“If you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable.”
I swirled the sip of rum and Coke in my mouth in an effort to not spit it all over the bar.
Then I swallowed carefully and rotated my head so I could see my friend Seraphina on the next stool over. She was currently holding court over a group of men.
Beautiful, tall, thin, and with a pair of boobs that could knock someone out—quite literally, they had once rendered a man unconscious. Okay, well, the sight of her impressive cleavage had caused the man to do a double take and promptly run into a large and extremely hard brick pillar in this very bar, but the point was still there. Seraphina was goddess gorgeous, and she was my very best friend.
“Get it?” the man who’d elbowed his way to the front of the crowd surrounding Seraphina asked. “Im-peck-able.”
“She gets it,” I muttered. “It’s just so horribly im-peck-able that only an idiot like you would dare use it.”
Seraphina’s lips turned up at my caustic complaint.
“Hush, you,” she murmured before raising her voice to address the man. “Puns. I do have a certain . . . fondness for them.” Her reply started him talking, drowning on about different languages and double meanings. It might have almost been admirable, the sheer quantity of words orally puking all over our ears, if it wasn’t so sad and pathetic.
I took another sip of my drink. A bigger one because . . . bitter much?
“I’m sorry,” Seraphina whispered out of the corner of her mouth. “I don’t know why this always happens.”
“You’re Barbie,” I said, bumping her arm with my shoulder. “It’s not your fault.”
My friend had that elusive je ne sais quoi. Unspoken charisma that drew men to her like flies to honey.
And if I was being honest, sometimes that made it hard to be her friend.
I didn’t mind being in the background; I preferred it, actually. Given too much attention, I froze and inevitably made a fool out of myself.
But drawing a crowd of slavering men every time we went out made it difficult just to have a drink with my best friend, never mind a full meal.
“I’m sorry,” she said again when Bad-Pun was displaced and another man slid forward in an attempt to claim Seraphina’s attention. “I honestly thought the jacket would help.”
I grimaced. “The jacket is what’s doing it, I think.”
A bomber made of black leather, it hit just beneath her breasts and managed to emphasize both the bounciness of that particular portion of her anatomy and the slimness of her waist.
“Next time, drinks at my place and takeout.”
I saluted her with my glass. “Agree completely.”
“Should we go?” she asked, tilting her head toward the door.
“No.” I nodded at the Y-chromosomes dotting the space around her like flowers in a planter bed. “Prince Charming may be here.”
One blond brow rose. “I doubt it.”
“You’re the one looking for a happily ever after.” I nudged her arm with my own again, knowing my friend was a romantic and, despite her beauty, also very lonely. It was hard for her to find someone who saw her as more than the sum of her parts.
And Seraphina was desperate to be more for someone.
“I’m not so sure happily ever after exists,” she said.
“Oh, it definitely exists.” I held her stare, willing her to believe.
Because happily ever after had to exist.
For some people.
Of the goddess variety.
Because if Seraphina couldn’t find it, then what chance in hell did I have?
Not that I was looking, thank you very much.
I was just fine with my laptop and my cozy socks and my books.
“Now get on finding that HEA,” I said, using the code word from our favorite genre of books—romance, of course. Because what the heck was life without fictional eight-packs and alpha males who actually cared about the women they slept with?
Seraphina bit her lip and I narrowed my eyes at her. “I’ll be here to quip nastily about all the bad pickup lines your prince tosses your way.”
She laughed, leaned her head against mine. “You’re the best.”
I smiled, leaned back. “I know.”
Seraphina turned back to her admirers and I pulled out my phone, half reading the latest release from one of our favorite authors, and half listening to my friend charm the socks off everyone around her.
“You’re a good friend.”
The male voice sent a shiver from my head to my toes. It was honey, warm and languid as it slid down my spine and sent my blood pumping.
Which was very, very dangerous.
I sighed. This was always the worst tactic, the most underhanded masculine effort to get my friend’s attention.
Going through the slightly-rumpled, cute-but-definitely-not-gorgeous, exceptionally-clumsy best friend.
It sent my inner sidekick radar on full alert.
Mostly because I’d been hurt this way before.
So “mmm-hmm” was the only thing I said in response.
