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By´╝ÜKristen Ashley

A thought occurred to me and that thought made me even more melty.

“Just…you know, asking. I’m sitting in a corner. How’d you see my—?”

“Caught you walkin’ to that table. Vision a’ that might just be burned into my brain.”

He hadn’t looked at me when I was looking at him, that I knew for certain.

But he’d caught me on the short trek from deep freeze at the sight of him to hitting the table.

And it moved him to go buy me a drink.

Lord, I was in danger of a Spinal Tap drummer incident of spontaneous combustion where there’d be nothing left of me but a puddle of goo on my seat.

“Well…thanks,” I said haltingly, shaking my cup a little to indicate that’s what I meant even if it wasn’t all I meant.

“Again, I’d say you’re welcome but you’re still not drinking.”

I lifted the cup an inch off the table but common sense made me stop.


My gaze shot to his.

He was leaning deeper into his forearms and I noted at that moment that he’d never looked anything but serious. Like he was discussing something important, not picking up some chick at a bar.

Now he looked more serious.

“Motherfuckers do that kinda shit to women, they’re motherfuckers,” he stated, and I stared, not only not following where he was going but also a little surprised at his coarse language, regardless of the biker bar. “I’m no motherfucker. Wouldn’t slip you shit. Not only because I’m not a motherfucker and it’d never fuckin’ cross my mind to do that to a woman, but because I get a woman, not interested in her bein’ under me passed out. Interested in her bein’ under me and bein’ seriously fuckin’ interested in bein’ under me. You with me?”

“I’m with you,” I said, all breathy because in all I’d seen and all I’d done and all I’d met, there wasn’t a single experience like him.

Not one.

Not to mention the fact that I was so totally interested in being under him.

“Name,” he grunted, edging away a couple of inches.

I recognized this as a demand to provide my name so I said, “Justice.”

That heavy brow knitted again. “Say what?”

“Justice,” I repeated and shook my head. “My dad is a little…” How to explain all that was my dad? “Out there. He convinced my mom to be out there too. But just to say, it’s arguable but she might be more out there than he is. She just loves Linda Ronstadt with a love that’s more than a love so she wanted to call me Linda.”

This was true. My mom Joss loved Linda. But, according to the story, the minute Dad suggested Justice, she’d jumped right on that train.

He stared into my eyes for long beats before he again took in my face and hair then back to my eyes.

“Suits you. Actually fuckin’ cool. Justice,” he murmured.

My nipples started tingling.

“You are?” I asked.

“Deke,” he answered.

Finally, I lifted my drink, motioned his way with it, and said, “Thanks for the drink, Deke.” Then I took a sip.

When I finished, he asked, “You here alone,” he looked down to my notebook and back up, “sittin’ in a corner, writin’ poetry?”

He still looked serious but I had the strange impression he was teasing.

“No, I’m with a couple of girlfriends.”

“They ditch you?”

“Well, they’re hooking up but we never ditch each other. They’re around.”

Though, maybe Bianca wasn’t. But Lacey wouldn’t take off without letting me know she was going and letting me see who she was taking off with so I could look him over, cast my judgment and decide if I would allow her to go.

“They know you’re in a corner writing poetry while they’re hooking up?” he asked.

I drew in a quick breath at his words.

Maybe he wasn’t serious.

Maybe he was ticked.

Ticked I was alone in a corner, forced to fall into my notebook while my girlfriends flirted and danced and had fun, basking in attention from the guys they’d wrangled, leaving me alone in that corner with my notebook.

“It’s all good, Deke,” I promised him.

He studied me and didn’t say anything before, suddenly, he turned his head to look toward the bar. He turned it again to look outside to the patio and then again to me.

When I had his attention, he still didn’t say anything.

I was about to when he finally did.

“Fuck, never seen such pretty hair.”

Now that was a compliment and something in me knew he didn’t give many. Not even to girls he bought drinks.

Not like that.

I felt the tears sting the backs of my eyes.