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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
Last night had meant something. Somehow being inside Allison for that short amount of time had once again made me feel complete. But it had f**king broken me when she wouldn’t let me kiss her. In the end, she had been right. I sure as hell didn’t deserve her sweet lips. Because of my jealousy, I’d gone off half-cocked to prove that she belonged to no other man. Then I had been a bastard by refusing emotionally to claim her.
Taking out my phone, I Googled a location that I knew would provide some relief to my suffering. Two blocks over, I slipped inside the darkened room of a strip club. Coming here sure as hell wasn’t one of my finest moments, but I needed to break my three-month sexual fast, even if it was just a small release. I desperately needed something simple and no-strings attached. If I could free myself of Allison, then in turn, I could set her free from me as well.
With a fifty, I motioned over one of the three girls dancing. She was also the only blonde. I sure as hell didn’t want a brunette. With a welcoming smile, she swiveled her h*ps as she came over to me. “Hey, sugar, you want a private dance?”
“Yeah, I do,” I mumbled.
“I’m Sierra,” she said.
“Rhys,” I replied, not even bothering to give a fake name.
Hopping down from the stage, she took me by the hand and led me back to a private room. A stacked bouncer eyed us before we dipped inside the room. She eased me down on the couch. When her hands went up to undo the strings on her flimsy top, bile lurched in my throat, and I felt like I would throw up. “Wait. Stop,” I croaked.
Her hands left her top. One came to rest on my cheek. “What’s the matter, sugar? Is this your first time? You don’t have to be afraid. I’ll take real good care of you.”
I shook my head. “That’s not it. This was a mistake.” When I started to rise off the sofa, she pushed me back down. Instead of slithering across my lap, she sat down next to me.
“Having girlfriend or wife troubles?” When I didn’t respond, she asked, “Boyfriend troubles?”
A nervous laugh escaped my lips. “I’m not g*y.”
She shrugged. “Some guys come here when they’re trying to sort out who they are. If you want, I have the name of a club that might have more of what you need.”
I held up my hand. “Trust me, a dude is not the problem.”
Her hand came to rest on my thigh. “Then what is?”
Closing my eyes, I couldn’t believe I was not only sitting in a strip club, but I was about to unburden my troubles on a stripper. She was hardly a therapist. But for some strange f**king reason her open objectivity loosened my usually stubborn tongue. I sure as hell wasn’t one to share my feelings with just anybody, but Sierra’s willingness to listen compelled me to open up. “So you really want to know?”
She nodded. “I’m on your dime, or your fifty, right now. I’ll do whatever you want to do, including listening.”
After drawing in a deep breath, I told Sierra the whole story. Her eyes widened in a few places, and she gasped in horror. When I finished, she smacked my chest. “What the hell is your problem?”
“I’d love to know.”
“You march your ass back to that hotel room right now and beg for that girl’s forgiveness.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“Yes, it is. Do you want to spend the rest of your life feeling like this?”
“Then it’s that simple.” Taking my hand in hers, she squeezed it. “Do you know how lucky you are to have someone so wonderful to love you? People search their entire lives to find it, and most end up desperately alone during the pursuit. You just have to stop being afraid of the ‘what-ifs’. The ‘what-ifs’ of this Jake guy being pissed at you or the ‘what-ifs’ of you being afraid you can’t love Allison like you should. It’ll all come together because it’s meant to be.”
As I sat there on the leather sofa with my sage stripper, I couldn’t believe how everything had fallen together. Not to mention that the catalyst for my self-discovery had been in a strip club. “You’re really wise, you know that?”
Sierra smiled. “Years of hearing people’s troubles, sugar.”
Digging into the pocket of my jeans, I coupled a hundred with the fifty I originally had. “Here. But it isn’t really enough to show you my gratitude.”
Shaking her head, Sierra took the bills from me. “While the money is nice, you’re only going to show me your gratitude by not f**king things up with this girl.” She eyed me pointedly. “Are you going to go beg her forgiveness now and tell her how much you care about her?”
I nodded my head. “Today. I swear.”
“Good. I’m glad to hear it.” Rising off the couch, she held out her hand for me. “Now get the hell out of here.”
With a laugh, I let her help me up. “Yes, ma’am.”
Leaning over, Sierra planted a kiss on my cheek. “This Allison is a lucky woman to have you.”
“I hope after everything I’ve done, she will believe that.”
“Keep the faith, sugar.”
I nodded, and then hurried out of the strip club. One glance at my phone told me I needed to haul ass back to the hotel. The car would be leaving to take us to the auditorium soon. Unfortunately, I’d given all my cash to Sierra, and my debit card was in my wallet back in the hotel room. I’d have to run to make it back on time.