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In response, a snarl tugs at her lips, and it’s obvious my comment offends her. "Raine?" she questions. “I—I didn’t know you’d—you were going to be here.” She straightens her posture, standing taller as if she were trying to grow more confident by the second.
“Well, there's only one bar between our two towns, and there's not much else to do. So, I guess it’s not hard to find people in this area, as I’m sure you already know.”
“Right. That’s exactly why I’m here.” It’s obvious she’s trying to seem unfazed by what I’m saying as she presses up on her toes and glances over my shoulder like she’s looking for someone. Her friends are all lined up behind her at the bar, and I’m not sure who else she’d know in here. “I guess there’s nothing to do in this place either.” I think she’s trying to sound bored, which again, makes me wonder what would make Haven and her high-class friends think this place is a good idea? It definitely isn’t the spray-painted brick walls on the outside of this place. I also think it’s safe to assume that the thirty Harleys parked out front didn’t have a blinking sign that advertised some kind of expensive shoe sale. They had to know that they were walking into a trashy bar full of bikers.
“Don’t you have a tea party or a masquerade ball to attend tonight?” I can’t help my cunning smile that follows the question. It’s just too easy.
“Don't be an ass.” She smirks, then looks back at her friends, and I can only hope she’s rolling her eyes.
I should let this chick learn a thing or two tonight. After all, there is a life lesson to be learned about walking into a bar like this, looking the way she does. She’s asking for trouble and I think she knows it. "You know you're too young to be in here." As if it isn’t obvious.
Haven’s friend shoves a plastic cup filled with some fruity, chick drink into her face and her fingers tighten around the plastic as she spills some of the liquid over the side. "Who cares, Raine,” she shouts at me. “It's my eighteenth birthday, and we’re at a dirty bar. What other way is there to celebrate?"
"Yeah, maybe no one informed you, but eighteen isn't the legal drinking age in this town or the rest of the country." Regardless of how dumb she’s being, I hold my beer up and tap it against her cup. "Happy Birthday, though."
A frail smile presses across her red-tinted lips as she swallows most of her drink within a few gulps. Even though she's only eighteen, it is her birthday, and God knows I was drinking at that age. "Can I buy you another?" I’m sure I’ll regret asking this.
She looks like she's thinking about it, pondering the bad idea of getting plastered before heading home to her parents. Her father is the mayor of the shitty town next door, but it doesn’t come as a surprise when she bites the bait. "Sure, yeah, another Malibu with pineapple would be good." There's a slur stringing her words together, and she's moving in closer to me as we wait for Crow to bring over the next round.
"You're kinda hot," she says, loud enough to be heard over the roaring music—loud enough that several people around us turn to see who the hell would be talking like that in this bar.
"Oh yeah?" I grin, finding humor in watching the pinkness of her freckled cheeks turn red. "And you’re cute as a button." I press my finger to her nose, hoping to get more of a rise out of her.
"Why do you say that?" She hands me her empty cup and unclasps the top two buttons of her shirt, enhancing her perky breasts. "Is this better? Does this make me a little less cute?" With the rising volume of slurs and hooting laughter, I have an urge to cover her back up and drag her out of here. She doesn’t realize the type of attention she’s attracting, other than my own.
Instead, I dip my free hand into my pocket, holding down my out-of-control cock. "Look, if you were walking around this place naked, you'd still be too cute to be in here. It's not an insult."
She clasps her buttons back together just as Crow places the new drinks down on top of the bar. Without delay, Haven reaches her arm out past me and grabs one of the drinks. She wraps her lips around the straw and takes a long sip while glancing back up at me with her pretty doe-like eyes. I’d love to know what’s going through her mind right now.
A long minute passes before she takes a breather and pulls the straw from her mouth. "After this drink, would you take me home?" I knew that was coming. Her only plan is to torture me until I cave, and I can't cave. Not with the mayor's daughter of all people.
