She stared at the amber liquid in the glass in front of her. It wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted to want the burn of the alcohol, but she didn’t. She hardly drank. Instead, all she wanted was to forget, and for that, the alcohol was her friend.
Her husband of ten years was an asshole. That much was clear.
Maybe their relationship wasn’t perfect, but it was love. At least Chloe thought it was love.
She took care of him and he took care of her. Isn’t that what love is?
Karen from the bank was doing a lot more than depositing John’s checks. Since that was the only bank in town, now Chloe was going to have to drive 15 miles to get to Waterford every time she wanted to go to the bank. Shit.
Vile slipped up her throat. She battled it back down. That’s what sucked about a small town. Everyone would know her husband cheated on her with Karen from the bank. Everyone would give her pity eyes. Shit.
She hated those pity eyes. They haunted her in her sleep. The same pity eyes everyone in town gave her when her mom passed away at sixteen and she had to scrape by on her own. With a father that ran out when she was six, Chloe had to make it on her own. She didn’t waste time wallowing in what could have been or the life she wished she’d had.
She’d put herself through a two-year degree to be a dental hygienist. She loved her job, but those other dental hygenist girls would talk and she’d have to listen. Hear the whispers about her broken-down love life. Poor little Chloe.
That’s why she was in Chicago. Despite her small Wisconsin hometown, it was only an hour to Chicago. A city of almost three million it held the anonymity she craved.
The bar was a dive and she didn’t care. Maybe she’d drink away the disappointment and loneliness and crash around the corner at the Holiday Inn.
Eventually, those small-town whispers would subside and John and Karen would get the brunt of it. Darien was protective of their own, and they didn’t accept cheaters with open arms.
Six months was all it took for John to fall into love with Karen. Six months of sleeping with another woman in their bed while she was at work. And ten years of marriage and relationship was goodbye. And she probably would have never known had she not gotten sick and walked in on the assholes mid-romp. There was that vile in her throat again.
John was a general contractor who had a hefty flow of business in different cities. He’d come into the office on her second day of work. She was still new and was fumbling with the newer equipment, much different from what she used in the class. He’d put out a hand and let her know it was alright. He put her at ease when really it was her job.
John had always been her rock. He was a solid two hundred pounds and six foot two to her slim five foot three frame. John was perpetually tan and rugged from all his hard labor and outdoor work. He might not have been handsome but he had been good to Chloe. He was safe and stable, something Chloe had always craved.
Chloe was starting to realize a relationship needed a lot more than that to be successful.
She swirled her glass of whiskey, threw it back and signaled the bartender for another. The bar was dim with stereotypical red lights, black stools, and green neon beer signs all along the wall. It wasn’t busy, but it was also Wednesday. There was only one other guy at the bar and he happened to be facing away so Chloe couldn’t get a good look at his face.
His backside was pretty nice though, not that she was looking. He was tall and built, wearing a black tee and dark jeans. He had his dark hair cropped close to his head, almost in a military cut.
Chloe caught the bottom end of a tattoo sliding down his arm ending at his elbow, it looked like a ship at sea that turned into a tree. It was so detailed, even in the dim light Chloe couldn’t help but stare.
She was staring so intently; she didn’t notice him turn around to look away before he caught her gaze.
His eyes burned into hers. Wow. Chloe bit back a gasp. This guy had a face like a movie star, a deep angled jaw with dark brows that gave him a seriously scary demeanor. After staring at him for what seemed like an eternity, Chloe forced her eyes back to her drink.
Damn. Chloe tried to recall the last time she saw a man that attractive in person. In a town of less than 1,600, everyone knew everyone else. And Darien didn’t have any citizens that looked like that guy. Not even close.
She tried to find something interesting to look at on the other side of the bar to avoid eye contact with him. He probably thought she was some sort of lunatic, staring at him that long. Although he could have looked away.
There wasn’t much, except for a few neon signs and another bar patron. He glanced up at Chloe and gave her an appreciative once-over. The guy had to be in his late forties with thinning blonde hair and a bit of a beer belly. And shit. He was standing up and coming over.
Chloe stared some more at her drink willing him to not sit next to her. She heard the scrape of the barstool next to her as he ponied up.
