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“Women!” Marcel Isaac tipped the brown bottle to his lips and took a large gulp of the liquid in it. The bitter brew burned its way down his throat, mimicking the angry emotions swirling inside him. “You can’t trust them as far as you can throw them.”
“No, you can’t,” his twin brother, Sebastien offered as he maneuvered the car through night traffic.
Marcel took another swig of his beer. “I handed in my player card for her. No, I handed in the whole damn deck.”
“True,” Sebastien agreed.
“I designed and built her a house. A house. In Atlanta. Do you know how much it costs to build a house here?” Marcel complained. “Then she skips town with her photographer. Who does that?”
“Sophie,” Sebastien offered helpfully.
“Sophie.” Saying her name, sent a stab of pain through Marcel. “I don’t get what she saw in that dude. Was it the bike shorts? Cause if she wants I can wear them too and show everyone my dick print.”
“No one wants to see your di- Fuck,” Sebastien cussed as he swerved to the right. A car blared past them at full speed and with all its lights on. He stuck his head out the window and shouted at the passing car. “Go back to driving school.”
When he turned back, Marcel glared at him. “You’re not even listening to me.”
“You’re just like Sophie,” Marcel said. “She never listened to me either.”
Here he was mourning the loss of a three year relationship, and this clown couldn’t even stop looking at the road long enough to listen to him. Wow! With brothers like these who needed enemies?
“Somebody shut him up,” Tay, Marcel’s best-friend, whined from the backseat. “If I hear another word about that damn woman, I’ll open this door and throw myself into traffic.”
“Chill out.” Sebastien defended his twin, “He’s just venting.”
“No, he’s being a bitch.” Tay smacked Marcel’s shoulder. “Ey, Weeping Beauty, shut it.”
Marcel ignored him. “I can’t live in that big house all by myself. Seb, will you and Rasheeda come live with me?”
“No.” Sebastien laughed. “We’re good.”
“Whose bright idea was it to get him drunk again?” Tay complained.
“Yours,” Sebastien reminded him.
“I’m not drunk. I’m tipsy,” Marcel corrected. A man was allowed to get tipsy on the day after his fiancée abandoned him. He tipped the bottle to his lips but before he could drink, Tay reached between their seats and snatched it. Marcel swiveled in his seat, yelling, “Hey.”
“That’s it.” Tay tossed the bottle out through his window. “Seb, turn the car. We’re taking this fool back to the club to get back his player card. The only way to get over a woman is to get under another one, or behind her, or on top – Shit, I don’t know what his preference is. But once he’s balls deep in some other woman, Sophie will be nothing but a distant memory.”
“I can’t turn. We’re in the middle of the highway,” said Sebastien, “and Marcel isn’t interested in trolling for women.”
“Marcel.” Tay tapped his shoulder. “Do you want a woman?”
Marcel looked up at the car’s ceiling and considered the question – or tried to. But his brain was a cloudy mess incapable of any clear thought so he shrugged. “Sure.”
“My man.” Tay patted Marcel’s shoulder before turning to Sebastien. “Club Red Hood.”
“Man, it’s almost midnight,” Sebastien complained. “It’s too late to be running around.”
“What? Did Rasheeda give you a curfew, Mr. Pussy Whipped?” Tay taunted.
Sebastien glared at him through the rearview mirror. “You’re just lucky my hands are on the wheel, otherwise…”
The mention of Sebastien’s wife reminded Marcel of Sophie, hitting him with the irrepressible urge to sing, “I’d have caught a greeenade for her.”
Tay growled, “Make a fucking u-turn, Seb.”
Twenty minutes later, the three men settled around one of the tables at Club Red Hood. Marcel sipped on a bottle of water and nodded his head in time to the music thumping around them. The smooth beats, the strobe lights, the sea of people gyrating on the dance-floor; it was like a shot of adrenalin, giving him a nice buzz.
