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Loser Takes All

By:Kora Knight

Loser Takes All
        Author: Kora Knight

       
         
       
        
Holy crap. What the hell had Tad gotten himself into?

Note to self: Never again assume you're the hottest shit at the table.

Standing at midnight on the front stoop of a suburban three-story home, Tad glanced over his shoulder at the trio of jocks who'd kindly escorted him there. Leaning against their Mustang-which was parked to the point of nearly kissing Tad's Jeep's ass-they watched him intently with beefy arms crossed. He forced a brave smirk as they shot him lewd smiles.

Second note to self: Never gamble with hustling pricks packing more than 200 pounds each.

He turned back to the door and inhaled deep. He could do this, man up to his end of the bargain. Hell, he had to do this. It was either that or suffer a caved-in nose. Yeah, the crew-cut jerkoffs made that pretty clear after they'd hustled him at the fraternity party a few blocks over. Until he'd actually lost, Tad assumed the words "triple or nothing" were in reference to a dollar amount. Little did he know, "triple" stood for the trio of thugs playing poker with him at that damned table-each making him pay up as they saw fit should he lose that final round.

Bastards.

Tad scowled, blew light brown bangs from his eyes, and glared at the door. God, how he wished he was anywhere but here; at the residence of those dickheads' friendly neighborhood flogger. In fairness, they had given Tad a choice on how he'd rather pay up: a few broken bones or short-term bodily torment. Tad hadn't been thrilled about either option, but he'd heard in the past from some of his kinkier buddies that flogging wasn't as scary as it sounded. That some people actually liked the shit. And since Tad had never heard that about a fractured humerus …

He cleared his throat and rapped on the door. Why the guys behind him even had a neighborhood flogger, he had no idea. Hadn't really wanted to ask. But they promised he'd be out of there in no time, able to drive home with working limbs and everything.

"Awesome," Tad muttered to himself. He was so going to kick his friends' asses for ditching him for some tail back at that party. But since he'd been running the table at the time, really raking in the dough-or so he thought-he hadn't wanted to fold. He'd been the DD-designated driver for the night and stone-cold sober, for fuck's sake. No way could he lose against a bunch of stupid drunks. Right? So his buds took off with their hotties and left Tad alone with jerkoffs One, Two and Three. The idiots currently leering at his back.

Maybe Mr. Flogger wouldn't be home.

"Knock again, pretty boy," one shouted from the curb.

Tad shot him a glower, but brought his knuckles back up all the same.

Rap, rap, rap. 

Footfalls sounded from the other side of the door. Shit. The guy was home. Looked like Tad's luck was staying pretty consistent. Warily, he braced himself, rubbing sweaty palms on his jean-clad thighs. Time to bite the bullet.

The door swung open, revealing a friendly enough looking guy not too much older than Tad. Handsome-in a non-gay sort of way-he had a short, spikey cut of dark brown hair, dark eyes, and a warm, genuine smile. And unlike the douchebags back at their car, decked out in sports jerseys and neon-bright high-tops, this dude was barefoot in black jeans and a tee. But he was definitely as muscle-packed as they were. He just didn't emanate the prickish I'll-break-you vibe the other three did. Surprisingly, his whole six-foot-and-then-some presence seemed pretty down-to-earth. Tad exhaled and eased his stance just a smidge.

Door man tilted his head and took Tad in, then leveled his brown eyes on the trio at the curb. He gave them a chin lift hello, then returned his attention to Tad. "Hey there, card shark. I've been expecting you."

Tad frowned. "Wonderful."

"Don't look so disconcerted," the guy chuckled. "This is gonna be fun."

"Define fun."

Tee-shirt man's smile widened. "I think I'd rather demonstrate."

Tad's hazel eyes regarded him skeptically. He looked a bit too psyched, if that grin plastered on his face was any indication. A smile that, if Tad was honest, was ridiculously perfect-the asshole. Straight, white teeth and full, smooth lips. What, was the guy a supermodel by day and a torturer by night? At least he wasn't leering like the Three Musketeers at Tad's back. Tad could feel their excited stares boring a hole right through him. What a bunch of fucktards.

"Whatever," Tad muttered. "Let's just get this over with."

Door man lifted a brow then gestured him inside. "By all means."

Tad peered past the dude into his ill-omened abode. And what do you know, his feet suddenly didn't want to work. "Uh … " Tad stalled. "I …  Um … " He swallowed nervously. He did not want to go in there.

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