Since I did miss a posting day, happy Valentines Day!
The street is quiet. It’s after eleven, so everything on the block except the bar I’m parked outside of is closed for the night. A few stragglers are standing beneath the overhang, avoiding the rain while they chat and take long drags from cigarettes. The neon sign with the name of the bar scrolled across it flickers every few seconds, which draws my attention and keeps me on edge.
Where the fuck is this guy?
I shift in my seat, glancing again at the blinking light, then jump when my car fills with the sound of an incoming call. With a racing heart, I look down at the caller ID on my dash, and read the name.
“Kate?” I answer.
“Hey…” Her voice is only a breath, and it makes me sit up straighter.
“Hey, what’s going on?”
“Nothing, I just… I just left Ana.”
My heartbeat quickens and I swallow against the sudden tightening in my throat that now comes with the images my best friend’s name summons. Was she in bed, or did she manage to make it down to the couch today? Was she shaking, or was today a day where she just sobbed until she couldn’t breathe anymore? Or maybe she was just blank. Maybe she just stared. Empty. Unresponsive….
That’s the hardest. Because above all else, I’m afraid that it’s a glimpse of who Ana is going to become. Who she’ll be if this beats her. And the longer this goes on, the more it looks like Lincoln’s winning.
“You have to come back,” Kate says, clearly on the edge of tears. “I still don’t know why you left, but she needs you right now, Luke. Taylor’s bringing in all these new people and they don’t know how to act around her. They don’t support her the way she needs to be supported. She needs stability, and familiarity…”
“She needs security.”
“Which is you!”
“Kate…” I grind my teeth together, preparing one of the dozens of reasons I’d given to Taylor, and trying not to break under how weak each and every excuse is. “Every time she looks at me, she sees Gia shoot me. I’m a trigger for her right now. It’s best I… keep a little distance.”
She lets out a pain filled sigh, that’s followed by a pause so long, I wonder if she’s pulled the phone away. “What do we do, Luke? How do we help her?”
“Carrick’s got to get elected. If he wins, he’ll appoint a new police chief, we’ll get an investigation, and we’ll have justice. Then she’ll be okay.” My gut clenches, and I glance up at the rundown sign again. “I’m doing everything I can.”
“I don’t know if that’s enough. I’m terrified that none of this is enough.” Her words cut off with a click, and the silence the follows feels oppressive. I can feel the accusation, because I’ve thrown it at myself every waking moment since the night it happened.
I was responsible for her, and I wasn’t there when she needed me most.
I didn’t stop him.
I didn’t protect her.
The scene that unraveled everything plays through my mind, with an echo of the tap, tap, tap Kommer knocked against my window in the parking garage. I was on the phone listening to my team surrounding Gresham’s apartment through my earpiece, so his appearance surprised me. But it wasn’t weird. I’d just sent Grey and Ana up the elevator with the full knowledge they were about to fuck, so Grey probably chased Kommer out on the way to their bedroom. I motioned for him to join me in the front seat with a nod of my head, but he waved his hand like he wanted me to get out of the car.
That was weird.
I jumped out of the car and demanded to know what had happened. He said, ‘It’s Ana,” looked to the elevator, and I started to run. He waited until we were in the elevator, while I was leaning over to enter the code for the Penthouse, to reach for my holster and put my own damn gun to my head. It killed me the whole way up there, because I had another holster on my leg, another weapon… I just had to wait for my opportunity to get to it. But I couldn’t even properly absorb my surroundings inside the apartment before Gia’s gunshots hit my vest and knocked me out cold.
By the time I came to… Kommer was dead. Gia was dead. Grey had been shot. And Lincoln was on top of Ana.
My body fills with rage at the memories of his hands on her, and I punch the steering wheel in front of me to release it. The horn blares through the empty street, and the smokers in front of the bar all turn to look at my car. With a sigh of frustration, I climb out and stalk through the door under the sign I’ve been fixated on all night.
It’s crowded inside. The music is loud, people are grouped around pool tables or lined up in front of dart boards. I slide into a small table near the back and scan the faces around me. No one pays attention to me. No one is actively avoiding looking at me. I’m here, unnoticed. Except…
My hackles rise and I glance to the bar. The bartender is looking at me, closely, and in my current heightened state of paranoia, it takes several seconds for me to realize… she’s checking me out. An easy smile moves across her full lips, and she tosses her long, black curls over her shoulder as she turns her attention to another customer. At first, I don’t think much of it, until I catch her staring again a few minutes later.
