Better When He's Bad (Welcome to the Point 1) - Page 43

There was more to it, I could tell.

“Can I go with you?” I fully expected for him to tell me no, to tell me I would just be in the way, but he cocked his head to the side and considered me silently for a long minute before answering.

“You gonna go home with me after?”

I shivered and ran my hands over my arms. “Yes.”

“How much longer until you get off? I think I might want to have a drink at the bar and chat with the dick who was just going to let that drunk idiot hit you in the face.”

“I’m almost done. I just have to finish a few more tables. Leave Ramon alone. I like this job. Normally it’s easy and I make good money. Ramon’s job is to look pretty, not play bouncer.”

He gave me a flat look and I rolled my eyes. Even though it was rewarding behavior that I didn’t really approve of, I used his arm as leverage to reach his mouth and planted a big ol’ sloppy kiss on his mouth. He tasted like cigarette smoke and the worst kind of enticement.

“Thank you.” It came out as a husky whisper.

“Life knocks you around enough as it is, Copper-Top. Dickheads like that don’t get to add to it. At least not while you’re on my radar.”

He followed me back into the restaurant and I looked at him over my shoulder.

“How long do you think that’s going to be?”

He cocked a dark eyebrow at me and the star next to his eye fluttered as his jaw clenched. “What?”

“Me on your radar? How long do you think that might last?”

We shared a long look that was only interrupted by Brysen telling me she had cashed out my last table for me, so all I had to do was clean the section and do my side work. I looked back at Bax and he was watching me in that way he had that made me feel like he was seeing right down into the very heart of what made me, me.

“So far you’ve been on there longer than any other chick I’ve ever met. Hurry up, I don’t want to miss who I’m after.”

I blinked at him like an owl. “You gonna tell me who you’re hunting?”

“No.” With that, he turned on his heel, his face a mask of displeasure as he walked up to the bar. He was probably going to scare Ramon into next week, but I couldn’t say a small part of me didn’t appreciate that he was doing his intimidation and threatening thing on my behalf.

Man, I wished having a crush on him was easier than it was proving to be. His dual personalities were hard to keep up with, and the more time I spent with him, the more reasons I found to appreciate all the badass, criminal tendencies that made up Bax as I did the softer, more tragic parts of him that made up Shane. The last thing I needed or wanted was to fall under the spell of both of them.

I blazed through the rest of the stuff I had to do, fueled partially by the desire to find out what Bax had up his sleeve, but mostly out of fear that he would pull Ramon across the bar and I would end up having to find another job. Brysen kept giving me these knowing looks that made me blush. There was no arguing he was hot, but having a guy go all gladiator for you was something else. I wasn’t used to being protected, even with Race I was still used to taking care of myself. Having Bax act like a buffer between me and all the bad things in the world was a potent aphrodisiac and zero help in making me keep my head on the level where he was concerned.

I pulled my hair out of the tie that held it and shook out the curls. I took off the baggy shirt I wore for my shift so I was left in one of the fitted T-shirts Bax had bought for me. I didn’t have any desire to walk back into Spanky’s looking like someone’s frumpy, put-upon girlfriend. They were simple fixes, but they must have been effective because when those devil eyes rolled over me from head to toe, there was no missing the spark of heat that flared to life in their coal-colored depths.

Ramon came around the end of the bar and stopped right in front of me. He put both of his hands on my shoulders and rattled off a flood of rapid Spanish I didn’t understand. He kissed each of my cheeks and apologized so profusely that Bax had to come free me from his overenthusiastic embrace.

“It’s fine, Ramon, seriously.”

“I should have paid better attention.”

“Things happen.”

“Never again.”

Bax put his hand on the back of my neck and guided me toward the front door.

“You better hope not.” His voice didn’t have any warning, just a tone of finality that implied it better never happen again or no one would ever find Ramon’s body.

We didn’t talk much as he drove to the District. He never really said too much, but when he did, I was learning it was important to listen. There was no missing the fact he was a man of action, but when he decided to say something, it was like the two halves of him merged into a whole.

“Why don’t you want me to know who you’re going to the club looking for tonight?”

His eyes darted to me and his hands tightened fractionally on the steering wheel as he maneuvered the powerful car through the busy street.

“Because if I’m wrong or he’s not there, I don’t want to upset you or get you all worked up for no reason.”

An apprehensive shiver danced over my skin. “Why would I get worked up? What does it have to do with me?”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”

I tried to wriggle more information out of him, but he just answered my questions with grunts and dark looks. By the time we pulled up in front of the club, I was a ball of nervous energy and frustration. Plus, I was less than thrilled to have another run-in with the girl who had slept with not only my brother but also my . . . whatever Bax was. I knew intellectually I had no claims, no rights about whom either of them slept with before I was in the picture, but that didn’t mean it didn’t make my head hurt and my eye twitch involuntarily.

The imposing, mahogany-skinned bouncer was standing sentinel when we walked in the door. He flashed a gold-enhanced grin at Bax and they exchanged some kind of complicated guy handshake. His eyes drifted over to me and his grin got bigger.

“Damn, girl. You don’t need lipstick to make a fella happy. You just need clothes your size.”

Bax grunted at him and put a proprietary hand on my lower back. “I told her those suckers were dangerous.”

Chuck laughed and I had to fight the urge to cover my arms over my chest.

“Ernie isn’t going to be happy you’re here. In fact, he told me your open invitation has been revoked per Novak.”

“He here tonight?”