Blurred Lines Page 17

“Seven o’clock,” I repeat, backing away from her. “I’ll bring Ben if you promise not to cop a feel.”

“I promise. But only because tonight is about getting your lady parts juiced up. Not mine.”

“Shhh!” I hiss, looking around.

She glances toward her cube wall. “Chris, are you over there?”

Nobody responds, and Lori gives me a perky smile. “See? He’s at lunch. Nobody around to hear about how lonely your nether regions are.”

“I’m so leaving now. No more talk of my female bits until I’m at least three drinks in.”

“Fine. But wear your good panties!” she calls after me. “Just in case!”

I smile as I walk away. Since tonight is more an opportunity to warm up my flirting skills than it is a full-blown sexcapade, I’m pretty sure nobody’s going to be seeing my panties.

Still. The fact that it’s even an option makes me feel…tingly.

Chapter 6


In theory, spending a random Monday night at a trendy bar with two hot girls is every twenty-something guy’s dream.

But when one of those women is my untouchable best friend, and the other is her equally untouchable work friend, the reality isn’t exactly my best-case scenario.

Especially since they’re also dressed to kill, which means the women I can touch are likely to keep their distance.

Still, no way am I going to let Parker do this weird sex-stalking thing alone. Her wide smile and loud laugh aren’t fooling me for a second. The girl’s two days off a breakup from a relationship that lasted years. She’s fragile.

And she needs tonight. I get that. Needs to rock the tight black dress and high heels and sexy makeup to shake off the sting of rejection. But she’s out of practice with this, and I’m not convinced she’ll be able to weed out the total douchebags.

That’s where I come in.

And if I happen to take a hot girl home in the process…bonus.

“Another drink?” I ask Lori and Parker.

“What about that one?” Parker asks, ignoring my question as she takes a sip of her vodka tonic. “The guy in the blue shirt.”

I follow her line of vision. “That blue shirt is denim. So that’s a no.”

“I second Ben’s assessment,” Lori says. “Denim shirts work on a Texan cowboy, but in Portland it’s just wrong.”

“What, so I can’t even talk with him because you two don’t like his shirt?” Parker asks.

“What about that one?” Lori says, pointing. “Black shirt, six o’clock. Great shoulders.”

Parker and I both turn our heads to look.

“But he’s already with someone,” Parker says.

Lori and I exchange a puzzled glance.

“The redhead he’s talking to?” Parker says, looking at us like we’re dense.

“Oh, they’re not together,” Lori says.

Parker frowns in confusion. “How do you know?”

“Because he came in with his guy friends just a few minutes after we got here,” Lori explains patiently.

“And Redhead was here before we arrived,” I add.

Parker gives us a baffled look. “How do you two know this?”

Lori reaches across and pats Parker’s hand. “This is why you brought us, sweetie.”

“Why, so I can learn how to stalk people? I wanted help with picking up guys, not CIA training.”

“It’s not so different,” I explain.

Parker gives me a look. “Puh-leeze. I’ve seen how often you’ve watched Jason Bourne. Keep your guy-spy fantasy out of this.”

“No, he’s right,” Lori says. “It is a little bit like spying.”

I give a thank you, Lori smile, and she smiles back, holding my eyes. I jerk my gaze away, lest Parker catch on. Lori is ridiculously hot, and in any other situation, I’d absolutely have made a move months ago.

But strangely enough, I sort of get why Parker’s so determined not to let me hit on her friends. In a perfect world, Lori and I could hook up, scratch the itch, and move on. But despite Lori’s sex-kitten vibes, I hear about all the dates she goes on from Parker.

Real dates, not drunken hookups.

I’m not looking for that. At all.

“So, wait,” Parker says, taking another slurp of her drink. “You’re telling me that I should be…casing the joint?”

“Absolutely,” I say, managing to keep a straight face. “Be sure you bring your pistol, too.”

She shoves her glass across the table at me. “Okay, smartass. I reject your sarcasm but accept your drink offer. So does Lori.”

“One vodka tonic, one Jack and diet coming right up,” I say, scooting out of the booth. “Also, Parks? Watch and learn.”

I ignore her puzzled Huh? and make my way to the bar, deliberately positioning myself on the other side of the redhead who’s talking to the guy in the black shirt.

The bartender doesn’t see me, but I don’t rush to catch her eye. I have a lesson to teach.

Black-Shirt Dude is talking Redhead’s ear off about football.

Big mistake, dude.

But his mistake will make my job easier. I’m almost bummed. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good challenge.

I raise my hand to get the attention of the bartender. A futile gesture, because the tatted-up blonde’s back is to me and she’s shaking the heck out of some cocktail, but it accomplishes what I need it to.

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