Parker (Striking Back #3) (6 page)

BOOK: Parker (Striking Back #3)
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“You
too,” I reply, feeling my cheeks heat up. I know we’re busted. My neck has to
be flushed and blotchy, my lips swollen from our kisses.

Parker
is quiet during the ride back to the safe house. I can feel the regret pouring
off of him and it makes a lump rise in my throat. I’m too damned emotional
lately.

“Macy,
I’m so sorry,” he says when we’re parked in the driveway of the safe house. “I
swear I didn’t take you to the roof to…try to sleep with you. I got carried
away.”

“I
didn’t do anything I didn’t want to,” I reply quietly.

“You’re
a resident, a client. I’m supposed to protect you, not maul you. I’ve done a
lot of shitty things, but when it comes to this, to Striking Back, there’s a
code of ethics. I can’t take advantage.”

Take
advantage. Like I had no idea what I was doing. Because that’s what he sees, a
weak, easily led woman who needs his help. “Don’t worry about it. It was a one
time mistake.” The word mistake catches in my throat. “Let’s just pretend it
never happened.”

His
shoulders slump at the tone of my voice. “I didn’t mean that I…”

“I
appreciate you taking me out today,” I interrupt. “But I’m really tired. I just
want to go to bed.” I grab my crutches and head to the front door, feeling
almost as stupid as I did when I discovered Al was an abusive asshole. Once
inside, I make a beeline for my room.

“Good
night, let me know if you need something,” he calls. My need is pulsing between
my legs.

“I’ll
be fine.” A long hot bath helps me get my head straight. I’m not here to date,
and I won’t stay here much longer. I’ll give it two weeks. If Al isn’t caught
in the next two weeks, I’ll agree to relocate, at least for a while.

I
can’t stay cooped up here anymore with no friends or company except bodyguards.
It’s made me obsess over Parker just because he was kind to me. I toss and turn
for hours, finally giving up to read until dawn. When I finally sleep, I dream
of Parker, staring down at me, brushing my hair from my forehead.

It’s
nearly noon when I drag my ass into the living room. “Good morning,” Devon
says, amusement thick in his voice. “Long night?”

“Couldn’t
sleep,” I mumble, making my way to the kitchen. Where is Parker?

As
if he’s reading my mind, Devon calls, “Parker left you some donuts. He’s taking
a night off so I’ll be here, plus Jensen is out front.”

That’s
right, he has plans to go to Hype tonight. “I’m sure we can survive without
him.”

Devon
chuckles. “Blackjack later?”

“You’ll
lose all your M&M’s.”

“I’ll
risk it.”

The
day drags by. Parker’s probably partying his ass off, and I’m totally jealous.
I’ve never needed to get laid so badly in my life. After an amusing evening of
kicking Devon’s ass at Blackjack and stuffing myself with candy, I crash hard.

 

 

Parker

 

What
have I done? As soon as she trusts me, I blow it all to hell. I had nothing but
the best intentions taking Macy to Mason’s party. She’s been through so much
and she’s so stressed out, I thought it’d be good for her to see her friend.

And
I was right. The way she came to life, her smile competing with the afternoon
sun, touched me in a way I can’t even begin to understand. She was happy. I’ve
never seen her happy.

I
meet the women at Striking Back during the worst time of their lives. They’re
damaged, afraid, and suspicious of anything a man does or says. I know to be
cautious, to tread carefully because they’re vulnerable and hurt.

With
Macy I seem to forget all that. All I see is a strong woman who never stops
fighting, who’s hell bent on being independent despite her inability to walk.
If anyone else behaved that way, I’d think they were difficult and avoid them
like the flu. For some reason, though, Macy’s stubborn determination makes me
smile.

It
doesn’t help that she has the face of an angel and a body that screams touch
me. Call me a dick, but I’ve taken every opportunity to touch her. When I saw
her lying on the pool lounger, her pale skin beaded with sweat, I couldn’t
resist.

