Home > Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come
Author: Terri E. Laine




Feeling fierce was the greatest thing, especially when heading to a bar with questionable clientele. Being that my legs were my best asset, I wore tight jeans with knee-length boots over top to show them off. I felt like a force to be reckoned with. I even wore a peekaboo sweater, which made it clear my tits were small but mighty.

That was important. Especially when I stood next to my best friend and roommate, whose curves made men drool even when she was fully covered.

We strolled into the bar that was night and day apart from the Manhattan neighbor it barely had an address in. The patrons weren’t stockbrokers or any of the stuffy types, which was why I loved it so.

With my bestie, Bailey, in tow, I found an open spot at the bar, which ran the length of the wall. On the opposite side were a scattering of tables and even a makeshift dance area. Near the front, where we’d entered, were the pool tables currently in use by a rowdy group of guys.

It was a Friday night, but the place wasn’t too crowded yet. Though it was never packed like the clubs in the area.

“The usual, Piper,” I said.

The woman manning the bar had soft, pretty features that could put her on covers of magazines, but she was a complete hardass. Regulars knew not to mess with her. She dressed like a biker chick but denied she was a card-carrying patched member. I still liked, and even admired, her badassery.

Piper nodded, acknowledging my order as she kept a keen eye on everything going on. I wanted to know her story—her expression was too cold for her not to have one hell of a story. But she wasn’t much of a talker and hadn’t taken any of my past offers to hang out.

Two drinks appeared in front of Bailey and me. I left Bailey to sip hers and took mine and wandered over to the empty dance floor. Bails was still in sight and this wasn’t her first time here, so I let the thumping beat draw me to move my body. I tried waving her over, but she shook her head.

It wasn’t long before several guys joined me. None of them wanted to know what was on my mind. They all had sex on the brain. Too bad for them, they didn’t match what I was in the mood for.

Eventually, the music lost its allure, and I decided to rejoin my friend, who was still nursing her drink. The men who thought they had a shot protested my leaving, so I said, “Girls’ night,” because I wasn’t a total bitch.

Bailey did her best to look as though she was having a good time. She was having boy trouble and I’d thought a night on the town would cheer her up. I was about to cut her a break and suggest we leave when a man who checked off every box of mine walked in. Bailey’s eyes widened as I did my best to keep my reaction under wraps. He took off a beaten-all-to-hell leather jacket and hung it on the coat rack up front, seemingly not at all worried that it would be taken.

His black tee clung to hardened muscles, and with his back to us, his muscled arms revealed more art than the Met gallery. I might have mouthed, “Holy shit,” when he looked our way, but I’d totally deny it. He made his way over to the only open spot at the bar, which happened to be next to me. He smelled of leather and all man and hell if I wasn’t on board.

As he flagged down Piper, I took in the well-worn black jeans and scuffed boots. He was perfect.

Sending a silent request of approval with a mere look at bestie, I waited for Bailey’s response. We’d known each other since freshman year of college, so she read my question easily and answered with a barely perceptible nod.

Piper came over and my every fantasy come to life spoke. “Beer.”

His voice was deep and stoked every nerve ending I had to life. Point of fact, it was a real possibility my panties combusted. I gave him a look most men didn’t need a dictionary to understand.

His eyes met mine for half a second before they bounced off me and onto my friend. His lips only curled up a half a centimeter, but I caught the appreciation in his gaze.

Some women might have given up. Especially when he said, “Ladies,” before taking his beer and heading over to the pool tables. But I wasn’t most women. First, Bailey was taken whether she admitted or not, so there was no chance for him there. Second, I hated to lose. So, challenge accepted.

Piper disappeared in the back, but another bartender had walked over in time to witness the exchange and was busy laughing. He too was totally my type, but his longtime girlfriend, who was as heavily tattooed as he was, was a waitress and here tonight. I spotted her by the tables. She stood nearly as tall as her man and taller than me, which was saying something. She could kick my ass and Baily’s at the same time. Therefore, I didn’t bother flirting with the bartender.

“I see you girls like him,” he said, grin as wide as Texas.

Having no shame, I asked, “You know him?”

“Not really. He’s only been in a few times.”

“Do you know his name?” I pressed.

“I’ve heard some of the guys call him Striker, but I’m not sure if they were just referring to his pool skills.”

Before I could pepper him with any more questions, he was waved over to fill more orders.

After he walked away, Bailey asked, “What about Hans?”

Hans was a guy I’d met when she met the man currently giving her the blues. He and I weren’t serious, and I wasn’t sure yet if I wanted to be.

I grinned cheekily. “What about him? We aren’t married or exclusive. Besides, there’s no harm in flirting.”

The chess match between Striker and me had already started, even if he didn’t know it yet. I didn’t intend to lose. I tossed my hair over one shoulder, determined to use a winning strategy. It was perfect timing when a bearded guy who looked as if he chewed nails for breakfast came over and asked me to dance.

“Why not?” I said, letting him lead to the spot occupied by a few other couples.

I kept my eyes on Striker, who if I wasn’t totally off base, had been checking me out a time or two, but he hadn’t taken the bait. Instead, I caught money changing hands between him and another man before a serious game of pool started.

I stayed on the floor, enjoying the freedom of music. Several modern crossover country songs played, and my partner wasn’t a half bad dancer. He twirled me around as though he knew what he was doing, and I laughed, enjoying it. Only it wasn’t enough to draw Striker to me.

When it was clear Striker might be done with pool, I made my move.

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