Burn, p.21
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       Burn, p.21

         Part #3 of Breathless series by Maya Banks
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  Then Jace stepped aside and Brittany appeared in the doorway, her face pink, her eyes shining brightly.

  Behind her, stood Kai Wellington. He had hold of her elbow, but he let it go when she started forward.

  “Sorry I’m late,” she said breathlessly. “Did you save any for me?”

  Gina tossed a shot glass in Brittany’s direction. Brittany caught it and then set it down so Mia could pour a shot from the bottle of tequila the waitress had brought. They were insane. All of them. Josie included. She had to be nuts to be doing this. She was going to be one hungover bitch in the morning. But for now? She was having a blast.

  “I was so jealous of you guys,” Brittany said wistfully.

  Bethany cocked her head to the side. “Whatever for?”

  “Because you all have a man to go home to. All you’ve talked about is how cute they think you are when you’re drunk. How they’ll tear your dresses off and fuck you in your heels.” Her expression went dim. “I’ve never had a man who wanted to do that.”

  “You do now,” Kai drawled from the doorway.

  Brittany turned bright red, but warmth crept in to her gaze as she turned to look at Kai who was still standing in the doorway.

  “Oh my,” Mia murmured. “Brittany, girlfriend, I’d say you scored for the night.”

  Brittany grinned. “Maybe I did!”

  “No maybe about it, babe,” Kai said in a low growl. “Have fun with your girls, but when you’re done? You’re coming home with me.”

  “I think I just came,” Gina muttered under her breath.

  “No lie,” Trish said. “I need to change my underwear. Good God, Brittany. He is hot!”

  Brittany’s smile was one hundred watts. She reached for the full shot glass and promptly tossed it down.

  “They do this regularly?” Kai asked, amusement thick in his voice.

  “Yes,” both Jace and Brandon answered in unison.

  “How come the room is spinning?” Josie asked, her eyes crossing as she tried to keep up with the spins. “Kai, you own the club, Brandon said. Why does it spin?”

  Kai chuckled. “No spin, babe. It’s the alcohol making you spin.”

  “Then why do you serve alcohol that makes people spin?” Bethany asked in a perplexed voice.

  Jace laughed this time.

  “It gets worse,” Brandon said with a sigh. “They’re really only just getting started.”

  The waitress bustled back through picking up empties and replacing them with clean shot glasses. She did a quick check of the bottle she’d left and then set a new one down.

  “She rocks,” Caroline muttered as she picked up another shot. “We should totally take her to Vegas with us, Brandon.”

  “Drink up, girlfriends. The night is still young!” Chessy crowed.

  Josie downed two more shots but her eyes bugged out the entire time. She was a lightweight. No way she’d be able to hold any more liquor without puking. The room was spinning. Like a merry-go-round from hell. And there were two of everyone, which made the already crowded room seem even more crowded.

  “How about some music,” Mia blurted. “Are we finished talking for a bit? Who wants to dance with me?”

  Josie raised her hand. “I do! But someone has to help me up.”

  Josie was hoisted upward by no less than three sets of hands. Mia punched the button to allow the music through the sound system. The girls shrieked and then everyone was up, bumping and grinding in time to the beat.

  “This is fun!” Josie yelled out.

  “Bet your ass it is!” Mia yelled back.

  “Thanks for inviting me!” Brittany exclaimed. “I’ve had so much fun, and oh my God, Kai wants me to go home with him after. Should I do it?”

  Josie shot a fuzzy glance toward the door where the men were still standing and most assuredly heard Brittany’s drunken question.

  Kai’s lips twisted with amusement. “Do I get a vote?”

  Josie turned back to Brittany. “Do you want to?”

  Brittany blinked. “Yeah. Yeah, I do.”

  “As long as he gives me contact info so I can check on you tomorrow and make sure he didn’t murder you in your sleep then yeah, go for it,” Josie urged.

  There was more laughter by the door but Josie ignored them. She was having too much fun dancing with her new friends. And they were great. Just as Ash had said they were.

  She closed her eyes and put her back to Mia’s as they both swayed, arms up, asses shaking the entire time.

