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Ross 03 Leave Me Breathless(14)

By:Cherrie Lynn

While other conversations went on all around them, she leaned closer to him. “How did you get your nickname?”

Everything about him seemed to freeze, and she swore a flush crept up his neck. “It’s just a dumb name I got stuck with. No big deal.”

“What was that?” Brian bellowed. He was sitting in a chair to their left with Candace perched on his lap, and apparently he’d overheard her question.

“Nothing,” Seth snapped.

“No, no, not nothing. I heard. She wants to know about your name. Hey!” he shouted to the room in general. “Macy wants to know how Ghost got his name.”

Laughter broke out. Macy lifted a brow at all of them.

Seth’s eyes went round. “Oh, hell no, man.”

Brian shrugged and grinned as he lifted his beer bottle to his mouth for a quick drink. “She’ll probably find out sooner or later, right? Better to get it out of the way early. Well…let me rephrase that. If you don’t tell her, I will.”

“I still think you did it.”

Brian clapped a hand over his heart. “That you would even think that of me wounds me.”

“I’ll wound you if I ever find out you did. I mean, you’re the loud-mouthed bastard who told everyone we know about it.”

“I’m totally lost right now,” Macy admitted. But the exchange was fascinating.

“Don’t be a pussy. Tell her,” Brian said, nodding in Macy’s direction.

Seth sighed, shaking his head and looking away. Debating, probably. What could be that bad? Macy looked to Candace for a clue, only to find her friend snickering into her boyfriend’s neck. She must be privy to the big secret, then. Apparently everyone was.

“Many years ago,” Seth began carefully. Those few words were all it took for the room to break up in riotous laughter. He waited patiently for it to settle before continuing. “I had this tattoo. And I don’t exactly know how I got it.”

“What? How can…”

“I got drunk at a party one night. I’m talking fuckin’ hammered, falling-off-the-earth drunk. It was years ago, in Dallas, with some friends who live up there. Most of these assholes were there too, might I add…and I woke up the next morning only to discover a tattoo I don’t remember getting.”

“It’s really not funny,” Brian said, wiping his eyes with his thumb. “Except that it is.”

“My ass, it’s funny. It goes against every code of ethics we have.”

“You want to talk about ethics? When there’s a reason I don’t let you give me ink?”

“So…what’s the tattoo of?” Macy asked, setting off another round of hysterics. She saw quickly this was the really hard part. Seth wouldn’t meet the gaze of anyone in the room. Several of the others began goading him to tell her. Once that went on for a while, he finally sighed and looked at her.

“Casper the Friendly Ghost.”

Merriment ensued again. Macy couldn’t resist the laughter. Finally, Seth cracked a smile himself, as if the humor of the situation wasn’t entirely lost on him. “I mean, what the fuck? Casper? You’re gonna let someone who’s obviously inebriated get a tattoo of Casper?”

“I’m of the opinion it was a joke because they thought he looked like you. You’d just shaved your head for the first time. But that’s not even as funny as where it is,” Brian said.

Oh no. Macy dropped her face into her palm, having a pretty good idea where this was going.

“I can’t even wait for him to tell this,” Brian said. “Let’s just say that for a while, from what I gather, any girl who went down on him found herself face-to-face with a cute little white ghost. It was in the vicinity, if you know what I mean.”

The howls that followed were deafening. Macy simply moved her hand down to her mouth and watched how Seth was taking this. Remarkably well, she thought—although he was getting redder by the minute. Poor guy. That really was…bad.

“I got it covered up,” he explained quickly. “But the damage was already done, and I made the mistake of telling someone I thought was my friend.” He gave Brian a withering look. “Everyone was calling me Casper because of this son of a bitch. I somehow managed to divert it to ‘Ghost’. I had to try to salvage some shred of coolness about this whole thing.” He kicked Brian’s leg. Brian yelped.

“Hey! You can’t expect me to just sit on information like that. Deep down, I really was outraged on your behalf. Deep, deep down.”

