He whistled. “Damn, what that girl is wearing is a distraction to other drivers!”
My eyes were glued to Ronnie as she shifted and twisted the throttle on the Ninja. “That’s what I told her, bro!”
AsIrodeawayfrom Torque’s bike shop on the Ninja, I squeezed my thighs tight against the tank. I felt a tingling between my legs—and not from the vibrations of the bike. My body betrayed me, and I was affected by him. His dark hair and beard radiated primal sex appeal that was all alpha male.
But I didn’t need another bad boy biker in my life. Not after all the fucked-up mess I went through with Wayde. Things were great early on in our relationship, but then things went to shit. He had to prove himself to everyone, and his ego was more important than I was. He became a hang around for an outlaw club, the Vagabonds MC. He did their dirty work and sold their meth but was never voted in as a prospect. Then he became a methhead himself, stealing from my roommate, Heather, and from me. I even caught him fucking around with some of the Vagabonds’ club whores. I broke it off with him several times over the past few months, which sent him into a rage, and he slapped me a few times. Heather was frightened of him and our safety, so we got our locks changed at the house we shared, and I threw all his clothes out in the front yard. I guess he wanted to have the last word, thinking he was the tough biker and vandalized my Sporty.
I popped tops off beer bottles handing them to a customer from across the bar at the Frisco Cantina. It was Saturday night, and it was a packed house as the rock band set up their equipment on stage, while people gathered at the pool tables and dart boards. It was four days since I met Torque, and I would look up every so often when people came into the bar, hoping it would be him.
My stomach fluttered, and I felt flushed with warmth just then as Torque walked into the Cantina. He wasn’t hard to miss with his broad shoulders and height of over six feet. I managed to keep my jaw from dropping open and busied myself washing some beer glasses. Other women in the bar noticed him, too, as he sauntered toward the bar and toward me.
Patti, the other bartender, took a wet glass from me, drying it, and whispered, “Mercy! Is that him?”
“Yes, the big burly one. That’s Torque.”
He sat on a bar stool directly in front of me and smiled. “Hey, Ronnie. You working hard or hardly working?”
The fluttering in my stomach just wouldn’t stop, but I managed to smile back. “I guess a little bit of both. It’ll be a packed house since we have a live band playing tonight. So, what’s your poison? The first few are on me, remember?”
His eyes roamed the liquor shelf behind me. “I like good whiskey that’s fiery going down. Pour me the best you got.”
Torque sat at the bar for the rest of the night, drinking the best whiskey we had. I kept busy behind the bar as the live band drew in more customers, but I would make my way to where Torque sat so we could chat. I liked his sense of humor. He wasn’t arrogant and cocky—just confident.
It was way past midnight and the last call as the band packed up and customers paid out their tabs. Torque stayed after the two drinks I owed him for letting me borrow the Ninja until my bike was ready.
“I’ll wait for you and Patti outside.”
“Oh, you don’t have to wait. It’s two a.m. We always walk out together.”
Torque stood from his barstool. “What is it? You don’t trust me?”
I looked up and was drawn to his hazel brown eyes. “It’s just hard for me to trust anyone lately. I’ve been stuck in bad situations before.”
He reached out placing his big hand over mine as I wiped down the bar. He rubbed his calloused thumb on the underside of my wrist, sending tingles that hardened my nipples instantly. “You can trust me, Ronnie. I’m a businessman, and I have a reputation to maintain. Ask anyone in this county about me. I wouldn’t do anything to make you feel uncomfortable.”
His touch reassured me along with that half-smile of his that I didn’t want to move away. I lingered just a few moments longer and moved away.
“Okay, Torque. Both Patti and I appreciate it.”
He released my hand. “I’m gonna step outside for a smoke and wait.”
He was the last to leave the bar as Patti locked up the register and handed me a wad of cash in tips we always split at the end of a long, busy night. She nudged me. “Well? Is his personality as good as his looks?”
I laughed, grabbing my backpack from under the bar. “He’s nice. But that’s how men like him are at first. He offered to wait outside for us when we closed up.”
Patti batted her lashes at me. “Aww. Well, that’s very gentlemanly of him.”
I locked up and walked out with Patti. Torque’s bike was parked next to the Ninja under the streetlight in the parking lot. He leaned against the bike seat and flicked his smoke; it arched and landed several yards away as I said goodnight to Patti.
I admired his bike as I approached—a rigid frame painted in flat black, with a small peanut tank. It had a springer front end and drag bars. “Nice ride! It’smean-looking!”
He grinned. “Glad you like. I enjoyed building her myself, and she’s been good to me.”
I laughed. “Sounds like you’re talking about a woman.”