excerpt

Pole Star coverIt’s hard to flirt when sequins are chafing your bits…

Injured pole dancer Matt Lovell meets attractive radiographer Sal when he’s in casualty for an x-ray. Trouble is, Matt’s firefighter outfit is pretty convincing, and the longer he keeps up the pretence the harder it will be to reveal the naked truth: that there’s nothing underneath his costume but a sequinned thong!

***

I knew we were made for each other when I first clapped eyes on his frog-patterned scrubs. Normally I’d run off in the other direction when faced with a man wearing what were essentially pyjamas to work, but this time… well, they matched my boxers.

Not that I was wearing my froggy boxers right then, of course. No, I’d come to hospital straight from a job and was still in my firefighter’s costume, minus one boot and sock, of course. Boxers were strictly for days off, when it didn’t matter what my underwear looked like.

I wondered what undies he had on. Probably something comfortable—unlike the sequinned flame-patterned thong that was currently trying to cheesewire my buttocks. Damn A&E waiting times. I was never normally in my work clothes for long enough to realise how bloody impractical they were.

“Matt Lovell?” Frog-scrubs asked.

I leapt to my feet, then the pain hit me as the tiled floor made contact with my naked, swollen foot. “Shit! I mean, yeah. That’s me. Arrgh, that bloody kills!”

I realised I was probably coming across as a bit of a wuss, but damn, my foot hurt like a bastard. I tried for what I hoped was a winning smile, and attempted to distract myself from the agony by taking a closer look at the doctor. His dark eyes had smudgy shadows underneath and drooped appealingly at the corners like he’d just woken up. He reminded me of Benicio del Toro; there was a definite hint of the Mediterranean about his olive skin and generously sculpted lips, although his accent was born and bred Bristolian. I wondered if he was into redheads.

I raised my gaze to find his eyes now fastened on me.

Bugger. Now he’d caught me staring at his mouth.

“I’m Sal,” he said, giving me a strange look and shaking his head like he was clearing an unwanted thought. “I’ll be taking you for an x-ray. Just wait here for a moment, and I’ll get you a chair.” He had a dead sexy voice, all low and gravelly.

“I have a chair right here,” I called out to his back before I realised where he was headed. Great. A wheelchair. My humiliation was complete.

Sal returned and looked at me expectantly, resting his arms on the back of the chair. “Need a hand getting in there?”

“I’ll be fine,” I lied, executing a horribly clumsy hop to twist myself around so I could lower my bum into the chair. Sharp sequin edges dug into the sensitive skin of my inner thighs, and I winced. Still, appearances were everything. I tilted my head back and grinned.  “See? Fine. Just a little less graceful than usual, but I set the bar pretty high to begin with.”

Sal chuckled and began pushing the chair down the corridor.

“So, did you injure your foot sliding down the pole?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Stubbed my toe at the bottom.”

A guilty twinge hit me in the guts like a pinged jockstrap. The pole in question hadn’t actually been a fireman’s pole, but had been on a stage in a club packed full of cheering men. Okay, I tell a lie: they were in fact laughing men after they’d seen my pratfall. Normally I’d have got up and carried on with the act regardless, but the pain was such a flippin’ nightmare I hadn’t been able to put any weight on that foot at all.

Marcus had looked fit to burst a blood vessel when I’d limped backstage, but after half an hour of elevating my foot on a barstool with a bag of ice hadn’t done jackshit and my toes had turned black, he’d agreed to run me down to A&E to have it checked out. He hadn’t waited, though. Him and Trevor were the final act, after all: cops and robbers, although I’d be willing to bet the coppers round here didn’t treat their suspects in such a friendly way. If they did, every gay man in Bristol would be out thieving.

Sal hadn’t replied, but I wasn’t really one for comfortable silences so I started prattling on again. “It’s bloody dangerous, that pole is. I never did get to the fire engine. Or the fire.”

“Sounds like an occupational hazard,” Sal said, his tone dry as you like, and I figured I’d better stop talking about my fictional job before I was rumbled. I was used to flirting my way out of any conversational tight spots, but I was in the Bristol Royal Infirmary, not at a club. There’s a time and a place, and this definitely wasn’t either. Especially when I was in a wheelchair.