Irresistible Nights by Kaylee Monroe
“Chardonnay and…an old-fashioned,” the server said as he lowered the tray down to the little two-top table where I sat with my good friend, Francesca, who was also one of my employees at The Blind Hem.
“The wine is mine,” I said, reaching out with greedy fingers for the bell-shaped glass. It had been a long, hard week at the store, and I was dying to unwind a little bit with my best friend for our usual Friday night dinner and drinks. I took a tiny sip of the wine and sighed in pleasure as the full flavor hit my tongue.
“You definitely deserve that,” Frankie said, ice cubes clinking in her glass as she stirred her amber-brown cocktail.
Still gripping my wine glass, I slouched back in my seat and savored the relief that seeped into my tired muscles. All day, I’d been on my feet packaging online orders for my upscale boutique, The Blind Hem. Every month, the workload went up a little more. It was getting close to unsustainable with my current three-person staff—two if I didn’t count myself.
My little boutique, which specialized in local designers and upscale consignment, was taking off, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself and excited, too. At the end of every month, unsold sale merchandise went up on our website. This month, every single item sold, and we had to get all of it out the door.
And I was bushed.
“You deserve it too,” I replied, and took another sip of my wine. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe it is time to hire another person. You and Kresley are busy enough on the floor as it is, and the e-commerce stuff is just going to keep growing.”
Frankie shrugged and sipped her cocktail. “Do what you need to do. If you can afford it and want to, great, but if it’s not time yet, we’ll figure it out.” She paused, then grinned. “But for the record, I vote that you do it.”
I toyed with the gold tassel dangling from one of the leather-bound menus on the table. “What’s the statistic about independent retail stores? Eight out of ten go out of business or something?”
“Well, that’s clearly not you,” Frankie pointed out. “The store is making money hand-over-fist, you’re paying us a pretty good wage, business keeps improving every month—something’s gotta give, and that something is you if you don’t get some extra help around there soon.”
Frankie wasn’t wrong. Along with working the floor and handling merchandise, she was responsible for reconciling credit card charges and making cash deposits every day. She knew as well as I did how much money flowed into our bank account through in-person sales and the website.
“Anyway,” she continued. “When’s the last time you—you know, got your needs met?”
I groaned as she waggled an eyebrows suggestively. “It’s been kind of a while. I don’t want to talk about it,” I mumbled.
Frankie had just opened her mouth to respond—knowing her, it was an exact accounting of the last time I got laid—when my phone buzzed loudly.
Thank God for the interruption, I thought. Frankie had an uncanny ability to get me to spill everything, and I wasn’t sure that I was ready to admit that my vibrator finally burned out the night before after several months of continued use—shit, maybe it was a full year—of solo action only.
I tapped my phone screen to unlock it and peered at the message.
Flying into Seattle for the weekend for some boring work stuff. Got some time for your dad to take you out to lunch?
I smiled. How long had it been since I’d seen my dad? Six months, probably. As busy as the shop was, taking time off to fly to Minnesota for a weekend wasn’t an option. Not until I bit the bullet and hired another employee, anyway.
I really missed him. I couldn’t wait for him to envelop me in a bear hug and tell me goofy dad jokes. It had been way too long.
Absolutely,I typed back. Just let me know when you’re free.
“Hey, who are you talking to?” Frankie said, her eyes alight with hope. “Is it a guy? Are you finally going to break your dry spell?”
I rolled my eyes as I tucked my phone back into my purse. “No, it was Dad. He’s coming into town tomorrow.”
“Your hot dad?” she said, perking up and flashing a devious smile. “Is he busy after your lunch date?”
I grabbed my wine glass and narrowed my eyes. “If you make a move on my dad, I’m going to call you mother and you’ll hate that.”
Frankie made a face at me and quickly took another sip of her drink. “Forget I said anything. Wanna split the calamari appetizer?”
Two hours later, my belly ached from laughing and I could feel the alcohol-fueled flush in my cheeks. Frankie looked just like I felt—pink-cheeked and smiling, loose from a couple of drinks and a good dinner with a close friend. More than tipsy, less than drunk. It was the perfect, feel-good balance.
“Kresley would be horrified by us,” I said, giggling.
I motioned to the mostly empty highball glass in front of Frankie and my own half-full pint glass. Frankie’s third old-fashioned and my second beer after that first glass of wine. Kresley usually joined us for Friday night dinner and drinks, but she took off for the weekend to attend a wedding. And we hadn’t heard anything from her yet, which was…interesting.
She sighed and nodded. “Yeah, she’s the responsible one. I like that about her. She would have cut us off at the second drink, insisting that he wouldn’t feel well enough to go to spin class in the morning unless we stop and re-hydrate.”
Pausing to take another sip of her cocktail, Frankie thought for a moment, then set the glass down with a thump. Ice-diluted whiskey sloshed out of the glass and onto the white tablecloth. I giggled again and took another sip of my drink as she leaned in conspiratorially.
