Whoa. There was so much wrong in that statement I didn’t even know where to start. Anger rushed to the surface, crowding my senses, and for that I was grateful, because beneath the fiery emotion was a keen sense of . . . of disappointment. I didn’t know Nick that well, but from the brief time we’d spent together, I thought we had been on the same page. Not his page, obviously. His page had asshole written all over it, over and over again.
“Let me get this straight,” I said, my voice surprisingly level. “You thought that I would not come back to the bar, because we’d hooked up?”
He didn’t reply for a long moment. “That’s how it’s always been. One night. You said so yourself.”
That’s how it’s always been? Wow. I almost laughed, except nothing about this was funny. “And just to make sure we’re completely on the same page, you think I came back here solely to see you?”
One side of his lips curled up. “Well, why else would you come here? Someone like you is much better suited for the bars and clubs in the city.”
My lips slowly parted. “Someone like me?”
“You know you’re gorgeous. You know—”
“Stop right there,” I ordered, placing both my hands on the bar countertop. “We are not and obviously never have been on the same page, Nick. You don’t know me. I don’t know you. And frankly, how I look has absolutely nothing to do with what bars I go to.”
Nick blinked as surprise crowded his features again. “Hey, I’m—”
“You’re unbelievable.” I pushed to my feet, grabbing my purse off the counter. “The last time I checked, this bar wasn’t your oyster and you sure as hell aren’t the pearl in it. You may get to tell other people—other women—what they can and cannot do, but that will never, ever, work with me.”
He drew back, brows furrowing, but I wasn’t done. “I’ve never regretted anything that I’ve done. Until now.”
Admitting the truth stung more than it should have. I turned away before I knocked him upside the head with my purse. I made it two steps before I heard him call my name.
“Stephanie. Steph.” There was a pause and then, “Shit.”
Gasps rose, and I looked over my shoulder, just in time to see Nick vault over the bar like a damn gymnast. He’d cleared the bar by several inches. My jaw hit the floor as he landed in a perfect crouch and rose fluidly. Was he some kind of superhuman? That move was rather . . . impressive.
Roxy stood next to Jax behind the bar. Both had stopped in the middle of handling drinks. Liquid sloshed over the glass Roxy had been pouring. Jax looked torn between laughing and yelling at Nick.
Tension seized my muscles as Nick stalked right up to where I stood. He wrapped his hand around mine, the hold gentle. A good head or so taller than me, he towered over me, and all that made me want to do was punch him in the solar plexus. “We need to talk,” he said.
“I think that’s the very last thing we need to do,” I snapped.
His eyes softened. “I’m going to have to disagree. Let’s talk.” A strand of dark hair fell across his forehead. “Please.”
A huge part of me still wanted to whack him with my purse, or better yet, introduce my knee to a sensitive part of him, but most, if not all, of the bar was staring at us. We—actually, Nick—was already causing a major scene. Eyes were fastened on us. Heat crept up my neck.
“Are you going to make me get down on my knees and beg?” he asked, those lips curving up at the corners again. “Because I will. Right here.”
His eyes glimmered in the low light. “I would.”
My jaw ached from how tightly I was grinding my teeth. “Fine. We can talk.”
“Perfect.” Nick winked, and turned around, leading me.
“We don’t need to hold hands.”
“But we do.” He looked over his shoulder at me, his eyes widened with innocence. “I’m afraid you’ll change your mind and run off on me, then I’ll be all kinds of sad.”
I shot him a dirty look as he guided me out. Everyone was watching. One quick glance told me Roxy had recovered enough to stop watering the bar. We headed toward the hallway.
“Nick.” Jax appeared at the side of the bar closest to us. “Don’t make me have to clean down the office later.”
My jaw snapped open. Fire was seconds away from bursting out of my mouth. “Yeah, that won’t be necessary.”
“I like her. A lot.” Jax grinned as he turned back to the bar.
“Of course you do,” Nick muttered.
I flipped him off with my free hand, but he didn’t see it as he pulled me down a narrow hall. He opened a door to our right, and after I walked in, I immediately yanked my hand free as he kicked the door closed behind us.
Tossing my purse on a black leather couch, I spun around to face him. Now that we were somewhere private, every F-bomb known to man was about to make an appearance. I stepped toward him, my hands balling into fists as I opened my mouth.
Nick crossed the distance between us in a blink of an eye. He was so fast that I stood there like an idiot as he got right up in my personal space, placing his hands just below my jaw. His hands were large and warm, and he spread his fingers out, his thumbs smoothing over the skin on either side of my lips.
His eyes met mine and they were heated like they had been the night at my apartment. “I’m going to be brutally honest right now.”
“Like you haven’t been already?” I shot back, reaching for his wrists. I wrapped my fingers around them.