Offensive Behavior (Sidelined #1)(7)

By: Ainslie Paton


“Ah Lux, babe, I just want to spend some quality time with you. Fuck you nice and hard. Know you’d like that, a flexy little cock-tease like you. It won’t take long.”

He said that last part as if it was a recommendation for his services. Unwanted sex done fast. Rape in three minutes flat, or your money back.

She looked him in the eyes. He scared her, but she refused to be afraid. “You need to step aside and let me through.”

“That’s not what you need.” He put both hands to his dick and thrust. “I’ve got what you need.”

She flicked her chin up. “You’ve got a hot bath and a plate of mac and cheese in your pants. Color me impressed.”

He blinked, a frown crumpling his forehead. The guy was truly confused about things not going his way.

“You don’t know anything about me.” She gestured back to the entrance. “What you saw in there is dancing. It’s not an invitation to have sex. Please step aside.”

A robust shake of his head. “Not happening till I get what I want.”

What he got was less what he wanted than a fuckwit like him deserved.

She stepped into him and brought her knee up hard on a fast hop, connecting with his undercarriage. Surprise forced his mouth into the shape of an Edvard Munch scream, and he folded forward and fell on his side, his breath forced out in a long stuttering wheeze.

She stepped around his bulky form, watching that he didn’t try to grab her ankles, and when she looked up, there he was, Mr. Brooding Back Booth. He stood at the end of the alley, one hand braced on the brick wall.

“Are you okay?” he said.

For a guy who could barely stay upright he had a commanding tone. She didn’t realize how tall he was; he was always seated in that booth. “I’m fine.”

“He didn’t hurt you?”

“I got in first.”

“That’s what I saw, you bringing him down. You shouldn’t be here.”

Fantastic. It must be two for one maniac night. “Oh, so it’s my fault, I get accosted, propositioned and threatened.”

“What you do isn’t safe.”

“So totally my fault then.”

“Not what I said.”

Behind her maniac one started cursing. And now this guy was going to lecture her. He was too tanked to have come to her aid, not that she’d needed him to, but he still thought it was appropriate to share his holier than thou opinion. He wasn’t a threat, she could probably push him over, but he was a dick all the same.

“What I do isn’t safe from sprains and breaks, but I should be perfectly safe from abuse leaving my job.”

“But you’re not.”

Why was she trying to reason with him? “Go home, you’re drunk.”

“I’d think the same if I was sober.”

She jogged her duffel bag on her shoulder and glared at him. She was so out of here.

“Reid.”

Zarley startled when another man blocked the light source from the street front. Three on one, this was superhero territory and she was only a tired pole dancer who had a paper due and needed a back massage.

This new man threw an arm around Back Booth. “Is he being a dickhead?” His eyes widened when he saw the downed man, he looked from Zarley to booth guy. “Did he? Reid, did you? When I said you needed to loosen up I didn’t mean . . . my God.”

“Your pal, Reid, is a drunk. He couldn’t hit a stationary train with a car if his foot was tied to the pedal.”

Reid pushed his friend away and glared at Zarley. “I didn’t touch anyone.”

The friend ignored Reid and focused on her too. “You’re okay? Do you want the police? We’ll wait with you, in case . . .” he tipped his chin at the hulk in the alley.

That was a point. Did she? No, screw it. She just wanted to go home. “If you’re any kind of real friend you’d get Reid,” she said his name with as much disdain as she could manage, “straightened out.”

“I’m drunk, I’m not unconscious,” Reid said, and it sounded like an order, not a correction.

Zarley rounded on him. She’d had enough of this night. It made having the love of a man like Gerry, who didn’t seem to mind if his wife whored herself out to fund expenses, seem like a prize. “You’re a dickhead.”

Reid turned to his friend. “She called me a dickhead.” He threw his head back and roared with laughter and Zarley made her escape, stepping out of the shadows onto the curb and flagging a passing cab.

She showered in extra-hot water and scrubbed herself all over as if she’d been rolling in filth, and dragged her sorry self to bed where she stayed until it was time to repeat the pattern all over again, this time hopefully without the need for violence and debate.

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