“Hey, I’m Trevor.” Trevor nicely stuck his hand in her line of vision so she couldn’t avoid him. She sighed. And shook his extended hand, “Chloe.”
She took another burning sip of whiskey and kept on staring at her glass.
Trevor scooched closer, close enough that she could smell his beer breath. Nasty.
Trevor was probably a perfectly nice guy, with a lack of understanding of personal space. But Chloe had no interest. She came here to drink away her shitty marriage and pass out at the Holiday Inn. Tomorrow she’d return to the house to grab her shit and find somewhere else to live.
“I haven’t seen you in here before,” Trevor said smiling.
How original Trevor.
“Yeah, I’m not from here,” She gestured to the bar.
Chloe looked up at the ceiling briefly. Trying to decide how to nicely get rid of Trevor without losing her cool.
“That’s cool, well if you like Chicago, I could always give you a tour or something. I work in real estate so I know a lot of the cool places. This bar’s just nice for a beer or two before I head home.” Trevor said hopefully reaching out and patting her arm for a few beats too long.
Chloe took a deep breath and turned to face Trevor when his eyes darted behind her.
She felt Mr. McHottie’s warm presence before she heard him. A deep voice came from over her shoulder, “There you are.” She felt his arm slip around the back of her stool.
Chloe turned to face him, about to tell him she was fine. When she realized how close they were. His face was only inches from hers. She could see his eyes were a dark green and his pupils flashed bigger as she stared at him.
Unlike Trevor, this guy’s breath smelled like a spicy cinnamon heaven. The words slipped out of Chloe’s head and she just stared. She noticed all the details about him she couldn’t see from several feet away, his dark eyes and his blinding white teeth and his lips. He had a day or two of scruff on his jaw and it was undeniably sexy.
Chloe took a breath and turned back to her drink for another burning sip, she noticed Trevor had slithered back to his seat on the other side of the bar. She turned back to Mr. McHottie and stuck out her hand.
“Chloe” He nodded and shook her hand. Chloe made the mistake of glancing down at her hand in his, it was huge. She glanced up at him and swallowed. It was possible the swallowing wasn’t sexy.
“No name for you? You a cop or something?” She asked narrowing her eyes. Then she burst out laughing.
He shrugged smiling, “Something like that.”
Chloe nodded, this guy was hot, but she really just wanted to reflect on her marriage and figure out what she did wrong.
She turned back to her dwindling whiskey on the rocks. “Mkay, well Trevor, who actually gave me his name, by the way, is gone. So you can go back to watching the wall or whatever you were doing.” Chloe said waving her hand dismissively.
He leaned in, pushed her hair behind her ears giving her shivers all the way down to her toes, and he whispered, “I can’t do that, he might come back.”
She sighed, “I don’t sit with strangers, so you’re going to have to tell me your name.” Chloe looked at him expectantly.
He looked into her eyes for a few more beats and said, “Dex.”
Chloe smiled, “Nice to meet you, Dex.” Chloe lingered on the syllables of his name, trying to decide if this was a fake name or not.
“How do you know I didn’t make that up?” He asked her in a slightly teasing tone.
She glanced at him again, either the whiskey was catching up with her or he was possibly the most attractive man she’s ever seen. “I don’t, but I trust you,” Chloe said, not meaning for that to come out so heavy.
A smile touched the corners of his lips as he signaled to Noah, the bartender for another.
“You want another?” He asked her, and he ordered another round for her after she nodded.
“You always drink straight whiskey?” He asked her, curious. His dark eyebrows lifted in a slight surprise. Chloe tried not to think too much about how beautiful his face was. She let her eyes trail down his face to his neck. Even his neck was sexy, thick and corded with bands of muscles that continued all down his body.
John was mostly in shape, but he was a bit soft around his middle. Dex was like a rippling CrossFit model. She involuntarily swallowed again.
“Do you?” She countered, she noticed Dex was drinking a similar amber colored liquid.
Dex had left his arm around the back of her stool and she found it oddly comforting to be included in his space. Even though he was a big intimidating man, she wasn’t scared of him at all. Surprisingly. When she said she trusted him, she meant it. Even though her trust in this absolute stranger didn’t make any sense to her.
“Whiskey is for bad days.” He said looking at his whiskey with a far-off look on his face.
