Authors: Farita Surdare
Copyright © 2013 by Farita Surdare
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without permission from the author.
Warning: This work is of an explicit erotic nature. It is meant for readers eighteen years and older.
Rain pelted the windows loudly, like someone was standing outside throwing handfuls of BBs at the panes. The wind howled and shrieked around the loosely hung door I was always complaining to the manager about fixing. The wind wasn't quite strong enough to blow it open just yet, but the weatherman on the TV above the bar looked worried as he gestured to the big red spot on the map behind him.
"Hey, Em! Mind if I take off early? It's Josh's birthday and I want to get home early and surprise him. It's not like anyone's going to come out in this weather anyway," my coworker, Jenny asked over the loud music from the jukebox playing in the corner.
I shook my head. "Go ahead," I said. I flapped my hand at the door. "I can handle the rest of the night, and if we get a sudden party of bikers or something, Pedro can leave the kitchen and help."
Jenny gave me the biggest grin. "Thanks, hun! You're the best!" she said. Then she got her purse out from under the shelf under the register and left with a little wave over her shoulder.
Europe's "The Final Countdown" came on the jukebox. I sighed and shook my head. I turned around and glanced at the bottles lined up along the mirrored shelf behind me. I ducked down and peered at myself in the mirror between the bottles of Midori and Sauza. I reached a hand up to pat my long blond hair down. It always frizzed in the rain. I hated that.
It was weird to hate stuff. I mean, given where I come from and how I was raised, it just wasn't right to hate anything, not even my hair. I looked myself in the eyes and sighed. My emerald green eyes blinked back at me. I shook my head again and reached for a nearly empty bottle behind the melon liqueur.
The door opened. I straightened to greet the customer coming in the bar and banged my head on the shelf above me. Bottles rattled. Two fell to the floor and broke open.
"Ow!" I cried as I rubbed the top of my head. I looked at my hand. It didn't have any blood on it, but man, did my head suddenly hurt bad! I rubbed the sore spot again and turned to the door.
No one was there.
"Just the wind," I muttered to myself and looked down at the wet mess at my feet. I sighed and shook my head and went to get the trash can and some rags. I might have to call Pedro out to mop this up.
Before I could get anything, I heard a voice.
"Everything OK back there?"
I looked up. Standing at the bar was the most gorgeous man I'd ever seen, and that's saying something! Between my college campus and my work as a bartender, I saw guys all the time, and none of them had ever come close to looking as good as this guy. I couldn't help but blush and smile like an idiot. I rubbed my head again. "Yeah. What can I get you?"
His dark chocolate eyes bored into mine. His dark raven black hair was short, but not like military short. Long enough so that his bangs fell into his eyes. He reminded me of a living Ken doll. He was at least 6'4" with broad shoulders and a narrow waist. Flat stomach. Whoa. Someone spent a lot of time working out.
"Whiskey," he said.
I raised my eyebrows. For some reason I expected him to order a beer like just about every guy I served. Some girls ordered mixed drinks that had whiskey in them, and sometimes the frat boys did shots, but almost never with whiskey. They liked Jager and cheap tequila. "Any particular brand?" I gestured to the wall behind me. "Jack, Jim-"
"None of that American shit. I'll take a shot of that," he interrupted me. He pointed to a bottle to my left, high above my head.
I scowled. Where did that bottle come from? I didn't remember ever seeing it before. Still, I took it down and read the label. "Jameson?"
"The Irish make the best whiskey, in my opinion. I'll take a double," he said, ordering two shots in one glass. He sat down on one of the black leather bar stools and rested his elbows on the polished wood of the bar.
I raised my eyebrows and got a glass from the clean ones resting on the rag beneath the bar. "On the rocks?" I asked, wondering if he wanted his whiskey poured over ice.
"Straight up," he said, telling me that he wanted it without any.
"Sure thing," I said, upending the bottle and counting out two measures of the booze as I poured it into the glass. I set it in front of him. "$14.00."