“Jordan.” A hand appeared directly in front of my face, unfairly positioned between my booze, my book, and my eyes and mouth.
I huffed and finally looked up.
Then promptly felt my lips fall open. Because—holy fucking shit—this guy was gorgeous. Way out of my league, of course. But blond and blue-eyed and hard and tall and ripped. He brought every single Thor fantasy to life—the short-haired, shorn, lightning-bolts-on-the-side-of-his-head version.
Which, face it, was obviously the better variety.
He wore a pair of slacks and a gray button-down that was so sinfully tight around his biceps I half expected it to burst open. I studied those seams for signs of wear. I mean, a girl had to watch out for the rest of humanity, right?
Unfortunately for me, the shirt stayed in place and the signature lightning bolts weren’t present in Jordan’s hair, but his pants were so tight that his hammer—
I shifted on my stool, thighs unconsciously pressing together as blood pooled there.
Which was the exact moment that I remembered he wasn’t there for me.
He radiated that same allure as my best friend. Wasn’t life just perfect sometimes? A gorgeous redhead was perched on the stool behind him, leaning forward in an almost obscene pose in order to compete with Seraphina’s cleavage.
She couldn’t, of course.
But it wasn’t just one woman vying for his attention. No, they were dotted around the room, coquettishly blinking at him, crossing and uncrossing legs, adjusting outfits. Even the bartender—female, brunette, beautiful—had chosen to polish glasses two inches from his right elbow.
He was movie star handsome and he . . . was perfect for Seraphina.
“Abigail,” I eventually made myself reply, putting my hand out to shake his.
It wasn’t disappointment curling around my stomach. It couldn’t be, not when Jordan was so stratospherically far out of my league.
He grinned—nice smile, of course—and shook my hand. I suppressed the zing of pleasure that coursed through me at the contact. Instead, I pulled back and hitched a thumb over my shoulder. “Her name is Seraphina. She likes cosmos and hates cheesy pickup lines, despite her kindness in accepting them.” I decided to throw him a solid because, really, they were absolutely perfect for each other. “Talk to her about how much you love CSI.”
I tucked my phone into my purse, grabbed my drink, and drained it.
“I hate CSI,” he said, brows pulling down.
“If you want a chance with her, you might want to discover a newfound love for it.”
My legs took a long time to reach the ground—short people problems—but luckily they’d made contact with the wooden surface before Jordan spoke again; otherwise, they might have kept on slithering until I was ass-down on the sticky floor.
“I don’t want a chance with her,” he said. “I want a chance with you.”
My eyes flew up, and I couldn’t help my breath from catching. I wanted that, too. A horizontal, writhing chance. Or hell, vertical. Semi-reclined. I’d take any of it.
My body was very aware of exactly how hot he was.
But then I remembered reality.
“I’m the best friend,” I said and lifted my chin, forcing my words to be matter-of-fact. I’d been through this before. “You might be fuckable to the nth degree and perfect for Seraphina, but I refuse to set her up with a liar.”
In a movement too quick for my brain to process, my stool was shoved to the side and I was pinned against the bar, heavy hips pressing into me, a hard chest two inches from my mouth.
Seraphina whipped around at the movement and I could just see her over Jordan’s shoulder, her blue eyes concerned.
“Hi, Seraphina, I’m Jordan,” he said, calm as can be, gaze locked onto my face then my eyes when mine invariably couldn’t stay away. “I’m going to borrow your friend for a minute.”
“Abs?” she asked, and I knew she’d go to bat for me right then and there if I needed her to.
“Weasel or no?” I managed to gasp out. For some reason, I couldn’t catch my breath.
Not that it had anything to do with Jordan.
No, it had everything to do with him.
“Weasel?” he asked.
I shook my head, focused on my best friend. Weasel was our code name for the men trying to weasel, quite literally, their way into my pants and then into hers.
I was just about ready to say fuck it—or me, rather—even if Jordan was a Weasel. He smelled amazing. His body was hard and hot against mine.
And it had been way too long since I’d had sex.
“No chemistry on my part—” Seraphina began.
“Your friend isn’t who I’m attracted to,” Jordan growled out. “You are, and it’s fucking pissing me off that you don’t believe that.”