Seth swigged his beer. “Sure you were. Like I said. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out you did it.”

“Nope. I wouldn’t voluntarily get that close to your junk, sorry. I left early and wasn’t even there to defend your virtue. But if it’s any consolation, if I ever found out one of my artists did something like that, his or her ass would get fired. Fast.”

Seth grumbled a reply she couldn’t make out.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be so pissed,” Brian said. “It could’ve been a hot girl who did it, and you might’ve had a good time.”

“So what did you cover it up with?” Macy asked.

“Never again will I divulge the secrets of any intimate ink I have. Not to these guys, anyway.” The look he gave her then sent a shiver down to her toes. It clearly indicated he wouldn’t mind divulging those secrets to her.

As the jovial conversation went on, she thought Brian was probably wrong. There was nothing “friendly” looking about Seth, nothing that could be compared to a cute cartoon. He was the polar opposite.

Except she’d seen another side of him over the last couple of days, and she couldn’t get it out of her mind. Before, there had only been the wisecracking tattoo artist and heavy-metal aficionado. The guy she could see hanging out with but never…being with at all. Now, he’d morphed into something else entirely—someone who did have cares and worries like everyone else, and who felt very deeply about them.

He was a loyal friend. He was devoted to his job. Even if they weren’t exactly the friends or the job she would have chosen for the guy she was with, it counted for something.

She wasn’t so dense that she didn’t realize she was being sucked in by the magnetic lure of the bad boy, superficial though it might be. Okay, so maybe she had realized this attraction wasn’t so crazy after all, and it could be good for the one thing she needed. But the coarse language and nonstop partying and loud music would wear on her nerves after a while—a short while.

She’d worry about all that later. Taking a pull on her beer, she watched him joke around with his friends. It was getting later, the music and chatter were grating, and she was ready to go home. With him.

And then everything really fell apart.

A girl walked in… Sashayed was more like it. Macy would’ve noticed her even if a nervous hush hadn’t fallen over the entire room and Seth hadn’t gone stiff next to her and uttered, “Fuck.” The girl’s hair was predominantly blonde but shot through with pink, blue, red and purple and heavily dreaded. Her eyes were dark, and the smoky shadow surrounding them only accentuated their size in her pixie-like face. She was tiny and, beneath all the wildness of her appearance, breathtakingly beautiful.

At least, she was until her gaze fell on Seth and Macy sitting side by side on the couch. Then she only looked scary.

Thankfully, a group of girls in the room bounded jubilantly toward her and the awkwardness dissipated somewhat as the crowd moved out of the room. Seth seemed to start breathing again beside her, at least. But she didn’t miss the oh, shit glance he exchanged with Brian and Candace. Conversations began to pick up again around them all.

Seth leaned close to her ear. “I think that was our cue.”

She drew her lips between her teeth for a moment, processing. She wasn’t stupid. “I take it that was her.”


“The one you didn’t want to talk about on the ride over.”

“I don’t want to talk about her now, either, and I damn sure don’t want to be in the same house with her.”

“Look, it’s up to you, but I don’t see the big deal.”

“I just don’t want you to have to see what usually happens when she and I get within fifty feet of each other.”

“Do you get into a brawl or something?”

He chuckled. “No, nothing like that. But it gets…ugly.”

“That’s fine. I’m ready to go anyway. Just let me find a bathroom first.”

He gave her directions, not seeming too happy about it. She had to roll her eyes. Yes, she didn’t go for the body-mod stuff—it freaked her out. But one thing she didn’t shrink away from was confrontation. If that girl accosted her in some way, she might be surprised what she got in return.

As luck would have it, her path took her right in front of the bedroom where the group of girls had congregated. A sharp, “Hey!” halted her in her tracks, and she turned and leaned into the doorway.


The Ex—whatever her name was—now had dark streams running from both eyes to her chin, making her look like The Crow. The three girls around her looked back at Macy uneasily, their hands resting lightly on The Ex’s shoulders in case they had to suddenly restrain her.