Hot Ride

By: Opal Carew

“He looks like trouble.”

Hayley followed Tina’s gaze to the man who’d just walked into the bar. A shiver danced down her spine at the sight of the tall, muscular man clad in well-worn jeans and a leather vest, tattoos cascading down one arm. His face was shadowed with rough stubble and his wavy brown hair tousled. He glanced around, seeming to gauge his surroundings.

“Yeah, the kind of trouble I’d like to find myself in.” Marianne, one of the other five women sitting at the table with Hayley, stroked back a lock of her short, curly brown hair as she watched the man stride toward the bar.

Hayley didn’t usually ogle men in bars, but there was something about this one. Rough, dangerous-looking, and oozing with raw sexuality. If he were to make direct eye contact with her, she was sure she would melt into a puddle on the floor.

Hayley sighed. “Mm. Me, too.”

Marianne snorted. “Yeah, right.”

Hayley’s gaze shot to the other woman.

“Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes, who always follows all the rules, never missed a class at school, straight A’s all the way. Like you’d ever get involved with a bad-ass like that.” Marianne snorted again. “More likely, you’d wind up doing his taxes.”

Hayley pursed her lips. She and Marianne had never been close at school. She’d never really been close to anyone but Tina, but Hayley was back in Willow, their hometown, for a wedding this weekend and Tina had wanted to get together with the old gang to catch up. Back in the day, the others had tolerated Hayley in the group because they’d all liked Tina and Hayley had been Tina’s best friend since before preschool. Basically, if they’d wanted Tina, they got Hayley, like it or not. And they all wanted to be Tina’s friend, because Tina was popular, rich, and the nicest person you’d ever want to know.

“Marianne, be nice,” Tina said.

“What?” Marianne said defensively. “I said she did well at school and is not a slut. Isn’t that a good thing?”

“Me. I’d jump in the sack with that guy in a minute,” Brooke said.

The others jumped in and started sharing salacious fantasies involving the man who now sat at the bar nursing a beer.

Hayley gazed at the man. A part of her wanted to march over there and strike up a conversation with him, and let him know in no uncertain terms she was interested. But who was she kidding? Marianne was right that Hayley always played it safe. She wouldn’t know how to begin talking to a man like that. And if he did show an interest in her, she’d probably go running in the other direction.

Tina stood up and walked around the table to Hayley. “Hey, come with me to freshen up, okay?”

Hayley followed Tina to the ladies room. Once inside, Tina turned to her.

“I’m sorry Marianne was such a bitch to you.”

Hayley pursed her lips. “It’s not your fault.”

Tina shrugged. “Yeah, I know, but I dragged you here to spend the evening with them.”

Hayley smiled. “It’s okay. I can put up with it for one night. I know you like to see them. And it’s worth it to spend time with my best friend.”

Tina smiled and turned to the mirror. She pushed back a stray lock of her long, blonde hair, then checked her lipstick. “That guy is pretty hot.”

“That’s for sure. Man, he could shake the humdrum out of my life.”

Tina arched an eyebrow as she glanced at Hayley in the mirror. “Yeah? Things getting you down lately?”

Hayley gazed at her own reflection. Her smoky eye makeup, which accentuated her olive green eyes was fine, but the deep plum color on her lips had faded. She opened her purse and pulled out her lipstick.

“Life has been pretty lackluster lately.” Hayley pushed her long, black hair behind her ears, then leaned forward and reapplied the color to her lips. “Predictable and boring. I’ve been thinking of doing something radical.”

Tina grinned. “Like what?”

Hayley shrugged. “I don’t know.” She put her lipstick on the vanity and ran a brush through her hair, then dropped it back in her bag. “Maybe go to grad school. I could get my MBA.”

“And then what? Do more boring stuff?”

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