I pull my hand out of John’s. “No thanks.”
John looks baffled. As if I just turned down eighty grand in cash and not a ride on his disco stick.
I snort again. “Disco stick. Does anyone actually call it that?”
He blinks at me. “Are you asking me what I call my dick?”
“No!” I shudder, then think again. “Marcus called his Henry. That should have been a sign, shouldn’t it? He talked about his penis like it was separate from him and had a mind of its own. Henry can’t stop thinking about you.” I giggle. “Oh my God, how did I not expect this?”
John looks into my eyes and brushes my hair behind my ear. “Did he break your heart? Let me prove that men can be good.”
“I’m not convinced that’s true.” Maybe men can be good, just not with me. There’s something fundamentally wrong with me that makes formerly good men change when they try to love me.
I perk up when I see the bartender slide a drink in front of me, and then frown when I realize it’s a glass of ice water. “Tequila?”
She nudges the glass closer to my hand and arches a brow. “This first. Pace yourself, okay?”
“Right. Sure. Water’s a great idea.” I try to sound extra sober so she’ll bring me more tequila next time I ask. Tonight, the drinks are on Veronica, so I’m ordering top-shelf booze. I take a sip of water, then cringe when it hits my stomach. Have I eaten today? There was the toast Martha made me before we went to the hair salon. I think I took one bite to appease her, but I was too nervous and eating felt like swallowing sawdust.
John watches the bartender retreat. “Ava has a stick up her ass, but I have plenty of tequila at my place. I’ll take good care of you.”
I shake my head, then realize it’s kind of fun to roll it from side to side, and do it again. “I don’t want to go to your house,” I tell John. “I want to stay here and forget that today was the worst day of my life.”
“I’ll make it better.”
The tall man behind John narrows his eyes at my overly aggressive suitor before turning his gaze on me. This time, I really look at him. He’s like a Greek god—tall, with shoulders so broad they probably have their own zip code. His lips quirk, and his eyes—oh God, his eyes are amazing. They’re this deep brown and turn down a little at the corners, as if he smiles so rarely that his eyes have forgotten how. He could play a tortured movie hero with those eyes.
“We both feel this thing between us,” John says, and I tear my gaze away from the tortured hero. “Let’s get out of here. I promise we won’t do anything you don’t want to do.”
“All I want to do is drink more tequila.” But not with him. No, that doesn’t actually sound like a good time at all.
“Then let’s get out of here.”
“No.” Suddenly, I’m out of patience with John and his inability to take no for an answer. I push on his shoulder to urge him away from me. “Give me some space, okay?”
John doesn’t budge. His hand wraps around my upper arm, and his thumb rubs tiny circles on my shoulder. “I think you like me in your space.”
I do my best to conjure psychic abilities and telepathically beg the guy behind John to help. When he continues to stare with those sad eyes rather than intervene, I mentally chastise myself. I’m a grown woman. I don’t need some tall, dark stranger to scare away unwanted suitors. I can save myself. “I don’t, actually,” I tell John. It’s crowded in here, but if I slide off the barstool and squeeze behind the group of guys by the pool table, it’ll put distance between me and this guy, and maybe he won’t try to follow. God, what a buzzkill.
Before I can decide the best way to escape, the Greek god steps around John to stand by my side. In the next breath, he sweeps John’s hand away from my arm. “Johnny boy,” he says. “I see you met my girlfriend. I think you’re making her uncomfortable.”
John’s eyes narrow, and his lips twist. “You don’t have a girlfriend.”
The tall guy slings an arm over my shoulder and smiles, but it’s not sincere, and definitely not kind. “Sure I do. And even if I didn’t, I’m pretty sure she asked you to give her some space.”
John backs up a full three feet and holds up both hands. “Listen, sorry if your girl was making eyes at me. I guess it was a misunderstanding.”
The tall guy arches a brow, and I don’t have to be a mind reader to know what he thinks of John. His expression says, You’re a fucking douche, and if you don’t back off, I’m going to see how it feels to bury my fist in your face. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. I’ve never had one guy punch another for me, and right now, that sounds fun. Sorry, John.