Home > Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1)(9)

Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1)(9)
Author: L.J. Shen


“It gets better, Rach. I got fired from R/BS Advertising too,” I whispered into her cherry-red hair.

Her body stiffened against mine. When we pulled away, her face wasn’t concerned anymore. She looked downright horrified. “Millie…” She bit her lip. “What are you gonna do?”

That was a very good question. “Take more shifts here until I get myself together and find another day job? Get some temp work? Sell a kidney?”

The last one was obviously a joke, but I made a mental note to look into it when I got back to my apartment. Just out of curiosity. Yeah, right.

Rachelle rubbed her forehead with her palm, scanning my body. Knowing what I must look like, I hugged my midriff and flashed her a weak smile. I was thin. Thinner than I’d been when I first started working here. And the roots of my lavender hair were starting to show, but they were so light brown, it didn’t look too bad. My physical state, especially with the broken heel and stained dress, underlined the mess I was in.

Rachelle’s eyes stopped at my fist. She untangled my fingers from the shoe heel I was holding and took a deep breath, closing her eyes. “I’ll glue this for you. Take the shoes in my locker and get to work. And smile big. God knows you need the tips.”

I nodded, slapping a wet kiss onto her cheek. She was a lifesaver. I didn’t even care that she was fun-sized, three inches shorter than me, and that her shoes were two sizes smaller. I bolted for our lockers and slipped into my uniform—a cropped, tight red shirt that showed off my stomach, black mini skirt, and a black-and-red apron with McCoy’s name plastered across it. It was tacky, but the bar was frequented by Wall Street-types, and the tips were great.

Pushing the wooden saloon doors open and marching to the dark stool-lined counter, I ignored the thirsty—and not for alcohol—looks men sent my way. I was twenty-seven. Seemingly, the perfect age for the meat-market New York had to offer. But I was too busy trying to survive to have a boyfriend. My policy was to be friendly with my customers without giving them false encouragement.

“Hey, Millie,” Kyle greeted from behind the bar. He had slicked-back blond hair, studied film-making at NYU, lived in Williamsburg, and dressed like Woody Allen. Anything to disguise the fact he was actually from South Carolina.

I smiled at him while the regular crowd at the tables, men and women in suits, scrolled through messages on their phones and traded stories about their days at work. “Busy night?”

“Okay so far. Don’t freak out,” he warned, “but Dee is pissed at you for being late again. You’d better go take care of your tables.” He nodded toward the right side of the restaurant.

Dee was one of the other waitresses who worked Fridays with me. I couldn’t blame her for being mad. It wasn’t her fault I was dealing with personal issues. I nodded and offered him a thumbs-up, but he was already engrossed in the book he was reading under the counter.

It wasn’t that bad, working at McCoy’s. Our clientele spoke quietly and drank expensively, always tipping fifteen percent or more. Swaying my hips to “Baby It’s You” by Smith, I ambled to a table in the corner of the room. It was dark and secluded from the rest—my favorite spot because it somehow always lured the best tippers.

I called it my lucky corner.

Two men were sitting there, hunched and engrossed in a hushed conversation. I plucked the menus from under my arm and smiled at their bent heads, trying to grab their attention.

“Hello, gentlemen. I’m Millie and I’ll be your waitress tonight. Can I get you anything while you—”

Him. That’s where I stopped. Because the minute the man with the tousled black hair looked up, my heart flipped over and my mouth froze.

Vicious.

I blinked, trying to decipher the image in front of me. Baron Spencer was here, and to my dismay, he looked a hell of a lot better than I did.

Tall, well above six foot, his long legs stretched to one side, with eyes dark like his soul and unruly raven hair that curled up at the sides, covering his stupidly perfect ears. High cheekbones—always rosy when touched by the sting of the cold—square jaw and straight nose. Everything about his face was composed and icy.

Only the flush on his porcelain skin reminded me that he was still flesh, blood, and heart, and not a machine programmed to ruin my life. The color in his cheeks even gave his dark, brooding features a boyish glint.

I wasn’t surprised to see the I-dare-you-to-fuck-with-me expression was still stamped on his face, like an old song I knew by heart. I also wasn’t surprised to see that, unlike me, his sense of style had matured with age. Impeccable, yet unpretentious. He wore dark-blue jeans, brown Oxfords, a white dress shirt, and a tailored blazer.

Casual. Understated. Expensive.

Nothing fancy, but enough to remind you that he was still richer than 99.9% of the population. I always changed the subject whenever my parents tried to fill me in on anyone from Todos Santos, and they never mentioned Vicious. Not in recent years, anyway. For all I knew, he woke up every day to do nothing except dress like a big-shot rich guy.

I couldn’t look in his eyes, couldn’t even look in his direction. My gaze moved to the man who sat opposite him. He was slightly older—early thirties, maybe?—heavy-set with sandy-blond hair and the sharply tailored suit of a greedy Wall Street broker.

“Anything to drink?” I repeated, my throat closing up. I was no longer smiling. Was I even breathing?

“Black Russian.” Sharp Suit dragged his eyes along the curves of my body, stopping at my chest.

“And you?” I chirped to Vicious, pretending to write down the drinks I would’ve remembered by heart anyway. My shaky hand scribbled blindly, missing my little notepad.

“Bourbon, neat.” Vicious’s tone was indifferent, his eyes dead when they landed on my pen. Not on me.

Aloof. Cold. Unaffected.

Nothing’s changed.

I turned around and wobbled back to the bar in my too-tight shoes, placing the order with Kyle.

Maybe he didn’t recognize me. After all, why would he? It had been ten years. And I’d only lived at the Spencer estate during my senior year.

I tapped the edge of the bar with the side of my chewed-up pen. Kyle groaned when he heard Sharp Suit had ordered a Black Russian. He hated making cocktails. I lingered, skulking behind Kyle’s shoulder, stealing another glance at the guy who used to make my heart stutter.

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