Tied, p.14
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       Tied, p.14

         Part #4 of Tangled series by Emma Chase
 
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  Right then and there, my opinion of Warren is forever altered. He’s still an idiot—as he just demonstrated. And because of his history with Kate, I’ll never like him. But throwing himself on his sword like this? Trying to protect me and the guys? It takes balls—brass ones. He just earned my respect.

  Matthew, Steven, and Jack are lined up behind me, tense and ready. I take a breath and ask, “Matthew—you cool with this plan?”

  He answers, “Absolutely.”

  “How about you, Jack, you up for it?”

  He chuckles darkly. “I’m always up for it, man.”

  “Steven?”

  “Why the hell not? Screw it.”

  Those are the only answers I need. I step around Warren, closer to Blair. “Okay—you can kick the shit out of him, and the rest of us will just sit by and watch.”

  Confused shock registers on his face. “Seriously?”

  I smile. “No, moron—I’m lying to you.” By the time my words register in his addled brain, my fist is already flying. Right at the fucker’s nose, busting it wide-open.

  Then all hell breaks loose.

  Typically, I believe a sucker punch is a pansy move. Cowardly. But this is a street fight. A cage match. There are no rules. Fingers in the eye sockets, kicks to the nads—it’s all fair game. A bloodied Blair tackles me to the ground, while the melee rages around us.

  I take a blow to the shoulder and the ribs, trying to protect my face. Warren had a valid point about the wedding thing. If my face is stitched up like Frankenstein’s, it’ll ruin the pictures.

  I land a left hook to the dickhead’s jaw, close enough to the injured nose to make him howl. It goes on like this for about five minutes, though it feels much longer.

  Then the girl that started it all says the magic words: “Cops! Cops!”

  Every one of us responds like a high schooler at a beer bash.

  We run. We break apart and scatter. The five of us make it back to the confines of the limo in record time, and the driver takes off. The flashing lights of Las Vegas’s finest don’t follow us. Thank God.

  You may not understand it, but believe me when I tell you this was an awesome development to our evening. No matter how old he is, every guy thinks it’s cool to drink, gamble, and then beat the shit out of somebody with his closest friends. We pass around a bottle of vodka and show off our battle wounds, bragging about how great we were.

  “Did you see that guy’s teeth explode? Bam!”

  “I had that big son of a bitch on the ropes. He was ready to cry for his ugly mama.”

  “Hope that loser likes liquid meals, ’cause that’s all he’s gonna be able to have for a long time.”

  I take a sip of Grey Goose, then pour it on my bleeding knuckles.

  Warren shakes his head and laments, “My luck with girls is crap.”

  No one disagrees. But what I’ve come to accept is this: it’s not his fault.

  Really.

  Warren is simply more pussy than dick. It’s how he was raised—surrounded by bush. It’s like . . . one of those weird news stories about a baby tiger that’s adopted by a family of pigs. When it’s older, it doesn’t show its claws or pounce or growl.

  It fucking oinks.

  Unlike the rest of us, who had confident, strong men in our lives, Warren’s only male exposure was whatever specimens Amelia brought home. Obviously, there were no freaking winners in that bunch.

  After a minute, he asks, “I really thought you were gonna let them kick my ass. What changed?”

  Matthew takes a drink from the bottle. “Fuck that. No man gets left behind.”

  I nod. “Exactly. You know the first rule of wolf packs?”

  “What?”

  “We take care of our own.”

  Chapter 12

  I think we should step back and take note of just how much alcohol the boys and I have consumed so far. There were the shots and beers at the pool, the Scotches in the room and at the casino, the wine with dinner, the brandy afterward, and now the vodka that we’re passing around like winos huddled near a burning garbage can.

  I’m no lightweight—but that’s a lot of fucking booze. We’re out-and-out walking saloons, for God’s sake. Even though it’s been spread out over hours, eventually that shit catches up to you. One minute you’ve got it all under control, then you take that last shot. The scales get tipped, and you find yourself on the floor—unable to walk or form a coherent sentence without drooling.

  Remember this fact.

  I have a feeling it’s going to play a big part in whatever lies ahead.

  Looking out the window at the dark desert landscape, I ask, “Where are we going again?”

  Matthew and Jack grin at each other. Jack says, “We’re going to heaven, brother. No lie—this place is like an oasis. Top-of-the-line women who know how to take care of a man. Nothing is off-limits—T and A will be everywhere.” He kisses his fingers. “Like manna from heaven.”

