Carla and I are meeting some of her friends in an art gallery opening in downtown London. The whole place looks like a big garage. We're sitting in a booth, a large plate of appetizers is in the middle of the table. One bottle of wine already consumed between Carla and Laura, another popped open ready to go. It's only the 3 of us we're waiting for other friends.

I feel out of place, the whole crowd is around Carla's age which means six years younger than I am. I am nursing a beer slowly and that's when I see my friend Marty.

“Marty!” I shout his name waving him over.

“Liam,” he says joining us and her my hand. Hello ladies, he says turning to Carla and her friend.

“Hi,” Carla says with a smile.

“This is Carla and Laura,” I said introducing them.

“Nice to meet you both,” Marty says as he grabs a seat beside me.

“What brings you here?” Marty asks.

“I used to work with the owner of the gallery.” Laura explains.

“What about you?” I ask Marty.

“She's my girlfriend, the owner.” Marty says.

“You have a girlfriend?” I ask Marty confused because he has never mentioned a girlfriend.

“Not for long,” he says not providing too many details.

“How you guys know each other,” he asks looking between me the girls.

“I'm his best friend’s sister.” Carla says answering.

“You're mickeys sister?” Marty asks.

“Yeah, you know mickey?” she asks with a smile.

“Yeah, we all went to school together.” Marty explains.

“Nate.” Laura waves someone over but they don’t wait for him to join us, they quickly stand up.

“My friend is here finally, come Carla let me introduce you two.” Laura says getting up.

I watch Carla and Laura leave, leaving me alone with Marty.

“You're living with her? Damn Mickey’s sister is hot.” Marty says looking over at Carla.

“Yeah that she is.” I say with a frown.

“Her friend is hot too.” Marty adds.

“Thought you have a girlfriend.” I say.

“That doesn't mean, I can’t appreciate.”

Marty says.

Laura comes back to the table some minutes later alone.

“Where is Carla?” I ask turning behind to look for her.

“She's with my friend Nate, I hope they hit off. Just look at them, they're gorgeous together.” Laura says with a smile and I turn again to see Carla chatting and smiling with the guy and suddenly my heart wants to explode.

Carla finally joins us back at the table, Laura and Marty get up to get more drinks.

“Where's your friend?” I ask.

“Nate?” She asks and I nod yes.

“He saw some of his friends, he'll meet up with me later.” Carla says. “He collected my number and asked me out on a date on Friday,” she adds with a smile.

“You're going out with him?” I ask with a frown.

“Yeah, why not? I should probably start dating again.” She says, I don't know what to say to that so I just keep quiet.

Laura comes back with a tray of shots.  "Everything is on fire." Carla says drowning one, then another.

I swallow another swig of my beer, quietly listening to Laura tell Carla that Nate is checking her out.

"And dating is hell, but I know Nate I also heard he's good in bed" Laura quietly mumbles to Carla.

“Wow that was strong,” Carla says drinking another shot.

“Then stop with the shots,” I say feeling a little frustrated with all the Nate talk.

“Yeah, it’s probably enough for tonight.” Carla says with a smile.

Buzzed Carla, is cute but Carla is always cute. Tonight is no exception. Her body is relaxed. When she smiles, it's at its widest and brightens the room.

"Good," I say to her.

“I should get going,” Laura says checking her phone.

“You have work tomorrow?” Carla asks.

“Yeah.” Laura says with a sigh and my uber is here. She adds grabbing her purse.

“I’ll call so you can update me on Nate,” Laura adds to Carla.

Carla giggles, and hiccups, making a little wet sound then she holds my arm. "Ooh, your body is hard."

“You like it?” I ask grinning like a fool.

Carla bats her lashes, and then murmurs, "I like it."

“Oh shit!” Carla exclaims.

“What?” I ask.

“I forgot to introduce you to Nate.” She says.

Nate again? I feel like she has mentioned his name like a million times now.

“That’s not the guy for you.” I say after a long pause.

“What? Nate? You don’t even know him.” Carla says.

“And I don’t need to, he’s not the one for you.” I say again.

“Well maybe I don’t care, maybe I just want a hookup.” Carla says with a smirk.

“You don’t want that,” I say almost harshly then suddenly regretting it because why the hell do I care who she sleeps with.

Carla rolls her eyes. "You're a buzz kill."

"I aim to please, gorgeous." I mime a dagger to the heart.

Carla laughs good-naturedly and the whole awkward conversation had drifted away. "It doesn't matter what you say, I'm going to do what I want." She adds with a smile and I smile back.

Marty chooses that moment to join us again,” you two look cute.” He says looking at Carla's arm around mine.

“Too bad I'm off-limits.” Carla says and I choke on my beer. Her words hang over the table for a beat.

Her body shifts toward mine, close enough that our knees touch. Close enough that I can see every single gold spec in her eyes. Slowly, her gaze rakes over my face, like she's buying a new car, and I'm the model.  With pleasure. I'm enjoying the moment.

I reach and stroke a few strands of long, silky, honey hair, before letting my finger skim down to the throbbing pulse at the base of her neck.

Her rich golden eyes darken and wrap around me like a blanket, engulfing me in their warmth, and making me feel at home. The air is taut with sexual tension. My gaze drops to her lips. They part and then the tip of her tongue touches her lower lip.

My brain stutters and twitches. My dick twitches too.

She then turns to Marty smiling, “he doesn’t want me.” She says then she grabs my biceps, leans into it in that affectionate way friends do with each other. A silent reminder of our status.

"Liam loves playing the field," Carla finally says, the heat of her breath fanning over my face.

I nod, confirming my status. Mr. Player. That's me. One hundred percent.

"Just like Mickey," she adds, her attention on Marty. "By the way, I think you’re their only friend with a girlfriend, they should learn something from you."

"They definitely should," Marty answers, and I laugh out loud at the idea because Marty is worse than Mickey and me.


Carla shivers next to me the minute we step out of the gallery. Marty and his girlfriend left about 10 minutes ago.

"You're okay?" I ask Carla.

She nods, and pulls her coat more tightly around her, in an attempt to stop the freezing air from slithering up and down her body. Around us, the snow is falling like white confetti. We are moving slowly down the sidewalk to the crosswalk. I remove my coat and wrap it over her shaking shoulders.

"You don't have to do that."

"A gentleman always puts the needs of the woman in his arms ahead of his." I slide my hand into hers, linking our fingers. With a gentle tug, I guide her to the right, away from the small group of college students leaving a bar. We continue in perfect harmony, fingers laced tightly.

"Not because she's helpless or unable," she says as we reach the corner.

"Definitely not." I release her hand and focus my attention on the entertainment flyers papering the light pole, while we wait for the green light to switch to red.

"Why, then?" Carla rummages through her purse and produces a lip balm, which she swipes across her lips.

A taxicab slows in front of us, honks its horn. I wave it away, then turn to Carla. Her eyes are still a bit glassy from alcohol. "Because," I start, my voice an octave lower than before. "A gentleman always wants to show a woman that she's valuable and worthy of respect."

"Thanks for tonight." She says.

I brush a snowflake off her cheek. "Anything for you." I say.

She tips her head, looks up at me, and flashes a smile that suddenly makes my heart feel way too big to fit in my ribcage. Before I realize what is happening, Carla wraps her hands around my neck, tiptoes, and presses her lips to mine.

Comments (3)
goodnovel comment avatar
Missy Ririnui
Ok is it Ian or Liam??? I'm getting confused
goodnovel comment avatar
How many names do the main characters go by? Liam or Ian Coco/Carla or Chloe
goodnovel comment avatar
Amanda Oakes
the story is looking good starts off a little slow but not bad

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