Taking the Fall: The Complete Series(4)

By: Alexa Riley

I hear my cell ring, already knowing who it is. I pick it up without looking at the incoming number.

“Morning, Jeanette,” I say.

“Morning, chica,” she purrs into the phone. “What’s his name?”

“Stephen, I believe.”

“How was he?” she asks, playing our normal game of ‘who did Layla sleep with last night?’

“Too alpha and demanding for my taste,” I lie, knowing that I loved every second of Stephen’s brute ways in the novella I devoured last night. I reason that if I keep telling myself that this kind of man doesn’t turn me on, then maybe it will come true. I need a man like my boyfriend, Justin. He’s sweet, passive for the most part, and probably pays his bills two weeks before they’re due. If only I could get my body and vagina to agree with my head. I really need to break up with him. I’ve been avoiding him for days and even canceled a few of our dates. I’m not even sure he’s into me. He never really tries to make a move on me and doesn’t seem to care when I do cancel on him. I often wonder why he’s even with me.

“Anything has got to be better than Justin, if you ask me,” Jeanette says, reading my mind.

“Enough about my boring, sexless life. Tell me about your amazing night,” I say cheekily, knowing she’ll spill all the dirty details while I live vicariously through her. Jeanette has been trying to get this intimidating guy who’s been hanging around the library for weeks to ask her out. Finally he cracked. I thought he seemed kind of weird. Okay, maybe not weird but out of place. He’s a giant of a man, not as big as I remember Carter being, but he looks like he could hold his own against a few guys if he needed to. He has a scar that runs from his eyebrow down to his cheek, looking like it barely missed his eye. His raven hair and tanned skin contrast starkly with his clear blue eyes. When I first saw him, I thought his eyes looked strange with the dangerous feel he had going on. But the first time I saw Jeanette make him smile, his entire demeanor suddenly shifted and became as light and bright as his eyes.

He’s always popping up and never once has he checked out a book. He has an edge to him. The kind of edge I’m attuned to, seeing as I grew up around men like that. I was keeping my distance, but Jeanette went after him like a cat in heat. She likes bad boys. She says they’re just looking for a quick fling and you never have to worry about them wanting something permanent. I’m not sure the guy knows what to do with her. If Jeanette is anything, she’s straightforward and to the point. It’s something I’ve always loved and admired about her. She might want to be more careful with him, though. He seems like the type of man that if he wanted to keep her, she wouldn’t have much of a choice.

“Fucker canceled,” she grumbles.

“I’m sorry. I know you were looking forward to that date. Maybe we could have dinner tonight to cheer you up?” I don’t want her to be upset. I can tell by her tone she’s a little hurt which isn’t normal for ‘love them and leave them’ Jeanette.

“Dinner and drinks at the Kat House and you’ve got yourself a deal.”

I knew she was going to bring up the Kat House, a little dive bar that sits right outside of Reno.

“Come on! Not that Kat House! That place is,” I scrunch my nose as I try to think of the right word.

“Horny?” Jeanette offers. I can see her doing her classic eyebrow wiggle when she talks about anything “horny” and I can’t help but smile.

“That’s one way to put it,” I say, trying to sound appalled. The Kat House is a dream bar for Jeanette. Cheap drinks, it’s filled with bad boys, and sometimes I think its dress code veers towards ‘clothing optional’. I’m more of a piano bar kind of girl. I stumbled across one a few years back and loved it. A cute sundress with some higher-than-high heels and a few martinis while I listen to music that doesn’t make my head want to explode—perfect.

“Justin must be wearing off on you, Lays, because you’re starting to sound like a snot.”

I shudder slightly when I thinking of anything of Justin’s rubbing off on me and I cave to her suggestion, wanting to change the subject. And besides, she always lets me pick and I want to do this for her.