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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
When Eli’s hand came to rest on the small of her back, I momentarily saw red. Quickly I tried getting a hold of my raging testosterone-fueled emotions before I went into full-on Hulk mode and ripped Eli’s arm from its socket. “Come on. We’ve got a table reserved in the VIP section,” Eli said.
I snorted. “You mean this place actually has a VIP section?”
Ignoring my comment, Allison tilted her head up at Eli. “Oh, so am I a VIP tonight since I’m hanging out with you?”
He flashed her a cocky grin that made me want to punch him. “Maybe.”
After we took the stairs to the second floor, the hostess motioned to our table. From our seats, we could see all the action on the dance floor, but at the same time, we were hidden from view. Considering how dark and foggy it was from the smoke machine, I hoped we wouldn’t be recognized.
“What can I get you all to drink?” a waitress in tight, black spandex shorts, and a halter top asked.
Rubbing his hands together, Eli said, “Mmm, I’m in the mood for shots tonight. Who else is in for a bottle of 1800 Silver?”
“Me,” Allison replied, which caused Eli to grin. He then glanced from her over to me.
“What about you, man?”
With my eyes fixed on Allison’s, I replied, “No thanks. Tequila really isn’t my thing.”
She sucked in a harsh breath as she took in my words. I knew it was a real f**king ass**le thing to say considering our history with tequila. But I had to keep pushing her away and get her to forget about me. Once Allison had recovered, she gave me a sickeningly sweet smile. “I’ll take Rhys’s shot then. I adore tequila.”
Eli chuckled. “Ooh, I like your way of thinking tonight.”
“So a bottle of 1800 and what else?” the waitress asked.
“A Bud on tap,” Gabe replied, while giving the waitress his best sexy grin.
“Bud in a bottle,” I replied.
The waitress bobbed her head. “Be right back.” As she walked away, she gave Gabe a lingering look over her shoulder to which he winked at her.
“Dude, out of all the chicks here, you’re macking on the waitress?” Eli questioned.
Gabe shrugged. “She’s hot.”
It was then that a drunken brunette, with cinched-up cle**age and her ass hanging out of her skirt, staggered up to our table. Her gaze honed straight on me. “Hey baby, wanna dance?”
Ordinarily, I might’ve been tempted, but there was no way in hell that I was going to hook-up with a chick tonight. I’d promised Jake to keep an eye on Allison, and it would be pretty hard to do if I was banging some chick in the bathroom. Besides, regardless of how I was trying to push Allison away, I refused to be a douchebag and dance with the chick to get at her. The tequila line had been shitty enough. “No thanks.”
Her glassy-eyed stare fixed on Gabe next. “What about you?”
He shrugged. “Sure, why not.”
“What about the waitress?” Eli asked.
Gabe winked. “The night is still young.”
“Ugh, you’re disgusting,” Allison said, wrinkling her nose.
I got up so Gabe could slide out of the booth. With one hand on the chick’s ass, Gabe led her off to the dance floor.
When I sat back down, Eli was eyeing me with a curious expression. “Why did you pass that one up, man? She looked like a sure thing.”
“Brunettes aren’t my type,” I lied.
Allison’s eyes bulged at my low dig. Cocking her head at me, she demanded, “And just what is your type?”
“I like petite blondes with big tits.” The moment the words left my lips, I felt like a total bastard.
Eli chuckled. “Whatever floats your boat, man. I would think after you hadn’t been getting any action for a while, you’d jump on the chick, regardless of her positives or negatives.”
Once again, I wanted to punch Eli. The last thing I wanted Allison to know was that since Savannah, I hadn’t been able to seal the deal with another girl. Desire for anyone else had been completely obliterated by her. Since we’d been on tour, I hadn’t once taken one of the girls on Jacob’s Ladder’s bus to bed. Now it had been so obvious that Eli had noticed.
When I dared to look at Allison, she was staring at me with wide eyes. It was almost as if she was daring herself to believe that I hadn’t been with any other girls because of her. With the wheels turning in her head, I could tell I was screwed on many levels.
With a shrug, I replied, “Call me picky in my old age.”
Eli laughed. “Whatever, man. We’re the same age, and I don’t think I could have gone as long as you have without getting any.” At Allison’s little squeak, Eli’s face reddened. “Sorry, I keep forgetting that I’m not just out with the guys, and I need to be more of a gentleman.”
Allison gave him a shy smile. “It’s okay.”
The waitress then returned with our drinks. An ache reverberated through my chest as she sat down the bottle of tequila along with the salt and limes. Instantly, I was transported back to that night in Savannah—the night everything had gone so wrong…or in some ways so right.
Eli poured two shot glasses full for him and Allison. After handing a glass to Allison, he held his up. “To us,” he said, with a grin. At Allison’s hesitation, Eli quickly added, “To all of us Runaway Train and Jacob’s Ladder family.”
At his correction, Allison lifted her glass. “To us,” she replied, before clinking it against Eli’s. She then took the glass and tipped it back, sucking down the contents in one gulp. As she grabbed the lime and hastily brought it to her lips, I remembered almost too painfully what her lips had tasted like after she did her shots in Savannah. The way the salt from my neck had clung to them—the way she tasted. Quickly, I looked away and tried to erase the memories from my mind, but they continued to flash in front of my eyes just like the changing strobe lights.