  I just shrug, unimpressed. But apparently Warren’s impatient. “Driver dude? What’s the holdup? I can get out and walk faster than this.”

  The driver glances back at us in the rearview mirror. “Sorry, fellas. There’s a Lincoln Town Car in front of me doin’ twenty below the speed limit. She won’t let me pass her.”

  I sit up and glance out the front window. Yep—it’s a grayhair. A whole clown car full of grayhairs, actually. You remember my feelings about senior-citizen drivers? In case you don’t, I’ll just say this: menace to society.

  Steven holds the bottle of vodka and takes a swig. I don’t know if he’s talking to us or himself, but out of nowhere he says, “I’m going to be dead soon.”

  All eyes in the limo turn to him. Matthew asks, “What the hell are you talking about?”

  “I’m talking about my life is half over. And there’s so much I haven’t done. I’m not going to hold back anymore—I’m going carpe diem on this bitch from here on out.”

  I scoff. “You’re just trashed. Don’t go getting depressed on us now. If you start crying, I’m throwing you out of the car while it’s still moving.”

  Steven doesn’t acknowledge my warning. He leans toward the partition separating us from the driver and slurs, “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you can get up alongside ’em.”

  With no oncoming traffic, the driver crosses the double line and pulls even with the Lincoln.

  Steven’s words slush together as he gets to his feet. “Crossing this one off the bucket list.” Then he unbuckles his belt and grabs the waist of his pants—yanking the suckers down to his ankles—tighty whities and all.

  Every guy in the car holds up his hands to try to block the spectacle. We groan and complain. “My eyes! They burn!”

  “Put the boa constrictor back in his cage, man.”

  “This is not the ass I planned on seeing tonight.”

  Our protests fall on deaf ears. Steven is a man on a mission. Wordlessly, he squats and shoves his lily-white ass out the window—mooning the gaggle of grannies in the car next to us.

  I bet you thought this kind of stuff only happened in movies.

  He grins while his ass blows in the wind for a good ninety seconds, ensuring optimal viewage. Then he pulls his slacks up, turns around, and leans out the window, laughing. “Enjoying the full moon, ladies?”

  Wow. Steven usually isn’t the type to visually assault the elderly.

  Without warning, his crazy cackling is cut off. He’s silent for a beat, then I hear him choke out a single strangled word.

  “Grandma?”

  Then he’s diving back into the limo, his face grayish, dazed, and totally sober. He stares at the floor. “No way that just happened.”

  Matthew and I look at each other hopefully, then we scramble to the window. Sure enough, in the driver’s seat of that big old Town Car is none other than Loretta P. Reinhart. Mom to George; Grandma to Steven.

  What are the fucking odds, huh?

  Loretta was always a cranky old bitch. No
sense of humor. Even when I was a kid she hated me. Thought I was a bad influence on her precious grandchild.

  Don’t know where she got that idea from.

  She moved out to Arizona years ago. Like a lot of women her age, she still enjoys a good tug on the slot machine—hence her frequent trips to Sin City. Apparently this is one such trip.

  Matthew and I wave and smile and in fourth-grader-like, singsong harmony call out, “Hi, Mrs. Reinhart.”

  She shakes one wrinkled fist in our direction. Then her poofy-haired companion in the backseat flips us the bird. I’m pretty sure it’s the funniest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen.

  The two of us collapse back into our seats, laughing hysterically.

  Steven snaps out of his stupor and yells to the driver, “For the love of God, man, floor it!”

  We speed off into the night, howling like Mad Hatters on laughing gas. All of us except Steven. You know that saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? I don’t think my brother-in-law is gonna be that lucky.

  The name of the strip club is Paradise. The sand-colored, two-story, windowless building is surrounded with lush trees, stone statues, a pond, and several fountains. The oasislike atmosphere stands out in sharp contrast to the barren desert around it. Even though the sign glows a modern neon, I half expect to see girls in togas, carrying big palm leaves and frigging grapes, wandering around the outside.

  We get to the front door. You may want to brace yourself. Don’t want anyone keeling over from the shock. Because, you have to understand—men are essentially pigs in human clothing. I readily admit it. There is no end to the perverted high jinks, fetishes, fortes, and fantasies we’re capable of dreaming up.

  And this joint caters to every single one of them.

