Dungeon Royale(72)

By: Lexi Blake

Eric sighed. “Maybe, but we need to be careful. She hasn’t dated anyone since she started working with us.”

Tate knew that very well since he’d been keeping an eye on her. Hopefully she never knew the extent of his observation because what he’d done was illegal. And possibly a little stalkerish.

“There’s some reason for that,” Eric went on.

Didn’t they get it? “Because she’s waiting for us to make a move.”

“Or she’s just working hard and isn’t ready to settle down,” Kellan pointed out. “She’s young, man.”

“It’s not like we’re old.”

Tate didn’t feel old. He was thirty-two. Given that the average life expectancy of an American male was seventy-six, that didn’t sound old. Then he did the math and realized that he was forty-two percent of the way through his accepted life expectancy. Forty-two percent—closing in on half. When he looked at it that way, he did feel old. He refused to waste another second.

“That’s it.” Tate stood and straightened his tie. “I’m going in.”

God, he hoped he looked halfway decent because he often got rumpled and didn’t notice. He would probably still be wearing pocket protectors if he hadn’t become good friends with Eric in tenth grade.

He’d tutored Eric through rudimentary algebra, and Eric had taught him that jeans weren’t supposed to hit above the ankles. They’d been a weird duo, the jock and the nerd. But their relationship meant more to him than any other. His parents were cold intellectuals who told him he’d failed by not going into academic pursuits—because yeah, Harvard law had been a breeze. His brothers cared more about their experiments than their family. So Tate and Eric had stuck together like blood, and Kellan had joined them after college.

But Tate realized in that moment that he needed more. He needed Belle. So did they, but she had to come first. “I’m going to do it. I’m going to offer her my penis.”

Eric’s head hit the table and he groaned. “Dude, how do you ever get laid?”

So he wasn’t smooth. At least he was honest. “She already has my heart. I would like for her to take my penis, too. Is that so much to ask?”

“If you ask her like that, she’ll just smack you,” Kellan pointed out.

Frustration welled. He sat back down. “Damn it, that’s why we need to go after her as a pack. I’m not good at the smooth stuff.”

“By smooth stuff, he means any type of actual communication with a woman.” Eric rolled his eyes.

They were totally missing the point. “I communicate fine. She’ll know what I want and how I want it.”

“Which is precisely why she’ll know where she wants to slap you next.” Kellan shook his head. “This might be a bad idea, but it couldn’t hurt for you to dance with her. Can you do that without asking her to take your penis in marriage?”

He wasn’t completely sure. His cock had a mind of its own. “I think I can handle it.”

“Good. Go on, then. I’ll talk to Eric.” Kell sighed. “I guess we really do need to figure out how to handle her. I can’t stand the thought of another uncomfortable plane trip back. She didn’t talk to me the whole flight down. Taking the hands-off approach isn’t working. I get the feeling she’s just about ready to throw in the towel and leave all of us.” Kellan’s eyes narrowed suddenly. “And that asshole isn’t married. Go. Make sure he doesn’t get his hands on Belle.”

Tate’s stare zipped to her. Sure enough, a guy was cutting in on Lennox. He leered down at Annabelle, then peered straight at her boobs.

Those boobs were his, damn it. At least he fully intended for those boobs to belong to him. Well, a third of them anyway. “You two work it out because I’m making a move by the end of the night…”