Sugar on the Edge(10)

By: Sawyer Bennett

Eric just blinked at me in surprise, acting like he had no clue what I was talking about, but I knew he wasn’t that dense. Sadly, he was actually a fairly good-looking guy, but he had no tact, no manners, and absolutely no brains when it came to what women wanted.

“I’m sorry if I did something inappropriate,” he said with an apologetic smile.

“Well, you did,” I huffed. “And you’ve been doing it a lot. I need you to stop, or I can’t work here anymore.”

I held my breath in fear he would fire me, because I really, really needed this job right now. Fortunately, all he did was make another profuse apology, and then his demeanor chilled to near subarctic temps. He told me I could go ahead and leave and that he’d finish the editing. He also told me that he’d call me when he needed me again. So, while technically I wasn’t fired, I’m not sure he’ll call me for any more work and that has me in a near-panic mode.

Sighing, I walk through the crowded bar, all the way through to the back while letting some peaceful, easy feelings from the Eagles song that is pouring out of the jukebox suffuse through me. As I hit the back bar area where all the pool tables and dartboards are set up, I’m surprised to see Brody behind the bar.

He grins at me as I step up to an empty spot, resting my forearms on the wooden top. “You filling in tonight?”

“Yup,” he says as he pours a draft beer. “One of Hunter’s bartenders apparently has a case of the crabs so severe that he can’t stop scratching at his crotch.”

I blink at him dumbly, unsure of what he just said. Just to clarify, I ask, “Are you serious?”

“Nope, completely kidding. I think he has allergies or something, but it was worth it to see that look on your face,” he says, laughing.

Who would have thought it? Brody Markham, only out of prison for just over nine months, having been completely broken and withdrawn from life, was now sitting here throwing out jokes at me. I freakin’ loved it.

It never fails to bring a smile to my face when I see how easily he’s now reintegrating to life. Much of that has to do with him falling in love with Alyssa, but it also has to do with the incredible support system he has. His identical twin, Hunter, and his fiancée, Gabby, and of course, his little sister and my roommate, Casey, as well as his parents and myself. He has a close cocoon of people around him that share his secret… that he took the fall for a drunk driving accident where his ex-girlfriend, Stacy, was actually the one driving. Tragically, a man was killed and Brody became a felon, forever losing his charmed life in one blink of an eye.

But he’s back now, and as he told me last week when we were bathing the dogs at The Haven, he has never been happier in his life. Of course, he said that while staring sappily over at Alyssa, who was clipping one of the dog’s nails. It made my heart seize up in joy over the love they share. I’m not sure I’m ever destined for something like that, but there is enough of a romantic in me that I have to hope it will happen to me one day.

“The girls are out on the back deck,” Brody says as he inclines his head toward the door. “You’re the last to arrive.”

“Work and duty first,” I quip. “Can I get a Screwdriver while you’re at it?”

“Sure,” he tells me as he passes the draft beer he poured across the bar to the guy sitting to my right. After he takes the guy’s money and makes change, he starts making my drink. “Doing work with the photographer tonight?”

“Yup, but I might have lost my job,” I tell him sadly.

“Why’s that?” he asks as puts some ice in a glass and turns briefly to grab the Ketel One from the back shelf.

“I sort of snapped at Eric after he put his hands on me. He apologized, but I could tell he was a little taken aback that I finally called him on it.”

“It’s about damn time you did so,” Brody growls. “You’ve been taking too much shit from him.”

“Yeah, well… I need that damn job so I was willing to put up with a lot of crap from him to keep said stupid job.”

Brody’s hand freezes just before he tips the vodka over the glass. His eyes narrow at me, and his voice is dangerous. “What exactly did he do to you that made you finally speak up?”

I give Brody an easy smile of reassurance. “Nothing bad, so don’t go all Rambo on me. He just put his hands on my shoulders after making some lame comment about me being sexy. I just sort of lost it and couldn’t help myself when I told him to back off.”

Brody resumes finishing my drink. “You are totally sexy, Savannah, and one day, you’ll find a guy that is deserving of that sexiness.”

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