Chapter 2-Strange Coincidences
“Explain why we’re here again?” I griped as I slid into the wobbly seat across from my friend. Her bright red hair and flawless skin stood out in the smoky dimness of the bar. Siobhan had chosen Gaam Karaoke, blocks from Wilshire and bordering Koreatown. We’d been here many times and even knew the owner casually. I just wasn’t sure I was in the mood to make an ass out of myself tonight. Tossing my purse on the chair next to me, I focused my attention on my friend.
“I thought we could celebrate. What better way than to drink cheap drinks and sing badly. Humor me,” Siobhan brushed her long red hair over one shoulder and propped her chin in the palm of her hand. “Don’t act like you aren’t going to have fun.”
Arranging my lips into a tight smile, I attempted to look cheerful and I knew I failed miserably. “I’m having fun already. See.”
Siobhan rolled her hazel eyes and stood up. “That’s it. We’re doing shots. Lots and lots of shots. Patron, here we come!”
Watching her retreating back, I couldn’t help but chuckle at her enthusiasm. She was more like a sister to me as well as being my closest friend. She’d been my support throughout my parent’s divorce and my horrifying brush with celebrity. I was still occasionally recognized and made the pages of gossip magazines when days were slow. I would forever be the teenage girl in the sexy panties to many Hollywood insiders, even though it was nine years ago and those pictures now seemed tame by today’s standards.
“Drink it up. I told Randy to keep them coming.” She slammed a shot glass down in front of me, sliding a salt shaker and a napkin filled with lemon wedges down on the tabletop.
“Oh Von. This isn’t going to end well,” I groaned. Siobhan slid across from me and picked her shot glass up.
“I propose a toast. First, to my best friend and sister. Good luck in your newest job and I wish you the best luck at being the first woman to make Nick Hart crumble. And to me. My picture of Marley Cirran was on every gossip site worldwide. This was a good day for me.” Siobhan waited patiently for me to clink my shot glass against hers. Smiling triumphantly, she tossed her shot back and shook her head. Following suit, I downed the tequila in one swallow, enjoying the smooth burn of the alcohol.
It had been a good day for Siobhan, but she’d sent a young girl’s career in a downward spiral. The 16-year-old girl inside of me that had suffered through that kind of embarrassment and public shame shuddered at the implications.
“You know how I feel about what you do. I understand, but that doesn’t mean I like it. And Siobhan, you know nothing is going to happen with Nick and me. I don’t mix business and pleasure.” I grabbed the second shot glass and drank it hastily. I’d likely be calling a cab tonight and regretting my poor judgment tomorrow. But it had been one hell of a day.
“I’ll shelve my glee for my big break today. As far as Nick Hart goes, we’ll see,” she waved me off. Siobhan became serious and leaned closer, her eyes twinkling. “What’s he like?”
Sitting back in my chair, I crossed my arms and thought of my brief encounter with Nick. He seemed intense one moment and all charm the next. “He’s gorgeous. Much better looking in person, if that’s even possible. He’s strangely intense one second and then back to the million dollar smile the next.”
“Hmmm.” She sat back and strummed her fingers on the table. Her gossip blogger mind was churning, thinking through my words. She leaned forward, her voice taking on a conspirator tone. “I probably shouldn’t say anything…but no one knows who Nick Hart is. He bursts on to the scene and no one, and I mean no one, knows where he came from. No former school mates, no friends. He’s a blank slate.”
“Siobhan, you know how I feel about gossip. Especially unfounded gossip.” I cringed as I thought of how ruthless the paparazzi could be.
She fluttered her hands in surrender. “I’m not saying I buy into what they’re saying. There are whispers about his identity. No one he supposedly attended school with remembers him. He’s like a ghost.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. “A ghost? Von, you’ve lost your damn mind.”
“Like I said, I didn’t say I believed it. I’m working on it though.”
And if there was anyone who could figure it out, Siobhan would be the person to do it.
We drank our way through the bottle of tequila and listened to badly sung covers of Rihanna, Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars. My mind was comfortably numb when the music changed. The room was filled with the sounds of guitar and drums.
Then the voice began…it was clear, crisp and slightly husky with the distinctive lilt that could only belong to one person.
Nick Hart was here.
Genre – Erotica
Rating – R
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