As Buck took off in a spray of gravel she felt her hands tighten up on his torso, more worried about falling off than what she was holding onto. The wind tossed her hair out behind her, her skirt came up her legs and she was glad she’d made sure to tuck it into place under her ass. The bike was loud, terrifying, and thrilling.
The edges of town flew by, and as it did she realized they hadn’t discussed where they were going. She certainly hadn’t given her address to this stranger, so now she was at his mercy as the sights turned into Markham. She had a sinking feeling, scared for a completely different reason now.
When the bike came to a rest in a familiar dirt-packed parking lot she sighed, unbuckling her chin strap. The Dog’s Breakfast stood, ramshackle and questionable in the daylight, in front of them. While she wrestled with the fastener she felt his fingers trail over her ankle, and at first she thought it was an accident. Plus her legs were numb from the ride, despite the warm day. But then his hand slid upward along her calf before tucking behind her knee. Gertie jumped, yanking the helmet off and trying to scurry off the bike as fast as she could. Not because he touched her and made her uncomfortable. Not at all; in fact, it had been very, very nice. And that’s why it made her nervous.
“Sorry,” he chuckled, swinging a leg over to dismount. “But your leg was distracting.”
She was stupefied by that. Never in her life had anyone ever said anything so bluntly. He said it so that it didn’t even sound like a line. She tucked her hair behind her ear and nervously looked anywhere else, wondering how he talked her into coming here with him when no one knew where she was going. Henri and her father were probably worried about her.
“Come on,” Buck encouraged, tucking his sunglasses into a pocket of his vest and heading to the door. Gertie weighed her options, not knowing if there was so much as a bus stop nearby, then turning back as Buck opened the door. He was holding it open, eyeing her up with a smirk on his face.
Gertie bit her lip, sighing inwardly. This was stupid. He was a stranger, a biker. And too good-looking. Not just the structure of his face, which was amazing. But the whole vibe, that macho cool bad ass that didn’t seem like an act for a second. He lived it, wore it, breathed it and gave it off like a beacon. She’d seen it cow Jim down to a meager wimp with a few words and a glare.
That had all been impressive. Not to mention sexy as hell. And the fit of his jeans was morally objectionable.
Gertie offered a small smile and followed, stepping into the dim barroom and waiting for her eyes to adjust after the brightness outside. She slowed her pace, worried she’d bump into something. A warm hand pressed against her lower back, leading her through the tables she could barely see and the strange flutter came back, the same one that hit her when he tickled her leg.
She loved a man leading her through a room by her back There was something old-fashioned about it that didn’t feel chauvinistic. Just respectful.
“Let me buy you a drink. It sounds like the day you’ve had entitles you to a couple.”
Gertie allowed a short laugh at that, legging her way up onto a barstool. He waited until she was settled, then waved the bartender down and held up two fingers. Whatever that meant. Then he took his place next to her.
“So, Gertie,” he began, angling her way in his chair. “When you go out with your friends, do you always get tanked and high and head to roadhouses?”
Gertie laughed again, louder so she covered her mouth. “Um,” she began, looking at her hands so she wasn’t looking at him. “No, not really. The uh, guy you scared off, his brother is one of the bartenders. So my friend thought it would be a safe place to … slum it.”
“Slum it?” he repeated, the amusement obvious in his voice. “That was really fucking stupid.”
Gertie’s head snapped around so she could gape at him, but then the bartender was setting two shot glasses down on the polished wood bar top and cutting into their conversation. “Here ‘ya are, Buck.”
Before Gertie could reach for her purse the tender moved off down the line of folks leaning on the brass rail and she looked after him, even more confused.
“You and your friends coming all the way out here to dance and get drunk? Shitfaced? Tripping on fucking acid? That’s stupid.” He pushed a shot glass closer to her, leaning in with his hand on the back of her stool. “And you’re old enough to know better.”
Gertie’s head jerked back at that. “I beg your pardon?”
“Drink your tequila. I got it for you.”
“You didn’t even pay. He just walked away.”
Buck chuckled like she’d done something adorable. “Babe, drink your tequila.”
“Don’t call me babe,” she snapped, ignoring the shot glass. “You can’t tell me I’m old then call me babe.”
He leaned even closer and she moved the opposite way to create space but it was a weak effort. He looked serious now. “I didn’t call you old,” he pointed out. “I said you’re old enough to be smarter than that. Now drink your fucking tequila.”
Gertie slumped against her elbow, leaning towards him now. “Stop using the world old, asshole.”
He gave a smirk at that, and even that was sexy. Dammit. “You’re not old, babe. Your ass put all those tarts to shame, your tits were on my mind all night, and I’m dying to yank on all this hair. You’re not old, no. But you should be more careful.”