The Bet - J.D. Hawkins


My muscles scream, chest on fire, nerve endings twitching like a million thunderbolts across my torso. I can feel the beads of sweat on my forehead running down my tensed neck. I glare at the fluorescent light on the gym ceiling, feel the cold metal of the bar against my chest.

That twinge in my triceps should worry me. Gotta meet Jax at the club for drinks in a couple hours. Maybe it was a bad idea to do this big a lift at the end of a workout. Last time a lift went wrong I messed up my thigh so bad I was finger-fucking girls for a month.

Thoughts bear down on me like a load of bricks, pressing down on the ends of the bar, making it even heavier than it really is.

Don’t think, Brando. Just fucking lift.

I repeat the words like a mantra. A rhythmic drumbeat that focuses my mind. I exhale as I push, the rush of adrenaline leaving no room for thoughts, the heat burning all doubt out of me.

Don’t think. Don’t think. Don’t think.

As I pump the bar up and down it feels like I’m lifting the entire building, like I’m trying to push a planet away from my chest. I feel like I’m calling on strength that doesn’t belong to me, strength that comes from the same deep pit of hell the pain in my muscles comes from. I exhale and my breath comes out with a long, low grunt.

The pain and the heat and the testosterone and the adrenaline swirl inside of me, and I direct it all against this fucking barbell.

When my set is finished I have just enough energy to bring the barbell back onto the claws. My fists sting as they let go of it, palms almost melded to the metal. I drop my arms and breathe deeply for a few seconds before sitting upright. My blood pumps, veins throb, and I feel the satisfied ache of a post-workout high seep into my skin.

“Pretty dangerous, benching that much without anyone spotting you,” a throaty female voice says from behind me.

I look up. The gym is almost empty except for a guy listening to his headphones as he runs on a treadmill in the corner. I save myself the trouble of turning around to see her and just look at the reflection in the wall-sized mirror in front of me.

“Looks like you spotted me just fine,” I drawl, eyeing her in the glass.

Even by gym standards, she’s unbelievable. She’s in tight black spandex pants, with nutcracker thighs and hips that seem custom-made for my hands. Her sports bra is so tight she may as well be naked, and the thought instantaneously sends about a million X-rated images through my mind. Judging by the hungry look in her eyes, I know exactly where this is going—but I’m enjoying the foreplay, so instead of just cutting to the chase and inviting her to suck my dick in the locker room, I grab the barbell and force myself through one more punishing set of reps.

It takes everything I have to keep my arms steady, my muscles screaming all the while, before slamming the bar back onto the rack and sitting up.

“Impressive,” she says, eyeing me up and down in the mirror. “You certainly don’t do things the easy way.”

“I prefer the hard way,” I tell her, checking out the curve of her breasts like I’m about to paint a portrait of them. It’s all I can do to keep myself from just grabbing her and sitting her down in my lap.

“So do I,” she purrs, running a hand across my back. She steps closer, standing behind me with the bench between her legs. Then she puts both hands on my shoulders and starts pressing and rubbing.

“Shit that’s good,” I say, closing my eyes at the deeply sweet touch of her hands – the only thing that could stop me from enjoying the ravenous eye-fucking she’s been giving me in the mirror.

“It should be,” she says, a tinge of amusement in her voice. “I’m a massage therapist here. With all the time you spend working out, I’m surprised you haven’t stopped in for a session by now.”

“So you’ve seen me around,” I growl. She rubs harder, massaging a knot next to my shoulder blade until it loosens, and I groan out loud. “Damn. Maybe it is time to see about that session.”

“Good, because you’re way past due. And I’m not gonna wait any longer.” She leans down