Now that he was here, he could see the sense in Tay’s plan. It’d been two months since he’d gotten laid. In those two months Sophie had claimed headaches, periods, exhaustion, among other excuses to avoid lovemaking. He’d accepted all of them, too in love to come to the most logical conclusion – she was sleeping with someone else.
Yeah! He’d show Sophie. He’d show her that he was good without her. He was taking back his player card tonight; getting himself a new woman. Maybe he’d even take a selfie with a woman and post it on Facebook. And if Sophie saw the picture…well, my bad.
It didn’t take long for women from the nearby tables to notice the three men. Judging from the flirtatious looks being sent their way, finding a woman for Marcel wouldn’t be that hard.
“What about that one?” Tay pointed to a big-breasted blonde seated two tables from them. Her tight skirt was so short her white panties were visible. She smiled, kissed her palm and blew a kiss their way.
Marcel shook his head. “Too thirsty.”
“I hear that,” Tay agreed. He gestured toward a raven-haired woman dancing alone on the dance-floor. “Check that.”
Marcel whistled appreciatively, taking in the woman’s curvy figure emphasized by her tight crop-top and leggings. “I could work with her.”
“You don’t have enough game for even half of that woman,” Sebastien scoffed.
“I’ve got game,” Marcel protested.
“He’s a hater,” Tay dismissed. Thumping Marcel’s back hard, he urged, “Go get her, Player.”
Marcel rose to his feet. Immediately a wave of dizziness hit him and he swayed. Hm! Apparently he wasn’t as sober as he thought.
Sebastien laughed. “You’ll fall before you even reach the dance-floor.”
“No, I’m won’t.” Marcel blinked to clear his vision and stayed still for a couple of seconds to find his center of gravity. Once he was steady, he took one step forward. He didn’t fall. Took another step and still didn’t fall. Another step…
See, he was not drunk.
People bumped into him as he made his way onto the crowded dance-floor. But Marcel pushed on, his eyes on his target. Miss Raven-hair wasn’t dancing alone for lack of willing partners. Men kept coming close to her and whispering in her ear, but each time she shook her head and skirted away from them.
Bolstered by liquid courage Marcel edged closer, confident that he could succeed where other men had failed. The nearer he got to her, the heavier the crowd got and the louder the music seemed. Marcel pushed past the steady stream of gyrating dancers intent on reaching Miss Raven-hair.
He was two feet from her when another woman stepped in front of him. Marcel wasn’t sure what happened; wasn’t sure whether she tripped or someone pushed her. But the woman suddenly pitched backwards.
Instinctively, he reached out to catch her. He grabbed her upper arm and caught her around the waist just as she stumbled into his arms. Her back pressing to his front, she clasped her hand around his wrist to steady herself. Her sweet strawberry candy scent was the first thing he noticed after the collision, then how toned her stomach was beneath his fingers.
He looked downwards only for his gaze to clash with the brightest, most orange hair he’d ever seen. Hell! He wasn’t even sure that shade of orange could be found on the color wheel. It glowed like a fireflies butt. So mesmerized was he with the hair that he forgot all about the woman in his arms. Until she turned her head.
Beautiful eyes. Long-lashed, wide and liquid brown, they were the kind of eyes a man sank into and never climbed out of. Then she smiled at him and his heart started to pitter patter as did the rest of his body. His eyes grazed over her lips, her lush lips. Their stark red contrasted with her smooth caramel complexion, emphasizing their sexy thickness. They parted and over the loud music, she mimed, “Sorry.”
“No problem,” he returned, aware of the subtle brush of her ass against him as she steadied herself and straightened to her full height. His arms fell away from her once she was firmly on her feet.
Miss Orange moved away, offering him a tantalizing glimpse of her voluptuous ass encased in a snug purple dress. He expected her to keep moving away but instead she turned to face him with the smile still lingering on her lips. The tattoo running from the side of her neck to the middle of her upper arm flashed with her movements. But Marcel was too busy drooling at the rest of her body to linger on it.
