Authors: E. L. Todd
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fantasy
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
Copyright © 2013 by E. L. Todd
All Rights Reserved
Book One of the Alpha Series
God Save the Q
beat, one two. one two three.
check check one two. im still here.
i still hear your heart beat.
while i fall asleep. and
i can still smell you.
on my sheets.
i still reach my arm.
over to find my safe place.
my heart sinks and my tummy jumps in my throat.
when your hands slide down and.
embrace my hips.
my voice decides to take a vacation when.
your lips kiss me here.
kiss me there
fast forward. press play.
beat, one two. one two three.
this is me.
and i am still alone. naked.
i wish i was.
i wake up to morning.
and nothing else.
good morning sunshine. Let’s dance.
Hollie Elisabeth Machado
my dress down as far as it would stretch but it snapped right back to my thighs. It was so short, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sit down. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I cringed. I looked awkward and uncomfortable. I wasn’t the kind of girl that went to the bar—dressed like a whore.
Natascia rolled her eyes. “Oh my god, Sadie. You look fine.”
I pulled down my dress again but it was useless. It bounced back to my upper thighs. The black dress fit my curves tightly and made my ass and chest extremely prominent. I was feeling more uncomfortable by the second. The last thing I wanted was for people to look at me. “This doesn’t even fit.”
“Yes, it does,” she snapped.
I pulled it down again. “Uh—no.”
Stephanie fixed her hair in the mirror. It was silky and brown and reached far down her back. She dyed her hair so often that I wasn’t sure what her real hair color was.
But it always looked beautiful. “Leave her alone. She’s nervous.”
Natascia placed the hair band in her hair. “She needs to grow a backbone.”
I tucked my brown hair behind my ear then smoothed my dress out again. I sighed as I stared at myself. I didn’t look horrible, but I definitely felt out of my element. I glanced at Natascia. “Why are you so mean to me?”
“I’m not,” she said with a laugh.
“Well, you’re making me go out to a bar—something I have no interest in doing—and you’re making me dress like a slut.”
Natascia crossed her arms over her chest. “You never do anything, Sadie. You never go out
. You just stay home every weekend. The only time you actually want to do anything is under the light of day when we are eating lunch or lounging at one of our apartments. You need to go out!”
I sighed. “See, you’re being mean
again, making me do something I don’t want to do.”
“I’m just calling you out on your shit. Come on. It
’ll be fun,” Natascia said.
I sighed. “I guess I don’t have a choice.”
Stephanie nodded. “You really don’t.”
We grabbed our bags
and left the apartment, heading down to the street. When we got inside the cab, I thought my dress was going to slide up and give the driver a treat. Luckily, I held it down and kept my goodies hidden. Natascia, always the leader of our group, gave the driver the address.
I tried to get my mind off what we were doing. “How was work?”
Natascia sighed. “I forgot to pull out my samples after the twenty-four hour incubation period so I had to start over.”
“That sucks,” I said.
She rolled her eyes. “You have no idea.”
Stephanie checked the time on her phone then returned it to her purse. “Well, at least it was only one day you lost.”
Natascia sighed. “I guess so.”
Natascia was a researcher at a microbiology lab in the city. When she got the position
, she was really excited about it, but now she hated doing research every day.
I looked at her. “Just be
come a high school teacher. Isn’t that what you want to do?”
Natascia fixed her head band again, pulling the brown hair back. “Yes, but my parents would never accept my decision. They didn’t pay for my education so I could just teach at the high school level.”
“Well, it’s your life,” Stephanie said. “It shouldn’t matter what they think.”
” Natascia sighed. “I’ll think about it.”
Stephanie looked at me. “How’s the store?”
I smiled when I thought about work. My father owned a bookstore in the city, and we ran it together. The smell of fresh print books always made my hands shake. And sometimes, if we were lucky, we could get the authors to sign a few of the books. I had the coolest job ever. “It’s doing well. I wish I was there right now.”
Natascia rolled her eyes. “We’
re going to have fun tonight. Just relax.”
The cab pulled over and we climbed out. Natascia threw some cash at the driver then followed us to the sidewalk. It was saturated with people as they walked through Manhattan. I could tell the bar was busy just by looking through the window. I held my breath as we walked inside. Music was playing over the sound system but it wasn’t too loud, thankfully. We took our seats at a table in the middle of the room. I held my dress as we sat down.
When I peered around the room, I immediately saw some men staring at us. I avoided their gaze as much as possible.
“I’m getting a pina colada,” Natascia said. “I love those things.”
“Too sweet,” Stephanie said. “I prefer wine.”
“Well, that’s because you’re picky,” I teased her.
“I am not,” Stephanie said, affronted.
“Yeah, okay,” Natascia said sarcastically.
Stephanie rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”
“I’m going to have a long island iced tea,” I said.
“That’s some serious alcohol,” Natascia said with a smile.
I looked at the menu again. “It is? I thought it was just tea.”
Natascia sighed. “I should have known.”
A man approached our table, holding a tray with three drinks. They were cosmopolitans, I think. I wasn’t very knowledgeable about cocktails. “This is from the gentleman at the bar.”
Natascia looked over her s
houlder. There were men everywhere and they all seemed to be looking at us. “Uh, which one?”
“The one in the black suit.” He turned around and walked away.
Stephanie stared at the front of the room. “Almost all of them are wearing black suits.”
I shrugged. “Well, at least it’s free.”
Natascia nodded. “Exactly.”
“So how’s school?” I asked Stephanie.
