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Daisy Thompson is your typical University student; she has no sleep schedule, barely survives on her minimum wage job, is constantly falling behind in her assignments, and the state of her mental health is certainly questionable. When she’s not studying or working, she’s down at the local gym learning self-defence; but when her shifts at the café change, her gym sessions are forced to change with them. Used to the sparse lunch time numbers, the new, rougher crowd is a shock - especially when she lays eyes on a recent one night stand.

Romance / Erotica
Elise Watson
4.9 28 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1: Making New Friends

“Hey, what do you say we get out of this dump and head back to mine?”

I edged away from the pungent stench of the drunken stranger’s breath, my upper lip curling. Sat in the grimy leather booth of the pub, my dark blonde hair fell out from behind my ear as I quickly turned to shoot the guy a disbelieving look, my hand clenching around my empty glass.

“You’ve got to be joking,” I scoffed under my breath. I had barely known him for five minutes. I gave him a quick once over under the dim lighting, glowering at his dishevelled hair and lipstick stained cheek. Just the sight of him had my stomach turning.

I was sitting stiffly on the outside of the booth, listening in on the nonsensical ramblings of my roommate’s friends, drinking far less than anyone else. Sarah, my roommate, was already drunk and busy sucking face with a guy named Callum, or maybe it was Carson, leaving me to fend off the advances of his wingman. I knew she was drunk, purely because she had never been so confident sober. She’d done this enough, though, for me to know I didn’t have to intervene. She hadn’t drunk too much yet, she never went home with anyone, and either myself or one of her other friends always made sure she got home safe.

“Come on, babe,” the idiot beside me purred, his words slurred as his hand raised limply to tuck the stray hair out of my face. He took the chance to stroke his fingers, a little too roughly, against my cheek and I had to restrain the ever-growing urge to strike him in the nose. I bet he’d look far better, teary-eyed and dripping blood.

Pushing down any violent urges, I knocked his hand away lightly and shoved on his chest to create some distance between us. It didn’t work. He rocked back towards me, sitting even close than before. With the new proximity came a tight feeling in the back of my throat, one that was hard to swallow around. I wanted to scream; I wanted to scream right in his face, and I wanted to scream at the room for not noticing or caring about this fuck-face’s actions.

I knew I shouldn’t have caved under Sarah’s insistent pleas for a night out. I hated hanging out in large groups and I especially hated hanging out with the dick-head’s on her University course. I should have stayed home and caught up on sleep - instead I was stuck in a grimy working men’s club filled with poor students surrounded by dodgy looking men. This wasn’t the pub we usually frequented - that one was closed for refurbishments - though it wasn’t much different aesthetically. In a small city like this, in our area, all the pubs seemed to be the same run-down establishments frequented only by locals or poor students looking for a cheap and quiet night out.

Sighing heavily through my nose, I glared down at my glass, wishing it would instantly refill just by the power of thought. I needed another drink to get me through this torture. If I wanted another drink though, then it would be at the expense of my already suffering bank account - and also at the risk of my safety if Mr ‘I Don’t Understand No’ stuck around. I wouldn’t put it past him to wait until I was drunk to make his next move.

A sharp jab to the throat would cut that idea off immediately. But unfortunately, people these days were just so extraordinarily idiotic that he’d probably try it, anyway.

As the guy leaned back in to try his luck once more, I had just about given up any hope of having a peaceful evening. My heart was already hammering away in my chest, but I didn’t let my nerves show. Instead, my gaze shifted away from the guy’s leering stare and I glanced around the cheap, tightly packed bar as if I expected anyone to help me. All the while, my body tensed, awaiting his next move. Perhaps upon my clear disinterest his ego would bruise enough that he would move onto someone else, or give up entirely. But given that he had been unsuccessfully trying his luck with me for the past fifteen minutes without sign of stopping, that seemed like a stupid thing to hope for. The guy was far too drunk to understand and the fact that his friends had let him get in such a state without intervention was appalling.

It was just as a clammy hand grasped the back of my neck and a pair of dry lips pressed against my throat that I first saw him. Dark eyes, framed by thick, furrowed brows, briefly caught mine from across the room and captured my full attention instantly. Though I was quick to grip the shaggy hair of the drunken stranger neck to me, yanking his head back away from my neck with enough force it had him groaning, I couldn’t look away from the startling intensity of the scowling eyes watching from us across the crowd.

A broad-shouldered man was sitting at a table in the secluded, far corner, surrounded by equally burly looking men laughing boisterously. The black t-shirt he wore stretched around his thick frame, and from beneath the neckline I could see the black edges of a tattoo staining his skin. He paid no attention to his company, his focus very much on the drunken idiot next to me. It looked as if he were about to leap from his seat the way he had completely turned away from his table, leant forward in his chair.