  The door is opened by a fortyish-looking redhead in a dark green teddy with matching heels. She has aristocratic features—pale skin, full lips, high cheekbones—nicely accentuated by expensively subtle plastic surgery. “Welcome to Paradise, gentlemen. We’ve been expecting you.”

  Cream-colored walls, marble tile, and a burning white-stone fireplace make the foyer feel welcoming and warm. Almost homey. Deep, sexy music pounds from behind a dark mahogany door on the far side of the room. “My name is Carla; I’ll be your hostess this evening. If there is anything I can get for you during your stay—anything at all—please don’t hesitate to ask.”

  Warren’s mouth hangs open—like a fish who’s seen the face of God. Matthew and Jack are giggly with anticipation, while Steven still looks dazed from mooning his grandma.

  But I bet he’ll forget all about that shortly. We walk into the next room. The lights are low—as they always are in places like this—but the room is huge for a strip club. A main stage sits in the center, with two smaller stages beside it, each with a standard silver pole. A large glass bar lines one wall, with two bikini-clad dancers swaying on top.

  Men of all ages are scattered everywhere—at small tables, corner booths, and bar stools. And every one of them has at least two girls fawning over him. Out of the corner of my eye I see a salt-and-pepper-haired guy motorboating the tits of a blonde with pigtails and a Catholic-schoolgirl uniform. Behind them, a black-haired Asian woman stands naked on a table, sliding a Blow Pop into her twat. Then she leans down and pops it into the mouth of the college-age kid salivating in front of her.

  Kind of reminds you of Sodom or Gomorrah, doesn’t it? And we all know how they ended up.

  I tried to warn you.

  Carla explains, “To the left is our game room. I’ve reserved a poker table for your party as you requested, Matthew. Darts and billiards are also available. Down that hall are the booths for private dances, and upstairs we have fully appointed rooms for even more private interactions, should you desire.”

  She leads us to the bar. “First round is on the house. This is Jane.” Carla motions to a dark-haired girl behind the bar, wearing a suit jacket and nothing else. “She’ll be your private server.”

  Warren’s eyes follow a long-legged blonde wearing assless leather chaps as she walks by. “I thought it was against the law to have naked girls and alcohol in the same place.”

  Matthew shakes his head. “That’s only in New York and Jersey. This is the land of legalized prostitution.”

  I hold up a finger. “But all other rules apply. Which means no touching, unless somebody tells you otherwise.”

  Warren’s mouth is still hanging open. I close it ungently. “Get a grip, man. Don’t embarrass us or I’ll make you go sit in the car.”

  He forces his face to relax. Then he bobs his head and slumps his shoulders. “No, it’s good. I’m cool. I’m . . . holy shit! Do you see that chick with the lollipop?!”

  Hopeless.

  I turn away. “Jane, I’ll take a whiskey on the rocks, please.”

  Service with a smile. “Coming right up, Mr. Evans.”

  Carla takes her leave. “I’ll be close by should you need my assistance. Enjoy your evening, gentlemen.” As soon as she steps away, five girls converge on us, each more stunning than the next.

  I sip my whiskey as one blue-lingerie-clad stripper meets my eyes. “So this is a bachelor party? And you’re the groom?”

  I smile. “That’s me.”

  “I love grooms.”

  Small talk with strippers is not really the norm. Usually it’s more of a transaction: rubbing and gyrating in exchange for a few singles. But this isn’t your typical strip club. And I’m a friendly guy. “How come?”

  “They’re always the wildest ones.”

  “Not me. Tonight is more for my buddies. I’m just an innocent bystander.”

  She giggles and pinches my cheek. “You don’t look innocent.” She gives my face a mini slap. “You look more like the naughty type.”

  I wink. “Guilty as charged.”

  A curly-haired girl with wide hips, wearing a purple bikini and standing next to Jack, vies for my attention next. “You wanna see a magic trick?”

  “Sure.”

  Out of nowhere, she holds up a large cucumber. “I’m going to make this cucumber disappear. Watch closely.” She peels off her bikini bottoms, spreads her legs, and inserts the end of the cucumber into her pussy. Then she holds her hands up over her head. Her abdominal muscles clench, and magically the cucumber slides up, disappearing into her twat.

  Now all of our mouths are hanging open like Warren’s.

  Then, the cucumber peeks out and slides down. She grabs it and says sweetly, “Ta-da!”

  I clap my hands. “You are a very talented girl.”

  Yes—I’m going to hell. But at least I’ll be in good company.

