ATF special agents, Thayne Wolfe, and his partner, Jarrett Evans, have gotten into sticky situations in the past but nothing prepares them for the daunting task of being loaned out to a coal mine in West Virginia where Jarrett’s grown up. Investigating a deadly mining explosion may be the end of them yet.
In one of the most beautiful places on earth, Jarrett is familiar with the territory, growing up working in a nearby mine for a couple years before joining the Marine Corps just after high school. When he and his partner encounter a dubious mine CEO, two ATF agents who they’re tasked to investigate, and a good ‘ol boy who has a pickaxe to grind, all they can hope, is to solve this case before ending up dead and buried in that mine.
From the beaches of California, to the coal-rich mountains of Appalachia, Jarrett’s dubious past seems to rear its ugly head wherever they go. Join our heroes as they are forced to face danger, fear, and maybe the most frightening thing they’ve ever faced together… family.
They headed out to a local bar where the hotel staff said the food was good… a place with a pretty nice T-bone which Jarrett wanted, and a great selection of appetizers and salads for Thayne. The concierge told them that some of the locals stopped in there as well as an eclectic mix of those passing through and when Jarrett had asked about moonshine, the concierge smiled and told them that they had a good selection of various flavors made by some of the locals.
“They have flavors?” Thayne asked Jarrett as they sat down at the bar at the Silver Dollar Saloon.
“Not everywhere. Some of the hillbillies’ resist putting anything in there that ain’t in their pappy’s recipe but they can sell more if they can make it appeal to the ladies and they like that flavorful shit.”
Thayne leaned close. “So if I ordered for example, peach moonshine, I’ll get jumped in the parking lot?”
Jarrett snickered, making those deep dimples appear and his light eyes twinkle. “Probably safer than if you asked for a peach Bellini but are you willing to risk it?”
Thayne chuckled just as the bartender walked up. He was a huge man and he was cleaning a shot glass with a bar towel.
“What can I get for y’all?”
“My friend here has never tried moonshine,” Jarrett drawled, letting his accent come out in full force. “Thought since he’s visitin’… it might be the perfect time to change all that. Give him the good stuff, not that tourist trade shit.”
The bartender smiled beneath his long mustache as he raised a bushy eyebrow. “That’ll be two then?”
“Yes, thanks,” Thayne answered. “And a green salad with chicken,” he said, reading off the bar menu.
“Fair ‘nuff,” the bartender replied, turning to Jarrett. “You?”
“T-bone, medium rare and a baked potato, with all the trimmings.”
“Comin’ right up.” The bartender reached under the bar and poured something, finally producing two mason jars filled a quarter of the way with clear liquid. He set one in front of each of them before moving away to put in their food orders.
Jarrett picked up the mason jar, holding it up to toast Thayne. “We drink to those who love us… we drink to those who don’t. We drink to those who fuck us… and fuck to those who won’t.”
Thayne laughed as he watched Jarrett take a long drink of the moonshine as he shot the whole thing down. His eyes squinted, then closed, and then he sucked in both cheeks before opening his mouth and letting out a satisfied “Ahh…”
Jarrett’s eyes fluttered open. “It’ll put hair on your chest, that’s for sure,” he drawled. Thayne lifted the jar and took a deep sniff of the moonshine. There wasn’t much scent to it. He lifted his glass, toasting Jarrett like his partner had.
“Here’s to the ideal woman… who could ask for more? She’s deaf and dumb, oversexed… and owns a liquor store.” He threw back the moonshine as Jarrett burst into laughter. Thayne instantly felt the hot burn of diesel fuel pour down the back of his throat. He gasped and when he was able to cough out a breath, he felt like he could breathe fire. Jarrett clapped him on the back as he sputtered and the bartender appeared in front of his watery eyes. He was grinning like crazy, his mustache twitching.
“That was fun ta watch. Entertain me with another?” the bartender asked with a deep drawl.
Jarrett nodded his head. “Yep. One more before dinner.”
Thayne turned his head, still gasping, and looked at his partner. “You didn’t tell me this stuff packs this much of a wallop.”
“The next one will go down easier,” Jarrett promised. His eyes were dancing as he snickered. The bartender came over and set down two more mason jars. Thayne’s head was buzzing already but he was not going to let Jarrett best him in this game he was playing. He watched as Jarrett picked up the mason jar and toasted him again.
“One shot, two shots, three shots, more… if she’s ugly, shoot some more.” Thayne laughed as Jarrett shot back the moonshine and then slammed the thick glass mason jar back on the bar. Watching him drink was almost as much fun as drinking with him.
“Okay, the last one,” Thayne said. He picked up his mason jar and held it up to toast Jarrett. “No matter how fine, that ass is to hit… remember somebody, is sick of his shit.” He shot back the moonshine and set down the mason jar. Jarrett was right. This time the moonshine went down a lot easier. Thayne watched his lover dissolve into laughter. He looked stunning with deep dimples in his cheeks and his eyes twinkling. Jarrett’s laughter was contagious and soon Thayne was laughing along with him.