“You’re shitting me.”
I laugh. “No, it’s true. My name is Candy Kane, but Kane is with a ‘K’ instead of a ‘C’.”
He looks me up and down, whistling. “Damn. I knew coming out on a Wednesday was a good idea.”
The bartender brings our drinks. I take a sip and watch out of the corner of my eye as the guy moves a little closer. To be honest, this is the part I hate about the dating scene. It’s nothing but a game – one I didn’t feel like playing until this man asked to buy me a drink. And who says no to free liquor? Not me. Especially during the holidays, when I’m reminded of the time of year my life fell apart.
He rubs the small of my back, almost slipping his hand inside my pants. “What do you do for a living, Ms. Kane?”
He won’t believe me if I tell him the truth. No one does. So I improvise.
“I’m in sales.”
“Really? So am I. Small world.”
I imagine we’re selling very different things.
He’s so close that his hot breath meets my skin. “So, I have to ask – are you as sweet as a candy cane?”
Like I haven’t heard that one before. I resist rolling my eyes and silently curse my parents for giving me this name.
I lean in and reply, “Better. But I’ve got to get going. Thanks for the drink.”
I toss the rest down and slip off the barstool.
He stares at me before yelling, “Bitch!”
I wave as I walk toward the front door. The bouncer gives me a wink as I leave.
“See ya next week, Candy?”
“Not if I can help it.”
Thankfully there’s a cab waiting and I get in, rattling off my address. When the car is in motion I glance at my watch. My shift starts in an hour so I’ll have time for a glass of wine. I debate texting my best friend, Vixen, but she’s already working and I don’t want to ruin her juju.
Instead, I put in my earbuds. Time to get in the mood.
* * *
“Nick, you know I say this because you’re my friend. You’ve got to get out of this funk.”
I stare at my glass of whiskey. How many was this? Five? Six? I’d lost count at some point during the evening.
Jack’s voice is grating on my nerves, but he won’t shut up until I acknowledge him.
I glance up. “As I’ve said before, it’s none of your business.”
Jack shakes his head. “You’re wrong, my friend. It is my business.”
He’s right, damn him. My whole breakdown is affecting a lot of people, but I deserve time to grieve, damn it! We were together for so fucking long and she just walked away.
Jack’s face softens and his blue eyes are sympathetic. “We all know how tough it’s been on you since she left…”
There is a ‘but’ coming.
Shit. There it is.
“You have a job to do, and time is running out.”
“What am I supposed to do? I can’t just forget about her.”
The look on his face changes to something that can only be described as mischievous.
“I have an idea. It’s nothing dramatic, but might be enough to get you out of this funk.”
“What is it?”
He takes my phone and messes with it before sliding it my way. “I downloaded an app. Check it out when you’re alone.”
Bells go off in my head.
“Jack…” I warn.
He grins. “Sometimes you’ve got to liven things up, my friend.”
With a slap on the back he leaves me to stare at my phone. What is he up to? And do I really want to know?