She has honey-colored eyes…
It was the first thing I noticed about the mesmerizing woman who had just walked into Connect.
They were gorgeous, golden orbs that seemed to follow my every movement as I mixed a Manhattan behind the bar.
I’d never seen eyes like that before—they were sparkling.
I was becoming completely lost in their effervescent hue.
And the woman behind those eyes was striking too.
From head to toe, she was so stately I could’ve sworn she was royalty.
Her sharp, two-piece suit was definitely designer, and the blazer was incredibly low-cut…with nothing underneath.
A bold choice, which she pulled off flawlessly.
She was tall, with a regal neck that wore a blood red diamond choker. Her shiny, mahogany hair framed her pale, heart-shaped face and pouty lips.
Lips that were parting just slightly…
“Lea, easy on the whiskey!” Hector shouted at me.
I looked down to see the glass tumbler overflowing, spilling out onto the bar.
“Fuck,” I muttered under my breath, feeling my cheeks burn.
I grabbed a towel and hastily cleaned up my mess as my co-worker, Hector, side-eyed me. He began to remake the drink I’d just ruined.
“Girl, what is on your mind? You’re, like, spacing ~hard~.” His head whipped from one end of the bar to the other. “Who the hell here is ~dickmatizing~ you?”
I tried not to look at the woman who I was sure was still staring at me.
Why is she making me so self-conscious?
I’d only strictly dated guys before, so surely I couldn’t be attracted to her…
I didn’t even know how to process the possibility.
“I’m just tired,” I replied quickly. “You keep scheduling me on the late shifts.”
“Um, yeah, so you can make money,” he said, rolling his eyes. It only took a moment before those rolling eyes landed elsewhere…on a muscular man in a button-up, approaching the bar.
“This one’s just my type,” he said, giving me a wink.
They were all his type. That’s what I loved about Hector.
As he disappeared to the other end of the bar, a flirtatious bounce in his step, my mind returned to the woman with honey-colored eyes.
She seemed way too high-society for this shit-hole club.
Although, admittedly, Connect was a shit-hole club that was near and dear to my heart.
We prided ourselves on being a safe haven to anyone—regardless of race, gender, or sexuality.
I wondered what had brought her here tonight.
I tried to resist getting caught up in her golden gaze again, but I couldn’t help myself.
I stealthily glanced over to where the woman had been sitting, but…
I felt a wave of disappointment wash over me.
I don’t even know her name…
“Grace,” a silky voice said, startling me from my thoughts.
Holy shit, it’s her!
She was suddenly sitting directly across from me, her ruby lips smirking playfully.
“Aren’t you going to tell me yours?” she asked, looking me up and down.
“My…uh…my…” I stammered.
“Your name,” she said.
“Lea,” I finally managed to spit out.
“Well, Lea, can you make me a Bloody Mary? Extra bloody,” she said, leaning over the counter, exposing her cleavage.
“You got it,” I tried to say coolly. As I turned away and flipped on my phone camera to check my appearance, I looked anything but cool.
I quickly fussed with my wavy, auburn hair and tried to convince myself that I didn’t look like a total mess.
“You look lovely…trust me,” Grace said, making me even more flustered.
Is she flirting with me?
“Oh, uh…thanks,” I replied without turning around. “Where are you from?”
Maybe mindless small talk would help suppress whatever the hell was happening here.
“You’ve never heard of it,” she replied mysteriously.
“Really? Try me,” I said as I garnished her drink with a celery stick and passed it across the counter.
As she reached out, our fingertips grazed each other’s skin, and I felt a surge of electricity course through my veins.
It tingled and touched every part of my body.
My eyelids fluttered as I pressed my legs together tightly.
I was so aroused that I was starting to get wet.
When I looked into Grace’s eyes, I saw the same arousal. Her tongue lightly licked the edges of her lips, and she leaned forward.
Wh-what is she doing?
I suddenly realized that I was leaning over the bar too.
For a moment, it seemed like Grace’s lips were heading for mine, but she changed course at the last second.
I was frozen, unsure of what to do.
Why am I not stopping this?
Because I don’t want it to stop.
Her soft breath drifted over my neck as my own breath hitched.
My nipples were hardening underneath my thin, white tank top.
I was scared.
I was excited.
I was captivated by this woman.
Grace’s lips grazed my neck, but only for a moment…
She pulled away, and the arousal in her eyes had been replaced with alarm.
“I…I have to go,” she said, hastily throwing a twenty-dollar bill on the bar.
I was so speechless that I couldn’t even protest. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to.
What the hell just happened?
Grace’s heels clacked across the floor as she rushed out of the bar without looking back.
Why did I feel such a strong connection with her?
When she looked at me with those eyes, it was as if she was staring into my soul.
And when she touched me…I felt as though nothing would ever be the same again.