It must’ve been thanksgiving or some other holiday when this woman was created because she was eye-candy personified. Her dress’s plunging neckline dipped dangerously between ample breasts to stop an inch above her navel. The fabric cinched in at her waist to flare out over generous hips and stop a few inches short of her knees.
She had a body made for loving.
Then she started dancing, and Marcel almost had a heart attack. The way she rolled her hips, the way she swayed to the music’s hypnotic beat… Thirty three was too young to die, but Marcel would’ve gladly gone six-feet under if Miss Orange agreed to dance on his grave.
The people gyrating around them faded as all of his senses homed in on her, watched her. His body stirred, mesmerized by the sensual winding of her body to the music’s deep base. It was as if she had him on an invisible tether, drawing him to her. He didn’t even realize that he was moving until he was a hair’s breath away from her. One minute he was a foot from her, the next he was slipping an arm around her waist. She came into his arms smoothly, never ceasing her seductive dance as she wound an arm around his neck.
Their eyes locked and their bodies met.
Her breasts to his chest, her thighs to his.
The heated contact was like striking a match in a room soaked in gasoline. Desire’s fire flared between them. It was in the flames in her eyes as she stared up at him and the way she moistened her lips. It was in the provocative sway of her body against his and his cock’s inevitable reaction to her teasing.
When he lowered his gaze between them, he was treated to a mouth-watering view of her fleshy tits barely held in by her dress. The succulent orbs were obviously more than a handful but by their slight sway, it was obvious she wasn’t wearing a bra. The thought that a slight push of the fabric aside could give him a delicious view of her nipples had his erection lurching in excitement. It was obvious she was turned on too by how the pebbled tips stuck out against the fabric.
The flames between them jumped higher when she turned in his arms and pushed her ass into his groin. When she started to grind on him, Marcel lowered his hands to her hips and squeezed.
If he was a teenager he would’ve come in his pants just from the way she was pumping her ass up and down his crotch. His dick twitched at her torturous movements, reveled in the sensual sway of her buttocks against him. He moved one hand from her hip and set it on her torso, both to keep her firmly in place and to seal her closer to him. The result was that the underside of her juicy tits pressed against his arm further agitating his senses.
His gaze scoured over her as she tempted him; took in her closed eyes, the way she pushed the orange hair to one side of her shoulders. She tilted her neck, flashing the string of words inked there. Though he couldn’t make out words, Marcel had the sudden urge to lick them. Maybe if he was sober he would’ve rethought that urge but alcohol and his libido had him firmly in their grip. He bent his head and licked her neck.
A moan rumbled in her throat when he rasped his tongue over her skin. So he did it again, and this time added a kiss. Her fingers clasped over his wrist when he added a suckle. His response was to suckle harder on her neck and to thrust his rock hard erection against her. She in turn ground her ass harder against him. They were practically fucking with their clothes on.
Then it stopped.
Just like that, with no warning, she moved away.
One second the woman was in his arms and the next she was walking away. She didn’t even look back at him as she made her way off the dance-floor. Confused, Marcel watched her leave, but his inaction lasted for only for a moment. Within seconds, his hunter’s instincts kicked in and he followed her. Her firm ass swished as she edged between tables, like a homing signal calling him and Marcel’s steps sped up.
He was just about to reach her when she stopped at a table. He came to a screeching halt when he saw the light-skinned man seated at the table. Marcel’s heart plunged at the smile she gave the man when he pulled out a seat for her.
This is why Marcel didn’t trust women. Her orange hair, tattoos and barely there dress should’ve warned him that she was the wild type. But with the way she was grinding on him, who could blame him for thinking she was single?
She was just like Sophie. Disloyal to the core.
Gritting his teeth, Marcel turned on his heels and headed back to his table.
* * * * *
“WOW. REALLY?” OLIVIA Armstead’s male companion shook his head. “The fake stumble and grind? The thirst is real.”
“What?” Olivia grinned as she sat down. “That man is so fine I almost started a praise session on the dance-floor when I saw him. Did you see those lips? Thirst traps, Lex, thirst traps.”