"What about your friends?" I ask her before twisting around to see them flirting with Crow.
"They won't notice I'm gone," she says without uncertainty.
"Sounds like you have some good friends." By the looks of the other girls, I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s probably safe to assume they’re conceited, stuck up, and most likely have trouble telling the difference between an ass and an elbow.
"I can hardly consider them friends." My curiosity has been piqued, wondering more about her now, because there isn’t a doubt in my mind that she has one hell of a story to tell. Though, by the way she’s been sucking these drinks down, I’m confident I won’t be getting much of anything out of her tonight.
"Well then, I'll make sure you get home safely," I tell her, convincing myself I have control. I'm in control.
She finishes the drink in less time than it took me to finish mine, and I can't imagine how someone her size is handling Crow's concoctions and still standing. They aren't for the weak, that’s for damn sure. After Haven slaps her empty cup down on the bar, she pushes by me and grips her hand around one of her friend's shoulders. I can't hear what she's saying, but her friends look over at me, biting down on their lips with seductive smiles. Obviously, they think this is as good of an idea as she does. It's not.
Haven unsteadily makes her way back over to me, wraps her dainty hand around my bicep and pulls me out the door. "Put all that on my tab, Crow!" I yell over to him.
Almost the moment the door closes us out of the bar, Haven's hands fist around the collar of my shirt. "Kiss me. Right now," she demands.
Well, that escalated quickly. "Hey now, take it easy. We hardly know each other." Her lips are so fucking pouty and plump. The red gloss she has on is making them look wet…and shit, it's hot. I already live in a cruel world, but this shit is just adding to it.
I finger the end of one of her loose curls, tugging gently. I shouldn’t be touching her. "That lipstick you got on…damn, girl, you're making this hard."
"So, why fight it?" she asks. The confidence she’s been carrying around all night has diminished and I see insecurity in her eyes, allowing me to see right through her and this game she’s playing. Any other girl would have hit me up with a smart-ass comment about them wanting to make me hard. Not her, though. While wondering what about me and my life seems so attractive to her, I dying to know if she knows anything about my history. Is that what this is all about? Empathy …
With as much resistance as I can manage, I curl my fingers around her ear and lean forward a little. "I don't kiss women I pick up at a bar, and I don't kiss on the first date."
She releases a sigh, looking crushed and pained—pretty much the same way the lower half of my body is feeling at the moment. Regardless, I kind of love how disappointed she looks.
"What do you do on a first date, Raine Carson?" Her brow arches with question, waiting for an answer she thinks I’m going to give her.
"This isn't a date," I tell her.
"And we didn't meet at the bar. So, you can fucking kiss me." Holy hell. She is a determined little thing.
I step in a little closer to her, leaving little space between us. "You want me to kiss you?" I run the tip of my tongue along my bottom lip and narrow my focus in on her mouth. "Where do you want me to kiss you?" Purposely trying to cause more discomfort, I drop my gaze down the length of her body while taking notice of the quickening rise and fall of her chest. She doesn't know what she's asking for. I may have saved her from getting mauled by some of those other assholes in there tonight, but she needs to learn not to ask for things she isn't prepared to handle.
I felt like I was living in a prison while watching Raine Carson from my window, studying his sexy, tanned, and muscular physique for six long months. From inside of my house, he was perfect.
Then I found out everything looked different from afar. Raine, a blunt and hot tempered man was living a life he wasn't proud of, and I found myself oddly attracted to the sickening reality he opened my eyes to.
She thought I'd fall for her seductive ploy and scarlet-glossed lips. She was right. Every person in this small town had something negative to say about Haven Leigh's life—the girl who had been handed everything on a silver platter. I ignored the rumors, and instead, searched for her truths.
While struggling with disabling side-effects left behind by my coke-addict mother, Haven became the hope I needed. She was the good I wanted to be.
But, as it turns out, she was the trouble I should have stayed away from.
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When Shari isn't writing or designing book covers, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.
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