Focus (Page 30)

“I like you in more than red.” He paused, playing with the laces on the top. “And in less.”

His eyes devoured me, and I sipped my drink.

“I didn’t expect to see you guys here.” We were on Bourbon Street, and I’d heard most of the upperclassman hung out on Frenchman Street on Halloween.

“I knew you’d be around here somewhere.”

“So you came looking for me?” I took another few sips of my drink. It was easy to drink fast.

“Yes. You wouldn’t tell me what your costume was, but I knew it would be something I’d have to see.”

“In other words, you didn’t want me dressed this way without you?”

“Can you blame me?” He moved closer.

“I can say the same about you.”

He cracked a smile. “You don’t like me out with my wings showing?”

“Not without me.” I ran a hand through my hair.

“Wow, I had no idea they had that effect on you. So nice to know.”

“I’m not going to even try to deny it.” I finished my drink.

“Want another?”

“Yes.” I didn’t hesitate with my answer. I followed him over to the bar, hoping to hear what he ordered. Unfortunately, he just asked the bartender for the same thing. With a crowd that big, I’d have expected the girl to have forgotten—but I don’t think it’s easy to forget anything about Levi.

He handed me the drink, and we walked back to where our friends had migrated to. Levi sat down on a bar stool pushed against the wall.

“You look so good with your wings.” I reached out and touched one, but he shifted, moving it from my reach.

“If you want to touch them, you have to come closer.”

“I am close. If I get any closer, I’ll be on your lap.”

“You say it like it’s a bad thing.”

“It’s a very bad thing.” I gave up trying to reach his wing and put my hand on his leg instead.

“I disagree. It’s good.” His heated look nearly undid me.

Distracted, I felt the tickle of a wing brushing against me as he pulled me up on his lap to straddle him. “Have you ever…”

“Have I ever what?” He gave me an amused smile.

“I’m the only girl you’ve been with who knows what you really are, right?” I touched his wings.

“Uh huh.”

“So you’ve never done it with your wings out, right?”

He laughed. “No, I haven’t.” His hand settled on my very exposed leg.

“Could we?”

“Come home with me, Al, and we can do anything you want.”

“Does it have to be at your place? The hotel is closer.”

“It is, isn’t it?” he whispered next to my ear. “Ready to go?”

“Maybe.”

“Whoa. Slow down there.” Anne helped me down off his lap.

Levi reluctantly let go but he spun on Anne. “Is there a reason you’re interrupting us?”

“Yes. Allie’s not going anywhere with you.” She put a hand on her hip and scowled.

“It’s okay—”

She cut me off. “No. You told me not to let you go home with him, and I’m keeping my word.”

I smiled. Anne definitely was tough and a good friend. With some distance between us, I was starting to realize just how big of a mistake I was about to make.

“If she wants to come home with me, she will.” Levi was on his feet.

“I think it’s time to go.” Hailey grabbed my arm and Anne’s. Tiffany nodded.

I glanced behind me. Levi’s eyes were starting to turn black. Jared and Owen were at his side, trying to calm him down.

“Wow, if looks could kill, I’d be dead.” Anne shivered. She didn’t know the half of it.

“I’m sorry I brought you into that.”

“No, it’s totally fine…but I have a feeling you’re the reason for the anger problem. A guy can only take so much.” She gave me a knowing look. Was she really blaming his anger on sexual frustration?

“Yeah, I don’t know.” My stomach rumbled. “Is anyone else hungry?” I asked.

“Yes,” everyone said at once.

“How about beignets?” Tiffany adjusted her top, probably trying to get more coverage than it actually provided.

“Café Du Monde?” I asked, even though I didn’t have to.

Hailey glanced at her watch. “What better way to end a night?”

“Exactly.”

I was already dreaming about the hot, sweet beignets before we got there.

***

“I don’t think there’s a better drunk food.” I took another bite of my beignet.

“I agree. It just works. Add in the coffee and it’s perfect.” Tiffany took a sip of her chicory coffee.

“So, what did you guys think of your first Halloween in New Orleans?” Hailey asked.

“It was definitely my best yet.” Anne polished off her beignet.

“I know I already said it, but I’m sorry about Levi.” I hoped Anne wasn’t mad at me.

“Don’t worry about it. I really didn’t mind.”

“You know Jared really well, right?” Tiffany looked at Hailey.

“Yeah. I’ve known him my whole life.” Hailey glanced at me. We were both wondering where this conversation was going.

Tiffany concentrated on her mug. “Is he really like that, or is it an act?”

“Do you mean is he really a perverted jerk?” Hailey could be so blunt.

“I was thinking more whether he was always so forward?”

I decided to take over. “Yes. That’s just him. He’s not a bad guy, just a player.”

“Oh.” Tiffany looked pensive.

“Why are you asking, Tiff? Are you interested in him?” Anne asked the question we were all thinking.

“No! Of course not. I was just trying to figure him out.”

“He likes you.” I figured I’d be honest.

Tiffany blushed. “He does not.”

“He told me to tell you ‘hi’ the other night.”

“The other night? When were you with Jared at night?” Anne leaned forward.

I tried to think fast, but Tiffany spared me. “Did he really say that?”

I smiled. “Yeah. He’s a player, and you should keep your distance, but he definitely has a crush.”

“A crush? Can you imagine what Jared would say if he heard you say that?” Hailey laughed.