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Authors: E. L. Todd

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fantasy, #New Adult & College

Layla

BOOK: Layla
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Layla

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014
by E. L. Todd

All Rights Reserved

ISBN-13: 978-1494345686

 

ISBN-10: 1494345684

 

 

 

 

Layla

Book Three of the Alpha Series

 

 

 

 

 

E. L. Todd

 

1

 

I glanced at the clock, relieved that my shift was almost over.

The man who had been sitting at the bar all night eyed me, looking at my br
easts and the curve of my waist. There was a baseball bat just under the counter and I wanted to bash his head in. I seriously considered it.

“Hey, baby. Get me another.” His words were slurred and almost incoherent.

I rolled my eyes and ignored him.

“Hey, did you hear me, baby?” He tapped his empty glass on the counter, making a loud thumping sound. The top two buttons of his shirt were undone, revealing the bush of chest hair underneath.
Just looking at it made me want to gag.

“Stop
calling me that.” I grabbed a glass and dried the water drops leftover from the washing machine before I stacked it under the counter.

His hand grabbed me
by the arm while he leaned forward, his drool practically coming out. “Did you hear me, bitch?”

Before I could control the anger that exploded inside me, I grabbed his arm then slammed his head into the counter, making his nose bleed. “What the fuck did you just call me?”

He leaned back, grabbing his face.

Still p
issed, I punched him in the eye and he flew off the barstool.

Everyone in the bar started laughing. No one walked over to help, which made the revenge even better. I shook my knuckles, fighting the sting,
and then continued working like nothing happened. Stupid shit like that always happened to me. I was so glad I had a job interview tomorrow.

Don walked over to me, his arms across his chest. “I saw that.”

I feigned innocence. “What? There was nothing to see.”

“There’
s a better reaction than violence.” He stared at me with his brown eyes, which matched the dark color of his hair. He had a tattoo of a shamrock on his bicep. He showed anyone who was interested. Don insisted that girls were turned on by tattoos, but I didn’t see what was so sexy about a bright green shamrock. And he wasn’t even Irish. That was the stupid part.

“If a guy grabs me and insults me, I’m going to put him in his place.” I tossed the rag on the counter and glared at him. “Fire me if you want. I really don’t car
e. If you want a girl that prides her customer service, you definitely have the wrong lady.”

He smiled. “You can just ask for me or one of the other guys. That’s all I’m suggesting.”

“No. I won’t have anyone fight my battles for me. I need to make sure everyone in this bar knows not to mess with me.”

“You’re a badass—I get it.” He rubbed his chin while he looked at me. “What are you doing tonight?”

“You aren’t asking me out, right?”

“Ouch,” he said with a laugh. “Guess not.”

“I’m not dating right now.”

“Why?” he asked.
“Because of that one guy?”

“I’m just not interested in anyone—particularly you.”

He shook his head. “Well, at least you are blunt about it.”

“When you aren’t blunt, guys don’t get it. I would rather get it straight the first time. If you let a guy down easy, they’ll just try harder.”

“Well, good thing I wasn’t asking you out.”

“Phew. What a relief,” I said with a smile.

“Actually, I was going to ask you to stay a little while longer.”

You’ve got to be kidding me. “No, I have a job—something to do tomorrow morning.”

“It’s just an hour,” Don said.

“Ugh, I hate you.”

“I love you too.”

“And that shamrock is ridiculous.”

“Your belly button piercing is ridiculous,” he said.

“How did you know I had one?” I asked, my eyebrow
raised.

“I didn’t until right now,” he said with a triumphant smile. He patted my back. “It’s just for an extra half hour. You’ll survive.” He turned and walked away, leaving me standing by the counter. A few guys picked up the drunken man from the ground and carried him outside. I watched them go without any remorse. I knew I was a
hardass at work, but that was only because I had to be. I really hope I nail that interview tomorrow.

The bar was pretty empty on
this Wednesday night. Even though I didn’t make much in tips, I preferred the slow crowd. There were less people to deal with. After working in the bar scene for a few years, I could be a cop with all the shit I’ve seen. The bar had been robbed three times since I started. By the third time it happened and a guy in a mask pointed a gun to my head, I was over it. I wasn’t even scared. I just handed him the money and glared at him.

A group of three guys were sitting near the wall. Two of them were watching the television, but the third one was staring me down. He had brown hair that was slightly curly at the ends, bright blue eyes, and he had a body that was covered in muscles. His tight fitting shirt exemplified the lines of his body. I averted my gaze and continued to stack the glassware. It didn’t matter how cute a guy was. I never dated someone I met in a bar. It was too trashy for my taste.

When the guy stood up and approached the stool, I knew I gave him the wrong impression when he saw me looking at him.

“Good evening,” he said with a smile, resting his elbows on the counter.

“Hey. What can I get you?”

He rubbed his chin while he stared behind the counter. His jaw was chiseled and defined. His arms were thick with muscles, and were the size of my head. He looked like a meathead. I had to admit that he was obviously gorgeous. But most good looking guys I met were conceited jerks—especially ones I met in bars.

“What do you recommend?”

I shrugged. “It depends on what you like.”

