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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
“Another?” Eli asked.
When Allison nodded, I snorted. “What?” she demanded.
“I was just thinking that maybe multiple tequila shots aren’t such a good idea for you.” My gaze left hers and went to Eli’s. “She’s not one for holding her liquor well.”
Allison seethed at me from across the table. I’m pretty sure if given the chance, she would have thrown herself across the table to beat the shit out of me for my smart-ass comment. Tossing her hair over her shoulder, she got her composure back. Her eyes narrowed in on mine. “As much as I hate to admit it, Rhys is right. Although I love tequila, I usually make stupid as hell decisions that f**k up my life when I drink it.”
Once again, this was a side of Allison I wasn’t used to seeing—the bitch with claws. But at the same time, I knew I deserved it. I’d pushed her into making the comments.
After glancing between us, Eli slid the bottle of tequila away from Allison, which caused her to giggle. “Does that mean I don’t get another shot?” she asked, batting her eyelashes at him.
“Um, I think it’s a pretty good idea for you not to do something that f**ks up your life when you’re out with me. I have a feeling it would be like a domino effect where Jake would then f**k up my life,” Eli replied, with a grin.
“Just one more,” Allison pleaded.
Eli rolled his eyes. “Fine, fine. I can never tell beautiful girls no.”
“And here I thought it was beautiful girls who couldn’t tell you no,” I countered, as he poured Allison’s shot glass to the brim.
He wagged his eyebrows. “Oh yeah, man, that too.”
Allison shot me a disgusted look before she took her shot glass and downed it. Once again, a shudder went over her fabulous body from the alcohol. She then slammed the glass down onto the table. “Let’s dance,” she suggested to Eli.
“Sounds good to me.”
Watching Allison head off to the dance floor with Eli was like a punch in the gut. It took a few seconds to catch my breath. I reached over and grabbed the tequila bottle. Taking Allison’s glass, I poured it full before downing it in one fiery gulp. I repeated the process twice to try to numb myself better.
Gabe arrived back at the table sans the girl he had been dancing with earlier. “What happened to your sure thing?”
He chuckled. “My sure thing ended up passing out on the dance floor. I got her to a table and then came back here.”
I laughed. “That’s classy.”
“Tell me about it.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes, just drinking our beers. It was a good thing Gabe wasn’t feeling talkative because I don’t think I could have focused on a f**king thing he was saying. My gaze remained firmly on Eli and Allison dancing. Each time his hands started to wander on her body, I tensed. It took everything within me not to get up and go drag her back to the booth.
After ordering another round of beers, Gabe nudged me. “Why don’t you go cut in on the happy couple?”
“Why the hell would I want to do that?” I questioned lamely. I refused to meet Gabe’s eyes for fear that they would betray the emotions I was feeling. There was nothing in the world I wanted to do more than go break up Allison and Eli.
Rolling his eyes, Gabe countered, “Come on, man. You’ve been shooting f**king daggers at my brother the entire time he’s been out there with Allison, not to mention the rest of the night. It’s pretty obvious how you feel about her.”
I shook my head while I played with the label on my beer bottle. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Gabe rested his arms on the back of the booth and eyed me with a shit-eating grin. “Don’t try to act like you’re not totally hot for her. It’s written all over your face when you look at her. I can’t say I blame you.” He closed his eyes in exaggerated bliss. “If Jake wouldn’t have my dick, mmm, I’d love to f**k her brains out.”
Slamming my beer bottle down on the table, I thrust my finger in his face. “Watch your f**king mouth!”
Instead of fear, Gabe chuckled. “Oh yeah, you’ve got it bad.”
I ran a hand nervously through my hair. “It doesn’t matter what I may or may not feel about Allison. I’m here tonight because Jake wanted me to keep an eye on Allison with Eli.”
With a wink, Gabe said, “And all the while, the wolf was guarding the chicken coop.”
“Whatever,” I mumbled.
“She’s hot for you, too, you know.”
“Is that right?” I snapped, after taking another long swig of beer.
“Oh yeah, it is. Allison’s too sweet a woman to be using Eli just to get at you. If I had to put money on it, I’d imagine that she’s trying to transfer what she’s feeling for you onto him. Most likely, you were a f**king dick who broke her heart by not being emotionally available to her, so she’s ready to move on.”
Cocking my head at Gabe, I said, “Well, thank you for that lovely psychoanalysis, Dr. Fucking Phil!”
Gabe laughed heartily. “It doesn’t have to end badly, man. Just go out there, ask her to dance, and tell her how you really feel about her.” When I opened my mouth to protest, he shook his head. “Yeah, Jake is going to be pissed. But so f**king what? This is your life and happiness we’re talking about, not to mention hers. Do you think we were all really happy that some man-whore douchebag like Jake was putting the moves on our virginal baby sister?” Gabe snorted contemptuously. “Hell no, we weren’t. But it wasn’t up to us—it was up to Jake and Abby.”