Harper’s eyes filled with tears she refused to let fall. How were these women even real? “Thank you. I will take that to heart.” The words squeezed past the lump in her throat. After feeling unlucky for many years, she felt truly blessed to have met these ladies.
Thankfully, the conversation didn’t linger on her sad story for long. Her friends seemed to understand she wanted to share but not turn the theme of the night into a sob fest.
“Okay, Harp, I think you’re asking Liv now.”
Over the last hour, they’d all started shortening her name, and she loved it. It felt like an unspoken acknowledgment of her solidified her place in their group.
“Okay, Liv, truth or dare?” she asked as she lifted her gaze from her margarita.
“Dare,” Liv said with a tipsy giggle.
“Okay, let’s see…” Harper glanced around the crowded room only to have her heart stop dead in her chest. Working their way across the room with some mighty fierce scowls was a pack of biker boyfriends and Jinx.
“Um… I dare you to scream out how much you love Spec and why.”
“Oh shit,” Rachel whispered beside her. She’d caught sight of the unhappy men. “We’re dead.”
“Well, that’s an easy one.” Liv stood as the other women noticed their men approaching.
A tension fell over the table, unbeknownst to Olivia. The other women exchanged sheepish glances.
They were in for it now.
“I love Scott with every ounce of my heart,” she shouted over the loud pop music. “He is the most sincere, loyal, courageous, and best goddamn man I know. He treats me like a queen and loves me for who I am.” She grinned and started to sit before popping back up. “Oh, and his dick is to die for.”
“Thanks, baby, but don’t think that speech will get you out of the spanking you have coming your way.”
Liv yelped and spun around to find her ol’ man hovering behind her with his impressive arms folded across his chest. She whipped back around to the table. “Really? No warning? Is there no girl code?” Then she turned to her man again. “Baby! I missed you!”
“Don’t give me that shit. You are in serious trouble, Olivia. Dinner with the girls. Really, Liv?”
“I ate the fruit in my drink.” Liv batted her eyes at Spec.
He snagged her around the waist, pulled her close, and whispered something in her ear that had her kissing him with an intense amount of passion a few seconds later. Harper fanned herself. Hot didn’t begin to describe those two.
“I know, right?” a random woman with frosted hair and a plastic flamingo in her drink said from the next table.
Harper was about to respond when a giant form stepped between her and the woman. She looked up, and up, and up to the smirk on Jinx’s face. He crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at her.
“Uh… hey,” she said, in a stunning display of the English language.
Why does he have to be so good-looking?
If someone had told her she’d be drooling over a man wearing a black wifebeater, jeans, and an MC cut, she’d have laughed in their face. The night before her release from prison, she’d had a dream about meeting a banker. Someone solid, staid, and secure. Also boring as fuck.
Everything Jinx wasn’t.
“Hey,” he rumbled.
“So, uh… am I in trouble?”
He shook his head. “You’re not my ol’ lady. You can do whatever the fuck you want.”
Oh, well, that was good. Score a point for the single gal.
“No matter how stupid.”
“Hey, this wasn’t my idea. They showed up at my house and basically kidnapped me.”
“Did they force you to wear a dress that should be illegal?”
Glancing down at herself, she frowned. “What’s wrong with my dress?”
Jinx rolled his eyes. “For fuck’s sake. It’s time to go.” He slid an arm around her shoulders and steered her toward the exit.
“Wait,” she said, trying to peer over her shoulder. “What about the others?”
“Bye, Harp,” Liv yelled, waving.
“They’re taken care of. You’re mine to deal with.”
Never in a million years would she admit her brain turned off after the words you’re mine and her body set on fire.
“Where are we going?” she asked as she practically ran to keep up with his long stride. The crowd parted like he was Moses, letting him pass by without a word.
“How drunk are you?” He cast her a side-eyed glance as he pushed the door open.
“Tipsy,” she said with a giggle. “I didn’t drink nearly as much as the others.”
Jinx grunted his reply.
They stepped out into the muggy evening. The fresh air felt incredible every time she breathed it in. Sure, she’d gone outside almost daily in prison, but always with four high walls around her. It never quite felt like she was truly outside, only in a different cage with slightly less stale air. How could someone fully enjoy the blue skies and puffy clouds when seeing rifled guards if they looked a few feet over?