Despite his large build, the tattoos and the rough company of men he seemed to keep, there was no other way to describe his face, but pretty. So strikingly pretty were his features that it almost hurt to look at him. High cheek bones, a sharp yet crooked nose, a square chin, angular jaw, and full lips that were twisted into a scowl. A ragged breath stuttered from my lips as he continued to observe the situation heatedly. Almost instinctively, my hand tightly clenched in the drunk guy’s hair. I heard him wince and felt his body try to shift away from me. Fucking finally.

Across the room, the mysterious man’s expression finally eased. He seemed amused as his eyes fleetingly met mine again before he turned back towards his friends and the moment between me and him ended.

Instantly, I shoved the guy beside me away with enough force that he fell into whoever was sitting beside him. A cry rang out as someone’s drink spilled, but I was too busy leaping up from the table to care. My heart was still pounding furiously as I glared down at him and my hand shook as I wiped at my neck with my palm.

If my glass wasn’t empty, I would have thrown it in his face. Except then I’d be wasting a drink, so maybe not.

I caught the eye of one of Sarah’s friends. She looked concerned as she mouthed a silent, ‘Are you okay?’

It was a little too late to be asking me that. Where were you five minutes ago when he was stroking my face? I offered her a tight-lipped smile, but said nothing as I turned my attention back to my assailant.

Don’t follow me,” I hissed and stalked off towards the bar with no intention of returning to the table. It wasn’t as if anyone would miss me.

I caught the bartender’s attention as soon as I slipped onto one of the high standing stools. Within seconds, they placed a fresh drink in front of me and I was gulping it down as if it were water. When my glass slammed back down on the wooden bar top once again, a deep chuckle caught my attention.

It was him. The tattooed man.

He was standing by my side, far too close for me not to feel dwarfed by his presence. Up close, he seemed even more daunting. His mere height and broadened shoulders were far more intimidating than my earlier company, but I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes away despite knowing I should. He was clean shaven, his hair cut short, and the faint evidence of a bruise dusted his sharp jawline.

My history with men similar to him; tattooed, muscular, and rough around the edges was more than enough reason for me to stay far, far away. But he’d seemed genuinely annoyed by the guy bothering me before, and, unless I had been reading it wrong, seemed willing to step in should I have needed help. That was enough to have me easing my defences ever so slightly.

“Another round,” he uttered to the bartender before glancing at me from the corner of his eye. “Grown bored already?” he asked, in a sarcastic tone. His voice was gruff and deep and as he turned towards me, he nodded to the table where the drunken guy was still lingering, seeming rather dejected. I scoffed and pushed my empty glass away for the bartender to collect.

“You want a drink?” He uttered quietly, his deep voice vibrating across my skin like the stroke of a feather, causing goose bumps to rise across the golden skin of my arms. I kept my eyes focused on his mouth, barely able to hear him over the boisterous conversations that filled the pub.

“Uh...” I couldn’t decide if it was attraction or intimidation that had me stumbling over my words; especially when my heart was still racing from my earlier interaction. “If your plan is to hit on me, I’m going to have to decline; I’m not really in the mood.”

He grinned, amused by my words, and the smile instantly lit up his face. The small dimple on his left cheek drew in my eyes. “Wouldn’t say I had a plan, but I wanted to make sure he didn’t follow you over here,” he said, gesturing to the guy who a minute ago had been making out with my neck. Indeed, as I looked back over, I caught him glaring in our direction, clearly unhappy with the presence of the hulking man beside me. “He looks stupid enough to try.”

“Oh...” I breathed, not sure what else to say as a small smile crept onto my face. “Thank you. He’s a fucking idiot, so I wouldn’t put it past him.”

His grin widened, and he kept his eyes on me as he called out to the bartender. “Another drink for my friend here, Tom.”

Gone was my empty glass and soon came another one, along with a pint for my new ‘friend’ as well as a tray of drinks that I presumed was for the rest of his group.

“You friends with the bartender?” My eyebrow cocked up, and I could not keep my smile from growing. I knew my cheeks were glowing from this man’s attention, but I was going to blame that more on the alcohol than anything else. It didn’t seem like the guy needed an ego boost. From his good looks, I reckoned he got more than enough attention daily. “How often do you come here?”

“Often enough lately that I’m questioning why I haven’t seen you here before. I’d definitely remember someone like you.” When he shifted to rest his hips against the bar, I caught the scent of his aftershave and almost wept with desire.

Someone who smelled good was always my weakness. In freshers week there was a girl on my course who I had been mildly infatuated with, all because she was pretty and smelled exactly like fresh flowers. I couldn’t speak to her without stuttering like a damn idiot and blushing like crazy. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you looked at it, she had switched courses from Illustration to Fine Art after the first three weeks, and I had finally concentrated on my lectures. I had always regretted not getting her number, though.

Maybe I had drank a little too much tonight, or maybe the stress of my second year of University was finally getting to me, but the scent of this man’s aftershave seemed to have that same effect on me. I knew he was just feeding me flirty lines, but I didn’t really care. All I knew was that I was enjoying his company and, for as long as he kept talking to me, I was happy to stay.

That and it had been such a long time since I’d entertained the attention of a man I was genuinely attracted to. I was tipsy, horny, and it was clear he was also interested. God, I hoped I wasn’t misreading things.

“I tend to stay away from the run down bars with creepy guys praying on young women,” I teased bluntly, the words escaping before I could think them through.

To my surprise, the man broke out into a loud guffaw, and I felt a satisfied grin creeping across my face. I ducked away from his amused gaze and gulped down my beer in order to stop myself from making any inappropriate remarks about how hot he looked with his eyes crinkling at the corners like that.

Fuck me, his laugh was attractive.

My thighs clenched together on instinct, doing nothing to ease the sudden heat pulsing within me. I knew I was a horny drunk, but this was frankly ridiculous. The man had barely said two words to me and I was practically salivating over him. Get a grip Daisy, before you come across as fucking desperate.

“I’m Markus,” he introduced gruffly. He too downed the rest of his drink, blinking down at me heavily. At least I wasn’t the only one feeling the effects of the alcohol.


“You not going back to your friends?” He asked, nodding once again back to the table where Sarah, her course mates, and the rejected guy still sat.

“I doubt they’ve even realised I’m gone.”

“He’s realised. He looks upset,” Markus mused. “Understandable. He deserves it, forcing himself on you like that.”

My standards were clearly far too low, if basic consent was what I looked for in a person, but I’d certainly be lying if I said that it wasn’t attractive.

“Some boys need to check their egos if they can’t handle a little rejection. There’s no excuse for being an arsehole. I’m sure it wouldn’t bother you that much if I rejected you,” I said, making no effort to hide the way my eyes scanned him from head to toe, fighting back a grin as I did so.

“Why’d you say that?”

“You’re too confident for this to be your first time hitting on a woman at a bar.” If I rejected you, you’d be right onto the next woman for sure.

“Maybe it is. Maybe you’re just so gorgeous I couldn’t resist,” he said, voice dropping to an indistinct murmur as he stepped closer. “Would you reject me? If I were hitting on you?”

“If?” If I asked coyly, arching my neck to look up at him.

“You aren’t in the mood, remember?” His voice was still a low, sultry purr, and I fought back a shiver at the sound of it.

“And if I’d changed my mind?”

Markus shifted closer and my legs parted instinctively, allowing him to stand between them, until we were so close that I pressed my palms flat against his chest. I could feel the unsteady hammering of his heart through his shirt that mirrored the erratic beating of my own. At first, with my hands pressed flat against the defined, sturdy muscles of his chest, I couldn’t move, and could barely breathe. But as my eyes came to settle on his lips hovering dangerously close to mine, I couldn’t resist the urge to push forward and claim his mouth.

Fuck, I really was drunk. Sober me would never be so brazen.

Instantly, a drawn out quiet whimper escaped me as our lips slowly brushed against each other before becoming more demanding and more bruising. I had utterly forgotten where we were. I was so consumed in the heat of the moment, I probably would have fallen to pieces right there in his arms in the middle of the crowded bar with his tongue in my mouth. Fortunately for me, Markus had some sense and pulled back, chest heaving, lips plump and eyes glistening.

“Let’s go somewhere quieter.”

I nodded my agreement with wide, eager eyes.

“How much have you had to drink?”

“About four pints. I’m still coherent.” I jumped down from the tall bar stool, leaning into Markus to stop myself from falling over at the sudden movement.

“Good.” His hand rested against my back as we stumbled hastily towards the exit.

“What about your friends’ drinks?” I asked with a giddy laugh, realising he had left the entire tray at the bar.

Markus shrugged his shoulders, grinning down at me. “They can get them themselves. You want to tell your friends you’re leaving?”

I shook my head. “I’ll text them.”

“Wait, one sec,” Markus said, pausing at the door before shouting out across the room, “Tom! Red shirt over in the booth. Keep an eye on him, can’t keep his hands to his fucking self.”

From across the room, the bartender, Tom, nodded his acknowledgement, already seeking the man in question. As was every other man Markus had been sitting with, barring a few that were watching us, seeming a little taken back. One definitely muttered, ‘what the fuck’, under their breath as I caught his eye. How embarrassing.

I turned to Markus, wide-eyed. It was possible my eyes had morphed into bloody hearts as I stared up at him, a little half in love. I really need to raise my standards - this couldn’t be all it took, and yet, fuck me, I was positively dripping.

“If it’s not you, it’s someone else,” he explained, still smiling despite the sombre topic. He nodded outside. “Don’t worry, he’ll be dealt with. We going?”

[this is my new romance book, it is 18+ so expect some explicit chapters. I actually first wrote this chapter in 2015 and I’m only just getting around to working on the rest of the story now]

[RE-WRITTEN 21/09/22]

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