Overheard, p.2
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       Overheard, p.2

         Part #2 of Unspoken series by Maya Banks
 
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  “That’s exactly what I’m doing,” Gracie said coldly. “Giving you a break. We’re done. Finito.”

  Anger flashed on Keith’s face, and Luke started forward. He knew that look and it could only mean trouble.

  “You teasing bitch,” Keith snarled.

  He made a grab for her arm, but Gracie sidestepped him and rammed her knee into his groin.

  “Cock-sucking bastard!” she hissed as he fell to the ground.

  Luke stepped between them and hauled Keith up by his shirt. The man was still pale with pain and clutching his privates for all he was worth.

  Luke slammed him against Keith’s truck and got in his face. “If I ever see you within ten feet of Gracie again, I’ll make what she just did look like a blow job. You got me?”

  Keith grunted and struggled to get loose. “Yeah, I get it. Get your fucking hands off me. You’re welcome to the psycho bitch.”

  Luke decked him. Keith fell to the ground, blood spurting from his nose. Keith grabbed his face with both hands, howling in pain.

  He scrambled to his feet and fumbled to open his truck door. “You son of a bitch! If you broke my nose, I’m pressing charges.”

  Luke chuckled and jerked his thumb in the direction of the kitchen window. “You do that, pussy boy. But you ought to know two cops are watching from that window over there, and I imagine they’ll swear they didn’t see any such thing.”

  Keith threw himself into the truck, swearing and swiping at the blood running down his face. In a few seconds, he spun out of the driveway, spewing a trail of rocks and dirt several feet high.

  Luke turned back to Gracie who wore a look of astonishment on her face.

  “You okay?” he asked gently.

  “Yeah, I’m good.” She looked up at him, her eyebrows arched in question. “What the hell was that all about?”

  Luke knew why she was confused. He’d never intruded on her business like that. Gracie was more than able to take care of herself. It was something he admired about her.

  He shrugged and put a hand on her shoulder. “Just looked like you could use the help, that’s all.”

  “Yeah, well, thanks,” she mumbled as they started back toward the house.

  As they stopped at the steps, she looked up at him, her bottom lip stuck between her teeth, a sure sign of agitation.

  “You didn’t…you didn’t hear our conversation did you?” she asked nervously.

  Luke almost smiled. Yeah, he supposed Gracie would about die if she knew he’d overheard that and more. From what he’d gleaned from her conversation with Michelle and then her fight with Keith, it looked like she was spreading her wings a bit and venturing into new territory. Territory he was intimately familiar with.

  “Nah, I’d just come out when he made a move toward you,” he lied. “Looked like he was trying to hurt you.”

  “Well, thanks,” she said again, her shoulders slumping in relief.

  “No problem. What are friends for?”

  He threw his arm around her neck, letting his hand dangle over her shoulder, something he’d done a million times before. Only now, he was very aware of the proximity of his hand to her breasts. And those nipple rings he was dying to see.

  Chapter Three

  “So you going to tell me what the hell went on out there earlier?” Wes asked as he popped open another beer.

  Luke flopped onto his couch and took a long swig of his own beer. He and Wes had left Jeremy’s earlier and had ended up at Luke’s place. Luke knew Wes was curious over his interference, not that Wes would have done things any differently if he’d been outside when Keith made his move at Gracie.

  He took another fortifying gulp before he eased the bottle from his lips. “Let’s just say it’s been an interesting and informative day. Wes leaned back in the arm chair and propped his feet up on Luke’s coffee table. “How so?”

  Luke shook his head. Where to start? With the easy part he guessed. “Keith was being an asshole. He was ripping on Gracie, and she told him to take a hike. He went after her and Gracie kneed him in the balls.”

  “Good for her,” Wes said, performing a mock salute with his beer bottle.

  “I broke his nose for good measure.”

  Wes looked at him and shook his head. “Shit, tell me I’m not going to have to arrest your ass when he presses charges.”

  Luke laughed. “He’s a pussy. Besides, I told him you and Jeremy were watching and would swear you didn’t see anything.”

  “Gee, thanks,” Wes said dryly. “Just what I need, to be arrested with you.”

  Luke fiddled with his beer, tapping his finger in restless staccato against the cool glass. He hesitated to tell Wes what he’d overheard. Why, he couldn’t say. They’d never exactly been discreet with each other, and he knew Wes would find it as surprising as he had. But something held him back.

