He’s suffering in silence...
Teague Carter, one of the four owners of Pier 70 Marina, has spent his life feeling rejected. To the point that he has never allowed himself to get close to anyone. He prefers it that way, in fact. But he refuses to believe that his destructive behavior might be something more than rebellion.
He’s unable to speak...
Hudson Ballard, Pier 70’s mechanic, has been fighting his attraction to Teague for years. He has stood by and watched the kid get more and more out of control, but this time is the last. If Teague wants to use sex to escape his problems, Hudson is certainly willing to be the one to show him that he’s good with more than just his hands.
Sometimes words aren’t necessary.
There are fireworks when this out-of-control bad boy agrees to no strings with this tatted up, dominating mechanic.
Can Teague and Hudson keep their emotions from getting involved in their arrangement? Or -- thanks to the demons from their pasts -- will the darkness steal from them before they have a chance?
What did it for me? Hudson. Never uttering a sound. I wont give up any spoilers, but I will say that he is one of the sexiest characters she has written to date, IMO.
Speechless (Pier 70, 3) - Chapter One
Friday, July 1st
“GIANT ASSHOLE!” TEAGUE kicked a box out of his way as he pretended to be looking for something.
More like, he was trying to cool the fuck off because he couldn’t deal with being in the same room with Hudson for one minute longer. The
man made him…
“Son of a— Stupid, motherfu— Giant fucking asshole!” Teague kicked the box again, then thrust his hands through his hair and tugged. It was a wonder he had any hair at all, what with Hudson irritating him to the point he wanted to yank it all out.
Teague growled, gritting his teeth.
Hudson frustrated him to the point of insanity. And for no apparent reason, either, which, yes, Teague knew was stupid on his part. Still, he couldn’t stop his reaction to the man. It wasn’t that he liked the guy. No way. Definitely not that.
Sometimes he could tolerate Hudson.
Sometimes he could even handle working alongside him.
Once in a while he didn’t mind looking at him, but that was only because he found him mildly attractive. Okay, devastatingly attractive. That was all. But a lot of people did. It wasn’t hard to figure out why. The guy was a freaking giant mass of muscle. Six foot two … long and lean, with beefed-up arms, smoldering emerald eyes and thick, dark hair, which he kept cut shorter on the sides, a little longer on the top. The strong jaw was a nice touch, too. Plus, the cheekbones… And maybe his fantastic lips…
Teague growled again.
He wasn’t the only person in the world who found the guy attractive, jeezus. A lot of men did, apparently, since it seemed Hudson had a long list of them coming by to see him, talk to him, flirt with him.
“Giant, stupid asshole.”
Teague kicked another box, trying to get the image of Hudson smiling at that guy out of his head. The one who had stopped by a little while ago to chat it up. Teague had seen him come around before, all buddy-buddy with Hudson. They’d looked all cozy and shit, and for some insane reason, Teague had lost his shit watching the spectacle. It reminded him of the anger he’d felt for Hudson before he found out the hot guy who’d accompanied him on that stupid cruise had been Hudson’s brother.
It would’ve been nice if someone would’ve just told him.
His reactions were irrational, he’d be the first to admit that, and with each passing day, he seemed to be getting more and more incensed by everything Hudson did. For whatever reason, Teague couldn’t stop thinking about the giant asshole. The sad thing was, he could even pinpoint the exact moment when he’d taken a turn for the worse. It was the night of Cam and Gannon’s wedding, when he’d had too much to drink. Somehow, he’d managed to make it back to his cabin and passed out on his bed. The stupid alcohol had played cruel tricks on his brain, and he’d dreamed that Hudson had been the one to get him safely into his bed.
Oh, and then there was the part where he and Hudson had kissed.
A whole goddamn month had passed since they’d returned from the cruise when Cam and Gannon had pledged their eternal love for one another—the same cruise Teague had been on when he’d had that crazy fucking dream. He should be over this shit by now, not allowing it to drive him stark raving mad.
For the most part, everything had gotten back to normal, yet Teague couldn’t stop thinking about that damn dream. The reason he knew it was a dream was because he was directly opposed to kissing, yet there had been a few rare instances, but never had it been like that. Never had one man had the ability to steal his sanity with one simple kiss. Though, if he were being honest, the kiss from that dream hadn’t been simple by any means. It had been hot. Smoking hot. Turn-up-the-fucking-air-conditioner hot.
Which meant it couldn’t possibly have happened and his subconscious was likely on crack.