“This year has been the best. I’ve actually had time to have a life.” Stephanie drank from her glass and put it down. “I even went to the gym the other day. My pants were getting tight.”
I laughed. “Y
ou’re the skinniest person I know.”
“Yeah,” Stephanie agreed. “But my pants were still getting tight.”
“Well, maybe that was a good thing.” I stared at my friends and ignored everyone else in the room. I was thankful that no one came over to talk to us. Perhaps I was overreacting about going out to a bar. I did feel the stares fall on us, but I wasn’t sure who they were looking at, me or my friends. If they were staring at me, they probably knew how awkward I looked. My thin arms and white skin wasn’t appealing in contrast to the dark color of my dress. I went to the gym but I never did weights so I had no muscle tone. I was just thin. I liked my hair. It was thick and wavy. But that was the only thing I liked about myself. I was pretty ordinary.
The bartender returned to our table and I felt my palms sweat. I barely started my first
drink. I couldn’t possibly drink a second one. “This is from the gentleman at the bar.” He placed a red rose on the table right in front of me, making it clear who it was for, then turned around.
“Wait,” Natascia said. “Which one?”
“This one,” a man said from behind me.
I tried not to flinch but I did. I hadn’t noticed a man standing so close to us. The bar was packed
, so it wasn’t odd to have someone nearby. When he stood next to the table and looked at me, I felt my heart fall. He was over six feet tall with brown hair and blue eyes. He wore a beautiful suit, and I could tell that he was toned and firm under his clothes. I immediately felt the panic ascend. He was staring right at me. There was no confusion who he was interested in.
“Hello. I’m Ethan,” he said with a smile.
I said nothing. My voice was caught in my throat. I knew I looked idiotic but I still couldn’t speak.
“She says hi back,” Natascia said awkwardly.
Ethan nodded at Natascia then returned his gaze to me. He was beautiful—very beautiful. There were gorgeous women all over the bar, so why was he talking to
? And giving
“I wanted to buy you a drink but some guy beat me to the punch
. But since you’re hardly touching it, I suspect the flower is a better gift anyway.”
I blushed at his words. I was holding the stem in my fingers and I quickly released it.
He tilted his head to the side as he watched me. He was waiting for me to speak, but I still didn’t say anything. “And what’s your name?”
He nodded. “Are you named after The Beatles song?”
“Yes,” I said as I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. I was impressed that he knew that.
His eyes glanced to my exposed thighs and the cleavage of my dress. A second later, he looked back at me. His look made me uncomfortable. While I was flattered that he was attracted to me, I was also nervous. He obviously assumed what kind of girl I was, judging by my slutty attire.
“Thank you for the flower
but I’m not interested.”
His eyes widened. He clearly had never been rejected before. That wasn’t a surprise. I mean, the man was gorgeous. “Did I offend you in some way?”
“No. I’m just not interested.”
Stephanie kicked me under the table. “What are you doing?” she whispered.
Ethan smiled. I assumed he caught the exchange. “Tell me why you aren’t interested and I’ll walk away.”
I was irritated that this guy wasn’t backing down. I made it clear that I wanted him to leave. “I’m not the kind of girl you think I am. I’m sorry if I misled you. I just don’t want to waste your time.”
He raised an eyebrow. “And what kind of girl do I think you are?”
Even when he looked perplexed
, he still looked sexy. Damn. “I’m not having sex with you tonight,” I said bluntly.
ied not to laugh but her chuckles came out.
. “So you think the only reason I came over here was because I wanted to take you back to my place?”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. I didn’t mean to come off conceited. I just knew how guys behaved in bars. It was a place where they
hooked up with chicks, not searched for relationships. “Yes.”
He smiled. “Well, I think you’
re a very beautiful woman, but that wasn’t my intent.”
I started to laugh. I couldn’t help it. “You’re such a liar.”
Instead of being offended like I thought he would be, he chuckled. “You caught me.”
my answer is no. I’m sorry that you wasted your time.”
Ethan nodded. “I don’t think I did.” He stared at me with his heated gaze. I felt unnerved by the look. The man was handsome, on
e of the best looking guys I’ve ever seen, but I didn’t want to sleep with him then never hear from him again. That wasn’t my style.
“Have a good night,” I said politely.
“Let’s get some coffee.”
“You know, espressos, cappuccinos, stuff like that.”
“Don’t be an asshole.”
He smiled. “Sorry.”
“And you buying me a cup of coffee isn’t going to get me to sleep with you
“That’s fine with me.”
I stared at him suspiciously. “I mean it. You may as well work your magic on some other girl.”
“But I’m only interested in you.”
I felt my spine shiver. As much as I hated to admit it, this guy had game. “No, thank you.”
Stephanie kicked me under the table. “She would love to.”
Natascia nodded. “Take her. We’ll help you.”
I turned and glared at
them, giving them a look of hate.
Ethan placed h
is hand on the table, dangerously close to mine. “Well, your friends seem eager to get rid of you.”
“Please,” Stephanie said, practically pushing me out of the chair.
I leaned toward her ear. “I’m going to kill you.”
“Okay,” she said. “But wait until after your date.” She nudged me again.
Ethan grabbed my chair and pulled it out, helping me stand. I pulled my dress down again, not wanting him to see too much. He grabbed my clutch and handed it to me. “Shall we?”
“Great,” he said before I could finish. “Let’s go.”
I looked back at my friends
one more time, glaring at them before I walked with Ethan out of the bar.