He nodded, staring at me. His blue eyes seem to brighten while he spoke. He had a digital watch on his wrist, and his t-shirt was loose around his stomach. At least he didn’t have any tattoos. “What would you be having if you could drink on the job?”

“Vodka straight up,” I said calmly.

He smiled. “Wow. Someone has a high tolerance.”

I didn’t want to humor him with further conversation. I was in a bad mood after dealing with that annoying creep that I punched in the face. “So, what’s it going to be?”

He shrugged. “I guess I’ll have that vodka you’re so fond of.”

I filled the glass and handed it over.

He took a shot then grimaced. “Wow, that wasn’t smooth.”

“I guess you have a low tolerance.”

“I’ll just have a beer,” he said. “Whatever you have on tap.”

I filled the glass then handed it over. I walked away and continued stacking the clean dishes. He watched the television for a while before he turned back to me. “So, do you always beat up guys like that?”

“When they piss me off,” I said simply.

“I guess I won’t call you baby.”

“That would be smart,” I said as I cleaned the glass.

“I’m Kyle,” he said, sipping his drink.

I looked at the clock, waiting to see how much longer I had to be here. I still had to print out a copy of my resume and pick out an outfit to wear tomorrow.

“So, we’re going to do the guessing game?” he asked.

I ignored him.

He smiled. “That’s cool. “Rebecca?”

“Nope.”

He rubbed his chin. “Diane?”

“I’m not fifty.”

He laughed. “Betty?”

“And I’m not eighty either.”

“Can you at least tell me what vowels are in your name?”

I sighed. “There’s an A.”

He stared at the television while he brainstormed ideas.
“Angelica?”

“Nope.”

“Vanessa?”

“Just give up. You’ll never figure it out.”

“Fine. Then tell me what it is.”

I pulled a new bottle of
Crown Royal out and filled the almost empty canister. After I put everything back in the cabinet I wiped off the counter with a rag. I generously sprayed everything with sanitizer, knowing how disgusting the place was.

“Wow. You are stubborn
, aren’t you?”

“Call me Jane.”

He eyed her. “That isn’t your real name.”


And how would you know?” I said as I leaned over to get the edge. He glanced at my breasts and I caught the look.

He quickly looked away.
“I can tell. Just tell me your name. I’m not asking for a social security number.”

I rolled my eyes.
“If you’re bored, go talk to your friends.”

“I want to talk to you.”

“Well, I don’t,” I said simply.

Don came up to me and clapped me on the shoulder. “Roose is here. You’re free to go, Layla.”

“Thank god,” I said. “I’m out of here.”

“Wow,” Kyle said. “That’s a beautiful name.”

I turned to him. “Thank you. Good night.”

“Good night,” he said with a nod. “And thanks for the recommendation about the vodka.”

“Anytime,” I said as I walked in the back and clocked out. I counted my tip money and grabbed my jacket and my purse before I walked outside and reached the sidewalk. I should take a cab to my apartment, but it was too much money.

“Layla!”

I turned around, reaching for the tazer in my purse. It was Kyle, the man sitting at the bar. I didn’t release my hold on the weapon.

Kyle spotted my hand with a smile on his face. He raised his hands in the air. “Seriously, do I look like a serial killer?”

“What do you want?” I said with a sigh. “I’m tired and I have a long day tomorrow.”

He came closer to me, putting his hands in his pockets. “I was just hoping your phone number sounded as beautiful as your name.”

I rolled my eyes. “That has to be the worst pick-up line I’ve ever heard.”

Kyle laughed.
“Fine. Can I get your number?”

“No. Good night.” I turned and continued to walk up the street.

Kyle came next to me then stood in front of me. “Wait. Come on, give me a chance. It’s just a phone number.”

“I’m not interested.”

“Why not?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Wow. You’re conceited.”

He smiled. “I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just curious.”

“I don’t date guys I meet in bars.”

“And why is that?”

“I just don’t.”

Kyle returned his hands to his pockets. “Come on. We’ll have a great time.”

“No thank you.”

“Stop being annoying.”

“Excuse me?” I said. “You’re the one who can’t
take no for an answer.”

He sighed.
“Layla, just have a drink with me.”

I smiled. “You aren’t used to be rejecting, are you?”

“Well, I’m not. But that’s beside the point.”

“Let me make this clear,” I said. “I’m not interested in dating you.
Now leave me alone.” I walked around him and moved up the sidewalk.

“Can I at least take you home?”

I ignored him and kept walking.

“How about I pay for you to take a cab?”

“Good night,” I said over my shoulder.

He stayed on the sidewalk, his gaze drilling holes into my back. “It was nice meeting you, Layla. I meant what I said about your name. It’s beautiful. It’s much better than Betty.”

I laughed even though I knew I shouldn’t. I continued walking until I reached my building. After I entered my apartment, I kicked off my shoes then looked at my phone. I had a voicemail from a number I didn’t recognize. When I listened to it, it said my interview had been pushed back a day. Annoyed, I sighed to myself. I desperately wanted to leave that bar. I constantly had to deal with jerks and alcoholics and I was getting sick of it.

After I showered and cleaned the alcohol from my fingertips, I collapsed on the bed and fell asleep immediately, knowing I had to repeat the day all over again in just a few hours.

BOOK: Layla
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