Badd motherf cker, p.2
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       Badd Motherf*cker, p.2

         Part #1 of Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder
 
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  I got a chorus of agreement. After finishing my second double scotch, I started taking the pins out of my hair and, once my hair was down, it was on.

  I switched from scotch to bourbon, from doubles to shots chased by pints of local stout.

  See, I'd learned to drink with the cops, too--and these boys could pound the liquor like nobody's business.

  I could say I lost track then but, hell, I hadn't bothered counting in the first place.

  At some point, Mickelson put breakup music on the bar's radio, and considering how drunk I was by that point I got into it. Really, really into it.

  Dad and Ayers had left at some point to haul in some suspect they'd been chasing, so I was alone with Mickelson, Benson, and Rolando, Dad's closest friends on the force, men who were like uncles to me.

  Mickelson was seated beside me, spouting drunken wisdom. "Can't let the bastard get you down, Dru. Gotta keep your head up, y'know? He's a bastard, and a punk, and he ain't worth your tears. So just forget him, right?"

  "Right," I said, because that had been my plan all along, but they kept bringing Michael back into the conversation. Which, to my inebriated thinking, was counterproductive. "I gotta start over."

  "Start over, that's a great plan. Scrap everything, and start new," Rolando agreed.

  I stood up, wobbled dizzily across the bar to the grimy window. A plane getting ready to take off, taking advantage of a lull in the rain. "Been in Seattle my whole life. Never been anywhere else. Michael is...everywhere I go in this whole damn city I'll see him. I was with him for four years. Four fucking years! How long was he cheating on me? Or was that, like, some kind of stupid last hurrah, instead of a bachelor party? Or wait, no, he had a bachelor party. And I'm pretty sure they went to a strip club. So...fuck, whatever. I just--" I wasn't really talking to anyone at this point. "I dunno if I can stay in Seattle anymore. I gotta...I gotta get out of here."

  Rolando came up beside me, careful to stand a respectful distance away, but close enough to grab me should I pass out or start heaving. Either was possible. "Where would you go?"

  I shrugged, which sent me off balance, and I put a hand on the bar to steady myself. "I don't know, 'Lando. Anywhere but here. Maybe I'll just...get on one of those planes and go where it goes."

  Rolando patted my shoulder. "Your old man wouldn't know what to do with himself if you left, Dru. But I get your point."

  "I've been here my whole life. I went to college here, got my first real job here, met Michael here. How can I start over in the same place I've always been?" I was starting to see double, but I felt the truth of my own words deep in my bones.

  I had my purse on my shoulder, which contained all my ID and bank cards, as well as my cell phone and charger. I had no clothes, though, except the wedding dress I was still wearing.

  But fuck it, right?

  I couldn't stay here any more--I had to leave.

  I stared out the window as a plane taxied onto the runway and took off.

  What if...?

  I straightened.

  Another plane was visible in the distance, lights on, propellers spinning, waiting for the cue to leave. I didn't really even see it, just what it represented: freedom, a fresh start. I saw twin propellers spinning, wing lights blinking, saw it pivoting from the line of waiting small aircraft onto the runway.

  I turned to Rolando and Mickelson. "I'm leaving."

  They both frowned. "You're--what?"

  I grabbed my purse off the back of the chair and slung it over my shoulder. "I can't stay here anymore. I need to get away."

  "So where are you going?" Mickelson, who resembled a slightly smaller version of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers, stood up and hobbled after me. "You can't just leave, Dru. What about your dad?"

  I lifted my phone out of my purse and waggled it at him. "I'll call him when I get wherever I end up. I'm not leaving forever, I just--I can't be here anymore."

  I pushed out the door and jogged in my three-inch heels across the parking lot--this was truly nothing but a postage-stamp airfield: no security, no fences, no one to stop me as I hauled ass through the grass to the runway

  Rolando was hot on my heels. "You're drunk, Dru. You can't do this now, not like this."

  "I have to. It's crazy, but it's what I have to do. It's happening. Tell Dad I love him and that I'll call him as soon as I can, okay?"

  I slipped my heels off and held them in my hand, then took off running across the field toward the runway. The plane was taxiing toward the runway now, props whirling into a blur. I was wasted, but somehow I stayed upright until I reached the runway, held up my arms, and waved at the plane to stop.

