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|Without Me(Men of Inked #7) by Chelle Bliss|
“I’m just tired,” Max blurted out.
I stroked my chin, wondering what I’d missed. There was something Max clearly didn’t want me to know.
“She’s been what?” I asked.
“Nothing,” Nita said with wide eyes. Then she gulped her sangria and glanced away from me. “Is Malia coming?” she asked over the rim of her glass.
Max shrugged. “She’s supposed to be here already, but that girl is always late.”
“It’s fashionable to be late, and you know her, always being trendy,” Nita replied, still not making eye contact with me.
“Once she gets here, we’ll head to the club,” Max said before lifting the beer to her lips.
I wanted to be the bottle, feeling the softness of her lips as she pressed them to me. Reaching under the table, I had to adjust myself to not draw attention to the growing problem in my pants.
“Where are we headed?” I asked, feeling more hopeful with each passing moment.
“We’re going to Liquid, but you’re not,” Max replied, giving me a cold stare.
“Why not?” Whether she liked it or not, I was fucking going. There was no way I’d let her out of my sight now that I’d found her again.
Nita started to giggle, and Max laughed.
“You don’t want to go there,” Nita answered, covering her mouth with her hand. “Unless you’re man enough to handle it.”
“I’m man enough to handle anything, Nita.” I smiled, puffing out my chest.
“It’s a gay bar.” Her entire face lit up as the corners of her mouth reached for her eyes.
Damn, she was beautiful—especially when she smiled.
“So?” I asked. I had always been comfortable in my sexuality. Men, especially gay ones, didn’t scare me. I had gay, straight, and bisexual friends—and a few I couldn’t classify.
“We wouldn’t want to threaten your manhood,” Max answered through her giggling.
“Kitty Cat, other men don’t threaten me.”
“What if they try to hit on you?” Nita asked, raising her eyebrow as her laughter died.
“I’m not worried about it, Nita. I can handle myself in any situation.”
“Somehow, I believe you,” she replied.
“Anthony, I really don’t think it’s a good idea for you to come,” Max stated, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Are you worried more men will hit on me than you, Max?” I asked playfully.
“We go to the gay bar so men won’t hit on us, Anthony. So no, I’m not worried.” Max smiled, thinking she had one-upped me.
“I’ll never understand women,” I mumbled, a little louder than I had intended.
Nita propped her hands on the table. “It’s like this, Anth. Can I call you Anth?” she asked, pausing for a second before continuing. “We go there because we don’t have to worry about being hit on. It’s nice to be able to drink with our friends and dance without having to worry about guys with grabby hands.”
“Yeah, you don’t need to worry about that at Liquid,” Max agreed.
I understood the logic, but that didn’t mean I agreed with it. Even in gay bars, there were men who went both ways. They weren’t as safe from “grabby” hands as they thought.
“I think Nita and Malia would rather have a girls-only night.” Max nodded toward Nita, giving her a death glare.
Nita waved her hand at Max and turned her attention toward me. “Malia and I would love for you to come.”
“Would you now?” I asked, raising my eyebrow and loving the playful nature of Nita.
“Uh huh,” she murmured as she came closer. “Max would never admit it, but she wants you to come too.” Then she lost it, bursting out into laughter as Max hit her in the arm.
“Shut the fuck up, Nita. I most certainly do not want him to come.” Max crossed her arms again as she slouched and stared at her legs.
“Looks like I’m getting here at the perfect time,” a woman said as she walked up to the empty chair.
“Please save me, Malia,” Max said as she stared up at the leggy female to my left.
“I’m Anthony,” I said as I hopped up from my seat and offered my hand.
Malia stepped back and looked me up and down. I felt her eyes appraising me with each passing sweep. “I don’t know who you are, but I’d sure like to find out more.” She slid her hand into mine.
“Any friend of Max’s is a friend of mine,” I said as I kissed her velvety skin and peered down at her.
“Fuck. I’ve already made it to ‘friends’ territory?” she asked as she glanced up at me.
“Max got me first. I’m hers and hers alone, ladies. Unless she wants to share.” I grinned, waiting for Max to chime in.
“Max?” Malia asked with a hopeful tone.
“You can have him,” Max shot back.
“She’s playing hard to get,” I responded, letting go of Malia’s hand and glancing at Max. “I’ve always loved a good chase.”
“It’s not a chase when I’m not running.”
“Girl, what is wrong with you? This fine-ass man wants to get to know you and you’re being rude,” Malia said as she sat down. “I need a drink to get through this night, I think. Ma’am.” She waved her hand at the waitress leaving the next table. “Vodka on the rocks, stat.”