Her body was still buzzing from the way the man had set those lips on her and the strength in his muscular arms as he’d held her close. The memory his hard cock pushing into her ass was enough to make her pussy pulse in hunger.
Lex stared over her shoulder. “You’re right. He’s fine. I could do him.”
Olivia shot him glare. “Hands off.”
“Oh, relax, the way that man was humping you on that dance-floor it’s obvious he’s not my type.” Still looking beyond her, Lex sighed. “His friend though…”
Mesmerized by the twins, Olivia had barely noticed the friend. Hell, all she remembered was that he wasn’t too bad on the eyes either and was more muscular but a shade lighter than the twins. Turning her attention back to Thirst Trap, she asked, “Is he coming this way?”
Lex shook his head. “No, he’s headed back towards their table.”
Olivia’s grin fell. “He’s supposed to follow me.”
“I guess now we know the stumble and grind doesn’t work.” Lex suggested, “Why don’t you just go to his table and offer to buy him a drink?”
“Your world is just rainbows and bunnies, isn’t it?” Olivia offered him a pitying look. “Let me teach you something about men-”
“You realize I’m a man, right?” Lexie cut in with an amused raise of his eyebrows.
Olivia waved away that assertion as she continued, “Men like to hunt. You need to make him chase you, be subtle. Buying Thirst Trap a drink would be like throwing myself in his lap and whimpering ‘take me now’.”
“If what you did on the dance-floor is being subtle-” Lex sipped his drink. “-then a spade is a big spoon.”
“Why do I even bother training you?” Olivia shook her head and made clucking noises. “Watch! In a couple of minutes he’ll come to our table and offer to buy me a drink.”
A couple of minutes passed, then another couple, but Thirst Trap didn’t come to their table.
“May I should buy you a drink,” Lex teased. He laughed when Olivia flipped him the bird. Glancing over her shoulder he said, “He’s watching you though.”
“Is he?” Olivia sat up and straightened her shoulders waiting for Thirst Trap to make his move. When someone touched her shoulder, she offered Lex a triumphant grin before swiveling in her seat with a ready smile.
Her smile fell like a rock in water when she came face to face with a Lionel Richie look-alike. His oily jehri curls and big, white teeth gleamed as he started, “Hey pretty lady, can I-”
“No,” Olivia cut Mr. Jehri off before turning in her seat only to find Lex grinning knowingly. Cutting her eyes at him, she snapped, “Shut up.”
Lex laughed and took another gulp of his beer.
A couple minutes more and Thirst Trap still wasn’t at their table. Olivia couldn’t understand why. She’d wetted his appetite. Any healthy heterosexual male would be trying to get to the buffet table by now. Trying to be subtle, she turned slightly in her seat and glanced towards his table.
Oh, he was looking at her all right. Actually, more like his hooded eyes were burning into her. They were like pinpricks on her skin, roaming over her in a blatant stare. Being the subject of his unwavering attention was dizzying. If she was a drinker, Olivia would’ve thought she was buzzed.
Her awareness of her surroundings melted as she took in his wholly masculine presence. From the denim shirt folded at the elbow to reveal his brawny arms, to his long legs clad in black slacks that clung to his trunk-like thighs. Swallowing hard at the sudden heat that flared in her body, she turned her gaze back upwards past those sexy lips to his dark eyes. She held his gaze for a long moment, mesmerized.
Thirst Trap broke their eye-contact to say something to his friend, breaking the spell he had over her. Olivia snapped back to reality and quickly turned back to face Lex.
Lex offered her an eyebrow raise. “Has it occurred to you that he hasn’t come here because I’m with you? Maybe he thinks I’m your man.”
Olivia brow wrinkled in confusion. “But you’re gay.”
“It’s not written on my forehead,” Lex quipped, sarcasm evident in his voice. At five foot nine, tennis-player muscular, and dressed in a gray shirt and white slacks, there was nothing effeminate about Lex. But Olivia was so used to seeing him as gay that she assumed it was obvious to everyone else.
Tilting her neck, she observed him. “I guess.”