  The pilot flung open his door, props slowing. "What gives, lady? You can't just jump in front of a plane like that. You wanna get killed?"

  I climbed up the side and opened the door, and hopped into the co-pilot seat. "I'm going with you!" I shouted.

  He stared at me. "The hell you are."

  I opened my wallet and pulled out all the cash I had--over a thousand dollars I'd been planning on spending on my honeymoon in Hawaii. "Here," I said, handing it to him. "Twelve hundred dollars to shut up and take me wherever it is you're going."

  "I'm taking a load of supplies to--"

  "I don't care, I don't want to know!" I said, interrupting him. "It doesn't matter. As long as it's far from here."

  He stared at me for a long moment, then took the cash, stuffed it into the breast pocket of his short-sleeve button-down shirt; I thought I heard him mumble something like "Alaska here we come, then," under his breath, but I wasn't quite sure, because the last few shots had suddenly caught up to me, and we were taking off and I was dizzy and fighting nausea.

  When I finally beat the urge to puke, I turned to the pilot. We were in the air now and climbing steeply, going up through the rain clouds into the night sky above them.

  "Did you say Alaska?" I had to shout the question, because it was so loud in the cabin I couldn't hear myself speaking.

  He handed me a pair of headphones with a microphone attached to it, and when I put it on, he glanced at me. "Thought you said you didn't want to know where we were going."

  "It sounded like you said 'Alaska,' though."

  He nodded. "Ketchikan, Alaska, sweetheart."

  I went faint. "I thought--I was thinking somewhere more like...Portland, or San Francisco."

  He chuckled. "Nope, we're going to Alaska. Well, you are. When we land, I'm dropping off this load and picking up a load of fish and taking it inland. Won't be going back to Seattle."

  Dizziness hit me again, and I bent over to put my head between my knees. "Alaska? Jesus."

  He eyed me warily. "You gonna puke? Because there're sick bags under your seat if you are."

  I grabbed a sick bag, but instead of puking into it I used it to help me breathe.

  "Alaska." I said it again, as if saying it again would make it more real.

  "Ketchikan, to be exact. Nice place, lots of cruise ships go through there. Beautiful. A bit chilly, sometimes, but beautiful."

  Another wave of nausea tossed through me. "Would it be horribly rude if I asked you to shut up?"

  He just chuckled. "Fine by me."

  And he did just that, shut up, fiddling with knobs and switches and tapping gauges, adjusting the controls.

  Alaska?

  What the hell had I gotten myself into?

  2

  Sebastian

  Where are the fuckin' cruise ships when you need 'em?

  I wiped down the bar for the forty-seventh time in the last hour, staring out at my bar, which was dead as a doornail, deader than a graveyard and a ghost town put together. Not a damn soul in the bar and it was seven in the evening on a Saturday. There should be fuckin' somebody wanting a goddamn drink. But no, hadn't been one stinkin' customer since we'd opened at four. Usually the bar was hopping, or at least had a decent crowd, even on week nights or stormy days. I'd blame it on the rain, but that didn't usually stop people fro
m needing a drink or six. Shit, most of the time it made it busier, not deader.

  I should just close. What was the harm? Wouldn't be anybody in anyway.

  But I couldn't do that. Badd's Bar and Grill was struggling enough as it was, so if I had any hope of keeping Dad's bar alive, I couldn't afford to close early. Dad may be gone--three months in his grave--but no way I was going to let his bar go under, too. I'd been doing my damndest, but one guy to run a whole bar wasn't ideal, and meant I'd seen a decrease in business, simply because I couldn't keep up with the demand, so people went elsewhere.

  I'd been raised in this damn bar. I learned to walk going from table three to four. Kissed my first girl in the alley behind the place, bedded the same girl in the storeroom in the attic, got in my first fistfight right out in that parking lot.

  I wasn't going to let the place close. I'd struggle along somehow. Keep it afloat, even if it wasn't the hot spot it had once been. Maybe I just had to bite the bullet and hire somebody to help out. Hated the idea, since in all the years I'd been alive, we'd never hired a soul outside the family, and I hated the idea of breaking that tradition.

