Waitress girl starts to head back over, balancing a bottle and shot glasses on a tray one-handedly. Before she reaches us, I hiss a warning at Warren—just to be safe. “And don’t even think about telling tales to Kate that I’m screwing around. This is for purely educational purposes only. It means nothing to me.”

That’s the absolute truth. It’s like . . . acting. I would have made a great actor. The Broadway kind. Because no matter what an actor feels for his leading lady in real life—when that curtain rises, he performs. Convincingly.


She arrives at our table. “Here we go, guys.”

As she sets out the glasses, I ask, “Is it always this crazy around here?”

“Not always. There’s a podiatrist convention in town this weekend, so we’re swamped.” She brushes a hair from her face. “The tips are good though, so I can’t complain.”

“Sure you can. Everyone deserves to bitch once in a while. I’m all ears.”

She smiles and pours our drinks.

“Better yet—how about you sit down for a few minutes? Take a load off. Have a drink with us? You look like you could use one.”

She’s tempted. But then she glances over her shoulder at the balding, heavyset guy behind the bar. “It’s sweet of you to ask—but I can’t. My boss wouldn’t like it.”

“Sweet is my middle name.” I jerk my thumb toward the bar, “He your boss?”

She frowns. “That’s him. Harry’s a total slave driver.”

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I stand and hold up a finger. “Don’t go anywhere.”

I jog over to Harry. “Hey, man, my friends and I are looking to have a quick drink with our waitress.”

He looks over at our table. “With Felicia?”

“Yeah, Felicia”—or, whatever—“and we’re willing to pay for her time. What’s a ten-minute break gonna cost me?”

“Fifty bucks.”

“Done.” I slap the money on the bar and beat it back to the table quickly—before the price goes up. Then I put my sexy face back on.

I pull out a chair and motion for the waitress to sit. “You’re all set.”

She looks surprised. “No kidding?” She looks at Harry, who gives her a nod, then she sits down gratefully. “Wow, you convinced Harry to give me a break? You must be very good.”

I chuckle wickedly. “Baby, you have no idea.”

I sit in my chair and raise my shot glass. Everyone follows suit and we down them together. Then I pour another for the waitress. We chat casually for a few minutes. She tells me about her dreams of becoming a showgirl, which were put on hold because of her mother’s emphysema. I listen oh so attentively and nod at all the right times.

Then I dig a little deeper. “That’s a lot for a lady to have on her shoulders. Does your husband help out?”

She drinks her second shot and shakes her head. “No husband.”

“A boyfriend, then?”

“Not one of them, either. Who has the time?”

Then I go in for the kill. “A great girl like you doesn’t have a boyfriend? That’s a damn shame. Still, you should make time to blow off a little steam. Let loose. Have a good time with a good guy.”

She licks the alcohol off her lips. “I squeeze in a good time here and there. When it’s worth it.”

See her suggestive smirk? The invitation in her big, hazel eyes? That’s her signal—telling me she thinks I’m worth it. That if I offer to help her blow off some steam in any fashion I can think of, she’s up for it.

That also concludes our presentation for the day.

I glance at my watch. “Ten minutes are up. I wouldn’t want you to get into trouble with your boss.”

She blinks. “Oh—right.”

Then she stands up—but doesn’t leave right away. “I’m done here in a few hours. Are you guys going to stick around?” She asks all of us, but she’s looking at me.

I let her down easy. Because that’s the kind of gentleman I am. “Unfortunately, no. We’ll be heading out soon and we’re busy all night. But it was a pleasure talking to you.”

Back in the day, I would have kissed her hand for good measure. But these days my lips are for Kate alone.

Her shoulders sag. “Okay . . . well . . . thanks for the drink.”

“Anytime, honey. Don’t work too hard.”

She walks away, sneaking a peek back over at our table as she goes.

I turn my attention to Warren and spread my arms wide. “And that is how it’s done.”

I toss back a shot. My voice is strained after it burns down my throat. “If I was interested, I’d hang around awhile. And if no other opportunities presented themselves, I’d take her home, bang her for a few hours, and leave her smiling.”

Warren suggests, with a hint of awe, “Yeah. Or you could bring her up to your room for a quickie.”

Jack, Matthew, and I simultaneously exclaim, “Nooooo.”

I correct him, “With the high-end women you’re going to be scoring? You’re gonna want to take your time. And—rule number two—always have an escape route. Never take a girl back to your home turf. It could take a forklift to get her the f**k out.”

Jack shudders. “One time I had to call the cops. And when they dragged her out, the broad was still clinging to my bed-sheets. That’s a mistake you only make once.”

Warren nods. “You make it seem so easy.”

“Getting laid is supposed to be easy,” I tell him. “None of us would be here if it wasn’t. God gave men instincts—even you. Just relax and let them lead you.”

I slap him on the back. Harder than I have to. “Now, young Skywalker, your training is complete. Tonight—you become a Jedi.”

He grins. “Cool. Thanks, man.” Then he cocks his thumb toward the restroom. “I gotta hit the john.”

Jack stands. “And I see a new lucky lady. I’ll be back.”

After they leave, Matthew’s eyes burn a hole in my face.

I return his stare. “What?”

“A few hours ago you could barely stand to be in the same room with the guy, and now you’re giving him pu**y pointers. Why are you really helping him, Drew?”

“I’m a helpful guy.”

He continues to stare, waiting for me to elaborate.

“And . . . if Warren’s occupied with his own snatch . . . he’ll stay away from Kate.”

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