Pretty In Ink - Exclusive Read - Chapter One
A flash of scarlet paint caught his eye, and Garrett frowned at the little sports car zipping too quickly into the front lot. He straightened up, leaving the table half-cleared to move closer to the front window of his bar. The little convertible pulled into one of the front slots, and he couldn’t hide his smile of recognition. His Saturday night just got a whole lot better. Folding his arms across his chest, Garrett studied the driver as she teetered out of the car. She certainly matched the car, in her short black dress and flashy jewelry. Nothing there of any interest to him. The blonde flipped her perfectly straight hair, waiting impatiently for her passenger to alight.
Raising a hand to acknowledge the customer at a nearby table calling for another round, Garrett kept his eyes trained on the car. Nothing short of an emergency would prevent him from enjoying the sight of his favorite customer. She kept her head down, a tumble of ebony curls shielding her face. Thankfully, her beautiful hair did nothing to obscure his view of the magnificent pair of creamy breasts threatening to spill out the front of her jade green dress as she pushed herself up. The pin-up style dress hugged the kind of ample body a man could get lost in for a week. She turned, bending to retrieve her clutch, displaying an ass so bounteous he surreptitiously checked his mouth for drool.
Garrett Chase loved big girls. Loved. Them. At six foot two and a couple hundred pounds of solid muscle, he preferred a soft landing, and an ass he could get a good grip on as he rode them both into sweaty oblivion. His pulse quickened as his goddess-made-flesh swayed across the lot and back into his life. Aubrey Jensen was the stuff of his dreams. A dark green rose clipped her hair up on one side, matching the fifties style of her dress to perfection. The lifted wing of her hair revealed her face, ruby-red lips quirked into a smile over something her companion said as they approached the door. It was his favorite expression of hers – a little sly, like she got the joke when no one else did.
Not wanting to get caught spying on her, he grabbed up the dirty glasses and strode quickly to his appointed spot behind the bar. Smiling in welcome as they approached, he fixed his eyes on Aubrey as he held out the bar menu. “Anything you want, darling. It’s all yours.”
Her chocolate-brown eyes flicked up to meet his and he winked, relishing the tiny sparkle of mischief the gesture induced. “Anything?” The way she drawled the word made him want to crawl across the bar and fist her hair as he claimed those plump lips.
“Anything,” he emphasized.
She rewarded him with a deliciously dirty laugh. “Garrett Chase, one of these days I’m going to take you up on that.”
Man, he adored women who knew how to laugh properly. None of those polite, smothered giggles. Give him a filthy, rolling belly-deep chuckle every day of the week. Suddenly, there was nothing more important than finding a way to make this woman laugh like that again.
“Oh, Aubrey, I can’t take you anywhere!” The blonde tried to sound like she was joking, but the jagged edge in her tone showed her irritation. A simmering tension he’d noticed before existed between the two sisters. Garrett glanced toward her. She smiled, all teeth and no warmth. Tapping a red-tipped nail on the cocktail section of the menu, she flashed the obscenely large diamond on her ring finger. He remembered well the copious bottles of champagne their group consumed on New Year’s Eve to celebrate her engagement to one of the faceless rich-boys who frequented his joint. I bet her heart is as cold as that rock.
“We’ll both have a Cosmopolitan.” The blonde angled her body toward him, trying to capture his interest. For a woman in love, she tries a little too hard for attention.
“Take a seat and I’ll be with you in a moment.” Garrett finished pouring a beer for another customer. Annoyed with the lovely brunette’s toothy companion, he took his time.
The blonde pursed her lips in a little pout of disappointment at his matter of fact tone, and remained standing. “We have a booking in the name of Windsor. You can serve our drinks at the table. It’s a booking for four.”
The familiar stab of disappointment twisted in his gut. He didn’t need her to tell him they expected company. The two sisters started coming to the bar around November last year, always with the same dates. “You’re at table fifteen.” He nodded toward a high-backed booth in the center of the back wall. The blonde sniffed before turning on her heel and stalking off.
Aubrey paused at the bar, an apologetic smile on her face. Garrett rested his forearms on the bar as he leaned toward her, catching a hint of her rich, amber perfume. “Tell me what you need, darling.” Please let it be my face buried in your pussy.