  I'd been hoping there'd be some kind of windfall after Dad died, you know? Like, an inheritance or something. I figured Dad had been doing okay all those years, figured he'd have money saved. Guess not. Don't know how he managed not to save anything, since he lived in the bar and rarely ever left it, and when my brothers and I were younger we all lived above it. Mom cooked the food, Dad served the drinks.

  Then, when I was seventeen, Mom passed and I took over the food prep. I'd get home from school, tie on an apron and start slinging burgers and fries and chicken wings. It was my first job and now, ten years later, this bar was the only job I'd ever had. Dad let me help with the books when I was twenty, let me split the shifts with him--three days a week for him and four for me.

  I knew the business had been struggling for a while, but in the last few months since Dad died things had really taken a nosedive.

  I did my best to keep things afloat but it didn't help that I was the single employee. I cooked, bartended, bussed, mopped, swept, and worked open to close, four p.m. to two a.m. seven days a week.

  The frustrating thing was that even though I had seven brothers to my name, not one was around to help.

  That's right, there were eight of us. Mom and Dad had raised eight boys in the three-bedroom apartment above this bar--four of us to a room in double bunk bed sets. When Mom died Zane had been fifteen, Brock thirteen, Baxter twelve, Caanan and Corin the identical twins ten, Lucian nine, and Xavier, the baby of the tribe, had been seven.

  Ten years later, Zane was off being a Navy SEAL somewhere, Baxter was playing football in the CFL and was being scouted for the NFL, or so he claimed, Brock was a stunt pilot traveling the country doing airshows, Canaan and Corin were touring the world with their hard rock band, Bishop's Pawn, and Lucian was...well, I wasn't entirely sure. He'd left the day he turned eighteen and hadn't come back, hadn't so much as sent a damn postcard. I figured he'd taken the money he'd made working on fishing boats from the time he was fifteen and was just sort of bumming around the world like a damned vagabond. That was like him, brooding, lazy, and just inherently cool. Xavier had gotten a full ride to Stanford from soccer and academics, and there was talk of FIFA scouts watching him...on top of think tanks or some shit like that. Then there was me, Sebastian Badd, the eldest, stuck in goddamned Ketchikan tending a dead-ass bar, same as I'd been doing since I was seventeen.

  All of my brothers were cool and good-looking and successful, and I was a fucking bartender.

  Not that I was bitter, or anything. I mean shit, I was the best-looking of the lot, after all.

  And, don't get me wrong, I loved the bar. It was home. It was my entire life. The hard part was that I'd never gotten a chance to do anything else. When Mom died it had been left up to me, as the oldest, to help Dad. I'd managed to get my high school diploma, but only barely. I'd been too busy cooking, bussing tables, and washing dishes to care about tests or homework. I worked so my brothers didn't have to--during the week at least.

  Dad always gave me Saturdays off and made whoever was around help out. Usually that meant Zane, Baxter, and the twins, since Brock always had practice and Lucian and Xavier were too young to be of any help. Saturdays meant dates for me. I'd take my earnings from the week and cruise the town on my bike--a chopped Harley Dad and I worked on every Sunday--and go scouting for chicks. Didn't usually take long to find someone to kick it with for the evening, since I had Dad's size and looks and Mom's chill confidence and calm demeanor.

  Well, most of Mom's calm demeanor; I had Dad's temper in there somewhere, and these days it wasn't hard to bring it out of me. I guess I was mad because I had to run this place on my own. Back then I'd been bored and full of anger over Mom's death and had been as ready to fight as I had been to fuck, and I've always been damn good at both.

  Nowadays, the only fighting I did was to kick out the odd drunk. The fucking was a constant, since even though business hadn't been great, Badd's Bar and Grill still had a reputation for having a good-looking bartender who poured strong drinks and was always DTF if you were half-decent looking and had a nice rack--the good-looking bartender being me, obviously.

  Ketchikan, being a popular destination for Alaskan cruises, almost always had a constant stream of tourists looking for a "local spot" to drink--which meant fine-looking honeys only in for a day or two. These easy hook-ups had a built-in escape clause: they knew they were leaving, I knew they were leaving, so there was no mess, no hurt feelings, no awkward morning-after chit-chat.

  It was a good gig.

  But it was the only gig I'd ever had. I had no idea what else I could do, what else I might be good at, what else I might want to do. I tended bar and fucked hot tourists, it's what I did.