“You guess?” Lex chuckled. “Woman, you stalked me for two months and you didn’t know. If I hadn’t broken it to you, you’d still be chasing me around town.”
“I wasn’t stalking you,” Olivia protested. “I thought we were dating.”
Lex shot her a disbelieving look. “Which part of going to male strip clubs together tells you that we were dating?”
“I thought you were adventu-” Olivia cut herself off and took a deep breath. “You know what? You’re right. He probably thinks that I’m with you.” She pushed her chair back and stood.
“Where’re you going?” asked Lex.
“To the restrooms.” Olivia fixed her tight dress over her hips, swaying slightly with her movements. Hopefully, Thirst Trap was watching her show and enjoying it. To Lex, she added, “I want to give him a chance to approach me without you cock-blocking.”
Five minutes later, she stood in front of the gilded mirror in the restroom counting down the minutes. Ten minutes. She’d give Thirst Trap ten minutes to get off his ass and wait for her outside the restroom. If he didn’t come, she was marching right up to their table and offering to buy him a drink.
Thirsty? Maybe. But you had to see those lips to judge her.
Thinking about those lips on hers, kissing their way down her body, between her thighs… Woooo! Olivia fanned herself at the sudden of flash of heat that soared through her. One night with those lips and she was sure she’d finally see heaven. In the morning, she’d send him back on his way.
One-night stands had never been Olivia’s thing, well not until recently. Lately, she’d had a run of bad luck with men. First, there was Lex turned out to be gayer than a gay parade. Then there was Donny, the thug who conned her out of three hundred dollars before he run off with her TV. James with the mommy issues…
Ugh! She was giving relationships a break until her luck turned. However, her hormones weren’t on break. A girl had needs and she’d bet Thirst Trap was amazing at fixing needs. From what she’d felt when they’d danced, it was obvious he had the right-sized tools.
While she waited for the ten minutes to elapse, she fished a comb from her purse and ran it through her orange wig. She plumped her lips and run some more lipstick over them before passing her mascara brush over her eyelashes. By the time she was done primping, Thirst Trap’s time had elapsed. She smoothed her dress down her thighs, patted and lifted the girls so they sat right on her chest then exited the restroom.
The moment she opened the door she ran straight into him.
No, not Thirst Trap.
His friend. The one she’d barely noticed.
He was leaning back against the wall, his hands tucked into his pocket. The moment he sighted her, he straightened from the wall. From his grin and the excited glint in his eyes as they scoured a path down her body, it was obvious he wasn’t here to escort Olivia to his friend.
He held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Tay.”
5 MONTHS LATER
The Mediterranean style bungalow stood tall and proud beyond the white rail gates. All white concrete walls, floor to ceiling windows and a low roofline, there was no doubt that it was a breathtaking piece of architecture.
Olivia’s luminous green Nismo hummed as she pulled up in front of the gates. Even as she reached out to punch the codes into the security box, she was aware of the security camera following her every action.
He was watching her.
That knowledge was enough to irritate Olivia. Who did the man think he was? Christian Gray? Stalking her with his camera. He probably thought it was sexy too. Ugh!
The gates swung open and closed smoothly behind her as she followed the drive into the entry courtyard and parked behind Marcel’s gray Lexus SUV. After adding another coat of lip-gloss to her lips, she ran her fingers through the riotous mass of curls that called themselves her hair. A glance in the rearview mirror revealed that she looked good for a fight.
“He’d better not mess with me today,” she murmured as she popped her lips and reached for her purse. Once out of her car, she tugged her black crop-top a little lower down her torso and adjusted her screaming pink skinny jeans before starting toward the house.
Click! Click! Click!
Her black and yellow stilettos clicked on the concrete path as she walked. At the door, she pushed the doorbell and waited for him to open up. He took his sweet time getting to the door; kept her waiting for five whole minutes. As if he hadn’t seen her coming through his stalker camera.