  “What’s eating you?” Wes spoke up, intruding on Luke’s thoughts. “You’ve been acting weird all afternoon. You said the day had been informative. So what’s the news?”

  Luke sighed and leaned forward to set his beer on the coffee table. “It’s about Gracie.”

  Wes cocked an eyebrow. “What about her? You weren’t really surprised she dumped her pussy boyfriend, were you?”

  Luke shook his head. “I’m not talking about the wimp, and no, I’m not all together surprised she dumped him. Even less so after what I heard her talking to Michelle about.”

  “Ah hell, man, what were you doing eavesdropping on the girls? Gracie will kick your ass if she finds out.”

  Luke grinned. Yeah, she wouldn’t hesitate to lay him out. He got the oddest tingle just thinking about her getting in his face. He shook his head. It was the nipple rings, it had to be. He couldn’t get his mind off what her nipples must look like. Hell.

  He cleared his throat. “She, uh, well, she said some interesting things.”

  Wes leaned forward, dropping his feet to the floor with a thud. “Now you’ve got me curious. What the hell did she say?”

  “Apparently she dumped the pussy because he sucked in bed.”

  “Yeah, well, again, that’s no surprise. She probably ate him alive,” Wes said.

  Luke cocked his head sideways and stared at his friend. “Tell me something, Wes. Have you ever thought about having sex with Gracie?”

  Wes choked on his beer and coughed several times in succession. “Sex? With Gracie? Shit man, no, not really. I mean she’s hot, don’t get me wrong. Seriously hot. But...”

  “Seriously hot, huh. So you have thought about it, you lying sack of shit,” Luke said on a laugh.

  “You have eyes, man. The girl is a walking goddess. What guy wouldn’t get a hard-on looking at her?”

  “Well, get this,” Luke said, leaning toward Wes. “I overheard her telling Michelle that she was tired of men not satisfying her in bed. That she has fantasies she wants to live out.”

  Wes sat up straighter, his attention focused on Luke. “What kind of fantasies?”

  Luke shrugged casually, but his blood was racing just thinking about all she’d said. “Bondage, a little spanking…and she wants to take on two guys at the same time.”

  “Whoa,” Wes said as he flopped back in his chair. “She said all that?”

  “There’s more,” Luke continued on. “Apparently she wanted pussy boy to do a little experimenting in bed and he freaked. He called her a whore.”

  “That little son of a bitch,” Wes growled. “I knew I should have gone outside with you.”

  “She has nipple rings. Must be recent. Keith evidently didn’t receive the news so well judging by his comments.”

  “Holy fucking shit. Nipple rings?”

  “Yeah. Now tell me you aren’t picturing Gracie in the buff with nipple rings dangling from those perfect breasts.”

  “Jesus.”

  “My thoughts exactly,” Luke mumbled.

  “She wants two guys? She said that?”

  “Oh, hell yeah. She said that and a lot mor
e. She wants a guy who isn’t afraid to call the shots. Someone who will tie her up, spank her ass and fuck her brains out.”

  “Goddamn.”

  Luke laughed. “Is that all you can say?”

  “I’m speechless,” Wes said, his mouth still open in shock.

  “Glad I’m not the only one all fucked up over it.”

  “Does she know you heard all that?”

  “Hell no. She wouldn’t speak to me for a year,” Luke said.

  Wes fell silent, his eyes thoughtful. Luke knew Wes’s brain was spinning a mile a minute. He also knew Wes was rapidly coming to the same conclusion he had.

  “Hell, if that’s what she wants…”

  “Yeah,” Luke said. “Tell me you aren’t thinking the same thing I am.”

  Wes grunted. “I’d have to be fucking gay not to react to something like that. I mean she’s hot. I’ve always thought so.”

  Luke looked over at his friend. “Valentine’s is just two weeks away. Should be enough time for you to make arrangements to be off work.”

  Wes’s eyes narrowed. “What are you thinking about?”

  Luke took in a deep breath then grinned. “Well, we’ve already established the fact that Gracie is hot. We’re both attracted to her. Neither of us has any problem with nipple rings or bondage, and we have considerable experience in the threesome arena. So it seems to me that maybe we should give Gracie a Valentine’s Day to remember.”

