Sarah A. McCombs
His feet, large and clad in charcoal combat boots, moved into her space like a boulder smashing her into the side of a cliff.
She felt her own feet, a lot smaller and bare as the boards they stood on, move in reverse until her back was flush against a wall.
Her crazed heart beat relentlessly, palms moist as his dark eyes locked onto her like a sniper hitting his mark.
She couldn't breathe, couldn't think, as his hand shot up to wrap large fingers around the soft flesh of her neck.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
That voice was a lot deeper than she remembered; of course, ten years changed a hell of a lot about a man.
He was a head taller than her, hair the color of dark chocolate fell into his face in thick strands. The tan she’d lusted after before had grown darker with time.
Bulging muscles had long since replaced the lean teen from her past. She didn't dare look lower for fear of her mind unraveling completely.
Her legs were a mess of jello as his deadly glare refused to loosen its hold on her soul.
The intensity of it was familiar, making her burn up as a lust so strong it could rival the first sins burst to life between them. He had to feel it too, right?
His bark of an order had her jumping in his grasp, but those thick fingers never tightened. It was as if he wanted to look dangerous but never meant to truly cause harm.
She frowned, suddenly very aware of the haunting color of his eyes.
Their gorgeous brown hue held a world of pain that she couldn’t begin to understand. Perhaps hers held the same.
There was a part of her that feared the past he may carry with him, the harsh feelings that would weigh them both down like deadly chains.
Her lips parted as a shaky breath escaped her throat. She would be okay. He wouldn't hurt her, not yet, anyway.
His brow creased as his shoulders tensed up. If she was invited then that would mean one of the guys he knew was the culprit. Someone close to him.
Did they know this woman personally? Could they have brought her here understanding the past between them?
A beefy hand clapped down on his shoulder, the gravelly voice of an older man interrupting traitorous thoughts. Dammit if it wasn’t the one man he couldn’t cross.
"She's the new bartender I hired. You got a problem with that?"
He had to take a calming breath before releasing the woman and turning to face the old barkeep.
The man was in his late fifties, but that didn't take the edge out of his appearance. He was a biker, rough and tough and ready for a brawl.
Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, he had clawed his way up in life and made a place for himself. The whole town respected him, and no one dared to get on his bad side.
He wasn't alone, as his bar was the best for miles around and the number one biker hangout. He had a gang of guys backing him at any given moment, and many friends in both high and low places.
"No problem here, Mack."
The big man was an inch or two taller than Tommy, crossing his arms over his chest and nodding as the younger man moved to the side. He quickly sized up his new employee.
She was a sweet little thing in her late twenties. Caramel curls fell to rest against her breasts, hips flaring out to showcase the perkiest ass he had seen in a long time.
He might blush, if he were thirty years younger.
He raised an eyebrow when his gaze fell on her bare feet.
When he hired the broad he didn’t realize she had a screw loose, but she had to have if she felt it was smart to walk into a bar with no shoes on.
It was his bar, and even he wouldn't be so stupid.
Looking upward he was rewarded with a handful of peppy tits pressing against a light blue blouse unbuttoned at the top just enough to tease a man into a testosterone frenzy.
Good Lord, if his wife was still alive he’d be hit with a frying pan.
He cleared his throat, catching her gaze as he kept his arms crossed over his chest.
"There a reason you came in here barefoot?"
The blush that captivated her cheeks had his pupils dilating as he moved from one boot-clad foot to the other.
He may be older, but he could still appreciate a pretty face, and damn it if this one didn’t make his jeans feel two sizes too small.
Thank God for dark pants, dingy lights overhead, and the naive nature of the seductress before him.
She hitched a thumb toward the entrance.
"I happened to step in the only mud puddle out front and I didn’t think it would be polite to track it inside. I'm sorry."
She sounded sincere and clearly embarrassed. He cocked an eyebrow before turning to the bar and calling out to his son, who stood behind the thick wood counter serving drinks.
"Jackson, bring this little lady your mother’s slippers!"
The man nodded, turning to a door behind the bar and disappearing without a word.
They kept some of his late wife’s things in a box in the back. He just couldn’t make himself go through it all.
The young woman was still blushing as she looked the older man over. A handsome guy, charcoal hair mixed with strands of grey was cut short.
She wondered if he had done time in the military or just preferred it clean-cut and out of the way.
He was so tall, easily towering over her. Broad shoulders and pumped-up arms spoke wonders for how strong he was. Like a tank.
She was sure he could hold his own in a fight and then some.
Hell, his black boots were as big as her face, making her hands shake as a memory took the reins of her mind. No good going down that dark path.
"We need to talk."
She jumped at the deep voice in her ear, the gasp that escaped her lips barely audible as the barkeep turned his attention her way once more.
He noticed how tense she was, the way her jaw had locked tight. To say it was simple to see the cause of her sudden change in demeanor might just hit the nail on the head.
Those darkening eyes followed Tommy to the end of the bar, where he sat down with a glare to the men around him.
His mood was as low as most of the guys’ standards in this place.
Whatever he had done, it was quick and nobody seemed to notice but her and the old man. Mack felt the air thicken if only for a moment before Tommy sat down.
"You okay, sweetheart?"
She dragged her gaze back to her new employer, nodding as her tongue fell useless behind closed lips.
Was she okay? Would she be okay? Never, but she was alive.
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