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HUCK:The Montana Brothers

By:Alison Ryan

HUCK:The Montana Brothers
Alison Ryan

       1





"Whiskey is sunlight held together by water," the bartender said as he slid me a glass of Maker's across the weathered bar.

"Is it now?" I asked, as I took it all down in one gulp. The burn of it  sliding down my throat was a welcome reprieve. It made me feel something  other than the pain that brewed in my heart and in the marrow of my  bones.

I'd shown up in this tiny-ass town and in this tiny-ass bar about 20  minutes ago after driving for almost 2 days; away from Kentucky and all  that was in my past.

I wasn't interested in ever going back, either. So I'd driven until the  money ran out, which ended up being when I hit Whitmer, Montana.

Google Maps didn't even have it on its app if that tells you anything.

I'd checked into a Traveler's Inn right off the freeway exit. After  getting my car unloaded, I noticed the bar across the street. The Side  Pocket is what the rusted sign said. I didn't much care about what it  was called, but I had to admit it was a clever name.

But I wasn't here to play pool. I was here to get blazing drunk. I  wanted to wake up tomorrow with no memory of anything before this very  night. I wondered if the bartender had anything with that kind of  potency and magic on his drink list.

If only.

"Just so you know," the bartender said, leaning in. "If you're here for  ‘Shitfaced Mondays', we had to cancel them. On account of all the fights  over pretty little things like you. So go easy on that Maker's,  darlin'. It's full price after that one. But the first one's always on  me." He grinned.

"Well, thanks," I said. "I'll have another."

"What the pretty girl wants, the pretty girl gets," the bartender said,  as he walked to the other end of the bar and pulled out another glass.  He was an older man, handsome. He kind of reminded me of Sam Elliott in  the movie Road House.

As a matter of fact, this whole bar kind of reminded me of that movie.

Large, burly, dangerous-looking men surrounded the bar and the tables  sprinkled around the room. Women in short skirts and tight shirts  paraded around, shaking their asses in exaggerated fashion, hoping to  catch the eye of a man who would show them a good time later on.

Sexual tension hung in the air. I could reach out and touch it.

The thought of going home with one of these men and getting fucked  wasn't the most unappealing thing I'd ever considered. I wasn't usually a  girl who did the one-night stand thing. But part of this journey was me  getting rid of everything about my old life.

So if that meant going home with one of these rugged strangers tonight  and letting him do whatever he wanted to my body? So be it.

I could feel eyes on me as I gulped down my second Maker's. I hadn't  drunk like this in a very long time, so I knew it wouldn't take long for  me to be loaded. I wanted to lose complete control of myself and just  allow my destiny to take over.

I was tired of having to think.

Suddenly, I felt the presence of a man next to me. Before turning to  look at him, his essence hit my nostrils. He smelled like the woods-  like fresh grass and hard work.

When I finally laid my eyes on him, I almost gasped.

He was fucking gorgeous.

Not just the typical tall, dark and handsome, though he was all of those  things. He had dark brown hair and a square jaw that was covered in  stubble. His eyes were brooding and looked a little angry in the dim  lighting that was all around the bar. He wore just a simple black  t-shirt, a tattoo peeking out from the left sleeve. His arms were ropey  and thick. He was all muscle and I imagined leaning into him would make  me feel safe and protected. This man was walking granite; a wall of sex.

I wanted him to talk to me. I needed to know if his voice was how I  imagined it would be. Deep. Like it came from the bottom of a well.

"Another drink for the pretty girl!" the bartender said, placing a glass in front of me. "Want to start a tab?"

I looked at him, suddenly out of the trance the handsome stranger had put me in. "Tab? Yeah. Sure. Let me find my credit card."

I slid my purse around from my shoulder to my lap to dig through and find my American Express.

"I see you met Huck," the bartender replied. I looked at him, confused.

"Who?" I asked. The bartender laughed.

"The guy next to you," he said. "He's Huck. And he's a whiskey man too."

Huck.

The handsome stranger's eyes were on me now. I found myself completely  lost in them for a moment. I'd never seen someone so effortlessly  perfect. But he didn't seem as enamored with me. He was expressionless.  Bored, even … to my chagrin.
                       
