Cherrie Mack Lover of Dominant Males & Snarky Heroines

Georgie’s Dress Excerpt

Gee put a glass mug under the Diet Coke spout, adding a generous amount of the bubbly. She filled it to the brim and plopped in two lemon wedges. As the soda ran down the sides of her ice cold glass, she licked her lips in anticipation of the first swallow. Somehow, the effervescence calmed the nervous stomach she had for the last few years. As the glass touched her lips, she was startled by Daisy.

“Gee! You’ll never guess who just pulled up!”

Soda soaked her T-shirt as she raised an eyebrow at Daisy. Blinking her annoyance away, she scowled. “Bon Jovi?”

“I wish. No. Derek DeMarco.”

“Wonderful.”

Daisy eyed her T-shirt. “Uh, you can see your nipples right through that top. I’ll go get another shirt from Hank’s office.”

Gee closed her eyes and ran her hands over her face. With her fingers resting on her temples she rubbed away the stress of the last few days. Worrying about Hank was overwhelming, and she hadn’t had an update on his condition. Plus, the thought of manning the bar had her concerned.

“Hank’s girls do wet T-shirt contests now?”

Gee’s eyes snapped open to find a smirking Derek eyeing her breasts. “Hank’s girls have a name. I’m Gee, and this here is Daisy.” She jerked her chin in his direction.

Derek turned just in time to duck as a T-shirt flew over his head toward the bar. “Catch,” Daisy yelled as she looked Derek up and down. “Well—what have we here? Looks like Hank’s been hiding the goods.”

“You can drool over him later, Daisy. Delectable Derek here has work to do. You staying tonight?”

Derek looked around as if recalling happier times. “Yeah, I’m staying.” He ambled behind the bar, leaning close to her ear as he passed by. “For now anyway.”

Gee felt a tingle down her spine, the likes of which she hadn’t felt in years. She shrugged her shoulders. “Good. I hope you can prove yourself useful.”

A smile played at the corners of his mouth as he gave her a heated look. Derek reached over her and grabbed the butterscotch schnapps. Without checking the bottle he grabbed the Bailey’s Irish Cream and a shaker. It was obvious he was familiar with the well-organized bar.

As he blended the contents of the shaker with a vulgar motion, Gee unintentionally licked her lips. She glanced at Daisy, who stood in awe, a little drool at the corners of her mouth. Gee nodded her head.

When he was done, he lined up two shot glasses. The amount was precisely right for the two shooters. He pushed one of the shots toward her. “For you.”

She looked at the little glass. “What is it?”

He glanced at her wet T-shirt and winked. “A buttery nipple. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.”

He sauntered out from behind the bar and went into Hank’s office, closing the door behind him. Daisy picked up the shooter and smelled the contents. Shrugging her shoulders, she smirked. “Don’t mind if I do.” And she kicked the shot back. “Ah, that hit the spot.” She giggled. “Want yours?”

“You can have it.”

“Don’t mind if I do. Our boy Derek makes a mean shooter.”

Gee headed toward the ladies’ room. “I need to go clean up.” And cool off.

* * * *

Derek rolled up his sleeves as he made change from the register. He shouted over the old jukebox, “I thought it was getting slow around here.”

Gee packed her tray with bottles. “It was, until your dad advertised a buy-one-get-one-free on all imported beers.”

As she came out from behind the bar, a dark-haired man in his twenties stopped her. “Hey, Gee? Wanna come hang out tonight?”

She felt Derek’s eyes on her as she flipped her hair. “Another time, Steve. Not tonight.”

“You always say that. I’m beginning to think you’re all talk and no action.”

“Oh, Stevie boy, I haven’t heard that one since I was in the seventh grade.”

She strutted past him. Glancing back, she watched him press his hand over his heart and shook her head in amusement. But Gee was far from amused as she found herself struggling to keep her attention on her job and away from Derek. At a table in the corner, she rested her tray on its edge. “So? Which one of you is the Wall Street broker?”

A man with sandy blond hair smiled. “How do you know one of us works on Wall Street?”

“I knew a guy once. Let’s see, I believe this St. Paulie Girl goes to—you, sir.”

She handed the bottle to a brooding, red-haired man. As they cheered her correct answer, Gee graciously bowed as she took her tip and gave them a wink.

As she made her rounds, Gee flirted with the regulars. Since Tampa, flirting was all she ever managed. But with Derek behind the bar, her mind was running wild. And it irritated her. Stopping to wipe down a table, she watched Daisy strut over to where she stood.

“He’s a friggin’ fox.”

Gee purposely glanced in the opposite direction. “Who?”

Daisy lifted her eyebrows. “Really? Miss I-don’t-notice-anyone—ever?”

Gee made a face at her friend. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I’ve known you for a year now, and I’ve never seen you with a guy. But this guy’s got your attention, doesn’t he?”

“What’s with you? You’ve been getting very bold around me lately.”

“You’re rubbing off on me. Besides, I like you. In the beginning I thought you were sorta snobby. Ya know, never speaking to anyone about anything but business. But then I got to know you, and I see how you act around Hank—you’re pretty cool. I wanna be friends.”

