Killian by Teagan Kade

 

CHAPTER ONE

KILLIAN

“I’ve seen Lego blocks with more life. Jesus.”

Coach, it would seem, is displeased.

I can barely stomach training myself—hungover, horny, and pretty much ready to flatten that football into a pancake I’m so over this.

Ryder sees me struggling. “What the hell happened to you?”

I pinch my forehead, squinting against the sun which seems just all kinds of bright today. “Bottle o’ Jameson.”

Ryder laughs. “Paddy’s? Liam knows this great cowboy bar out of town way better than that Irish shithole you’re so attached to.”

“And abandon my people, my culture?” I protest. “Do I look like John Wayne to you?”

Ryder shrugs. “The only thing getting laid at Paddy’s are the bar runners.”

I lift my chin. “Maybe I’m not looking to get laid.”

Ryder places his hand on my shoulder, coming close to my ear. “Says the guy with balls so blue they may as well be Smurfs.”

I shove him away. “Fook off, pretty boy.”

He goes off laughing, joining the others heading to the locker room. “Suit yourself, Kill, but the offer’s open.”

He’s right, of course, the smug bastard. It’s been T-minus ten weeks since I got the old fella somewhere warm and cozy to spend the night, and that doesn’t include my hand. I’m starting to think it might be me, that there’s something naturally repulsive about my demeanor.

Probably more the fact your stone-ass drunk half the time,my head adds.

And again, it’s not wrong.

I should be more professional. This was a lucky score, playing for the Vulcans, but my luck seems to have dried up like a Birmingham bog and there’s damn near nothing I can do about it. Even my game has started to suffer. Amongst a team of outcasts and general misfits, I’m clawing my way to the top of the shit-heap.

“Killian, you got a sec?” shouts Coach from the water table.

I drift over quietly cautious what kind of ass reaming he has in store for me this time.

I front him with my hands on my hips. “Yes, sir.”

He shakes his head. “Please tell me you’re looking bleary-eyed because you stayed up watching a Sex & the City marathon.”

“It was Gossip Girl.”

The headshaking continues, Coach drawing closer and lowering his voice. “Look, I like a drink as much as the next guy, but if it’s starting to become an issue for you, I need to know.” His eyes lift. “And that shiner above your brow there, I’m guessing that’s from a bar fight?”

I reach up to it. “Bar fight? Never. Car door got me.”

“This car door another ugly Irishman?”

I smile at that. “Hey, careful now with the personal insults, Coach. It’s not becoming of you.”

He smiles back. “Look, Kill, I’ve got a whole team here of fuck-ups that the old man bought on a dime to slap this team together, and slap he did. We’re barely holding. The last thing I need is another drama.”

“Because you’ve got Sex & the City for that. Got it.”

He brings his finger up. “If I wanted a fucking Irish comedian, I would have hired Billy Connolly.”

“He’s Scottish,” I say, which rightly sends Coach over the top.

He throws his hands up. “Do I fucking care?” Again, he levels his finger at me. “Cool it with the drinking…and watch out for those car doors.”

He goes walking off in a huff. “Will do, Coach,” I shout, saluting. “Thanks for the chitty chat.”

So I’m a smart-ass. It’s America. Sue me.

I head to the showers thankful for the hit of hot water to wash away the general filth that comes with a 10am hangover.

Harrison’s soaping up beside me. He’s one of the quieter Vulcans, bit of a pretty boy, but unlike the rest of us he actually seems to be equipped with a brain…or at least one that’s not glued between his legs.

“Oh, Danny Boy,” he starts singing.

I toss a loofah at him. “Fook off already with that shite. It’s getting old.”

He laughs. “Kill, my friend, it never gets old. How’s your head?”

I squint. “Feels like they’re running the Daytona 500 in there, but hey, I’ve had worse.”

“By the way, I heard Ryder and Liam talking. They’re heading to the Salamander Bar—or is it Sally’s or Sasquatch or something? Anyway, you in?”

I open my eyes wider than I should, washing my back. “Bit early, isn’t it?”

“Tonight,” he laughs. “Jesus, I didn’t think hair of the dog was a thing.”

“It isn’t.”

‘Well? You coming?”

I had planned a quiet Friday night spent at home watching football, the real football from back home, Gaelic and not this fancy-ass US nonsense, which, yes, does pay the bills but doesn’t exactly tickle my balls, so to speak.

But hell, come nightfall I know I’ll be there.

I nod in defeat. “Of course.”

Harrison shuts off his shower, wiping water from his eyes. “Maybe we’ll find you a nice ‘mot’ out there.”

I shake my head. “You’re trying to learn Irish slang now, are ye? I’m from Cork, not bloody Dublin. I don’t walk around saying, ‘Oh, boy, me mot’s coming over later to give us a wank.’”

Harrison’s finding it plenty amusing, though, strolling away. “Whatever you say, Danny Boy, whatever you say.”

But I’m smiling, because yes, these guys might be a bit thick on the Irish thing, but they’re good-heartened enough. They beat the assholes I grew up with back home hands down.

I shut off the shower and join them in the locker room, yelping as Ryder towel whips me from the corner. “So, you’re in tonight?”

I turn around smiling, no need to cover my wares. “Of course I’m bloody well in.”

*

It’s been a while since I’ve been to this bar. It’s down by Wall Street so the crowd is thick with suity, business types I hate with a passion, all yapping about this trade or that, what beach house to buy in the Hamptons.

Fuck all that.

Liam comes up next to me at the bar with a beer, sliding it across. “Not really your people, eh?”

I look behind myself at the throng of suits. “No.”

Liam shrugs, sipping on his beer. “I feel you, but you must be used to it. You went to college with assholes like that, right?”

“It’s a long story,” I reply, and it is.

I get up with my beer.

“Going somewhere?” asks Liam.

“To the jacks,” I reply. “The bathroom,” I correct.

“And you’re taking your beer?”

“I’d rather that than leave it here for you to Hoover up behind my back.”

He smiles. “Oh, Kill. You know me too well.”

I tap my head. “That I do, my friend.”

I’m halfway there, weaving through the sea of suits, when something collides with me.

I look down expecting to find a weaselly Wall Streeter begging for forgiveness, but it’s something else entirely.

She’s short, petite, but there’s a hot fire in her amber eyes I haven’t seen since home.

She steps back, surveying the damage, read: the beer that’s now on the front of my shirt.

Shit,” she drawls, accent thick. Brooklyn? Definitely not inner-city wanker speak. “I’m so sorry.”

I hold an empty glass, can already feel the beer soaking through my shirt. “Really, it’s fine.”

I go to walk past her, but she blocks my path. “You play for the Vulcans, right?”

She’s wearing slacks and a denim jacket, ample breasts for her frame squeezed tight under a white tank. Hair like hellfire and probably the curtains to match, but I know trouble when I see it.

Still, I reply. “I do,” I tell her, bringing my hand out. “Killian.”

She shakes it, grip firm and unyielding, again belying her petite demeanor. “Brooklyn.”

“Ah,” I nod, releasing her hand, “I thought I detected an accent.”

No,” she laughs, shifting her weight to her left leg, “I mean my name is Brooklyn, or Brook for short, but yes, I am also from said borough. My father wasn’t exactly a genius when it came to naming his kids.”

“Just as well he wasn’t my father, or I’d be called Ringaskiddy.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. That’s a real place. ’Bout fifteen kilometers out of Cork, Ireland, nice coastal kind of village.”

“Does sounds nice.”

“If you like fishing or pharmaceuticals—it’s famous for both.”

She eyes my empty glass. “Can I buy you another, get you some napkins?”

I look down at my shirt. “Sure.”

I head with her back through the throng, impressed by way she tuns down the Wall Streeters jumping in her way with poorly rehearsed pick-up lines.

We sit at the opposite end of the bar to the other Vulcans, thank the good Lord, Brook motioning to the bartender for another beer.

Under light, she looks particularly striking. My jeans tighten, my balls practically giddy at the thought of getting to know Brook more intimately. Been a while since I had a redhead. I seem to recall they have a certain fervor between the sheets.

“So, the Vulcans,” she starts. “How’d you fall into that, being Irish and all?”

“Long story,” I tell her, just like I told Liam, but I elaborate a little. “I chased a girl over here, actually. Scout saw me running one day and things kind of snowballed from there.”

“You can run?”

“I can, apparently, discovering it was something prized by American football. I was a bit of a scallywag as a kid, got real used to a fast getaway.”

“Scallywag?”

“A pain in the ass.”

“I see,” she smiles. There’s something genuine about it I haven’t experienced in a while.

I take my beer. “And you, what do you do?”

She looks down at the bar, seems to be taking her sweet time answering. “Oh, this and that.”

I match her smile. “Too embarrassed to tell me? I’ve had some shitty jobs in my time, literally. Come on, what is it?”

She acts coy, eyes returning to mine aglow. “You could say I clean.”

“Entirely respectable.”

I’m about to dig deeper when I’m pulled from my stool, reaching for my beer but unable to grab it before I’m being swept back into the crowd.

I struggle. “What the fook?!”

It’s Ryder and Liam, one of the other backs all forcing me up the stairs. “Can’t you see I was busy?”

Ryder ignores me. “We got a private room, open bar. Come on.”

I look back, can’t find Brook.

I struggle, but these assholes are strong. “I was making progress,” I protest.

Liam laughs to my left. “There’ll be more beers up here.”

“I don’t give a damn about the beer!” I kick out, but there’s too many of them half drunk and twice as strong.

I go with it, letting them carry me into a smaller room decked out in mirrors, the usual botoxed beauties swanning around in wait. Half the team is here.

Someone presses a tumbler into my hand. I smell Jameson.

“Good?” they ask me.

I look down. “Yeah, fine, good.”

I drink, and soon that turns into another, and another, until Brook and her fiery wiles are all but an afterthought.

*

I’m in hell.

Everything’s red.

They’ve done it,I think to myself. Liam, Ryder…Those pricks have finally killed me.

But as my eyes adjust it’s not hell, but an alleyway I’m in, a neon sign above reading ‘Vice’ buzzing with electricity.

Yes, it’s an alleyway all right. God knows what time it is only that what I can see of the sky above looks like a Bloody Mary.

And there’s a breeze.

That’s nice.

I’m against a wall. I pat myself, shirt, yes. Shoes, yes. Socks, yes. Pants…

I look down in horror. Where the hell have my pants gone?

I go to get up but I’m groggy and still feeling the effects of who knows how many drinks.

I check again, but nope. My pants and underwear are gone. I’m freeballing it in a New York alleyway and the sun’s rapidly a-rising.