“Kolya,” Ivan greeted, “since when do you make your way to my part of town?”
“Since tonight.” Kolya drummed his leather-clad fingertips to the worn bar and gave Ivan a look from the side. “Seems I’m needed down this way, unfortunately.”
“Thought you weren’t the type to—”
“Could I get you something?”
Soft, and sweet, yet bubbly and friendly.
Not at all what he expected to greet him when the bartender made his—no, shit, apparently her—way down to serve him. It was something about the fact there was a woman here … a woman with the softest, sweetest tone he had ever heard … that made him hesitate.
A knot of stress pulled his shoulder blades together.
Still, he looked at the woman.
Pixie-like in her features, the top of her head would barely reach his chest. He could probably use her fucking head as an arm rest when he was standing beside her. Her tiny button nose accentuated the rest of her dainty features. She had small lips, pink and uncolored by makeup or stain, that smiled even though he found hesitance and uncertainty in her blue eyes.
Damn, so blue.
Like the ocean right before a storm.
Or a sky on a cloudless summer day.
But her hair was pin-straight hanging over her shoulders, and jet-black.
Like the darkest night.
Like his soul.
She wasn’t particularly dressed up, but she wasn’t dressed down in her outfit, either. Simple straight-leg, tight jeans and a bohemian-style blouse. It told him she had dressed to look appropriate, but not draw attention.
He didn’t blame her.
The only attention a woman like her—delicate, beautiful, and sweet-looking—might find here was the bad kind.
Kind of like him.
Because, yeah, Kolya noticed her.
Something he didn’t do.
“Maya, stop standing there,” Ivan barked, drawing Kolya’s attention away from the woman, “and make yourself useful, yes? Go do anything else but be near me.”
“Sorry,” the woman—Maya—whispered.
Quickly, she scurried off.
“I wanted a drink,” Kolya groused, shooting Ivan a glare.
Really, he just wanted Maya to come back.
So he could tell her to run.
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
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