Cocky Fiance(8)

By: T.L. Smith & Melissa Jane


He shook his head as we walked out.

“Crash in the spare room,” he replied.

I ignored him, wanting to walk back to my bed already before we’d even left.





Chapter 4


Hawk





The same crowd was here. A group of men who’d grown up together through college and partied hard as fraternity brothers. Now they were all working various jobs, as hotshot lawyers, businessmen, or thinking of ways to revolutionize their family business.

And among them were an equal number of women, some from the same Sorority house, others newly acquired through business relationships. The party was in full swing, and Britta was nowhere to be seen. In fact, neither was Slate.

The host was Jarod Thickle, a former frat brother, who still lived the bachelor life, but in his loft overlooking the better half of New York. Jarod worked at his father’s law firm, yet his partying lifestyle would always prevent him from making partner or being equal share in the family business. He took his father’s disappointment and vented through partying, too stupid to realize the vicious cycle.

Stupid or not, he put on a good party.

“Hawk Carnage?” came an unfamiliar voice. “Is that you?”

I turned away from the city view off the balcony and faced a woman who stood to stare wide-eyed at me. She was tall and leggy but a good head shorter than me. With her curves and red hair, she reminded me of the Jessica Rabbit sort. Sultry and fully flirtatious. The good-time girl who’d been every man’s fantasy, but certainly not marriage material. She had high cheekbones and Angelina Jolie lips, and as she talked she knew men would be thinking about them. She was the type of woman I’d both like to bed and avoid. She also seemed slightly excited to stumble upon me.

“Yes,” I confirmed. Before I had the chance to ask her name, although it seemed I should have remembered, the strange woman continued, “I haven’t seen you in forever, stranger.”

“I know, it’s been a while,” I replied, still drawing a blank.

Her sultry eyes cast a languid glance down the length of my body before meeting my gaze once more. “You haven’t changed a bit,” she said, taking a step closer, a well-manicured hand resting on my arm. “And I see you’ve been working out.”

“Always.”

“I’ve just bought a new apartment a few blocks away. Perhaps I can show it to you later?”

As her hand slid over my chest, I saw a flash of color that belonged to someone else. I moved to look past a group of people in the way, mystery woman following my gaze.

“Or...” she continued hoping to gain my attention, “... we could find a quiet spot here.”

And there it was again, the flash of color before her face came into view.

There, inside the loft, having just arrived and looking unimpressed, was Britta Valentino.

We locked eyes, and she bit her lip.

Damn her.

“Excuse me,” I said, gently removing the woman’s hand.

Her perfect pout widened in shock at the abrupt dismissal.

Crossing the patio, I walked inside, fielding off those wanting conversation. I was only ten steps away when Jarod Thickle approached Britta from behind, startling her. She looked at me, then back at him, his arm wrapping around her waist before pulling her into the dense crowd.

One minute she was there, the next gone.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

A hand clutched mine, and I turned to see the mystery woman with her sculptured furrowed brows.

“I don’t—”

“Perhaps this will make you remember.”

She clutched my face, stood on her toes and pulled me into a kiss. Although she was a great kisser, it certainly wasn’t ringing any familiar bells. Wrapping my fingers around her tiny wrists, I pulled her hands free.

“I’m sorry,” I said, before once more leaving her side. She was the type not used to rejection. In fact, most would call me insane for walking away.

Wading through the crowd which was now starting to become loose as the tequila shots were passed around every fifteen minutes, I went in search of Britta who had seemingly vanished.

A familiar voice sounded over the music, and I cut a path to Slate who was holding the attention of eight sets of ears as he retold a story. Slate was a natural-born storyteller because he loved being around people. It was where he thrived. Me, on the other hand, gave no fucks about anyone except for those I called family. And he just happened to be one of them.

His attentive crowd broke into hysterics at the joke I just missed, and then they each raised their red cups in cheers. Gripping his upper arm, I pulled him to the side. Slate was still smiling, but when he saw my face, he quickly grew serious.

“What’s up, bro?”