Authors: Rhonda James
My Only Regret
Text Copyright © 2014 Rhonda James
All Rights Reserved
Published by Rhonda James, Author LLC
Cover Layout and Design by Squid Ink Studio
All lyrics are original and owned by Rhonda James
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
The following story contains mature themes, profanity, and explicit sexual situations. It is intended for adult readers.
This book is dedicated to my dear friend and fellow author, Claire Granger. Thank you for being a huge support to me throughout the rewriting and editing of this book. For every time you've ever stopped what you were doing just to talk me through the ins and outs of networking on social media, a simple thank will never be enough. You are my rock, my sounding board, my sanity when I'm having a meltdown, and a shoulder to cry on when I'm at my lowest. You're an inspiration to me daily, and my life is better because of our friendship. Thank you for making me a better writer, and reminding me to always be true to myself. Love you girl!
The best proof of love is
sigh heavily, glancing up at the clock hanging on the wall. Fifteen minutes need to pass before I can clock out and make my way home. If the next fifteen are anything like the rest of this week has been, I’ll need something stiffer than a glass of wine when I get home.
I dash off a few emails, and draft a letter for my boss to sign, before packing my things to leave. The hand finally reaches five o'clock and I can't get to my car fast enough. I throw my bag over the seat and back out of my space without even looking. I make it home in record time and dash inside, ready to kick off my shoes and crash on the sofa. As I sit down I catch the tail end of Mel’s phone conversation. She steals a glance at me, and all I hear are the words
we'll meet you there at seven
falling from her perfectly penciled lips, before I hang my head and murmur
"What did you just commit us to?" I blurt out as she hangs up the phone. "I really don't feel like going out. I've had a shitty first week an--"
"Which is all the more reason you need to get your sorry ass out and have some fun." She cuts me off before I can finish my whining. Mel has known me long enough to read my signals. When I suffer a break-up I drown my sorrows in tequila and ice cream. When I’m happy I make an elaborate meal for us to enjoy. And for some unknown reason, when I have sex I become giddy and can't stop gushing about how wonderful everything is. Finally, she knows when I need to cut loose by how slumped my shoulders are, and how low I hang my head. Apparently, I walked in resembling a frightened turtle. "Now stop bitching and slip into something sexy. We're meeting some girls from my office down at Theo's. There's a kick-ass band playing tonight and I've had to listen to them go on all week about how hot these guys are. I need to check it out for myself, and you, my dear, are coming with me." She turns on her heel and heads for her room.
"I don't see how listening to a bunch of sexy guys is going to help my work situation." I argue, half-heartedly. I secretly did want to catch a glimpse of these guys, but I wasn't going to let her know that. Even if I get there and they are the hottest guys I've ever seen, my stubborn ass would rather die before admitting it. Besides, I've lived in Seattle for four years and haven't run into even
guy who could remotely pass as the hottest ever, let alone
"Technically, it won't. However, you do need to get laid, and we both know that a good fuck will make everything else seem insignificant. Now, go make yourself irresistible." She places a hand on my shoulder and ushers me down the hall.
It takes some doing on my part, and a little help from Mel, but I guess I’ve succeeded. We stand shoulder to shoulder, taking a long look in the mirror, and I can’t help but gape at my own reflection. My hair, which is normally worn straight, has been expertly styled into waves that billow across my shoulder blades. Mel applied my makeup, making sure to give me a proper smoky eye complete with just the right amount of mascara. A little blush and red lipstick help set off my cerulean blue eyes.
As we head to the car Mel leans over and tells me I look hot.
"Really?" I wrinkle my nose and try my best to see myself in the same light. I may think I’m pretty, but I would never describe myself as hot.
"Oh yeah. If I were into girls I would totally do you." She said with an amazingly straight face.
"Shut up." I roll my eyes and slam the door, trying my best not to laugh. I look over and see the pout on her face. "What?"
"Umm, aren't you going to pay me the same compliment?"
My eyes move up and over her body before coming to rest on her still pouting lips. I shrug a shoulder nonchalantly. "Eh, verdicts still out on that one. I think I need to see you on the dance floor first."
"You bitch." One corner of her mouth pulls up as she shakes her head. "You know, after a few shots of tequila you'll be singing a different tune!" We both laugh as we head down the street toward the bar on a destination we've laughably named "Operation Make Rhyann Forget Asshole Boss."
heo's is a bar located just on the edge of town, known for great music, greasy food, and a heavy-handed bartender. We come here often, but it's usually on Thursday when they have open mic night and we get to check out the new talent in the area. We typically head toward the opposite end of town and end up at a wine bar that is known for serving up platters of nuts and dried fruits with their wine selections. It's a great place to go to unwind, and definitely not as upbeat as Theo's.