  • • •

  Ash’s phone rang and he saw it was Jace calling.

  “Hey, man, women giving you fits yet?”

  Jace chuckled. “You ought to get up here, man.”

  Ash’s eyes narrowed and he glanced over at Gabe who was also paying close attention to the conversation.

  “What’s going on?” Ash demanded. “Are they all right?”

  “Oh yeah, they’re fine. But I think we’re going to have to go to plan B.”

  “What’s plan B?”

  “Well, plan A was for me to get them all in the limo and home after they got plastered and had fun. However, they’re currently on the floor of a private box, staring up at the ceiling and talking about shit I don’t have a clue about. If you have any hope of salvaging the evening, my suggestion is for you to come collect your woman and get her ass home.”

  Ash chuckled. “Gabe and I will be there in a few. Watch over them until then.”

  “Will do,” Jace said as he rang off.

  “What the hell?” Gabe demanded.

  Ash laughed. “According to Jace, they’re pretty shitfaced. He said they’re lying on the floor of one of the boxes. He suggested we might want to go collect our women if we had any hope of later.”

  “I’ll ride with you and call my driver on the way to have him meet us there.”

  Ash nodded. “Let’s roll.

  Twenty minutes later, they pulled up to the club. Ash directed the driver to park a short distance away and remain on standby. Then he and Gabe got out and walked toward the entrance.

  Thank God Brandon was out waiting for them. The line was still long. They would have never gotten in if it weren’t for Brandon.

  “Do I even want to know?” Gabe asked Brandon as they headed in.

  Brandon laughed. “No, I doubt it. They had a good night, though. Nobody messed with them. The club owner hung out with them most of the night and security is always tight around him.”

  “Who is this club owner and why the fuck was he hanging with our women?” Ash demanded.

  Brandon laughed again. “Not women. Just one. He seems pretty interested in Brittany. He’s been velcroed to her all night and that’s not like him. He’s never short on women to keep him company, but it’s rare for him to seek a woman out like he did Brittany.”

  Ash scowled. The man needed to stay away from his sister.

  Brandon led them up a short flight of stairs to the second level where many private boxes and open tables formed a semicircle above the dance floor. At the door, Brandon knocked softly and it opened, revealing Jace and a man Ash didn’t recognize.

  Jace looked up and saw them. His smile was instant and he nodded for them to come through. When Ash and Gabe stepped inside, Ash’s eyes widened when he took in the sight before him.

  There were women everywhere. Really beautiful women. This was any man’s wet dream. A room full of gorgeous, very drunk women.

  But his focus zeroed in on just one. Josie. She was sprawled on the end of the couch, her arm dangling over the side. Mia was lying below her, but the upper half of her body was between Josie and the couch so her head rested on Josie’s hip. At the bottom, Bethany lay in the opposite direction so her feet were all but shoved in Josie’s face.

  On the floor, Chessy, Gina and Trish were lying down in various poses while Caroline was sprawled in a chair, her legs propped up over the arm.

  They weren’t passed out, but they were oblivious to anything going on around the

  Ash chuckled. Gabe sported a huge grin. The other men were no less charmed by the sight.

  “What the hell do we do with them now?” Ash asked in a low voice.

  Gabe sent him a smug, satisfied grin. “If I have to tell you that, there’s no hope for you, man.”

  Josie looked up, apparently only just now hearing his voice. Her smile was dazzling, her eyes completely unfocused. Her head bobbed as she spoke.

  “Hey darling,” she sang out. “Did you know there are two of you? Who says you have to improvise to give me two cocks? There are two of you now. That would make an awesome threesome. Me, you and you! Just sayin’. ”

  Gabe, Jace and Brandon cracked up.

  Ash groaned and hurried over to cover her mouth with his hand. “Jesus, baby. You can stop talking now.”

  She smiled underneath his hand. When he pulled it away, she sent him a completely goofy, dazzling smile that took his breath away.

  “Are you taking me home to fuck me in my shoes now? Mia and Bethany told me all about being fucked in their shoes after their dresses get ripped off. I’m going to be very disappointed if I don’t get the same,” she said in a solemn voice.

  He leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead. “I think I can accommodate you there, baby. You ready?”

