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|Without Me(Men of Inked #7) by Chelle Bliss|
She turned toward me and glared. “I said I didn’t want a drink.”
“Um,” the bartender said as he looked between us.
“She’ll take another.” I lifted my chin to him, giving him the go-ahead for the drink. “Let me buy a beautiful woman a drink. You look like you could use one.” I cocked my head, raising an eyebrow as I threw down the challenge.
“I don’t take drinks from strangers.”
“I’m Anthony.” I held my hand out, waiting for her to touch me.
She glanced at my hand before returning her eyes to my face. “Not interested.” She wasn’t going to make this easy.
“I didn’t offer anything but an introduction and a handshake.”
“Listen,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Yes?” I repeated her actions, feeling a bit playful. Maybe it was her shitty attitude, but I was ready for whatever she had to throw at me.
We stared each other down. I didn’t know what was running through her mind, but I took the opportunity to soak her in. Exotic is the word I’d use to describe her. The rich, caramel color of her skin was darker than any member of the Gallo family. It was smooth and blemish-free, and it glistened like silk in the club lighting. My fingers itched to touch it. I wondered if it felt as soft as it looked.
Her eyes were dark, almost black in the dim lighting or the bar. I wanted to stare into them and see them in the light. In the sunlight, did they show hints of gold and specks of brown? Or did they sparkle as the sun hit them? They fit her face perfectly and sat above her high cheekbones and luscious lips.
She reminded me of Keshia Knight Pulliam, the sexy actress who cracked me up in that Madea movie. I remembered watching her as a child when she was Rudy on The Cosby Show. She was a dead ringer for her, and if I didn’t know better, they could’ve been twins.
Her lips were large and full. They looked like they had been made for kissing and nothing else. The red lip gloss shimmered in the light, the spots of glitter sparkling. It was like a beacon calling me home and begging for my mouth.
My eyes drifted down, and I noticed the way her arms pushed her tits up in the air. The V-neck T-shirt she wore showed the perfect amount of cleavage. Not enough to be trashy, but enough to entice. I was a tits man. Wait. That’s a lie. I was an ass man. Fuck. Who was I kidding? I loved every part of a woman. I could never pick one over another. I wanted the whole package.
“Up here,” she demanded.
When I looked up, one shoulder had dropped and her glare had been replaced by a scowl.
“I’m waiting.” I grinned
“For what?” Her lips formed into a firm line and not even a twitch crossed over them.
She was tough. I’d give her that much.
“Your name.” I reached for my drink without looking. I needed to maintain eye contact or I’d lose any ground I had won. I knew it wasn’t much, but she was no longer ignoring me.
“If I give it to you, will you leave me alone?” Her hands dropped to her sides as her glare disappeared.
“I can’t promise anything, but it’ll make things go smoother if I know who I’m speaking to.” I took a sip, letting the drink coat my throat. The scratchiness of earlier turned into something entirely different, relieving the strain.
“You’re all the same.” She rolled her eyes and sighed. “Why can’t a girl come to a bar and have a drink in peace without being hounded?”
I took another sip, thinking about my response as I studied her. Before I could reply, she grabbed her martini and placed the glass to her lips. Fuck, I wished I were the glass. I wanted to taste her more than I wanted the Grand Marnier that lingered on my tongue.
“First, if you want to have a drink in peace, you need to go to Applebee’s. You don’t come to the Ritz for a nightcap. Also, you don’t have your tits hanging out if you don’t want the attention of a man. You can’t look like that”—I motioned toward her body—“and expect not to be hit on.”
She squared her shoulders as she set her drink back on the bar. If looks could kill, I’d be dead. “Just because I have on a T-shirt doesn’t mean I want to fuck. I live nearby and there isn’t an Applebee’s for miles. This is within walking distance and it’s where I want to drink. I don’t know if you’re clueless or just don’t give a shit, but when someone turns their back on you and refuses to answer your questions, it means they don’t want to be bothered.” She reached for her drink and held my eyes. “You need to get the fuck over yourself.”
Oh my God. I think I’m in love.
Well, not really. But fuck, she had my full attention. Rarely did a woman treat me like shit, and for once, I found it refreshing. Her attitude reminded me a little of my sister, Izzy. She wasn’t known for being warm and fuzzy, but she was my best friend.
“Meow,” I blurted, unable to stop the sound before it left my lips. The one thing I knew was that it would piss her off more.
“You are an asshole,” she hissed, glaring at me as she sipped her drink.
I smiled, thinking at least she hadn’t thrown her drink on me. “I know I am.” I laughed. I knew I was a dick. I’d never claimed to be the nicest guy, but having someone point out what I already knew made me laugh. “So, what’s your name?”
“Now I know you’re fucking with me.” I couldn’t help myself as my laughter grew louder. Not only was she the most beautiful woman in the bar, she was funny and had one hell of an attitude.