Only for You (Boys of the South) Online - Marquita Valentine Page 0,1

whiskey burns, just like it should, on the way down.

Beau smiles, silver lip ring flashing. “How about another one?”

“Hell no.” I wipe the back of my hand over my mouth. “You know how I get when I’m drunk.”

My buddy nods. “It’s the only time I get some real love from you, Cole.”

I roll my eyes. “Bring a date tonight?”

“Nah,” he says, searching the room. “I have to head out of here in a few, though.”

“Woman waiting for you at your place?” Always, this guy has a woman or two… or three with him. I don’t know how he does it. Lately, I’ve been noticing that the women have been fewer and fewer. Like tonight for example.

“Something like that.”

I check the cash in the till, break up a roll of pennies, and then turn my attention back to Beau. “Any pointers on dating a celebrity?”

“You’re such a lying asshole,” Beau says, but the smile’s still there, so I know he’s only joking.

“Gotta protect my girl.” I mean it. I’d do anything for Rae. Tonight proves it.

“Yeah, that’s mighty grown up of you.” Beau’s smile gives way to a serious expression. “Look, once the press gets your name, it’s not going to be easy. They will rip you open, take out your guts, and search through them to see what they can find.”

I shake off his words with a shrug. “Everybody knows everything about me in Forrestville.”

A hardness gleams in his grey eyes. “Forrestville, North Carolina is one thing, but how about the entire country speculating on you, your family… your mother, brother, and sister? The press tends to make it… difficult on a relationship, with their penchant for headlines that sell.”

Rae had warned me about the press. Her advice—don’t be a hardass, but make them respect your privacy. Say hello, pose for a picture, and then get out of there. “I got this.”

Beau’s mouth opens and closes before he holds his hands up, palms facing out. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He ticks up his chin in goodbye, then heads out the door, my brother smacking Beau in the shoulder along the way.

Parker joins me behind the bar, drink orders in hand. “Did you call in reinforcements?”

Just as I answer in the affirmative, the door swings open and the hair on the back of my neck stands at attentions.

Wouldn’t you know it, but Everett Morgan swaggers in.

“Holy shit,” Parker swears.

“Yeah, nice to know what I’ll look like at that age,” I say, trying to play it off. But inside, I’m just as amazed as my brother. Everett Morgan is me—twenty years older and a million times cockier.

“I never thought you—”

I turn to my brother and say, “Dude, you were like three when he stopped coming around.”

Parker blows out a breath, his green eyes narrowing. “Want me to ask him to leave?”

“Once he figures out he’s not wanted to needed, he won’t stay long,” I say as I face the man I loathe. “Ain’t that right, Everett?”

He takes the toothpick out of his mouth and grins. “Oh, I don’t know about all that. Son.”

*** *** ***

Violet

“Are you nervous?” Lacey asks, her big, brown eyes staring at my reflection. She blows her bangs out of her face. She skipped roller derby practice to be here for me, and I can’t thank her enough.

I tilt my head to one side, and give her a confident smile. “Butterflies are multiplying but that’s to be expected.” Butterflies? Ha, more like dive-bombing cat-birds have taken up residence.

Lacey perches on the edge of my chair, one leg swinging. The tennis shoes she wears are dull in color and have seen better days, but they’re clean, like the rest of her clothes. She lives with her parents and has ten brothers and sisters that she helps homeschool on her days off.

I don’t know if I could be that unselfish of a person at nineteen, but Lacey’s nature is sweet, giving, and caring. She brings out the best in me, unlike my former best friend, Callie Hughes.

But I’m pretty sure the whole ‘she slept with my ex-boyfriend while we were dating’ tends to color my opinion of her friendship.

I gloss my lips, snap back on the top, and stand, grabbing the set list that Parker put together for me and hand it to Lacey. “What do you think I should sing first?”

Scanning the list, she mouths a few titles and looks up at me, her brows drawn together. “Cole doesn’t like country music.”

“No, he doesn’t,” I agree.

“Then why would