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Beautifully Damaged(2)

By:L.A. Fiore

He moved through the crowd and honestly people actually parted for him to pass -- like Moses and the Red Sea -- and then he was standing just to my right with his bevy of babes giggling and tossing their hair. I turned my eyes from the scene since the man clearly wasn't lacking for female attention. The women at the bar -- dates be damned -- strained their necks for a glimpse of him. I looked down at my jeans and black, sleeveless blouse as a grin curved my lips -- nothing sexy about that. My hair, my greatest feature, was long and thick but instead of blonde or red as most men preferred, it was brown, the same color as my eyes. I was definitely not in the same league as the beautiful people just down the bar.

A sudden shove at my back almost had me spilling my wine and when I turned to face my assailant, I knew immediately that he was drunk out of his mind.

"Hey, babe. Want to dance?"

Dance? This guy was barely standing up, swaying like a high rise in a strong wind, so it was rather ambitious of him to even consider walking to the dance floor let alone actually dancing. I didn't want to offend him but I sure as hell didn't want to dance with him either so I smiled sweetly and replied quite firmly.

"No, thanks."

He grabbed me and considering his drunken stupor, I was surprised at the accuracy of his movement.

"Come on, babe." His hands moved down my arms to my hips which had me pushing at him but he was strong and his hold was steadfast. My annoyance turned into fear.

"Let me go." My voice wasn't quite steady as I tried in vain to pull away from him.

"Let her go." I turned my head to the bartender who was getting ready to jump over the bar but he stopped when a shadow fell over us. It was tattoo-man looming over me and my would be assailant. The drunk looked over his shoulder, saw who was standing behind him, and immediately dropped his hands before taking a few steps backwards. "I meant no harm, man."

I pulled my eyes from the gorgeous, avenging angel who stood before me and looked into the terror-filled eyes of my unwanted suitor as my fear was rapidly replaced with anger.

"No harm?! I said no!"

His eyes flickered to me and I saw the heat flash in them. I could see that he wasn't repentant at all and that just pissed me off. Before I knew my intention, I balled my hand into a fist and connected a solid hit to his jaw leaning into it with my body just like I was taught. At the sight of his head snapping back, I couldn't quite control my grin.

"Bitch!" he howled.

He planted his legs readying himself to go after me but faster than my eyes could see, a blur flashed before me and in what seemed like an instant, my attacker's eyes rolled into the back of his head as his body dropped to the floor. I looked over at tattoo-man, who was steadily watching me and though I knew the punch had come from him, you'd never know by the way he was casually standing there.

"Are you okay?"

His voice was so soft but such a deep baritone that I could hear him clearly over the noise of the place.

"Yes. Thanks for..." I gestured to the man currently lying unconscious on the floor as I held tattoo-man's stare. "...that."

"No, means no, right?"

I smiled before I replied, "Yes."

His finger ran down my arm before he reached for my hand and when he lifted it to his lips, his eyes stayed on mine.

"Trace Montgomery."

"Ember Walsh."

His eyes never left mine as he brushed his lips over my knuckles and honestly my hand burned from the contact and then he said, "It's nice to meet you, Ember."

Before I could even think of a reply he released my hand and disappeared into the mass of bodies. I didn't miss the nasty stares that his fan club threw at me but I couldn't focus on them since I was too busy trying to remember how to breathe.

My attacker was still out cold on the floor as two bouncers came to drag him away. I just watched them unsure if my eyes really saw what I think they had: the drunk bastard or the gorgeous, inked angel who saved me. A hand touched my arm and I turned and looked up into concerned, gray eyes. It was the bartender, who gently led me back to my seat as he hunched down to look me in the eyes.

"Are you okay?"

"I think so." I looked back at the then vacant floor and asked, "Did that all just happen?"

His chuckle immediately pulled my attention back to him as he answered softly.

"Yes." He reached across the bar for a glass before he pressed it into my hand.

"Drink this. It's water."

"Thank you. I'm Ember."


I took a sip and realized that I was really very thirsty so drank the whole thing in one long swallow before Luke took the glass from me and placed it on the bar.

"Ember, can I offer you some unsolicited bartender-advice?"