As she turned to leave, he grabbed her wrist.

Her skin was soft and caused heat to flood through his body. He heard her intake of breath when he touched her.


Ares looked up at her. “Wait.”

“What do you want?”

“Have a drink with me.”

“I don’t drink.”

“Then what are you doing at a bar?”

“Working. I’m a bartender.”

She worked for a living? He looked at her capable hands. “Take a few minutes. Your boss will understand.”

Her frank dark gaze locked with his. “No.”

Ares frowned. “Are you upset because I was talking to your sister? I was never interested in her.”

“Good.” She pulled her wrist from his grasp. “Please excuse me.”

“Wait. Your name is Ruby? Ruby what?”

Glancing back, she gave a low laugh that he felt all the way to his toes. “There’s no point in telling you.”

“But you know my last name.”

“Against my will. Everyone is talking about you. Apparently you’re quite a catch.” Her voice was sardonic.

Ares had never been brushed off so thoroughly by any woman. He tried to understand. “You are married?”

“No.”

“Engaged?”

“I’m working.” She enunciated the word as if she thought maybe he’d never heard it before. “And the waitstaff will be needing their drink orders.”

Ares stared at her. “You would truly rather work than have a drink with me?”

“If I’m not pouring drinks, it hurts everyone’s tips. Which hurts everyone’s ability to pay rent. Not everyone,” she added sweetly, “owns a thirty-million-dollar house bought with cash.”

So she’d noticed his house. Even the price. Encouraged, he stretched out his arm suggestively along the top of the seat next to his. “Most other women would quit their jobs on the spot to spend an evening with me—”

“So have a drink with one of them,” she said, and walked down the steps without looking back.

Ares sat for several moments in stunned silence, alone at the VIP table. He dimly heard the thumping music. He barely noticed as women in tight dresses and stilettos continued to parade below the platform, dancing provocatively for his benefit. He glanced over at Georgios. His bodyguard rolled his eyes. Exactly what Ares was thinking, too. Same music. Same club. Same people.

With one exception.

Who was this Ruby, and why could he suddenly not imagine any outcome tonight that didn’t end with her in his bed?

Rising to his feet, Ares told Georgios, “You can go.”

His bodyguard brightened. He was probably thinking of calling his wife back in New York, who was no doubt up late with their new baby. “Should I leave the car?”

“I’ll find a ride home. But tell the pilot I want to leave first thing in the morning.”

“Of course. Good night, Mr. Kourakis.”

Turning, Ares stalked through the nightclub. Dance music pounded in waves, colored lights blurring in the dark, sultry heat as crowds of people parted for him like magic. Men looked at him with envy, women with desire. But he had only one object. One goal.

When he reached the bar, a free chair immediately appeared for him, as such things always did. He slid into it as his due.

Ruby looked up from where she was pouring drinks behind the bar. Her lips parted in surprise, then annoyance. “What are you—”

“Tell me your last name.”

“It’s Prescott,” a waitress said nearby. At her glare, the girl continued in a squeak, “Ruby Prescott.”

At last they were getting somewhere. Tilting his head, Ares said, “Nice name.”

“I don’t think you can criticize,” she snapped. “What kind of parents would name their child after the Greek god of war?”

“My parents,” he said flatly. He changed the subject. “I’m bored with scotch. I’ll have a beer.”

She blinked in surprise. “A beer?”

“Whatever you have on tap.”

“Not some expensive forty-year-old scotch? Just regular old beer?”

He shrugged. “I don’t care what it is. As long as I’m having that drink with you.”

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