Home > Down to You (The Bad Boys #1)(11)

Down to You (The Bad Boys #1)(11)
Author: M. Leighton

Marco makes a shooing motion with his hand and rolls his eyes. “Just ignore her. She’s in a constant state of heightened PMS. She gets a little better once the place fills up.”

I smile and nod, but I’m thinking, Oh, thank God!

“Maybe her dreads are too tight,” I mumble.

Marco laughs. “Damn! Beautiful and funny. I can’t wait to see what else you’re hiding behind that sexy smile.”

“Nothing as charming as what you’ve got behind yours, I’m sure.”

Marco starts nodding, his smile never faltering. “Oh, yeah. We’re gonna get along just fine.”

CHAPTER TEN - Cash

I rarely ever dread work, but I usually don’t look forward to it quite this much either. I give the room enough time to fill up and then go out to check on Olivia’s progress. I’ve made a point to give her time to adjust before showing my face. I figure that might make her nervous.

I know she wants me. Or at least I think she does. I just think she doesn’t want to want me. That alone piques my interest.

I don’t mind the cat-and-mouse thing we’ve got going on. I’m willing to play a little to get her into my bed. I’ve got good instincts about women most of the time, and my gut tells me she’ll be worth the wait.

When I step onto the floor, I look across the ocean of moving heads. My eyes go straight to the bar. To Olivia.

I have a clear shot of her, partly because I stand a couple inches over the tallest person between us and partly because there is a little bubble of men around her. Already.

She’s smiling at a client as she mixes a rum and Coke. I watch her take his card and run it through the machine at the register, like she’s been doing it every day for years.

She’s good. And I’m pleased. I would’ve kept her anyway, but it’s nice to know she’s worth it.

Oh, she’s worth it, all right.

My mind wants to drift off to visions of laying her out on the bar when the club is empty, of peeling her clothes off and licking her smooth skin. Ruthlessly, I wrangle my thoughts and bring them back to the matter at hand—her audition. She never needs to know that it’s unnecessary. She’d be hired regardless. But I’m having her audition anyway, more for my pleasure than anything else.

I shoulder my way through the crowd, making my way to her end of the long, straight bar. I stop at the edge of the semi-circle of guys surrounding her and wait until she looks up and sees me. When she does, I see her pause. It’s nearly imperceptible, so much so that I doubt anyone else notices. But I notice. And that’s all that matters.

She licks her lips nervously and smiles. I wink at her, just to see what she’ll do. She pauses again and her cheeks get red, but then she looks away.

She frowns for a second. I don’t think she even realizes she’s doing it.

Damn, I love that! She reacts to me even when she doesn’t want to.

I don’t know why she tries so hard to resist me. I’m not such a bad guy. I’m fit and healthy, a successful business owner, I’m not in debt, and I’m pretty damn good-looking. Or so I hear anyway.

I move in closer to the bar, leaning one elbow on it as I turn to the group of guys. “So, what’s it gonna be, boys? We’ve got a new bartender to audition.”

Cheers go up all around me. Olivia’s got a fan base already. She’s gonna make me a killing.

I hear terms like bar dance, sing along, and crowd crawl being tossed around, but then two words rise above the rest and soon everyone has joined in to chant them.

“Body shot! Body shot! Body shot!”

Olivia is watching with interest as her fate is decided.

“Body shot it is!” I shout.

I look at Olivia and raise my hands, palm up. “The bar has spoken.” She gives me a nod and a small smile as she wipes her hands on her jeans. “Pick your victim.”

She bites her lip as she looks across the bar at all the guys watching her. I know without a doubt each one is wishing they could be the lucky guy, but she’s a smart girl. She knows there’s more to this “audition” than meets the eye. She’s weighing her options and thinking about an appropriate response.

Having worked in a bar before, she has to know that drinking on the job is strictly forbidden, which excludes Marco and Taryn. She probably also knows that engaging in something like this with a client is frowned upon as well. She’s thinking it through.

Smart girl.

An audition at my bar is always about finding a way to keep the people happy without breaking any rules. I’m a rule-breaker by nature, but I’m strict with my employees. This bar is my livelihood, after all. I can’t afford law suits, injuries and brawls.

I watch Olivia as she assesses the situation. When her eyes fall on me, I know she realizes I’m her only viable option. I’m not sure if I see a flicker of excitement cross her face or if it’s just my imagination. What I’m certain I see, however, is her reaching for that bravado again. And it’s just as sexy as it was before.

She turns to the guys around me and treats them to a beguiling smile. “Think my boss here will man up and do it?”

Some good-natured ribbing begins as I get playful pushes and slaps on the back. There’s lighthearted jealousy and lots of encouragement as I nod to Olivia.

I offer my hand across the bar. She looks at it, takes a deep breath then slides her fingers over my palm. I help steady her as she puts a knee on the ledge and climbs onto the bar.

“Clear the bar,” I say and all the guys reach for their drinks, making a space for Olivia to lie down. “Marco, one Patron body shot!” I call down the bar.

He quickly disengages from the girls he’s entertaining to pour the shot and bring the salt dish and two lime wedges down to us.

Rather than leaving it, though, he smiles at Olivia. “Stretch out, beautiful. I’ll get you ready.”

Normally, the bartender would do just as Marco is doing. But then again, I’m not usually involved. And for some reason, I wanted to prep Olivia.

Olivia lies down and wiggles to get comfortable on the hard surface of the bar.

I smile tightly as I watch him drag one lime wedge across her bare stomach, circling her navel several times. She’s looking up at him, grinning. He’s looking down at her, practically salivating. I grit my teeth against the little stab of jealousy I feel.

What the hell’s that all about?

Anyone will tell you I don’t have a jealous bone in my body. There are too many willing women in the world to get all bent out of shape over one. Envy is just not in me.

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