Home > Down on Me (Man of the Month #1)(4)

Down on Me (Man of the Month #1)(4)
Author: J. Kenner


"This is indeed," Jenna said, thrusting her hand out to Megan. "I'm Jenna. And I'm guessing you're the reason my so-called best friend blew me off?"

From down the bar, Reece heard Griff stifle a laugh. He rolled his eyes and scowled at Jenna. "Come on, Jen. You know I—"

But Jenna held up her hand, cutting him off. "I'm teasing. Brent's perfectly capable of picking me up. And it looks like you had other plans, anyway," she added, eyeing Megan with what appeared to be approval before taking another long sip.

His gut tightened. He wanted to tell her that Megan was a great girl, but she wasn't his girl. Right then, that seemed to be the most important thing in the world.

Fortunately, he recognized the asinine impulse for what it was, and shifted the topic entirely. "Speaking of Brent, where is he?"

Jenna started to turn, probably to find Brent and call him over. But before she answered, Megan gasped.

"Jenna?" Her voice rose with incredulity. "Oh my gosh, I thought you looked familiar. You organized the Kempinski wedding, right?"

For a moment, Jenna looked baffled, then her eyes widened. "Makeup Megan! What on earth are you doing in Austin? For that matter, why are you slumming with that one?" She hooked her thumb toward Reece, her voice teasing.

"Makeup Megan?" Reece repeated. "What the hell?"

"She's a makeup artist." Jenna looked from Megan to Reece. "Didn't you know?"

Megan's lips twitched as she took Reece's hand. "Let's just say that we're still getting to know each other."

Jenna's brows rose as she faced Reece. She looked amused. Reece wasn't sharing the emotion. "We met in LA," she said. "Megan did some work for my first and only event for the evil Company That Shall Not Be Named," Jenna explained, then finished off her drink.

"Oh, you got caught up in that crap?” Megan asked. “I'm so sorry."

Cam had slid out from under the bar to settle the check of the two customers sitting at a table. Now they were walking out the door, and he was splitting the cash they'd left on the table between the till and the tip jar. "What crap?" he asked, after raising a hand and telling them to have a good night. "What happened?"

"A long, sad story," Jenna said, climbing up onto a stool. She pushed the empty Corona bottle toward Cam. "I think we need another round of these before I dredge it all up. And before we all turn into pumpkins at closing."

Cam looked to Reece, who shrugged. "So long as she's buying and not driving, I won't say no to a customer. As to the long, sad story, though..."

Jenna shrugged. "Okay, fine. It's not that long. Asshole company lured me to LA with promises of great opportunities. They went bankrupt. I couldn't find another decent job since I don't have the experience I expected to get from the Evil Bastards Who Must Be Cursed. Then my landlord tells me I have to move because he's selling the building. And to top it off, my car dies, and it would cost more to fix it than I happen to have in my meager little bank account." She made a face. "So I sold it for basically nothing, used the money for a plane ticket, then turned tail and ran—or, rather, flew—home to my friends and family. End of sob story." She tilted her head to look at Megan. "What about you? How'd you end up in Austin?"

"My story's neither long nor interesting," she said. "I fell for the wrong guy. Boom. The end."

"Not this guy, I hope." Jenna narrowed her eyes at Reece. "'Cause I can smack him down if you need me to."

"I don't know him well enough yet to identify his faults," Megan said, and from down the bar, Reece heard Griff laugh again. "But what I need to know right now is what's in these things?" She snatched up one of the Loaded Coronas that Cam had lined up on the bar.

"Try it," Reece urged, grateful she'd derailed the direction of the conversation. Jenna tended to play matchmaker, and Reece and Brent were her favorite victims. Before, it hadn't bothered him. Now, he couldn't stand the thought of Jenna pushing him toward anyone.

"They're my own invention," he told Megan, grabbing a bottle for himself before settling down on one of the barstools. "And they've become a favorite on the bar menu. You want one, Griff?" he called down to the end of the bar. "On the house."

"No thanks," Griff said, turning his head just a bit, but keeping his face in shadows. "I'm good."

Reece almost argued. He happened to know that Griff loved the things. Which meant he'd already had too much of something else to drink, or he didn't want Megan to see the scars that marred the right side of his face and body. Considering Griff habitually had only one bourbon and then a steady stream of club soda when he came to the bar to work, Reece's money was on the latter.

Griff had moved to Austin almost two years ago, and he and Reece had hit it off. The circle of friends had quickly widened to include Brent and Jenna and Tyree. Now, most everyone who worked at The Fix knew about his scars and didn't blink. But that didn't extend to strangers, and although Reece was confident Megan wouldn't flinch, he wasn't inclined to force Griff out of his comfort zone.

"They're dangerous," Jenna was telling Megan when Reece tuned back into the conversation. "Pace yourself."

"Rum, Corona, salted lime," Reece retorted. "What's dangerous about that?"

"They're too tasty. As you damn well know." She settled back on her stool, rotating it until she was facing him. Then she casually lifted one foot and propped it up on the seat of his barstool—which placed it right between his legs. She wore wedge-style sandals that showed off her polished toenails, and he had to call on every ounce of mental fortitude to concentrate on what she was saying and ignore the fantasies about what she could do with those wildly sexy feet.

"I got wasted on these things," she continued. "It was the night before I moved to LA, and I was so nervous I kept slamming them back, and then—" She cut herself off with a shrug.

"And then what?" Cam asked, leaning forward.

"Beats me. I passed completely out." Jenna smiled and batted her eyes. "He swears he didn't take advantage of me, but you never know..."

"For Christ's sake, Jenna," Reece snapped. "Why the hell would you even say—"

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