Hot damn. She’s fucking here. At my club. It’s almost like I willed her here, for shit’s sake.
A pair of sexy stilettos are clasped to her feet, and her crossed legs look a mile long beneath the sexy green dress that hugs the curves of her body. Her hair hangs across her shoulders, and her blood-red painted lips curve up and into a smile.
But it’s not at me. It’s at some dude in a pair of jeans and a collared shirt sitting beside her on the couch.
What the fuck? Is she here with that guy?
I shake my head. It wouldn’t be the first time one of my hookups tried to play petty bullshit games of jealousy in the interest of gaining more of my attention, but Sophie really hasn’t seemed like the type.
Picking my way through the fringe of people standing in front of her platformed section, I move in her direction carefully, hoping to get a better idea of what’s really going on before I jump to conclusions. As I get closer and the music threads lower between songs, I overhear him ask, “C’mon, honey, let me at least buy you a drink.”
Sophie offers a conciliatory smile but also shakes her head at the dude who looks like he just left a fucking frat party. I’m honestly surprised the bouncers even let him in here. I mean, he just oozes douchebag.
On what planet does this guy even think he stands a chance with a woman like Sophie? The situation is the epitome of him trying to play out of his league.
“What about a dance, honey?” he pesters as I climb up the steps in front of them, ready to intervene on her behalf, but Sophie responds before I can open my mouth.
“I would love to, but my parole officer gave me explicit instructions that the judge said I can’t do that.”
The dude’s face scrunches up like he just ate a piece of bad fish. “Parole officer?”
“Yeah. Truthfully, my court order even says that I’m not supposed to be here since it’s within four miles of the guy’s apartment.” Sophie’s smile turns conspiratorial as she leans in a little closer to add, “But you won’t tell on me, right? I just finished up a three-year stint at Bedford Hills, and there is no way I want to go back there. I’m sure you can understand why.”
Bedford Hills is a women’s-only correctional facility that most New Yorkers know about because it’s where Amy Fisher did her time after she shot Joey Buttafuoco’s wife.
Basically, there is no fucking way Sophie Sage spent three years there. But the fact that she’s pretending to be a secret, undercover felon in the name of making this guy leave her alone amuses the hell out of me. I’m going to have to thank Ki-Ki for the smooth, understated vibe of this song she’s playing now, because normally, there’s no way I would’ve been able to make out what they were saying at all.
“Uh…Y-yeah. Of course…” The dude pauses and swallows hard around a mouthful of shock as his eyes dart around the nightclub. In mere seconds, his face has morphed from douchey and flirtatious to a man who fears the woman beside him is going to pull a shiv out of her purse and stab him in the dick.
“Oh shit!” he shouts far too loudly and holds his hand up to his ear like he’s actually hearing something from the other side of the club. “I-I think my buddy is yelling for me. Yep. That’s him. Definitely him. I…uh…better go see if…he’s okay…yeah…I should do that…uh…bye.”
Like a sprinter out of the gate after the gunshot, he’s off the couch, gliding past me with a whoosh, and heading straight for the dance floor. I track his momentum over my shoulder to steal a final glance of his warp-speed departure, and man, it’s worth it. Like a pinball in an active machine, he bumps into several people as he tries to put as much distance between himself and Sophie and her prison stories as quickly as humanly possible.
It’s comedy in its purest form and a situation I could spend a good ten minutes laughing about—if it weren’t for the woman on the couch. When I turn back toward her, she’s staring at me with wide, tumultuous emerald eyes.
I grin down at her and scoot past the low-set table between us to settle a small kiss on the apple of her cheek. Her whole body shivers as I put my warm palm to the opposite side of her throat and whisper softly into her ear. “Hello, Sophie. Fancy seeing you here tonight.”
“Uh…hey, Jude,” she greets quietly, her voice shaking slightly with something I can’t fully discern.
Satisfaction? Surprise? Nervousness?
I don’t know. But I’m undeniably glad to see her and get the chance to find out. Taking a seat next to her, I skim my hand over the top of her bare knee and cross my ankle over my own, stretching an arm across the back of the sofa behind her. Her body turns toward mine subtly, and my grin kicks up a notch or two.
“Parole officer? Court order? And a three-year stint in the slammer?” I repeat her earlier words, and a little laugh jumps from her throat.
“I take it I’ve been caught red-handed in the middle of my web of lies, huh?”
I nod. “Where in the hell did you come up with that shit?”
“Truthfully? I’m not quite sure.” She shrugs one bare shoulder. “Lifetime movie. Dateline. Too many Netflix crime documentaries. Any of those could be to blame for my depravity.”
“Why do I get the feeling that’s not the first time you’ve done something like that to scare off a man’s unwanted advances?”
“Probably because it’s not the first time.” She cringes, but also, the hint of a guilty smile kisses her perfect mouth.
It’s so fucking cute I wish I could snap a picture to remember the adorable expression on her pretty face. Not to mention, the realization that she’s not giving me even remotely the hard time she did Brad Phi Kappa spurs a thrill of satisfaction in my veins.
Something tells me Sophie Sage enjoys my kind of fun. And more than that, I think that’s why she’s here right now…
“Are you by yourself tonight?”
She nods, and her eyes flash like a traffic camera after she’s just run a red light. They tell a story, one made up of highs and lows and a conclusion that ends at this club with me, serving her willingness on a platter much larger than a simple text to my number. I’ve never been more certain of one thing—she is here for me.
And now the fun can begin. Game on.
I smirk, stand up, and reach down to take her hands into mine. Once I gently pull her off the velvet couch and to her feet, I wrap my arm around her waist and bring her closer to my chest so I can whisper, “You’re here,” into her ear.
“I am.” She nods again, and the shell of her ear brushes across my lips.
“You look beautiful,” I tell her truthfully and reach up to tuck a piece of her silky brown hair behind her ear. “That dress of yours is reason enough for you to actually have a parole officer, or hell, maybe for me to have one.”
“What do you mean?” she asks.
“I’m liable to get into fifteen brawls on the dance floor tonight, Soph, and that’s just with the men who are brave enough to touch you. I can’t even consider the ones who are bound to be looking at you in this thing.”
Even to myself, I sound oddly territorial. I reason internally, though, that no boy likes to share the newest of his toys, and boys never really grow up. I want to kiss and dance and fuck. I don’t need any other men coming over with their bullshit one-liners and distracting her. Right now, I want all of her attention.
Her cheeks redden a little at my words, and my nose doesn’t miss the fact that she smells insanely good. The soft hints of vanilla and sweet sugar and something else I can’t determine fill my head and damn near make me high.
I have to get confirmation of her intentions quickly, before I get completely lost in her. “Are you here for me?” I ask bluntly, and Sophie leans back to search my eyes.
“Well…it’s either that or I’m having a temporary moment of insanity.” She scoff-laughs. “Hell, maybe it’s both.”
“Temporary insanity isn’t always a bad thing.” I smile and let my gaze flit from her gorgeous eyes to her full, red-painted lips before locking my eyes with hers again. “In this case, I think it means you’ve given yourself permission to have fun.”
“Yeah. I think that’s what it means, too.”
Instantly, a buzz of excitement blasts into my veins and sets my blood to singing. If Sophie Sage is here for fun, I’m going to make sure I give it to her. And with the club running as smoothly as it is, I have the freedom and time to make it happen
Oh yeah. Tonight is going to be a good fucking night.