The Man I Want to Be (Under Covers)(10)

By: Christina Elle


But she hadn’t moved on. Not if her anger level was any indication. It boggled his mind that she’d held on to it for so long.

And it raised his temperature. Her ire had always been his downfall. That woman had a temper like a great white on steroids, and the ferocity she used to unleash between the sheets had been something he’d never found since.

She was one of kind and had fit him to a T.

Too bad he didn’t fit her.

With his cock stirring in his shorts, he bit back a groan and glanced down at the perspiring bottle in his hand. He was definitely going to need something stronger.

Tyke spun to the bar, flagging down the bartender as his two friends continued to debate whether Kenna would come to the scheduled dinner. It was better if she didn’t. Then they wouldn’t have to keep up pretenses or make the effort to avoid each other. Plus, Tyke didn’t have to worry about staring at her all night, watching the way her hips swayed and her ass clenched as she tried to get as far away from him as possible.

Shots. He definitely needed shots.

The bartender came over and glanced down at Tyke’s beer. “Another, sir?”

He shook his head. “Stronger. Give me something stronger.”

A look of understanding passed between them. “Yes, sir.” He reached behind the bar, pulling out a bottle Tyke recognized all too well. It was the same liquor he’d drank during the time in his life he shall not mention again. Tyke knew firsthand how effective it was at dulling all manner of pain.

An arm slapped across his shoulders. “Hitting the good stuff already, I see.” Luke’s grinning face dropped into his view. “Damn, this chick has you all screwed in the head.”

Tyke tried to shrug him off, but Luke was unperturbed. “Don’t you have a fiancée to please?”

“Every single night,” Calder said. “Sometimes twice.”

Tyke gave him a sidelong look. “That wasn’t an opening for you to wave your tiny dick around. It was a hint for you to leave me the hell alone.”

“Oh, come on, Big Bear,” Ash said on his other side. “What’s the fun in that?”

Tyke twisted to look over his shoulder, anticipating Reese’s attack any second. But the guy was already on the other side of the sand, chatting it up with the blonde. At least somebody was going to have fun this week.

By the time Tyke came back around, the bartender had poured his shot. He’d also poured one for Ash and one for Luke.

The pinheads lifted their short glasses in the air, waiting.

“A toast? Really?” Tyke asked, but reached for his glass. “What exactly are we celebrating? You two idiots going home in chains?”

Neither man took the bait. Both smiled in a secret way that made Tyke’s stomach churn. “Let’s get this over with.”

Once Tyke lifted his glass to match the height of theirs, Ash spoke, “May all of our ups and downs be under the covers.”

“Nice,” Luke said, grinning. “How about: may the girls with itty bitties, let you pet their kitties.”

Tyke snorted.

“What?” Luke asked.

“So fucking stupid,” Tyke said. “That’s the same broke-ass toast you’ve been using since the dawn of time.”

A line formed between Luke’s eyes. “It’s funny.”

“Maybe the first time you used it. It’s lost its juice after the millionth time.”

“Think you can do better?” Luke said. “Let’s hear it.”

“All right, fine. Uh…” Tyke thought for a second. “To the brave overseas. To the girls on their knees. May neither give up, ’til the job is complete.”

“Here, here!” Ash and Luke said.

They were about to drink, but Ash stopped them. “I’ve got one more.” He passed a meaningful look to Luke, then Bryan.

Shit. The touchy-feely stuff. Marriage was making pussies out of his best friends.

“From here on out,” Ash started, “may the worst of our past never impact the best of our future.”

Tyke swallowed whatever had suddenly lodged in his throat. He gave these guys a lot of crap, but he loved them like brothers and would always have their backs.

“Salud.”

They slammed their glasses onto the bar and then lifted them to their mouths to down the liquid in one take. It burned like a bitch, but it was also soothing in a way that only alcohol could be. It eased Tyke’s tension and took the edge off…finally.

“Excuse me,” a voice said through a microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen.”

Casual chatter of those sitting at tables quieted.

Sam and Cass stood on a small stage in matching white dresses, bright pink flowers in their hair, with mics in hand.

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