I’ve been missing Cane Alexander lately and I thought maybe you were missing him too 😉
Enjoy this bite of The Exception –
The little hairs on the back of my neck stood at full attention. I had the overwhelming sensation that I was being watched. I felt vulnerable-like prey on the verge of being captured.
I looked to my tablemates and their eyes were focused across the room. I glanced at the neighboring tables. Women’s heads were all turning like dominos; all gazes were focused on the same spot.
What the hell is going on?
“Hey, Max.” The voice to my left was low and rumbled through me. I dropped my gaze to the floor, trying to still my pounding heart.
His voice was smooth, confident, with a touch of grit-the kind of voice you could listen to all day and never hear enough. The air was infused with a spicy, earthy scent-notes of cedar and possibly tobacco lingering in the air. The combination was heady. Whoever was standing beside me was pure, unadulterated male.
My body heated at the influx of sensations and the feeling of his eyes on me.
A pair of dark boots was a few feet away from my chair, and as I moved my eyes up slowly, I found dark denim covering a set of muscular legs. A brown leather belt wrapped a trim waist. A blue button-up shirt was tucked in, hinting at the hardness that lay beneath the fabric. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled to his elbows, exposing an expensive-looking watch and a set of tanned, powerful forearms.
I nervously tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, trying to slow my heart that was threatening to pound out of my chest.
“Hey,” Max smirked, his eyes trained on his friend. A hint of mischief danced across his features. “I walked in and saw Kari and grabbed a seat. Wanna join us?”
I inhaled slowly, trying to get my bearings. I turned ever-so-slowly to my left.
When my eyes met his crystal blues, I froze. A smile lazily broke out across his face. Chills raced through my body and goose bumps broke out across my skin.
This man was nothing short of divine.
His eyes were the bluest I had ever seen-crystal clear pools of cerulean. They were wild, yet elegant, sort of calm, yet lively. They were the kind of eyes you could lose yourself in for hours on end.
The kind of eyes that could get a girl in trouble.
His face was sharp and angular; his jaw was strong and square. A slightly bent nose lent a bad boy look to his otherwise perfect face. His short blond hair was cropped close to his head. He was beautiful with a hint of rogue and it was all I could do not to stare.
I pulled my eyes away, feeling my cheeks heat. As I glanced down his solid body, I knew without a doubt that a guy that looked like this was nothing but trouble. He was too delicious for his own good.
Or my own good, anyway.
He gripped the chair in front of him and I imagined his strong hands gripping my hips.
I have to calm down!
I felt an urge to look back up and when I did, he was watching me intently. He held my eyes with his own and I was pinned in place, unable to tear my gaze from his. I felt defenseless, completely bared, like he was downloading everything from my brain. I wanted, needed, to pull my eyes away from him, but I couldn’t.
“Craving Mexican, huh?” He snickered as he sat down at the empty seat next to me, finally releasing my gaze.
Max laughed and shook his head.
“And how are you, Kari?”
“I’m great, Cane,” Kari cooed, batting her eyelashes.
Cane slowly turned to me, his grin turning wicked. My breath hitched in my throat as he leaned in. I cleared my throat, hoping it would distract him from the thumping of my heart that I was absolutely certain he could hear.
If there was ever a physical embodiment of sex-it was sitting next to me.
“Max has apparently forgotten his manners tonight. I am Cane Alexander. And who might you be?”
I smiled nervously. “I’m Jada Stanley, Kari’s sister.”
“I have to admit,” Cane said, looking up to Max, “that I was a little pissed about meeting you here. But, all things considered,” he said, giving the slightest nod to me, “I think this is going to work out just fine.”
I took a sip of my margarita as Cane turned to me.
“What do you do?” he asked casually.
I opened my mouth to respond when a set of red fingernails appeared on Cane’s shoulder. His head jerked to the side, taking my attention with it.
If the woman touching Cane could have gotten any closer, she would have been sitting on his lap. With big boobs popping out of the top of her short black dress, her long blonde hair floating in waves down her back, she definitely wanted attention. And, apparently,
Cane was who she wanted it from.
“Cane,” she purred. “Long time no see.”
“Hey, Miriam,” Cane said, wearing a cocky grin.
I felt a little bubble of jealousy wash over me and I chastised myself. Guys like this were my weakness, my Achilles heel. A gorgeous bad boy type with a cocky flair had always drawn me in. But the fact of the matter was simple-I knew better. This was everything I didn’t need to be focusing on, all wrapped up in one hot package.
“What are you doing here?” Miriam asked.
“Oh, just meeting old friends. And making some new ones, I think.” Cane turned to me and flashed me a devilish smile.
“Oh. What are you doing later?” Miriam angled her cleavage to Cane’s eye level.
