Hi all! I'm honored to have had a bit of a team behind me this time around:

Carrie ZM: She awesomely stepped up to beta when I was in need, and has become a true friend. Any mistakes you find are mine, I tend to tweak long after I should stop.

Vancouver-Canuck-Girl: She acted as pre-reader when I was completely insecure and made me feel better with her hilarious comments and unwavering support.

Mkystich: Banner maker extraordinaire. I mean come on, have you seen it?

Grabadietcoke: My friend, my sounding board, my 4eva

Chapter 1

"Who wants another mother fucking shot!" I raise the bottle of whiskey over my head, high above the sweaty and raucous crowd below me. My black boots scuff the top of the copper covered bar, leaving thick rubbery streaks behind.

I lean over and empty the contents of my bottle into open mouths, not bothering to lift it between pours, making a sloshy line across my patron's cheeks.

I slap the big guy on the end across the top of his head and tell him to move the fuck on, an order which he smartly obeys. The crowd loves it.

"Iz! Iz! Iz!" They chant over the loud music, trying to get my attention and the free liquor I have possession of. One guy gets handsy, so I flatten that hand with my foot and move on back down the bar.

Emmett reaches out to help me down and I jump to the floor. "Jesus Iz, you really worked them up tonight!" My brother wraps his arm around my shoulders and gives me a squeeze. He tosses me a big grin and returns to his post at the end of the bar, protecting Angie and I from the crowd.

Angie hands me a shot and we clink, downing the whiskey to more shouting from the crowd that loves us. We know how to put on a show here at The Steel Horse. The tips are phenomenal.

Also doesn't hurt that we're practically naked. The few parts that are covered are encased in black leather.

I reach for my cup and startle when a hand darts out and grabs it before I do.

"Excuse me, I think that's my latte." I look at the guy, fully expecting him to realize his mistake and place my cup back down on the counter of my favorite coffee joint.

"Latte? I would never order a latte." He looks at the cup and then to me, a look of disgust on his face.

I raise one eyebrow at him in disbelief at his rudeness. "I'm sure you didn't. Therefore, it's mine." I reach out my hand for him to hand it over.

"I think you're mistaken." He holds the cup up and away from me, out of my reach. "This is my black coffee."

I'm now wide eyed, staring at my cup in his obnoxious hand. "Why would I mistake a latte for black coffee?"

"I don't know, but you are." His smugness and tight grip on my cup has me seeing red.

"Excuse me? It clearly has non-fat, grande, soy chai latte with a half shot of espresso and no foam written on the side of it." I point to the description written on the cup in black marker.

The smug jerk looks at it for a moment, reading. He looks back at me and frowns. "If you're lactose intolerant and can't handle a full dose of caffeine, maybe you should just order water."

Unbelievable. I narrow my eyes and grab the cup from his hand. "What I drink doesn't concern you."

"It does when I have to wait for your pretentious drink to be made when all I want is an unpretentious cup of black coffee." He says, his green eyes blazing.

I turn and start walking towards the back of the shop where the tables are. "Asshole."

"I heard that." He snaps.

I turn my head to the side and bark, "I meant you to!" I continue towards my usual table.

"Oh my god, what a jerk." I huff while throwing my briefcase onto the bench beside me.

Katie, one of the baristas busy wiping down tables, looks around our close vicinity and whispers. "Who?"

"Over there. In line. Douchebag suit guy."

Katie cranes her neck and searches the front of the kitschy coffee shop. "You mean the guy with the mustache?" When I look at him again and confirm, she grins. "He's kind of hot, I like the facial hair. Very Dave Grohl."

Looking at him again, I contemplate what she's said. "It's just a mustache that's too long on the sides. It wants to be a goatee but can't." I shrug not wanting to admit I like the Fu Manchu 'stache.

"I don't know, it's pretty cool. Johnny Depp wears the look well."

"Well, he's no Dave or Johnny, his personality sucks." I exclaim and take a sip of my drink.

She smiles at me. "So, what's on your agenda for today?"

"I have a lecture at eleven and then a screening at two. Should be an easy day."

"Mmmhmm. Watching porn with thirty or more people. Easy."

"It's not porn."