  She held up both arms. “Take me home,” she said dramatically. Then she put a finger to her lips and said, “Shhhh! Don’t tell Ash, but Brittany is going home with a badass-looking guy tonight. I’m not sure he would approve. He’ll probably want to run a background check on him to make sure he’s okay for his sister.”

  Ash scowled and then glanced at Brittany before looking toward the door.

  “What the fuck is she talking about?” he asked in Jace’s direction.

  The man standing with Jace stepped forward. He was polished. Ash saw that right off. He had money. He had that quiet air about him that told Ash he had a lot of money but didn’t necessarily go around screaming it.

  Ash stared hard at him, not backing down an inch. To the man’s credit, neither did he.

  “I’m Kai Wellington,” he said calmly. “I own the club. I’ve offered to see Brittany home tonight.”

  Ash continued to stare him down. “I don’t want you taking advantage of her. She’s shitfaced.”

  “I know. I won’t be sleeping with her. Yet.”

  Ash cringed. No way did he want to get into a discussion about who his sister slept with.

  “I’ll ensure she gets home,” Brandon spoke up. “You don’t have to worry.”

  Kai sent Brandon an amused look. Ash could tell he didn’t like Brandon speaking up for him or offering his services. But Brandon also knew how important these women were to Gabe, Jace and Ash. He’d been told in no uncertain terms what would happen to him if he ever let harm come to any of them when they were out at the club.

  “See that you do,” Ash said softly. “I’d like a phone call when she’s home safely.”

  “Give me your card. I’ll see that you get that call,” Kai said.

  Ash fished in his wallet, pulled out his business card with his cell number on it and then handed it over to Kai.

  “If you want to head out with your women, me and the other bouncers will make sure that Chessy, Trish and Gina get home safely. Caro will stay with me until I get off,” Brandon offered.

  Gabe nodded his agreement.

  “All right then. Let’s get our girls and get the hell out of here,” Ash announced.

  chapter twenty-six

  “Huddle!” Mia called out belligerently. She stood in the center of the room and waved her hand urgently toward Bethany and Josie.

  Josie and Bethany struggled up from the couch. Josie swayed precariously and stared down at her feet, baffled as to why they weren’t working properly. She nearly went down, and a strong hand caught her elbow.

  “Whoops!” she exclaimed before righting herself. She sent her “help” a dazzling smile and registered an amused male grin. Was it Ash? Hell, the room was spinning so much she couldn’t tell who was who or where.

  She teetered toward where Mia waited and caught Bethany’s arm when the other woman stumbled on her way.

  Giggling like fiends, they huddled with Mia.

  “Okay, here’s the deal,” Mia said in a loud whisper. “We definitely have to meet up for lunch tomorrow and exchange details. I can’t wait to hear how Ash reacts.”

  Josie frowned and then looked back over her shoulder to where the men stood, indulgent smiles on their faces.

  “What about Brittany?” Josie hissed. “She’s hooking up with Mr. Club Owner over there. We have to hear what goes down there, right?”

  “Right,” Bethany said solemnly.

  “Brittany!” Mia yelled again.

  Brittany scuttled over, breaking into the circle, her face flushed with excitement.

  “Okay, lunch tomorrow,” Mia said. “We have to get all the down-and-dirty details!”

  A series of groans went up and Josie turned, silencing the males with a ferocious scowl. They laughed and Josie turned her attention back to the women.

  Brittany bit her lip and then glanced over Josie’s shoulder in the direction of Kai Wellington.

  “I don’t know, guys. Maybe I’m biting off more than I can chew.”

  “I’ll take good care of you, Brittany,” Kai said in amusement.

  “They’re eavesdropping,” Mia muttered.

  “Kind of hard not to, baby,” Gabe said, laughter in his voice. “You’re bellowing loud enough for the entire club to hear.”

  Mia scowled and then lowered her voice to a loud whisper.

  “One o’clock. Isabella’s. For all the girls’ night wrap-up.”

  “Do they always do this?” Kai asked in the background.

  “Hell if I know,” Jace muttered. “Nothing like being intimidated by being rated the next day. That’s a hell of a lot of pressure to put on a man.”

