What’s Luck Got to Do With It?







“I hate you, Ez.”


A pair of amused eyes looked across the table. “Sticks and stones, Mr. Tanner.”


Vin slouched lower in his chair, glancing once more at the pathetic hand of cards in front of him. “Shoulda stayed down at the jail with JD,” he grumbled.


“And miss out on the pleasure of my charmin’ hospitality?” Ezra grinned, his gold tooth flashing as he gestured toward Vin’s hand. “Well?”


Vin squinted one eye. “Don’t be rushin’ me.”


“Come on now, time is wastin’.”


With an exasperated huff, Vin tossed his cards on the table, leaned back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest. “Ya know, I never met such a pushy . . . stubborn . . ..” Why was it that he always seemed to get tongue-tied during a confrontation, but when it was all over and done with he was able to think up all kinds of good comebacks?  “E . . . ego . . . eger . . . “


Ezra smirked and laid his cards neatly on the table. “Eager?”


“Yeah, that, too.”  Vin’s mouth twitched, but he was more focused on the game at hand. He glanced quickly at Ezra’s cards, curious even though he’d already lost. Again. He was pretty sure he hadn’t stood much of a chance to begin with, but poker was supposed to be a game of chance so dammit, why was Ezra always winning? “It ain’t fair.” The tracker pouted.


Ezra struggled not to laugh, but it was difficult. “Don’t be so downhearted, Mr. Tanner,” he said with a cocky grin spreading across his handsome face. “One of these days you’re bound to win. The odds are definitely in your favor.”


“That’s what ya said earlier.”

”Really, Mr. Tanner,” the gambler shook his head, “I don’t see how you can possibly hold me responsible for your personal string of bad luck.”


“Ain’t bad luck,” the tracker grumbled, almost inaudibly. “More like bad company.”


Ezra’s grin widened and he cupped a hand to his ear. “What was that?”




“Well, call it whatever you wish.” Ezra waved a hand dismissively and set the stack of cards on the table. “The truth is that neither bad luck nor bad company really have any bearing whatsoever on the matter at hand,” he said, giving the other man a patently arrogant smile.


“What’s that supposed to mean?” Vin asked, hoping to delay the inevitable. Most times it was too easy to get Ezra to start yapping. The man was in love with the sound of his own voice and once you got him going, it was hard getting him to stop.


Ezra chuckled. “It means that it’s time . . .” he got up and moved closer, leaning a hip against the table and looking down at Vin, “for you to remove a garment.”

Vin lifted his fancy brandy glass to his lips and swallowed the remaining liquid, enjoying its warmth as it settled in his stomach. He took a moment to glance around the normally tidy room. Tonight, it was somewhat unkempt, as Ezra would say, littered from one end to the other with clothing – his clothing, to be exact. His coat lay at the foot of the bed, his gun belt hung from the bedpost; both of his shirts had been tossed in one pile, his britches and braces tossed in another. His boots, socks and hat were strewn in disarray across the floor and he had no idea where his bandanna had landed. The only thing left was his long johns; after they were gone he’d be completely naked.


And Ezra still had every stitch of his dandy clothes on. 


Just didn’t seem fair.  He didn’t want to sit here and be the only one naked. “How come I don’t see you removin’ none of your garments?”


Ezra shook his head, making a tsking sound. “Correct me if I’m mistaken, but I assume that you are well aware of the rules of the game.” He waited patiently until Vin gave him the slightest nod. “And I’m fairly certain that you were also aware of stakes when we began playing.” Again he waited and again he received a slight nod. “So, as per our pre-arranged and mutually agreed upon wager, Mr. Tanner, you owe me one item of clothing from your person.”


Vin tried to think of some other way to stall, or maybe get Ezra to take some of his clothes off.  There were few options left other than out-and-out refusal.


Actually, there was one possibility that came to mind.


He turned big blue eyes on his companion. “Come on, Ez,” he whined. “It ain’t fair that I gotta take off my clothes and you don’t.”


Instead of sympathy, Ezra gave him a lecherous grin. “Fair or not, that was the deal. Now, ante up.”


“Nuh-uh.” Vin pushed his chair away from the table, and stood up. “Not until you take somethin’ off first,” he said with a stubborn set of his chin. Then he took a step back, somehow managing not to trip over his chair.


“Nuh-uh?” Ezra repeated with raised eyebrows, then he began advancing on Vin. He had that dangerous gleam in his eyes; the one that always made Vin’s heart flutter and his skin feel all tingly. “Really, Mr. Tanner, there’s no reason to be shy. It’s not like I haven’t inspected the merchandise before. Besides,” he suddenly tilted his head to the side and grinned, “I do believe your posterior is already exposed.”




“Your flap is open.”


Oh . . .? Vin’s cheeks flushed as he craned his neck to get a view of his backside. Before he could turn back to tell the cheatin’ gambler his behind was covered up just fine, he found himself pinned against the wall, with most of the air knocked from his lungs.