"Sure it's not. You just have a degree that allows you to call it an educational tool. Not that I'm complaining, your class was the only one I ever stayed awake through."

"Very funny." I smirk at my ex-student and sip my drink, scanning the front of the coffee shop. I watch Manchu get his drink and turn to leave. As he's walking through the door, he looks back and raises his cup to me, with a very annoying smirk on his face. I try not to flip him off in return.

"Are you still meeting Alice for dinner tonight? She's got me babysitting starting at six."

I relax my sneer and turn my attention back to Katie. "Yeah, I'll be there. I have to be at Emmett's though at nine, it's Friday. So six is perfect."

"Does that mean you're picking her up dressed in leather again?" Katie grins.

"No, I'll go home and change first or change at the bar. Don't worry, you won't have to see more of me than you do now."

Katie scans my attire, black dress pants, red long sleeved blouse. "You know you're hot like that, but you look nice like this too."

"Yeah well, it's a job requirement. Okay, let me go or I'll be late." I smile at Katie and gather my things, making my way out into the temperamental weather that is spring in Nashville. Today I'm lucky; it's a beautiful seventy-six degrees with no rain in sight.

"Got any hot friends coming tonight?" Emmett asks me through the bathroom door in his office while I'm changing out of my stuffy professor persona and into kick ass biker chick.

"You ask me that every weekend, and every weekend it's the same answer. No."

"I don't understand why you don't try to get more hot friends. Think of it as a thank you for your employment."

Checking to make sure everything important is covered, I exit the bathroom. "I love you Emmett, but I'm not going to be your pimp. Sorry. Besides, you begged me to take this job, you're lucky I decided to make it permanent." I rub my hand on his broad shoulder and make my way out of the office, Emmett following closely behind.

"Pimp? That's low Iz, even for you." His dimples grow bigger as he grins at me, and his cute face is almost too hard to resist.

"Your fault, Buddy. The one time I introduced you to a friend of mine, what happened? You slept with her, never called her again, and she never called ME again." With that, I wave my fingers at him and walk behind the bar.

We're super busy tonight so Angie and I don't get a chance to talk. The band is good and loud, they're playing a lot of sixties rock mixed in with some classic country. The crowd is banging. Emmett has a talent for finding the best, undiscovered talent and brings bands in from all over the country. People come to listen to his new finds and to get abused by the hot bar staff. It's a gimmick, sure, but a profitable one.

I sigh when I see my ex, Jake, sidle up to the bar, so I make my way to him, mentally reviewing my getup. Black leather mini skirt, tight white tee, black knee-high boots. Stellar.

"Hey Iz. Looking good."

"I know." I smirk at him, and grab the Jagermeister from the shelf, pouring him one, and watch as he gulps it down and slams the glass back onto the bar top.

"How's the house?" I gape at him for a moment, shocked he has the nerve to ask.

"Fantastic. Especially without you in it." I smile brightly and refill his glass.

"Can I please go ahead of you today?" A gravelly voice sneers behind me.

Without even turning around I know who is behind me. Manchu. "No."

I hear him suck in his breath. "You're really sweet, you know that?" The scoff in his voice is obvious.

"If you hadn't been a prick last week, maybe you'd be seeing my sweet side." I mentally give myself a high five and smile at the back of the girl's head in front of me.

"Maybe if you weren't covered head to toe, I'd actually be able to see your sweet side."

The earth doesn't rotate as slowly as I do, turning on my heel to confront him. My eyes are dead and unforgiving as I meet his stare. "Excuse me?"

"I said-"

"I heard what you said." I snap.

"Good. I meant you to." He looks at me, throwing my line from last time back at me.

"Be thankful I'm covered. My naked body has been known to make grown men stupid, and I really don't think you have much wiggle room there."

"And you only see this guy on Friday's?" Angie screams over the roar of the band while pouring a line of three shots.

"Yeah. He's a complete tool."

"Is he cute?" Angie slams the glasses down on the bar in front of a big beefy guy in front of her. "Pay up and make sure you tip me, Fuckwit."

The biker laughs in glee and passes the shots over his shoulder to his friends, slapping twenty bucks on the bar.

"Thanks." Angie puts the money in the cash register and stuffs the change in the noticeable black bra she's wearing under her thin white tank top.

