Sweet Obsession

Page 17


“So, was the turn-out for class today as ridiculous as last night?”
“You thought it was ridiculous?” His mouth pulls tight. He looks adorably puzzled.
“Women were lined up outside like you were handing out free orgasms.” I give him a cheeky grin. “Clearly, you weren’t. Unless that service was offered to everyone except me.”
His face softens with a smile. “Nah, that’s the Brooke special. It comes with dinners and private lessons. Spending time together. Friendship.”
“Friendship? You want to be my friend?”
“And you want to sleep with me?”
“I want everything,” he states negligently. “Friendship is a part of it. Why wouldn’t it be?”
I shrug. My eyes fixate on the bar.
This glorious specimen of a man also wants a friendship out of this. How . . . strange.
“Are you drinking?” I ask, desperate for a subject change.
Feelings. Friendship. More.
He needs alcohol.
I glance back up to catch the quick shake of his head.
“I’m all right.”
“You came to a bar and you’re not going to drink?”
He stares at me, his eyes slowly moving over my face, then down the line of my body. “You look lovely, Brooke. Stunning, really. Has any man told you that today?”
“Um . . .” I inhale a shaky breath. “Today? No. Not today.”
“Shame. I should’ve said something earlier. I was thinking it. In the alley . . . when I came to your work. I couldn’t stop looking at you. I still can’t.”
“In the alley.” I clear my throat. Hair clings to the base of my neck. I’m burning up. “I liked the alley.”
God, I loved the alley.
Mason eyes me for a moment, then reaches out and takes the drink out of my hand. He sets it on the bar and stands, pulling out his wallet. “Go for a ride with me, yeah? I’ll bring you back here. I just . . . I want to talk to you and drive around the city. I’ve been thinking about doing that.” He throws some cash down, tucks his wallet back into his pocket, and grabs my hand.
With a gentle tug, I’m on my feet.
“You’re taller tonight,” he observes, smiling down at my shoes. “I recognize those.”
I grab my clutch off the bar. “And you’re a bit bossy.”
His brow pulls together. He looks charmingly confused.
I fight the urge to smile as I explain. “I never agreed to go for a ride with you. You did that adorable little ‘yeah’ thing and took my drink away. Were you even going to wait for my answer? Maybe I’m not ready to leave. Maybe I want to finish my very coconuty drink and spend some time with my mates. Ever think about that?”

I think he wants to smile. I believe I see a slight twitch in his mouth, but he covers it immediately, or I’m simply imagining things.
Am I not as funny as I think I am?
“I’m sorry.” He drops my hand. His eyes roam the room. “Right. That was a bit bossy of me. Would you rather we stay here? I thought a drive would be nice. I’ll be able to hear you better. I’d like to hear you.”
A strange tightness pulls at my chest.
Shit. Even in his high-handedness, his intentions are sweet.
“It’s fine. We can . . .”
A body bumps against my back. I brace myself with a hand to Mason’s chest to keep myself from falling. His grip holds tight on my waist, tighter as I slowly lift my head to look at him. I turn to get a glance at the creep who shoved me into this tall piece of manly deliciousness.
I should thank them.
Paul sways on his feet behind me. He’s clearly intoxicated.
Whatever. I don’t hold any ill-will toward any of the men I’ve slept with. I’m sure him knocking into me was purely accidental. No doubt brought on by the alcohol. Look at him. He can barely stand.
He grabs the bar to steady himself, grinning wildly. “Brooke! Funny . . . funny seeing you again, isn’t it? God, I really didn’t think that was you.”
He didn’t think that was me? I just saw him a few days ago. How drunk is this guy?
“Uh, yeah, it’s me. Small world.” I push against Mason’s chest. “Come on. Let’s go.”
Paul keeps going.
“I thought . . . nah, that’s not Brooke. No way! She should be hanging on a street corner.”
I whip my head around. “Excuse me.”
“A street corner.” Paul leans closer, tilting his head with a sneer. “You know. Like a whore.”
My body goes rigid. Mason tenses behind me.
Paul, you stupid fucking idiot. You asked for this.
“You know. Like a whore.”
Brooke inhales a quick breath. Her eyes go round, taking up the majority of her face.
The fuck did he just say?
I move to get closer to this piece of shit, putting myself in front of Brooke. “Hey, fuck off, mate.”
His head jerks up, his eyes rapidly blinking me into focus. He’s barely keeping himself upright. One hand is flat on the bar, the other is clutching the stool Brooke was just occupying.
He’s so tanked he’ll probably end up falling over soon.
“No.” Brooke darts a hand out and grabs my arm, halting me. “No, let me.” She steps in front of the bastard. “I’m sorry, Paul. What exactly makes me a whore? Was it the fact that I had sex with you the other night, which I’m now suddenly regretting, or was it that you got your pathetic little feelings hurt when I didn’t want to cuddle after?” Her hand flies to her hip. “Are you sad because I didn’t want to go for round two? Is that it? Is that why you look like shit right now, Paul?”
Jesus. Brooke and this tosser? This is not some shit I want to hear about.
Paul drops his head, shaking with silent laughter. “You fucked like a whore. What chick bails right after gettin’ laid like that?”
“What guy turns into a preteen and cries about it? You’re lucky I even went home with you. I had plenty of other options that night.”
“Yeah . . . I bet you did.” He slouches closer, his eyes gleaming. “Whore.”
I move without any thought behind it, getting up in his face, jamming his body against the bar.
“Speak to her like that again and I’ll put you through a fucking window, yeah?”
A small hand wraps around my elbow. “Mason.” Brooke tugs my arm, but I keep the bastard pinned.
Just knowing he’s been with Brooke is enough to provoke me. Hearing him speak to her like that . . . I’m not a violent guy, but I’m suddenly feeling like I could be. I could beat the piss out of this wanker and not feel any remorse. Not a shred.
His head rolls left, then right, his eyes slowly drifting closed. “Mm. Hit me. Go ahead. I-I don’t give a s-shit.”
He’s slurring his words now. He can barely stand.
I don’t need to hit him.
I swiftly back away. He isn’t expecting that. Eyes wide, his feet slide out from under him and he collapses into a drunken heap on the floor, limbs sprawled like a rag doll, head slumped back against the bar. His eyes pinch shut through a groan, then he slowly topples over until he’s laid out between the stools.