I get fucking hives just thinking about having to put on a suit and take some girl to a dance who’ll end up with big expectations in regards to me. I’ll have to disappoint her.
It’s what I do best.
“Yeah.” Shep glances around the room, his expression pained. “I have good memories here. It’s where I met Jade.”
He would bring his girl into it. He always does. “You want to build a shrine in here? Like an ode to your guys’ relationship?”
“Don’t be an asshole,” he mutters.
“You’re the one who has to constantly bring her up. It’s always Jade this and Jade that. Gabe’s just as bad. They’ve barely been going out for what—a month?” I don’t know and I don’t really care, I just know it’s not been for long. “And he’s already asked Lucy to move in with him.” I shake my head. These two are so whipped it’s unbelievable.
“You’re just jealous,” Shep says, looking away like he can’t stand the sight of me.
“That is the last fucking thing I am,” I protest vehemently. “I don’t need some ball and chain dragging me down, always wanting to spend time with me. That sounds like a nightmare. Don’t you miss the variety? So many girls are out there, all yours for the taking, man.”
“Right, because you’re totally surrounded by an endless array of pussy.” The pointed look Shep gives me is hella irritating. “You’re practically tripping over it in here.”
I don’t bother looking around because I know the place is pretty much filled with dudes, not counting those two chicks Emily and Emma who are always hanging around. Em and Em, they call themselves. They dress the same like they’re freaking twins and they’re only here to hit on the guys.
Smart move on their part but I have no desire to even touch those girls, let alone fuck them. They’re always here. Like a ball and chain that belongs to no one but are on the constant hunt to hitch onto some unsuspecting fool.
“Whatever,” I mumble.
Shep starts to laugh. “If you think you’re the king of pussy then let’s make a bet.” Now we’re talking. “Next girl who walks through the door, you have to seduce.”
“Seduce? Such a flowery word choice.” I scoff. “How about this? Next chick who walks through the door, I’ll have naked and panting beneath me, guaranteed.”
“If Jade caught me doing this, she’d kick my ass,” Shep mutters under his breath. But then he says like he can’t help himself, “Hundred bucks says no way can you seal the deal.”
“Make it one thousand and I’m in.” I rub my hands together, adrenaline making my blood pump faster. This is what I live for. The challenge Shep just threw down, the thrill of the unknown.
“You don’t even know who’s going to walk in next,” Shep says, still chuckling. “She could be a total dog.”
“She could be a total hottie.” I stare at the front door, practically willing it to open.
“You think all females are hot. As long as she has a pulse and tits, you’re golden.”
He’s not far off the mark with that statement. “What can I say?” I shrug, my gaze never leaving the door. “I like variety. All shapes, all sizes. It doesn’t matter.” Well, it normally matters. I’ve always been drawn to curvy brunettes.
Though there’s a particular blonde who’s sticking in my head lately…
Forget her. Fuck her right out of your system and banish her for good.
“I can’t wait to see this.” Shep turns his chair so it’s facing the door. “The night has officially grown more interesting.”
“Fuck yeah it has.” I rub my hands together, feeling like I’m about to bet on something big.
Like my dick.
I burst out laughing just at the thought, making Shep laugh too. “You’re fucking crazy,” he says, shaking his head.
“You know it,” I agree because I am. I’d rather be crazy as fuck than bored out of my skull. Anticipation hums in my veins as I wait for the door to open. I’d almost take one of the Ems just to have someone to conquer. And Emily or Emma would be a guaranteed lay…
The door cracks open and Shep leans forward, his elbows on his knees, fisted hands at his mouth as he waits to see who appears. I rise from the chair, my body stiff, ready to leap into action at first sight of her.
Whoever she might be.
A guy walks through the door and I immediately recognize him. From where I’m not sure but I know I’ve seen that face before.
Shep turns to grin at me like a maniac. “Gonna try and fuck that?”
“Fuck off,” I mutter, my gaze never straying from the door.
And then she enters the room, sucking up all the oxygen just with her presence, so beautiful it fucking hurts to look at her. Shep starts laughing hysterically and I move closer to him so I can hit the back of his head.
“Ow.” He rubs his head, sending me a glare but I ignore him.
I’m so pissed, so freaking ruined over who I have to fuck in order to win this stupid bet, I’m certain I’m gonna fail.
What are my odds now?
The room is cavernous, full of gaming tables though most of them are empty. The place is pretty dead for a Friday night.
“Not very busy,” Steven says, as if he read my mind.
“Well, that means you have your pick of what to play,” I tell him with a smile, glancing around the room, my gaze snagging—and stopping—on Shep Prescott.
He’s grinning at me like I’m the best thing he’s seen in days.
I wave at him and he rises to his feet, striding toward me and greeting me like a long lost friend.
“Alex.” He pulls me into an enthusiastic hug, pressing me so close I can feel the hard, muscular wall of his chest. If Jade saw this hug she might want to scratch my eyes out. “So good to see you. Glad you’re here at our humble little business,” he says when he pulls away from me. He turns his friendly smile onto Steven while I stand there in semi-shock. Shep runs the gambling house? I had no idea. “Who’s your friend?”
I introduce them and they shake hands, Shep looking at me yet again and shaking his head, the grin permanently etched into his face. “You are the last person I expected to see tonight.”
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
“Oh, it’s an interesting thing. Let’s put it that way.” His eyes sparkle and he slaps Steven on the back, almost knocking him forward. “You here to play?”
“Definitely,” Steven says firmly, reaching for his wallet. Shep puts out a hand, stalling him.
“Don’t bust out the money yet. Keep your cool,” he advises, his voice low. “What are you in the mood for tonight?”
Shep turns his attention on me. “Alex. You want something to drink?”
I nod, my gaze meeting Steven’s. “You want something?”
“A beer would be good. Thanks,” Steven says, already eyeing the poker table nearby. “I’ll be over there,” he says with a nod as he heads for the table.
Huh. I watch him go, my gaze meeting Shep’s, who’s still watching me like he’s in on some joke and I missed the punch line. “You two are seeing each other?”