She made me feel things that I’d never felt before…at least not with a woman.
It was only two or three seconds…but that moment…
It would linger in my mind forever.
I shoved my phone into my jacket pocket, my claws tearing at the leather.
I’d gotten so angry that I’d almost shifted.
I quickly retracted them, glancing around to make sure no one saw.
As the cold Seattle wind whipped across my face, all I wanted to do was howl—release my pain to the moon.
But I couldn’t do that here. I couldn’t risk a human seeing me. It was expressly forbidden by our laws.
My eyes welled up with tears, but I fought them back.
I’m not going to cry over that piece of shit.
I didn’t even know where I was going, but I just had to get the hell away from him.
Not only had I lost my boyfriend tonight, but I’d lost my best friend too.
This was a night that I desperately wanted to forget.
And I knew of at least one way to do that.
I need a fucking drink.
My eyes scanned the street until I spotted a flashing neon sign that read “Connect.”
I pulled my coat closer as I took in the exterior of the seedy-looking club.
It was a little dive-y for my tastes, but…
I guess it will have to do.
I poured myself a shot of vodka and threw it back, cringing as the liquor slid down my throat.
“You know you don’t have to drink the bottom shelf shit,” Hector said, teasing me.
“I do if I want to get drunk,” I replied.
And I wanted to get very, very drunk.
Ever since Grace had run out of the bar an hour ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about her.
I was really beginning to think that something was wrong with me.
Do I have a fever?
Did I accidentally take a shot of absinthe?
Or do I just want her soft, red lips all over my naked body?
My face burned hot. Fuck!
These…feelings…were new to me.
Or maybe I’d just been pushing them down…
I mean, sure, I’d made out with a few girls in college. But who hadn’t?
And I’d always had, like, a girl-crush on Drew Barrymore. She’s a total goddess!
But that didn’t mean that I was into girls…did it?
No, I was strictly into dicks.
Except…maybe I wasn’t.
I poured myself another shot.
“You’d better slow down, girl. Getting drunk is a marathon, not a sprint,” Hector said, concerned. “We still have to serve customers.”
If it meant not having to think about my sexuality anymore, I’d gladly sprint to the finish line.
“Excuse me, can I get a gin and tonic?”
Hector and I both turned to the husky voice, and our jaws dropped open.
Standing in front of me was one of the hottest men I’d ever seen.
Tall, dark, and handsome didn’t even begin to describe him.
He had olive skin, radiant green eyes, perfectly manicured facial hair covering his prominent cheekbones, and a jawline that gave him a rugged look.
As he slipped off his leather jacket, his muscular chest and biceps practically bulged out of his tight T-shirt.
There was something almost otherworldly about his beauty.
And that just made me think of another ethereal beauty who had just been through here.
“Um…uh, yeah, of course,” I fumbled. “Can I get you anything else, uh…”
“Liam,” he responded. “Just the gin and tonic, thanks.”
He flashed a set of perfect, white teeth and gave me a wolfish grin.
Grace had thrown me off my game, but it was probably nothing. As soon as this gorgeous man walked in, I knew it was stupid of me to question my sexuality.
But as I stared into his emerald eyes, Grace’s honey-colored irises flashed through my mind.
Sure, just keep telling yourself that.
Hector suddenly grabbed my arm and whispered excitedly. “How fucking hot is this guy?”
I looked back at the man, and he gave me a warm smile.
“Maybe I’ll have to turn on the charm,” I said, smirking. “I might not be going home alone tonight.”
Hector gave me a condescending pat on the shoulder. “Oh, sweetie. I’m pretty sure this one plays for my team.”
“You think everyone is gay,” I replied defiantly.
I dropped a lime in his drink and handed it to the handsome stranger, settling across from him with a flirtatious hair toss.
“So…Liam…tell me about yourself,” I said.
So that maybe I can stop thinking about Grace…
Fucking hell! What was I thinking?
I hurried out into the cold night air, disappearing down the nearest dark alley.
I’d almost made a grave mistake.
What if she’d found out who I am?
What if she’d found out what I am?
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
My lust for beautiful women was almost as bad as my lust for blood.
At first, it was her heartbeat that had attracted me, signaling like a beating drum.
Followed by her scent…like fresh strawberries and honeysuckle.
Then it was that pulsating vein on her neck, so tender and tantalizing.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fuck her or simply suck her dry.
But when I saw her face…
I couldn’t believe it.
She looked so much like her…so much like Janelle.
The same dark-blue eyes, like azure pools of wonder.
The same flowing, auburn hair that remained untamed no matter how hard she tried.
The same self-conscious mannerisms that I couldn’t help but find adorable.
I tried to shake Lea from my mind.
I couldn’t make the same mistakes I’d made before.
After what happened with Janelle…
I’d never let myself get attached to another human again.
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