  “What if she won’t go for it?” Wes asked. “I don’t want to piss her off and I sure don’t want to mess up my friendship with her. We have too much fun for that shit.”

  “She’ll go for it,” Luke said confidently.

  He’d seen the longing in her eyes, the need for something she probably couldn’t even explain. He knew it because he’d felt the same thing. He also knew that he was the man who could give it to her.

  Wes scrubbed a hand over his closely shaved goatee in a thoughtful motion. “I don’t know, man. It’s not like we’re going to fuck some chick we won’t ever see again. This is Gracie we’re talking about. What happens when it’s over with? I don’t want there to be any awkward shit.”

  “You’re over thinking this,” Luke said impatiently. “We give Gracie an experience she won’t ever forget. We show her things she’s been craving. If anything it makes us even closer. I mean there’s no way in hell I’d fuck her and just go on like nothing ever happened. We both like her a hell of a lot. More than any other woman apart from Michelle, that’s for sure. I don’t see the problem here.”

  “Just how much do you like her?” Wes asked, a peculiar expression on his face.

  Luke shifted uncomfortably. What the hell kind of question was that? “I—I care about her,” he said lamely.

  Wes continued to stare at him. “Do you have a thing for her?”

  “Shut the fuck up,” Luke growled. “Jesus, this is sex. Gracie’s our friend. Our very gorgeous, hot friend. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t like to get next to her.”

  Wes took a sip of his beer. “No, I can’t tell you that. But wanting something or knowing I’d enjoy it is different than actually doing it. Look, I just don’t want to fuck things up between us all.”

  “What if she wanted it?” Luke challenged. “I mean what if she wanted what we could give her? Would you be so reluctant then?”

  Wes thought for a minute then shook his head. “Hell no. I just don’t want to hurt her. That’s all I’m saying.”

  “Well, shit, Wes. Do you think I’d do anything to hurt her? She’s one of my best friends. I want to make it good for her.”

  “You’re serious about this.”

  “Fuck. No, I’ve just spent the last ten minutes going on about my plan to seduce Gracie for nothing.”

  “No need to be sarcastic,” Wes said with a chuckle. “Okay, you’ve convinced me. This is your idea, so you plan it. Tell me when and where to show up. I’ll be there. But if she shows any sign of not wanting this, I’m out.”

  Luke scowled at him. “No shit, dumbass. It’s not my plan to rape her for God’s sake. But I’m telling you, she wants something. Something she doesn’t quite understand but knows she wants. You didn’t hear the things she said or the way she said them. And I think I can give her what she wants.”

  Wes looked quietly at him, studying him with that cop look he was so famous for. “Yeah, maybe you can.”

  Chapter Four

  Gracie twisted restlessly in her chair and flipped another contract in the to be signed pile. Mondays were always busy. Tickets to process, contracts to look over. It was dull, tedious work, but it paid the bills, and she could do it with half a brain. Important when the other half was consumed with her nonexistent sex life.

  Yesterday’s encounter with Keith had only reinforced that she’d made the right decision. She still felt the uncomfortable burn of embarrassment that Luke had stepped in when Keith had gone over the line. She didn’t like Luke seeing yet another of her failures.

  Her office door swung open, and she looked up to see Luke standing there. She blinked, wondering if she’d conjured him. She smiled welcomingly.

  “Hey, what are you doing here?”

  He ambled further into her office, his thumbs thrust into his jeans pockets. Jeans that were tightly molded to his muscular legs. His leather jacket hung loosely to his waist, and underneath she could see he wore a simple T-shirt. Obviously a day he wasn’t meeting prospective clients.

  “Hey, Gracie,” he said, returning her smile. “I was in the neighborhood and wondered if you wanted to grab lunch with me.”

  Her smile widened. “Barbeque?”

  He chuckled. “As if I’d suggest anything else.”

  She made a grab for her jacket on the floor at her feet before standing. “As long as you’re buying.”

  As she rounded the desk, his arm came out, and he pressed his hand to the small of her back to usher her out the door. It was an intimate gesture, one that puzzled her. He was usually all about punching her in the arm or pointing out a nonexistent spot on her shirt so she’d look down and he could chuck her nose.

  They walked outside, and Gracie shivered slightly. Damn cold front had moved in overnight. The sky was overcast and gray, and a cold drizzle escaped in fine droplets.

