Tony Mitchell lives a half-life of quiet desperation, a life of soul-sucking yearning, a life pockmarked with emptiness and unearned regrets. When the man in black leather punishes him with the promise of pain and the lure of desire, Tony’s life is forever changed. The man known as Tank opens up a world of possibilities, releasing Tony from his cell of self-loathing, but it takes a shocking act of brutality by Tony’s gang members to finally liberate Tony from the short tethers of his imagination.
Sometimes the body needs to break, sometimes it needs to bend… For Tony, the gateway to his deepest desires, his most compelling needs, opened when violence stripped him of his humanity and offered him so much more…
Tank dealt his version of vengeance, but he’s not equipped to handle the changes gnawing away at the innocent Tony had once been.
With the door closed, Tony couldn’t tell who was talking. It seemed like a party in the living room and he wondered if the bikers were still there.
Then he recalled hearing the rumble of the hogs as they peeled away, one, two, three, and after that a car door slamming. From that point to this, there was nothing but blessed emptiness.
The voices seemed familiar but he hurt too much to concentrate on such trivia. He’d been on the beach with Tank, wrapped in his arms, the only good thing that had ever happened to him, that feeling of being home and safe.
I’ll never be safe again…
He was mouthing the words, ‘You can’t go home again,’ when the door opened and Caldwell stalked into the room.
He stopped dead and shouted, “What the holy royal hell did you do to him?”
Tony panicked and tried to sit up but the scrape of cotton across his abused body, and the crunch of rib edges and exquisite thrill of shoulders disintegrating with each slight movement, sawed away his will to move. He collapsed back on the bed, desperate to mask his hiss of pain.
Mumbling, “He didn’t do anything,” Tony tried to come to grips with his boss standing over him like the angel of death, dark and menacing, with an undercurrent of something else, a flicker of concern.
When Tony tried to explain, the man said, “Shut up, you stupid fuck.”
Caldwell poked and prodded around his eye socket, then lifted the blanket and scowled as he ran his dark eyes over the livid bruises, sucking air when he got to Tony’s abused penis and the slices on the inside of his thigh.
Tony managed to ask, “What are you doing here?”
A voice, not Caldwell’s, said, “We’re taking you home, amigo.”
“Shut it, Rodrigues. Get on the other side and help me get this fucker in the car. I haven’t got all day.”
Tony shuddered when they tried to lift him, the pain in his cheekbone and lips and shoulder enough to make him want to curl into ball and weep. He was numb from the waist down but he knew that would change, and not for the better.
With an effort he slid off the bed, supported by Jorge on his right and the much taller Aiden Caldwell on his left. They moved him sideways down the narrow hall and toward the door.
Digging in his heels, Tony forced his guard dogs to halt and looked around desperately for Tank.
“I’m not leaving until I talk to him.”
“Does it look like I’m giving you a choice, asshole?”
“Don’t push me, Aiden. Just. Don’t.”
“All right. Wait here a minute.” Caldwell went to the door and shouted, “He’s not leaving without a word, so get your ass in here and make it quick.”
Tony counted his heartbeats, on the fifth one, Tank came through the door and stood aside as his boss and Jorge exited. With them went his resolve and whatever words he thought he’d string together to explain, to apologize.
Words of love. Words of hate.
He had no idea how or why the horror of the night before played out as it did. All he knew was that the bear of a man had returned with the cavalry and they’d enacted a Rambo kind of vigilante justice.
Wavering, Tony felt the first wash of dizziness hit, the buzzing so loud he never heard Tank approach and wrap his arms around his body to hold him upright. Tony oozed into the embrace and held onto his lover, knowing it might be for the last time.
If it was really over, he was going to finally say the words, even if he never again said them to another person.
Voice choking with emotion he sobbed, “Tank, I-I lo—” but the bear stilled his lips with a kiss and then withdrew, his eyes weary with a pain that Tony understood all too well.
“I can’t be what you want, boy. I can’t keep you safe.”
The knee-jerk whine spilled from cracked lips. “I don’t want to be safe. I want to be with you.”
Tank shook his head no and moved to the door, calling for the rescue squad to take Tony away. Then he disappeared and before Jorge and Caldwell could gather Tony up and move him outside, the roar of the Hog split the eerie silence, the echo of rejection a whine that wounded deeper than any blade.
Tony had flirted with pain, using it to feel alive, reminding himself that without it, the pleasures were too fleeting. Pain was real. Reliable. It festered, never healing.
He thought he knew pain. Understood it.
It turned out he knew nothing at all.
Susan Mac Nicol calls The Wrong Side of Right:
“Gritty, visceral, dark and uplifting. Sexy, voyeuristic and downright dirty in places.” She says, “I loved this book. It was not what I envisaged when I first started reading it and by the time I realized this, it was far too late for me to even think of backing out. This book deals with disturbing elements: self-harm, self-abuse, victimization, rape, even torture. But if you have the balls to read it, you won’t be disappointed. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a little pain and suffering along with a healthy dose of compassion, love and tenderness.”
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