Her
face bloomed pink when I slid one arm beneath her thighs and the other behind
her back, and I wanted to run my lips across her warm cheeks. Even jumping in
the cold water didn’t kill the urge to kiss every inch of her.

She
leaned back with her legs wrapped around me, dipping her head into the water,
and I damn near came in my pants like a horny teenager. It took a second to
realize she was talking to me about loving fireworks.

I’ve
watched the fireworks from the gym roof before, so I knew we’d have a front row
seat. I didn’t mean to kiss her. Her warm body and sweet scented skin overcame
my self-control, especially when she smiled at me, her gaze on my lips, clearly
wanting a kiss. Thank fuck Alex interrupted us. I know he’s going to give me
shit later, but right now I don’t care.

There’s
a line I can’t cross and I stomped on it. I apologized, but she was still
upset, though she’d never admit it. She went straight to bed without speaking
to me again. Now, I’m lying here trying to figure out how to undo the damage
I’ve caused. I’ll never sleep unless I check to see if she’s okay.

She’s
stretched out on her back, her booted foot propped on a pillow. The covers have
slipped just below her waist and a smooth strip of skin between her t-shirt and
panties glows in the moonlight. A small smile graces her lips when I pull the
covers to her chest and tuck a lock of hair behind her ear. So sweet. So
beautiful. And so off limits.

I
don’t obsess over any woman. It’s obviously been too long since I got laid.
Tomorrow night I’ll take care of that problem.

Macy
is still asleep when I wake, and I decide it’s best to give her some space
today after my fuck up last night. I want to do something nice for her, so I
make a quick run to the corner bakery to get her a half dozen chocolate covered
cake donuts and take them back to the house.

Devon
grins as I tell him for the tenth time, “If she needs anything, gets upset or
anything, call me.”

“I
said I would, now get the fuck out of here. I won’t let her out of my sight.”

Hype
is packed as usual and I barely manage to snag a table. Alex shows up, his arm
around Cooper’s shoulders, a few minutes after I arrive. Ian appears across the
club just as Cooper and Alex plant themselves at my table. Alex snorts when Ian
stops to flirt with a thin blonde. “He’s worse than you. Hasn’t been here two
minutes.”

“He’s
got nothing on me.” I feign offense. Cooper and Alex laugh, and Ian drags a
stool over to join us.

“What’s
so funny?”

“You
strike out?” I ask, nodding at the woman he was talking to.

“She’s
here with her old man. Too early to settle anyway.”

“See
what I mean?” Alex says to Cooper, who grins back at him.

“What
the hell did I miss?” Ian asks.

“These
two have the nerve to judge us.”

Ian
raises his eyebrows at Alex. “I wasn’t judging,” Alex argues. “Just pointing
out that you could give Parker a run for his money in the man whore
department.”

Ian
scoffs. “He couldn’t keep up with me.”

Oh.
I smell a challenge. Alex’s smile widens and he leans over the table. “Well,
let’s put it to the test. Most of these women would follow either of you out of
here, so let’s make it interesting. You can only use horrible or offensive
pickup lines. See who can still pull.”

“Are
you kidding?” Ian asks. “Like ‘did you fall from heaven’ horrible?”

“Yep.
Whoever can say the worst thing and still get the girl wins, and the rest of us
will buy his drinks.”

“I’m
in,” I say at the same time Ian says, “You’re on.” When the waitress returns,
Ian flashes a lopsided grin at her. He holds up his finger and motions for her
to come closer. With a cautious expression, she walks over to him. “See how I
made you come with one finger, beautiful? Imagine what I can do with more.”

The
waitress rolls her eyes. “Save the juvenile bullshit and tell me what you want
to drink.” A smile flashes across her face when we laugh at Ian.

“It’s
still early, assholes,” he grumbles. We give the waitress a large tip when she
brings our drinks, just for putting up with us.

“How
about her,” Cooper suggests, pointing out a petite woman nursing her drink at a
corner table.

“Nah,
she’s the okeydoke,” Ian replies.

