My eyes grow heavy. I place my forearm over them and breathe deep.

Lights out.

Something soft but firm touches my chest. It’s a gentle touch but I feel it.

I act as though I’m still asleep, making sure to breathe deep and even. A fingertip trails my scars and my face heats in anger.

I don’t like people touching my scars.

The scent of vanilla and cinnamon fills my nose and I breathe deeply. Without moving a muscle, I ask quietly, “How’d you get in here, pretty girl.”

Nat’s finger stills on my chest. She removes it and answers just as quietly, “You’re not the only one with skills, buddy.”

Lifting my arm off my face, I glance up at her.

I’m not religious at all. I don’t believe in God. But looking at Nat right now…I’d like to think this is what angels look like if they existed.

Dressed in her cute pajamas with her bright red hair in a ball at the top of her head, her face remains plastered to my chest. I know I’m naked but there’s no damn way I could get an erection now. Not with her looking at me like I’m some poor wounded animal. I expect her to ask about the scars marring me, but she surprises me by looking at my face and whisper yelling, “You sleep naked?”

I chuckle in surprise. Out of all the things to ask me, that wasn’t on my possible questions list. Still chuckling, I tell her, “No. I normally don’t.” Smiling, I close my eyes again.


Nat whispers a husky, “Lucky me.” She runs her fingertip from the middle of my chest slowly down to my stomach.

I realize she’s just being kind but my body obviously doesn’t know that. I actually sit up and gape at my cock when it twitches.

What the fuck? No way.

My cock stirs and I glance at Nat who looks at it with a sly smile, “Well, hello sailor. Good morning to you too.”

Just as I think of a witty comment about her sucking me into a great morning, I remember she’s sitting on my bed. I ask again, “How’d you get in here?”

Nat’s body stiffens. Playing with her earring, she avoids my gaze and mumbles unconvincingly, “Through the patio. I got skills too.”

I raise a brow at her. She can’t lie for shit. She glances up at me and says, “Nik gave me a spare key.”

I raise my brow further. Lying again. Tut tut. She should know that liars get spanked. She peeks back up at me and sighs. She rolls her eyes and gives in, “Okay, okay. I asked Tina to swipe Nik’s keys so I could make a copy of yours.”

I can’t conceal my amusement. I lean back and chuckle.

This girl is something else. My kind of girl.

I open my mouth to speak when I hear my front door open. The sounds of two girls in the middle of a conversation hit us. I narrow my eyes in disbelief and hiss to Nat, “You didn’t lock the front door?”

She looks up at me apologetically and shrugs. Her eyes widen as the footsteps come closer. She runs to the edge of my bed and pulls the covers over me right up to my neck protecting my shameful secret, then she sits on the edge of the bed.

Nina and Helena appear in the doorway. It’s dark in my room but not pitch black. Helena whisper yells, “Ewww, Nat. Watching someone sleep is creepy!”

Nina says quietly, “Yeah, Nat. That’s fucked up.”

Nat opens her mouth to speak but I cut her off. “I’m awake.”

“Oh, well, I guess that’s okay then,” Nina replies in a regular volume.

Okay, now I’m not the smartest guy, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t mean that as an invitation to come sit on my bed with me and have a chat.

Nina sits against the headboard, sitting up. Her ass is literally two inches from my face, and just as I turn to get away from it, Helena sits on the other side of me.

I’m flanked by ass.

Nat doesn’t even notice. All three pajama-clad girls start a conversation about breakfast which somehow transforms into a conversation about the benefits of using placenta in your hair before it switches to all of the girls checking their toenails and announcing they all need pedicures.

And here I am, naked under my covers with no means of escape. All I can do is close my eyes and listen to the ridiculous conversation that’s happening on my bed. At least I can listen to Nat’s soothing voice. I breathe deeply and let it flow over me like gentle waves.

I’ll never admit it, but I’m pretty fucking relaxed right now.

That is until I hear the front door open a second time. I hear a woman say, “That’s weird. It wasn’t locked. He’s normally gone by now.”

What the fuck now?

I open my eyes and look around to the other girls who all wear the same confused expression as I do. I yell out, “Tina?”

