Sweet temptation, p.10
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       Sweet Temptation, p.10
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         Part #4 of Sweet series by Maya Banks
Page 10

 

  “She’s not family, Micah. She’s your best friend’s sister. Big difference. ”

  “I can’t believe you’re being so calm about this,” Micah muttered. “For God’s sake, Damon, I raped a woman in your damn club. ”

  “Is that why you came? You want me to punish you? Want me to kick you out and tell you never to come back? I’d say you’re doing a good enough job of beating up yourself. You don’t need my help. ”

  Micah let out a sound of frustration.

  “Go home and talk to Angelina, Micah. I get that this has knocked you for a loop, but what you did wasn’t rape. She was willing. Very willing, I’d say. Are you going to sit there and tell me you’ve never fucked a woman when she was tied up and helpless under your hands?”

  “Uh maybe I should come back,” Serena whispered from behind them.

  Both men turned to see her standing there, her expression unsure as if she was afraid of intruding. Micah gentled his expression, not wanting to put her off.

  She glanced down self-consciously at her silk robe that fell to mid-calf, and Micah knew that was all she had on. Her feet were bare, but Damon always teased her about her love of being bare-footed.

  Damon simply held out a hand to her, and she walked over to kneel beside him. She laid her head on his lap and rubbed her cheek lovingly over his thigh.

  “Serena mine, what have I told you? Your poor knees. ”

  He pulled her into his lap and wrapped his arms possessively around her waist, letting his hand rest on the curve of her hip.

  “Hello, Serena,” Micah said with a smile.

  She smiled back. “Am I interrupting? You both sounded so serious. ”

  Micah felt his chest cave just a little. He did love this woman. He loved all the women his friends had hooked up with.

  “Damon was just kicking my ass. You probably saved what little was left of it. ”

  Serena arched a disbelieving eyebrow. Damon nuzzled her neck, nipping lightly at the curve of her shoulder.

  “Micah is having woman trouble,” Damon said by way of explanation.

  “Nice, Damon. Real fucking nice. Sorry, Serena. ”

  She laughed and waved a hand. “Are you really having woman trouble? I never thought to see the day. Don’t women generally throw themselves at you in all directions?”

  “It’s complicated, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell the girls. They’d just tell Nathan and Gray, who’d use every opportunity to make my life hell. ”

  Serena smiled gently. “I won’t tell Julie and Faith. They love you to pieces, you know. They’d help you without any questions if you ever needed it. So if you ever want to talk. . . ”

  “Thanks, sweetness,” he said with genuine affection. “I love all of you to pieces too. But this is . . . this is something I’m going to have to work out on my own. I’d hoped . . . I’d hoped that when I moved here I’d leave my past behind. It was a mistake, one I’m paying for now. I made some bad choices and hurt someone in the process. Now I’ve got to figure out how to make it up to her. ”

  Serena reached out and touched his hand. “If there’s anything I can do to help . . . ”

  He blew her a soundless kiss. “I appreciate it. Both of you. ”

  She wrinkled her nose. “I didn’t, however, promise not to tell Faith that you’re smoking again. ”

  Micah closed his eyes and groaned. “What is it with you people? For the love of God, don’t sic Faith on me. At least Julie will light up with me every once in a while when Nathan isn’t looking. But Faith is like a frickin’ pit bull. Nag, nag, nag. I don’t know how Gray puts up with her. ”

  “Micah, about your . . . woman . . . Is there anything I can do? I mean, is she new here? I heard enough of your conversation to get the impression she wasn’t from here and that she was someone you knew in the past. The girls and I could introduce ourselves, maybe go out and have some girly fun. ”

  Both he and Damon groaned.

  “Hell, woman, the last time you all went out for girly fun, you ended up nearly passed out on the floor at Cattleman’s, and Nathan had to call me and Gray to come get you. ”

  Micah sighed. He wanted to be able to trust Serena, but she was close to Faith and Julie, two women he’d been intimate with. It would be awkward as hell for Angelina to be exposed to them and vice versa.

  “What is it?” Serena asked. “You look so . . . torn. ”

  Damon squeezed her hand lovingly. “Don’t pressure him, love. ”

  “No, it’s okay,” Micah said. “It’s just complicated. I swear I keep saying that, but there’s no better way to explain it. ”

  He looked at Serena and swallowed. “Angelina is, was, my best friend’s younger sister. I was . . . married. ” The words nearly strangled him, but at least he hadn’t had to say Hannah’s name.

  Serena looked at him in shock. “Married? Why does no one know this? I mean why is it such a secret?”

  “Damon knows, and again—complicated. David and I . . . we both loved the same woman. David was my partner on the force. We shared everything. Including the woman I married. ”

  Serena’s mouth formed an O of surprise.

  “The thing is, I love Faith and Julie, and you know that I’ve been with them both. I’ve had threesomes with them. Casual. Fun. Meaningless. But the last thing I ever want them to know or suspect is that the entire time I was making love to them I was pretending they were another woman. They don’t deserve that and I’d never hurt them that way. ”

  Serena’s lips turned down into an unhappy frown. “Oh, Micah. I’m so sorry. What happened?”

  Micah shifted uncomfortably at the idea of spilling his guts for only the second time since Hannah died. In for a penny and all that crap. He’d already gone this far, and Damon would probably tell her later anyway.

