Read The Complete Bad Boy Series (5 in 1): Best Billionaire Romance Collection (Bad Boy Billionaire Stepbrother Romance Paranormal Series) Online
Authors: Brenda Wallace,Mattie Mccoy,Alexandra Shaw,Marlene Blair
As far as Katie was concerned all of those blond-haired bimbos didn’t know how to have fun. They couldn’t rock a real pair of cut off shorts like a brunette could and they certainly wouldn’t know how to use what they had if they took them off. She had her white button up shirt tied up to show her nice set, and her car keys in hand when she walked out the door and headed into her little red convertible.
Jim bought it for her on their second date. He had a nice wallet, but he wasn’t good in the sack, so she dumped him for the next one, Derrick, who gave it away too quick. She could live off the jewelry he bought her for the rest of her life if she decided to sell it.
She didn’t think men had any business playing a woman’s game. She was the real player, and she could give a hoot less about a piece of meat. What she wanted was paper, and she knew just how to get it.
She didn’t even have to give them a thing. All she did was walk up to their tables and ask them what they wanted to eat that evening. If she put on the right smile and sucked on her pen just right, at least one of them would bite the bait. Serving tables was one of the best ideas she’d ever had. She didn’t care much for the hours, or how she had to help out all of the customers, but a rack like hers pulled in money faster than she could clear a table, and she didn’t have any problem working it a little bit to see what else they’d give her.
Her job at the Finer Diner had gotten her some sweet deals, but it hadn’t gotten her anywhere as far as loves goes. She wasn’t sure she believed in it. She simply used her nice position on I-5, just north of L.A. to pull in as many of the stragglers as she could.
She’d been fooled a few times, but she always got knocked back into reality. She wondered, though, could Steve be any different. She usually didn’t go for the shy types. They didn’t have the nice flair that she wanted, but Steve, with his boyish baby face and his golden blond curls, just might’ve been the ticket. Every afternoon he’d come in, just right before the dinner rush started, for a quick cup of coffee. When things got a little bit busier, he’d get something to eat and sit quietly. She knew she never had to go over to his table if she was too busy. Then, when things slowed down, he got dessert, and he’d allow his eyes to stray over to her for a bit. It was so endearing to see him trying to avoid looking at her, so as not to make her lose her focus, but she had to admit sometimes that she did.
It was strange to see somebody so beautiful who didn’t know how sexy he was. He just had absolutely no idea that he was drop-dead gorgeous, and he could have any woman he wanted. She didn’t know what made him that way--maybe he had bad parents--what she knew for certain, though was that he could have her if he just had the courage to ask.
It was hilarious to see him when he first came into the restaurant. As soon as he laid eyes on her for the first time, he accidentally spilled his coffee. She went over to clean it up, and he actually closed his eyes as hard as he could because her cleavage was right in his face. Most men would stare like little pigs, but he was too afraid of what she would think. After that, he somehow found her section every time he came in, and by the second straight week, he was able to work up to little conversations. His confidence came in tiny bursts. She could see his little gears turning, then suddenly he’d burst out something awkward. She let him do it to see where it would lead. He was just too sweet and too cute to shut up. She had to see his big lips move and the way his hair curled at the top, she couldn’t help but want to hear what he had to say every day.
She checked her dark red lipstick in her rear-view mirror to make sure it was perfect then straightened her ponytail before she walked out of the car and ran inside to get ready for her shift. Things were always hectic in the diner. Somebody was always having a mental breakdown. They always thought the sky was falling, and today was no different. It was Jenny, the new waitress. She was having some trouble cause Jerry; the manager was coming down on her to learn the menu. When she walked in, she knew exactly what’s going on. He had her cornered in a booth, and his voice was hushed, but she could still hear what he was saying.
“Now, I need you to be able to know what these people want before it comes out of their mouths or else you ain’t gonna be able to deal with them. I can’t have a server that doesn’t already have a feel for these things.”
“What do you mean? How is that possible?”
“Just figure it out. I can’t sit here and tell you how to do your job all day. I need you to already know how to do it.” He tried pulling that shit with her too, and she just nodded her head and went along with it. He didn’t really have high standards. He just came down on the girls to make them think he did to see if they could handle the pressure. In his mind, he ran a tight ship, but he was too inconsistent to really do that.
He got up and left her there in tears. She didn’t know what the girl was going through. Everyone has a story, but she knew that whatever it was, she couldn’t get through it without a bit of confidence. Jerry gave her a bad look, as if to say get back to work, but she didn’t have to clock in for another fifteen minutes, so she went and got a soda and a piece of apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and plopped it down in front of her.
She looked up as if Katie were Jesus. “Oh, I can’t pay for that.”
“Sweetheart, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care if you memorize the menu. He doesn’t want you to prove that you’re psychic. He just wants you to look cute and do what the customers tell them without breaking into tears.”
“You didn’t hear what he told me, though. He’s gonna fire me.”
Katie looked at her like she was stepping into the role of a kindergarten teacher. “He told me the exact same thing when I started, and you know what I told him? I said if you can run around here and do your job in roller skates then I’ll learn how to read the customer’s mind. He was furious, but he never fired me, and I was a lot worse at this than you were.”
“You mean,” she laughed and wiped her tears, “that he’s just bullshitting me?”