Chloe cocked up her brow and pushed her auburn hair over her shoulder. “Yeah? You got a story you want to get off your chest.”
He shrugged, “Bad day at work. It happens.” He leaned forward and took a sip.
Chloe sensed his bad day was a bit more than a missed deadline or an office scuffle. It seemed deeper, but she didn’t want to press him.
“Bad day at home for me. Walked in on my husband banging the bank teller.” She took a big swig of her whiskey to avoid any questioning looks.
Chloe kept going when he didn’t say anything, “It really sucks, because there’s only one bank in town. So now I either strut in there like a fool I’ve been for the last six months or I drive twenty minutes to the next town over. Either way, there’s no way I’m gonna be able to avoid their stupid faces.”
“Interesting.” Is all he says taking a sip of his whiskey.
The insensitive jerk. She told him he could leave, and he didn’t. Men, they were so frustrating. It infuritated her to no end. She just wanted to drink her whiskey, which she hoped would help enlighten her on her crumbling marriage.
Chloe threw up her hands, “Sorry! I’m boring you with my, ten-year marriage is over because my soon to be ex-husband can’t keep his dick out of Karen. And apparently, she’s the love of his life. So sweet, not his wife of ten years. There was no talk of working through this, just that this marriage hasn’t been working for awhile, news to me, but that he wanted to be with her. She’s got ten years on me, so I must be a hideous boring fool.”
Even now, getting worked up, no tears threatened to come. Even when she walked in on them mid-act she was sickened and shocked but not sad. She smacked the bar in frustration.
Dex leaned in close again and touched his hand to Chloe’s chin to tip her eyes to his. He looked concerned, but not sympathetic. She appreciated that.
“Interesting, that in all of that, you didn’t once say you loved the fucker. Your biggest worry is seeing the skank who slept with your husband. Not that you won’t be with him anymore. I’m thinking his loss is my gain.”
Dex leaned in and kissed her lightly on the lips. It was a soft, quick kiss, but she was in a shitty spot and Dex didn’t want to take advantage of her. He pulled back and noted the slight flush in her cheeks. Her eyes were wide with surprise.
“Also, there’s no chance in hell any man with eyes would think you were hideous. In fact, I’m sure no man with eyes would think you were anything less than a knockout. And you seem to be anything but boring.” He winked at her and smiled.
Chloe’s blush deepened and she turned back to her almost empty drink. She supposed he was right. It was weird that she wasn’t sad that she had to be without John.
She wasn’t sad their marriage was over, and she wasn’t quite sure when that happened. Chloe thought she loved him. Their life had just become routine, they didn’t spend much time alone, not with Chloe’s hours and John working long construction days. They never had the same days off.
Dex spoke again, “Way I see it, you get to break out of the routine, find something better. Maybe actually like the next guy you’re with.”
Chloe nodded, wondering if Dex was interested in being that next guy.
Dex’s cell chimed with a text and he checked it. He kept his arm over the back of her chair while he was on his phone.
“Wife?” Chloe asked in what she hoped was a nonchalant tone.
“No honey, don’t play that way. I’m single. It’s my partner.” Dex typed a response and tucked the phone back in his pocket.
Chloe’s eyebrows were raised in skepticism.
“Work partner. You were right, I’m a cop. Chicago PD.”
Chloe nodded, she looked over at him, “So that bad day had to do with something heavy?”
Dex let his shoulders fall a bit, “Yeah, drug dealing murderer my partner and I captured almost a year ago got off with three years today. Only two years, because they counted his time served. It’s sickening.”
He scraped his fingers through his hair and signaled the bartender for one more. He glanced at her and she nodded. Why the hell not, the goal was to get tanked. And she was only two shots of whiskey in. Her limbs only felt warm.
Contemplating his day, Dex looked a combination of angry and sad. Chloe reached out and squeezed his hand. “You can’t control that. You did your job, it’s not your fault the system isn’t doing theirs.”
“It’s an epidemic.” He blew out a stream of hard air, “We capture these assholes and their back on the street before we can blink. It’s sick.”
“Two years is better than nothing.” Chloe countered.
“It’s just not enough.” He said with a sad twinge in his voice. The bartender brought over two more whiskeys, a neat for him and on the rocks for her.
“Makes my problems seem like small potatoes for sure.” She smiled at him.