  The women giggled and then Mia put her hand in. “On three. Let’s go get our men.”

  They slapped their hands in a pile in the middle. “One, two, three!”

  They raised their hands, breaking away from the huddle. Josie stumbled away, scanning the floor for her shoes.

  “My shoes! I have to have those shoes,” she complained. “It will ruin everything if I don’t have the shoes!”

  “Looking for these, darling?”

  She looked up to see Ash standing there, her shoes dangling from his fingers. His eyes were bright with laughter, but his gaze smoldered appreciatively over her body. She did an experimental wiggle, hoping her dress covered everything it was supposed to.

  His eyes gleamed brighter and he reached over to adjust the top, his fingers brushing over the swell of one breast.

  “That sight is just for me,” he murmured. “Not that you don’t look delectable, that hint of nipple, but no one else gets to see that.”

  She slapped her hands over her chest in horror and then stared anxiously at the other men. “Oh my God. Did they see my nipples!”

  Laughter went up and there was a series of shaking heads. Ash leaned in to kiss her, pulling her into his arms. His entire body shook with laughter.

  “No, baby. Nobody but me saw.”

  As he spoke, he turned, sending a pointed glare in the direction of the other men who immediately shook their heads and donned expressions of complete innocence.

  “I need to put my shoes on,” Josie grumbled.

  Ash eased her down on the couch and then gently slipped her heels back on her feet. There was something extremely decadent about having a man put her shoes back on. His hands were warm and soothing against her skin. He squeezed one foot before stepping back to offer his hand to help her up.

  She rose, experimentally testing her legs. She hadn’t worn the shoes for most of the drinkfest and the last thing she wanted to do was face-plant now that she had them on.

  She was shaky, but Ash firmly grasped her elbow before pulling her into h
is side. She sighed and melted against him, savoring the heat and scent of this gorgeous male.

  “Thanks for looking after them,” Ash said to Brandon as they walked toward the door.

  “Hey, what about me,” Jace sputtered. “Just remember, it’s your turn next time.”

  Ash grinned. “Looking forward to it.”

  Ash started toward the door, holding Josie tight against his side. She stumbled a bit and he slowed his pace, matching it to her unsteady one. She was melted against him, so soft and sweet that he wished they weren’t so damn far from his apartment. He wanted nothing more than to strip her out of that dress and fuck her in those shoes until they both passed out.

  Gabe and Jace had definitely not lied. He was insanely jealous of them for having experienced this before. But now he had Josie. Josie was a part of his circle of friends, just like he’d wanted. He looked forward with immense satisfaction, secure in the knowledge that from now on, he would have this.

  Other guys might bitch about girls’ night out. Some didn’t like it when their women went out without them. Hell, if they had this to look forward to? There’d be an instant run on sexy dresses and sparkly fuck-me shoes.

  He grinned again as he led Josie toward the ramp leading down to the dance floor. Brandon appeared with another bouncer, flanking Ash and providing a protective barrier so they weren’t jostled by the other club goers.

  When they got outside, he directed Josie toward the waiting car and helped her inside. When he slid into the backseat, Josie was already indelicately sprawled all over the seat, her legs extending sideways. One of her shoes dangled precariously from her foot, and he slid it back on, cupping her ankle as he did.

  She opened her eyes and bestowed a goofy, sweet smile on him.

  “Hi,” she said huskily.

  He laughed and leaned over to kiss her nose. She was so damn cute. And all his.

  “Hi yourself. Have fun?”

  “Oh yeah,” she breathed out. “You were right. Mia and Bethany are the bomb. So are the rest of their friends.” She frowned a minute and Ash looked curiously at her, seeking the source of that frown. “Caro is moving away though. That makes Mia sad. Caro and Brandon are getting married and moving to Vegas. But it’s okay. She’ll still have Bethany. And me,” she said, pointing to her chest.

  Ash chuckled. “Yeah, baby. She’ll have you.”

  “And Brittany!” Josie said, brightening. “She had fun, Ash. She was sad because she didn’t have a guy to enjoy fucking her drunk, but then she hooked up with Kai.”

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