  “David and Hannah died in a car accident. ”

  Tears filled Serena’s eyes. “How awful for you to lose your best friend and the woman you loved at the same time. ”

  “Everyone thought they were cheating on me,” Micah said bitterly. “That they were skipping town together. We didn’t advertise our relationship. Hannah married me, but David was an equal in the relationship. I didn’t have my head in the job anymore after they died. Everyone pitied me. Stared and talked behind my back. I made a stupid mistake, got injured. It was easier for me to use that as an excuse and just leave. Only I left Angelina, and, God help me, I never gave her another thought. I’m a selfish bastard and my sins don’t end there. ”

  “But she’s here now,” Damon pointed out. “A good opportunity to atone for those sins, don’t you think?”

  “It would’ve been if I hadn’t compounded them,” Micah said painfully.

  “Quit being so hard on yourself. Angelina strikes me as a very resilient, intelligent woman who knows precisely what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. ”

  “If I only knew what she wanted,” Micah said with a sigh.

  Damon raised an eyebrow. “I thought that much was obvious, Micah. Clearly, she wants you. ”

  CHAPTER 11

  Angelina dodged a customer not looking where he was going and continued to the table with the tray she was carrying. Her first day hadn’t been a cakewalk by any means, but she caught on quickly, and her trainer had already turned her loose on her own small section of tables.

  She distributed the plates with a smile and started back toward the kitchen when the manager motioned her to stop.

  “Table six is yours. ”

  She nodded and turned in that direction then stopped in her tracks. Micah’s friends Nathan and Connor sat in the booth with another man. With a roll of her eyes, she took her order pad out of her apron and approached the table.

  At least they didn’t act surprised to see her.

  “Let me guess. You just happened to be in the neighborhood,” she drawled.

  Connor grinned. “Hell no. We hit two other cafés before w
e found the right one. ”

  “Uh-huh. Any particular reason or did you not get enough of an eyeful this morning?”

  “Chalk it up to curiosity,” Nathan said. “It’s not every day we get to see Micah’s nuts twisting in the wind. Wanted to see the woman responsible. ”

  The other man cleared his throat. “Since these morons aren’t going to introduce use, I’m Gray Montgomery, Connor’s brother-in-law. ”

  She stuck out her hand. “I’m Angelina Moyano. ”

  “Very pretty name,” Gray said as he took her hand in his firm grip.

  “What can I get you?” she asked when she’d retracted her hand.

  “Ah hell, we weren’t really going to eat,” Nathan said.

  “Speak for yourself,” Connor protested. “I’ll have the special with gravy. Oh, and bring me a cheeseburger, the large one, and some fries with that too. ”

  Angelina gaped at him.

  Gray just shook his head. “He has a hollow leg. ”

  Angelina let her gaze wander down Connor’s very fit body. Wherever he put it all, it certainly didn’t hang around.

  “Just coffee for me,” Gray added.

  “I’ll take a chocolate shake,” Nathan said.

  “Coming right up. ”

  She turned and hit her other tables on her way to the kitchen, refilling drinks before she placed Connor’s order. She shook her head as she entered the information into the ordering system. How could he possibly eat that much and still be as buff as he was? He must get a lot of exercise, either that or he was one of those disgusting people blessed with really good genes.

  Next she got their drinks and brought them to the table.

  “So, are you staying here?” Connor asked casually. “I mean in Houston. Permanently. Or are you just visiting?”

  “Yep. ”

  They all looked chagrined when she didn’t offer anything more.

  “Was that a yep, you’re staying or a yep, you’re just visiting?” Nathan asked.

  She smiled. They were cute in an obvious sort of way.

  “Maybe y’all can help me out with something. ”

  They looked curiously at her.

  “I need a cheap place to stay, and preferably somewhere that doesn’t need to know my life history. ”

  Gray frowned at that statement. Nathan’s brow furrowed and Connor just studied her with an inscrutable expression. They made her uncomfortable, and in that moment she realized she’d underestimated their playful charm.

  “Shouldn’t you be talking about this with Micah?” Nathan asked carefully.

  She twisted her lips. “Let’s just say Micah and I don’t see eye to eye on everything. ”

  “You need to be careful,” Gray cautioned. “There are a lot of places that a girl like you has no business being in. ”

  It was on the tip of her tongue to ask him what exactly a girl like her was, but she let it go. She knew what he was trying to say.

  “That’s why I asked you for help,” she said patiently. “You know the city, right? You could point me away from the not so great places. ” She glanced over her shoulder. “Shoot. Never mind, okay? I’ll figure something out. I gotta see about my customers. ”

  She left them, knowing they were still staring at her. Micah would probably know what she was planning before they ever left the café.

  When Connor’s order was up, she balanced the tray and took it to the table. She set the mound of food in front of Connor while Nathan and Gray looked at him in disbelief.

  “Anything else?” she asked.

  “God, I hope not,” Gray muttered.

  “Okay, well here’s your check. Just pay the cashier on your way out,” she said cheerfully. “Nice meeting you, Gray. ”

  She started to walk away when Connor caught her arm.

  “Angelina, wait. If you were serious about looking for a place to stay, there’s actually an apartment in Micah’s complex. We all sort of live there actually. Well, Faith and Gray moved out, but Nathan, Micah and I still live there. ”

  She shook her head. “Oh, I couldn’t possibly afford an apartment there. ”

  “How do you know?” Connor asked. “I haven’t told you what the rent is. ”

  “I know,” she said firmly. “They’re way too nice to be in my price range. I need something along the lines of an efficiency. Preferably furnished, because I don’t have the cash to be furniture shopping right now. ”

  All three men frowned, and she shifted impatiently, suddenly eager to escape their scrutiny. At least now she knew why Micah was friends with them. They were all alike. Overbearing and very male.

  “I happen to know the owner of the complex,” Connor said. “I’ll talk to him and see what I can do. ”

  Nathan and Gray both snorted, and she frowned at them, wondering what private joke she was missing out on.

 
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