinks deep. They won't notice a thing. Want a drink?"
I thought about refusing the offer, thinking it might make me look more professional, but when I noticed how badly my hands were jittering in front of me, I knew the only option I had was to accept.
"Please. Jack and Coke?"
"You got it. One Jack and Coke, coming up." He busied himself grabbing a glass and filling it with a few cubes of crystal clear ice before pouring a hefty home pour of the amber bourbon into the highball glass and topping up with sparkling Coca-Cola. "Here you go," he said, handing it to me.
"Thanks," I said gratefully, raising the drink to my lips and taking a suitably hefty gulp to steady my nerves. "Tell me, how busy does it get in here?"
The sexy bartender flashed me a hundred-watt smile. "You sure you want to know?"
"Not really," I admitted, "but I'm not sure I can face going up on that stage without having some kind of an idea."
"You'll be fine. Just get that drink down you, and then don't touch another until you go on stage. You'll want just enough alcohol in your blood to stop you freaking out, but not enough to have you slurring your words, you know what I mean?"
"You done this before?" I asked, interested by his apparently pretty deep knowledge of how to manage singing up on stage. "Sounds like you're quite the expert…"
"I get about town." he grinned. "Sung in this joint a few times, too. Still waiting for my big break, though."
"I know them feels," I agreed, raising my glass in an ironic cheer. "But you’re right – this is my first time. Definitely my first in a place as big as this, anyway…"
The bartender broke away from his pre-night preparations for a second and regarded me with an unusually raking stare. He held it for just long enough for me to start getting a little bit uncomfortable, then flashed me that panty-dropping smile of his once again.
"Pretty little thing like you? You'll be fine."
t didn't take
my brain more than two seconds after I walked out onto the raised stage before it was screaming at me to turn tail and run, throwing every insecurity I'D ever harbored about my weight, my heritage and the quality of my voice right back in my face in a desperate attempt to get me out of the limelight.
The moment I put the phone down after the venue had booked me, I went onto their Facebook page and had a look at pictures from previous nights – but no amount of obsessive stalking through photo albums online could have prepared me for the reality of what faced me – a crowd of at least three hundred people, probably more. And worse, the night was still young; I had every reason to expect that the room would continue to fill up for at least an hour.
I took a couple of small, faltering steps, but the stool that was set out expectantly for me in the middle of the stage seemed a world away, and meant for a different, thinner, braver person.
Not Alicia Hudson, that's for damn sure.
The house band struck up a jaunty tune, hushing the crowd, and I watched as a cocky emcee strode up to the microphone set at the front of the stage, waiting for me, and I wanted to scream at him that I wasn't ready – that I couldn't do this, but it was as though my feet were locked to the wooden floorboards and my jaw wired shut.
Not exactly ideal for a singer.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he began as I watched in horror, "thanks for coming down to The Joint. We having a good night?"
He lifted the microphone off its stand, twirled it idly in his hand, then held it up to the crowd, who were – as my friendly bartender had told me they would be – at least three drinks deep. In fact, by their reaction, I could tell that for most of them it was significantly more than three.
The roar of the crowd rocked me back on my heels, but it had one slim benefit – it woke me up from my fearful, cornered slumber and got me moving. If I knew anything about show business, which I was quickly realizing I didn't, it was that the performer had to show complete confidence. If they didn't, then a rowdy, half-drunk crowd like this could turn on a dime.
I only had one option – to fake it.
So I did. I plastered that same hundred-watt smile onto my face and forced my screaming legs forward, ignoring their fearful complaints. I held my guitar like an ancient warrior, as a shield in front of my body, a vain attempt to hide from my insecurities in the face of three hundred gazing pairs of eyes and stage lighting that left no place to cower behind.
"And it gives me great pride to present to you Alicia freaking Hudson!"
Alicia freaking Hudson?
What makes me "freaking?
This is my first real gig, after all. Does he really need to sell me as something I'm not?
Holy shit, this is real
There was no place left to hide, so there was nothing else to do but grin and bear it. This is what I'd always wanted, at least I thought it was. But now up on this stage, it all felt so real, so overwhelming. I raised my hand, saluted the enormous, excited crowd and hoped beyond all hell that they couldn't see my hand shaking nervously.
The emcee stepped away from the mic, clapping as he walked backwards with a big, false smile plastered across his face.
Why the hell am I concentrating on what's on his face? It's only a job for him. He's got no stake in my success, just that the night goes well. Get yourself together, Alicia!
I sat down on the stool and realized that my throat was as dry as an Iowa cornfield on a hot summer's day. Thankfully, someone had thoughtfully left a full glass at the foot of my stool, and I reached down to grab it, mindful of the need to act cool. I took a big swig, assuming it was water, and half choked as I realized that I'd made a big mistake – it was a Jack and Coke. A strong Jack and Coke, at that.
And then something happened, something clicked deep inside me, and I knew this was where I was born to be. I looked up the crowd, saw hundreds of sparkling, dancing eyes fixed upon me, and felt powerful, at home.
I raised my glass to the crowd, and like someone else was in command of my actions, my body and my lips, toasted them.
"We all having a good night?" I asked, and felt an almost physical rush as the crowd roared back in appreciation, raising their glasses to me and letting off a primal scream of excitement that fed back into me, releasing a stream of adrenaline into my bloodstream – it almost felt like I'd taken some kind of drug. At once, all my inhibitions fell away and I was in the zone.
I strummed a chord on the guitar, just one, and watched in amazement as the noise from the raucous crowd fell away with the melancholic, dying sound of the instrument. Me – it was me who had power over all of them.
"Are we going to have fun?" I roared back into the microphone, for the sole purpose of awakening the crowd just so that I could feel that primal rush of power once again.
