Applejack Shots and Beer Part 5
Rain on the glass, reminds me of you
A sip of hot chocolate, a song played in blue
Lyrics written on a postcard
Melody slick, deep and charred
Anyone not loving you
Ain’t trying that hard
Shout at the moon, dance in the rain
Give me your heart, I’ll keep back the pain
— Rain and the Blues
Rafe felt every bump on the sidewalk under his feet by the time they got to Finnegan’s. His knees hurt, he was pretty sure his ass fell off a few blocks back, possibly on the hill Sionn took at full speed and without a doubt, he’d gotten a beak in his left eye when they’d turned down onto the pier then took on a storm of seagulls taking flight towards the fishing boats coming in.
If Rafe hadn’t been dead sure Sionn loved him like a brother, he’d have thought the brawny Irish man was trying to kill him.
Or he was sure right up until the moment Sionn slapped down a heavy mug onto one of Finnegan’s outdoor tables and a black sludge sloshed up over the thick rim with a sullen oozing a cheap treacle would be proud of.
“What is this shit? Coffee?” Rafe was man enough to admit he was too scared to sip at the brew, especially when he thought he heard a growl come up from its bubbling depths. “Dude, this is fucking Kraken shit. What the hell?”
“Just drink the damned thing,” Sionn grumbled, swinging his chair around. Straddling the seat, he leaned his arms across the chair’s back, picking at the sugar cubes he’d brought out on a plate. “There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“This, my friend, is the blood of a very bitter, sour woman who spends her life ironing out dogears from library book pages.” Sniffing at the coffee only assured Rafe his friend went insane at some point during the morning’s run and he’d only just noticed. “You could use this strip oil off of otters.”
“So I made it a little strong.” Sionn’s shrug tested the seams of his shirt. “Ye’ve never complained before.”
“There’s strong and then there’s tar,” Rafe muttered. “I stick a spoon in this shit and I’m going to be pulling out mammoth bones. I’m going to make another pot. Don’t…Jesus, if a witch comes by with an apple, eat that instead of drinking this shit.”
A pod coffee maker was going to have to do. Finnegan’s old brewing machine was a complicated dance of hoses, steaming nozzles and a bean grinder angry enough to spit out nails if it didn’t like the person manning the dials. A few minutes later, Rafe emerged from the pub holding two steaming fresh cups of at least drinkable coffee and found his best friend with his head down on the table, snoring up a storm.
A true friend would have gotten one of the oversized hoodies Finnegan’s sold from under its bar to cover Sionn and let him sleep but Rafe wasn’t a true friend. No, when all was said and done, he considered Sionn a brother—if a Portuguese Catholic mutt could have an Irish brother who could pound him into the ground with a massive swipe of his clenched paw.
Putting the coffee down on one of the far tables, Rafe walked back over to Sionn and did what any loving, nearly-twin would do to their brother.
He kicked Sionn’s chair hard enough to rattle the man’s head and then stepped back when Sionn came up swinging.
“I’m going to fucking tear ye apart one day, Andrade.” Sionn rasped, his Irish hot and thick around his words. “And no fucking jury in the world would convict me. They’ll probably hang a medal on me for it.”
“You wouldn’t last a goddamned day after you walked out of the court room,” Rafe scoffed as he moved the coffee over to the table. “Quinn would fuck your shit up before you could even thank the judge.”
“Bastard would,” Sionn conceded. Rubbing at his face, he sighed then reached for the coffee. “Thanks. I’m… a bit tired.”
“Damien’s getting in as much as he can before we roll out?” Cocking his head, he chuckled at Sionn’s uplifted fingers. “Crude, Murphy, and hardly original.”
“Mostly it’s him talking. Second-guessing himself.” Sionn added a few sugars and a dollop of cream to the brew, swirling it together with a rapid tap of a spoon. “Ye’ve got him worried. Hell, he’s just worried all around. Wonders if he’s right in doing this. Wonders if he’s asking too much of Miki for going.”
“Where Damien roams, Miki’s in his footsteps,” Rafe replied. “Forest and I are merely along for the ride. It’s the two of them that makes this thing work. For all my fucking hubris and narcissism, I’m the first one to admit I’m barely good enough to play the shit they write together. Humbles a man when he knows he’s standing behind two guys who can kick his ass on the frets and not even blink but damn them for not rubbing my face in it.”
“Yer good,” he snorted, bringing his cup up to his mouth. “They wouldn’t have had you with them if ye weren’t.”
“I’m good but they’re…it’s hard to explain, Murphy.” Rafe searched for the words to explain away the emotions he had when he shared a stage with the Sinners boys. “It’s scary how they click into each other. How they play together is insane. Because music’s not work for them, not like it is for the rest of us. Sure, we hit grooves but they’re… it’s like they’re bleeding out into a crystal chalice and daring the rest of us to sip at the stars pouring out of their veins. Closest thing I’ve come to being in a spiritual orgy was at three o’clock last night, we slipped into Devil’s Waiting and I thought, fuck my life…I’ve got Quinn and Crossroads. I must have died and gone to Heaven.”
“He’s Heaven for me too,” Sionn whispered then shot Rafe a cocky grin. “As hard as it is to let him go, Damie’s got to fly and the three of you…not just Miki… are his wings.”
“Well then,” Rafe saluted Sionn with his coffee. “Here’s hoping I’m not made of wax and we don’t fly too close to the fucking sun.”
Available June 22, 2016
by Rhys Ford
Released: June 22nd 2016
Series: Sinners #5
Published by Dreamspinner Press, LLC
We’re getting the band back together.
Those five words send a chill down Miki St. John’s spine, especially when they’re spoken with a nearly religious fervor by his brother-in-all-but-blood, Damien Mitchell. However, those words were nothing compared to what Damien says next.
And we’re going on tour.
When Crossroads Gin hits the road, Damien hopes it will draw them closer together. There’s something magical about being on tour, especially when traveling in a van with no roadies, managers, or lovers to act as a buffer. The band is already close, but Damien knows they can be more—brothers of sorts, bound not only by familial ties but by their intense love for music.
As they travel from gig to gig, the band is haunted by past mistakes and personal demons, but they forge on. For Miki, Damie, Forest, and Rafe, the stage is where they all truly come alive, and the music they play is as important to them as the air they breathe.
But those demons and troubles won’t leave them alone, and with every mile under their belts, the band faces its greatest challenge—overcoming their deepest flaws and not killing one another along the way.
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