Ryder (Slater Brothers #4)(8) by L.A. Casey

“Okay, well, if you want to talk to me. I’m here.”

Bronagh’s lips twitched as she watched her program with focused eyes. “Thanks.”

I played with her hair for a minute or two then said, “So Aideen asked me to go out with her for a few drinks tonight, do you mind?”

Bronagh shook her head. “I’m goin’ to sleep after this, so nope.”

I knew she wouldn’t mind, but it relaxed me hearing her saying it.

I loosened up. “Okay, great. I’ve already locked the house up before I came up here, but before I leave I’ll check once more and set the alarm.”

Bronagh lifted her arms out of the covers and gave me two thumbs up. I leaned over and kissed her forehead and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow after school. I’ve to head to class in the mornin’ then I’ve to go to the hospital in the afternoon.”

My sister nodded. “Can you leave some money out for me? I’m going to the deli on my lunch hour tomorrow.”

I kissed her head and stood up. “Okay, I’ll put it on the kitchen counter for you.”

Bronagh looked at me then and grinned. “Be good.”

I raised my eyebrow. “I’m always good.”

“You’re right,” my sister smirked. “Maybe you should be very bad then.”

“Bronagh!” I gasped making her laugh.

I folded my arms across my chest. “I’m still not used to you makin’ jokes like that.”

“Get used to it then,” Bronagh snorted. “I’m sure when I see you tomorrow I’ll take the piss out of you again.”

“You’re a bitch,” I grumbled.

“And proud.” My sister smirked.

I playfully rolled my eyes. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I walked out of her bedroom and closed her door just as she shouted, “Have fuuuuunnn!”

I grunted to myself as I headed in the direction of the bathroom. After I showered, dried and styled my hair I glanced at the clock on my bedroom wall and groaned. It was twenty to eleven, and I hadn’t even decided on what to wear yet. I groaned and slumped back onto my bed, and stared up at the ceiling.

“This night is goin’ to be a disaster.”

“Where are you?” I impatiently asked Aideen. “I just pulled up outside in a taxi and I don’t wanna wait around on me own.”

“I just got here, too. I’m over with Skull at the entrance to the club.”

I relaxed. “Okay, see you in a sec.”

I paid the taxi driver then got out of the car and brisk walked past the lengthy queue of people and made my way to the top of the queue. Aideen’s face lit up when she saw me. She let go of Skull’s arm and hugged me when I reached her.

“You look gorgeous!” She gushed.

I looked down at my black tube dress that stuck to me like a second skin and pushed my boobs up, then switched my gaze to Aideen.

“Me?” I quizzed and brushed the compliment off. “Have you seen your boobs in that dress?”

“But of course,” my friend wickedly grinned. “They’re me best asset.”

I raised my eyebrow. “That’d be your brain.”

Aideen snorted at my correction and took hold of my hand as we moved over to Skull who greeted us with a bright smile. “Well if it isn’t me fantasy threesome partners,” he teased.

I playfully rolled my eyes while Aideen cracked up with laughter, which caused Skull to smile. He flicked his gaze to me and winked.

“How is Branna this evenin’?” he asked.

I teasingly fanned my face. “I’m great, how is Skull keepin’?”

“Grand,” he said and jabbed his thumb at Aideen. “I’ve this one on me arm, I couldn’t be better.”

Aideen snorted. “You’re already gettin’ laid later, there’s no need to sweet talk me.”

“Maybe I like sweet talkin’ you.” He grinned.

I pretended to heave. “You’re both too cute, stop or I’ll be sick.”

They laughed and Skull moved us inside the club’s entrance and instructed us to go down the stairs. He promised to meet up with us later after the door was clear of punters. I thanked him then took Aideen’s hand as she led us down the flight of stairs. At the bottom of the stairs a bouncer who guarded the main entrance to the club greeted us.

“Heya John,” I said with a wave.

His face brightened up. “Branna, how are you, babe? Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“I’m good, this one dragged me out tonight.”

“I expect nothin’ less from Miss. Collins,” John teased.

I smiled as he stamped Free on my left wrist, and Darkness on my right in thick black ink.

“Thank you,” I smiled warmly as he did the same for Aideen.

“You got it, darlin’.” John winked. “Have a good night.”

I thanked him again and followed Aideen through the double doors that lead into the nightclub. I needed a moment to allow my vision to adjust to the club’s next to no lighting. The strobe lights were already forming an ache in my temples. I followed Aideen over to the crowed bar, and I hung back while she ordered us some drinks.

I tapped my hand against my thigh and bobbed my head along to the song that was pouring through the speakers. I took the drink that Aideen offered me and took a sip. I hummed as the liquid slid down my throat.

Vodka and Coke.

“Me favourite,” I grinned.

Aideen clanked her glass against mine and downed her drink in just a few gulps. I blinked, and didn’t even attempt to do the same with my drink because I knew it’d be back up my throat just as quick. I drank mine at a regular pace, which was not what Aideen did. By the time I finished my first drink she was on her third.

“Let’s dance!” she shouted when her glass was empty.

I put my empty glass on the bar, took hold of Aideen’s hand and allowed her to lead me to the dance floor. We danced, laughed and danced some more. I was just about to request we take a little break, when the sea of people parted on the dance floor and opened up the view of the booths across the club.

My eyes locked on the corner booth, or rather on the man in the booth.

Oh, Christ.

“Branna?” Aideen laughed. “Will you blink?”

I knew I was staring, and for the life of me I couldn’t make myself stop, or at the very least look away. My libido sprung to life and had taken over full control of my body.

Pulse. Pulse. Pulse.

“Who is that?” I asked Aideen without taking my eyes away from the Greek God that was sat in the corner booth gulping down Budweiser like it was water.

“That,” Aideen wickedly grinned as she nudged me to the edge of the dance floor, “is Ryder Slater. Skull says he is from New York and that he just moved here with his younger brothers, one of his brothers—who is an identical twin by the way—is a fighter. He has fought here almost every weekend for the past few weeks, he is lethal and is only Bronagh’s age.”

I heard everything Aideen said, but my mind, and vagina, only focused on one crucial detail of her Intel. Ryder Slater.

“He is gorgeous,” I gushed, unable to look away from him.

Aideen whooped over the music. “Go get him, mama.”

I felt molten heat creep up my neck. “I can’t.”

“Can’t or won’t?” Aideen asked, clicking her tongue.

I looked at my friend and frowned. “How does a woman like me talk to someone who looks like him? Because I honestly have no idea, I’ll make a tit out of meself.”

Aideen rolled her eyes and over the music she said, “Branna, will you listen to yourself? You sound like you’ve already been rejected by him, but you haven’t and you won’t, if you just be yourself. You’re stunnin’, babe, and you’re a hell of a girl, too. Lads dig that.”

I hated that my eyes welled up. “You’re so sweet to me,” I said and quickly dabbed under my eyes, careful not to ruin my eye make-up.

“We have got to get you laid,” Aideen grumbled. “And Ryder Slater will be the one to work out all of your kinks. Come with me.”

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