"Hey, that wasn't all for you, Sweetheart." The biker protests.

"Yes it was. Move on." She turns to the girls waiting to place their drink order and smiles sweetly; we only abuse the men.

Clearly not familiar with our routine, the guy she just waved off looks at his friends, who are encouraging him. "You remind me of my ex-wife." The guys laugh behind him. "Can I have your number, Doll Face?"

Angie finishes serving the girls and sidles up to the bar, crossing her arms under her boobs and leaning forward. Motioning the guy over with a crook of her finger and a sexy smirk, he falls for it, and leans in to her.

I stand pouring a beer and wait in anticipation. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Emmett slowly inching closer to us. This guy is obviously new to our establishment, he has no idea that we're allowed to call the customers names, but you don't "Doll Face" one of us. We also don't like, "Babe", "Sweetie", or "Hun".

"My number? You want some hanky panky?" Angie says sweetly, but loud enough for those near her to hear. I can tell the regulars know what's coming as they back up a little and clear some room.

"Hell yes! I'd like to buy you dinner first though, pretty lady." The big guy says, thinking he's got her.

"I just bet you would, Big Boy." I watch as Angie reaches under the bar for the trusty bottle we keep on hand at all times.

In a flash, Angie lifts the bottle and throws a healthy amount of the contents at the dude's chest.

He's sputtering and wiping his hand over his shirt, while the other customers, including his friends, roar with laughter.

"What the hell?" The guy is pissed.

"You wanted some hanky panky, you got some. One part gin, one part vermouth, a dash of Fernet Branca. A Hanky Panky."

The crowd is howling, but I can see the guy getting agitated. Emmett comes closer and Big Boy takes notice. Not wanting to get 86'd from the best bar in town, he wisely asks Angie for a napkin, and disappears into the crowd by the stage.

"Ah, don't get to do that as much as I'd like." She laughs and wipes the bar down while I hand the few people that got hit a free shot. "So, is he cute?"

I have to think for a moment before I remember what we were talking about.

"Who, Coffee Jerk? I have no idea. All I see when I look at him is a suit. Not my style."

"This is getting ridiculous. Look, I'm even late today. So don't blame me that you're not in front of me." I huff as I turn around to look at Manchu.

"I didn't say anything." His eyes open wide, looking back at me.

"Uh, you think I can't hear you huffing behind me? Sounds like you have asthma. Maybe your mustache is hindering your breathing."

"Maybe I'm just so overwhelmed with lust by your Little House on the Prairie ensemble I'm breathless. Can I call you Half Pint?" He grins at me, like he's funny.

"Oh my god. You are such a dick! It's a skirt and blouse." I look down at my outfit.

"Yeah, but it's down to your ankles and up to your neck."

"What is it, exactly, that makes you care about what I'm wearing?"

He starts rocking back and forth on his heels, hands in pockets, and shrugs. "I don't, not really. I just think your drink choice and your outfits say a lot about you."

Rolling my eyes, I say what I know I shouldn't. I'm asking for it. "Ok, what does it say about me?" I raise my hands in question.


I smirk. "Wrong."

"Teacher." He fires back immediately, his eyes sparkling behind his smirk.

My mouth opens and nothing comes out.

"HA! Knew it."

We're finishing up wiping down the bar and bottles, putting everything back in place for tomorrow's afternoon opening. Emmett tells us that we don't need to, as we're the star attraction, but we don't mind. It gives us a chance to unwind, have a drink in peace and catch up.

"I think Ben's gonna pop the question." Angie says matter-of-factly while my eyes bug out of my head.

"Get the fuck out! Oh my god! Ang! How do you know?"

"Uh, I kinda found the ring while I was cleaning." She concentrates on a bottle, giving it too much attention. I clear my throat.

"Okay, okay! I found it while I was snooping." She grins at me.

"That's fantastic Angie." I put my cloth down and give my best friend a hug. "He totally doesn't deserve you." I smile.

"I know." She smirks and I watch her walk to the other side of the bar. She tosses our rags into the bin by the dirty glasses the staff will wash tomorrow. "Let's get out of here, huh? I'm starving."

