Home > Easy For Keeps (Boudreaux #3.5)(2)

Easy For Keeps (Boudreaux #3.5)(2)
Kristen Proby

It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. I don’t just work here, I’m part owner and not able to leave at a moment’s notice if the notion struck me.

Not that I ever have, or would, do that. But it was an option.

Now strings are attached, and I’ve never been a strings kind of guy. In fact, at the first mention of commitment, I’m a run-in-the-other-direction kind of guy.

And I make no apologies for it. The women I’m with know the score. I keep my life simple.

This is work, I remind myself. I’ve had a soft spot for The Odyssey for a long time, so attaching myself permanently is a good move.

It’s not a woman.

“You didn’t go home with her,” Callie says as she comes out of her office, surprising me.

“I thought you went home,” I reply instead of answering her question. “Didn’t I see Declan earlier?”

Declan is a popular New Orleans musician and Callie’s husband.

“You did,” she replies with a soft smile. “But I had some work to do here, and sometimes I just like to stay until closing.”

“We’re bar people,” I reply with a smile and walk behind the bar to pull out a bottle of water.

“So, why didn’t you give that pretty thing a ride on your desk?” Callie asks in the nonjudgmental way that only she can. She’s my best friend for a reason.

“Wasn’t feeling it,” I reply with a shrug, then grin. “Literally.”

“Har har,” she replies, but her smile is bright. “I haven’t heard many women stories lately.”

“You enjoy my conquest stories?” I ask, not believing her. “You always cover your ears and tell me to shut it.”

“Well, some of them are just gross. Like the time you had sex in the back of a cab. That’s just not sanitary, Adam.”

“Sex isn’t supposed to be sanitary, Cal. If you’re worried about sanitation, you aren’t doing it right.”

She shakes her head and chuckles. “Okay. So what’s up?”

“Nothing’s up,” I reply coolly, drinking from my bottle. “I just didn’t want to tap that twice.”

“You’re a pig.”

“See?” I say with a laugh. “You don’t like to hear the way I talk about women.”

“You may get around the block more than anyone I know, but you don’t disrespect women, Adam. That’s just shock value for me.”

“Guilty,” I reply with a wink. “I like to shock you.”

“You’re the only one who can these days,” she says. “But for real, everything’s okay?”

“I’m good. Just because I don’t fuck every piece of ass that looks my way doesn’t mean that something’s wrong.”

“Right,” she says, sarcasm dripping through every word. “Let’s not talk about the times I’ve covered for you at the bar while you took a break because a hot little thing crooked her finger at you.”

“Hey, I don’t discriminate. They don’t have to be little.”

She snorts. “Touché.”

It’s true. Larger or smaller, or in between, sexiness is attitude. That’s what I’ve always been attracted to, which is probably why the thought of settling down with one woman, when there are so many out there to enjoy, hasn’t interested me.

“I just have a lot on my plate,” I say logically. “I don’t always have time to bone every single woman in the Quarter.”

“You’re so eloquent.”

“I know.”

“Headed home?” she asks as she reaches for her bag.

“Nah, I’m gonna hit the gym for a bit before I call it a day.”

“I’ll see you later then.”

I glance at the door, relieved to see that Declan has returned to pick Callie up, rather than have her walk through the Quarter to her car alone at this time of the morning. I toss him a wave, then gather my keys and wallet from the safe in my office and look forward to a sweaty hour on the treadmill.

* * * *

The sun is just starting to throw some light into the sky when I leave the gym two hours later. I spent an hour on the treadmill, and then helped a guy with some weights for a while. Working out clears my head.

When I realize that I forgot my water bottle at the bar, I pull my car into the parking lot of a nearby grocery store, intending to run in and out quickly, then head home to shower and sleep for about a week.

But when I wander down the cold drink aisle, there’s a little girl clutching a ratty stuffed bear to her chest as big tears teeter on her lower eyelids, ready to fall.

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