Oh, Marcel had the wrong woman. If he thought he could keep her waiting like one of his floozies then he was due for some new thoughts. She pressed the doorbell harder. Buzz! Buzz! Buuuzzzz!
The door swung open to reveal a naked Marcel.
Okay, naked was an overstatement. He was wearing a pair or red basketball shorts – and nothing else. Like the house, Marcel was a gorgeous piece of architecture. Broad shoulders, silky smooth dark skin and rock hard abs, he was built to be admired. It was really too bad that the inside didn’t match the outside.
“This isn’t your mama’s house.” Marcel glared at her. His eyes scoured a heated path down her body lingering on her breasts and hips. If he were any other man, Olivia would’ve thought he was appreciating her assets. With Marcel, she knew better. He confirmed her assumption when his lip curled in a sneer. “Still dressing like a color-blind stripper?”
“Still looking like an emaciated beanpole! Move.” Olivia clicked her tongue as she pressed a palm to his chest and pushed him away from the door. “And put some damn clothes on.”
“I’ll wear whatever the hell I want,” he growled but moved out of the way anyway. “What are you doing here, Medusa?”
Before she could answer, there was a sudden pattering of feet and a dog emerged. Tongue out and tail wagging madly, the canine rushed toward Olivia. She crouched low for an embrace.
“Hey Piggy Wiggy,” she clucked lovingly, burying her face into its brown fur. “How are you, Piggy? Happy to see mama?”
The cheerful dog licked her face then rolled to his back. She complied with his unspoken request and run her fingers on his tummy. “Good boy. Good boy.”
“Pig,” Marcel ordered, “stand.”
The dog immediately rolled to its front and stood.
“Get out of here,” Marcel commanded. Pig offered him a sorrowful look before trotting away.
“You are such a mitch.” Olivia glared at him as she straightened to her full height.
“Tay isn’t here.” Marcel gestured to the still open door. “So you can leave.”
“I know Tay isn’t here,” Olivia tossed over her shoulder as she clicked her way to the kitchen and straight for the fridge. Did Marcel honestly think she’d come here without finding out if Tay was on his way? The last thing she wanted to do was spend more time than she had to with this asshole.
“Get out of my fridge,” Marcel called out behind her. Without turning she flipped him the bird then continued rummaging through the fridge. “Wow, really, this is all you got?” She shook her head at the lone loaf of bread, two eggs and four six-packs of beer in the fridge. “Bread and beer?”
“Don’t you have your own fridge to criticize?” Marcel snapped, “Better yet go eat from it. This isn’t a restaurant.”
“That we agree on. This is more like the garbage bin behind the restaurant,” Olivia mocked even as she extracted the bread and one egg from the fridge. She expected Marcel to leave, instead he settled on one of the stools by the island. His gaze burned into her back as she moved around the kitchen preparing her sandwich. Ten minutes later, her egg sandwich was ready. She bit into the succulent meal.
“Are you serious?” Marcel’s strident tone cut into her enjoyment of her meal. “I’m right here. You see me, right?”
Olivia gave him her wide-eyed ‘so?’ stare.
“This is my kitchen. How can you cook and not even make me something?”
This man! Olivia scoffed, “Are you lame? Make your own damn-”
She never got to finish the sentence because a voice trilled from outside the kitchen. “Maaarcel, are you making dinner? You sweet man.” A tall dark-skinned woman in a skimpy red lingerie set emerged behind the voice. She came to a startled stop when she saw Olivia. “Oh, hi.”
“Hi.” Olivia assessed the woman. That bra was the prettiest thing she’d ever seen. Would it be too forward to ask her where she’d bought it?
“I didn’t know Marcel was having any more guests over.”
“He’s not.” Olivia shook her head. “I’m not his guest.”
“She’s not my guest,” Marcel added with an emphatic shake of his head.
“Oh!” The woman looked askance between Olivia and Marcel, obviously sensing the tension between them.
Marcel walked to her and slipped his arm around her waist. “Patricia, this is-”
“Priscilla.” The woman shot him a glare.