“John might have dick timing and lack of sensitivity when it comes to handling the end of a ten-year marriage, but he didn’t murder anyone,” Chloe said shaking her head. “You’re dealing with a lot bigger things than me.”
“Hey, I wasn’t trying to compare and contrast. Ten-year marriage is a big deal. Like I said, his loss is my gain. I sure as hell wouldn’t leave you for Katy at the bank.”
“Karen,” Chloe said looking up at him, he had a glint in his eye and she realized he messed up her name on purpose.
Dex’s pupils were big and focused in on her, she felt the blush creep up her cheeks as he held her gaze only a couple inches from her face. His hand swept up and cupped the side of her face. Chloe leaned forward ever so slightly, drunk with desperation to taste him.
Dex was painfully slow, he touched his lips to hers and she pressed her lips to his. He slowly licked her bottom lip and she opened her lips to him. He swept his tongue into her mouth softly, tasting her sweet taste. She danced her tongue around with his and their passion grew with each passing second.
The last round lay forgotten as they shared something deeper. She reached up and grabbed his shirt pulling him into her. Dex let out a soft groan and pulled back.
Chloe was gasping soft breaths. It was like Dex sucked the air from her lungs.
She heard herself ask him, “Want to go somewhere?”
His eyes flashed to hers, “You sure?” She nodded. “I don’t want to be a rebound guy from your husband.”
She shook her head, “I’ve felt more with you in the past hour than I did in ten years with him.” She looked up at him with those big honest blue eyes. And Dex couldn’t deny the truth in them.
He fished out a couple twenties and threw them on the bar. He grabbed her hand and led her out of the bar.
It was at least ten at night and the street was deserted. They stopped outside and he pushed her against the brick wall pressing his body into hers as they continued the kiss, getting more desperate with every passing second.
“You staying around here?” He asked her huskily when he pulled back. The streetlight hit her auburn hair setting a golden glow on her tresses.
“I was planning on staying at the Holiday Inn, I didn’t check in yet. My car’s at a garage on Touhy Ave.” She said breathily resting a hand on each of his shoulders.
It was a warm July night in Chicago, the air still hung heavy with the heat and humidity of the day. Chloe black satin tank was smooth under his fingers. He loved the slight pink in her cheeks and her swollen lips from kissing him. She was beautiful.
“My place then.” He said, a statement. Dex grabbed her hand from his shoulder and started walking with her hand in hand. They stopped a few more times in the four blocks to Dex’s place to share kisses under the cover of the night.
As soon as they walked in the door, Dex pulled her inside and closed the door with his foot. He slipped his hands down to her ass and lifted her up, she wrapped her legs around him.
Dex carried her like that over to his massive sectional. He gently lowered down to the couch and she kissed down his neck and pressed herself into him.
He groaned at her soft gasps. He slipped his hand under her black tank and grazed his hand up her side, damn. No bra.
“You’re killing me, baby.” He groaned again.
She smiled up at him, reaching for his t-shirt to pull it over his head. He did the work for her. Her smile slipped away as she took in his rock hard, muscled body. Damn.
She wanted to put her hands all over him. She ran her hands over his shoulders, slowly down his chest, down to his stomach and she bit her lip as she watched his muscles contract from her touch. She let her hands roam all the way down to waistband. She slipped two fingers into his jeans and felt the tip of his erection.
Chloe swallowed. Dex took her hesitation to pull her tank over her head. It was his turn to watch in awe. He ran his hands over her breasts pulling at her nipples turning them into taut little peaks.
Chloe arched back and moaned. Dex leaned down to suck on her breast and play with the other while he licked and sucked. Her moaning got louder and she ground her hips into his erection.
They needed the bed. Now. Dex scooped her up and carried her over to his bed. His apartment was a brick loft studio with fifteen-foot ceilings. Despite it all being one open room it was still fairly spacious. He had chosen it for the floor to ceiling windows that gave a small peek into the Chicago skyline.
Dex laid Chloe carefully on the bed. The woman wasted no time. She unbuttoned her pants and pulled everything down in one swift motion.
She lay there open for him, he leaned down to taste her. He licked slowly tasting her, as her hands snaked through his hair. She sucked in quick breaths.
