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Insatiable (Insatiable #1)

By:J.D. Hawkins

u never to mix business with pleas-"

"Don't say it, Luce. You know how much I-"

"-hate that phrase. Yes, I know."

I breathe, take a look at Luce's chirpy face, and chuckle.

"Ok. So tell me you have a solution," I say.

She purses her lips, nods nonchalantly, and looks at the girders. "I've just arranged for another crane company to supply us, but they're gonna take a day to arrive. Until then, we do it this way, and minimize the setback-"

A whole day with this primitive rope method? "But-"

"And to stop your incessant bitching," she interrupts, "I will take you to lunch, and hopefully get to the bottom of whatever caused this," she gestures at my face, "foul mood. Even though I know very well it is most likely a woman."

I smile. "Say you'll marry me, Luce."

"Only if you promise to divorce me afterwards and make me a rich woman."

Luce takes me to a bistro where we sit on the terrace. She has a knack for finding the best places to eat in the city, and while I usually hate others making decisions for me, I'd trust Luce with pretty much anything. Probably because she's a badass who's never once taken shit from me.

"You know, Luce. One day you're gonna find a guy, settle down, and I'll be left to struggle without you."

She laughs into her iced tea. "One day you'll find a girl, and I'll leave her to struggle with you."

I've known Luce since college. She hated me at first. She was a take-no-prisoners feminist, and I was – well, pretty much the same as I am now. That of course meant she was the ultimate conquest; the golden, unattainable prize. I chased her for months, but we hooked up once, and then something weird happened. Something I still don't really understand – we became friends.

"So who was it last night, Jax?" she says, taking a diet-busting bite out of her slice of pizza. "Blonde, brunette, waitress, Hollywood actress? A green sex alien from the planet Zarg?"

I swallow my pasta and nod. "A gentleman never kisses and tells, Luce."

"Good thing you're not a gentleman then," she says, dabbing her lips daintily. "Seriously though, something happened. I can tell. I wish I couldn't, but Lord help me, I can."

I jab another piece of pasta, say with a knowing grin; "it was the same as any other night," and put the fork in my mouth.

"No, no. I can see it in those blue eyes of yours. That, and the fact that your hair is a mess."

I drop my fork and run a hand through my brown hair. I know Luce's joking, but I like to indulge her. She laughs, and I pretend to look around as if paranoid – and that's when I see the girl from the bar. Ms. Amazing. Superwoman. The one so hot it makes you want to look somewhere else, just so you can look back and get blown away all over again. She's sitting with a guy in a plain suit, his face so bland you could sedate dental patients with it.

Luce notices and turns to see what I'm looking it.

"Really, Jax? You're gonna do this right here, right now? She's got her boyfriend with her! You don't have to prove anything to me, you know. I'm well acquainted with your 'charms'."

"You think that's her boyfriend?" I say, letting my cool drop for a second. Seeing the girl nags me like unfinished business. A challenge.

Luce screws her face up in confusion, looks again, and says: "Why else would she stick out a lunch with a guy who's completely focused on his phone. Look at him. There's only one reason a girl would put up with that."

"That," I say, stabbing my fork towards the couple, "is why I'm not in the best mood today."

"Oh?" I hear mirth in Luce's voice, and damn her for being amused.

I nod, pulling my eyes away from the woman to look at Luce. "I saw her in a club last night."

"I see," Luce says, a mischievous grin growing on her dimpled cheeks, "and you … "

"No. I didn't. She blew me off." I mumble this last part, but Luce isn't fooled for a second.

Luce slams her hand on the table so hard a couple of girls next to us jump around and shoot us quizzical looks. She throws her head back and laughs so hard that if she wasn't a cute girl, she'd look like a supervillain.

"So the great Jax got the brush-off?! Ha! He is mortal after all!"

"Yeah, yeah," I say. Luce's gonna be on this for weeks.

"The girdle-ripping, panty-collecting Casanova of LA is getting old! Losing his touch. It's a downward spiral from here, you know, Jax. Soon you'll be using online dating profiles, going to singles nights, taking friends as plus-ones, and comfort eating in front of bad comedies."

I glower. "I shoulda never told you … "

"Oh but I'm glad you did, Jax! I'm so glad you did!" She cackles like a witch as she waves at the waiter. "Another iced tea please, we're gonna be here a while trying to fix this."

"No need to fix this," I say, standing up from the table.

"Hey, where you going? I'm just having a little fun."

Time to crush that fun.

"Window of opportunity," I say, nodding towards the girl. Luce turns to see her sitting alone now, the guy in the boring suit on his way to the bathroom, still glued to his phone.

Luce raises an eyebrow, brings the straw to her mouth, and says, "Oh this is gonna be good."

I make my way towards the woman's table and slide easily into the newly-emptied chair. Ms. Beautiful looks up, and her face breaks into an incredulous smile.

"Are you stalking me?" I say.

It takes her a moment to get over her surprise. "I was about to ask you the same thing."

"It must be fate. You know, you really should listen when the universe is trying to tell you something."

She puts a little pout on her lips and her eyes sparkle with mischief.

"And what is the universe trying to tell me?"

"That you and I should get together. You know, I'm glad in a way. My mother always told me you can't find good girls in clubs."

"You should have listened to her."

"I should have. And now here you are."

She b