Only to fall back to sleep again almost immediately.
The damn thing had practically been hibernating since . . .
“Make it a double,” he ordered tersely. The waitress straightened after studying the bottles in front of her for so long that Vic was beginning to suspect that she’d gotten her back stuck in that position, or else had some kind of reading disability.
“You like Scotch, huh?” she asked through curving lips as she poured his drink in front of him a few seconds later.
“I can’t say I’ve ever tried this brand myself.” She cast her gaze in both directions. Alex was nowhere to be seen. “Mind if I join you?”
“Be my guest.”
The sight of her seductive green eyes widening in alarm when she took a sip of the Scotch would have made Vic smile once.
Damn. Why had he asked for Scotch? He’d never be able watch a woman drink it again without thinking of Niall. His lips flattened into a grim line. He pried them open to take a healthy slug of the liquor.
Hadn’t he expressly forbidden himself to think about that woman?
“God, I don’t know how you drink it so easy like that!”
“You either like the burn or you don’t, Missy.”
Her catlike eyes flashed. “You know my name?”
Vic shrugged. “Sort of hard to sit here for two hours straight and not pick up a thing or two.”
“Well, I’ll tell you something, cowboy.” She leaned forward, thrusting out her breasts conspicuously. “I don’t know if I like Scotch, but I like the burn.”
Vic’s lips curved slightly as his eyes moved over her face. Nice mouth. Although that caboose she sported might be worth a thorough investigation.
Now that’s more like it, Vic thought with vague satisfaction. He’d reacted quite differently to the fact that Niall was an unfaithful liar than he had to Jenny’s betrayal. After Jenny he’d fallen into bed with practically any reasonably attractive woman who would overlook the fact that he was stone drunk.
His intoxication tonight, however, was the exception, not the rule, since he’d been kicked in the gut and ass at once with the knowledge that Niall was married. His interest in sex had dropped off drastically since last December. Technically speaking, his libido was as active as ever; it was his interest in actually spending the time and effort necessary to take a woman to bed that was lacking. A few dimly recalled blow jobs in his truck cab outside of a bar in the wee hours of morning and bringing off the woman with his hand in thanks were the sum total of his pitiful sex life for the past six months.
“You know lots of woman fight the burn,” Vic told Missy as he gazed at his Scotch and rolled the amber liquid around in the glass.
“Not me,” Missy assured him.
“Here’s to the burn, then,” he murmured, holding her stare as he drank. Missy licked her lower lip sensually before she took another sip of the Scotch, this time doing a much better job at hiding her grimace. She leaned forward until their faces were only inches apart.
“I’m going to set your bed on fire, Vic Savian.”
He gave a full-fledged smile as the first wave of euphoria from the Scotch hit his brain. “Is that right?” he drawled.
She colored pinker than the liberally applied blusher on her cheeks. He caught a whiff of her scent—cheap perfume, sweet sweat, and stale smoke. He jerked back slightly and took another drink of Scotch to cover his instinctual reaction. If he drank enough, it wouldn’t matter what she looked or smelled like. The only thing that was of significance was the scalding orgasm that he had deep inside her body, that nirvanic moment of pleasure when all memories were swept blessedly clean.
“Yeah, that’s right, big boy,” Missy assured him with gleaming eyes. “I get out of here at two thirty. You just sit tight till then, ya hear?”
Vic didn’t respond as she grabbed her tray and left the bar with one last coy glance. The pleasant haze of the beer and Scotch he’d consumed, combined with the promise of a blissful forgetfulness between Missy-the-waitress’s long, strong thighs, had him feeling better than he had in months.
Six months, to be exact.
His euphoria was short-lived, however. It popped like a fragile bubble when he saw who walked into the El Paso between two young toughs who looked like they’d either just gotten off the back of a Harley or wanted everyone to think they had.
The whites of Donny Farrell’s eyes showed up clearly behind a thick fringe of obscuring brown hair when Vic approached their booth.
“What’re you doing here?” Vic demanded tersely. The kid that Meg had insisted he hire on as a stable boy six months ago appeared to be at a loss for words. The long-haired, barrel-chested, goateed idiot sitting next to Donny was having no such problem with speech, however.
“What’s your problem? Who are you to question him about what he does? His fucking long-lost dad?”
“Shut up, Banger,” Donny muttered under his breath.
“No, I’m not his dad. Who’re you? One of his classmates in the tenth grade?” Vic countered levelly.
Banger’s chest expanded so far in indignation that Vic wondered if he was going to squeeze Donny’s skinny body right out of the booth.
“Why you son-of-a—”
“Come on, Donny. I’m taking you home,” Vic stated, calmly cutting off Banger’s tirade.
“Go on,” Banger’s scruffy companion taunted when Donny stood, the kid’s expression mixing defiance and uncertainty in equal measure. “I told Banger you were too much of a pussy to hang out with the big boys.”