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Thursday Nights(6)

By:Lisa N. Paul

“What exactly do you think you saw?” Max slowly shifted his green eyes from Janie’s retreating form to a very-interested Lyla.

“You were checking out Janie. I knew it! I knew you were into her. Why haven’t you said anything?”

“Lyla, for someone who thinks she knows everything, sometimes…you don’t have a clue.” Max’s smile and tone were laid back, just like the man himself, but his self-control was beginning to fray. The rag he was using to wipe down the bar was held tightly in his hand. Looking down as he scrubbed the same spot over and over, he wondered if it was worth risking his friendship with Janie for just one night. His gaze slowly lifted from the bar as Janie strutted back to her seat. It would be one smokin’ night, his libido shouted.

Janie’s face was pinched with disgust as she hopped back up on the stool. “Danny, you may want to get someone into the bathroom. Uh, some poor girl had too much to drink…”

“Great…” Danny sighed and excused himself to deal with the mess. Obviously it wasn’t the first time he had to handle a messy bathroom, but the job never got more pleasant.

Janie felt bad about anyone having to face the shitstorm she had just seen, but it had to be done. “So…um…what were we talking about before nature called?”

“Alcohol, tattoos, and sex with friends,” Lyla responded with purpose, clearly happy with the seed she had planted. Max’s nostrils flared slightly as he sent Lyla an evil stare, his knuckles whitening over the rag he was using to wipe the bar top…again. Her gaze then settled on her best friend. She knew exactly what was going on in that pretty little head of Janie’s just by looking at the way she was trying to sneak a look Max. If there was ever a kitten-to-a-bowl-of-cream metaphor to be used, now was the time.

Janie could sense a shift in the mood between Lyla and Max when she came back from the bathroom, but she tried to ignore it. She eyed Max through her long lashes and lifted her glass. God, the man was hot. Set-your-panties-on-fire hot. His wavy, dark-blond hair hung slightly too long but called out for Janie to run her fingers through it. His eyes were the most incredible shade of green, reminding her of fresh-cut grass in spring. But his body, his body could—and did—make grown women swoon, Janie included.

She trained her stare on his broad chest—so much thick muscle and sinew stretched under his thin, black, cotton T-shirt. She watched intently as he turned around to grab a bottle from the shelf behind him, his jeans low on his lean hips, sculpting his perfect ass in a way that made Janie jealous of the piece of denim. In fact, his hard, well-defined form had been the topic of several Thursday-night conversations. Oftentimes, Max was a participant in those talks, too.

“What do you want me to tell you?” he would say with an arched brow. “I want to stay in shape…gotta look good for the ladies.”

“Can you get cockier?” Janie had asked one night, to which Max had chuckled in his manly way.

“Speaking of cock…” Everyone had started laughing uncontrollably. That was the night that Janie had fallen totally and completely in lust with Max.

Yep, she wanted that man. He was always friendly, and even flirty, but she never took it seriously. The man had women throwing themselves at him, she witnessed it every Thursday night. Sure, Lyla said that Max treated Janie differently than he did other women, but she couldn’t see it. She knew she wasn’t in his league. Hell, they didn’t even play the same sport. She was happy just being friends with Max. Okay, maybe not happy…but she would rather be friends than nothing.

As soon as Lyla had spoken the words “sex with friends,” Janie’s eyes had found Max. A shiver ran up her spine when his emerald eyes bore into hers. She wanted to touch him—it felt almost painful not to—but she’d resisted the urge by lifting her glass to her lips while keeping her eyes fixed on his. This was Max, her friend. Of course she could touch him. She had touched him hundreds of times before. But with the thoughts running rampant through her mind she feared that if she so much as brushed the skin on his hand right now, she would burn to ashes.

Sex with friends—God, she needed to get laid. Or to quote Lyla, she needed “a good fuck.”

Janie subtly brought her cool hands up to her warm cheeks, hoping no one could see the flush that was forming from her thoughts. The desire to feel needed and loved kept leading her to the wrong guys, but she kept trying to find her own “Happily Ever After” anyway. As unrealistic as she knew it may be, she couldn’t let go of her childhood fantasies, the ones where she dreamed that one day, someday, she would find someone who would make her feel whole. Complete. Cherished. Loved. What she actually found, though, ran the gamut between the boring and bland to the douchey, cheating assholes.