This time, she reaches up a single finger and motions for me to join her at the bar. I glance to the door, which stays shut, and at the patrons around me. He hasn’t come yet, so maybe it wouldn’t hurt to grab a drink while I wait.
I get up and drag myself to the bar, using the distance to give the bartender a cursory glance-over. She’s actually… hot. Her makeup is heavy. It’s almost hard to tell her eyes are brown and inviting beneath the heavy, smudged black eyeliner she’s wearing, or that her lips look petal soft beneath her flat, red lipstick. She’s got an incredible set of tits inside her nearly sheer, white tank-top and the shorts she’s wearing are so tiny that I can see half-her ass hanging out the bottom when she turns to take a bottle off the shelf behind her.
It makes me want to see more…
“You planning on drinking tonight, or are you just here to take up my tables and break all these girl’s hearts?” she asks when I approach.
I grin. “I’m actually waiting for someone.”
Her eyes twinkle with intrigue. “A girl?”
“No, a… business associate.”
She hums and her eyes move up and down my entire body one time before the corners of her lips turn up, and her teeth sink into her bottom lip. “Can I get you anything?”
“An IPA?” She winks, reaches for a mug, and starts to pour. I watch the tilt of the glass, which she fills with careless perfection. The glass she hands to me is filled to the brim with a layer of foam so thin, it’s transparent. She leans over on the bar, folding her arms in front of her and pressing her tits together. She smiles when she catches me looking.
“That’ll be six bucks, beautiful.”
I laugh, reach into my wallet, and toss a $20 on the bar. “Keep it.”
“Ooh, money bags.” Her grin widens as she slides the bill towards her, runs the transaction through the register, and dumps the change into the tip jar. There’s a guy a few feet to my left waving for her attention, but she doesn’t move on. “Let me guess, tech guy?”
“Nope. I’m a… private contractor, actually.”
“Like a hitman?” Her eyes glimmer with excitement, and it makes me laugh.
“Well, Mr. Not-Quite-A-Hitman, you gotta name?”
“I’m Jade.” She reaches across the bar, the light catching on the shiny black paint covering her nails. When I place my hand in hers, she squeezes back with a surprisingly firm grip. I wait for her to release me, but her grip only loosens. “I haven’t seen you in here before.”
“Maybe I only come when you’re not working.”
She laughs. “That would imply there was ever a time I’m not working…”
“Jade!” The man waiting for his drink calls out, and her shoulder rise and fall with irritation. She winks at me, then slides down to her other customer.
“What can I get you, Brad?” Her hands spread out on the edge of the in front of her, so she’s leaning forward slightly as she stares him down. He glances at the deep swell of her breasts, then smirks.
“Sure thing.” She turns and snags a lowball glass form the shelf at the same time she pulls the bottle of liquor down. I watch her pour before she dances her way through the other bartenders, back to Brad.
“How ‘bout a peak at those titties?”
She lets out a harsh laugh that’s so ladened down with rejection, even I can feel its sting.
“Ah, come on,” he says, smiling in a way I’m sure he thinks is charming. “I’ll give you fifty bucks.”
She raises an eyebrow. “Baby, you’ll give me fifty bucks and I’m not going to show you shit.”
“Oh, really?” His eyes move down to her tits again.
“Mhm.” She picks up his glass of whiskey and sets it on the bar. “Fifty bucks.”
His grin disappears. “Shut the fuck up, that’s an eight-dollar drink.”
“What can I say? Price went up.”
“Pay up or get away from my bar, Brad.” She pulls the glass back, obviously prepared not to serve him. When the two other girls behind the bar notice and turn suspicious eyes on him, Brad scowls. He reaches into his wallet, throws down a fifty, and Jade smiles. She grabs the bottle of Jameson, leans over the bar, and dumps it into the guy’s mouth.
He’s all smiles after that, and she grabs hold of his jaw. “Keep you brain off my tits, Brad.”
“Unlikely.” He takes his drink and Jade rolls her eyes while she rings him out, dropping $42 into the tip jar.
I take a sip of my beer, marveling at how easily she dealt with that creep. If it were Ana… I smile to myself as I imagine what her face would look like, and the way I’d end up having to deal with it in the end. But that reminds me that I’m here for her now, dealing with something for her now, and I’ve let myself get completely distracted.
“Shit.” I turn, eyes darting around the room for my contact, but there aren’t any new faces in the bar. I shake my head, internally chastising myself, and head back to the table I’d been sitting at before. Nursing my beer, I try to keep my attention focused on the door. But as the minutes drag on and on, my gaze begins to shift back to Jade.
Turns out, the girl is really fucking hot.