“The
what?”

“The
okeydoke. The one you know will go home with you. The one you save for last if
you can’t get anyone hotter.”

“You’re
horrible human beings,” Alex says.

A
few minutes later, I notice two women at another table eyeing us. “All right,
man. How about them?” I ask Ian.

“I
get the blond.”

“Deal.”
We send drinks to their table and motion for them to join us when they wave.
They’re both pretty and obviously down to party.

“Hi,
I’m Shawna,” the blond says, “and this is Chrissy. Thanks for the drinks.”

“You’re
welcome,” I reply, pulling up a stool beside me for Chrissy while Ian does the
same for Shawna.

After
a few minutes of small talk and flirting, I lean toward Chrissy. I’ve been
trying to think of a line that won’t be bad enough to get my face smacked, but
is offensive enough to win. “I have a riddle for you.”

“I
love riddles!” Chrissy giggles, flipping her hair. Truthfully, she’s everything
I dislike in a woman, looks aside, but I try anyway. Cooper and Alex aren’t too
wrapped up in one another to listen in.

“What
fucks like a tiger and winks?”

“I
don’t know. What?” Her eyelashes are going a hundred miles per hour. I wink at
her, and Alex snorts, burying his face in Cooper’s neck to muffle his laughter.
“Um, okay,” Chrissy replies, looking at her friend. It totally went over her
head.

Shawna
breaks the awkward silence by asking Ian, “So, what do you do?”

“I’m
a carpenter,” he lies. Oh, where is he going with this?

“Really?”

“Uh-huh,
so what do you say we get hammered and I’ll nail you?”

Shawna
huffs and jumps off of her stool. “You’re a dick.” Chrissy follows her back to
their table while Alex and Cooper taunt us with our failures.

A
few drinks later, we decide to try our luck on the dance floor. Cooper and Alex
are behind me, grinding all over each other when a sexy redhead dances up to me,
turning her back to wiggle her ass against my crotch.

You
want it, you got it, baby. I notice a petite, sweet looking girl dancing with
Ian and I barely overhear him say, “You’re the perfect height for what I have
in mind.” The ring of her palm against his cheek echoes across the bar, and I’m
not the only one laughing.

“Looks
like your friend doesn’t know how to talk to women.”

“I’ll
have to teach him,” I murmur, spinning her around and pressing her hips into
mine, waking my hard-on.

“You
know what women want, huh?”

“Sometimes.
You, I’ll bet you like antiques and you’re in luck. I’ve got some junk you can
touch.”

Cooper
laughs behind me, and I wait for the backlash, but her hand slips between my
legs. “You have a lot of junk.”

“Come
with me and you can help me sort it out.”

“Let’s
go.”

I
turn and smirk at Alex. “I’m going to go. See you assholes later.”

“Un-fucking-believable,”
Alex says, shaking his head.

“What’s
your name, baby?” I ask, leading her toward the door.

“Amber.”

“I’m
Parker.”

She
giggles. “I know. Everyone knows who you are.” Great. She’s heard of me. Either
from my fighting or fucking. Probably from one of her friends I screwed another
night. “Are the rumors true?”

“Depends
on the rumor.”

“That
you can fuck a woman until she can’t move.”

“Baby,
you’re going to need a wheelchair when I’m done with you.”

 

* * * *

 

The
heavy scent of cheap floral perfume permeates the air and I’m ready to gag when
we finally step out of her car. My lungs pull a grateful breath of cool night
air. Why can’t women go easy on that crap? Macy never wears perfume and she
smells delicious.

“A
hotel?” Amber says with a disapproving look.

“Sorry,
babe, but my house is being bombed for spiders.”

“Spiders?”

“Big
nasty ones,” I lie, swiping the card to unlock the door. “Not poisonous, but
still.”

She
shudders and shakes her head. “I hate spiders.” Yep. All women do. It’s a
surefire way to get a woman to agree to a hotel without making her feel cheap.

BOOK: Parker (Striking Back #3)
6.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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