Josie“I know you didn't invite me here for the mint cannoli or the fried pickles with guacamole-horseradish sauce,” Josie announced, eyebrows so high she thought they'd be permanently wedged in her hairline. What was this all about? A summons to Jeddy's was always welcome, but usually it was Laura doing the summoning. The call from Mike had been interesting, the request to meet just him and Dylan – sans Laura – a tad odd.
The looks on their faces now confirmed it. Oddities abounded. And not like on the television show. Unless Dylan had a three-headed pig in a jar in his car and had recently learned to eat flames. Nothing would surprise her these days...
She glanced at her smart phone. “Waiting for a call?” Dylan asked as he scanned the menu. Madge had just thumbed Josie over to the guys when she came in; the new menus featured a smorgasbord of new culinary delights.
“No,” she said, tearing her eyes off the menu. Coconut sweet potato soup with fried wontons sprinkled on top and a dollop of paprika sour cream? Yum. “Alex is joining us.”
“Why?” they asked in unison, manly brows instantly frowning. Hoo boy. Whatever they wanted to talk about must have a testosterone edge to it. Even Mike's neck tightened.
“Because he wants to invite you to join us and act out some scenes from the book Their Virgin Princess,” she cracked, returning to the menu. “Except I'm not the one who'll be wearing the butt plug in the desert.” She tried to stare down Dylan, but he wouldn't make eye contact.
Didn't even react to the bad joke.
“What's that?” Mike asked, bewildered.
“Never mind.” She looked at the dessert specials. Candy cane ice cream with chopped chocolate truffles and a local dairy's sweet cream whipped with Madagascar vanilla, drizzled with a reduced blackberry sauce? Double yum.
“You can't just drop virgin princesses and butt plugs into a conversation and not explain,” Mike protested.
“Sure I can!” Josie ventured. “Especially with a menu like this to distract us.” She buried her face in the specials page. Holy smokes, Madge had outdone herself.
“Want one of everything?” Dylan asked, barely holding back drool. “The homemade mac 'n cheese made with lobster and asiago,” he moaned.
“Who doesn't?” a wonderfully familiar voice asked, coming up from behind her. A warm hand pressed against her shoulder and Alex's stubbly jawline caressed hers as he planted a kiss on her cheek. Alex's brown hair was in need of a haircut, curling up slightly at the nape of his neck, and he looked like he hadn't slept in a day and a half. Which was true – he hadn't. Warm, brown eyes locked with hers, affection and love pouring out of them. A woman could get used to this, Josie thought, delightedly—though actually she hadn’t. Her mind and heart still marveled, unaccustomed to the fact that every single day she got her internal love cup filled to overflowing from him.
“You look like shit,” Dylan said to Alex in a voice that could have just as easily been saying, “How's it going?”
“Same back at you,” Josie jumped in. “Fatherhood has not aged you well.” Alex shoved his ass against her hip, buying real estate in the booth. She squeezed a butt cheek through his scrubs. “You smell like blood,” she commented absently.
“I'll smell like you soon enough,” he said cheerfully.
Mike groaned. “Braggart.”
“Just stating the facts, man.”
Dylan snorted. “I remember when I had facts that often. Lately, though, facts elude us. Facts, in fact, are hard to remember.”
“You mean sex,” Alex said. It wasn't a question.
Laura's guys sighed. So that was what this meeting was about. Josie's protective senses went into overdrive. Laura was her bestie. This could get...complicated.
“Do I really need to know this much about your sex lives? Seriously?” Josie whined.
“Do you guys ever keep it in your pants?” a gravelly voice added. Madge, the eighty-something waitress and, it so happened, Alex's grandfather's girlfriend, skittered by. Her nurse's shoes squeaked on the faded – but clean – linoleum at the stalwart diner.
“Only when you're around, Madge,” Dylan shot back. She pointed her stylus at him and winked. He slumped back in the booth and grimaced, making Josie snicker.
“That's because you couldn't handle all of me, Pretty Boy," the grizzled waitress shot back.
Alex looked green suddenly. “Uh, Madge, do you mind?” His grandfather, Ed, had Alzheimer's, though a recent med change had given Ed a much better prognosis and a better memory overall. His filter about his sex life had faded, though, and Alex couldn't handle the truth.Especially when it turned out Madge and Ed used Dan Savage's column as a bucket list.
That they were rapidly making their way through.
Madge opened her puckered smoker's mouth to say something else to Dylan, shot Alex a sidelong glance, and then snapped her lips shut. “You want one of everything?” she asked the group. “All the new specials?”
“What's with the menu?” Mike asked. “This is amazing.”
“My grandson, Caleb,” Madge answered, puffing up her chest like a silver-back gorilla after eviscerating another alpha. The effect drained a little of Josie's appetite. “He's come to Boston to help out more, and look at the difference.”
“You really think we should get one of everything?” The specials page looked like it held at least fifteen different dishes. Josie would need to be hauled out in a wheelbarrow if she ate as much as she wanted.
“How about you pick for us, Madge?” Alex asked affably, his face friendly with a smile. “You know better than anyone how to please the crowd.”
Her tight prune face lit up and she patted Alex on the cheek. “You're just like your grandfather. You always know how to butter up an old lady.” She zipped off, clicking on her electronic order pad.
“I'd hate to know how those two use butter these days,” Josie muttered.
Check out the cover reveal at S&M Obsessions and enter to win a LOVELY prize. ;)“I'm going to be sick,” Alex mumbled, picking at a napkin.