  Jack holds up his hands, fingers spread. “I give it a ten for creativity.”

  Matthew adds, “You’d be a shoo-in for that X Factor show.”

  She just smirks at me. “How about a private dance and I can show you all of my talents?”

  I shrug her off. “Maybe later.”

  One hour, a few drinks, and about a hundred $1 bills later, Carla rejoins our little group. “I hope you gentlemen are enjoying yourselves?”

  While I pass the time watching two girls tongue-kissing each other at the direction of a middle-aged patron, Matthew answers, “We are, thank you. The service and amenities are impeccable.”

  “We aim to please. And now it’s time to give the guest of honor a true Paradise welcome.” She takes my arm. “If you’ll come with me, Drew?”

  That takes my attention away from the Female Foreplay Show. “I’m fine right here, thanks.”

  She smiles persuasively. “I’m afraid it’s not optional. Your friends insisted.”

  I frown at the guys. “What did you douche bags do?”

  Matthew laughs sinisterly. “Nothing you weren’t expecting.”

  “It’s your last night of freedom, man. Enjoy it,” Jack adds.

  Two more girls come up behind me. They and Carla pull me off my stool and guide me onstage as Steven yells out, “It’ll only hurt for a minu
te!”

  I decide to go with the flow. It was too much to hope that the guys didn’t have some sick, twisted event planned. Best to just get it over with now. A lone chair sits empty in the middle of the stage. As three pairs of feminine hands push me down in it, the lights dim even lower. Spotlights dance around the room, and when “One More Night” by Maroon 5 comes on, the crowd cheers.

  Two woman bounce out from backstage. They’re wearing black G-strings and sheer, black button-down tops. After a few ass shakes and high kicks for the crowd, they turn toward me. One drops to her knees and crawls around my legs like a submissive—and appealing—kitten.

  Her hands slide up my calves to my knees and she pushes—roughly jerking them apart. Then she ties each ankle to the leg of the chair with a surprisingly sturdy ribbon. The girl in back scratches red fingernails down my chest, stopping just above the danger zone. Then she yanks both my arms back and ties my wrists behind me. It’s not exactly enjoyable. Some guys like to be dominated, but as history has shown, I’m much more of the dominator type.

  But my interest is piqued. The crowd goes wild as another woman appears front and center—swinging gracefully around the pole, obviously the star of the show. She’s petite, but thigh-high, leather, black boots with insanely spiked heels make her seem taller. Her hair is tucked under a black leather cap, shocking red gloss covers her lips, and dark sunglasses disguise much of her face. The rest of her body, however, is bared for all to see. A black thong with a scarcely there triangle hangs on her hips. Her tits are adorned with stick-on nipple tassels—and nothing else.

  With her back to me, she rips off the cap and throws it to the crowd, revealing a cascade of shiny, brown hair. She takes a few more spins on the pole, then turns toward me and stalks forward.

  For a moment, I’d swear on my kid that it was Kate. The face and body dimensions are that similar.

  Upon closer inspection, I notice the differences, however. Besides the fact that Kate Brooks would never be up on a stage shaking her tits and ass in the faces of strangers—unless she actually wanted me to stick ice picks through the eyeballs of every asshole in the place.

  And, yes, that would include the assholes I came with.

  But also, this girl’s skin is paler than my fiancée’s, her nose thinner, her hair lighter—not quite the same mahogany shade. Other than that, the resemblance is pretty fucking frightening.

  She spins and leans against me, her back pressed up against my chest. Her hair falls across my face and tickles my nose. She smells . . . great. Like honeysuckle and jasmine. It’s a musky incense, like the aroma of a closed room after hours of fantastic fucking. She doesn’t smell nearly as incredible as Kate—but her bouquet is what I would’ve probably defined as incredible if I’d never had the pleasure of Kate’s sublime scent.

  Her arms snake around my neck and her ass nestles perfectly against my dick. Then she slides down between my open legs and arches forward elegantly, raising her ass tantalizingly toward my face. She plants her feet on the floor and straightens her legs, while still bent over at the waist. Then she slides the thong down her legs and smacks her right butt cheek hard—in the way I’m sure every guy in the place is chomping at the bit to do.

  She stands up and turns to face me again. She kicks one leg slowly up around my head—giving me an unobstructed, detailed display of her bare slit.

  I swear I try not to look. Really.

  But I do.

  Give me a motherfucking break—I’m engaged, not dead.

 
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