Just Try to Forget You are Wearing it Nikita Mirzani 3

Ryder tried to hold onto his calmness as he dealt with the stubborn ass in front of him. What the hell had happened to the man that had inspired him? This Zack wasn’t the same man who had opened a whole new world to a young and impressionable eighteen year old.

He still could recall the first time he’d seen the older man disciplining a sub at one of the clubs down in New Orleans. He’d been so impressed with the other man’s control, along with the depth of pleasure and pain he’d brought to the bound sub he’d been playing with, he’d snuck into the club several times to watch him.

He’d even struck up a mild friendship with the older man. From their talks Ryder had realized his restlessness stemmed from what had been missing in his life.

Afterwards, he could no longer deny the inner dominant he’d kept locked away behind his ‘good old boy’ Cajun charm. But this man deserved to have his ass kicked up between his shoulder blades. Was he deliberately being dense?

“Get the hell out!” Zack’s face was so red with anger that Ryder decided to change the subject before the man had a coronary right in front of him.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” Folding his arms over his chest, he waited for Zack’s sputtering to stop.

“Remember you? For Christ’s Sakes, I just met you. Why the hell would I remember you?”

Ryder rested his hip on the edge of Zack’s desk. “That’s what I thought. You don’t remember the eighteen year old bouncer from New Orleans that you shared more than one andouille gumbo with?”

Zack frowned. “New Orleans? Christ I haven’t been there since before Katrina. It’s been what - ten, no twelve years, since I helped Mistress Brigit out.”

Ryder pushed back the inevitable pain the hurricane’s name brought to the surface. He couldn’t afford to think about his sister and mother when right now he needed to pound some sense into the thick-headed Englishman.

Even though Zack didn’t have much of an accent, he’d once told Ryder over a steaming plate of andouille gumbo about his family’s recent relocation to the good old U.S. of A. In fact, Zack had only been ten when his family relocated. Shortly after that his younger sister Hillary had been born, so she was the first Zack to be born on U.S. soil.

Crossing his arms over his massive chest, Ryder watched as the gears whirled in the older man’s head. While he’d bulked up a bit - well let’s be honest, he had more than bulked up. He’d finally grown into his huge feet and hands and now was a fully matured man.

But he didn’t think that that was the only reason why Zack hadn’t recognized him. Back then he’d worn his dark hair much longer, nearly reaching to his waist, as opposed to the shoulder length style he used now.

Working in the architectural field had taught him that long hair just wasn’t practical on the job site. Not that he’d ever cut it short as the other man’s crew cut.

“Little John?” The hesitant query would’ve had him laughing, if the reminder of the moniker that Mistress Brigit hung on him hadn’t had him groaning.

“Pour l’amour de Dieu! ... of all the things for you to remember. I swear that woman was cruel. Do you know how many subs begged me to prove how ‘little’ I was during my training period?” Rubbing a hand down over his face, he waited for the other man to laugh. He was disappointed when the frown on Zack’s face hardened.

“How the Hell did a ‘coonass’ end up in L.A. with my Spitfire?”

Ryder’s back stiffened at the derogatory expression he’d heard all of his life while growing up in St. Bernard Parish. He’d worked his ass off to leave it behind. He wasn’t ashamed of his past, but he’d been damned if he was going to let the other man look down on him because of it.

“You’re coming dangerously close to trying my patience, mon ami. I left the St. Bernard parish behind long ago, but I never expected a man I admired to fall prey to the same ignorance as les trou du culs from the Garden District.”