Page 30 of We Were Once

“Absolutely.” She takes the stick and works her way around to the table to chalk the tip. “I’ll break.”

Turning slowly toward me, he struts to get another pool cue. “Well, damn. Evans doesn’t mess around when it comes to bringing the big guns.”

“If you’d like,” Chloe says, laughing, “I’ll let you rack.”

He replies, “Ladies first.”

“Next round on me.” I back toward the bar and point at her. “What are we drinking?”

Under long lashes, she eyes me while bent over. Her laughter reaches me like music in the busy bar just before she breaks, a loud crack following. “Whatever you’re having.”

“Gotcha covered.” I watch her from across the room, how she hangs with the guys like she’s known them a while. I’m thinking she just took the lead because Bryant high-fives her. She’s made herself at home at that table, and seeing them get along wipes away any worries I had.

I turn to order, not having to keep my eyes on the guys. They’ve been known to get crude. I’m usually just as guilty, but they appear to be on their best behavior.

When I return, I set everything on the table. “A round of whiskey.”

“I’ve never done a shot of whiskey before.”

I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I think I’m getting used to these little bombs she drops. Handing her one, I say, “Tell me more about that not being a good girl again?”

To be honest, I deserved the punch to the arm. Flexing my bicep, though, I’m more concerned about her hand. I kiss it to make it all better and then hold up the glass. “What should we toast to?”

It doesn’t take long for a wry grin to make an appearance. “Breaking the rules. Again,” she replies so innocently that I’m drawn in to kiss that grin right off her face.

I don’t. Not yet. But I get close, almost touching mine to hers, and whisper, “And here I thought we were just bending them?”

“What’s the fun in that?” She taps her glass against mine and tilts it back, closing her eyes and emptying it. A harsh breath is fired off as she grabs her throat. “That burns.”

After emptying my glass, I chuckle and then kiss her. The intoxicating mix of her lips dipped in whiskey makes me wonder if she’s ever had sex in a parking lot. Because fuck, she turns me on. Pushing up against me, she drags the bottom of my shirt down, stretching the cotton. How can I care about the shirt, though, when the brush of her fingertips against my skin has my stomach muscles contracting? Every touch a shot of adrenaline heading south. I suck in enough to keep my abs hard before weaving my fingers with hers and kissing the top of her head. Then I settle on a barstool.

Bryant passes around four more shots, and says, “Another round is due. Cheers.”

Holding the glass, she says, “I’ve been known to get a little wild when tipsy. You sure you can handle me?”

Slipping my hand under her jacket, I dip just under the top of her jeans and hold her close. “Don’t worry, baby. I can handle you.” The secrets held in her eyes begin to unravel as she leans against me. Tapping her glass, I add, “Bottoms up.” Dirty images come to mind as our eyes stay locked while the liquor slides down.

Catching the notes of a song she likes summons a smile right before she sets her glass down and starts swaying her hips. I like watching her move like she’s alone, dancing for herself. It’s still controlled, but it’s gaining as she moves between my legs and closes her eyes. Her hands rest on my thighs, grounding her to me, to this earth like she’s close to floating away.

She slowly opens them and catches me staring. I slide my hands over her hips and then tuck into her back pockets. “You called me baby. I’ve never been anyone’s baby before.”

My gaze dips to her lips, remembering the way they take mine when she leads and how I can feel the passion she puts into every one of our kisses. Dragging my tongue along my bottom lip, I then ask, “How do you feel about being my baby?”

The lift of her eyes and the hope I see inside has me moving to hold her around her lower back. She kisses my chin and then her lids dip closed as she kisses my mouth. With our lips still together, she whispers, “Like I’m living in a dream.”

“It’s real, baby. Just like we are.” I could draw a map of her body from memory, but, God, I want to know everything else about this girl. “Tell me about you getting tipsy.”

Laughing as if an entertaining memory returns, she says, “Ruby and I get tipsy off wine, but we never drink the hard stuff. This one time she visited me in Newport, she fell into the water trying to get the motor started on this little boat we borrowed from the neighbors.” She giggles.

Tags: S.L. Scott Romance