Rude Awakening (Into the New World #1)

By: Frey Ortega


To my beta readers, Crane, Valerie, Criselle, and Briana, thank you so much for helping me and believing in me when I needed the inspiration, and also giving me hope that I could be published. All of you were right. You guys rock!

And to my family, and definitely to my father, without whom I would not be able to write and share this story to the world. Thank you so much for allowing me to do this while everyone else is stuck at their desks. Thank you for supporting me.

To my dear readers, thank you for taking the time to see a part of my craziness.

Chapter One

There was little that Ethan Thackeray liked more than going out to a club and dancing his cares away.

A little getting hammered at the a bar, a little dancing in the dark, and a lot of inappropriate touching with veritable strangers was enough to get Ethan’s blood pumping and his interest shooting straight up—amongst other things that shot straight up off of him. It didn’t matter that he was supposed to be there with his best friends. A little part of him liked the fact that he was out dancing without people he knew looking over his shoulders, and he always did love showing off and having the spotlight on himself.

And what was more attention-seeking than finding yourself in the middle of the dance floor with your shirt off and dry humping a stranger to the beat of a new party anthem?

Not to mention, his best friends already went home that night and left Ethan to himself, basically to do whatever it was he wanted to do. The lot of them only lived a few blocks away from the bar, and it wasn’t like he was going to die if he walked home tonight. The city was huge, yes, but it wasn’t as terrifying as all that to a couple of young guys out on the town.

At least, that’s what Ethan thought.

As an artist who had to deal with client after client after client who seemed to be able to pinpoint exactly how to annoy Ethan every chance they could get, he needed to de-stress. Otherwise, he would have lost it. Dancing in the dark and losing himself to the beat of the music while people ogled him was something of a cathartic moment. He actually didn’t want to be held or touched, he disliked that feeling of closeness too much, and a dance was actually one of the few instances it was okay for most people to touch him. A dance wasn’t a dance unless there was some sensuality to it, after all.

People were always the source of his problems. Clients, touchy guys, perverts—all the lot of them were people. He’d never had a problem with dogs, or cats, or other animals. Humanity just had this sort of problem with itself that made Ethan dislike the entire concept of being sociable. If only they’d evolved to be a better species, or stopped having the need to socialize with one another, then people would have been okay in his eyes. Ethan had a tendency for being blunt and not suffering bullshit, and humans were among the shittiest of bullshit he’d ever seen. Humans were the only creatures in the world that actively killed one another for differing belief systems, let alone because of one’s choice of who they wanted to have as a partner, amongst a whole slew of other things that just made Ethan want to frown and sigh.

Then again, nobody ever heard of a dog with a belief system, either.

Opening his eyes as he swayed into the dance, he took one good look at the bar. A large crowd with disco-themed strobe lights boomed from the top of it, screens of all shapes and sizes with all forms of erotic dancing being played all around them, while a DJ banged out a new, exclusive mix of some form of dance anthem. Men, also of all shapes and sizes, were writhing, grinding against each other, not to mention the fact that some were actually dry humping right then and there. But throughout all that, Ethan did notice one thing.

The club was slowly losing steam. It was apparent because there were less and less people dancing, and although there was still a crowd of them dancing their cares and sorrows away, men were leaving by the handful. They’d gotten what they wanted that night, so it was time to move on somewhere much more comfortable than the middle of a sweaty, packed dance floor.

Ethan didn’t care about the hunt—he was just in it to dance and give a veritable “fuck you” to the entire concept of having to leave the bar with a gentleman wrapped around his little finger, just so that he could play little bitch bottom for the night. The latest suitor, if you could call it that, was a rather tall gentleman with short black hair and a predatory gaze that Ethan tried to ignore at every turn, just to be clear with what he wanted, and to be clear that there wasn’t going to be anything more than a dance. Yet, the large man was busy palming the side of his rather effete hips and grinding against him while he danced to the beat of the song. It only made Ethan roll his eyes.

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