However, sometimes, when he caught Hudson looking at him—which, yes, the giant asshole did from time to time—Teague wondered if maybe it had been real. If at some point on that cruise he had crushed his mouth to Hudson’s and allowed the man to kiss him senseless.
“No way did I kiss him.” Teague wasn’t that stupid. “I wouldn’t kiss that giant asshole if my dick depended on it.”
Speaking of his dick.
Teague adjusted himself, righting the freaking steel rod in his shorts so as not to scare half the lake with the boner he was sporting. All thanks to Hudson and those stupid memories of that stupid dream.
The sound of a wrench tapping against metal had Teague spinning around to find Hudson staring at him. Although Hudson was mute, he could hear, which meant he had probably listened to Teague’s tirade. Since he couldn’t take back the last few minutes, Teague decided to pretend they’d never happened.
He was getting good at the pretending thing. He pretended he didn’t like Hudson. He pretended that he didn’t wish that dream had been real and he’d actually had the opportunity to kiss the guy. He pretended he didn’t want to feel the man’s body covering his in every possible way, owning him in a way no man had ever done before.
Yes, sir, Hudson Ballard was a giant fucking asshole, and Teague couldn’t stop thinking about him. He was crazy fucked-up for sure.
Since they had to work together, that magnified Teague’s problems tenfold. He spent most of the day alongside Hudson, helping out with the boat repairs, rubbing elbows with the guy while doing his best to ignore him. Since it was the middle of the summer, it seemed all they did was work on engines and fiberglass repairs, and Teague’s assistance was needed more than ever because of the workload. It wasn’t quite so bad in the fall and winter because most people stored their boats and didn’t require so much maintenance.
Not the case right now.
Which meant there wasn’t going to be any relief in sight.
“What?” Teague snapped at Hudson, noticing the giant asshole was still watching him closely. “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”
Yes, he sounded like a fucking twelve-year-old. So fucking what?
Right now, he was too pissed to care. It bothered him that he had this reaction to Hudson, more so because he didn’t know why. They’d worked together for a long time now. In the beginning, Teague hadn’t had a problem, other than the mild attraction that was easy enough to ignore. As time went on and he’d gotten to know Hudson a little better, it was possible that he might’ve developed a tiny little crush. And it should’ve been fleeting, but for some reason, it had dug its claws into his brain and was hanging on for dear life.
But he was strong enough to ignore it. Strong enough that he shouldn’t allow one man to get to him like this. There was no way he should be letting Hudson derail him from what needed to be done. Yet, for the past month, Teague’s frustration had only intensified.
He needed to get laid. That’s what his problem was. It would be in his best interest to take his ass to the club tonight, find some guy—or two—he could pass the time with, get down and dirty for a little while, and then get back to the world of the living. That was how he’d handled it in the past.
Until that fucking dream.
Now, no matter how much he wanted to go out and tie one on, have a brief, one-night fling, Teague was having a damn hard time following through.
All because of the giant asshole staring at him now.
And that was what pissed Teague off the most.
HUDSON WATCHED TEAGUE throw another fit, stomping around, kicking shit, and most of all, acting like a five-year-old who didn’t get his way—the very reason Hudson had started referring to him as a kid. At some point, the nickname had simply caught on.
For the past few minutes, he’d caught glimpses of the kid as he passed by his office, muttering to himself. Like usual, Hudson had no idea what Teague was going on and on about, nor did he really care. With Teague, it usually had something to do with him since, for some inexplicable reason, Hudson managed to rub him the wrong way.
The tantrums weren’t new, but they seemed to be intensifying as time went by. Rather than kick something once, Teague now did so repeatedly. However, he had stopped throwing wrenches, which was a good thing. They’d had to do a little extra repair on a couple of boats thanks to those fits.
As for his creative commentary, Teague always had a way of expressing himself using mostly four-letter words, but now, it seemed he was getting more imaginative. And if Hudson had to guess, his new nickname was giant fucking asshole. He liked that one, actually. Better than Hudson the Prick, which had been what Teague called him for the entire month of June.
The kid had been doing this nonstop ever since they had returned from the cruise, and for the life of him, Hudson didn’t know why. Well, other than the fact that Teague didn’t like him, but that was nothing new.
Since the day Hudson had started working at Pier 70 Marina a little more than two years ago, he and Teague had been on the outs. His best assumption was that there was an undeniable attraction between them that both of them were denying—which, now that he thought about it, was a complete contradiction. Not to mention, it was a dumb-ass excuse for Teague to be such a dickhead.