Over the next half-hour, I watch her jump on the bar and dance with the other bartenders. She grabs a megaphone and hypes up the crowd when things start getting quiet, drawing them back to the bar to buy more drinks. She flirts with her customers, even the girls, and her smile is dazzling. She drinks with the ladies behind the bar, and it makes them all more handsy with each other—which makes not staring at them almost impossible. When a bachelor party comes through, she takes a pitcher of ice water and dumps it over her white tank top.
I’m left to gape, she’s left with a full tip jar.
I jump, so entranced with the knock-out serving drinks that I didn’t even notice my contact come into the bar, let alone approach. It’s disorienting, and it almost makes me miss how absolutely ludicrous the man looks. I don’t know his name, I never even got a description of the guy, but there’s no doubt in my mind it’s him. He looks like he’s auditioning for a fucking spy movie.
“Real incognito…” I mumble. He glares as he lowers himself into the seat across from me.
“No on can know I’m here…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah… you got the tape or not?”
“Oh, I got it.” He reaches into the pocket of his hoodie and pulls out a plain white envelope, sliding it across the table towards me as if he wants everyone in the bar to know we’re doing something shady. I snatch it up and roll my eyes.
There’s a cassette inside, which I pop into the player stashed in my backpack. I only put in one headphone, and I only listen long enough to be sure what he’s given me is valuable. The current mayor’s mistress is moaning his name within the first few minutes, so I turn it off, slide the player with the tape inside into my jacket pocket, and get up from the table, leaving my backpack behind.
“Money’s in the bag,” I grunt as I walk away. Jade catches my eye on the way out of the bar and I nearly stop again. But I don’t. Because now, I have work to do.
And yet… it doesn’t keep my mind from wandering back to her. I hear her laugh ringing in my ears as I make the proper copies, and I can smell the lingering, sweet scent of her perfume when I drive those tapes all over town. I’ve actually imagined for days what Kate’s going to do once she has this in her hot little hands, and once she realizes that it’s going to get Carrick elected… but it’s still the way Jade carried herself behind that bar, almost like she was gliding, that I think about when I drop the envelope addressed to Kavanagh Media in the mailbox.
Part of me thinks I picked that mailbox because it was close to the bar. All of me is glad I did once I decide to drive by.
The place is closed down, which should’ve just made me leave. Instead, I park on the curb and walk up to the window, peering through the narrow spaces of glass between the different posters they’ve got in the window. There’s a light on in the back, but it becomes very unimportant when I hear voices floating up the alley next to the bar, and one of them makes my heartbeat quicken.
“Goodnight girls, good work!”
I straighten, preparing for her to emerge onto the street, when a voice calls out to her. “Jade!”
Her scratchy footsteps on the wet pavement stop. I can hear her turn, and I can hear her annoyed sigh. “What do you want, Brad?”
“I want to talk to you…” The words are so slurred, I can barely catch them.
“I think what you need to do is take a long walk home and sleep it off. I’ll see you on Saturday.”
“You owe me money.”
“I don’t owe you shit.”
“That’s not the way I see it. I gave you fifty bucks for a show, I came to collect.”
I move too quickly to hear the sounds of struggle, let alone analyze them. I come around the corner ready for a fight… but all the adrenaline spiking inside of me stalls. My damsel in distress currently has her attacker pinned against the wall, his hands secured behind him and a taser to the back of his head.
“You’re about this close to earning yourself a permanent ban, Brad. You don’t start treating me and my girls with a little more respect, you’re gonna lose a whole lot more than just money.” With a hard shove that scrapes his face against the brick, she lets him go. I watch her ready the taser in case he turns to come at her. He chooses instead to flee up the other end of the alley.
And I stand on my end… fighting an erection.
“Impressive,” I call. She jumps and spins, brandishing the taser at me. I disarm her with a grin.
“Yeah, well… you don’t get where I am without learning how to deal with drunk assholes.”
“I can see that.” She shifts and the glare of her phone in her hand catches my attention. I narrow in on it, and see that she’s got a ride-share app open. “Can I give you a ride home?”
She narrows her eyes. “I don’t take rides from strangers.”
“Okay, what do you want to know?”
There’s hesitation plain on her face as she wars with an internal decision. Her eyes evaluate me, and she goes still so that her other senses can make their evaluations as well. Eventually, she slides her phone into her back pocket and ambles towards me. She manages to keep the taser ready, but tucked behind her and out of sight enough that, were I not a professional, I probably would have forgotten all about it.
“Mhm. You got a wife, Luke?”
