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One Night of Trouble

By:unknow

need to truly let go couldn’t be ignored. He had to ease it, and in the past, he’d used fighting to do that. He’d heard that people frequently used sex or violence as an outlet for release, as a way to feel alive, and he couldn’t deny that his days as an MMA fighter had certainly soothed the darker, restless part of himself that he usually hid from the world. Sex, on the other hand, didn’t achieve the same result. It had always been more intimate for him, tangled up with love and relationships and all that emotional stuff.

But for some strange reason, the raven-haired woman at the counter had unleashed his carnal, reckless urges. Because suddenly the idea of going home with a stranger had become very, very appealing…

“You gonna take those over to the customer? Or just keep staring at them?”

His head jerked at Sue’s teasing voice. Ignoring his aching cock, he glanced down, realizing that the drinks he’d poured were now sitting on the bar top waiting to be delivered.

“Naah, I’ve got it. Just spaced out for a second.” He plastered on a smile, then carried the drinks over to where the woman was waiting—and staring. Staring hard, in fact, and her plump lips were puckered in the tiniest of frowns.

Unease washed over him, but he tried to ignore it. “Three margaritas and one Coke,” he announced.

She gave a polite smile in return. Very, very polite…so polite it was clearly forced, and his wariness only heightened.

“Thanks,” she said tightly. “How much do I owe you?”

“Eighteen bucks.”

His gaze stayed on her as she dug around in her purse for her wallet. Her body language was as stiff as her voice, a clear indication that she was ticked off about something.

“Here. Keep the change.” She dropped a twenty on the counter, then lifted her head and noticed him staring. “What?” she said irritably.

“You okay there? You look kinda pissed.” His eyes narrowed as a thought occurred to him. “Is anyone giving you a hard time? The crowd’s a little wilder than usual tonight—say the word and I’ll sic one of my bouncers on whoever’s bugging you.”

His concern didn’t spark warmth or gratitude, but more hostility. “I’m just peachy, pal. And FYI—if someone was harassing me, I’d take care of it myself.”

He studied her slim, no taller than five-two frame, his lips twitching in amusement. “Uh-huh. I’m sure you would, angel.”

“I might look small, but trust me, I can kick some serious ass,” she retorted.

She picked up two of the margaritas and took an abrupt step away.

AJ spoke before she could hurry off. “Is it something I said?”

A cloud of annoyance continued to hover over her. “Nope. Thanks for the drinks. I’ll be back in a sec to grab these two. Make sure no one messes with them, okay?”

This time she almost made it three steps before he stopped her. And this time he didn’t do it with words, but by rounding the counter, then leaving it entirely to come to her side.

Her mouth partially opened as she tilted her head to gaze up at him. “What are you doing?”

Rather than answer, he gave a quick shout in the direction of the counter. “Yo! Henry, I’m taking a break.” He picked up the two glasses that remained on the counter.

“Seriously, what are you doing?” she demanded.

“Carrying these drinks back to your table. And…”

The swell of music must have drowned out his words, because she leaned in closer. “What?” she yelled.

A rush of dizziness hit him as her intoxicating scent filled his nostrils. Lord, she smelled good. Like roses in full bloom, with a trace of lavender and a hint of something entirely feminine.

He repeated himself, his tone loud and firm. “And then I plan on figuring out what I did to piss you off.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake. This isn’t Cheers—I’m not going to have a heart-to-heart with a bartender, okay? Go back to work. I can carry my own drinks.”

He ignored her aggravated response. “Where are you sitting?”

She sighed with visible unhappiness, but he wasn’t about to back down. His original intentions of flirting with her had temporarily been sidelined. Right now he was more interested in finding out what he’d done to put that frown on her sexy mouth. He had no doubt that this was wholly personal—the way she was scowling at him made it clear she was pissed off at him.

Without a word, she set off in the other direction, threading through the crowd that packed the club like sardines. AJ stayed hot on her heels, inhaling her delicious fragrance with each breath. How was it that in a room permeated with perfume, cologne, and sweat, he only seemed to be breathing in her?

They reached one of the tall tables spanning the back wall, and once they’d set the drinks down, his frowning pixie quickly raised the Coke to her lips, sucking hard on the straw while avoiding his eyes.

AJ watched her drink the soda, thoughtful. “So you’re the Coke of the bunch. Wasn’t expecting that.”

She drained half the glass before answering in a terse voice. “I’m the DD.” Then, ignoring him completely, she turned to the dance floor and waved at someone he couldn’t see. She gestured to the margaritas, then made a cigarette-smoking motion with her hand and pointed to the side exit.

AJ glimpsed a slender blonde emerging from the dance floor to tend to the drinks, but the second he’d turned his head, the woman at his side tried to make her escape.

“Thanks for bringing the drinks. Have a good night.” Her words came out in a rush.

She darted away, but AJ was equally fast, trailing after her with ease. “Where are you running off to?”

“I need some fresh air. It’s hot in here.”

Okay, he was totally treading into stalker territory, yet he couldn’t stop himself from following her toward the exit and right out the door.

Silence greeted them in the alley between Sin and the adjacent building, broken by the occasional car honk or tire squeal from the main road beyond them. The cool spring breeze brushed over his bare arms, but he didn’t mind the chill.

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