“God I’m so turned on, I might come if you keep doing that.” She said in a deep soft tone. He took that as instruction and kept licking, quickening his licks on her clit. She moaned even louder and wrapped legs around his head.
He slipped a finger inside her, giving her light pumps as he tasted her.
“Dex.” She warned half out of breath, he knew she was close, he could feel her grasping him, pumping her hips against him. It was incredibly hot.
He felt her body tighten as she reached climax.
“Oh, my god, Dex, ahhh, this is so good.” Except she was mid-orgasm so “good” came out “goo”. He kept his pace licking and sucking her clit and she came again. She screamed, “Ok, ok, ok.” She pulled back from him, shaking.
He gave her a moment. Her eyes were closed and he watched the rise and fall of her chest.
“So sexy baby.” He murmured to her.
She opened one sleepy eye to look at him. “I don’t want to give you a big ego, but that was fucking amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever come that hard.”
He smiled his beautiful white smile at her. She propped up on her elbows, “Your turn.” She got up and unbuttoned his pants. Her hand found his cock and he couldn’t take even her hand. He was about to burst after her performance.
He reached into the nightstand for a condom. Grabbing the shiny packed he ripped it open and slip it on.
“No time for that, baby, next time.” He said.
Her eyes flicked up to his at the mention of a next time. He thought she liked that, the way her eyes lit up. If she could come for him like that every time, there would be a lot of next times.
“I need to be inside of you, now.”
He pulled down his pants and his boxers with them. Chloe eyed his cock. Wow. She sucked in a breath. He felt big from her brief feels but seeing it now. It was big. She licked her lips.
Dex groaned and pushed her back onto the bed, spread her legs and guided himself in her.
He slipped in with just the tip and leaned forward to be close to Chloe. Dex wanted to see her face, he couldn’t remember wanting to see any other woman’s face, but he wanted to see hers.
Chloe could feel him push slowly inside of her. It felt amazing. It had been so long since she felt this turned on to have sex. Possibly this was the most turned on she had ever been. It was so intimate him gazing into her eyes as he pushed into her. It felt like more than just sex.
She wanted more, she wanted all of Dex now.
“More baby,” She said, dropping her hands to his ass pulling him deeper inside.
Dex didn’t need any more invitation, he slammed all the way inside of her. Chloe’s eyes rolled back when he hit her in the spot. He started in a strong rhythm and Chloe wrapped herself tighter around him.
It was amazing. She was amazing. Chloe loved how Dex’s muscles contracted and moved as he pumped in and out of her. It was so deliciously sexy.
He kept hitting that perfect spot inside of her, she felt a pressure building and whispered, “Dex, I’m going to come.”
Dex pulled back just enough to look in her eyes as he made sure his woman came before he did. He continued at an almost frantic pace and felt her tighten around his cock before she slipped over the edge, her hips convulsing around him. It was enough to push him over the edge.
Dex couldn’t hold back any longer and buried himself deep inside of her. He all but shouted as he came so hard. He had to keep his eyes closed to avoid seeing stars.
He collapsed on top of Chloe, took a breath and rolled off of her.
Dex hopped out of bed and into the bathroom for a minute. Chloe laid in his bed, wondering if she should make an exit. Despite everything Dex said, he probably didn’t want her to stay. Chloe should probably go.
She practiced her exit and flipped over so she was facing away from him when he came back to the bed.
As soon as she felt his weight his the bed she made her move.
“Well. I guess I should go.” Chloe said quietly swinging her legs over the side of the bed. Dex reached his arm around her middle and dragged her back into bed and pulled her into him.
“No, baby.” Dex said simply into her hair.
“Ok.” She said in a whisper. It felt good to be hear with him.
“You have to go get your stuff tomorrow?” He asked her.
How did he remember that? She thought she said it when she was rambling about what a big deal it was. “Yeah.” She said groaning.
“I could be there, help you back.” He said, “Tomorrow’s my day off anyway. Ain’t got shit to do.”
Chloe tried to imagine the look on John’s face if he saw Dex. Chloe didn’t want him to think she had been unfaithful. She hadn’t been.
As if reading her thoughts, Dex said, “I can just be there as your friend. Help you out. He doesn’t have to know anything.”
Chloe smiled. “Ok, yeah that would be nice. Thank you.” And with that they drifted off to sleep.