Heading out of the wind, and down the icy steps to the supper club, I was grateful that Maggie had let me off the hook and allowed me to wear her wedge-heeled boots instead of the ones with the skinny heels. The place was all leather, and wood, and scarlet tapestry. I was glad the club was warm, and not one of those sterile chrome-and-glass affairs.
I pulled off my hat, and tried to fluff my crushed, damp hair. Scanning the bar for Jordan, I panicked, realizing I didn’t know what he looked like. There was a blonde guy walking out of the restroom. I raised my eyebrows and smiled. He put his arm around a thin brunette in a leather jacket and gave me a stern look. This was a stupid idea. I pulled my hat back on, ready to leave.
I felt a pair of hands on my shoulders, and I spun around, ready to snap. I recognized the green-eyed man as Jordan. Wow. He was actually a man. I didn’t remember him as being so filled out.
“Hi, Shayla? Are you all right? You look, uh, upset.”
“No! Not at all. Hey…you!” Brimming with nervous energy, I went in to kiss his cheek, to seem like a smooth player. When I lunged in, I caught my toe on his heavy boot. I fell forward, and he grabbed me hard by both elbows. Whipping his head around to keep his balance, he cracked me in the bridge of the nose with his jawbone.
“Motherfuh … uh…uh…oh, man,” I stopped myself from swearing even though I saw stars. The pain was so sharp, I didn’t even worry that blood was dripping onto my (Maggie’s) silk turtleneck. At least it was black.
“Hang on,” I heard Jordan say. I couldn’t see him with my eyes squenched shut. In a flash he was back, shoving a handful of bar naps into my hand. I pressed them to my bleeding nose, and managed to open my eyes. His eyes crinkled at the corners, and on his lips sat the threat of a smile. “Why don’t we sit down?”
“OK,” I said through my napkins, “but not at the bar.”
Taking my arm, Jordan led me to a cozy leather banquette. “Two Maker’s Mark Manhattans,” he said to a passing waitress. I wanted a vodka and soda with lemon, but I let it go. “Why not at the bar?”
“I swore off perching on bar stools on my 21st birthday. Friends took me out to celebrate, and I woke up so sore the next day I felt like I needed traction. I like to be comfortable.”
“Are you comfortable now?” He asked, smiling. “Because I am. It’s nice to relax with a gorgeous woman.”
My hand flew to my nose to make sure it was clean. “Ha ha, yes, this place is great. Small warm rooms feel kind of like a hug.”
He cocked his head and smiled. “I just have a thing about… I don’t know… not being cold. I positively will not go into a cold Lucite and metal bar. At least not in winter. It’s one of my rules.”
“You have a lot of rules.”
“No I don’t,” I said automatically. “They’re not rules, per se. Just ways that make sense to live.”
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Linzé - I volunteered to review Summer at Castle Stone and you can find my impressions here.