"Expensive place," he muttered. He frowned in disapproval as he reached for his wallet. He pulled it out of his back pocket and put a $20 on the bar.
"Sorry, but you said you wanted a double, and a shot of top shelf is $7.00," I said off-handedly. I shrugged and took the twenty to the register. I rang up the sale and took $6.00 change out of the cash drawer.
"Keep the change," he said with a dismissive wave of his hand as I neared him again.
I raised my eyebrows. Big tip for such a little tab. I was lucky if I got any tip at all most orders. People tipped waitresses in this town, not bartenders. Usually when people said "keep the change" to me, it was like 12 cents or something they just didn't want to put in their pocket or purse. I shook my head. Clearly he wasn't a local. I'd never seen him before, and I'd remember a guy that hot. Also clearly, he'd never been in here before, since he'd commented on the price of the liquor.
I hesitated, holding the bills in my hand for a minute. "You sure I can't get you anything else? How about a menu? The kitchen's still open, if you wanted a burger or something."
He shook his head and brought his glass to his lips. His gorgeous full lips. They seemed to almost caress the rim of the glass. I couldn't help but stare at him for a second as he took a long, slow swallow. I blinked and shook my head to clear it. I shrugged and put the cash in my hand in the tip jar under the bar. I reached for a rag and pretended to tidy up. I slid the remote control to the bar TV toward him as I wiped down the polished wood. He ignored it and kept his gorgeous brown eyes on his beautiful manly hands.
I shook my head again and made myself stop looking at him. Rain smacked against the windows again. The door blew open and banged against the wall before it closed again. I rolled my eyes and groaned through gritted teeth. I looked at my watch and almost sighed in relief. Less than an hour to go.
The lights flickered for a moment before I heard the loud boom of thunder. I looked up at the ceiling nervously.
"Gettin' nasty out there," he murmured against the rim of his glass as he took another long swallow of his drink.
I swallowed hard and nodded. I didn't like thunderstorms. I didn't mind storms so much if there wasn't any lightning or thunder. Lightning and I go way back. I didn't like it at all. Suddenly I was regretting telling Jenny she could go early. Oh, well. Pedro was still here.
"It's not always like this," I said, finding my voice as I went back to wiping down the bar. "Summertime we get bad storms on occasion, but they're rare. This is a freaky one."
The man nodded and sipped his drink. He was almost halfway done with it now.
"If you're OK here, I'm going to start tidying up," I said, nodding toward the empty dining area.
"Be my guest," he said, keeping his eyes on his drink. "I'll be out of your hair shortly."
My mouth dropped open in horror. "I didn't mean! Omigod, I didn't mean you to think that you're any trouble!"
His laughter cut me off. "I know you're about to close soon. It's late, it's nasty outside, you probably want to get home to your boyfriend."
"I don't have a boyfriend," I said quickly, then kicked myself. Why had I said that? Who said that to a total stranger?
He raised his eyes to me. A wry grin spread across his face. I shivered.
"Come now," he said, holding my eyes. "Surely a pretty thing like you has someone waiting on her at home. Girlfriend maybe?"
I couldn't help but shake my head. "No. No one."
He laughed again. The sound of it warmed me through and through, a delicious tingle crawling up my spine at the sound of it.
Lightning turned the windows white. The lights flickered again. Thunder boomed.
"I'm, uh, just going to turn off the signs and get cleaning. Excuse me," I said.
He smiled and raised his glass to me in a toasting gesture before bringing it to his lips again.
I ducked out from behind the bar and shook my head. He made me feel all kinds of weird, and I wasn't sure if it was the creepy kind or the nice kind. It wasn't like I had a whole lot of experience with dating or men or women or anything. Not much at all. None, in fact. Never been kissed or any of that.
I didn't think about it anymore as I pulled the chains on the neon signs in the windows as quick as I could, just in case the lightning outside decided to flash while I was close to a window. It always seemed to do that. Sometimes I wonder if I attracted it. Who knows. Maybe I did.
