Authors: KB Winters
Tags: #billionaire romance
A Billionaire Romance
By KB Winters
Copyright © 2015 KB Winters
Published By: BookBoyfriends Publishing
Table of Contents
“Two more down here!” I yelled across the bar. The bartender smiled, letting me know he’d heard my boisterous request.
“Shit, girl, you gotta slow down!” Hannah insisted.
“Party pooper! Tonight is not the night to slow down!” A shot was placed in front of me and I threw it back with a wicked grin, laughing at the look on Hannah’s face. “Come on! Have fun!”
Hannah rolled her eyes at me but then threw back her shot like a pro. “Happy?”
“Yeah, actually, I am. For the first time in a long time!” I spun around on the heels of my riding boots and soaked up the room. I’d called Hannah and begged her to come out for happy hour at my favorite dive bar. I could tell she wanted to go somewhere else, somewhere a little more uppity, but I had guilted her into slumming it for the night. Hannah used to date a biker, and she’d come down here with him and had the time of her life—or at least she pretended she did. But now, she liked to stay on the west side of town and stick to the posh, bougie bars.
Steelrods wasn’t necessarily a biker bar, but a lot of the bikers I knew hung out here. It was a little dark, a little grimy, and a lot sketchy but a whole lot of fun. It was always bursting with colorful characters and a bartender named Tank who’d give me anything I asked for—without question—and usually on the house.
“Tell me what’s going on?” she asked, raising her voice over the music and the sound of pool balls knocking around.
“What do you mean?” I asked, taking a sip off the top of the beer Tank set down in front of me, throwing him a wink before turning my attention back to Hannah. “It’s Saturday night. We used to do this all the time. Why does something have to be ‘going on’?”
She pursed her lips at me. “I know you better than that. Something’s up.”
I rolled my eyes. “All right, all right. I got fired.”
Her mouth dropped open. “What? From the ad place?”
“What happened? Last thing I knew, you were getting all sexified for the party with the hot, rich guy.”
I chugged back a few gulps of beer. “Yeah, well that whole thing turned into a major clusterfuck. I don’t really wanna talk about it. Not tonight. Tonight is just for having fun for once! I’ve been trapped in corporate bullshit for the past month, and tonight I’m free! So, let’s dance!”
Hannah looked less than convinced but went along with it.
My favorite song was blasting, the drinks were working their magic, and I was grinding up on some hottie named Jett, who had introduced himself at some point earlier in the night. The details were getting fuzzy. He put his hands on my hips and brought me in close and I put my hands in the air, dancing closer and pushing my ass up against him. He spun me around and pulled me to himself and I went along with it, sizing him up as we danced.
He was handsome—a little rough around the edges, but that’s usually how I prefer my men.
I scoffed at myself. I had no men, and the ones I’d gone out with were losers. Well, except Cooper.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I don’t want to think about him tonight!
As we danced, I started to become disenchanted; the alcohol-induced spell was broken. My dance partner didn’t smell right, he wasn’t tall enough, broad enough, and his eyes weren’t brown.
Fuck. I shook my head, silently ripping myself a new one for bringing Cooper into my night. This was supposed to be
night, not his.
I broke away from the dance floor, ignored Jett’s protests, and made my way back towards the bar, desperately in need of a fresh drink. I was halfway across the floor when I felt a hand grab my arm, a little too rough, and I spun around, ready to tell him to back the hell off. When my eyes followed the length of the arm up, I found myself staring at Marx, my sleaze ball ex-boyfriend.
“Well, well, look what we have here,” he drawled at me, a menacing smile spreading across his face. “I thought I made it clear that this was my spot and that if you didn’t want to see me, you would stay away.”
I tried to pull my arm back but he held firm.
Where the hell is Hannah?
I wanted to look around for help, but couldn’t tear my eyes away from his face, a shiver of fear creeping up my spine.
“Let go of me,” I snarled. “You don’t own this town, the bar, and you sure as fuck don’t own me, so let me go.”
His smile only grew, his teeth bared. His grip tightened and he pulled me so hard that I was forced to step forward, closer to him. He leaned over and pressed his lips to my ear. “I could own you for tonight. What do you think? Old time’s sake.”
I reared back and pulled my arm again. This time, his grip was looser and I was able to get free. “Fuck off.”
Marx took another step towards me but Tank stepped in from the side and blocked his path. Tank was somewhat of a big brother to me. We had actually known each other since high school. He had moved to the city before me and showed me around town when I got here. He knew all about Marx and his shit. In the aftermath of the breakup, I had spent a lot of time bitching to him while trying to drink away the memories from the past.
“Listen, fucker, you got two choices—leave on your own or I will make you leave. You know you’re not welcome here. We’ve already had this conversation,” Tank said. “You remember what happened last time?”
Marx’s smile dropped off but he gave me one last glare before signaling to his crew and leaving. I didn’t know what Tank was referring to, but I was too relieved to care.
“You okay?” he asked, watching as I rubbed my thumb over the red spot on my arm where Marx had been pinching into my skin.