Olivia bit her lip to keep from bursting into laughter. Why was she not surprised that Marcel couldn’t even remember the name of his paramour? Hoping that Priscilla would tell him off or better yet slap him, Olivia slid onto a stool and prepared to watch the fireworks.
“My bad.” He shot her a seductive smile. “Priscilla.”
The woman melted like ice-cream in a hot oven. Olivia’s fireworks dreams died a sad death when Priscilla pressed the side of her body to his and smiled up at Marcel. “It’s okay, sweetie.”
Sweetie? Yuck! Was Olivia the only woman immune to Marcel? She almost threw her sandwich at the sickening couple. Marcel shot Olivia a wicked grin before kissing Priscilla. Sneering, she lowered her gaze back to her meal. It tasted like sawdust now but she kept eating, unwilling to show Marcel that he’d ruined her appetite.
She was sticking another piece of the sandwich into her mouth when another woman, also in skimpy lingerie, walked into the room.
Olivia couldn’t help her surprised, “Oookay.”
“I’ve been waiting for you two,” Miss Lingerie the Second berated Marcel and Priscilla. “You left me alone in the bed in the bedroom.”
“Sorry.” They drew her into their little gag-inducing circle of love.
Olivia stared in open-mouthed shock as they traded kisses. Who’da thunk? Marcel was such an asshole she couldn’t understand how he’d pulled one woman, let alone two. There was no way he had game for a threesome. Either drugs were involved or money was changing hands.
Note to self: Tease Asshole about being so thirsty he needs to hire escorts.
Marcel slung his arm around his two ladybirds. “Let’s go finish this in the bedroom.”
“Of course.” The women giggled in concert.
Marcel guided them out of the kitchen. As they left, he tossed Olivia a, “Lock the door when you leave, Jezebel.”
Her lips parted to give him a set down but by the time she thought of something mean to say, he was gone. Gah! She hated when he had the last word.
It hadn’t always been like this with them, at least not on her part. That night at the club, Tay had invited her to their table. Seeing it as an opportunity to get closer to Marcel, she’d gone along. But all night, Marcel had determinedly ignored her while Tay and Sebastien did their best to entertain her. When he wasn’t ignoring her, Marcel was giving her attitude and being rude.
By the end of the night, Olivia was over him.
She’d given Tay her number on a fluke. After seeing who he was friends with she didn’t expect him to call again, but he did. They started hanging out and one thing led to another. After all her relationships fails, Tay was a breath of fresh air. No mother had attacked her yet, he was straight as straight could be, a lawyer instead of a criminal…
What more could a girl want? Oh, yes! For him not to be housemates with her nemesis. As luck would have it, that was Tay’s one fault. He and Marcel were housemates. Oh joy!
Every single time she came to see Tay, she had to deal with Marcel’s stupid face and his stupid comments. Olivia didn’t know how she’d lasted this long without punching him in the mouth. The only silver lining was that her presence irritated him as much as his did her. Every meeting was an opportunity to pick on him annoy him further.
Petty? Childish? Schoolroom?
Whatever! He started it first.
“Piggy, where are you?” Olivia called out as she emerged from the kitchen to the living room. Marcel’s dog emerged from wherever he’d hidden at his master’s command and padded into the living room. She patted the space next to her on the couch. “Here boy.”
Pig happily hopped onto the couch and set his head on her lap. It gave her perverse pleasure that the dog loved her despite Marcel’s every effort to thwart their ‘relationship’. Olivia smiled as she stroked the dog’s head and muttered inanities to him.
One hour later, Tay still hadn’t arrived. Olivia tried to call him but was sent straight to voicemail. She left him a message. “Honey, where are you? It’s been an hour. You said you’d be here in thirty minutes.”
Two hours later and still there was no sign of Tay. She left him another message. “Tay, where are you? You know I can’t stand being here alone with Marcel.”
Marcel and his girls were still in his room. Really? She’d pegged him for a one minute man – five minutes maximum. What were they doing in there? Olivia arched her neck trying to hear anything. She was rewarded with giggles and squeals.
