Prologue - Courtney
Del Mar was not my first choice, but I can’t say I’m not happy to be here. The hunk sitting awfully close at the bar appraises me with his eyes, sending a wave of tingles through my chest. “Can I buy you a drink?” he asks.
Layla giggles and, after shooting me a very suggestive wink, runs off to chat with some friends she spotted across the room. Since I have her permission... “Yes please! Vodka cran?”
“Coming right up.” He straightens in his seat to get the bartender’s attention and passes him a shiny black card, giving me a perfect view of his fancy-ass watch. I’m fairly certain this preppy-as-fuck guy is wearing a Michael Kors watch, which isn’t a big deal considering we’re adults, but I kind of want to fuck him—watch on, of course. There’s just something about men in designer garb that gets me going.
It’s been a while.
“I like your watch,” I blurt out after the bartender hands me what I hope is the first drink of many.
To my surprise, he sighs at the compliment. “Thank you,” he finally says.
If he doesn’t want it, I’ll gladly regift it to my brother Brady for Christmas. “You don’t like it?” I ask.
“No, I do. My girlfriend—sorry, ex-girlfriend—gave it to me, and I can’t bring myself to take it off.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” I should probably tell him to give it to me and move on with his life, but I can’t imagine he’ll appreciate my advice all that much. I shoot him an awkward smile and start to slide off the barstool. Time to track down Layla. It’s been a long week, and I’m not trying to be this guy’s therapist, as attractive as he is.
“I’m Jake,” he says, sticking out his hand.
Never mind, I guess. “Courtney,” I reply.
“Well, Courtney, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone drink a vodka cranberry as fast as you. Want another?”
I smirk, setting my empty glass on the counter. “It’s an acquired skill, and yes please.” I’ll play therapist for free booze.
After another vodka cran, I don’t mind being a therapist—I do love drama, after all, and drunk me is super nice—but luckily, Jake’s downed enough whiskey that he no longer needs one.
“You’re beautiful,” he says softly.
I feel my cheeks heating up. “Thank you. You’re very handsome yourself.”
I’m serious. Jake’s hot. His dark brown hair is flipped back, but not in an over-gelled way, and his eyelashes are, in a word, supreme. If male mascara ever becomes a thing, this guy could model.
He leans forward, and honestly, I haven’t made out with anyone in at least a month, so I let him kiss me. Damn is he a good kisser. His hand cups my face as our lips move hungrily in sync. Wow. I could do this all night, although I think I want to end it in my bed. With Jake. I’m totally down to be a rebound. That usually means I don’t have to talk to the guy again, which is ideal. I’m not a relationship fan, but I am a sex fan.
Glass shatters nearby, but I’m too wrapped up in our kiss to see the damage, which is really saying something, because I’m nosy as hell.
Then, drops of frigid water spray my face, and Jake lets out a weird yelp-grunt thing, twitching as the sound leaves his slightly swollen lips. His flinching arm bumps his glass, which crashes to the floor.
“R-Rae?” he stammers.
A petite, stunning brunette with shiny, long hair and the most impeccable smoky eye stands before us, staring incredulously at Jake, her glossy lips parted in shock. I physically feel waves of pure hurt radiating from her entire being.
Oh. My. God. Nausea starts bubbling up in my stomach. Was this asshole lying about breaking up with his girlfriend?
The woman—Rae, I guess?—bends down and grabs another ice cube.
“It, uh... Baby, it’s not what it looks like. Please, let me explain.”
She raises her brows, waiting.
I, too, require an explanation. Maybe I should wait for him to answer Rae’s question, but I’m fucking pissed. “You have a girlfriend?” I exclaim.
“I, uh...” Jake trails off, fidgeting with his J. Crew sleeve.
“Yeah, he does,” Rae snaps, crossing her arms against her silky black top.
Fuck this guy.
