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Inked Playboy
Author: Alex Wolf

Chapter One

 

 

Cole Miller

 

 

I’ve always been alone.

I don’t do romance. The thought of someone else trying to tell me what to do nauseates me.

I also hate wearing suits.

My collar tightens around my neck as I finally break free from the red carpet at the Chicago Yacht Club. Another fucking wedding.

First Decker and Tate, now Deacon and Quinn. This shit makes me want to hurl. I amend my previous statement. Tuxedoes are even worse than suits. Why are they so damn uncomfortable?

I walk through the door with Pedro Mandez, the undefeated, WMMA welterweight world-champion. I was him once.

Not anymore. Now, I train him.

“Shit is fancy.” Pedro looks up at me.

I just nod. “Yeah.”

We take a program, and an usher leads us down to our seats.

Dexter Collins sees us and takes off in our direction. Fucker. I’m sure he’s here to say hi to Pedro. Dex and I were roommates in college at IU and have been best friends since high school.

“Glad you could make it, Pedro.” He shakes his hand.

Pedro snickers.

“I exist too, fucker.” I reach out my hand and the three of us laugh as he shakes it.

Dex shrugs. “You’re old news, Miller. Nobody cares about the Rolling Stones when Halsey is in the room.

"Who the hell is Halsey?” I pause and shake my head at him. “Nevermind, Jesus.”

Pedro raises a fist. “You saying I’m Halsey and not the Rolling Stones?”

I smile my ass off at how big Dex’s eyes get and how uncomfortable he looks.

Pedro cracks up. “Just messing with you, man.”

Dex glances back and forth at us, then laughs nervously. “All right, dickheads. Gotta get back to groomsman duty. Catch you at the reception?”

“We’ll be there.” I crane my head around, cringing at all the flowers and candelabras and white linens. Fuck, this sucks. It’s going to be a long hour until this shit’s done.

Although, there are a lot of celebrities and some hot ass running around, so maybe it won’t be too terrible.

It’s the perfect setting for networking, especially when people are drinking. Some of these influencers will want pictures with me and Pedro and they’ll post them all over their Instagram and shit. The more my face is out there, the better my business does.

Pedro and I take a seat. The music starts up. People walk by in tuxedoes and dresses that cost as much as a car, and not a piece of shit car either.

Pedro leans over. “Why you hate weddings so much?”

“It’s all bullshit and fake. A theater show. Half of these marriages end up in a clusterfuck; someone cheats, they fight over money, but pretend everything is fine on Facebook.”

“I think they’re beautiful.” Pedro looks straight ahead, grinning. He loves fucking with me.

“Pussy,” I mumble.

We both stare at each other and laugh.

An older lady clears her throat behind us.

We laugh harder.

“Any reason to drink some booze with a ton of beautiful women is a good thing to me.” Pedro adjusts his bowtie, like he’s about to take his pick of the women here.

“Like you need any help, champ.”

About the time he starts to say something else, the music fires up and Deacon and his brothers walk up the aisle.

Deacon looks pale as fuck. I don’t blame him. He’s about to risk his entire empire on a woman. Of course, Quinn is awesome, but that’s beside the point.

Him and Dex are identical twins but Deacon has about thirty more pounds of muscle on his frame. The guy is a beast and would’ve been drafted by the Bears in the first round if he hadn’t been injured.

Him and Quinn seem really happy, so maybe there’s a chance there. The Collins brothers are all doomed, though. They’re all married or engaged now. I never thought I’d see the day. Dexter’s wedding won’t be too far along now.

Here Comes the Bride blares from the speakers and everyone stands, as you do at weddings. Quinn walks out and she really does look beautiful, not that I’d ever say that out loud. The Collins brothers look like they want to fight just about anyone who even looks at their women. Not that I’m worried. I could kick the shit out of all of them at once, but it’s best to keep things civil with your friends.

Quinn holds the bouquet right over her stomach, probably to hide the baby bump. She looks like she’s fighting a smile through her teeth. I know she’s super stressed out. She’s getting married and studying for the bar exam at the same time, plus has a kid coming in a few months. Fuck all that noise, it makes running a corporation sound like a walk in the park. She’s holding it together pretty well, though.

A man walks her up the aisle, only he’s in an electric wheelchair. I think it’s her dad. Dex says he’s cool as shit. I met him once at a Bears game and came to the same conclusion. I talked to him for about thirty minutes, and he knew damn near every detail of every one of my fights, probably better than I do. He glances up at Quinn and says something to her, and she smiles even wider, this time like it’s not forced. I guess that’s what good fathers can do. Sense when you’re nervous and say the right things. I wouldn’t know.

As they go by, and I watch them pass us down the aisle and stop at the front near the officiant, something catches my attention.

I take that back. It’s not something.

It’s someone.

Just as my head swivels over to what caught my eye, I lock eyes with her.

No. Fucking. Way.

She’s up in the front row with the rest of the family.

Harlow fucking Collins; the baby cousin.

Only she’s not so much a baby anymore. Jesus, she’s smoking hot. I never realized just how beautiful she is until right now.

She’s mid-twenties, jet-black hair, icy blue eyes, and has the coolest fucking sleeves of tats on both arms. She looks hot as balls all dressed up in a black cocktail dress. I don’t know if I ever see her not wearing a black dress, but tonight is different. It does something to me.

We’ve met a few times, but she’s basically Dex’s little sister, so I’ve never even contemplated trying anything. Why would I? I’m not looking for a relationship and she doesn’t look like the kind of woman you fuck and send on her way. Not at all. I can’t ever even remember paying much attention to her, but she has it now. She most definitely does.

I can’t think of anyone on this planet who makes me worry, sends that little bit of fear into the pit of my stomach. She might just be the exception, and I have no idea why.

Pedro nudges me just as Harlow turns her glare back up to the front. I think she might hate weddings as much as I do, and it makes me smile.

I glance forward when Pedro’s elbow hits mine, and he’s nodding at Deacon. He’s damn near in tears.

Absolutely disgraceful. What the hell did these women do to these guys? Decker cried like a baby at his wedding too.

The women all around are losing their shit, dabbing their eyes with tissues. Pedro sniffs a little.

I turn and stare at him. “Some world champion,” I whisper.

He just smiles back. I guess you can cry at weddings when you’re the toughest motherfucker on planet earth. I just shake my head at him, grinning my ass off.

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