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Smart, Sexy and Secretive(4)

By:Tammy Falkner

I take a step toward the doorway, but Matt is suddenly in front of me, getting between Bone and me. It’s not worth it, he signs.

Would be to me, I reply. I’ve been trying to catch that bastard alone ever since the last time I saw him with Pete. Our little brother suddenly has a phone, and he suddenly has money in his pocket. The boy has a job, but he’s not making enough money to pay for the things he now has. And he puts every dime he legitimately earns into the family kitty to pay the bills.

He’s scum. My hands fly wildly as I talk, drawing the attention of several people around us.

I know, Matt replies. We’ll take care of it, but we don’t need to do it here. He looks me in the eye. You know he’s packing.

One more reason to keep him out of here.

Matt shakes his head. Not tonight.

Dammit. Ford moves to the side and admits Bone when the owner of the club walks over to force the issue. He glares at Ford.

Ford’s a good friend, and he knows how I feel about Bone. All things considered, I don’t want to put Ford into Bone’s line of fire, either, so I’m glad he let him through just for that reason.

Bone smiles at me, looking directly into my eyes as my gaze follows him across the room. Then he slides into a booth and breaks eye contact.

A fight begins at the front of the bar. I clap my hands together to get Matt’s attention. He’s not working tonight. He’s not strong enough for bouncing yet, but he’s here as a wingman of sorts.

I see it, he signs. The big one is drunk.

The big ones always fall the hardest.

And they’re a bitch to pick up off the floor.

Matt laughs. I’m so fucking glad he’s getting back to normal.

I’ll take the little one if you’ll take the big one. He cracks his knuckles and grins at me.

You’re such a pussy, I sign. And you can’t even claim chemo did it to you because you were a pussy before you got sick. I grin at him.

He shrugs his shoulders and smiles unabashedly back at me. It makes me so happy to see him like this. I watched him deteriorate last fall to the point where we thought he wouldn’t pull through. He still might not, but we have hope.

At least I can get some pussy if I try. He looks down at the crotch of my jeans. Your dick, however, is going to rot off from lack of use.

I can’t help it if I’m a one-woman man.

He claps a hand on my shoulder and squeezes. When do you think she’ll be back? I need to thank her.

She wouldn’t want any thanks. I shrug my shoulders. I wish I knew.

Matt points toward the fight, which is about to escalate into a full-out brawl. The little guy is dumb enough to shove the big guy. He falls into a woman behind him, and then her boyfriend starts swinging.

Now, Matt says.

Now. I fucking love this part of the job. It takes four of us. Matt, Ford, another bouncer, and I all jump into the fray and quickly have it under control. But the big man is on the floor with his eyes closed. He has a smile on his face. He’s murmuring something, but I can’t read his lips.

I think he’s singing? Matt says, his eyebrows arching in question. Girl you make my speakers go boom boom?

I laugh. People look over as noise bursts from my throat, but I don’t care. Laughter feels good. Emily taught me that. Help me get him up.

Matt takes one arm while I take the other, and we hoist him onto his wobbly legs. His girlfriend, who is pretty unsteady herself, says, “We need a cab.”

Matt and I haul him out to the cabstand and throw him into a taxi. The girlfriend gets in behind him. I feel bad for the cab driver who will have to throw his big ass out on the sidewalk.

I dust my hands off. At least it’s done.

Snow is falling on us, and I brush my hand across my hair. Suddenly, Matt tenses beside me. What? I ask.

He smiles, claps me on the shoulder and says, Take the rest of the night off. Then he points behind me.

I turn around and freeze. My lungs refuse to do their job, and I stand there, not breathing, not moving, trying not to feel anything. But there she is. Emily is standing on the sidewalk looking at me.

She shifts from foot to foot, looking nervous as hell. Snow is falling on her hair, and she’s not wearing a coat. Surely she can afford a coat. Her family is worth billions. Her dark-blond hair, so unlike the black hair with the blue stripe she had when I met her, falls down to the middle of her back, and she has it tucked behind her ear. She’s not wearing clothes from around here. She’s full-on Madison Avenue right now.

But the best thing about it is… she’s mine.

Matt says something to her, but she doesn’t speak to him. She doesn’t break eye contact with me, and I feel like there’s an invisible tether between the two of us.

I look at Matt to tell him I’m going wherever she goes. He grins. I guess we won’t have to worry about your dick dying from lack of use after all.