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|Without Me(Men of Inked #7) by Chelle Bliss|
I’d like to say that we had a smooth start, Max and I. But that was the furthest thing from the truth. Nita and Malia loved me. I spent the entire night buying them drinks and dancing with each of them. Max was my goal, but I knew that friends could be amazing allies.
Max was the best dancer in the place. I took every opportunity to rub against her and touch her exposed skin. She needed to be reminded of the sizzle we had when we touched—the thing I’d never found before and wasn’t willing to let go of so easily. She tried to play it cool and act like it had no effect on her, but I knew she felt it too. Even three weeks later, it hadn’t waned. The sting from the invisible spark hit me every time.
After a few more glasses of wine and liquor, we stood at the bar, winded.
“So, what do you do, Anthony?” Nita asked, shifting between her feet. Her heels were at least five inches. I didn’t know how women danced in them.
“I have two jobs,” I replied.
“Oh no. He’s a broke motherfucker,” Malia blurted out as she swayed.
I laughed and shook my head. “I’m not. I’m part owner in a tattoo shop and I sing in a band during my free time.”
“Tattoos, eh?” Nita asked as she swept her fingers across the ink on my arm. “They’ve always intrigued me.”
“I have more than you can see.” Just the bottom of my tattoos showed on each arm because my T-shirt hid the rest.
She smiled at me as her fingers inched up my arm and pushed the T-shirt up. “They’re so colorful.” Running her nails across my skin, she ogled my tattoos. “I want to see them all,” she whispered.
“Down girl,” Malia said, smacking Nita’s hand away from my body. “The man didn’t come here to get pawed by you.”
“Better me than one of the boys,” she said as she tipped her head toward a group of men watching us intently across the bar. “You be quiet, Malia.” She pushed her hand away and turned her attention back to me. “Anthony, will you show them to me?” And a smile I could only describe as naughty stretched across her face.
“I’d have to take off my shirt.” I didn’t care that it was a gay bar, but I wasn’t sure how Max would feel about me taking off my clothes.
She rolled her eyes at me and raised her eyebrows. “Go ahead. Give the girls a show,” she said with a snarky tone.
“You don’t care if I take off my shirt?”
“Why would I? I’m sure the guys would enjoy the view too. It may be the only way you get a date tonight anyway.” She smiled and pursed her lips.
“Kitty Cat,” I whispered as I reached up and brushed my fingers on her cheek. “I plan to leave here with you on my arm and spend the night in your bed.”
“You better keep dreaming.” Her mouth stayed void of emotion.
“I’ll show you what dreams are made of, Kitty Cat. Tonight, you’ll find out.” I stroked her lips with the pad of my thumb.
“It’s not happening.” She shook her head, breaking the contact.
“Anthony,” Nita whined as she tugged on my shirtsleeve. “Let’s see the ink, my man. Put up or shut up.”
I winked at Max and took a step back as I grabbed the back of my shirt. As I pulled it over my head, I heard a gasp but couldn’t tell whose mouth it had come out of. I could’ve sworn it had slipped out of Max’s, though.
After the material cleared my head, I made sure to flex my muscles. Immediately, two hands touched my skin and began to feel my tattoos.
“Ladies,” I said, trying to hold in my laughter.
“They’re so pretty,” Malia said as she slid her fingers up my arm.
“Fuck,” Nita groaned as she touched my SOUL tattoo. “The color is so amazing.” Her fingers dug into my flesh. “Spectacular, in fact.” She groped my pecs, squeezing them repeatedly in her hands.
I didn’t know if she was referring to my ink or my muscles. I flexed under her touch, watching her mouth turn up into a beautiful smile.
“Ya like?” I asked, enjoying the attention of them both.
She nodded, glancing over her shoulder at Max. She didn’t remove her hands. “Max, get your ass over here and feel this. Damn, this man is stacked.”
I wanted to laugh. God, did I want to, but I grinned at Max and arched my eyebrow instead. She rolled her eyes as she took a drink of her beer.
The woman had the emotional availability of a brick wall. She might have been the female version of me. The one time I found someone I wanted to at least get to know, she shut me the hell out. Figured.
“I’m perfectly happy just watching you two fondle him.” She faced forward, cutting off all eye contact with me.
“Did these hurt?” Malia asked, raking her nails across my back to my other shoulder.
“Not very much,” I said, smiling down at them before returning my attention to Max.
Another night, this would have been the beginning of foreplay. I wouldn’t have had to work too hard to get them back to my place. But they weren’t my targets. She was ignoring me, acting unimpressed with my physique.
Nita moved her face closer to my chest. I could feel her warm breath as it skidded across my skin.
“Fuck,” she moaned as she felt me.
“You said that already, Nita. He’s not that impressive,” Max shot over her shoulder.
“Max, shut up. You haven’t felt him. He fucking is!” Nita yelled into my chest. “Hey,” she said, getting my attention. “Don’t listen to her. She hasn’t been fucked since Obama became president.”