As usual, the place is packed when we enter and we play a serious game of dodge the bodies as we make our way to the bar and wait in line. A few guys look over and start to head our way, as they always do when Mel is on the prowl. I think she must give off a certain pheromone that I don't possess. All men seem to gravitate towards her. Don't get me wrong, I get my fair share of propositions, but men practically beg her to go home with them. I've always chalked it up to her dark hair and emerald green eyes. Me, I'm just your typical blond-haired, blue-eyed twenty-something stuck in a job that I secretly despise. My heart has been scorched a few times, and the expanse of my sex life pales in comparison to my best friend.
When it’s finally our turn to order, Mel goes for her standard martini while I choose a Cosmo. I down the first one and immediately order a second, feeling the need to relax. Mel raises a still-full glass to my empty and gives me a wink. She knows I 've had a hard week, which is exactly why she brought us here. Sure, she can pretend that it was only to check out the hot musicians, but I know for a fact that she's hoping I'll hook up with someone and forget my troubles for the night, maybe even the weekend, and right now I have to agree that it sounds like a damn good plan. The bartender finishes mixing my second drink and slides it my way, informing me that my drink is compliments of the guy at the end of the bar. I frown slightly and casually glance over my shoulder, trying to check out my new friend. He's staring directly at me and I put on the most flirtatious smile I can muster. He lifts his glass and nods, as if saying hello in bar speak. I lift my drink in return to say thank you, then, deciding to be bold, I change my mind and head his way. I slip into the cramped space beside him and he chuckles softly before looking nervously over his shoulder. He's cute, not exactly my type, but definitely worthy of a few minutes. I'm just about to open my mouth to deliver my opening line when he abruptly cuts me off and starts speaking rapidly.
"Hey, I've got to make this quick because my girlfriend should be back from the restroom any second, but what do you say we meet up later tonight and get better acquainted?" He leans forward, and his tongue darts quickly from between his thinly pressed lips, lips I now realize I wouldn't kiss if my life depended on it. Not because of his hideously offensive pick-up line, but mostly because they are pale, thin, and almost non-existent. His tongue slips out again before glancing over his shoulder one more time. I seriously start to consider whether he is, in fact, a reptile on two legs. The nervous way his tongue darts out does nothing to turn me on, and everything to repulse me. I open my mouth to eloquently turn him down when my eyes capture movement off in the distance, and I am suddenly rendered speechless.
I angle my body for a better view and focus my eyes on the gorgeous specimen standing just to the right of the stage. At the moment, he's facing me, but his eyes are directed to the man standing in front of him. They are talking, and I watch closely as his lips form words that I can't quite make out from this distance. His shoulder length hair is dark, and his jaw is lightly covered in stubble. His hard, tattooed body fills the dark jeans and black T-shirt he's wearing so perfectly I would swear they have been painted on. A diamond earring and black biker boots complete his sexy ensemble, and I stare long and hard, taking it all in. Suddenly, my tongue begins caressing my lips uncontrollably, and I silently curse my own reptilian behavior. Before long, they aren't the only set of lips that are wet.
I step away from the bar, completely forgetting the boy in front of me, and slowly make my way over to the man I'm admiring. By now his eyes have connected with mine, and the way they beckon me over makes my heart beat a little faster with anticipation. I hold my head high and pray I don't stumble and fall in the four-inch fuck-me heels Mel insisted I wear this evening. A sexy smile spreads over his face as I draw closer, and from this distance I can see a dimple peeking out from the corner of his mouth. His eyes stay locked with mine, calling out to me in a language I'm not sure I understand, yet he appears to speak it fluently, and I'm intrigued. One thing is certain, if he's willing to teach me, I'll gladly be his student.
I've almost made it to his corner of the room when, out of nowhere, a redhead steps before him and places a hand on his chest, stopping me dead in my tracks. I hobble back a step and contemplate my next move. I'm not sure if she is his girlfriend, but even if she is I'm not ready to turn back now, I've already come this far. He says something and removes her hand from his chest, keeping his eyes trained on me. I swallow hard and my legs begin to feel weak, all the boldness I once possessed seems to have vanished. I gather my composure and take a tentative step forward and approach him, suddenly unsure of what I'm going to say.
"No, no, no." He shakes his head, but the smile never leaves his gorgeous face. I frown, unaware of what I've done wrong, but I immediately feel the need to turn tail and run out of sheer embarrassment. Maybe I misread his signals. Maybe he hadn't been undressing me with his eyes. My own eyes went wide as I tried to think of a way to escape my poorly thought out plan. He must have read my mind because a strong hand firmly caught my wrist as I started to flee. "Please, don't go."
I look down and am immediately lost in the intricate design tattooed on his forearm. I see the body of an electric guitar, but the neck and strings are broken and three dimensional, appearing to explode out of his skin. I lift my eyes to meet his, watching as he fully takes in my appearance, and breathe a quiet sigh of relief when he gives me a panty-dropping smile. Confusion must be written all over my face because he quickly resumes speaking.