I pour the unethical vodka cran onto his previously attractive—now repulsive and sticky—head, smirking. The glass slips from my fingers, its shards joining the remnants of Jake’s beverage on the floor. Shit. If Del Mar enforces the ‘you break it, you buy it’ rule, I hope Jake has to buy it. This is his fault.
“Rae, please. Let me explain,” Jake begs his now-sobbing girlfriend.
She glares at him, wiping away tears. “Explain.”
“I swear, I wasn’t...” Before he can get another word out, a furious blonde woman rocking a bodycon stomps over and punches Jake in the head.
My jaw drops. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it, but holy guacamole.
“I want to see other people,” Jake mutters, just loud enough for Rae and me to hear. He doesn’t even apologize to his girlfriend. Nope. This asshole just stalks off while the bouncers drag Rae and the screaming blonde woman outside.
“Layla!” I holler.
She power-walks over. “What’s up?”
“We have to go. I need to say sorry,” I say as quickly as my drunk vocal cords allow. I owe Rae an apology before her crazy friend hits me in the head.
Layla stumbles after me, not even asking any questions, which is why she’s my best friend. I shiver in the cool night air, but now isn’t the time to focus on my deep regret for not bringing a jacket. Now is the time for apologies.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” the blonde shrieks as she holds her sobbing friend. Rae lifts her head and jerks it left to right, probably searching for her boyfriend.
No. Correction. Ex-boyfriend. And it’s all my fault.
Alcohol, the cold, and guilt team up to send tears to my eyes and sobs to my lips. Before I can stop myself, I’m rushing forward, disregarding my fear of this crazy person, and hugging poor Rae, telling her that I’m sorry.
“It’s not your fault,” she says reassuringly, patting my back.
I just destroyed this woman’s relationship, and she’s consoling me. I need to get my shit together ASAP.
“I’m Courtney.” I stick out my hand. “Let me make it up to you.”
Rae blinks, confused, so her friend decides, snarling, “Yeah. You owe us.”
Layla hands us makeup wipes—bless her sweet, prepared soul—and we saunter towards Smash, my favorite Salt Lake City club. Its vibe is ten times better than Del Mar’s. More importantly, Jake was headed in the opposite direction.
Rae deserves far better. Unfortunately, I don’t have any suitors to set her up with, but I do have a credit card. “Let me buy you a drink,” I offer.
She grins. Her lips are still trembling, but she looks a little happier. Vodka crans often have that effect, even if they haven’t been served yet. “Fuck it,” she declares.
The bartender hands us our orders, and we lock eyes. A silent understanding passes between us. Girl power. Fuck men, and not in the fun way.
We nod at the same time and toss back our drinks. In a few gulps, they’re gone. Rae casts her cup aside, smiling wryly.
“I’ll get you one,” she says. Before I can insist that I buy the next round, she’s at the bar, pulling cash from her wallet, and then she’s back, handing me another plastic cup. Not the most environmentally friendly drinkware, but Del Mar should probably invest in some. Whatever poor soul has to clean up our shattered glasses definitely agrees.
Rae and I lock eyes again, and we down our second drinks. Giggling hysterically, we walk—okay, stumble—over to the bar to request more vodka crans. “I made out with her boyfriend, but we’re friends now,” I tell the bartender.
She smiles and asks if we want to open a tab.
“Yes,” Rae and I answer at the same time.
Just when you think the female solidarity energy can’t be stronger, Rihanna blasts over the speakers. For the third time, our eyes lock. “Let’s dance!” I shout.
Rae bites her lip. “Yeah, but no boys.”
“Fuck boys,” I agree.
We lift our drinks above our heads and sway sort of in tune to Riri, shooting death glares at every man who comes close, which is a lot. Rae’s hot, so I get it, but wow. So. Many. Men.
A guy in a flannel who might well be a lumberjack approaches us far too confidently. “Go away,” Rae shrieks as I announce, “Not interested!” a little too loudly. We do the same thing three more times, each with a different man.
