Steal My Breath (Elixir #1) - Nina Levine

Part I

1

Callie

I’m not getting any sex tonight.

I know my three-month sex drought is going to continue the minute the guy sitting across from me says, “I love that shade of pink you’re wearing. I have a tie that would match it well.”

No man should wear a pink tie.

In the history of ever.

I pick up my glass of wine and drain it before standing. “I don’t think we’re compatible, Rick. And while it’s been fun learning about all the puzzles you put together and the pink tie you own, I’ve been on so many dates lately that I just don’t have it in me to sit through another hour or more knowing we’re not going to see each other again.”

A pang of guilt hits me when his mouth drops open, but the sex-starved woman inside me screams, “Don’t do it! He’s not the one who will make your vagina happier than you can.” So I stand my ground and offer a quick apology, “I’m sorry I’m being so rude, but you’ll thank me when you do finally meet the one for you,” before making a hasty exit.

Fifteen minutes later, I enter Elixir, the bar that’s my home away from home, and exhale a long sigh of relief.

“You look like you’ve just dodged a bullet,” Avery, one of the bartenders, and my best friend, says as she reaches for the vodka she knows I’m going to ask for.

Slumping onto the barstool, I nod and rest my elbows on the counter. “Yep, I just had another date that was a complete waste of time. How many men do you think I’m going to have to go through to find the right one? Hell, at this point, I’d just settle for a guy I thought could offer me some hot sex for the night.” I take the vodka and Coke she passes me and drink nearly half the glass in one gulp.

Raising her brows, she says, “Tonight’s dude didn’t fit the bill for hot sex?”

“God, no. Not unless you’re into nerds who love to do puzzles and hardly ever go out except to Sunday lunch with their mother.” Seriously, the guy had almost put me to sleep.

“Shit, where do you find these men, Callie?”

“Online dating sites mostly. I’ve told you about them.” I watch the judgemental look flit across her face and mutter, “Don’t you judge me, Miss I-Never-Struggle-To-Get-Laid, we can’t all be as lucky as you.”

Her lips curl up into a smile, and when she laughs and draws the attention of every man in the bar, I want to slap the sexy out of her. But I love her like a sister and never begrudge her anything, especially because she’s had a hard life and as far as I’m concerned she deserves every good thing that comes her way.

She holds her hands up in a defensive gesture as a grin settles on her face. “No judging, promise.” Nodding at my glass, she says, “Finish that and I’ll make you one on me.”

A low whistle comes from behind, and I turn to find Tyler smiling at us. “I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Avery offer to buy someone a drink. Did Luke give the staff a discount today or something?”

Avery scoffs. “I’ve worked for your brother for a year now, and I’ve never known him to give out a staff discount once.”

“True,” Tyler agrees as his gaze zeros in on the new tattoo covering Avery’s wrist. He jerks his chin at it and asks, “What does your tattoo say?”

I narrow my eyes at him and take in the way he’s looking at Avery. These two should just get a room and be done with it, because they’ve been tiptoeing around each other for almost a year now. It’s clear even to the cat that wanders into the bar every now and then that they both want something to happen, and I’m not sure why Tyler doesn’t take charge and make her his. I’ve seen him in bossy mode with his women before, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s time for him to boss my best friend around.

“Avery!”

I jump at the sound of Luke’s voice.

That voice. It causes my tummy to flutter with desire, and I quickly gulp the rest of my drink in an effort to settle my reaction because let’s face it, my voice doesn’t cause a similar response in Luke’s body. I need to put all thoughts of him out of my mind. Nothing is ever going to happen between us.

Avery’s head