Captain Everett Palmer sat at the bar, still pressing a finger into his bandaged, throbbing hand. Even though the cuts were fresh, they still weren't supplying what he needed or wanted. But then again, he was practically three sheets to the wind—on his sixth beer. He was wasting his time, he told himself. He didn't want to be numb from alcohol, he wanted to feel something, feel it all.
He had heard of this club before, if only in whispers, but had no idea what to expect. He was shocked they'd let him in at all, but obviously many Americans from the base were steady clientele, from the amused look given him by the doorman. He knew guys did this for sex. And he would take that, as long as it came with pain. It wouldn't be pleasant, but the agony would be. He cringed at what Janelle would think if she could see him in this place.
What shocked him was how open it all was. Sure, he thought there would be bondage, whippings: all the shit he craved. But he hadn't expected it to be done publicly. The smoke-laden, neon-drenched interior looked like center stage at a three ring circus: nude and semi-nude men bound to posts at all four corners of the pulsating club and leather-masked bad-ass dudes wielding whips, giving their charges exactly what he himself secretly wanted, but...
He was drunk, but not that drunk. No, he'd have to go somewhere private... perhaps a room in back, or home with one of them. And he just might have to get rough with them as well. He knew the dangers involved, but was it really more dangerous than what he did for a living every day? He highly doubted it.
Everett had been approached five times in the past hour. The first guy had seemed okay—at first—until he learned about the man's fetish for inflicting body piercings prior to dealing out the desired punishment. The second and third men had wanted to be whipped by him. No fucking way. He'd never messed with a whip before, and that wasn't what he was into. Then there was the old fart who'd repeatedly called him my boy and had tried to win him over with a new Rolex if he ran away to Vegas with him for the weekend.
"Hey, man, you got a light?"
Everett turned to his left, facing a bald headed man with a tattoo of an American eagle on his back, his pumped-up arms sleeved in other patriotic images. He sported a muscle shirt, leather chaps, and had the dead-eyed stare of a man who'd been through some serious shit. He seemed to be looking through Ev, rather than seeing him.
Ev knew that look. It was the look of a hardened GI who'd been on one too many back-to-back tours with no relief for perhaps years—and he'd been down that road because he'd steered himself onto it. They had names for combat-craving machines like this one, but Ev wouldn't use them. No, he had a grudging respect for this breed of soldier.
"Wish I did, bro," he said. "How's it going? Name's Palmer." He gave the man a cock-eyed smile but got no response. The bald man threw the cigarette on the bar and scowled straight ahead before picking up a shot of what looked to be bourbon. He tossed it roughly back.
"Wanna fuck?" the guy said, still not looking at him.
Everett turned his head, checking from side to side, half hoping no one had heard the man's crude proposition.
He looked at the dude closer—who was he kidding? He didn't want this guy. The thought of sex with him was mildly revolting. Still, he certainly looked like he could give Ev the pain he craved. "Depends," he replied.
"On what?" the soldier spat, irritation now plain in his tone.
"On what you have in mind," Ev said, this time more forcefully. "What was your name, again?"
The man turned to him, and a poisonous grin creased his face. He gripped Everett's left forearm tightly, causing his jaw to clench and all of the muscles in his arm to tighten on high alert.
"I didn't tell you, sweet cakes," he hissed. "But what I got in mind is your sweet mouth slicking up my hog so it can pound your tight ass. Got a problem with that?"
Everett jerked himself free. "Fuck off, asshole," he said, casually turning away.
"What did you just call me?" the GI said, his voice rising.
Ev bared his teeth as he seized the idiot's right arm, jerking it behind his back, twisting it slightly upward. Shock and pain flooded the man's face for only an instant before the familiar animalistic rage began to radiate through again.
"I called you an ass," Everett hissed, "and now—if you don't fuck off immediately—I'm going to kick it—right through the roof of your mouth."
The bar exploded with a loud cheer that surged through the front of the room. Both of them turned, as much as they were able, to investigate. The sound tapered back to the bar like an orgasmic tidal wave, momentarily annihilating the blaring techno.
Suddenly, the mass of heaving, shimmying men on the dance floor parted almost neatly in two, and through the pink smoke-machine residue strutted a large, well-built man in a white suit and a matching fedora. Behind him, dancers yelled and whistled as if Jay-Z himself had arrived.
The man in the suit approached the bar with a stony stare, not even appearing to notice either the pandemonium he caused or anyone else in the crowded club.
But Ev noticed him. And then his stomach was collapsing, as the air rushed from his lungs, and the GI pinned him against the bar from behind.
Why the fuck did I drink so much?
Under normal circumstances he would have thrown everything he had at this loser and annihilated him, sucker punch to the gut or not. Instead, he frantically found himself fighting unconsciousness. Suddenly, the marble-topped bar faced him dead on, and he felt something cold snap around his wrists, locking them tight.
"I wanted this to be different, Blondie," Ev heard the hot breath sneer into his right ear. "Guess we're going to have to do this the hard way." He felt a hand go to the waistband of his khakis, and fear knifed through him.
Despite every masochistic impulse Everett had felt upon entering this place, being assaulted by this subhuman shithead was most definitely not on the menu. He steeled himself, ready to hurl his body back, fighting for every ounce of strength he could summon through the alcoholic haze, when a voice came from his left.
"You're occupying my seat," it said blandly.
Everett's stunned expression came to rest on the man in white, but it was plain the GI was the one being addressed. The suited man didn't seem to even notice Everett or his prone position. Ev wondered what the suited man could do. It was clear from his tone that he wasn't making a request. He was issuing an order. He really expected shit-for-brains to react. Still, as large as this interloper was, he didn't look like a brawler—not a formidable opponent for ass-munch, at least.
The bald man turned and gave White Suit an irritated look. "Piss off, Nancy," he said.
Ev watched as White Suit's face broke into an amused—almost delighted—grin at the man's insult. He reached out as if to heartily back slap the GI in consolation—but his outstretched hand morphed into a fist that smashed squarely into his target's clavicle, plunging him forward. The GI's abdomen hit the front of the bar like a crash test dummy.
"No one usually addresses me that way," White Suit continued calmly, wrenching the GI's arm upright, along with his entire body, which must have weighed three-hundred pounds easily. "And then never more than once," he finished.
With the speed of a cheetah, White Suit gripped the back of the GI's neck and brought the man's face crashing down onto the marble. Blood spattered, teeth flew—the crowd faltered, the music ceased.
A tuxedoed bouncer lumbered in, his face scarlet. But when he spoke, it wasn't in rage—it was in deference.
"Trouble, Reg?" the bouncer asked, addressing White Suit.
"Not anymore," the man replied smoothly. "But your response was timely. You know what to do with him—perhaps one of the newer Doms needs a guinea pig tonight," he said, gesturing contemptuously at the shrieking, blubbering skinhead melting into the bar before him. "And send someone over to free this man," he added, nodding to Everett.