Bad Wolf(3)

By: Jo Raven


Anyway, math doesn’t matter. I’m fine. If Syd decided to disappear, then I’ll just hop into a cab and go home to my bed.

Or maybe stay and dance a little first.

My little pep talk makes me feel a bit better. Taking a deep breath, I move toward the back of the club. Who needs Sydney to have fun? I can party on my own. Plenty of guys around I can talk to. Never been shy, that’s for sure.

Although, damn, I’d counted on her to get us drinks. Sydney’s twenty, and I’m turning twenty in a few months, so that’s not good, but one of her boys is twenty-one already, which comes in useful.

Syd’s been turning into such a party-pooper lately, anyway. Not that she vanished like this before, or we’d have had words already, but she hasn’t been her chipper self.

Trouble in foursome paradise? Who knows?

Not me, that’s for sure, since she hasn’t breathed another word about her three buddies in a while.

More annoyed than ever, I decide that’s it. I’m done. Let Sydney come find me. What’s up with acting all weird and stuff, huh? It’s our Saturday night out, and I’m in no mood to go back home and stare at the ceiling over my bed.

Turning, I lean against the bar and nod at the bartender. “A rum and coke, please.”

Dressed in my little black dress, my hair swept back, red lipstick and so much mascara on my lashes I can hardly lift them, I look older than I actually am, and I’m counting on it.

Still, the guy hesitates. He’s dressed in black pants and a T-shirt, his muscular arms inked. “ID?”

“Left it at home,” I say quickly, and flash him a smile. “Come on, I’m old enough. Can’t you tell?”

He struggles with it, but his gaze drops to my boobs quickly, before lifting back to my face. In the dim light, I think I see a flush spread over his cheeks. “Yeah. Okay.”

Smirking, I glance to the side and catch a guy watching me. There’s something familiar about him, but I can’t put my finger on it. He’s dark-haired, lanky, leaning back on his stool in a lazy sprawl.

I avert my gaze, a shiver running down my spine.

The bartender asks for my ticket, then places my cocktail in front of me. I take a sip and swirl the ice cubes in the glass, the faint clinking sound soothing despite the heavy bass vibrating through the club.

It’s hypnotic. My body is shaking with it, trying to move to the rhythm. A kaleidoscope of colors swirls over the bar, creating mini explosions on the bottles lined up on the shelves.

“Hey.” The bartender appears again, sliding a shot glass in front of me. “From the guy over there.”

I turn to look and swallow hard. The same dark-haired man from before nods at me and lifts his own shot glass.

It’s whiskey, and it burns going down. A buzz starts in my head. I lick my lips, savoring the smoky flavor.

He’s not bad looking, I decide, giving the guy another quick look. Not sure I’d want to start anything with him, but he’s not all that hard on the eyes.

So when he gets up and comes over to me, I smile.

“Wanna dance?” he shouts over the music, and I shrug. I still have my cocktail, but what the hell, right? I’m here to have fun.

This is what fun looks like.

Taking a long gulp of my drink, I put it down and get up, letting him drag me to the dance floor.

We move among the hot, sweaty bodies, the music pounding through me, and I grin, letting my body sway to the beat. A couple of cute guys glance at me, and I wink.

Let’s party, baby.

But, belatedly, I realize the guy is still going, parting the crowd and emerging on the other side, at the dark far end of the club where booths and lone tables are taken up by kissing couples.

Um. “What are you doing?” He doesn’t reply, and I doubt I’d hear him over the music even if he did. In fact, I doubt he heard me, so I try again. “Stop.” I tug on his hold, trying to free my hand. “I said, stop.”

Still no reply. He’s moving fast, and I stumble after him. When he drags me toward an empty booth, I start to panic.

I dig in my heels and pull harder on his hand. “Let me go, let go right now!”

He yanks on my hand and slams me into the wall, suddenly looming over me. He’s really tall, and his eyes are hard, shiny and empty.

“Don’t I know you?” he asks, and maybe he does, who knows from where, but that’s not what’s on my mind right now.

“I said, let go,” I hiss, shoving at his chest with my free hand, the other one held between us in his bruising grip. “Jesus, what’s wrong with you? Leave me alone!”

He’s still looking at me, with that empty expression, though his dark brows have drawn together in a frown, as if he’s trying to puzzle this out. Where he knows me from—or why I’m resisting him?

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