House Rules(9)

By: Rebecca Brooke

He reached over and covered my hand with his. “Let’s not worry about him. Let’s talk about you.”

The way his fingers caressed the top of my hand scrambled my brain. I couldn’t put a sentence together if I tried. I even wanted to blame the sudden heat racing through me on the wine, but deep down I knew that wasn’t true.

“I’m taking classes in nursing. And I work at one of the clothing boutiques in town. The money isn’t great, but it pays for my books and rent.” I sighed. I didn’t want to think about the mess I was now in. Stuck living with Ray. I’d need to find a way to get him out.

Miller watched me with narrowed eyes. “What’s wrong?”

I shook my head. “I was just thinking how I’ll have to find a new roommate. No way am I letting that asshole back into the apartment.”

“I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone. If not call me and I’ll help you.” For a moment he looked shocked that the words had left his lips but to his credit, he didn’t try and take them back.

“I’m sure there is someone in the program who needs a place to live. I’ll stick a notice up on the board on campus tomorrow.”

“You like nursing?”

“I do.” I took another sip of my drink, surprised at the ease with which I was about to share information about myself. Not normally one to run my mouth, I liked to play my cards close to my chest—poker pun unintentional—but the dialogue seemed to fall effortlessly from my lips. “I like the idea of helping people. There’s no better time then when people are at their most vulnerable. If I can do something to make them less afraid, then all the school and time was worth it.”

He smiled. “Noble. It’s not often you meet people in the world whose sole purpose is to improve the lives of others. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you seem much older than your typical college student.”

His hand remained on mine. It made me feel safe, protected; an emotion that seemed silly under the circumstances. That didn’t stop me from continuing to open up to him about my life, or most of it at least. No one, not even Ray, knew exactly why I’d left home after graduation. And no one needed to. “I am. It took me a few years to decide exactly what I wanted to do. Plus, I needed to save up the money to pay for school.”

“Good. I was afraid I’d robbed the cradle.” He laughed, the sound warm and rich, pulling me in even further.

“No cradle robbing here. I’m twenty-five. What about you? You own the club, right?”

He fidgeted in his seat, but kept his gaze on me. “I do. I actually own two different bars. Orbit, the one we were at tonight and a sports bar across town. I also work for my dad at his car dealership.”

I was about to ask more questions when Ashton returned to the table with two plates, wearing a typical chef jacket and pants. He set a plate down in front of each of us.

I couldn’t hide my surprise. “I completely forgot, we never ordered.” I’d been so wrapped up in the easygoing Miller and his willingness to talk to me, I’d forgotten all about it.

“I made you something that isn’t on the menu, but one of my favorites.” Ashton winked at me and I noticed Miller frown at his brother out of the corner of my eye.

The meal looked delicious. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a meal that didn’t require a microwave or came from a chain restaurant. Picking up my fork, I tasted the chicken. My eyes almost rolled into the back of my head at the savory taste that burst across my tongue.

“This is delicious.”

Ashton looked between the two of us and smiled. “Thank you. Enjoy your meal.” He nodded at Miller and left the table.

As I devoured my food in the most ladylike way I was able, I deduced that Ashton was definitely the sweeter of the two brothers. However, after chancing a glance up at Miller and catching him watching me, his eyes flickering, his tongue darting out across his full bottom lip I realized that sometimes sweet wasn’t what a girl needed.



She touched her lips to the glass of wine—her third, I realized—and I couldn’t stop myself from watching their full shape and the smooth column of her throat. I played with my food while I wondered whether her skin tasted as sweet as I imagined. Ashton had made my favorite meal, but even that couldn’t take my mind off the bounty before me.

When he pulled me away from the table earlier, I thought we were going to come to blows. The first words out of his mouth were to accuse me of bringing my pussy for the night to his restaurant. He lost his mind, telling me he didn’t need that shit, and where did I think she was going to come looking when she got pissed at being used.

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