“Let’s have some fun tonight, Marcie,” she said, her eyes gleaming mischievously. “Let’s go somewhere else more exciting. Kresley will forgive us. She hasn’t even texted, so maybe she’s getting busy, too.”
I ran a finger along the edge of my pint glass. “What’d you have in mind?”
“More drinks, dancing—and honestly, who knows what else could happen.” She paused and bit her bottom lip. “I’ve—uh, also been in a little bit of a sex desert, so I’m keeping my options open.”
I laughed and grabbed my purse. “I’m in. Just not all night, okay? I have to meet my dad for lunch tomorrow.”
Frankie’s answering smile was innocent. Too innocent. “Would I ever steer you into trouble?”
I sighed. “Yes, you would, and it’s one of my favorite things about you.”
After handling the check, we dashed back across the street to the store to freshen up a little, and then with lipstick freshly applied and our work-appropriate clothes swapped out for something a little sexier, we headed around the corner to the King Club.
As soon as we stepped into the dim interior, I felt the music pulse through my body, from the bottoms of my feet all the way up through my ears. It filled me up and I itched to let loose and dance until I dropped. Or anything, really—I just needed to burn off some energy. If I couldn’t take the prickling edge off my mounting sexual frustration, at least I could dance and sweat and have fun outside of work tonight.
“You were right,” I said, leaning over and putting my mouth next to Frankie’s ear. “I really needed this.”
“Told you,” she hollered back over the pounding music. “Let’s hit the bar.”
Drinks in hand, we leaned against the bar and surveyed the rest of the club. It was still a little bit early, and the dance floor wasn’t completely crammed full—not yet, anyway.
Frankie’s sharp elbow poked my side, but before I could elbow her back, she gestured toward the end of the bar.
“That guy’s been watching you since you got here.” She took a swig of her drink. “And, uh, yum.”
I looked down the long wooden bar, through the clusters of people, and zeroed in on him almost immediately. Tall—taller than just about everyone around him—and broad-shouldered, with a handsome, chiseled face and piercing stare. It was hard to tell for sure in the low lights, but he looked a bit older, maybe in his forties. A little silver frosted his temples, but his otherwise night-dark hair was still thick and full, combed carelessly back from his forehead. He was gorgeous and sexy as sin.
A lopsided smile quirked up one side of his mouth as we made eye contact, and some long-forgotten sensation bubbled up inside my belly. Butterflies and heated desire. I almost laughed with the wild pleasure of it.
“C’mon,” I said to Frankie. I set my glass down on the bar and grabbed her arm to pull her out to the crowded floor. “I need to dance.”
The music vibrated through my body as I gyrated and spun until a fine sheen of sweat formed on my face and arms. I flipped my long hair around and extended my arms above my head as Frankie moved closer to me. She grabbed one of my arms and spun me around theatrically as I laughed.
This felt good. Great, even. Before spending all my time working, I was always with my ex-boyfriend—I followed him here to Seattle and thought we would always be together. Instead, he’d left me for someone else. I could have been out doing this—dancing, drinking, feeling—for years instead of wasting time on him.
“This is amazing,” I shouted at Frankie. “Thanks for dragging me out.”
She smiled and grabbed my hips in her hands and danced closer, our bodies brushing together. Together, we were sinuous and fluid, and I felt as though we were the sexiest women in the goddamn room. And the whole time we danced, I felt his eyes on me, hot and hungry, even when I couldn’t see him.
“You gonna go meet your fan club?” Frankie hollered over the music.
I shrugged and tossed my long, dark, wavy hair back over my shoulder. “Maybe.”
She pulled me in closer, dropping a soft kiss to my cheek before pressing her lips to my ear. “He’s watching you like he wants to eat you up, baby girl. Go check out the goods. I’ll still be here if you come back.”
With a gentle hand on my shoulder, she spun me around and pushed me forward.
Right toward my handsome mystery man, who was sitting on a stool at the bar.
He smiled at me again, that sexy lopsided grin, and I felt almost helpless as I moved in closer to him. At this distance, I could tell that he really was a little bit older, but he wore it well, and his big body was as firm and muscular as any fit younger guy.
Feeling uninhibited, I grabbed his large warm hand to pull him to his feet, and he followed willingly, his glass of liquor abandoned on the bar behind him as I led him out onto the dance floor. His big hands slid around my waist and he pulled me in closer, fitting our bodies together as we moved in time to the pulsing music.
I looked up into his face and nearly shuddered with arousal as I saw the undisguised lust that brewed in his piercing blue eyes. This wasn’t just some horny guy looking to score. It was a grown man’s appetite, and it was all for me.
I ground my hips against his as I swayed with the beat, relishing the seductive feel of his splayed hands as they slid down my hips to cup my ass. His handsome face, his hard body against mine, the erotic sensation of his skillful fingers as they coasted across my sensitive skin—it all swamped me and sent arousal pouring into my bloodstream.
I was lost in the moment with this handsome, anonymous older man. And for at least a little while, I didn’t want to be found.