Krampus never thought he would find someone to care for again. Then he met Dallas when the rodeo came to town. Surprises continue with the new man in Krampus’ life when Stephen shows up looking for Dallas. Krampus won’t let Dallas out of his sight, but when Dallas is called back to the rodeo, Krampus is in for the ride of his life.
He glanced up from his meal when the noise level dropped. A group from the rodeo entered the tavern. One of the thugs who had stopped him approached the bartender. The group followed behind him.
“A round of ale for the lot.”
The bartender crossed his arms over his chest. The corner of his mouth twitched. “Your kind ain’t wanted here. Best if you get out before I have someone throw you out.”
“We have a right to be here just as anyone else.” The thug sat at the bar. The rest moved into a table that emptied out since they had come in. The rodeo participants all looked as though they had a difficult life. All were tanned and wrinkled from years in the sun and hard work. Krampus didn’t envy them. The tension in the bar grew. He sat back. The bartender and the other patrons surrounded them.
A cloaked figure slipped past them and hovered by Krampus’s table.
“Why don’t you sit here? It looks like everywhere else is taken.” Krampus found himself saying.
The man looked at him. “Why do you care?”
“I don’t. Sit or don’t sit.”
Krampus pushed the plate aside and laid a couple of silver coins on the table. They would more than cover the cost of his meal and the ale. He didn’t want the waitress to hassle him any longer. The man glanced at the coins and the unfinished bowl of stew. He sat down and reached for the stew. Then the stranger pulled his hand back.
“You going to eat that?”
“Have at it.”
The stranger’s hands were dark, almost like polished black marble. His arms were decorated with long-healed-over scars. The man took the bowl and brought it in close to him, protecting it. When he ate, the hood of his cloak fell away, revealing a bald head, a strong jaw and a flat nose. His eyes were gold when he looked up at Krampus. Something in that gaze stirred Krampus’s desire.
“What?” the man asked around a mouthful of bread.
“Nothing. I just noticed you were hungry. I could make it worth your while if you wanted to come back to the house with me.”
“So you can fuck me? I’m not a whore. I see how you’re looking at me.”
Krampus held back a smile. “No. I wasn’t considering sex. I just meant I have better food than what you have there. Plus, you can sleep in a bed. It looks like you might need it. No strings attached.”
The other man eyed him. “I thought you said you didn’t care.”
“It’s obvious your companions don’t care about you or you would’ve come in with them. And you wouldn’t have been hiding your appearance. I’m surprised you’re still with them. Of course, I could be way off on my observations. Come or not, but I’m leaving.” Krampus got up from the booth and left the tavern. After he rejoined the darkness, the tavern door slammed shut.
“Where are we going?”