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Authors: Christine Zolendz

Best Man

BOOK: Best Man
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BEST MAN
A CHRISTINE ZOLENDZ KINDLE FLIRT
CHRISTINE ZOLENDZ

Contents

Copyright
Dedication
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Also by Christine Zolendz

COPYRIGHT

© 2016 by Christine Zolendz

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Formatted by
Simple Digital Formatting

Cover by
Christine Zolendz

Blurb by
Blurb Bitch

DEDICATION

This one is for November.

You were a shitty month.

This was originally written in November 2015 for the National Novel Writing Month challenge. It only took me a few days to write. It gave me an idea of writing a bunch of short stories—I call them FLIRTS—and publish them in between my novels. Just fun little quick reads. I hope you enjoy them!

CHAPTER 1

FOUR MONTHS AGO… LUKE

S
omething didn’t feel right—something deep in my gut. One of those weird burning sensations in the middle of my stomach; a churning and twisting of ‘this shit’s about to go bad’ deep inside my middle. I shook it off and scanned my eyes over the street behind us. Everything was clear. Everything was exactly as we’d planned.

Maybe it was just the stress of the situation. I never got like this though. Never. Yeah, this was the biggest takedown we’d ever done, but that shouldn’t be a thought in my head. We were going after the largest drug cartel in the city; it’d be hard to score any of Cardarrio’s shit off the street after this. That was the plan anyway. We were going to be heroes.

My team is around me. Men I’d give my life for; men who’d give their life for me. We were all facing the entrance—ready to bust the motherfucking door down. My shield is up and ready, NYPD issued plated glass and steel. Colt’s next to me with the ram, his knuckles white, but there’s a split second where he turns his head and looks me dead in the eye. And I see
something
—a slight bouncing of his leg—a quick roll of a shoulder.

Shit, he’s feeling it’s about to go bad too
.

Before I could voice anything, the team was punching through the door—splintering shards of wood and debris out around us.

We rushed through, one behind the other, guns drawn—as a bright light explodes around us. Voices and screams turn into smoke and chaos.

The motherfuckers knew we were coming. Bullets blast past my head, time slows, and the air thickens with splatters of blood and loss. Pain rips up my sides as I open fire.

Then complete darkness.

CHAPTER 2

PRESENT DAY…MADELINE


H
oly shit, Maddie. Did you see who just came in?” Ava asked as she leaned her entire body over the bar top and tugged on my arm.

I lifted my eyes through the crowd to the front door and my heart shuddered to a complete stop. Which of course made the beer I was serving slide right out of my grip and splash all over the front of Franny Donahue’s fancy new shirt. “What the hell!” she screamed in my face.

“Shoot, Franny. I’m so…I’m so sorry,” I stammered, wiping at her shirt.

“Get your damned hands off my tits, Madeline!” Franny yelped. Shoot, I wasn’t paying any attention to her. I was still staring at the front door and the person who had just walked in.
Luke Gunner
.

“Is there something
mentally wrong
with you?” Franny growled.

What?
I looked down at my hands and saw that in fact, they were feeling up her chest with a dirty bar towel. Squashed up maraschino cherry guts I had just wiped off the other end of the bar were now smashed across her once pretty blouse. I threw the rag down and grabbed one of the bar’s T-shirts from out of the display case and offered it to her. “Here, Franny. I’m sorry. Don’t know what happened.”

She grabbed at the shirt, held it away from the mess I made, and headed to the restrooms. “Don’t think I’m paying for this shirt, either!”

“Whatever,” I called to her, my eyes making their way back to the front of the bar and Luke Gunner. I leaned my hands heavily onto the counter and took a deep breath. It still hurt to look at him.

I hadn’t seen him in a few years. Not since he and my brother graduated. Not since the night of my brother’s graduation party. Not since the night I’d given him my virginity and he destroyed my heart.

We had been close friends in high school once, but after that night, he was
gone
. But that was a lifetime ago, wasn’t it? I hadn’t even heard he was back. I wonder if he was just visiting his mom. She didn’t tell me anything, but then again, she doesn’t talk much these days and she never ventures out anymore. If she did get a day out of the house, she definitely wouldn’t be coming to a bar to talk to the likes of me. I shouldn’t even be working here,
being me
.

“Hey girl, you okay.” Ava nudged me.

“No. But I will be, no worries,” I tried my best to smile back at her, pretending it was no big thing. “Shit, he’s not back for my brother’s wedding, is he?”


I heard
he came back to recuperate. Staying at his mom’s old place,” she explained.

“Recuperate? Wait, you knew he was back in town?” I asked, jamming my hands on my hips.

Ava leaned away from the bar top and folded her arms over her chest. “You cannot be pissed off at me for not telling you. You made me swear to never mention his name again. He’s your very own
Voldemort
.”

“Really? That’s what you’re going with? You’re blaming
me
for not telling me?”

“Yes. It’s all your fault.” She smiled.

I sighed loudly. “Fine. Whatever. What did you mean by recuperating anyway?”

“The way I heard it, he was in a shooting. Lost a few of the guys on his team,” Ava whispered, placing the beers I offered on her tray.

The words made my chest ache. A shooting?
He got hurt?
Clenching the towel as hard as I could, I wiped down the bar.
Stop. Stop feeling things you should not be feeling for someone you don’t even know anymore. Just erase the man from your brain. It’s not like he’s even going to remember

“Holy shit, here he comes,” Ava hissed, her eyes wide.

“What? No!” I said, wrestling with the stupid towel and my apron.
Okay, I’m just going to run out the back door
. Definitely. He probably hasn’t even seen me yet; just wants to order a Guinness or whatever his stupid favorite drink is now. My pulse sped up as I untangled myself from my apron strings.

“What the hell are you doing?” Ava asked under her breath.

“Nothing. I’m just going to run out the back door,” I said, fumbling with the god forsaken knotted apron strings. My fingers were all sticky from the damned dirty towel I kept grabbing.

“You
are
acting mental! Why?”

“Seriously? You think I want him to see me standing here behind a bar, my life at some standstill since he left me here flat. No-fucking-thank-you.” My eyes glanced in his direction and sure enough, the son of a bitch was headed straight for me with a cocky grin on his stupid gorgeous face. My heart slammed up against my ribs.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Now there was no way I could run
. No way. Because now I was just standing there gawking at him like an idiot with my apron dangling off my hips.

BOOK: Best Man
3.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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