“Borderline psychotic girl attached to you in a way that, should I fuck you tonight, would put me right in the middle of some bullshit drama that I want nothing to do with?”
I laugh. “Let’s be honest here. After tonight, you’re never going to hear from me again.”
“Oh?” A single eyebrow curves high over her warm eyes. “We’ll see about that. You gotta car?”
“Shotgun.” She smiles, and drags a hand across my chest before leading us both out of the alley. I hit the key fob to unlock her door, then slide into the driver’s seat.
“Fancy digs,” she says, caressing the leather. “Normally, guys who drive Mercedes spend more than $20 in my bar…”
“I told you I was only there to meet someone.”
She laughs. “You know, I think you might really be a hitman.”
“And yet, here you are.” I smile at her, and this time, I don’t hide my brazen examination of her body. She doesn’t shy beneath my gaze. She’s more comfortable under my scrutiny than I’ve seen her all night. “Where to?”
“Oh no, I don’t take randoms to my house. You can pay for a hotel.” She leans back, daring me to challenge her. I don’t. With a smirk, I shift into drive and work my way deeper into downtown.
“The Fairmont Olympic?” she asks, eyes wide while the valet approaches her door. I nod.
“I’ve got an account here.”
“So, this is something you do regularly?”
“I don’t do anything regularly.” I let the taunt glimmer through my eyes, then step out of the car and hand the keys to the valet. Jade slides her hand into the crook of my elbow, which is good because she’s too distracted by the elegance of the lobby to lead herself. It also makes it easy to get her to hang back, while I get us a room.
“Good evening, Mr. Sawyer,” the man behind the desk greets me. “Is Mrs. Grey with you this evening?”
“Not tonight, just the one room.”
“Very good, sir.” His fingers tap on the keys of his computer, and he hands me a single room key, skipping the spiel he’s already given me countless times before. I once again reach for Jade and pull her toward the elevators.
“Do you want a drink?” I ask, once we’re in the room alone together. She shakes her head.
“No, I’m still a little buzzed from work…”
“Oh, well—” My words come to an abrupt halt when her lips push into mine and her body falls into me. Only, ‘falls’ is too passive a word. Nothing about this girl is passive at all. Her hands fly to my face while she kisses me, and her tongue moves through my mouth like a powerful python. Her tits meld to my chest when she pushes against me, and when I moan for it, she lets out a breathy laugh that makes me rock hard. She’s arrogant, and I’m dying to know how much of that confidence is deserved.
Reaching down, I grab her by the ass and lift her so I can carry her to the bed. She wraps her legs around my hips, thrusts her tongue deeper into my mouth, and grinds on my cock the entire way there. When I drop her onto the mattress, she scrambles backwards, opening her legs and stripping off her still damp tank top. Her tits look absolutely incredible pushed up in her bra, and it takes everything I have not to attack the fucking thing to get my mouth on what’s underneath. My cock starts to twitch in with impatience, and I know then that I’m going to come hard for this girl.
It’s only fair I return the favor.
I lunge at her, taking her lips again while I claw at the back of her bra. There’s no finesse in how I open it, I’m too far gone for that bullshit. I rip the thing away, the push her back into the bed so I can really appreciate my first look.
“God, you’re fucking perfect,” I whisper in awe, and even as my eyes move down her body, there’s nothing I can see that would make that statement not absolutely true. Her stomach is flat, with just the perfect amount of tone. Her skin is a flawless, tawny brown that just begs to be touched. I lean over and suck one of her nipples while my hands start on the buttons of her shorts. Her hands go into my hair, every scratch of her nails on my scalp egging me on. When I get her shorts open, she’s just as eager to get them off as I am. They fly across the room while my fingers find her clit. She lets out a heavy breath, and I switch tits.
“Fuck, Luke!” she whines with the rhythm of my fingers. “Fuck, fuck, fuck…”
“That’s it, Jade,” I whisper. With a last tug on her nipple with my teeth, I pull away from her breasts and start down her body. My hands feel out the path I follow with my lips and tongue. I let myself fantasize as I go, picturing the velvet skin beneath my hands brushing against my cock while I come all over her…
The desire building inside me sends me face first into her pussy without really giving me the chance to even look at her first. She already so gloriously wet and the sweet, tart taste of her on my tongue for the first time puts me in a frenzy. I lick her with long strokes that make her legs tremble. I suck her clit, and she starts to whimper. When I push two fingers into her and fuck her while I lap mercilessly at that swollen bundle of nerves, she thrashes and starts to scream.
“Yes! Oh my god, yes! That’s it, that’s it… fuck!”
