Indecent Proposal (Boys of Bishop)

By: Molly O Keefe

Chapter 1


July 16, 2013

“Ken Doll is back.”

Ryan Kaminski didn’t have to look to see who Lindsey was talking about.

Ken Doll had been Lindsey’s obsession for the last three nights.

“Yeah? What’s he doing?” Talking on his phone? Texting? Ignoring the rest of the world? She did not understand why people came to a bar to stare at their phones and ignore people. If they didn’t want to talk to people, they should just hide out in their apartments like she did. Ryan scooped ice into the martini shaker and then poured in vermouth, followed by high-end vodka that cost about a week’s worth of tips, and slid on the top before giving it all a good shake.

“Ken Doll looks sad,” Lindsey added.

That made Ryan look over her shoulder at the handsome blond man at the far corner of the bar. For three nights he’d been coming in, working on two different phones. Making calls. Sending texts—never looking up. Never acknowledging that he was actually in a room full of people.

He ordered beer—Corona in a bottle. Tipped double the bill and usually left every night without saying anything more than “Corona” and “thank you.”

Ken Doll would be totally unremarkable—there were plenty of men at The Cobalt Bar spending more time on their phones than actually talking to people, and wearing beautiful tailor-made suits that clung just right to their bodies while they did it.

But they were not nearly as interesting as Ken Doll.

Because Ken Doll was just so damn pretty.

His blond hair had a slight curl to it, just enough that you knew it probably made him crazy. Piercing blue eyes. Like they’d been computer enhanced, that’s how blue they were. In the soft, smooth plane of one cheek there was a dimple—she’d only seen it by accident when he smiled at a woman who asked to take the bar stool to his left the other day. But the real kicker—the show-stopper—was how he moved, efficient and graceful, like there was simply no time to waste, because he was A Man Who Got Things Done.

Watching him unbutton his jacket before sitting down was like watching a mission statement. A planted flag.

Gravitas.

That’s what Ken Doll had that every other man in this bar was lacking.

But tonight he didn’t have his phones out. He sat there, hands pressed flat against the mahogany bar, as the raindrops caught in his blond hair gleamed red and blue under the moody lights. He was wearing a University of Georgia Bulldogs tee shirt under which his shoulders … oh, that slump, it told a very sad story indeed.

Ryan poured the martini into the chilled glass, took a twist off the fresh lemon behind the bar, and put the glass on a napkin before sliding the drink over to the woman who’d ordered it and collecting the twenty the woman had left on the bar.

These meaningless transactions made up her life. Over and over again.

“I want to ease Ken Doll’s pain.” Lindsey didn’t even pretend not to watch Ken Doll while pulling a draft for one of the guys working the couches. “Like. Really.”

Lindsey was well suited to that task. The bar’s uniform—the short leather shorts, the fishnets and tall boots—took on a whole new level of sexy with her. She was a twenty-one-year-old party girl from the Bronx who could take care of herself and anyone else who wanted to have a good time.

Next to her Ryan felt old, way older than thirty-two. She felt old and crotchety and like she was only days away from yelling at kids to get off her lawn. Not that she had a lawn.

Ryan should just get out of the way and let Lindsey take care of Ken Doll.

But she didn’t.

Once upon another lifetime she modeled, and she still did when she could get the work. When she couldn’t, she worked at an overpriced bar inside the very swanky Cobalt Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

She knew all kinds of pretty.

But there was something about pretty and sad that got her antenna up.

“Switch sides with me,” Lindsey said, referring to the neat-down-the-middle split between her side of the bar and Lindsey’s.

“Nope.”

“Come on,” Lindsey pouted. “You hate the guys that come in here. He’s wasted on you.”

“This is true.” Ryan had a fervent dislike for the posing and the posturing, the manicured and manscaped version of masculinity that walked into this bar. She hated the ego and the way the men watched her body—admittedly on display—but when she caught their eyes, no one was home. Or they were constantly looking past her for someone else.