Betting on the Wrong Brother(9)

By: Cathryn Fox

The man hit his weak spot and Ryan stopped. Shit, Nathan was right. There was no way he could turn his back on that. “Literacy?”

“Of course. What better cause for a romance novelists’ convention?”

If there was one cause he believed in it was literacy. Not just because he was a writer, but because he’d suffered from dyslexia for years. He’d always felt stupid, been a slow learner compared with his peers, younger brother, and sister until a proper diagnosis came in his teen years. Now the only time he had trouble was when he was nervous, and it was something he was still trying to overcome. He donated every year to literacy-focused charities and assisted at schools, determined to help every struggling child read. He never wanted another kid to feel the way he had or go through what he went through in the classroom or schoolyard. He might have been bullied for being slow, but at least those beatings didn’t last long since he could hold his own in a fight. The poundings his father gave him toughened him up and taught him how to block a punch.

“Now, hurry up and get dressed.” Nathan tugged at Ryan’s T-shirt as Ryan reached for his belt. Wait! Was he really going to do this? He dragged his belt through the loops and shook his head. A good portion of his blood had to still be trapped in his groin, preventing him from making sound, rational decisions—because this was seriously a dumb-ass move. No way would he do this under normal circumstances.

But it’s for literacy…

He exhaled an exaggerated breath as Nathan dragged his T-shirt from his shoulders, giving him little choice in the matter. Ryan unzipped his jeans, pushed them down his legs and kicked them off. He shook out the fatigues and shoved his legs into them, struggling the get them over his thighs.

He tried the button and sucked in his breath to get it closed. “You couldn’t have found any in my size?” He shoved his feet into the boots. At least they fit.

“That’s the whole point,” Nathan said with a smirk. He waved a hand toward the curtain just as a sweaty guy dressed in a firefighter suit, a long hose hanging over his shoulder, came back into the room. “Those women paid top dollar for a show, and we’re going to give them their money’s worth.”

The tight pants forced blood back into his brain. “How about this?” he began. “I match the sales in a monetary donation, if you don’t make me go out there.”

“We’ll take that donation.” Nathan grabbed his hand. “But you’re still going out there.”

The music changed. Moves like Jagger. Uh, no…he didn’t. All of a sudden, he was on a stage, dressed in nothing but fatigues and boots as women screamed at him from the audience. He stood there like a deer caught in the headlights, then shot a scathing look Nathan’s way.

Nathan laughed it off, and threw him the gun. Ryan caught it and stood as still as a stealth soldier, ready to kill someone, although he had no one to blame but himself for the situation he was in. Well, that wasn’t entirely true, he could blame Andi. But was it her fault she thought he was a model? He could only blame her if she was messing with him.

“Dance,” Nathan said, waving the backs of his hands toward him. “Show them what you got, soldier.”

Fuck me.

Ryan started moving, his body jerking around like the damn elevator. When was the last time he’d danced? Prom? From the cheers in the crowd his twitching moves didn’t seem to matter as long as he was moving.

“Show us what you can do with your gun!”

He peered into the audience, but with the lights in his eyes, he couldn’t tell who was yelling at him. Nevertheless, it did give him an idea. Here goes nothing.

A quick twirl of the rifle and it was between his legs. He listened to the song, and caught the beat, rocking his hips and riding his gun. Wait! Was this manly? Probably not, but what did it matter now. It wasn’t like anyone cared and the screaming women appeared to love it.

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