Ten minutes later, we're settled in a booth at Missy's, the best all night diner in town. Legends have eaten here. The walls are covered with signed photos of local royalty like Gene Autry, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn. We usually choose to sit under the king himself, Mr. Elvis Presley.

We place our order and make small talk while we wait for our food. "So, did you see Coffee Jerk this morning?" Angie asks as she blows over the rim of her cup, black just like his.

"Hmph. Yes. He's intolerable. I have no idea why he likes to torture me." My spoon clangs loudly against my saucer as I finish stirring my hot chocolate.

"Ok, sure you don't." Angie rolls her eyes.

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"He likes you."

"Oh yeah, sure. I highly doubt that. He called me Half Pint and said I dressed like Little House on the Prairie." I can feel my skin prickling at the memory of the stupid nickname. I'm going to call him Manchu to his face next week. See if he likes it.

"You should show up in that." Angie nods towards my leather halter and pants, somewhat covered by my old college hoodie.

I shrug. "Let him think I'm some professor, what do I care?"

"You are a professor."

"Yeah, but he thinks I'm an uptight professor. Let him." I thank the waitress delivering our food and grab the ketchup.

"If he only knew the other side of Izzy. Do you think he likes tattoos?" Angie laughs and bites into her burger.

I push my sleeves up. "If he saw my art, it'd probably put his calculator loving body into cardiac arrest." I glance down at my ink-heavy arms; the swirls of color bright and dense, covering most of the skin.


"He dresses like an accountant. Boring." I shrug.

"You still didn't say if he was cute or not."

"Not. Definitely not." Although the mustache is kinda hot.

"Early class today?" I hear, as someone next to me pulls out a chair. The wood legs scrape against the tile in a very loud, very obnoxious, too early for this, kind of sound. I close my eyes.

"I'm an hour early today just so I could avoid you." I glance up at Manchu just as he sits down and places his cup on my table.

"Look around Half Pint, there are no other seats available." He waves his arm around, not noticing that he almost hits the woman next to him in the head. I'm not surprised that escapes his attention. He looks at my laptop and nods his head towards it.

"Big lesson plan today? Teaching romantic literature and reading the Bronte's to a bunch of multiple cat owners?"

I grit my teeth and hold my foot back from making contact with his shin. "You never sit down. Why today?" I think I'm whining.

"Oh, so you've been taking notes? Interesting." He wiggles his eyebrows and I can't help but watch as the sides of his mustache lift as he smiles.

"No. I watch to make sure you've left." I meet his eyes, a green too pretty for someone so annoying, and cross my arms over my chest, defensively.

"So harsh." He places his hand over his blue tie, like I've wounded him.

"So's that suit fabric. What's it made of, burlap?" Don't look at me. This guy started it. I can't help it that I regress to ten year old behavior because of this rude stranger.

Extending his arm out in an offering, he asks, "Want to touch it and find out?"

"No, I do not." I snort. "Off to crunch numbers at the accounting firm of Boring and Annoying?"

"Oh, so you think you've got me all figured out huh?" He raises his eyebrows.

"Well, it's a good guess. Weird haircut, bad suit." I raise one shoulder in indifference.

"I'll have you know I've been told I have sex hair."

I raise my eyebrows and spit out, "By who? The Hobbits?"

We've got a special event in the back bar tonight. Emmett has called in reinforcements in the form of extra bartenders Lauren and Jessica. They're okay; they're kinder than Angie and I, therefore less popular with the crowd. They're a good fit for the Bikers for Pediatric Cancer fundraiser though. It's a worthwhile cause, and Angie and my aggressive shtick isn't in line with the caring attitude of the events' intentions.

Emmett has created an area in the back of the main bar that can be used for events such as this. It's sectioned off with huge pieces of old wood beams, and he's hung a giant steer head with a ring through its nose over the dedicated bar, adding to the theme of Nashville's only country western biker-friendly establishment. They'll have their own service and tables with food, but be able to enjoy the live music as well.

Angie and I hit a lull while the event's going on. It's still a bit early for our regular crowd, so we convene by the register and wipe down the counters.

"So Jake's been coming around again." She says to me, a worried look on her face.

"Ugh, don't remind me." I look at her and she continues.

"Please tell me you're not going to get back with him?" She pleads.