“Yuck,” she gagged.
“Woof,” Pig agreed.
Three hours later and Tay still hadn’t arrived. This was getting ridiculous. He couldn’t even call her? For a moment, Olivia toyed with the idea that something might’ve happened to her boyfriend but she quickly discarded it. This wasn’t the first time he’d kept her waiting. He was probably buried in legal paperwork with his phone switched off, again.
Olivia would’ve waited longer, but she didn’t want Marcel to find her still here, all alone. He’d burst into song and dance about how she’d been stood up. Again.
Heading to the front door, she left Tay another voicemail. “I got tired of waiting. Don’t even bother coming to my place.”
She only noticed that Pig had followed when she opened the door. She offered the dog a contemplative look. Marcel would hate it if she went home with Pig. Opening the door wider, she smiled. “Come on, Piggy. We’re having a sleep over.”
She intended to head home but halfway there, Lex called her. “Where are you?”
“Heading to my place.”
“Tay stood you up again?” Lex asked. Olivia’s silence was answer enough. He sighed then said, “Come over to Thane’s. He’s having a pool party.”
“I don’t want a pity party.”
“It’s not a pity party. It’s a ‘save me’ party,” Lex corrected. “Liv, I’m surrounded by hungry men with no shame in their game. I’ve been groped twice and someone just tried to pull down my trunks while I was in the pool. Save me.”
Olivia laughed. “I don’t even have a swimsuit.”
“Your bra and panties are okay,” Lex assured her. “This crowd won’t notice.”
“I’ve got Pig with me.”
“Marcel will kill you one of these days.” Lex laughed then added, “Bring him too. He can act like our guard dog. Believe me we’ll need it.”
Fifteen minutes later and Olivia found herself at Thane’s party. And a party it was. The music was amazing as was the food set on tables around the pool. Pig was an instant hit. The moment, he jumped into the pool, he was surrounded by party goers eager to pat him.
“Tay’s not good enough for you,” Lex said as he and Olivia sat by the edge of the pool. “You need a man who values you enough to show up when he says he will.”
“He’s a good guy.” Olivia paddled her feet in the water. “He’s just a workaholic.”
“I’m the last person who’d knock a workaholic.” Lex paused to pick a chicken radish hors d’oeuvre from a passing server’s tray. “But if he’s so into his work why did he get into a relationship? Either he’s in love with his job or he’s in love with you.”
But that was the problem. Olivia wasn’t even sure if Tay loved her. He’d said the words a couple of times but it was when they were about to have or in the midst of sex. Knowing better than to trust anything a man said when he was in the throes of passion, she hadn’t said the words back. She wouldn’t put herself out there until she was sure he was in it for the long haul.
“You need to have the talk,” Lex said. “Ask him where your relationship is going and get a firm commitment that he’s not just stringing you along.”
It was easy for Lex to say that. He wasn’t the one in love. An action that sounded so logical for him had the potential to destroy any chances of a real relationship with Tay and hurt her. Giving Tay an ultimatum was like playing Russian roulette and hoping that when you pulled the trigger there’d be no bullet in the chamber. He might give her the commitment she wanted, or he might end their relationship.
Was she willing to risk that? She asked Lex, “What if he runs?”
Lex shrugged. “Then he wasn’t meant to stay anyway.”
Though it was hard to admit it, Lex was right. She needed to know where she and Tay stood. Going along for the ride and hoping that he’d eventually step up his game was tantamount to putting a kettle on a stove but not lighting the stove. If she wanted Tay to start thinking of the future, she needed to light a fire under that kettle.
Resolved to have the talk with Tay as soon as she next saw him, she turned back to the party. However, she couldn’t enjoy it because her mind kept circling back to Tay. Why hadn’t he called? Or even sent a message.
The only messages on her phone were the four Marcel had sent:
I know you took him
Bring back my dog.
Keep playing with me
He sounded pissed off. Olivia chuckled. At this rate, she’d end up keeping Pig for the whole weekend.
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