But somehow it’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s turned me into an obsessed lunatic, and there are still moments when I can’t be sure I know what the fuck is going on with me.
But my dick seems to know. And I gotta say, I’m trusting his judgment on this one because neither of us has ever had this reaction to a woman before, and I’m on the edge of losing my mind trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
“Hey.” Dimitri, one of my few friends, sidesteps next to me. Unlike my sorry ass, he seems to be comfortable enough dressed in a tux and attending a charity function in a social tier a bit above my former paygrade. I guess he’s adjusted to civilian life better than I have, but he’s had longer to get used to it. “I gotta say, when you invited me to come, I never expected this.”
He eyes the crowd, running his tongue over his teeth. The invitation said plus one, but I don’t have a plus one in my life. Never have. So, when Dimitri came by to talk to me about a business proposition, he saw the invitation on my desk and pretty much invited himself along. Turns out, the security company he owns has worked with my neighbors’ law firm before, and he thought it would be a good opportunity to rub elbows.
“You mean when you invited yourself.”
He chuckles as he turns to the bar tended by a group of blue aliens, complete with moving antennae, and raises his hand to indicate he needs a refill. “I bet you’re enjoying this, right? How many times have you watched that old Dracula movie? Or Frankenstein. The black and white one. You’re a horror fanatic.” He swivels his head around, taking in the theatre of it all.
He’s tall, but a little shorter than me, and while you wouldn’t exactly call him fat there’s definitely a rounder look to him than when we were both military, him in the Air Force and me in the Rangers.
I think it’s what they call a ‘Dad-bod’ these days and from what I gather, it’s all the rage. So much for six packs and hard bodies I guess.
He’s since had enough of military life and got out to start his private security firm which has done pretty fucking well from what I can see.
“I’m not a fanatic, I just like the classics,” I answer slowly, distracted by the thudding in my chest as I scan the room. The opulence of the space, as well as the elegance of the estate, makes me feel uneasy for some reason like there’s some undercurrent of danger that has nothing to do with the show being put on.
Maybe it’s that I’m just not comfortable around the extravagance. Growing up, my parents were salt-of-the-earth types. My father worked at the Stroh’s factory until it closed in the mid-eighties. From there, he and my mom ran a bar in Owendale, a small town in the Michigan thumb. The pride in their eyes when I signed up for the Army was only surpassed when I was accepted into Ranger training.
Unfortunately, they never got to see me graduate. A fire took the bar and both of them with it as they slept upstairs in the living quarters they called home, leaving me pretty much alone in the world, which, for the most part, besides missing them, I’m okay with.
There was insurance money. And I sold the bar, or what was left of it, but that money still sits in an investment account. I can’t seem to bear to touch it.
It grew into a hefty sum while I was incarcerated so by most standards with that money, and what was bestowed upon me by the mob boss whose son I helped out on the inside, I’m technically considered rich. Although, it doesn’t mean much to me, just gives me the freedom to figure out what’s next now that I’m out.
It would have killed my parents to see me go to prison, so it’s a small consolation but there, nonetheless. After eighteen months, it’s an adjustment being out again and around all these people, so that’s not helping. It’s only been a couple weeks since my release, and my senses are still on the inside, looking around for danger. Not knowing who’s friendly and who’s a threat.
Dimitri takes a sip of his drink and shakes his head. “Your new neighborhood has you movin’ on up. Still can’t believe Castori gave you that house. And the million to go with it. Pays to save a mobster’s son.”
Tension clutches my chest. “Leave it alone.” Dimitri is the only one that knows what happened and how I landed in the house across the street from my new neighbors. Part of the agreement is I keep the details secret.