They noisily agreed, then I started playing.
I started with a classic – a little bit of Beyonce, and the crowd went wild. Drunk white chicks started doing their thing, bobbing up and down, and I couldn't help but smile.
If I were a boy
Even just for a day
I’d roll outta bed in the morning
And throw on what I wanted and go
Drink beer with the guys
And chase after girls…
I played through the first four songs of my set, each one a different cover. Those were the rules I’d been given – and I didn't want to break them. Of course, I had my own music, and of course, I had my own lyrics, but I didn't just want to play here once. I wanted to do this every night. I was a damn good bartender, but that wasn’t where I saw the rest of my life going, not if I could help it. And judging by the reaction of the crowd, I could.
The crowd was lustily singing along to the chorus of a Rhianna song, and I could tell by the reaction on the emcee's face that they didn't normally get so involved with musical acts, when everything changed.
I heard the sound of a scuffle outside and tried my best to ignore it. I thought I did a pretty good job, but if I'd known right then and there that my whole life was about to change, I probably wouldn't have been nearly as calm.
At first, only a few heads turned away, and I almost managed to convince myself that I was a big enough draw that people wouldn't want to miss a single second. But who was I kidding?
Then it was ten, then twenty, then a hundred heads. I cast a desperate look over my shoulder at the emcee, but he looked as surprised as I was and just motioned me to keep playing.
By that point, it was essentially just backing music – because no one was paying attention. The show outside was apparently far, far more interesting than the one I was putting on.
The last few lyrics died away, and I didn't bother starting the next song; there was no point. No one was listening. Three, maybe four hundred heads were turned in the wrong direction – looking out through the big sheet glass windows onto the street. And then I saw it, saw what everyone was looking at – it was a fight.
A damn fight.
I felt a red hot geyser of rage shooting up inside me, a deep sense of anger and injustice that someone, some idiot, was ruining my big shot at fame because he'd had too much to drink. I wanted to storm out into the street, grab the two assailants and knock their heads together – and I had no doubt that I'd be able to do it. After all, I was from a long line of big, strong black women, and there was no way a couple of drunk clubbers could stand in my way.
But I knew I couldn't do it. The last thing the bar would want would be their musical act getting herself into the local papers. And then there were the optics – even though I'd be entirely justified in stopping the fight, it probably wouldn't look very good if someone snapped a picture of a black girl cracking two white customers’ heads together.
Double standards. What a world.
"Holy shit!" I heard someone in the crowd cry out, and suddenly there was a very different emotion in the air than I'd felt just a few moments before. Where just seconds ago there had been a general sense of rubber-necked half interest, now the hundreds of partiers packed into the bar were displaying an almost prurient, primal desire to get forward and watch the fight proceed.
Whether those at the back knew who was involved or not, or whether they were just responding to the excitement running through the crowd, I didn't know. It didn't matter.
Hunt," I heard someone hiss excitedly over the general raucous hubbub inside the bar, then the rush to the door really began as star struck fans surged to see their idol beat the pulp out of someone on the street. My stomach sank with disappointment and I sank back onto the stool, resting my guitar haphazardly on the floor as my head fell to my chest.
This was supposed to be it, my big chance.
The bar was half empty now, and the only people remaining were the staff and those—mostly packed by the bar—who were too drunk to really understand what was going on.
I whispered vehemently, responding to the anger coursing through my body. I didn't even look outside, had no interest in seeing the celebrity who'd probably just ruined any chance I’d had a career in music, even if just a few hours before I been hankering over a picture of his gigantic cock in the hair salon. Right now, no one in the world was less attractive to me.
I heard one last punch landing, and in my heart of hearts I hoped that I was hearing the sound of Clay ‘Hung’ Hunt being knocked out cold. I even imagined it, reveling in the schadenfreude of seeing him laid low.
But I wasn't nearly so lucky. Just a couple of seconds passed before he walked into the bar, shirtless and blood dripping from his lip, a few droplets trailing their way down his powerful, rugged frame.
I’d said that there was no one in the world less attractive to me – but if I were being honest, I'd have to say I was lying. I hated the man right now, hated his guts, and wanted to punch his lights out for ruining my night.
But if he asked, I'd share his bed in a heartbeat.
I snuck a peek out of the window and saw a beast of a man, easily fifty pounds heavier and three inches taller than the cocky pop star who'd just strolled almost unharmed into the bar, lying on the pavement – completely unconscious. He looked like a hard bastard, too, the kind of man you wouldn't want to cross in a dark alley, and yet Clay had laid him out like it was nothing.
I couldn't help but be impressed. Not that watching men fight was my kind of thing, but the contrast between Clay’s undeniable good looks – his ice blue eyes and Hollywood jaw – and the beastly, battered thug lying in the gutter was patent for everyone to see.
Clay looked like some kind of hero, and he was getting a hero's welcome. Even the drunks lining the bar parted like the Red Sea, aware they were witnessing something pretty special. I couldn't hear what he ordered, but the girl behind the bar sprang into action so fast that I could tell she was star struck and trying to hide it. A few seconds later, he had an amber whiskey in his hand and he was turning to the stage.
Turning to face me.
"Where's the music?" he called out in a jocular tone, and the crowd – now flooding back into the bar behind their idol – simpered along with him.
Where’s the music? Where's the goddamn music?
Inside, I was fuming. I wanted nothing more than to scream at him for ruining my night, but I knew that wouldn't get me anywhere. I bit my lip hard to avoid saying anything I'd regret in the morning, when the Jack Daniels coursing through my veins wasn't loosening me up and urging me to say something I'd beg to take back.
But I came pretty close.