Ezra pressed the entire length of his body against Vin. “Time to pay up, Vin.”


Vin cleared his throat, struggling to keep his wits. “That’s Mr. Tanner to you.”


Ezra chuckled, deep and rich and filthy-sounding, making Vin’s blood heat up all the more.  “Shuck them long johns, Mr. Tanner. I want to see skin.”


Vin blinked, licked his dry lips and tried to look menacing. “How ‘bout you try and make me.”


That got him a raised eyebrow. “Try and make you?”


Vin nodded.


“Oh, I’ll do more than that,” green eyes glittered at him, “I assure you.” Ezra brushed his lips over Vin’s, barely touching them. There were strong hands on the small of his back kneading his muscles, fingers rubbing over the knots of his spine then moving lower.  A quick tug at the back of his long johns, another dirty chuckle and the hands were smoothing over the bare flesh of his . . . posterior, making him feel weak in the knees.


A warm, soft tongue traced the outline of his lips, and he opened his mouth, drew in a lungful of air and shook himself. “Ez . . ..” They really shouldn’t be doing this. They were supposed to be watching out for the town since the others were away in Eagle Bend.


“JD’s on watch. He’ll let us know if he needs our assistance.”


Before Vin could respond, he felt that warm, wicked tongue sliding along the backs of his teeth, then tracing tingling swirls over the roof of his mouth. Vin just stood there, mesmerized, letting Ezra’s tongue go wherever the hell it wanted. Damn, nobody could kiss like Ez!  Fingers dipped gently into the crevice of his ass, sliding down and pressing inward.


Suddenly the room spun, and he found himself turned facing the wall with Ezra behind him, pressing against his back, hands caressing, fondling his exposed ass.  He felt his cheeks parted and Ezra’s hard length, still clothed, grind against him.  A nip and tug at his earlobe, followed by a breathy order. “Don’t move.” Then Ezra was gone, leaving only the cool air to caress his backside.


Vin felt exposed, and was a little amazed that the feeling aroused him even more. He reached down to touch himself, hoping to give himself a little relief.

”Stop that.” A strong hand gripped his wrist, pulling him away from his task. 


Vin rested his cheek against the wall. He felt hands on each of his cheeks, alternately squeezing then smoothing over them; he felt cool, slick fingers slide between them, finding and pressing against his entrance then moving on to fondle his balls. Ezra’s forehead rested on the back of his shoulder for a moment, and Vin caught the scent of his fancy soap and expensive cologne. He’d never admit it, but one whiff of that cologne could give him a raging hard-on no matter where they were. He inhaled deeply, letting the man’s scent and touch fill his senses.


Moments later, Ezra was moving again, sliding down to kneel behind him. Vin wondered what he was gonna do next and was about to turn so he could get a look at the man, but was halted by a new sensation -- lips and tongue, wet and warm, trailing over his flesh. “Oh, God . . ..”


“Mmm . . . very nice,” Ezra murmured in a low, husky drawl. Vin bit his lip, trying not to groan out loud again. A sharp nip startled him, and probably kept him from shooting his load right then and there. Ezra chuckled, placing a hand on his left thigh and nudging it a little further to the side. With no more teasing or foreplay two slick fingers pressed at his entrance, pushed through the tight ring of muscle and continued until they were completely inside him.


Vin’s own fingers clutched at the wall, his fingernails scraping as he tried to grab onto something. He squeezed his eyes closed and exhaled, trying to relax. “Damn.” It burned for a moment before the fingers inside him pulled back slowly, stimulating every sensitive nerve along the way and he couldn’t stop himself from moaning. Just when he thought the fingers would leave him completely, they pushed roughly in again. He felt the tips brush over that spot deep inside and he spread his legs, trying to gain leverage, so that he could press his hardness against the wall.


He felt Ezra move up his body again, and whisper seductively in his ear. “That’s it, open up for me.”  The fingers brushed against that spot again. He saw stars for a moment and was about to reach for his dick again when suddenly the fingers were gone. He made a pitiful sound that became a moan of appreciation when he felt the head of Ezra’s cock, thick and blunt, pushing inward, burning and stretching him, splitting him open. Ezra pressed inward with determination, pulling Vin’s hips back and coaxing his legs further apart so he could get his entire length inside.


Vin wasn’t sure he could take much more. He was panting and moaning, caught between pleasure and pain, trying desperately to relax and accept the intrusion. Ezra paused, leaning heavily against Vin’s back, his hot breath gusting harshly against Vin’s neck. They remained still for a long moment, until a jerk of Ezra’s hips gave Vin the sudden urge to move. He squirmed, trying to push backward or forward, anything at all, but Ezra held him in place. 


There was a breathy, sinister chuckle in his ear and Vin decided if Ezra wasn’t going to do anything, it was time to move his hand to a more productive place. Ezra caught it quickly, making a tsking sound as he placed it back against the wall. “Leave it there,” he instructed. Vin made a strangled noise but managed to keep his hands flat against the wall, which earned him a quick kiss and a murmur of praise. Ezra leaned back slightly and rolled his hips, forcing Vin to lurch forward onto his toes, and causing him to groan loudly.


