Droplets of blood seeped from Darien’s wolf tattoo, mesmerizing him. They trickled over the inside of his bicep, splattering against the bar floor.
Darien ran his hand back through his hair and frowned. Why was the wolf bleeding? It was supposed to look sexy. Turn chicks on. Not bleed. He blinked as a thought formed. Maybe it wasn’t the tattoo. Could he be bleeding? He didn’t remember getting hurt. But that might be because he’d had too many vodka shots.
Expensive gold infused vodka.
An order, snapped out in Thai, ripped his focus away from the cost of the booze.
Stumbling with the translation, his gut clenched. “Check everyone. Anybody alive. Kill them.”
A shrill female scream. A gun shot. Silence.
That’d be one of the hookers. Damn. Hope it wasn’t the one with the butterfly tattoo above her clit. She had a mouth on her that performed miracles. Dude! What the fuck! Must be the vodka talking. Stay focused. There are guys with guns out there.
Darien stretched his neck out and peered around the edge of the bar. In his line of vision, a male leg stuck out from under a table. Expensive looking shoe. Presumably Italian leather. Probably belonged to Nai Jâhng.
Darien raised his eyebrows. Wow. Somebody had the balls to kill a Triad boss.
He shifted his glance. A few feet to the left lay a female arm with brilliant orange fingernails. He shivered at the memory of those nails grazing his balls. He focused on a tiny object a foot in front of him. Shards of glass were scattered about. He frowned, trying to remember what happened. He’d walked behind the private club’s bar to get another bottle of vodka when, one by one, bottles started exploding. Next he was on the floor, looking at the blood dripping from his tattoo. He glanced at his arm. The bleeding had stopped.
Okay, so he wasn’t gonna bleed to death. Good. Now he just had to get his dumbass outta there. Past them. The guys with the guns. How the fuck could he do that?
Voices interrupted his thoughts. The tones were panicked or angry, and the words too fast for him to translate, although he did understand the meaning of the three rapid gunshots, followed by a short groan. The door at the opposite end of the bar, leading to the kitchen, swooshed as someone pushed it open.
Gunfire and loud screams sounded from the kitchen. The door swung open again. Darien translated the shooter’s words, “Nobody alive in there. I’ll check the offices upstairs.”
Darien slid back, trying not to disturb the glass. He did his best not to yelp when a sharp edge sliced through the skin on his knee. With deliberate movements, he backtracked the length of the Black Dragon’s bar. Squatting, he peeked around the end.
Three men stood with their backs to him, dressed in black pants and muscle shirts. Each one held an assault rifle. A bleeding sun tattoo visible on one attacker’s shoulder. Daeng Arthit Triad. Not good. So not good.
He looked forward. The kitchen door was six feet away. Six feet of wide-open, easily visible space. It might as well be six inches or a mile. He couldn’t risk it. Wouldn’t. He didn’t want to get shot.
He shifted his weight off the knee pressing on a piece of shattered bottle. What the fuck, dude? You’re gonna die if they find you. Better to be running for your life than just lay here and let ’em kill you. That was the logical side of his head’s opinion.
The chicken shit side said, Stay here. Stay down. You’re safe.
A yell and several more gunshots drifted down from the floor above. The men pounded up the stairs.
Without taking a moment to think, Darien bolted through the kitchen doors, then skidded to a stop. The rancid smell of burning food and fresh blood hit him deep in the pit of his stomach. Four bodies lay facing him, eyes wide, obviously unseeing. One of the dead chefs held a massive meat cleaver clenched in his right hand.
Never bring a knife to a gun fight. He shook his head. Quoting movies at a time like this? Focus, dude.
Heart pounding, Darien cast his gaze about the room, looking for an escape, while his ears listened for the sound of running footsteps coming up behind. He fought the nausea of rising fear as he moved forward, searching for an exit, while trying to keep his gaze from the corpses.
Please let this be some shitty nightmare, and I’m gonna wake up now. Fuck!
In the back right corner, he spotted a door. With renewed hope, he raced to freedom. He bolted through the doorway, skidded in the pool of blood, lost his balance and crashed onto the dead hooker. He tried not to be judgmental, but in the brief glance he’d had, a girl on her knees in front of a man with no pants on was obviously on the clock. Or cock, as the case might be.
He braced his hands on the blood soaked floor and pushed himself to his knees. The back of her head was missing, and her dead john had no face. Just a bloody, pulpy mess. He laid sprawled back on the desk. Big enough guy to be one of the ones who was supposed to be guarding the front entrance. Well, he went out with a bang.
The room spun. A cold sweat dampened Darien’s brow. His stomach flipped, then heaved its contents on the hooker’s cherry red dress. Gagging and coughing, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The smell of tossed alcohol hit him in the face. He heaved again. Shit. Coupla hundred bucks worth. What a waste.
He dropped back onto his haunches, waiting until the spasms in his stomach calmed. Footsteps from above reminded him of his mission. Get out. Alive. Now!
Loved this book. Erika runs a drag queen club in Bangkok. She pays her protection money to the Triads who fight among themselves, but for the most part allow the queen clubs to operate with impunity. When another club is attacked by another Triad & all the workers & patrons are killed, Darien manages to escape that horror & ends up at Erica’s bar where his gay brother works. The only way to keep the Triad that is looking to kill him too, is for him to transform himself into a drag queen himself.
Trouble is, in real life, Darien is a world famous rock star, & he’s not gay. He is falling for Erica, but he can’t let anyone know who he is or that he’s not a drag queen. As our hero & heroine navigate the dangerous people & times around them, can they actually fall in love & have some kind of relationship?
I always hate cliffhanger endings, & while this one has a HEA for now, ending, there is every indication that trouble is following them into another book.
However, the helpful drag queens are interesting & funny, & Erica & Darien learn to love them while accepting their lifestyle & same kinds of quirks as any of the fans & groupies that usually surround Darien.
The word pictures of people & surroundings offered make you think or wish you were in that exotic locale, & I found the descriptions of how the queens dress & ‘tuck’ their male equipment, quite an education. I liked the story & the people, but if gays & drag queens aren’t your thing, you might pass this one by.
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