I nodded. “Thanks for that.”
“Anytime,” he said. He draped an arm across my shoulders and steered me back to the bar.
I had a fresh beer and was sitting on a bar stool, keeping to myself, looking around the room for Hannah. Eventually, she resurfaced and ran over to tell me about the hottie she had been making out with in the bathroom. I laughed and rolled my eyes at her and decided to wait to tell her about my altercation with Marx, not wanting to ruin her night now that she finally seemed in the right mood for a party.
Hannah had one more drink with me and then her new guy came over to see about leaving with her. Sure enough, it was Jett, the guy I had been dirty dancing with not twenty minutes ago.
“Do you mind if I dip out early?” Hannah asked, her fingers looped in Jett’s waistband.
I looked to Tank and he gave me a nod, silently confirming that Jett was okay. I gave my blessing to the happy couple and they left.
It was almost midnight and it seemed that everyone had pretty much moved on with only a few stragglers left behind playing pool. Steelrods wasn’t an all-night kind of thing. It was usually a meet-up spot to hit up before going to the real party. I stayed behind, partly because I didn’t want to go home and be alone with my thoughts, and partly because after my run in with Marx, I was a little shaky.
“What was all that, earlier? With you know…” my voice trailed off.
Tank looked down and wiped up an invisible puddle on the counter. “I didn’t want to tell you, but he came by here a few weeks ago, asking for you. I told him he wasn’t welcome here. He didn’t want to listen, so I had to make him see things my way.”
The implication was clear so I didn’t ask more questions, I took another sip. “Thanks, Tank.”
He grunted and went back to his cleaning.
One more turned into three more, and by the time Tank walked me outside, I was more than a little smashed. Tank called me a cab and promised to take care of my bike, Cherry Bomb, until I could come get it the next day. I hated to leave her behind, but I knew Tank lived close by so it should be fine.
Sam ran up to greet me as soon as I wobbled into the apartment. I leaned over to pet him, lost my balance, and crashed into a pile on the floor.
I lay on the floor for a while, my hand resting on Sam’s head as he snuggled up next to me.
“Why can’t cats be more like men,” I asked Sam, my words slurring slightly together. An idea bubble popped into my head and I reached over and felt along the cool laminate flooring until my fingertips grazed the edge of my purse. It had dumped out when I fell, so I kept searching for my phone.
My fingers flew over the screen, while my eyes watched as if in slow motion. Not fully comprehending what I was doing. I put it on speaker phone and lay the phone next to my head and waited, closing my eyes and listening to it ring on the other line.
His voice. I smiled and Cooper’s face filled my mind.
“Allison? Are you there?”
“Uh-huh. I wanted to ask you a question,” I started.
“This early in the morning? Are you okay?”
“Mmmm-hmmmm,” I answered.
“What do you want to ask me?”
“Oh, right. I want to know if they say men are like dogs, because they are nothing like cats. Or if that’s something else.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
I wrinkled my nose, not understanding his confusion. In my mind, it seemed like a very simple question. And very important. “Cooper, I need to know!”
“Are you drunk?”
I started to giggle. Something I very rarely do but once I started, I couldn’t stop.
“Allison, where are you?”
“I’m on the floor.”
“Where? Where are you on the floor?”
I lifted my head and looked around. “The kitchen.”
Satisfied with my answer, I nodded, and then lay my head back down again.
“Cooper, you know what? You know what your problem is?”
“I would love for you to tell me, but hang with me here for a second. Whose kitchen floor are you on? Are you alone?”
“No, silly,” I answered, patting Sam on the head. “Sam’s with me.””
“Uh-huh,” I yawned.
“Who the hell is Sam?”
“Sam, say hello,” I said, turning my head on the floor to look at the little ball of fur next to me. On cue, he meowed at me.
“Sam’s the cat.” He laughed and my body relaxed even further at the deep richness of the sound as it ricocheted through my kitchen.
“Is the door locked?” he asked.
“I think so. Sam, go check if the door is locked.”
“No, no, Sam can’t. You need to get up and check.”
“Then we can talk about what’s wrong with you?” I asked.
“Yes,” he laughed again. “Then we can talk about what’s wrong with me.”
It took a good minute to haul myself up off the floor but I managed to without breaking anything. I scooped the phone up and carried it with me as I checked the front door. “It’s locked,” I reported.
“Good. Now tell me, what’s wrong with me?”
“You won’t get out of my head.”
“I’m sorry about that. In all fairness, you won’t get out of mine, either.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. My energy was depleting rapidly and the last thing I remember was collapsing onto the couch.
I opened my eyes and quickly snapped them shut again against the harsh light glaring into the room.
“Where the hell am I?” I wondered aloud, wincing against the volume of my own voice, even though I’m pretty sure it was only a groggy whisper. I placed my hand on my forehead and massaged my temples with my thumb and middle finger. As I massaged, my brain struggled to kick into gear, but after a few moments, little glimpses of the night before starting floating in my memory.