Aris & Luke
Sliding onto the tall stool, Aris Collier waved to get the bartender’s attention over the noise. “Bourbon. Neat.”
The woman read her lips perfectly and delivered the shot with a bright smile before shifting to a group of men a few feet away.
“Going hard, huh?”
Aris glanced over her shoulder when she heard the question, curious to see the face associated with such a desirable voice. “Yep. No frills, no fluff. Just me and the whiskey.”
Turning away, she looked up at the flat panel television mounted above the bar and watched as the home team’s star receiver scored his third touchdown on a 62-yard pass. The excitement erupted instantly, and a few overzealous fans nearly struck her head as they pumped their fists wildly in celebration. Indifferent about it all, she opened her mouth, consumed the booze and slammed the empty shot glass on the counter.
“That’s the spirit.” The man smiled, easing further into her space. “I’m Luke. Luke Donovan.”
She lifted the hair off her neck with one hand, totally expecting her body to ignite at any moment as the liquor continued to burn its way down to her empty stomach. Aris closed her eyes for a few seconds, took a deep breath and refocused just in time to see the bartender place another shot of bourbon in front of her. One she hadn’t asked for.
Tilting her head, she pinned him with a glare.
He shrugged. “Just trying to be a nice guy and buy the lady what she wants.”
“You have no idea what I want, Luke Donovan.” Despite her declaration, Aris lifted the small glass to her lips and welcomed the burn once again, the numbness beginning to take over. Perfect.
The crowd cheered.
Seconds later, a woman in the seat beside her abruptly stood and stumbled from the bar.
“Just my luck,” Luke said, claiming the empty seat before someone else did.
“Yeah?” Aris grinned before shifting her eyes back to the game. “Don’t speak too soon.”