I, Ainsley James, am crazy.
It’s the only explanation as to why I’m nauseous, standing outside Maverick Lexington’s door.
I mean, it’s possible the stories about his deck of playing cards—with the words IOU scrawled across the back—are just rumors of the ruthless quid pro quo deals he barters.
But the flutters in my stomach know better.
Maverick is as cold as they come.
But, I need one of those cards.
I NEED to owe Maverick Lexington a favor…
Whatever the terms, I’m willing to pay.
Because, at this point, I have nothing left to lose.
I step back just as the door swings open with force, and a rock hard body fills up the empty space. My gaze starts at the top, noting the firm grip he has on the molding. The muscles strain against his taut skin, flexing as he leans forward, cocking his head to the side. His face—
This is bad—really, really bad.
His scowl curves up into a lazy grin.
“Waitress,” he purrs. His voice has this melody of a luring song— one meant to pull you in and destroy your heart in a matter of seconds.
It doesn’t affect me, though.
“Dick at table forty-three, the princess who needed his steak warmed.”
Slap me with a stupid sticker because I have lost my damn mind. Why in the hell did I just say that? Yes, he was the rude-ass who insisted I warm up his food, and yes, he’s the one I dumped said food on, but that was yesterday, and I have moved on. Hopefully, so has he.
“Dick, huh?” He drops one of his massive arms and rubs a spot just above—ah damn, his nipple is pierced. Not to mention the whole right side of his ribs are covered in a massive tribal tattoo. Even on his left, a smaller tattoo wraps from his back and ends on his stomach, teasing me to gaze longingly at the ridiculous set of six-pack abs between them.
Why is life not fair?
I drag in a deep breath and try to let any animosity of yesterday go. “Can we start over?”
That lazy grin of his falls in an instant. “No.”
No. Okay. Well, that’s not good.
Sighing, I watch as his body goes rigid, and his arm goes back to the top of the door frame, blocking any view behind him. His icy blue eyes stare back at me unyielding and hard, not the same guy that grinned when he first saw me. “I’m sorry about last night.” Hopefully, my sincerity will soften him.
“What can I do for you?”
Okay, so we’re going with a hard no on being softened.
With no hint of emotion, other than the apparent tone of boredom, one can surmise that Maverick will not be bought with sweetness and apologies. I’m going with plan B, which I’m making up as I go.
“Are you Maverick?” I could have said that a little stronger and without the slight tremor.
He drops his hands and reaches into his back pocket, producing a handful of playing cards. Oh no. I’m not prepared for it to get real this fast. What if those two idiots in class were right? What if I’m never the same after this?
“How much is it worth to you?” He drawls, producing a marker.