"Oh lord, hell no. He actually had the nerve to ask about the house." I shake my head, remembering.

Angie's eyes widen and she shakes her head. "Unbelievable."

"I'm telling you Ang, I'm done. That was the last relationship I'm going to let myself get into. I'm just pissed I let it get that far and didn't end it myself. I knew it wasn't working."

"You can't let one asshole and a bad experience guide your relationship future."

I shrug. "None of my past relationships worked either. I guess it's me."

She scoffs. "Don't be ridiculous. You're a catch."

I shrug again. "Not one of those guys excited me, Ang. They were dull, and I didn't do anything about it. Every relationship suffered due to my inability to tell them what I wanted, sexually as well. They just weren't worth the effort. Jake was the first one I really tried to have something real with and look how that turned out. I'm better off alone." I stop wiping and lean on the counter, chin in hand. "Alone with my vibrator."

I look around, checking out some of the hotter patrons in the establishment tonight. It's unreal how many good-looking men we get in here. "I should try a purely sexual relationship. Just cut out all of the other stuff like feelings and day-to-day bullshit. Even that might not do it for me. No one excites me."

"Not even a suit wearing coffee lover?" Angie laughs.

I make a face at her suggestion. "Uh, NO. Thank you. I can't imagine him being anything but exactly what I've already tried. Dull." Even if the banter is somewhat stimulating.

I check out a tall blond leaning against the pool table, his smile catching my eye. His body isn't bad to look at and I contemplate sending him a drink. My decision is made for me when an equally tall and blond female moves between his legs and plants one on him.

My eyes roam and hit on a pair of muscular legs clad in worn jeans. I let my eyes roam down his body. The jeans are the kind of worn that you can't buy from American Eagle. The ass is good, grab worthy. Black, form fitting long sleeved t-shirt under a black leather vest, an unusual emblem I don't recognize on the back. A black bandanna covers his head with a peek of brownish hair coming out underneath. The guy is dangerously sexy from the back for sure. I'm waiting for him to turn around when Angie alerts me that she needs my help as the crowd has surged again.

Forgetting my manhunt for the moment, I go back to making grown men grovel.

After another Hanky Panky, some doling out of bar shots and perhaps one or two flirtations later, I tell Angie I'm stepping outside for some air. We have about an hour left before closing. The fundraiser in the back room is winding down and we have a few leftovers hanging at the bar along with our usuals. Angie assures me she's got it covered.

After slipping on Emmett's hoodie, I open the heavy black door in the back and step out into the well-lit lot where the patrons with motorcycles normally park. Emmett doesn't like us to come out here alone, the customers sometimes think we're fair game if we're not behind the bar insulting them. He's installed so many lights out here it rivals a construction zone doing roadwork at night and it's hurting my eyes. I amble down the building and slink around the darker corner that faces the bank. I rest my head back against the cool brick and close my eyes.

It's surprisingly quiet out here; Emmett has soundproofed the bar as much as possible to prevent complaints from the nearby businesses. I'm lost in the silence until I hear what sounds like moaning.

Moaning and car creaking, to be exact.

I snap my head up; thankful I'm in the shadows, and spot a red car in the lot across from where I'm standing. I feel my breath hitch and a tightening in my stomach as I watch two people having sex. Really hot, really fast sex from what I can see. I know I should go back inside and give them some privacy.

I don't.

Instead, I sneak over to stand behind the bank sign and peek around it. I'm closer to the rocking car than I think is safe, but I find myself excited at the dangerous proximity.

The noises they are making are animalistic and I involuntarily squeeze my leather clad thighs together as I watch the woman ride the dude in the back seat, hard. Her tits are bouncing in his face and he's trying to get a mouthful, but her movement is too jarring. He finally reaches up with one hand to grasp a breast and I watch hungrily as his tongue juts out and licks her nipple.

I feel it in my own breast and before I know it, I've got my hand under my shirt and I pinch my hardening nipple. It feels so good, too good. When I hear the woman increase her moans, my hand starts making it's way down my torso, fingertips playing at my waistband. I'm so ridiculously turned on watching these two go at it that I can't hear anything but the creaking and the moaning.

Until I hear a voice too close to my ear.

"Half Pint likes to watch, hmm? What a naughty, naughty teacher."

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