I pulled the shades in the windows down. "Murray's Bar & Grill" shown backwards through the streetlight that filtered through them. Just as I reached for the last shade, lightning flashed, thunder boomed and the lights went completely out.
I couldn't help it. I dropped the rag in my hand as I let out a frightened shriek and brought my hands to my mouth.
In moments I was wrapped in strong arms. My face pressed against a hard surface, my head cupped against it by a warm hand on the back of it. I realized it was the man's chest. His t-shirt was soft against my cheek.
"Shh," I heard him soothe. "You're all right."
I couldn't help but stand there, shocked. No one had ever touched me like this. I'd never been held like this. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure if I liked it. I thought I did. Still. I didn't even know this guy. My hands flattened against his chest.
"Uh, thank you, uh -- Mr -- uh -- sir."
I looked up at him. Even in the dark, I could make out the chiseled outline of his jaw. "Mr. Rogers? Seriously?"
I could almost see that sly grin of his. "Yeah. Seriously. My name is Stevain, but I go by Rogue."
"Rogue? How'd you get a nickname like that? Are you one or something?"
"When I was a kid, I couldn't say our last name. It stuck." He loosened his hold on me. "You OK now?"
Just as I nodded, another flash of lightning turned the shades translucent and thunder shook the windows. I couldn't help but cringe against him again and bury my face against his chest.
His hand cupped the back of my head again as his arm around my waist tightened again. "Shhh," he soothed again. "It's all right. Just a bit of bad weather."
"I'm such a baby," I murmured against his shirt. "I mean, like you said, it's just a bit of bad weather. What's it going to do? Eat me? What's to be afraid of?"
He shrugged. I felt the movement all around me and closed my eyes. He was so warm! "Some fears are irrational. Some have a perfectly reasonable foundation. Did you have a bad experience in a storm before?"
I nodded and sighed. You could call it that.
"Then there's your reason," he said. "Though if I'm going to stand here comforting you, I should at least know your name, shouldn't I? Your nametag says Emmaluna. That's pretty. It suits you. Where did it come from?"
I looked up at him. "What do you mean? From my dad."
He laughed. It warmed me again and that electric tingle danced through my limbs, weakening my knees.
"I meant like a country or something. Spanish or French or something," he said.
"I don't really know," I said. "What about yours? Stevain is unusual. Interesting. Where'd yours come from?"
The lights came back on. He abruptly let me go and was back at the bar with his drink in his hand so fast it was like he hadn't ever moved.
Maybe he hadn't. Had I imagined it all? I saw my cleaning rag on the floor and bent down to pick it up. The kitchen door swung open and a worried-looking Pedro hurried over to me.
"Em! You OK? It was so dark and I had my hands in the sink. I didn't dare move because I couldn't see. Last thing I need is to trip over the mop bucket and break something!" Pedro said.
"I'm OK," I assured him, looking warily out of the corner of my eye at...was his name really Rogue? If it wasn't, that's who he'd be in my mind forever. And he'd sure be stuck there forever, for sure. "I was just cleaning up."
Pedro nodded. "Let's both clean up quick and get ready to get out of here as soon as closing time comes. It's Hell out there." He nodded toward the windows. "Maria will be worried about me."
"Yes, let's," I said with a nervous glance at the windows. "I need a new rag."
"I'm going to go get the mop and bucket and start out here now if you don't care. Who knows how long the power will stay on and I should at least get that done if I can. The dishes can wait until tomorrow if they have to. Mr. Byrd will understand," said Pedro.
"Good idea," I agreed. I went back to the bar and got a clean rag. I glanced at Rogue. He kept his eyes on his drink and took another slow sip. "Thank you," I murmured quietly as I passed him again.
He didn't say anything. I shrugged in my head and got the bottle of spray cleaner and went to wipe the tables and chairs before putting them up for Pedro to mop behind me.