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  • Without Me(Men of Inked #7)(7) by Chelle Bliss
  • “I remember you’re an asshole.” She shrugged as she looked down. Even with her face partially hidden, I could see her smirk.

    “See? You do remember me.” I chuckled, sliding my fingers closer to hers.

    “Barely,” she lied. Then she lifted her head, giving her drink her full attention.

    “Do you want another one?” I asked, noticing that her drink was almost gone.

    “I’m good. I was just about to leave.”

    “But I thought you had friends coming.”

    “I do, but we’re going to go somewhere else.”

    “Can I come?” I asked, knowing she’d say no, but I wouldn’t let her off the hook.

    “No.”

    “Can I get you a drink?” the waitress asked from the other side of the table.

    “I’ll take whatever she’s having, and she’ll have another too,” I said, keeping my eyes locked on Max.

    “I don’t want another drink,” she replied, finally bringing her eyes to mine.

    “She’ll take another,” I said as I glanced at the waitress and nodded.

    “Two drinks coming right up,” she said as she rocked on her feet before walking away.

    “Anthony, listen—”

    “You do remember me,” I interrupted her.

    “Ugh,” she whispered, and blew out a puff of air. “I’m sure you’re not a total tool all the time, but I really don’t have time for you tonight.”

    “Tomorrow, then.”

    “Busy too.”

    “I can wait.”

    “I don’t have time for you ever.” She stared at me without blinking.

    “You’re an amazing actress. Did you ever think about being in a movie?”

    “What?” she asked as her face became distorted.

    “You say things you don’t mean and make them very convincing. If I didn’t know how your mouth tasted and how your breathing changed as I touched you, I may have believed you.”

    “Stop,” she pleaded, holding up her hand. “I can’t, Anthony.”

    “Are you married?” I asked, looking at her hands but seeing nothing that resembled a wedding ring.

    “No, but that doesn’t mean I’m interested.”

    “I beg to differ.”

    “You can beg all you want. The answer is still no.”

    Before I could respond, the waitress set the beers on the table and asked if we wanted anything else. We both shooed her away, ready to duke it out. I needed to change her mind—or at least show her that she could try to deny what she felt but it was very much real.

    “Max, who’s this?” a female voice asked behind Max.

    Fuck. I guessed that part of her previous statement wasn’t a lie. She wasn’t going to be alone tonight, but I was all about crashing a party.

    “No one important,” she sassed.

    I jumped up from my seat, holding my hand out to the beautiful female across the table. “I’m Anthony, Max’s friend.”

    She placed her palm in mine and fluttered her eyes as she soaked me in. “Hmmm. I’m Renita, but my friends call me Nita.”

    I took the opportunity to lean forward and place a kiss on the top of her hand. “Nita, it’s great to finally meet a friend of Max’s.”

    “Likewise. Max, where you been hiding this hunk?” Nita asked as she stared at me and licked her lips.

    At least one female at the table didn’t have a problem showing exactly how they felt.

    “Nita, I don’t know the man. He’s crazy. I told him I’m not interested.”

    Nita sat down, resting her face in her palm. “This is going to be fun.” She batted her eyelashes.

    “For the love of God,” Max whispered.

    “Max likes to pretend we don’t know each other. But I know the feel of her pulse underneath my fingertips when I’m kissing her.” I smiled, glancing over at Max before turning my attention back to Nita.

    Nita’s mouth gaped. “Fuck. That’s one of the sexiest things I’ve ever heard.”

    “You need to get out more, Nita,” Max snapped, grabbing her beer and taking a drink.

    “What can I get you to drink, Nita?” I had a feeling that, if I won her friends over, maybe—just maybe—I’d find an inroad to Max.

    “Yes, I’d love a sangria.” She smiled as she stared at me.

    “Coming right up. I’ll be right back,” I said as I pushed the chair back and left them behind.

    I kept my eyes glued to the windows, watching them to make sure they didn’t vanish as I ordered Nita’s drink. When I returned to the table, they both stopped talking and stared at me.

    “Miss me?” I asked as I set the drink in front of Nita.

    “Yes.” Nita smiled and batted her eyelashes again.

    Max coughed, and something like “traitor” left her mouth.

    “So, what’s the plan tonight?” I asked, curious at what my evening would entail. When I’d thought all hope was lost, I’d stumbled upon her and found a new sense of purpose.

    “Drinks and dancing,” Nita replied as she sipped her sangria.

    “I’m tired. I think I want to just go home,” Max whined, twirling the beer in her hands.

    “Don’t be such a pussy, Max,” Nita teased, glaring at Max.

    “You’re both assholes.”

    “She’s just a grouchy fuck. Don’t mind her. She’s been—”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire