The lounge Markham’s 85 was a far-cry from being the noisy hall with a nightly brawl its predecessor, Markham’s 49 had been. No, this place was a classy, with polished oak bar counters, bottles of booze worth thousands of dollars, amber lighting and rich leather upholstery.
And the women…well the patronesses of Markham’s 91 was an even further cry from the painted hookers, winos and drug addicts.
Take the knockout at the bar.
Dark wavy hair over swept over one shoulder, a killer body wrapped in claret-red silk and a pair of shadowed brown eyes.
Just Markham’s type.
In his old man’s joint, the standard operating procedure for picking up women would have involved a slap on the target’s rump, an offer of a wad of cash. But in *his* place, the women merited a bit more finesse. On
Jon Markham Jr, the owner, slid onto the stool next to woman in red. He flagged the bartender down with two fingers and said “What kind of a barkeep lets a lady’s glass run dry? Another of whatever she’s been having.”
Before too long, the burly bartender slid over a deep red liquid in a large curvy cocktail glass with a slice of pineapple wedged onto the rim of the glass.
“Lava flow?” Markham commented, his fashionably pierced eyebrows winging up. “Funny, I took you for more of a dry martini kind of girl.”
The woman slanted him a look, then turned to face him with a small smile playing about her deep red lips. “Sorry to disappoint you.”
Markham got shivers, that voice was cool, throaty and smoky. Markham would do just about anything to hear that more of that voice.
“Oh no, not at all mademoiselle,” Markham said suavely, placing a hand on her arm, edging a fraction closer. “In fact I find it rather charming, I can’t think what else I’ll learn about you.”
The woman’s lips curved again, a dimple winking in her right cheek.
Flipping her hair in a way that gave Markham a whiff of whatever spicy, exotic perfume she was wearing. That perfume seemed to be designed to drive men crazy, make them salivate over its wearer. It did its job spectacularly.
Markham held out a manicured hand. “The name’s John Markham.”
Her eyes slanted to the portrait of an old man with piercing blue eyes and snow white hair hanging above the bar. Attached to the bottom of the painting’s frame was a metal plaque with the name “John Markham” etched into it.
Markham chuckled and pointed at the picture, “Senior,” then pointed at himself. “Junior.”
The woman accepted his hand and shook it. “Well it’s nice to meet you John Markham Junior. I’m Layla. Layla Monroe.”
A perfect name for her: short, sexy and mysterious.
“Likewise Layla. Likewise.”
The woman, Layla, shook her hair out again and smiled. “So Mr. Markham…”
“John!” He cut in quickly.
Another hair flip. “*John* then. I notice your glass isn’t empty, it’s nonexistent. So how about I buy you a drink? What’s your poison?”
Markham ran his tongue over his teeth.
“Why don’t you choose for me?”
Layla interlaced her fingers and looked at him, chewing her lip as she considered. “Well, just looking at you I can guess that you’re usually a Scotch kind of guy…on the rocks, yes?”
A slow smile spread over his face, nodding with appreciation.
“But that’s boring.” She continued, “Why do the everyday, when this could be a once in a lifetime encounter. So, why don’t we branch out? Alright then, how about a Green Hornet?”
Markham grinned. “Not bad, but I’m sure you can do better than that.”
For the next few minutes, Layla ran down a list of cocktails with Markham turning each down in turn. “What about a Long Island Iced Tea.”
A mock wince and a laugh. “Come on Layla, I thought you didn’t want to be boring.”
Layla touched the tip of her tongue to her top lip, and ran her finger round the rim of her now empty cocktail glass. “Alright then, final offer: Amaretto, Kahlúa and Baileys Irish Cream.”
Markham raised an eyebrow, uncomprehending.
“Orgasm.” Layla clarified.
The other eyebrow went up and Markham nearly choked on his own spit. Before he could respond, he felt her thigh pressed up against his leg, her ankle hooking with his. Her lips were less than a centimetre from his ear.
“As a matter of fact, my glass is empty again so if I was thinking if get you one, then maybe you can help me out with one too.”
The blood drained from his head and down to his crotch.
Layla tipped her head and peeked out from beneath her eyelashes. That pink tongue tapped her top lip once again. “So…what do you say?”