Then, I hear a familiar voice.
Why is Logan at Smash?
Rae purses her lips. “No, thank you. No men,” she says politely.
I lift my head from Rae’s shoulder. “Logan?”
He grins. “Hell yeah.”
We exchange a hug, and I decide I should introduce my new friend, even though she’s rightfully angry at his gender. Etiquette and all. Also, Logan’s nice. I don’t think she’d dislike him in any other circumstances.
“This is Rae. She hates men,” I tell him.
Logan raises his eyebrows. “All of us?”
“Every last one,” Rae replies. She chugs her vodka cran and sighs. “The only man for me is Tito.”
Logan’s eyebrows furrow, and I spy an unruly hair poking up towards his forehead. I’ll have to make fun of him for that later.
“She means the vodka,” I clarify. “I made out with her boyfriend.”
Rae tosses her empty cup into the trash, squeezes my hand, and lifts her free arm into the air like she knows the answer in class, yelling, “Ex!”
“Court,” Logan gasps. “You made out with someone’s boyfriend?”
I roll my eyes. As if I would ever do that on purpose. Before I can stand up for myself, Rae explains, “Ex. It wasn’t her fault. He lied.”
I want to be Rae’s friend forever.
Logan smirks. “Good. Courtney’s like my little sister. I would have had to ground her.”
If my drink weren’t gone, I’d dump it on his head. He’s four years older than me. He doesn’t have grounding privileges. Also, I think he’s trying to flirt with Rae. I cringe internally.
Weirdly, Rae seems okay with it. She lets out this ridiculously girly giggle that turns Logan’s cheeks pink. He holds her in his gaze, this intense look in his eyes. Rae bounces on her heels obliviously.
I should probably remind Logan that my new friend hates men, but she’s a delight, and Logan really needs to move on before Taylor sinks her claws into him again. Choosing to let this one play out, I spin on my heel and crash into Thor.
No, not really, but my victim looks like Thor. Athletic Thor, not the one from Endgame, not that I would complain about him. He’s cute too.
“Hello,” Thor exclaims, startled.
“Sorry!” I should see where Layla is, but Chris Hemsworth is so dreamy... “I’m Courtney.”
We shake hands.
“What are you doing here tonight, Courtney?” Drew asks.
I absolutely have to get this story off my chest. “So, I was at the club, and I made out with this guy, right? Well, then his girlfriend walks in, and they break up, but now we’re best friends. Me and Rae—that’s the girlfriend—not me and Jake, obviously.”
“Fuck Jake,” Drew agrees.
I nod. “Yeah, so Rae and I were dancing, but then my friend Logan came, and look at them.” I point, and Drew turns his head.
“He’s way into her,” he comments.
“Definitely. So, because she’s my new friend, I let them have at it.”
“You’re a good friend,” Drew says.
He’s right, but I’m too humble to openly announce it, so I share the other thing that’s on my mind. “You look like Thor.”
Drew tosses his head back, cracking up. “Thor, huh? A superhero, and you’re still out of my league.”
Ew. Thor is cheesy as fuck, but I’m horny, and he’s hot. “I disagree,” I tell him.
He steps closer. I also step closer. Our eyes close. Our lips touch and part.
Oh. My. God. Thor is a tremendous kisser. Better than Jake, even. I wrap my arms around his neck and lean into his superhero frame, deciding that this is the remedy my horny, guilty mind needs. Having a hot guy’s tongue in my mouth tends to solve a lot of problems. After a wonderfully long time of making out, we pull away, smiling sheepishly.
“I should find my friends,” I sigh.
Drew also sighs. “That’s too bad. It was nice to meet you, Courtney.”
Layla and the blonde are grinding on two men they’ll regret in the morning. Both shoot me a thumbs up, as if Rae’s friend didn’t just yell at me an hour ago, and I turn back to Thor. “Actually, want to hang out?”
He grins. “Lead the way.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I fuck the God of Thunder.