“Again,” Vin pleaded, trying to push back as much as he could, which wasn’t nearly enough. God, he needed . . .more.


And then Ezra was pulling slowly out, lingering for a heartbeat and thrusting back in again. It was good, so good. Now, if only he could get the man to move just a little faster.


He let his head fall back and was rewarded by a wet tongue tracing the shell of his ear. Whispered encouragements, suggestive and lewd, sent a shiver up his spine before that mouth moved lower, latching on to the sensitive spot on his neck. He tilted his head sideways, willing and wanting for Ezra to mark him.  He felt Ezra’s fingers move over his chest, circling and teasing his nipples through the cotton of his long johns.  Then he felt the hands move away from his chest, trail down his stomach to caress the hollow indentions at his hipbones.


Finally, sweet pressure where he needed it, cupping him, stroking him and he pushed back with all his might, wanting Ezra deeper, while at the same time trying to grind his dick into the sturdy hand. “Please . . ..” Before he could figure out what it was that he was pleading for, his vision grayed, his hearing grew muffled, and his orgasm began washing over him in slow, steady waves of pleasure. He was barely aware of Ezra’s body moving faster, jerking erratically at his back. 


Moments later Ezra kissed his cheek, then moved away from him; he heard the rustle of clothing at the same time he felt coolness against his overheated backside. Hands on his shoulders turning him, guiding him towards the bed. “Might I suggest you discard your garment now?”


Vin frowned, suddenly noticing the sticky underwear clinging to his groin. “Aw, Hell.” He plucked at them with disgust before quickly shedding them. He wiped himself off and tossed the underwear in a corner.


“Perhaps next time,” Ezra said airily as he stretched out on the bed, “you’ll choose to be more expedient in paying your debts, Mr. Tanner.”


Vin snorted. “Sure, Ez,” he agreed, pausing for a moment to appreciate the view that lay before him.  Ezra was nude, his sculptured masculine body resting casually against the pillows. His cheeks and chest were still flushed, his eyes bright and his smile welcoming.


Vin wanted nothing more than to climb into bed and wrap his arms around his lover and was about to do just that when something caught his eye.  Lying on the floor, right beneath the chair that Ezra had draped his red jacket over was a single card.


"Well, what do we have here?" He bent down and picked it up. Flipping the card over, he gave Ezra an accusing look.

"What?" Ezra asked, his eyes wide and a little too guileless. Most of the time Ezra was a master of the poker face, but every once in a while he tended to go a little overboard. Like now.

Vin smirked, flicking the card at Ezra. “Ace of spades,” he said, as it came to rest, face up, across the gambler’s softened genitals.

"Hm, I wonder where that came from?" Ezra said, studying the card with wonderment.

Vin sighed. "Guess our days of strip poker are over and done with."

"Why do you say that?"

"Cause the only way I'm ever playing poker with you again is if'n ya take all your clothes off aforehand. That way I can make sure you got nothin' up your sleeve . . . or anywhere else, for that matter."

Instead of being offended, Ezra blinked his eyes, seemingly shocked. "Nude poker, Mr. Tanner? Why, whatever will we have to wager with?”


“I’m sure we’ll be able to think of something.” With a leer, Vin crawled into the soft feather bed and snuggled against Ezra. 

Ezra grinned. ”I had no idea you were a man with such deviant tendencies.”


“Said the pot to the kettle,” Vin replied, making the gambler chuckle.


Ezra managed to reach down and pull the blanket over them, then he shifted trying to settle more comfortably into his pillow. After a few moments he said, “You do know that there’s a perfectly fine pillow on the other side of the bed, Mr. Tanner.”


Vin yawned loudly, snuggling more closely to his chosen pillow. “Thanks, but I like this one just fine.”


“Of course you do.” With a dramatic sigh he wrapped his arms around Vin and began tracing gentle patterns over a bare shoulder.


This was his favorite -- well, almost favorite -- thing in the whole world. Laying here in this big, soft bed, all tangled up with Ezra, breathing in his scent, being lulled to sleep by his gentle touch and the beating of his heart.


“Love ya, Ez.” He waited, on the verge of sleep, to see how his lover would respond. For all his fancy words, Ezra never had been much good at saying what was in his heart.


“Me, too, Vin.”


Vin pressed a kiss over Ezra’s heart and lay back down against his shoulder. Moments later, he felt gentle fingertips brushing the long strands of hair back from his face. Soft lips ghosted across his forehead, over his eyelids, lingering, warm and comforting . . .. 


Vin sighed with contentment, knowing without needing to hear the words that Ezra loved him. The sentiment was there, whether or not the actual words were ever returned. But one day he hoped to hear them, for Ezra’s sake as much as for his own.


Until then, there were more ways than one to say I love you.




~ end