Back in business!!
Excerpt from Made for Breaking...
*There's some language, so....yeah...*
Could he really be this stupid? Drew had always known he wasn’t gifted – hell, he wasn’t even sure he was smart – but was he really so stupid as to find himself in this position?
“A mistake?” he’d asked Lisa afterward, in the moonlight, in the panting silence. And he’d said nothing since. He’d laid her over the hood of a car, without condom, sweet talk, or promise, and had then been mute their whole drive to Double Vision. Now, he watched her serve drinks from a bar stool, and he watched the fine tremors of intensifying anger go dancing across the taut muscles in her arms. She smiled, she even forced a laugh or two for her customers, but underneath her glittery lip gloss and smoke gray eye shadow, she was seething. At least…he thought so. He had no other explanation for the way her face snapped back like a rubber band when she thought no one could see her; her lips thinned and her eyes flashed and she was a little bit terrifying as she pulled glasses and poured shots.
He had to say something.
“Lisa,” he tried as she passed in front of him. When she ignored him, he waited for her to pass back the other way and said, “Lis,” with a pleading note in his voice.
She halted like she didn’t want to – arms still reaching out ahead of her, legs mid-stride and off-balance – and darted him a glance from the corners of her eyes, refusing to give him her full attention. She said nothing.
“Can we talk?” he asked. “Maybe when you go on break?”
In answer, she snatched her apron off, fumbling with the strings and cursing under her breath; she headed for the back hall at a march and Drew slipped off his stool to head after her.
Down the wood-paneled, fluorescent-flickering corridor that led to the exit, the din of the bar dulled to white noise, the music a hot pulse that came up through the floor. Lisa’s angry strut reminded him, for some reason, of a cat, and her dark ponytail whipped as she ducked through the door of the employee locker room, a warning toss of sleek hair that told him to follow at his own risk.
He paused a moment, his casted hand on the doorjamb, and asked himself what he would say. Was he afraid of her? Of what she would expect now that he’d touched her – been inside her? No. There was guilt, and regret, and worry, but there was no fear. And under the others, deep down and fragile, was even a kernel of hope – hope that her skin was still tingling the way his was, that she wanted a chance to try again. Because he was a dumbass prize fighter with nothing but a duffel of clothes to his name, and Lisa Russell was the best thing to happen to him since…ever. And because of that, he had a feeling that, whatever he was to her, it wasn’t good, and didn’t even begin to hedge toward best.
Steeling himself against her eruption, he pushed through the swinging door.
And wasn’t prepared for the scene that greeted him.
Lisa sat on the same long wooden bench where she’d bandaged his hand before, her platform sandals tucked together on the floor, an arm around her middle, thumbnail clenched between her teeth, lashes batting a fast rhythm against her cheeks. In the moment between the door closing and her eyes snatching up to his, guarded and closed, he could have sworn she was about to cry. There were tears in her voice, but not on her face as she launched her offensive.
“Never again,” she said with such force that it catapulted her to her feet, her body rigid with the tension of conviction that crackled through those two words. Her eyes had a wild, animal shine to them, and her straight, white teeth were bared like fangs. “I said – I’ve been saying – that I would never let some guy compromise anything about me ever again!”
Drew hadn’t expected this; he blinked stupidly. “Lisa, I asked you – ”
“Oh, fuck your asking. I knew better. I let you – ” She spun away from him and paced down the length of the bench, little hands balled into fists at her sides.
He sighed. Even worse than having a female with hurt feelings over his silence, he had indignant, don’t-need-a-man Lisa on his hands. He could have apologized for his silence – soothed with empty platitudes – but he had no idea how to fix this, whatever it was. After a long moment of watching her narrow back – and wishing he’d had a chance to see the skin beneath her yellow halter top in warm lamplight – he said, “I’m not going to tell anyone.”
Her head whipped around.
“Remember? You said, ‘tell anyone and I’ll kill you,’ so I wasn’t gonna to say anything. I figured we were gonna pretend it never happened.”
Something went rippling across her face: pain, regret, guilt, something. She pulled in a deep breath and let it out in a rush. “Right.”
“Right,” Drew repeated, studying every twitch of her lashes, waiting for the moment when she let slip what was really bothering her. “So we don’t have to do this” – he gestured between them, at the empty air charged with what they weren’t going to say – “if you don’t want to. We can honest to God pretend nothing happened.” That wasn’t what he wanted, but she did…
Maybe she did. She did, didn’t she…?
Her eyes moved over him, sharp and attentive, assessing. He remembered the breathy sound of his name on her lips in the garage, the seeking way her fingers had probed through his shirt. Her invitation then had been unmistakable then. Now – this new invitation – was unbelievable.
Realization slammed into him: she didn’t want to pretend, she wanted to acknowledge, and she wanted him to be an obnoxious ass about it. She wanted him to stake a claim.
“Yeah,” she said, and blinked hard again. “Yeah, we should do that.” She shook her head. “Sorry I jumped all over you about it.”
She didn’t look at him as she moved to the door, but she hesitated. It was only a second, but it was long enough to confirm his suspicion: never again was sounding like a long damn time all of a sudden.