Alphas & Millionaires Starter Set

By: Brooke Cumberland

We continued our project and happily finished first. It felt amazing to know my skills and knowledge could finally be used in a real, state-of-the-art kitchen.

Proud of our accomplishment, we decided to grab a drink after class. I quickly texted Michael to make sure he could pick Stella up at 3:45. I needed some sort of social life since I only socialized with a four-year-old and my roommate—who was often busy writing or hooking up.

Michael had been my lifesaver ever since Liam’s death. He would lay with me in bed while I cried myself to sleep, and get up with Stella to feed or change her. There were days I could hardly get out of bed, and Michael never complained or rushed me to ‘get over it’. He would bring Stella in bed with me and let me snuggle her until we both fell asleep. I would wake up hours later with Michael putting her back in her crib or staying up to play with her. If it weren’t for Michael, I honestly don’t know where I’d be.

“Where to, Blakely?” I asked the other woman in our group. She led us down to a tavern I didn’t recognize. Blakely was in her early twenties, with beautiful, thick blonde hair that swept her shoulder blades. She was extremely chatty but seemed sweet enough.

The last girlfriends I really had were during my first year of high school. It was before I met Liam, and I was still doing gymnastics on the weekends. We used to try on each other’s clothes and walk to the mall after school. I haven’t had girl time since Liam and I got serious in our sophomore year.

“To kicking ass on our second day!” Brad cheered with his beer held high. The rest of us clinked our glasses together and took a drink. Brad was next to the other two men in our group, checking the game, while Blakely and I stayed in the booth.

“So who do you think has the best ass?” Blakely asked me as we watched the men bend over the bar.

Well, she’s blunt.

I laughed at her forwardness. She seemed like she probably enjoyed living the single life. She was beautiful, after all, but I sensed she had low self-esteem. I suspected that was the result of being used for sex.

“Hmm… Brad has a hot body, but Anthony has a pretty fine ass,” I responded, giggling at how ridiculous I sounded.

“I don’t know… Micah is pretty hot,” Blakely said while licking her lips, enjoying the view in front of us.

We continued drinking and laughing. Then, from the corner of my eye, I saw the tavern door open. A tall, stunning Drake Stagliano stepped in, looking completely out of place. My laughter died as my jaw dropped open. Blakely noticed and quickly turned around to see the handsome figure sit at the bar. Her eyes widened in surprise as she turned to look at me.

“Oh…my…God,” Blakely whispered.

“Oh, dear God….” I mumbled back to Blakely, trying to hide my crimson red cheeks.

“Isn’t he dreamy? No wonder every girl wants a piece of him. I mean, seriously, how much would it cost to have him for one night?” Blakely blurted. I’m not sure if she was speaking to me or just thinking out loud.

I spewed my beer out as she continued talking about him and wanting to take him home. “Oh my God, Blakely!”

If she only knew…

“What? Don’t pretend you don’t see what I see, Molly. That man is gorgeous!” she said, biting her lip, and continuing to drool over him. She had a point.

“Obviously, the man is good looking,” I admitted, rolling my eyes toward her. “But I’m sure his ego is big enough that you don’t have to keep staring.” I looked back at him. “Or drooling.”

Brad, Micah, and Anthony walked back to the booth, and Brad squeezed in next to me. He casually wrapped his arm around me and took a swig of his beer, laughing with the other guys. He squeezed my shoulder as he smiled down at me.

This was getting uncomfortable. And awkward.

I rolled my eyes at Blakely as she winked at me. Brad was a nice looking guy and he had a beautiful smile, but him sitting so close to me was incredibly unsettling. I could only imagine how we looked from afar—like a couple. I tried to break out of his grip, but he pulled me in tighter.

I looked up at him while he spoke casually, glancing to see if Drake was looking at me. His eyes caught mine, and he raised his brows at me and winked. I looked away, knowing I needed to leave before this got any weirder.

“Sorry guys, but I have to go. Stella will be heading to bed soon, and I want to see her before she falls asleep,” I said casually, gesturing to Brad to allow me out of the booth. I gave him a hug, hoping Drake was watching, and told the rest I’d see them all tomorrow. I grabbed my things and headed for the door, not looking in Drake’s direction.

This was so confusing.

I don’t know why I would want Drake to see me hug another man or why I would want to give Brad the wrong impression. This whole thing was messing with my head.

I started walking toward my apartment while trying to flag a cab. I had three beers, and since I was feeling light-headed, I didn’t feel comfortable walking home in the dark. Fortunately, a cab pulled over. I grabbed for the door handle and tripped—nearly face-planting on the cement. Before I could, a strong arm reached for me, saving me and my face from an abrupt stop.

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