Stand of Redemption(Stand, #2)

By: Cathryn Williams

Chapter 1

Ria looked at her tear filled eyes in the mirror, and forced herself to take deep breaths. She blinked several times, trying to keep from crying while desperately hoping with each blink the revealing redness would go away.

She couldn’t afford to be fired from another job. She was barely making enough as it was. She was finally able to pay for her closet-sized, one bedroom apartment. Although, she had made drastic cuts in every aspect of her life to do so.

Ria looked down at her body; she had lost another five pounds. Food was an added expense, and she didn’t allow herself to eat more than one meal each day.

After a few deep breaths and strengthening her resolve, she looked at her face again. Her nose was still a little red, but at least it didn’t look like she had been crying. She looked into her own brown eyes and saw the despair in them.

She looked back down at her shirt to see the smudged fingerprints from the man who had grabbed her breast when she’d leaned toward him to pick up his beer mug. She had wanted nothing more than to bash the mug over his head; however, she needed this job to keep a roof over hers and her mother’s head. So now she simply had to put a smile on her face and act like everything was fine.

She shook her head and took one more deep breath. She could do this until something better came along. She wouldn’t be working as a waitress in this shithole of a bar forever.

She looked at her tight, white tank that zipped up the front and left her entire midriff exposed. She was also wearing a short, dark denim skirt that showed the bottom of her ass cheeks, along with a pair of red cowboy boots. The waitresses were allowed to wear whatever they wanted, as long as they showed plenty of cleavage, ass, or both. It was Saturday night and she wanted the bigger tips; therefore, she was showing both.

It had paid off; she was getting the extra money she was hoping for and a lot of attention from the male patrons. The pitfall to that strategy was she had to put up with every man she waited on feeling like he had the right to touch the flesh she exposed.

The man that had grabbed her was an asshole, yet he reeked of money. She wouldn’t touch the fucker if he had a million dollars. He was one of those rich guys that believed he could do and get away with whatever the hell he wanted. She would love to have proven him wrong, but when she had looked up, she’d seen her boss watching; hence, her decision to step back and play it off like it was nothing.

He had laid a hundred dollar bill on the table to pay for their drinks. Ria had swallowed her nonexistent pride and reached across the table to pick up the money. That’s when his hand had cupped the bottom globe of her ass. All the men sitting with him had laughed and leered at her, obviously enjoying watching her breasts as she struggled out of his grip.

She had seen groups of men like them before, most of them wearing wedding bands. They would tell their wives they were working late when, in reality, they were at a place like this where they’d brag to each other about who’d scored the most women. Ria was willing to bet the only time any of them got laid was when they bought their wives an expensive gift, though. Married or not, she couldn’t imagine any woman giving it up to one of those jerks for free.

She didn’t bother wasting her time complaining to her boss. He wasn’t going to lose a penny over an irate waitress. He would fire her before offending a paying customer.

Ria sighed. She had lingered in the bathroom, feeling sorry for herself, long enough. It was time to get her ass back to work.

She gave her appearance another once-over in the mirror, adjusted her long black hair into a side ponytail, and let her hair cover the tan skin of her breasts as much as possible. She then pulled her skirt down a little more to hide the view of her ass. She better get the tip she deserved for putting up with the men for over the last two hours.

She took another deep breath, and walked back into the bar.

As she walked through the crowded bar to her table, she saw their eyes drop to her breasts, just as she’d expected.

“Hey, fellas. Can I get you anything else?” The sultry voice she had perfected made her feel unclean as she bent over to pick up some of the empty dishes.

“Another round, sexy,” one of the men next to her slurred as he slid his hand up the inside of her thigh.

Ria felt the shock of being touched intimately again but forced herself to shake it off. It was getting late; their wives would be getting suspicious. While they would act like arrogant assholes with her, at home were probably whipped by their domineering wives. Hell, they probably didn’t realize they had a dick until they left home in the morning.

“No problem. I’ll be right back.” She smiled down at him as she smoothly maneuvered herself away from his wandering hand.

As she walked back to the bar, she stopped by her two other tables to get their drink orders, as well. At least the other two tables had men and women, so she didn’t have to deal with more than one table of all males. Why any woman would voluntarily come to this place was beyond her.

“Four Utopias, four Buds, two vodka-crans, and two Miller Lites,” she yelled to Chris, the bartender.

When he turned and grinned at her, she couldn’t help smiling back. Chris looked like a complete bad ass with his bulging muscles covered in tattoos. He was good at dealing with the drunks who got out of hand. Yet, when you got to know him and talked to him, he was actually the sweetest guy—that is, until you pissed him off.

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