“I’m not sure yet. Why? Did you have something in mind?”
“Maybe. Do you wanna call me later?”
“Well, no. I don’t even have your number.” Cane shrugged and flagged Julio down. Miriam’s jaw dropped and I had to stifle a laugh, covering my mouth with my hand.
“You mean you don’t still have my number, baby?” She stuck out her bottom lip and batted her lashes again.
“I don’t think fucking once warrants keeping your number.”
I bit the side of my cheek as I looked at Kari, not sure whether to laugh or be disgusted. She was watching the show, seemingly unfazed by the ridiculousness.
I bet she sees this stuff from him all the time. Just another reason to ignore him, regardless of how wet my panties are right now.
“Once?!” Miriam nearly shrieked. “We were together four times, Cane!”
Cane ignored her as he ordered a Corona for himself and Max from Julio. Julio blushed as he headed towards the bar, drink order in hand.
“Lucky for you, I still have your number.” She smiled sweetly, recovering quicker from Cane’s downplay than I had anticipated. “I’ll just shoot you a text later and you can hit me up.”
“You do that,” he said, nodding. “Now I’m about to enjoy a meal here with my friends, so why don’t you go find yours?”
“Oh, okay! Talk to you soon, baby.” She walked away, her head held high despite being clearly dismissed by Cane.
I was speechless.
“That was interesting,” Max said, shaking his head. “You can really find the crazy ones, Cane. That girl has no shame.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” Kari said, rolling her eyes.
Cane laughed as he took his drink from the waiter. “The crazy ones are the most fun.” He looked at me and laughed at the look on my face. “No, seriously-she’s not nearly as fun as she thinks she is. And I think four times is a stretch.”
“I don’t know what to say to any of that,” I mumbled.
“Don’t worry.” Cane brought the bottle to his lips. “I’d be happy to take you home tonight instead.”
I was appalled for the second time in as many minutes.
“Excuse me?” I asked in disbelief, my voice rising. My mouth hung open at his audacity. “I’m not interested in going home with you, thank you very much.”
Cane leaned in close, his eyes sparkling and his voice just above a whisper. “Don’t act like you don’t want me, Jada.” The way his voice caressed my name made my entire body light up. “It’s your eyes that give you away.”
I forced a swallow as my brain left me hanging, abandoning me when I needed a quick, sassy retort. We watched each other, neither of us saying a word, until a beeping noise drew his attention away.
I sagged in my chair with relief, glancing at Max who looked amused. I glared at him and he responded with a laugh before taking a drink of his beer.
Cane’s eyebrows furrowed as he dug into his pocket. “Excuse me for one second,” he said, swiping his phone and holding it to his ear.
“Alexander,” he said, sitting upright. “Are you kidding me? That’s impossible.” Cane shook his head with exasperation. “Oh, for fuck’s sake. I’ll be there in a little while.”
He shoved his phone back into his front pocket and looked at Max as he stood. “I have to go take care of the mess in Queen Creek.”
Max nodded, seeming to understand what Cane was referring to.
A part of me relaxed with relief, while another part of me secretly wished he would stay. I had never met someone like him before, someone that could walk into a room and own it immediately. I knew I couldn’t take it any farther, but I couldn’t help but wish he could have stayed.
“Kari, it was nice to see you again. Jada, have Max give you my number.” He smiled confidently at me.
I was flabbergasted, annoyance at his presumptuousness overriding every other emotion. Is he freaking serious? What kind of girl does he take me for? “Excuse me? I don’t need, nor do I want, your number.”
“Are you going to play hard to get? That’s so cute.” He gazed down at me, his eyes daring me to disagree.
I was incensed and aroused-and mentally berated myself for the latter. Just as I was on the cusp of giving in to my body’s demands, images of Decker and Sarah flashed through my mind, and I tumbled back to reality with a resounding thud. “I’m not playing anything. I don’t want your number, Cane.”
He studied me for a moment, his forehead creased in thought. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No, I don’t. I’m not sure why that matters.”
I glanced at Kari and Max and they were watching us now. And I thought they would be the entertainment.
I glared at Cane for putting me on the spot.
“I’m pretty sure you have somewhere to be. And time is ticking,” I reminded him, glancing at my watch for emphasis.
He let out a deep breath and grabbed his wallet. He tossed a few bills in the center of the table. “I’ll take care of the bill.”
Bending down, his breath hot on my cheek, he whispered, “I will be looking forward to seeing you again.” I started to respond, but he cut me off. “Oh, Jada. We will see each other again.”
His words, both a threat and a promise, ignited my core and I shifted in my seat.
“I’m not sure why you are playing hard to get,” he breathed, his lips so close to my skin that I fought hard not to shudder. “You shouldn’t try to play games with me because I’m not a player. I’m the coach.”