In the hall, Tina whisper hisses, “Retreat! Retreat!” The sounds of heels clip clopping follows before…

Stumble Crash Bang

Mimi laughs her ass off and says, “We have a man down! I repeat. We are a man down!”

Lola laughs hard and yells out, “We’re so bad at this! Best mission ever!”

The sounds of giggles and heels approach my room. I put an arm under my head to elevate it. I want to see what these goofballs are doing. Tina’s first through the door and looks sheepish while rubbing her elbow. That is until she sees Nat, Helena and Nina all sitting on my bed. Then she yells out, “Pajama party!” And literally throws herself onto my bed, hurt elbow forgotten. She belly flops onto my stomach. My body jolts upwards, the wind is knocked out of me and I groan. Tina looks up at me with wide eyes. She rushes out, “Ash, honey! I’m so sorry!” Then she rubs what she thinks is my stomach. Only it’s my cock.

Removing her hands from me, I tell her, “Tina, I don’t think Nik would like you in my bed rubbing my junk.”

She squeaks then stutters, “No freakin’ way! That was your-? But I thought it was- crud!”

Nina, Helena and Nat fall down laughing on my bed. I look over to the doorway where Mimi and Lola’s bodies shake in silent laughter. I seriously can’t help it. I burst into laughter over how ridiculous this situation is. I’m laughing harder than I’ve ever laughed in my life.

These girls. They’ll be the death of me.

Mimi and Lola come over to my bed and find a spot to sit. As soon as their asses hit bed, the girls all talk, loud and animated. It’s like watching a coop full of chickens clucking.

Just as I think there could be no better place to be than in bed with six women, I realize there should be zero women in my bed. I know how Nat, Helena and Nina got in. How the fuck did Tina, Mimi and Lola get in?

Still lying on my back, I look up at Tina. “How the hell did you get in here, Tina?”

Tina’s smile drops. Her body stiffens and she looks panicked. She looks up through bunched brows as if thinking hard and says, “Well, you see. The thing is…” And I already now she’s full of shit. I cut her off with, “Tina. How the fuck did you get into my place?”

Tina hates what she calls my potty mouth. She narrows her eyes at me and she pokes my chest. “There’s no need for that kind of language, Ghost. I just brought you something is all. Just a gift.”

Lola chimes in, “I think you’ll love it.”

Mimi nods in agreement, “Yeah. I’m a hardass but I really like it.”

Tina’s sweet face smiles down at me and she says softly, “It’s on the kitchen counter. Just open it when you have a chance. No rush.”

The girls start talking once again. Laughter echoes throughout my apartment. I put both arms behind my head and smile up at the ceiling.

There seriously are worse places I could be right now.

Tina breaks me out of my thoughts by whispering in my ear, so low that no one could possible hear but me. “Happy Birthday, Ash.” She kisses my forehead and I close my eyes. I’m at peace right now.

Birthday or not, I’m gonna make today a good one.

Saturday night approaches quickly enough. Tonight is my first night out since the Cole incident. I’m heading over to The White Rabbit with Mimi and Lola. I tried so hard to get my sisters to stay at least til Sunday morning just so they could experience a night at the club. The White Rabbit is seriously my most favorite place to be. Apart from my sofa, of course.

Unfortunately, even though they tried to move things around for me, I knew they’d already used up a lot of their vacation time. And with a heavy heart, I said goodbye to my sisters yesterday morning and sobbed like a freakin’ baby as soon as they were gone.

I’m not ashamed of that. My heart hurt watching them go.

The cab driver asks, “Where to?”

Giddy as all get out, we cheer together, “The White Rabbit!”

Mimi takes hold of my hand. “How you doing over there?”

I smile a small smile. “Okay. Just feel a bit weird.”

Lola rubs my knee softly and says reassuringly, “Well, sure. That’s to be expected. You’ll see, as soon as we get in there, it’ll be like nothing ever happened.”

I smile up at her.

I really hope so.

The cab pulls up to the club and I’m suddenly nervous.

What if he’s here? Can people see the damage on me? I should’ve stayed home.

