His TouchBy: Melinda Minx
A Dark Badboy Romance
I roll up my sleeves and ball my hands up into fists. My tattooed forearms bulge, and I slide the cue between my calloused fingers.
“Corner pocket,” I say in a low whisper.
“Which corner?” Dash asks, grinning.
I glare at him.
“Come on, Hunt,” he says. “Three hundred bucks isn’t chump change for me--not everyone sold off a company and retired at thirty-two--I’m going to make sure you call the pocket properly.”
“Left corner,” I say, hitting the cue ball.
It hits the striped 11--Dash’s last ball--just right, and the 11 goes deep. It rolls into the 8-ball, and pushes the 8 right into the pocket.
The cue ball bounces harmlessly away, but I hold my breath as the 11 wobbles just on the edge of the pocket. It stops wobbling, just fractions of an inch from falling in.
“Fuck!” Dash shouts. “Three hundred bucks, shit!”
“You don’t have to--” I start, but Dash cuts me off.
“We shook on it, Hunt, I’m good for it.”
I nod. Dash has got plenty of income anyway; it’s not my fault he squanders it.
“Want to get out of here?” Dash asks. “It’s a bit of a sausage party in here…”
“Where you want to go?”
“It’s your last night as a bachelor, we could hit up the bars--”
I laugh. “The marriage is on paper, Dash. Nadine isn’t putting my dick in a jar.”
“You’ll have to at least be more discreet though, won’t you?” Dash asks.
I shrug. That’s probably true. I’m marrying Nadine to solidify her hold on Sencorp, so it wouldn’t do if people see me pulling random women at a dive bar.
I look around the pool hall. It’s mostly older guys here, and I realize I wouldn’t mind getting my dick wet tonight. Even if the marriage is just on paper, I’ll still have to sell it as real. That will require at least some sacrifices.
“Yeah,” I say, racking the cue. “Let’s hit the bars.”
We grab our scarves and jackets and head out into the winter night.
“I’m feeling like a dive bar,” Dash says. “No fancy shit tonight.”
I nod. I was thinking the same thing. Being married to the co-CEO of Sencorp will probably mean going to a lot of stuffy, upscale places. I might as well slum it while I still can.
My phone vibrates. I pull it out of my jacket.
“The ball and chain?” Dash asks.
I consider ignoring it, but we have to walk for a few minutes anyway, so I pick up.
“Nadine?” I say. “What is it? Having second thoughts?”
“No,” she says in a flat voice. “I was actually calling to ask you the same thing. Everything is drafted up and ready to go. You can stop by my place tomorrow and make it official.”
“You got the date for the ceremony locked down?” I ask.
“Worry about that later. Are you sure you’re willing to do this, Hunt?”
In the business world, people call me King Midas. Every company I touch turns to gold. Nadine was the one who took a chance on me way back when I didn’t have two pennies to rub together. I paid her loan back--and then some--but I still feel like I owe her.
“I saw Sencorp’s closing price today,” I say. “You need this.”
There’s a long pause. “We could just be seen dating.”
“Marriage is cleaner, and with Sencorp’s charter, it’s the only way I can be co-CEO with you,” I say. “Besides, a married couple who doesn’t touch each other is far more plausible than if we’re dating.”
She laughs. “God, Hunt, I’m so fucking stressed out right now. Did I tell you my daughter is starting next week?”
“An internship, at Sencorp.”
“Isn’t she like, twelve?”
“She’s eighteen, Hunt.”
Huh? Celia, Nadine’s daughter, has always lived with her dad. Nadine would talk about her, but I got the impression the two of them weren’t on great terms.
“I’m sure the internship will be fine,” I say.
I’m ready to hang up now. I don’t really give a shit about Nadine’s personal or family life. I’m friends with her, but I’ve just never much cared for other people's problems.