More Than Crave You(9)

By: Shayla Black


“He’s not that bad.”

Nia raises a skeptical brow. “Uh-huh.”

“Oh, my god. Stop whacking your weenie and open the damn door.” Sebastian pounds on the wood.

“Shut up,” I call back, a smile lurking at the corners of my lips. “I’ll open it when I’m ready to.”

“Why don’t I save you the trouble?” She grasps the knob and turns, then yanks the door open. “Hi, Bas. Glad to see you’re behaving like your usual charming self.”

“Nia…” One of my best friends for the last decade says her name like she’s a welcome surprise. “I didn’t know you were here, especially so late.”

“I’m helping him.”

“Yeah? I can think of a few ways you could do that,” Bas drawls suggestively.

Despite the fact he’s not thinking anything different than I did a minute ago, he said it out loud. I find his suggestion disrespectful, out of line. Most likely, so does Nia. I won’t tolerate it.

“Get your mind out of the gutter,” I snap and shove him against the wall, teeth bared. “And shut. Up.”

Bas blinks and raises his hands in surrender. “Hey, I was teasing. I didn’t mean anything…”

My scathing glare thankfully motivates him to close his mouth.

I turn my attention back to Nia, who’s edged out the door. I can’t help myself. Before I think better of it, I reach out and cup her shoulder. Electric heat sizzles across my skin. My knees nearly buckle.

Shit.

“You all right? I can walk you to your car.”

Nothing should happen to her in the parking garage. It’s secure and open only to residents of my upscale building, but I don’t like her walking in the dark alone. I don’t want our evening to end like this.

I also don’t want to be apart from her.

“I’m fine. Good night.”

“Night, sweetheart,” Sebastian calls with a wave before he shuts the door behind her. The moment we’re alone, he leans against it with a raised brow. “So, how long have you been fucking Nia and how did I not know?”





CHAPTER TWO





Saturday, November 4

“Tell me again why we’re here. Wherever here is,” I say to Sebastian as I exit his sedan.

“There’s something I think you need to see.”

Since this place is a theater of some sort, I doubt it has anything to do with work. The giant sign out front in old-fashioned lettering simply reads BBB REVUE. I have zero idea what that means, but as Sebastian strolls inside and speaks in low tones with a hostess sporting a corset, fishnets, and not much else, I look around. The place is almost theatrical, like something out of a Victorian house of ill repute. Dim lighting and red velvet, lots of dark wood, flourishes, and detail. Booths line the walls. There’s a balcony above with cozy round tables hugging the railing, providing a view of the floor and stage below.

“What is this place?” I murmur to Bas as the hostess leads us to a table almost front and center yet still somehow steeped in shadow.

“Just…wait.” As we sit, he flashes me a smile. “You’ll find this interesting.”

Bas’s idea of interesting worries me.

We’ve barely managed to sit when a waitress, also wearing next to nothing, sidles up to our table. “Hey, boys. What are y’all drinking tonight?”

“Scotch,” Bas answers.

“Make it two,” I add.

“Great.” The blonde with this southern accent gives us a saucy smile. “I’m supposed to tell you that the appetizer of the night is calamari, but that stuff smells so awful I swear it’s gonna re-grow legs and walk itself away. Want some?”

With that glowing recommendation? “I think we’ll pass.”

She leans in, giving me a perfect view of her spilling cleavage. “Smart man.”

Sebastian clears his throat. “I’m the guy who insisted we come here tonight.”

The waitress laughs, then ruffles a hand through his thick, golden waves. “Well, that makes you even smarter. Whatcha doing later?”

Since she punctuates her question with a wink, she’s not serious. At least I don’t think so.

What kind of place dresses their waitresses like turn-of-the-century hookers and allows such outrageous flirting? This isn’t a strip club. There are no poles, no loud music, no one named Destiny shaking her hips and losing her top to the strains of an overplayed 80s metal classic. But I don’t know what to think.

“Well, now.” Bas grins. “That depends on you, darlin’.”

He’s good at turning on the charm. He manipulates women the same way he manipulates numbers—smoothly, efficiently, and perfectly. Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit in awe of his pickup skills. Not because I want them, but they’re infallible. I’ve never had that knack with women. I’ve never needed it. I first kissed Rebecca Martin when I was sixteen. We were inseparable after that. Married two years later. I’ve never thought much about what I’d do with another woman.