Chaser

By: Kylie Scott
To my readers, thank you for sticking with me and I hope you enjoy it.





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

With thanks to my agent, Amy Tannenbaum, Eileen Rothschild, and everyone at St. Martin’s Press, Pan Macmillan Australia, and Pan Macmillan UK.

Thank you to Danielle and KP at Ink Slinger PR. Special thanks to all the book bloggers and reviewers out there who work so hard to share their love of books with the world.

To the Groupies, you rock! Thanks for making every day that little bit better.

And to my readers, thank you so much for picking up my books. I hope they make you smile.





CHAPTER ONE

“Face it, Eric. You’re a fuckboy.”

I turned away from the shapely ass I’d been checking out, and frowned. “Jesus, Nell. That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?”

“No, not really,” she said, smoothing a loving hand over her small baby belly.

I fixed my gaze on her face, ignoring everything and anything to do with her midsection. I did not want to know anything about her pregnancy. Not that I wasn’t happy for her and her husband. We’d all gone to school together and been friends a long time, after all. But for lots of really good reasons, me and babies didn’t mix. Every time I saw Nell’s bump, it worried me. I said a little prayer to please let her and the baby be okay this time, and then did my best not to think about it again. Not to remember the baby we’d lost last year. There were things much more happiness-inducing going on in the bar area than falling into grief and regrets again.

“… I don’t even need to look to see. That’s how predictable you are. I can tell when a hot woman walks into the bar just by seeing your eyes light up like a cat that’s spied a mouse.” She paused, then ranted, “Eric? Eric!”

“Yeah?”

She cocked her head. “You’re not even listening to me, are you?”

“Of course I am.” Mostly. I was sort of torn between outrage at Nell’s insinuation, and an itching desire to follow the perfect behind. Didn’t make Nell right, however.

“This is what I’m talking about,” she said. “Your attention span makes a gnat look gargantuan.”

“Calm down. I said I was listening to you.”

“So what did I just say?”

“Well, basically you said that I’m a douche,” I said. “Which hurts.”

Nell crossed her arms. “Oh, really? Now you’re pretending you have feelings?”

“Of course I have feelings.”

“Sure you do. And why do I think you’re a douche?”

“Ah…” I stared off over her shoulder, catching sight once more of the back of the particularly lovely looking female being shown to her table by Lydia. Lydia was the third owner of the Dive Bar, along with me and Nell. But back to the far more important babe: long brown hair hung down to her shoulder blades and a shapely ass swayed with every step. Goddamn. Summertime with all the skin on display was pretty great. But then again, winter with its tight jeans and sweaters, like my new about-to-be-best-female-friend-with-benefits had on, was also pretty fucking awesome. Too bad I could only spy on her from behind. I wonder what her rack was like. Not that I was fussy. Full, generous, slim, pert, soft, firm; it was all good. It’s like I always say: life is like taking off a girl’s bra. You never know exactly what you’re gonna get, but however it turns out, it’s basically awesome.

“Eric?” Nell picked up a knife, immediately dragging me out of my daydreams. She started tapping it against a cutting board all impatient like. “I’m waiting.”

“Women and stuff,” I said, the obvious answer. Generally, it was always one or the other. “You think I’m a douche because of women and stuff.”

Her eyes narrowed. “‘And stuff’?”

“Am I wrong?”

“No.”

Phew. “Okay then.”

“Seriously, Eric. One day you’re going to wish there was more to your life than the next piece of ass.” She stopped cutting to gesticulate with her hands, one of which was still alarmingly wielding the knife. “I mean, the closest you’ve ever come to a long-term relationship was with Alex, and that was only because Joe stole your online identity to woo her!”

“Ha. Ha.” I bet Nell had planned that line a week ago, and was just waiting for a chance to wheel it out. “Can I get back to work now?”

“Whatever.” She slapped the knife down. “You’re a lost cause. I give up on you.”

Thank God for that.

Baby hormones made Nell even scarier than usual. Just the other day, she’d ripped me a new one for breathing too loudly. Now she was calling me a manwhore. Talk about unfair. Sure, I’d slept with a number of women. I liked women—a lot. But there was more to me than just my sex life. It kind of did hurt that one of my oldest friends, who I’d been through some serious shit with, didn’t share that opinion.

Anyway, forget Nell and her bad mood. There were more pleasant duties to attend to on the restaurant floor. Being that it was midafternoon, things were pretty quiet. No one was waiting for me to fix them a drink at the bar. Taka, the waiter on duty, stood behind the counter, busy folding napkins and cleaning cutlery and shit. I was good to go.

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