The door to the cab opens and Mimi exits. Closing my eyes, I take a breath to steady myself and exit second. A hand takes mine and I look up into the smiling face of B-Rock, the huge bald African American club security guy who I happen to adore. His face softens in a way that I know he knows. Well, of course he knows. Max said Cole was banned from the club, therefore he’d have to tell B-Rock why. He pulls me aside and helps Lola out of the cab before wrapping his arm around my shoulder. I look up at him and we silently communicate.

He nods his head to me. Are you okay?

I smile up into his face and nod once. Yeah, I’m good. Then I kiss his cheek. Thanks, B-Rock.

He pulls back the red velvet rope to let us through. I take both of the girls’ hands and we walk down the hall to the large double doors. I stop. Mimi and Lola don’t push me to move. I exhale and push the doors open.

Here goes nothing.

As soon as the doors part, the sound of some new popular song hits me with a force so strong that my heart skips a beat. Warmth fills me. What the heck was I thinking? I’m not scared to be here. The music flows through me. I smile. This is it.

I’m back baby! Hell yeah!

I’m totally in my element. This is my place! I’m not letting Cole take that from me. I look to see Mimi and Lola smiling hard. I take their hands and practically run through the club to the stairs that lead to the VIP area. I hear them laugh and it just makes me giddier. I’m so excited to be here!

We approach the VIP entrance and African American Alice is there. Her name is actually Shawna but we call her Triple A. She sees us and gives us a huge smile. “Hey girls! Your booth’s ready, head on up.” I watch as Mimi walks over to smiling Triple A, hugs her and places a small kiss on her lips. Meems and Shawna have been doing the dirty for a while now. When I asked Mimi about it, she said it was nothing serious, but I know she cares about her. I’ll admit it was a little weird seeing my friend be like that with a woman, but as long as Meems is happy, I’m happy too.

We walk up the stairs and I look over to our regular ten-seater booth. Tina and Nik are already seated all wrapped up each other, and for once, it doesn’t make me want to puke. Instead, I find myself wondering when I’ll find my own Nik. I sure as hell won’t be finding him here at the club. Maybe I should go somewhere like a park or library. The thought of bachelor hunting in a library actually makes me scrunch my face in disgust and visibly shudder. Thinking about this is depressing. I sigh and make my way over to the booth.

I’ll get mine. One day.

Chapter Twelve

Conference Room, round two

I’m a teeny bit drunk, a little giddy and every time the bass of the music booms, I can see it. Actual colors appear in front of me. Swirls of pink, yellow and purple dance in front of my eyes.

Okay, so maybe I’m more than a little drunk, but truth be told, I think I’m more high on life tonight.

Nik arranged for the guys to have the night off and we all sit at our classy black leather booth, drinking cherry bombs, talking and laughing. All but one of us, that is. Suddenly annoyed at myself, I know it shouldn’t bother me but I can’t help but wonder why Ghost isn’t here. I turn to Max and ask, “Where’s Casper?”

Max looks a little stunned before his mouth spreads into a knowing grin. I flip him the bird and ask Nik, “Where’s Ghost?”

“He’s out on the floor.” Nik points downstairs before waving his hand in dismissal. “Some safety thing. The guy never quits.”

My mind made up, I stand. “I’m going to find him and bring him up.” Everyone stares up at me wearing stunned expressions. All of them, that is, except for Tina who sweetly smiles up at me and nods her approval.

I flick my hair, roll my eyes at them all and yell out, “Laters.”

Halfway down the stairs, I spot him, sexy as always in a tight black tee and black jeans, his hair styled with the wax my sister gave him. I see his silver belt buckle sparkle from where I am. My smile falters when I realize he’s at the bar talking to a very pretty brunette. I think about turning back, but somewhere deep in my gut annoyance builds, and before I can reason with myself, I stomp across the room and over to him.

Once I’m behind him, I tap his shoulder and say loudly, “Hey Ash, I got some of your mail today.” Ms. Pretty Brunette narrows her eyes at me. I look up at Ghost and put on my best sheepish expression, “Only I didn’t know it was yours until after I opened it. Turns out you’ve got the clap!” Pretty lady looks up at Ghost in disgust. Scrunching my brow and looking up in thought, I utter, “You better get that treated ASAP. I think you can go blind from that shit!” Pretty brunette starts to walk away and I mutter, “Yeah. Buhbye.”

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