Great. What do I say to that? “I—Look, I appreciate it, but, I don’t have a lot of time for friends.”

“You got a secret life somewhere else? Whaddaya, like some kind of operative or something? Or maybe you’re a housewife in the suburbs getting her kicks schlepping drinks around on a tray.”

“You should write books, because your imagination is one big black hole.”

Daisy fingered Gee’s hair. “Ya know? I could do your hair this kick-ass color.”

Gee let out a laugh. “I’d like that. Maybe—next week?”

Daisy nodded her head and happily bounced away to the music spilling out of the jukebox. Gee wondered how Daisy knew her libido was suddenly awakened from a long sleep. Could Adam Lockwood be two years behind her? Could the mistake that ruined her life be five years ago? Gee felt as if she’d lived two lives, and although she looked like a different person, inside she still felt very much the same.

With her strength intact, she approached the bar. Derek kept himself busy by flirting with the females. Where did he get so much experience behind a bar? And what does he do for a living? When she squeezed by him, Gee’s heart sped up. His forearms flexed as he lifted bottles and poured drinks, and it had her absolutely captivated.

Just being near him had her senses on high alert. Gee felt his hands graze over her skin as he gently pushed past her. Her breasts reacted with a tingling sensation as butterflies settled low in her belly. Gee tried to snap out of her unacceptable disposition by breathing deep and glancing at the clock. Only two more hours, and then I can tell him not to come back.

* * * *

It was thirty minutes until closing, and Gee was tired and out of patience. The only two customers left at the bar were female. If Derek would just get rid of them instead of mindlessly flirting, they could be on their way home. She watched him closely, like she had been doing all night long, admiring his clean-cut looks. His smile was so white she could swear it sparkled, and it annoyed her to pieces. With a well-toned physique, Derek was the kind of man Gee found herself hopelessly attracted to. But he was having too much fun behind the bar and it infuriated her. He’s supposed to hate this.

As Gee made her way behind the bar, Derek leaned over toward the two women and continued his flirtatious behavior. She began to tidy up the area around him, hoping he would get the hint. When he glanced at her, she gave him a half smile.

He pushed himself up into a standing position and loomed over her. “I got this. Go make yourself useful elsewhere.”

Her smile quickly faded as she noticed the two women exchange looks. Almost immediately, she felt the embarrassment rush to her cheeks. Tact was the one thing Gee left far behind in Tampa, and she refused to cower down to any man. Fire quickly replaced the butterflies fluttering in her stomach, and Gee snapped. With her hands on her hips, she quipped, “You can just get out. You’re fired!”

His eyebrows went up in surprise. “You can’t fire me.”

She threw her hands in the air, berating him. “Why not? ’Cause your daddy owns the place?” She glanced at the women fawning over him. “Uh huh. That’s right, ladies, you’re looking at a true, daddy-handed-me-everything kinda guy. You know the type, the entitled, the lazy, the too-good-to-be-true-cause-he-is kinda guy.”

Derek got in her eyeline as her words seemed to fire him up. “How dare you judge me—you don’t know me. You know nothing about me.”

“Yeah? Well, I know your type. You’ve been around for centuries! Not one woman has yet to exterminate the likes of you—but I’m working on it!” Gee stomped away into Hank’s office and slammed the door.

*

Derek’s mouth fell open as he watched her storm into the office. His blood was boiling, but he was so turned on that all he could think about was bending her over and spanking that beautiful ass. He stood in a daze, trying to shake himself out of his stupor. “I’m sorry for the outburst ladies, but it is closing time and, as you can see, I have some things to deal with before I lock up.”

As they gathered their things, one of the girls slipped Derek her number. “If you don’t wind up taking that waitress out, give me a call.”

He lifted an eyebrow at her statement. Is it that obvious?

As soon as the door closed, Daisy snapped the lock. She nodded her head at him. “Ya know something? I’ve known that girl for over a year now, and I’ve never witnessed a meltdown like that.”

“So it’s not just me right? She’s normally—normal?”

“Gee is a very complicated woman.”

“How so?”

“When I find out I’ll let you know. I don’t know anyone who has gotten close to her. No boyfriend, no friends. Just Hank.”

“Hank? You mean, she and my dad—?”

“Nooo—I mean he seems to be one of her only friends. Anyone that’s ever tried to score with her, she’s shot down. No girlfriends either. Just me and Steph and Cynthia. And we don’t spend any time with her other than here. She’s a complete mystery.”

Derek narrowed his eyes at her. “What about me? Do you think what she said is accurate? Did I somehow give off the wrong impression?”

“Nope. I think you gave off the right one, and it ruffled her feathers.”

“Do you mind explaining what that means?”

She studied him. “I think what happened here—tonight. Between the two of you? Was sorta like foreplay. Let’s face it, to my ultimate dismay you had your eyes on Gee from the moment you walked in here. Now normally, I wouldn’t leave a friend in the clutches of a man I thought she hated. So I won’t. Go in there and show her who’s boss. Nightie night, Derek.” Daisy unlocked the door and left.

Derek stood staring at the door while Daisy’s words sunk in. Could she be right? There was no denying his attraction to Gee, but could it be mutual? Derek wouldn’t wait another minute to find out.