  It was all I did.

  Today, I'd spent almost an hour daydreaming and being pissed at my brothers, and still no one had come in.

  "Fuck it," I said, and poured myself a stiff scotch.

  Stiff, meaning a rocks glass full to the brim with Johnny Walker Black Label.

  I circled around the bar, sat down by the TV, and turned on ESPN, leaning the high-top chair back with my feet flat against the bar-front and sipped my scotch watching last night's replays and highlights.

  Maybe two hours later, I was on my second glass, and still hadn't seen a soul.

  Then the bell over the door chimed.

  I hoped it was a pretty tourist, maybe a redhead with a nice set of tits, or a blonde with a fat, juicy ass.

  What I got was Richard Ames Burroughs, the attorney in charge of executing Dad's will: three-piece suit, slim leather briefcase, oxford shoes, slicked, parted hair, glasses that could appropriately and not ironically be called "spectacles", and a tendency to literally look down his nose at me. He also had a tendency to act like the stools and bar top were infected surfaces, as if he might catch fuckin' crabs or something.

  Trust me, bub, I wash that bar down enough that there ain't a single germ on the damn thing.

  Richard Ames Burroughs stepped carefully across the floor--which was still clean from when I'd swept it before opening--and shuffled beside me. "Mr. Badd."

  "Name's Sebastian," I growled.

  "Sebastian, then." He pulled out the stool beside me, brushed it off with a napkin, and then set his briefcase on it. "I have your father's will."

  I slugged my scotch. "He's been dead three months, Dick. Why are you bringing this to me now?"

  "You can call me Richard, or Mr. Burroughs, if you please. And it was part of his will that it not be read for twelve weeks after his death. I do not know why, as he didn't choose to offer a reason." He paused, opened his briefcase. "I've sent copies to each of your brothers, or, at least, those for whom I could locate a physical address. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Your father was very specific that he wanted me to wait three months before reading the will, and that you were to be the last one to w
hom I read it."

  I pushed the sleeves of my thermal Henley up past my elbows, baring forearms covered in the ends of my full-sleeve tattoos. "Okay, well, that's fuckin' weird. What's the damn thing say, then? Let me guess: I'm broke, he was broke, the bar is forfeit, and I owe a bunch of money I didn't know Dad owed."

  "Lord knows that's exactly what one would expect, a filthy place like this," Richard said, plucking a folder from his briefcase. "But I think you'll be rather surprised."

  I lowered my stool onto all fours, set my scotch down, and stood up to tower over the slimy pencil-dick lawyer. "Listen to me, pissant: you come in here talkin' shit about my fuckin' bar, I'll crush you like a goddamn cockroach." I crossed my arms and flexed to prove a point: my arms were thicker than his legs. "So how about you say what you came here to say and I won't knock your fuckin' Ivy League white teeth down your skinny little chicken neck."

  I was coming across a little...aggressive, maybe, but he creeped me out and made me feel like he thought he was better than me, and that pissed me off.

  He paled, stumbled backward a few steps. "No need for threats, Mr. Badd, I simply--this isn't--ahem. As you say, I'll get to the particulars of the will." He opened the folder, shuffled papers, adjusted his spectacles, read in silence for a few minutes, then replaced the papers in the folder but didn't close the folder. "Your father managed to save quite a large sum of money, if you don't mind my saying so."

  I blinked at him. "He...what?"

  "Your father owned this building outright and lived above it, so he had very little by way of bills except the overhead of the bar, which he kept to a minimum and, for many years, it seems this bar was quite successful. He was parsimonious, and used only small amounts of the profits. He spent remarkably little, as a matter of fact."

  I nodded. "That makes sense. So how much did he leave, and who to?"

  "To whom, you mean," Richard said.

  "Don't correct my fuckin' grammar, you fuckin' dork," I snarled. "How much, and to whom?"

  Richard blinked at me for a moment, and then he cleared his throat again. "Ahem. Um...he left a sum total of two hundred and ninety thousand dollars to be split even between the eight of you Badd brothers. Not a fortune, but a sizable sum. Plus the deed to the bar, but that's not part of the two-ninety being distributed per the will. As for the distribution itself, well, that's where it gets a little more complicated."

 
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