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A steady bass beat out a tempo from the MP3 player in Masters' Bar and Grille.
Catcalls and whistles reverberated from the room into the dining room.
Pitiful grunts and groans answered them back.
"Who planned this party?"
"Austin, Bohdon and Jax," Trace said, a smile split his face.
"And tell me again why we're here in the dining room and they're in the bar?" Hank asked.
"We were hoodwinked, sideswiped, blindsided," said the men who had planned the party.
Trace chuckled at the glum expressions on his brothers' and friend's faces. He really didn't mind that Jacy's bridal shower and bachelorette party combined was being held in the bar. He could keep an eye on her that way. And these guys plans for strippers and drinking until they couldn't stand wouldn't get him in trouble with his gal.
"Excuse me." He stood and strode toward the hallway that separated the two areas. He had already sneaked a peek earlier, and couldn't help but want to see Jacy again.
He had hoped to avoid this, part of the wedding festivities, but he should have known his mother wouldn't allow a small wedding within days of their engagement, and a bachelor party was a given. He hoped Jacy didn't mind. She seemed to be fine, taking it all in stride, but he had to be sure.
Hell, who was he kidding, he just needed to hold her in his arms and kiss her again to reassure himself this was all real.
Jibes of 'lost your man card' and someone started to use the P-word and whipped together, but Stubblefield took that moment to arrive with his two children in tow. The coughing and back-slapping grew quiet as he stepped into the bar. Trace ignored it all.
"Her Strut" by Bob Seger had him pausing in the archway, but Jacy modeling a pair of white lace panties and matching bra almost knocked him down.
His gaze was rooted to the lovely curves for long minutes before realizing it was a cut out figure. Still, he hurriedly looked around the room and then toward the bar; it was empty of all but the women. He sighed heavily, eyed his bride to be. His gut clenched and his jeans tightened painfully. He had it bad if a likeness of her body aroused him that easily.
Absent-mindedly he moved into the room only to find his way barred by Flory Johnson and Gramma Barton.
"Ladies." He dipped his head in deference.
"That's right, son. Tonight this room's for ladies only."
"Unless he wants to do a striptease for us."
"Uh." Trace's mouth had become dry as dust.
"Now," both women eyed him like a piece of prime beef, "that's an idea I can get behind." The women wound their arms in his and began leading him into the room.
"Mmm, Ladies, I just came to see how my gal was doing?"
"She's fine and will be better once you do some dirty dancin' for us."
Trace turned to look over his shoulder as he was pulled away from the doorway. "Maybe..."
"Don't be shy, I'm sure she's played 'hide the snake' with you already."
"Mrs." Trace cleared his throat before he choked on the lump blocking his air passages. He gently extricated his arms from their grasp. "I... My friends..." He dipped his head once more, turned on his heel and beat a hasty retreat back to the dining room.
"Hey, why don't we join the girls?"
"Yeah, it has to be more interestin' than our party."
"I helped Tamara put up decorations. Some kind of bra game, a board of panties and the food." Jax rubbed his hands together a look of glee blooming on his face.
The men stood as one.
"No," Trace practically shouted, his hands held in front of him to prevent his friends from making the mistake he had. He looked over his shoulder, for reassurance he hadn't been followed? He wasn't sure, but he wasn't about to return to that room.
"It's those little old ladies."
"Those women are harmless."
"Don't bet on it."
Trace watched helplessly as the men gathered their drinks and platters of food and left him standing alone at their tables.
Casting a wary glance at their retreating backs he decided to sit and wait for the fallout.
Only the sound of upbeat music met his straining ears. His frown turned into a smirk then all out grin. It wouldn't be long now.
He sat straight in his chair waiting for the sounds of feet stampeding his way.
Laughter met his straining body. "What the..."
Trace jumped up, sending the chair crashing. He skidded to a stop just inside the bar entrance. Jax had Gramma Barton on the dance floor while Bohdon and Flory Johnson did the two-step. Couples filled the dance floor.
He narrowed his eyes. "Why those old..."
"What?" he snapped, looking toward the voice.
"Jacy." He drew the word out reverently, breathlessly. God, she was beautiful standing in front of him wearing a red dress. His gaze ran down and back up her body.
Not a red dress, but the red dress.
His sharp intake of breath ended with his lungs constricting. Images of making love to her in the kitchen while her wrists were restrained with the same dress she wore now slammed into his brain. So much so that he almost missed Jacy's whispered, "let's get out of here."
He must have agreed because the next thing he knew her small hand was in his and she was pulling him toward the exit.
"Jacy," he said, all the while admiring her assets as they wove their way through the restaurant. "I think we should wait until after." He couldn't believe those words had come out of his mouth. And, he was certain to regret it about the time he walked her to her door, but it was just two more days and she'd be his wife. There was something about the thought of making to love to her for the first time as his wife that made him harder than ever before.
She stopped just outside the door. "Are you sure?"
"Yes. But if you want to..."
"I... I want you, but waiting... I kinda like that idea also."
"Then let's go back in."
"No." She put her hand on his arm. "Let's go home."
"But we just said..."
"Not to make love just... I want n evening... just the two of us."."
"You didn't like your party?"
"Yes, but now I want to be with you."
"I want to be with you, as well."
"Then take me home."