Today I'd like to plug a friend of mine whom I've helped with marketing gay erotica. JT Whitehall likes to write shorts and poetry, but doesn't get much time for much else beyond work. It's why I have his M/M quickie A Shot of Jack on my side project, DLP Books. It's available through ARe, Smashwords, and Amazon Kindle. He intends to follow up with more stories on the bar theme. Gin and Juice needs a bit more polish before it can be seen, and after that he's kicking around some other titles. I suppose if you're going to choose story names from a bar manual you have quite a bit to work with.
Anyway, here's the excerpt as seen on All Romance. Enjoy!
A Shot of Jack - Copyright 2010 JT Whitehall
Ridge Horton heard the gentle thunk of glass hitting wood, and turned his attention away from a shared conversation with other friends at the bar to see the filled shot glass before him. The bartender had already moved away to heed another call, but as Ridge came regularly to The 411, he figured he could catch the man’s ear before he committed to making somebody else’s drink.
“Bill,” he called, and the thick-bodied redhead glanced over his shoulder, his hand poised upward to reach for a wineglass on the overhead rack. “I didn’t order this.” Ridge looked at his friends, standing to either side of his stool. “Either of you?”
They shook their heads. Bill continued with the wine order for the opposite end of the bar.
“Bill,” Ridge wheedled. He wouldn’t have an extra five or so bucks tacked on to his tab for the bartender’s error. This was probably top shelf stuff, whatever it was. Ridge studied the flawless amber liquid, and his nostrils stung with the scent of whiskey, which he never drank anyway.
“I heard you the first time,” Bill said, not looking at him.
“Okay, good.” Ridge ignored the uprising of laughter at his expense, surrounding him. “So…” He gestured to the untouched drink as a sign for Bill to remove it from his sight.
Instead, Bill punched a wet rag into a large beer mug and winked. “I know you didn’t order it, sweetheart. You must really be out of the game not to catch when somebody’s bought you a drink.”
“Who bought me a drink, Bill? It’s been a long day, and I’m not interested in trivia. Sudoku gives me a headache as it is.” To drive the point home, Ridge curled his hand over his forehead and pressed the temples with his thumb and forefinger.
“It’s a shot of Jack, dumbass. You figure it out.”
Literally, very much like a pivotal dramatic moment in a film, the entire bar quieted down. A chill in the otherwise temperate building settled around Ridge like a veil, encouraging his skin to prickle underneath his long-sleeve shirt. A sense of awe and surprise radiated from every expression directed at him—and, given Bill’s revelation, attracted practically everybody within earshot.
“You’re kidding.” Ridge couldn’t think of a better reaction.
“I wouldn’t kid about that, sweetie. Now, what you gonna do about it?
What, indeed? Ridge certainly didn’t consider himself a greenhorn when it came to customs at The 411. He and other regulars who warmed the stools nightly knew the implications behind a gifted shot of Jack Daniels Single Barrel. Sure, patrons might order it on occasion, but anybody who drank here with devotion knew the bar’s owner, Jack Mortenson, called it his signature shot.
When Jack felt compelled to buy a man a drink—a rare occurrence in his five years of “widowhood”—it served as a signal that Jack didn’t intend to go home alone that night. Now, he’d picked a new victim, and all Ridge could do was stare at the filled glass and watch tiny ripples in the liquid caused by the anxious energy vibrating through his personal space.
What would he do about this invitation? What should he do? Ridge didn’t know Jack Mortenson personally, but had watched the man mingle with customers and oversee operations on busy weekends. Though in his late forties, Jack’s incredibly dark and handsome looks belied his true age. He wore his hair very short, almost like a skullcap, and his fit body encased in snug jeans and his trademark Polo implied an active, outdoorsy lifestyle when he didn’t work. As for the man’s personal life, Ridge knew that the man had lost his partner to cancer, and only seemed to seek pleasure with the men for whom he offered these prized shots of Jack.
A nudge to his shoulder interrupted Ridge’s deep train of thought. The faces around him blended into the background made shiny by the overhead lights. His head swam with scenarios, and he couldn’t recognize even his closest friends anymore. “The fuck are you thinking about, Ridge?” one of them chided. “Why aren’t you drinking?”
Yeah, one might think that a dumb question. Who wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of gorgeous Jack’s cock? Yet, the side effect of this silent pick-up nagged at the back of Ridge’s mind as he contemplated the drink before him.
Of the men who downed the whiskey and joined Jack Mortenson for a presumed night of passion, not one had returned to the bar, or revealed to anybody the details of the evening. At least, Ridge never heard any reviews, which led him to wonder what would happen to him now. He liked coming to The 411—this town had so few social spots for gay men, and he’d forged true friendships from coming here. Did he really want to trade this comfort for a night of hot sex with a handsome, hard body?
“How long’s it been for ya?” buzzed a question into his ear. The crowd moved closer, as though hinging on his answer. Too long, Ridge knew, but didn’t dare volunteer it. He squirmed on his stool to stave off an itch of want. He didn’t come to the bar to pick up guys, though the temptation to negotiate a “friends with benefits” arrangement with a few regulars beat strong in his brain once a month or so. Then his analytical side took over, and he weighed the camaraderie he enjoyed against the probable awkwardness of a one-nighter gone sour, before settling on using a lubed plug on his ass to ease the urge.
Still, real live sex with a guy!