  She slid into Luke’s truck and sank into the heated leather seats with a contented sigh. She’d given him hell when he’d bought the truck. Top of the line, tricked out, no expense spared. He spent money like it was nothing. But then he did have a lot of it to burn.

  “Cold?” Luke asked as he started the engine and turned the heat on full blast.

  She grumbled under her breath and stuck her hands out to the vents. He knew damn well she was freezing her ass off. Anything below fifty degrees and she was breaking out the winter parka.

  They drove a few miles to the Barbeque Shack and pulled into the crowded parking lot. Aside from a Mexican restaurant and a hole-in-the-wall burger joint, this was the only other place to eat without driving into the neighboring town. Which was fine with Gracie, because if it wasn’t grilled and slathered with barbeque sauce, it wasn’t worth eating.

  Luke walked ahead of her treating her to a look at those very tight jeans stretched across a very nice ass. His hair was all messed up as usual, but that was Luke. The wind blew at it, ruffling it up and sending it scattering across his head. She nearly reached up to smooth it, but caught herself before she did.

  He held the door open for her, and she walked by him, sniffing appreciatively as the mixture of leather and the smell that was Luke sifted through her nostrils.

  Minutes later, they were sitting at a table by the window sipping their drinks and waiting for their order to come. Luke leaned back in his chair and gazed lazily at her.

  “Tell me something, Gracie. How come you and I haven’t ever gone out?”

  She nearly choked on her drink. She set it down with a plunk and wheezed as she tried to make the last swallow go down.

  “What?” she g
asped.

  His eyes narrowed. “You heard me.”

  “Well hell, Luke, I don’t know what to say.”

  Her mind reeled as she stared at him. What on earth had possessed him?

  “We like each other, right?”

  “Well, of course,” she said crossly. She wasn’t sure she liked where this conversation was heading. Now was not the time for Luke to get some strange bug up his ass.

  She was feeling oddly vulnerable after her latest dead-end relationship. Like she was some freak of nature, destined to never find a guy who understood her, much less one who could satisfy her.

  “We get along great. We understand each other,” Luke continued.

  Yeah, right. If he only knew. He understood she was a nice girl who kept picking the wrong guy. He had no idea that underneath all the sweetness was a woman itching to break out. She was tired of being good. The girl next door. She wanted to be bad. And she was damn sure tired of being viewed as little sister, good pal, hunting and fishing partner.

  “Is there a point to all this?” she asked.

  “Yeah,” he said slowly. “There is. I’m trying to figure out why we’ve never gone out on a date.”

  She stared at him for a long second, debating whether to even go there. But she wasn’t a liar, and she wasn’t big on playing games. So she just told the truth.

  “Because you never asked,” she said softly.

  They were interrupted by the waitress bringing their plates and dumping them in front of them. Gracie was grateful for the break because Luke was looking at her like he could crawl right under her skin and see everything she was hiding.

  The waitress took her sweet time in leaving, and as she started away, she slid a napkin across the table toward Luke. Gracie didn’t give it a single thought until Luke picked it up and looked over his shoulder, a look of surprise on his face.

  “What’s wrong?” Gracie asked, finally breaking the silence between them.

  Luke turned back around, shaking his head. “She gave me her phone number. Wrote it on the napkin.”

  A surge of irritation rippled through her chest. “That’s probably one reason we’ve never gone out,” she muttered.

  “But you were sitting right there,” he said, ignoring her comment. “How the hell did she know we weren’t here together, that you aren’t my girlfriend or something?”

  Gracie burst out laughing. “Luke, are you feeling well today? I swear you aren’t yourself. Half the town is used to seeing us together. No one’s ever assumed you were interested in me.”

  “Well, what do they know?” he growled.

  He stared across the table at her, his blue eyes sparking with something she wasn’t used to seeing. At least not when he was looking at her.

  “I’m asking now, Gracie.”

  She looked dumbly at him. “You want us to go out? As in a real date? I mean because we usually hook up on the weekends anyway.”

  He dropped the napkin and leaned forward impatiently. “I mean you and me on a date. No Jeremy, Michelle or Wes. Friday night.”

  She blinked in surprise. A peculiar sensation ran circles in her belly. She felt nervous. For God’s sake. This was Luke.

  A real date. She sank back in her chair, still staring at him like he’d lost his mind.

 
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