Rhiannon by Neil Plakcy

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Junior is a wild and crazy construction supervisor who drinks too much, curses too frequently and never lets a woman get under his skin. Then, he meets the curvaceous Rhiannon who loves football, shoots a mean game of pool and has a little secret she's reluctant to share.

Junior keeps chasing her like a hound in heat, until he discovers there's no crying in the game she's playing. And that's when the fun really begins.

A short story from our Candlelight literary romance line.


When I met Rhiannon I was going through a bad time. I had been working as the project manager for an office building in West Miami, but the funding was all coming from some South American country, and when they had one of their frequent revolutions the supply dried up quicker than a splash of sweat on hot pavement, and I was out of a job.

I fell into a regular routine. Instead of dinner, I’d walk to one of a half-dozen bars within a mile of my run-down townhouse, shoot pool, and drink cheap beer until I felt like everybody in the world was my brother. That was usually my signal to drain my beer, make a pit stop at the restroom to empty my bladder, and walk on back home. It was usually one or two in the morning by then, and I’d fall into a deep, dreamless sleep until about six, when my bladder woke me. I’d drag my sorry ass out of bed, pee a half-gallon or so, then go to the gym, where I worked out all morning.

Afternoon: nap time. Wake up in time to go get drunk all over again.

There were a few variations. There was one country and western bar where I always seemed motivated to dance, usually just before my departure warning signs set in. I didn’t fight; I was a happy drunk. But when you’re six-four and weigh 250 or so, like I do, guys try and pick fights with you. I usually just swatted at them like those annoying little mosquitoes that swarm out of the Everglades on muggy days.

That day, the routine was a little different. I had a job interview at four, for a condo complex going up on the north end of Miami Beach. I shrugged myself into my one suit, strangled a tie around my neck, and headed east. The asshole who was supposed to interview me, though, was too busy to talk, so I cooled my heels in the reception area of a double-long construction trailer on the site for over an hour, until he phoned the receptionist and told her to cut me loose.

I wasn’t exactly the happiest camper in camperland. I tore my tie off on my way back to the car and crumpled up my jacket on the seat next to me. The August sun was just setting as I drove west toward Miami. I got just a few blocks before traffic came to a dead stop. Squinting against the sun, I could see the causeway bridge was up, so I turned on the radio to pass the time until the rich folks had gotten their million-dollar yachts through. After about fifteen minutes of recycled eighties pop, the traffic lady came on and announced that the causeway bridge was broken. Indefinitely.

It wasn’t turning out to be my kind of day. Then I looked left and saw a bar called McNally’s. It went against my general rules to drink so far from home, but I figured the day called for an exception. I nosed my truck in front of an old lizard man dozing in his Lincoln, popped up over the median strip, and dived into the only available spot in the long, narrow parking lot.

The sun outside was so bright, and the interior of the bar so dark, that I felt more than usually disoriented. The jukebox was playing disco, there were beads hanging just inside the door, and the place had a curious smell, half beer and peanuts and half something else, something sharp and musty, like a locker room.

As my eyes adjusted I saw the room wasn’t too busy. A couple of guys were playing pool in the corner, under a fake Tiffany lamp with a beer company logo, there was a clutch of guys at a big table drinking mixed drinks, and three women at the bar. It all seemed very sad, but that didn’t stop me making my way up to the horseshoe bar and asking what kind of beer the barkeep had.

He looked at me like I was from Mars, or South Beach, which is about the same in my book. “Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Miller Light,” he said. “Corona.”

I ordered a Corona, though I told him to skip the yuppie lime. My beer came, I took a good long pull, and I started to feel the cares of the day slipping away. I had enough money to sustain me for a few more months, and I knew some kind of job would come up eventually. I had discovered, after my second wife left me (taking the kids) that I didn’t need anybody else’s help to get my rocks off. Or should I say rediscovered that fact; it was one I was quite familiar with in my teenage years.

I didn’t particularly need friends, though I had some nodding acquaintances at the gym. All in all, I was pretty self-sustaining.

Then I noticed a woman staring at me. Really staring, not even trying to hide it. She was striking—about six feet tall, luscious waves of auburn hair cascading around her shoulders.

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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