Beautiful Pain - J.M. Walker Page 0,1

always. Until she started poking me in the ribs with her perfectly manicured fingernails. Then I started paying attention to her only because I was afraid her fake nail would somehow lodge its way into my rib cage.

“Nika, honestly. I’m fine,” I reassured her, slapping her hands away.

She raised a perfectly arched black eyebrow and wrapped her arm around my shoulders. “You are not fine. You have never been fine.”

Pulling out of her grip, I grabbed the tray of drinks. “I have customers to serve.”

“Mae, seriously,” she huffed.

I waved her off and did my rounds. Most of the customers were regulars. Had been for years so to speak. People didn’t venture to Cello’s Diner for the food. Although it was delicious, they usually ended up going for the entertainment and the environment. It was karaoke night and even though half the people couldn’t sing, it was hilarious watching them try.

“Whoa, chicky.” Nika whistled. “Who’s that fine specimen of a man?”

I followed her line of view and swallowed hard. My heart skipped a beat. A cold sweat traveled down my back.

A large man was hunched over paperwork on the table before him. His hand brushed through his chin length wavy black hair every so often. His brows narrowed, his dark eyes sliding back and forth along the pages he was reading. He was deep in thought. I found myself wanting to rub the lines away in his forehead, easing the stress traveling through his body.

My fingers twitched, my palms tingling with the need to go to him.

“He’s in your section,” Nika whispered, nudging me gently in the shoulder.

I glanced between her and the man, bracing myself. For what, I wasn’t sure. A man had not stirred this feeling in me in a long time. I was surprised at how fast my body became hyper aware of the male that could no doubt rip me apart with just the touch of his hands.

“You’re in public, Mae. He can’t hurt you here.” Nika handed me a tray and a menu. “Go.” She lightly patted my butt, encouraging me to approach him.

He is just a customer, Mae. I never saw him before but having to stay late into the dinner shift, I was now graced with his presence.

I closed the distance between us and cleared my throat when he didn’t look up. “Would you like to order a drink?” I swallowed hard and licked my dry lips. “Sir?”

His head lifted slowly, his dark eyes finally meeting mine.

My breath caught in my throat.

He was magnificently beautiful. Black scruff covered his hard jawline. His rugged features were perfectly sculpted. He was an artist’s dream. Tanned and chiseled. God, what I wouldn’t give to see the rest of him.

He sat back, scratching his chin. “Are you new, Miss…” he glanced at my name tag. “Mae?”

“No,” I shook my head, trying to ignore the flutter his slightly accented voice sent through my belly. “I usually work mornings but we’re short staffed so I had to stay late.”

“Well, Mae, it’s my lucky night then.” He held out his hand.

“I guess it is,” I placed the menu in his outstretched palm. “Can I start you off with a drink?”

“Coffee please.” His eyes twinkled.

I nodded and turned on my heel, heading back behind the counter as fast as I could without looking too obvious.

“Girl,” Nika stepped up beside me. “He’s watching you.”

“Yeah well, he better keep his hands to himself,” Cello barked from the kitchen.

“Honestly, can you guys be any louder?” I loved them but I swore they were too damn protective at times. I may have had issues but I wasn’t glass. I wouldn’t break. At least…not again. And not at the hands of a man.

“Seriously, look.” Nika nodded towards the dark sinfully delicious man. A man who I should not be having these thoughts over. A man who had stirred something deep inside of me that I hadn’t felt in so long.

I didn’t know why I bothered to argue. Maybe it was to feel some sort of solace in my life. Some sort of control. Some…emotion. I braced myself and glanced in the direction of the man.

He held me captive in his stare.

I wanted to get lost in the depths, drowning myself in the ultimate seduction and power. Of him.

The corner of his lips turned up into a smug smirk.

My insides quivered, my stomach tumbling over itself to get more of a reaction from him.

Lifting his hand, he crooked his finger, indicating for me to go to him.

Oh dear