“He believes that shit, he does, but he ain’t ever gonna do it.”
“He does this to all of us, huh?”
“And worse, but if you just keep coming in every day, he’ll stop.”
She actually laughed and took a huge bite out of the apple pie. They saw him looking out from the kitchen warily, but they just kept on laughing. When you’re in a stressful environment like that, it’s hard to find a groove, and the girls had to realize that consistency was their groove, or they wouldn’t make it. Katie made sure they did know, because if he drove them all out, she wouldn’t be able to do her job.
She got a rag and started doing her rounds, scrubbing all the tables, refilling the containers, the salt shakers, ketchup, and all the rest then, when she was done, she looked out to see the rush starting earlier than normal.
Steve was usually there by then, and he wasn’t. That bothered her. He’d been a staple for a little while now, and for him to just stop, that was weird. He wouldn’t have done that if something wasn’t wrong.
She had three parties in her section already and one other heading for one of her tables. The hostess really tried to spread them out, but it couldn’t always happen that way. Her section just happened to fill up before the other girl’s. She ran over to the first table to see a group of elderly women in church hats.
One of them was wearing a violet hat that dwarfed the rest of the table. She was skinny with thin lips.
Katie walked up to the table. “Hello, my name is Katie, and I’ll take your order this evening. Can I get you guys something to drink to start off?”
“No. I need you to get this table cleaned off immediately.” She was clearly the ring leader. All of the women got up in time and waited for her to do it even though it looked spotless.
“OK. I’ll be right back.”
“Well, aren’t you going to clean it?” the woman barked.
“I have to go get a rag first.”
“Well, what are you going to put on the rag?”
Katie scoffed. “Ma’am, I don’t know the chemical composition of the cleaning fluid.” She walked back to the kitchen and when she got back the women left. On the table, they left one of those bent pennies you get out of a machine from the zoo.
She went to go over to the next table when she felt a finger tap her on the back of her shoulder. It was Steve. He busted into the restaurant, and he smelled like cheap whiskey and wine coolers. He looked like he was about to puke by the way his hand was covering his mouth, and he could barely stand up.
“Come outside.” She dragged him by the arm, mostly to get him out of the restaurant and he looked at her like she was an angel who’d come to his rescue. Clearly he’d done this out of some depressed, pathetic attempt to get up the courage to ask her to do whatever. He probably wanted to date her, but who knew.
They were standing outside by the trash can when he got far too close to her. “You know, Katie,” he poked at her chest a little too hard, “y-you’re something special.”
“Thank you, Steve.”
“And I-I just want to fuck you.” She wasn’t shocked in the least until he reached down and unzipped his pants then pulled out his hard cock. “Can y-you just get down on your knees.”
She didn’t want to rob the man of his dignity in his inebriated state. He probably had no idea where he was or what he was doing. She knew for certain he was blacked out just by the glazed look in his eyes, but it still scared the crap out of her, so she put her hand on his shoulder and went to run him around and walk him to a bench so she could call a cab, but he ripped himself away from her and slammed his fist into her jaw and just started wailing on her. “You bitch! I’ll kill you! I’ll fucking kill you.” She got up and tried to run, but he pulled her down and picked up a brick to bash it into her head.
As soon as it was in the air, and her life flashed in front of her, teeth flashed, and he fell back onto the pavement. She caught a glimpse of yellow eyes, and then a shadow descending into the forest just past the gravel lot. She didn’t know what to do, but she knew she had to get back to her shift. She didn’t feel like it. She slipped back into an old habit. She walked over to her car and reached in the glove compartment to pull out a cigarette. She kept them there for moments like these when she knew that she wouldn’t be able to handle herself. She felt dizzy with that first puff like she was in high school taking their first toke, but she also felt better.
She opened the driver door and took a seat. She didn’t know how to handle this, but she had to. She had no reference point. She saw a man die. His body wasn’t very far from where she was sitting. She just stared at the gravel and waited. For what? She didn’t know, but she knew that she was waiting. It didn’t even register in her brain that something had done that to him.
She heard footsteps 0n the gravel. She didn’t know what they were when she first heard them. The lack of oxygen had fried her brain so badly, she barely registered the fact that somebody was tugging her up by the arm, but when she saw that face with the dark eyes and hair, with a single strand falling over his forehead, she gasped. He was so beautiful, and his gaze could see right through her.
“Let’s go. You’re in trouble.” He picked her up and put her in the passenger seat then took her keys and drove onto the highway.
“What are you doing!?” He didn’t even look her way when she started screaming. “Where are you taking me?”
“Shut up. I saved you from a murder investigation, in which you most certainly would’ve been implicated, and danger you could hardly imagine, and now you’re screaming at me. Enjoy the ride and be glad to be alive right now.” His skin looked white underneath the full moon, but he was a soft coffee and cream color.
“What do you mean danger?” She stared into his eyes and realized just how similar they were to the eyes she saw when that thing killed Steve. His hand grazed hers, and there was a shock, like a pulse of energy surging between them. She almost jumped.
“There are people who want to hurt you. You need to come with me, or you will die.”
“You’ll understand. This has to be done when you can really sit down and talk with me. I have to focus on driving.” She could see that he had to weave through traffic, dodging cars, tailgating and basically using L.A. driving tactics. He kept checking the mirrors to see if anything was following him.