       
           



       
Great. Like I needed a blow to my ever shrinking ego right now.

"Well," I said, looking back at my bartender buddy. "Buy Huck a round,  too. On me. He looks like he could use a little sunlight with his  water."

The bartender laughed, "Ain't that the fucking truth."

Huck was looking at me again, his expression more curious now.

"You're buying me a drink?" he asked.

Oh fuck, his voice. It was just as sexy as I imagined it would be.

"Maybe," I said. "Why not, right? You look like you could use one."

"Why is that?" he asked, his voice betraying nothing. I couldn't read this guy at all.

"I don't know," I said. "I just assumed. We're both sitting at a bar."

"I'll be standing in a moment. After that, walking," he replied.

I had hoped to make him smile, but he punctuated his brush off by turning away from me. It felt like he was recoiling.

I guessed I wasn't his type.

Fuck it, I thought. Hot guys are such assholes anyway.

"By the way," the bartender said to me as he approached with Huck's  glass of bourbon, "I'm Rick. And this rude asshole is my nephew. Forgive  me for being related to someone who has no idea how to talk to women."

I glanced over at Huck again. He was glaring at his uncle as he took the glass from his hand.

But he didn't reply. And what was I supposed to say to that?

"And your name?" Rick asked, placing one elbow on the bar.

"Belle," I replied, downing my third glass in one swoop. Both men stared at me, clearly in awe.

What can I say? I'm a Kentucky girl. And we know how to hold our bourbon.

But I was definitely feeling it's effects. My head was getting lighter now. Everything around me swirled. I liked this feeling.

"Did you hear that, Huck?" Rick asked, his eyes still on me. "This  pretty girl's name is Belle. And she just bought you a round. How about  you thank her?"

Huck took down his own glass and I watched his Adam's apple move as he  swallowed. God, he was sexy. I seriously hated myself for wanting him so  much.

"Thank you, Belle," Huck said. His voice was flat.

"You're welcome," I replied.

"But," he continued. "I can't let you do that. Rick, put it on the  house's tab. And whatever else Belle wants tonight." Huck stood up. I  stared up at him, still in awe. He was probably at least 6'4.

I felt small and submissive next to him. I'd always rolled my eyes at  the term "weak in the knees," but that's how Huck made me feel.

Or maybe that was the liquor.

"Don't drink too much," he said. "There are men in here that would take advantage of you. Stay close to Rick."

I blinked. "I'm fine. I know how to handle myself."

Huck looked me up and down. I'm a curvy little thing but I'm only about 5'2 on my best day.

"Sure you do. This is Whitmer, Belle. It's a rough town and you're in a  rough part of it. And these," he tilted his head out toward the crowd.  "Are some roughnecks. Where are you staying?"

I looked down at my Tory Burch flats. "The Traveler's Inn across the street."

Huck shook his head. "What the hell are you doing there?"

I put my hand on my hip. I was a little annoyed at the judgement in his  tone. "Sorry, fancy pants. It was cheap and it was off the freeway. I  only just showed up here maybe 30 minutes ago. I don't know where I am,  all I know is I want to drink until I forget my own name and how I got  here." I turned back to the bar and to Rick who was still standing there  listening to us. "So, with that said, bring me another Maker's. And  another one after that."

Huck shook his head. "No. She's cut off after this next one." He turned to walk away.

"And who the hell do you think you are?" I called after him.

He was at the door now, but he looked over one of his deliciously broad shoulders to say:

"I think I own this bar, last time I checked. And I'm not letting a  little girl like you get sloppy drunk and get herself hurt on my watch.  Rick, keep an eye on this one."

And with that, he was gone.



Well, Huck didn't need to cut me off. After the fourth straight up  bourbon in a row, I was done for. All of the booze hit me at once and  suddenly everything around me was spinning. I felt like I was at the  Kentucky State Fair on the Tilt-O-Whirl. I didn't know which way I was  going and suddenly I wished I'd stopped at three shots. Or no shots.

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