She’s soaked, about to come…
And I stop.
“Not yet, baby,” I tell her, kissing her swollen pussy one last time. “You can drip a little for me first.”
She gives me a questioning look that cuts off with a sharp gasp and a groan when I reach into her hair and drag her onto her stomach. She bites her lip with hungry anticipation while I undo my belt, then shoves my hands out of the way when she decides I’m taking too long. Once she has my cock out, she strokes me from base to tip, then takes the entire length in one, smooth go.
“Holy shit, you’re big,” she says, using the spit she just coated me in to jack me off.
“Makes your pussy twitch, right?” I ask, staring at her hand moving up and down my cock. “Thinking about how I’m going to stretch you?”
She shivers. “Yes.”
“Suck my cock, Jade.”
She does. Like she’ll starve if she doesn’t. Her tongue, her cheeks, her tight light throat… it’s all nearly too much. She swallows as much of me as she can take. The more the head of my cock slams into the back of her throat, the more she loosens, and the more of me she pulls into her mouth. I stare down at her lips, mesmerized at the way my shaft disappears between them.
“That’s so fucking good,” I growl, but there’s no recognition of praise in the lion-like eyes that stare back at me. She knows she’s good at this, and now that I know it too, she shows off. Only a few seconds pass, and I’ve completely lost my mind. I can’t control anything; I can’t even think straight. The only thing I care about in that moment is how hot, wet, and tight her mouth is around me. It’s only when I’m just about to explode that I even realize I’m fucking her mouth just as hard as she’s sucking me… and the woman’s taking it like a champ.
“Fuck,” I hiss, yanking her off me and panting like I’ve just run a marathon. The eyeliner I thought was messy before is a disaster now. Black streaks race down her cheeks, past her swollen lips. The eyes behind them are blazing.
“Fuck me. Right now.” Her command is absolute as she grabs me and pulls me on top of her. “Make me come, Luke.”
I give her a cocky grin and roll a condom onto my cock. Her legs spread wider for me, and the moment I’m in position, I slam home.
“Yes!” Her head falls back as her cries echo around us and I hammer away at her like an archeologist on Vesuvius. It’s rough, it’s uninhibited, and it’s absolutely mind-blowing. There’s no pretense with Jade. There’s no coyness or hesitation. She fucks like she knows exactly what she wants and she’s going to get it with or without my help.
And to see her, to feel her, to witness the way she moves and to hear her carnal cries of pleasure… it draws me in like I’ve never been drawn in before. I’m no longer just fucking, I’m… trying to impress her. Trying to help her get where she wants to go without much thought to my own finish. But that concern is pointless, because the moment her pussy begins to spasm and I see the stirrings of her orgasm blossoming in the bottomless depths of her eyes, I’m suddenly so close to the edge I have to worry about my balance.
“Are you going to come on my cock, baby?”
“Yes! Ah, ah… fuck!”
“That’s it. Give it up for me. Show me how you fall apart.” The steady chorus of pleasure-filled gasps come louder and more urgently, until they cut off all together. Her body goes stiff, then releases all at once… concentrated on my cock.
“Fuck!” We scream together. The room around me disappears. I can’t see anything; I can’t hear anything… I can only feel the absolutely mind-blowing power of my orgasm. It rocks me all the way down to my fucking soul, obliterating parts of me that I won’t be able to repair. Like, the parts of me that had no interest in seeing this girl again…
“Jesus,” she finally says, still trying to catch her breath.
“Yeah…” We lie there together in silence for… I don’t even know how long. Eventually though, she sits up, orders nacho delivery from a 24-hour place I would never consider for Ana, and the two of us stay up talking, watching bad late night TV, and going three more rounds. She’s funny. She’s smart. She’s quick. She’s tough. And when she drains me for the final time that night, I collapse next to her, pull her against me, and sleep better than I have in ages.
The mayor’s cheating scandal is all over the headlines when Jade turns on the TV while she gets ready to go the next morning, and I can barely pay attention to any of it. I’m too busy watching her, walking around our hotel room naked after getting out of the shower.
I pull her back into bed and fuck her through the interview Carrick gives channel 4 news.
“Can I have your number?” I ask when she’s finally ready to leave. She pauses and turns back to me, her gaze uncertain.
“I don’t know. Maybe you should come around the bar a few more times before you start blowing up my phone.”
She smiles and leans in to kiss me. “See you later, hitman.”
I chuckle, then watch her go. My phone is already in my hand before the door has closed.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Sawyer?”
“I need a background check. Jade Marroquin.”