Live Without Regret (A Touch of Fate)

By: K.L. Grayson

“Okay, fine, you’re right. It’s personal.”

“I’m always right,” he says, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. “It would be prudent of you to remember that.” I tilt my head to the side just as the machine turns off and Connor looks up. He has one hand settled at the base of my waist, the other holding the tattoo gun off to the side. His eyes are smoldering, pinning me in my seat.

My tongue darts out, running a slow path along my lower lip, and I watch as his eyes follow along. Oh yeah, this is happening. Not one to beat around the bush, I decide to go for it. It’s obvious we’re attracted to each other, so there’s no reason for this not to happen.

“What are you doing when you get off work?”

Connor’s eyebrows push into his hairline. “Are you asking me out on a date?” he asks.

My heart clenches inside my chest and I take a deep breath, because as much as I’d like to say yes, that just isn’t who I am anymore. “Nope,” I state impassively. “I gave up dating.”

“You don’t date?” he asks incredulously.

“I fuck.”

Lips parted, he nods slowly several times as though he’s processing what I just said—and deciding what he’s going to do about it.

“Well, that’s too bad, because I gave up fucking.”

His cheeks flush, probably because he realized what he just admitted to, and I can’t help but laugh. “So you don’t have sex?”

Connor rolls his eyes, and even though I’m not a fan of the gesture, he makes it look sexy. My guess is that he makes most things look sexy. “Of course I have sex, I just stopped fucking. I gave up the meaningless one-night stands.” He shrugs. “I want more.”

“Ahhh.” I nod. “Well, good luck with that.” Connor doesn’t say another word. He puts the tattoo gun down and then holds up a mirror so I can check out my new ink. “It’s perfect,” I state, my eyes roaming over the beautiful script.

“I’m glad you like it.” Connor puts the mirror down and slathers some Vaseline on my tattoo. He follows it up with a bandage, all the while rattling off the aftercare instructions.

“Are we done?” I ask, secretly hoping he’ll tell me no. At least then I’d have a reason to stay.

“We’re done.” I push up from the chair. Connor nods his head toward the front desk and I follow him up there to pay. We seem to have fallen into a comfortable silence, and his presence alone is calming in a way I can’t explain. I wish like hell that he would’ve taken me up on my offer, because I have no doubt that it would’ve been fucking fantastic.

Without a word, Connor swipes my card, then I sign the receipt and shove my wallet back in my purse. When I look up, Connor is watching me intently. “Thank you,” I murmur.

His blue eyes are two swirling pools of liquid heat, and what I wouldn’t give to dive in and beg him to change his rules for just one night. “Don’t thank me,” he says, shaking his head. “It was my pleasure.”

We stand there for several more seconds, the air crackling around us as I search for something to say. “I’m Brittany, by the way,” I say, somewhat awkwardly.

Connor grins. “I know.” I furrow my brow and he points to the desk. “You made an appointment.”

“Right.” My phone beeps in my purse, and I decide that’s my cue to leave. “Well, I better go.”

“When will I see you again?” he hollers as I walk toward the door.

Spinning around, I give him my best come-hither look. “When I decide to get another tattoo.”

“Or?” he asks, a grin splitting his ruggedly handsome face.

“When you decide to fuck.”

His jaw nearly hits the floor.

Brittany, one. Connor, zero.

I think I’m going to like playing this game.

Three weeks later

Shut up already!

Brad—twenty-five, full-time firefighter—hasn’t shut his fucking mouth since I sat down at the bar forty-five minutes ago. He needs to shut up.

You need to shut up.

Somehow, by the grace of God, I manage to keep the words from actually spilling from my mouth, which is becoming increasingly more difficult with each dirty martini. Speaking of dirty martinis…

Raising my hand, I signal the bartender for another drink. In a matter of minutes I’m back to sipping while still staring at Brad’s mouth as he tells me about…shit. What the hell was he telling me about?

It’s too late. The Mississippi native with a sexy Southern drawl has officially bored me to death. My shoulders deflate, and I take another drink. This is pointless. As much as I’d like to rip off Brad’s clothes to see if his body is as chiseled as it looks, I just can’t get past the fact that he’s unable to hold my interest in a simple conversation.

It’s probably my fault. I’m the one who asked him to tell me about himself, and now I have to figure out how in the hell to get him to stop.

“Brittany.” Brad snaps his fingers and I look up, catching his gaze. He smiles a thousand-watt smile, and for a fraction of a second I reconsider my decision to ditch him.

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