Beauty and the Mustache(2)

By: Penny Reid

Two male bodies leaned inside the open hood of an orange and white Charger. A third numbskull, currently hidden, was in the driver’s seat revving the engine.

As was my custom, I was yelling before I’d made it to the garage. “I don’t care which of you hillbilly, disease-infested, flea-bitten, catawampus-heads are in here making this ruckus, you better stop right this minute!”

Jethro turned as I approached and tugged his pants upward. As I suspected, I was overdressed. He wore nothing but his beard and a pair of stained jeans. Jethro’s longish brown hair was askew and unkempt, like he’d just rolled out of bed, and his beard could do with a trim. But his brown eyes were warm and sharp as they surveyed me.

Billy, the second in our family, kept his back to me. I knew it was Billy because he had a tattoo on his left shoulder of a goat with the word Billy beneath it. He was likewise attired, which meant that his ass-crack was on full display for the sun in the sky and the small woodland animals in the forest.

Of my brothers, Billy and I look the most alike; we are almost replicas of my father. We both have dark brown hair that’s almost black, blue eyes, and the same wide mouth with pillow lips, as my brother Duane used to say.

But where I was pale skinned and curvy, he was suntanned, muscled—presumably from manual labor—and tattooed.

“Well, hello gorgeous. When’d you get in? It must’ve been late.” Jethro waved with grease stained hands, his white teeth a glaring contrast to his dark brown beard.

Billy called over his shoulder, “Why are you even up?” He sounded exasperated.

“Because you geniuses are out here testing decibel limits. I can’t sleep through all the-”

Just then the engine revved again. The sound spiked, absorbing my words, and caused a new wave of aggravation.

“Argh! Which of you ugly idiots keeps doing that?” I guessed it was Cletus, the third oldest, behind the wheel. He was the sweetest, but also the least likely to comprehend the obvious.

I charged into the garage, nearly kicking over a quart of oil in my haste. I didn’t care. I needed my sleep. I did not need an early morning of boys and their toys.

I began bellowing as soon as I crossed the threshold. “I swear to the god of moonshine, I am going to pinch your nipples straight off your chest!”

Without a second thought, I reached my hand in the open driver’s side door of the charger and twisted the nipple within reach. I did this with relish, the gleefully vindictive kind, not the pickle kind. I also gripped the roof of the car with my other hand for leverage in case Cletus tried to push me away.

“Ow! What the…?”

A string of impressive expletives arose from the car. A large and powerful hand gripped mine and ripped it away from the male chest.

I gasped. This was for several reasons, not the least of which was that Cletus didn’t know the equivalent word for fuck in Latin, nor did any of my brothers.

Therefore, this person whose nipple I’d just assaulted was most definitely not my brother Cletus.

A shot of adrenaline coursed down my spine, my eyes widened with shock, and I tried to unsuccessfully wrench my hand away. The fingers that held me were punishing; with one fluid motion the occupant stood from the driver’s seat, twisted my arm behind my back, and brought my body flush against his.

He was breathing hard.

I was breathing harder.

I stared at him.

The occupant stared back.

Gray-blue eyes, almost silver, held mine in a vice grip of anger and surprise. I felt an electric bolt, like I’d been tazered in the stomach. Other than a very slight shadow of wonder, he wore an expression that would have made a thunderstorm proud.

As well, he was so ruggedly sexy I’m sure my mouth fell open to protest the unfairness of his existence. Luckily, no sound emerged. I was too busy oscillating between stunned, mortified, and turned on.

This man was definitely not one of my brothers.

First of all, this guy had a blond beard and a smattering of blond chest hair. All the Winston boys had dark brown beards except Duane and Beauford, who were twins. They were numbers five and six in the family and had ginger beards.

Also, this guy had a bronze tan. He was tan all over, like a grease stained surfer or a Viking marauder who spent all his time at sea shirtless.

And… what number was I on?

Oh yes. Third, he was the kind of expertly disheveled, ruggedly handsome that made me forget what number I was on.

He was massive. Like, six-foot-four huge. His chest and arms and stomach and shoulders were cut like a boulder; he felt stone hard.

The staring continued. I watched confusion war with fury as his glare devoured my face, lingered on my lips, and darted back to my eyes.

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