Hudson couldn’t speak for Teague, but he knew that he’d been pretending not to find the guy utterly fuckable, and based on the rage-filled grumblings, Teague was, too. That sort of inexplicable draw tended to make people a little irritable, sure. Especially when they were ignoring it.
Fortunately, Hudson knew how to hide his emotions far better than Teague. He’d had more years of practice.
One thing Hudson had noticed lately was that any time he had a visitor, Teague got more irritable. Whether it was when his brother, AJ, stopped by—which hadn’t been until recently—or one of his buddies whom he’d known most of his life ... seemed any time a man was there to see him, Teague’s frown deepened. Since his brother and his friends had taken to giving Hudson a hard time about the kid, he could only imagine how it looked. But in his defense, not one of the men who had visited him as of late was he romantically involved with. If Teague would act like a grown-up and ask, he would know that.
As he’d done several times before, when it was clear Teague’s tantrum wasn’t going to end anytime in the near future, Hudson had picked up a wrench and tapped on the side of a metal can he kept on his toolbox for this very reason. Because he was mute—had been since birth—Hudson couldn’t announce his presence any other way. Well, unless he wanted to happen upon the kid and tap him on the shoulder, but that would likely get him sucker punched. Teague was nothing if not prone to violence.
Realizing he was still staring at Teague, he turned away and headed back into the tiny boat repair office, allowing the kid some privacy to pull himself together. It would’ve been a hell of a lot easier if Teague would simply tell Hudson what his issue with him was, but that wasn’t the way Teague worked. The kid kept everything bottled up, and from what Hudson could tell, he let loose by having casual sex with the losers he encountered at the clubs he frequented.
Although he’d been tempted to do a little investigating of his own, Hudson didn’t know this firsthand. He’d never followed Teague to one of these infamous clubs, had never seen him actually go home with a guy. Until recently, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity. But now that he and Teague lived across the hall from one another, each of them renting the apartments above the Pier 70 Marina office, Hudson wouldn’t be so lucky. He prayed he never had to encounter that because, honestly, he wasn’t sure how he would react.
Yes, he fucking wanted that man. All five-foot-nine inches, with his steel-blue eyes, shaggy blond hair, and surfer-boy good looks. Teague definitely did it for him in many ways. He’d had plenty of fantasies about getting him on his knees, watching as he…
Oh, hell, now he was going to be thinking about that shit.
No, he never intended to act on his insane attraction to the kid.
For one, Teague was almost ten years younger than he was. At thirty-five, Hudson was far too old to be interested in someone as emotionally immature as Teague. He could’ve said that Teague was immature in every way, but despite the tantrums and the foul language, Hudson got the impression Teague used that as his armor, shielding himself from ever getting close to someone. Why, Hudson didn’t know. And he never intended to pry in order to find out, either.
Nope, they were all better off if Hudson focused his desires elsewhere.
As he was sitting at his desk, feet propped up, tossing the wrench high in the air and catching it, Hudson heard Teague’s cell phone ring.
Hudson rolled his eyes.
“Hell yeah, man. I’ll meet you at the club tonight. What time?” Teague’s tone was far more cheerful than two minutes ago, when he’d been cursing a blue streak.
Hudson dropped his feet to the floor but kept his ass planted in his chair.
Not your business.
Not your business.
“Cool.” Pause. “Yeah.” Pause. “Fuck yeah. I’m game.” Pause. “Threesome, baby. Haven’t done that in a while.” Pause. “Hey, I got a better idea. Why don’t y’all come over to my place.” Pause. “Yeah. Got my own digs now. Nice little apartment by the lake.” Teague chuckled. “You bring the condoms; I’ll get the beer.”
Oh, fuck no.
Every muscle in Hudson’s body tensed from the effort it took to stay seated. This wasn’t his business; he had no right to interfere, yet…
There was no way in hell he was going to sit back, knowing that Teague and his gang-bang buddies were getting their freak on. Ever since that damn kiss they’d shared on the cruise ship, Hudson had been lucky Teague hadn’t brought any guys around. When he thought about some asshole putting his hands (or other various body parts) on Teague, he got pissed off. Insanely pissed off.
And the mere thought of actually knowing it was happening right across the hall from him…
Nope. No way.
“Cool, man. See you tonight.”
No, not cool. Not fucking cool at all.
Sitting up straight, Hudson clenched the wrench in his hand until it was painful. He wasn’t sure he was capable of letting Teague go through with this.
Actually, he was fucking positive he couldn’t.