Her gorgeous eyes widened slightly. Intrigued, he glanced down, following the direction of her gaze. The sleeves of his white shirt had ridden up, displaying the tattooed flames licking the backs of his wrists. Eyes fixed on his ink, the tip of her tongue darted out to slick her lips, and a warm feeling stirred deep in his gut. See me. Knowing he was playing with fire, and not caring a damn, he popped the buttons on his cuffs and made a show of rolling the sleeves back to his elbows. Thick lines of black, red and orange writhed across his skin. The soft noise coming from her throat sounded suspiciously like a sigh of appreciation.
“Aubrey!” The shrill call from her sister shattered the spell between them.
With a small shake of her head, Aubrey turned her attention to the drinks menu. “I’m tired of cocktails.” Something about her tone implied it wasn’t all she was tired of. He wanted to press her for information, but it wasn’t his place to do so. No matter how much he might wish it were. “I’d like to try one of your beers.” The admission pleased him beyond measure. Speciality beers were a passion of his, and he’d worked hard to put together a strong selection.
“Don’t worry, darling. I’ll find you something tasty to wrap those luscious lips around.” His innuendo-laden comment cleared the frown from her brow and drew another of those fantastic laughs from her, and Garrett fell head over heels.
“You are a very bad man.” Mischief dancing in her eyes, she wagged a finger at him and moved away to join her sister.
“Give me a chance, Aubrey, and I’ll be happy to show you how bad.” His use of her name added a little extra swing to her hips, and he gratefully admired the view.
A sharp pinch on his arm startled Garrett. He unglued his eyes from the retreating piece of heaven to frown at his sister. “What the fuck?” He rubbed the abused spot as his sister, Gina flicked her towel at him.
“Put your tongue back in, bro, and stop slacking.” Shaking her head, she marched back to her end of the bar, but her words held no malice. His family knew where his preferences lay, and Aubrey ticked every box on his list.
The door to the bar opened, letting in a gust of warm spring air. March had been unseasonably cool in their little corner of California, but April was turning out more promising. He had plans to add an external seating area to the bar. One day. Like so many of his plans, ambition outweighed his finances. The bar was a relatively new venture for the Chase family, and Garrett and his siblings were acutely conscious of the mortgage secured against their grandfather’s home.
The open door heralded the arrival of “The Suits”, his nickname for the two bland men who dated the Jensen sisters. Garrett didn’t pay much attention to them as he fixed their drinks, until the sneering, sandy-haired one spoke. “Dammit, Brock, she’s a fucking heifer. I still can’t believe she and Marissa are sisters.”
His blond companion just laughed. Clapping him on the shoulder, he followed his friend’s glance across the room to the central booth. “Relax, Kenny. Aubrey just needs taking in hand, the same way I did with Marissa. The Jensen girls run to fat if you let them, but once I got Marissa to take a little pride in herself, it was easy. You’ll find their mother supportive of your efforts too.”
The blond paused to take a swig of his drink, then grinned at his glowering friend. “Don’t forget, her inheritance is as big as her ass.”
“It damn well better be. I’ve never seen her ass. You’d think she was special the way she holds me at arm’s length. Nearly six months, and I still can’t get through her front door.”
A low buzz started in Garrett’s ears. Tuning out the rest of their conversation, he battled the need to beat them both to a bloody pulp. Aubrey was fucking beautiful just the way she was. Mortgage, think of the fucking mortgage. He couldn’t risk bringing trouble to their door. His records were sealed; there was nothing to tie the respectable man to the stupid kid he’d once been. His tattoos raised an eyebrow or two, but he usually kept them covered when he was working. Still, a low-level fear of his past catching up with him always lurked in the back of his mind. Another good reason he shouldn’t entertain thoughts of a class act like Aubrey.
He paused in the process of rolling down his sleeves, seeking her out. Rationalities about their differences melted away as her big, brown eyes studied him with blatant interest. Wanting her to know how much he desired her, Garrett held her gaze. He imagined unzipping her jade green dress, sliding it down her body until her gorgeous tits fell into his waiting hands. His cock stirred in his jeans, and he stepped closer to the bar to shield his lower body. Mesmerized, he watched Aubrey raise the beer bottle to her lips and, holy fucking hell, curl her tongue around the rim. A bolt of lust slammed into his spine, tightening his balls until he feared he might blow his load like an untried boy.
The suits finally moved away from the bar, their movement breaking his line of sight as they approached the booth. The little smile of regret she flashed him brought a moment of clarity. Fuck the differences between us. He would do whatever it took to get her away from the fucker she was wasting her time with and into his bed.
As soon as fucking possible.