Pouring a Jack and Coke for Melvin, who was older than Father Time and practically had his own stool at the bar, I grinned as he winked and grabbed the short glass. “That’s love right there.” He spoke over the old rock-and-roll song that was playing, nodding in the direction of Calla and Jax. “The kind that lasts.”

Actually, it was like love threw up in the bar. Even Dennis, who worked with Reece and his brother, was here with his wife. They were all cuddled up together. But Melvin was right, and it made me a little sad, because I’d be pouring myself into bed all by my lonesome tonight.

Oh well.

“Yeah, it is.” Sliding the bottle back on the shelf, I leaned against the bar top. “You want wings or anything?”

“Nah, sticking to the real deal tonight.” He lifted the glass as I raised a brow. “It’s good about those two,” he added after taking a drink. “That girl, you know, she ain’t had the easiest life. Jax will . . . yeah, he’ll take good care of her.”

I was of the mindset that Calla didn’t need Jax to take care of her, that she could do it all by herself, but I got what he was saying in that old-fashioned way of his. One just had to look at her to know that some bad—real bad—things had happened. She had a scar on her left cheek, one she didn’t try to hide so much anymore, and she’d told me what the fire had done to the rest of her body. It had happened when she was a young girl, and she’d ended up losing her whole family. Her brothers had died, and her mom dived off the deep end, while her dad had bounced, unable to deal.

So like I said, it was amazing seeing someone who really deserved love find it.

Melvin tilted his grizzly cheek toward me as I straightened the glasses perched on my nose. “So what about you, Roxy-girl?”

Looking around the half-empty bar, I frowned. “What do you mean what about me?”

He gave me a toothy grin. “When you gonna be out there with your arms around some man?”

I snorted. Couldn’t help myself. “Not anytime soon.”


“Famous last words,” he replied, tipping his glass to his lips.

Shaking my head, I laughed. “Ah, no. Not famous. Just true.”

He frowned as he slid off the stool. “I saw you going into that Italian place with that one boy last week. What’s his name?”

“I like to think I don’t date boys,” I teased. “So I have no clue who you’re talking about.”

Melvin finished off his drink in a way that must’ve made his liver proud. “You date a lot, little lady.”

Shrugging a shoulder, I couldn’t argue with that statement. I did date a lot and actually some of the guys did act like boys, thinking that a cheap dinner at the Olive Garden meant they were getting some action afterward. I mean, geez, it should be a rule somewhere that said filet and lobster had to be on the menu before second base could be achieved.

“Yeah, well, what about the one who looked wet behind the ears? The redhead kid,” he said. “Yeah, he had red hair and some peach fuzz on his face.”

Peach fuzz? Oh geez, I bit down on my lip to stop from laughing, because I knew who he was thinking of and the poor guy seriously couldn’t grow facial hair. “You’re talking about Dean?”

“Whatever,” he said dismissively. “I don’t like him.”

“You don’t know him!” I pushed off the bar, grinning as he rolled his eyes. “Dean’s actually a pretty nice guy, and he’s older than me.”

Melvin grunted. “You need to get with a real man.”

“You volunteering?” I threw back.

That got a deep, throaty laugh out of him. “If I was younger, girl, I’d show you a good time.”

“Whatever,” I laughed, folding my arms across the lettering on my T-shirt, which said HUFFLEPUFF DOES IT BETTER. “You want another drink? Beer, though, because it’s obvious you don’t need any more liquor.”

He snickered in my direction, but quickly got all serious face with me. “You got someone walking you to your car when you get off?”

I thought that was a weird question. “One of the guys always walks me to my car.”

“Good. You need to be careful,” he went on. “I’m sure you heard about the girl over in the Prussia area? She’s around your age, lives alone, and works late. Some guy followed her home, messed her up pretty badly.”

“I think I remember hearing something about that on the news, but I thought it was some guy she knew. An ex-boyfriend or something.”

He shook his head as he took the bottle of beer I offered. “Last I heard, he was cleared. They think it was a stranger. Prussia ain’t far from here, and you remember that girl who disappeared about a month ago. Shelly Winters, I think was her name. She lived over in Abington Township? They still ain’t found her.” He tipped the bottle at me, and I vaguely remembered seeing Missing Persons photos shared on Facebook. If my memory served me right, she was a pretty girl with blue eyes and brown hair. “Just be careful, Roxy.”

Leaning against the bar, I frowned as Melvin ambled off. Now that was kind of a creepy turn in our conversation.

“Wanna make a bet?”

I turned and looked waaay up at Nick Dormas. He took tall, dark, and brooding to a whole new level, and the girls who came in here ate it right up. He had an “I’m gonna break your heart” allure, and yet the girls kept on flocking to him. I was a little surprised he was talking, because he rarely spoke to anyone besides Jax, and I had no idea how he hooked up with so many chicks when he was as quiet as a mime. Nick was a hit-it-and-never-see-your-face-again kind of guy. I once overheard Jax telling him he couldn’t ban chicks he’d banged from the bar just because Nick didn’t want to see them again. “For what?”

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