"I'm going to try for a better job though. Course that's easier said than done these days."
Adrienne patted her hand. "Honey, you can get a job tomorrow, or tonight. You have assets other women only dream about. Use them if you must." She winked. "Do you think I got this job because of my winning personality?" She dropped her voice. "Matt was rock hard when he hired me. Men are powerless to their sexual urges. As long as I satisfy Matt, my job status is secure. You may have to do the same, Cuz. If your boss is hot, it can even be fun."
Cori knew her cousin well and her eyes hit the ceiling. "I slept with a boss and look how that turned out. I'm not about to fuck a man to get a job." She shook her head. "No way is any man using me again. Not happening."
Adrienne's sharp eyes set on hers. "It's the fastest and best way to get hired in a tight job market, girl." She leaned forward, elbow on the counter again. "You'd be doing the using, not the other way around."
"I don't want to use anyone. Plus, Joe…it turned out so wrong. I loved him, and I stupidly thought he loved me back, that we had a future." A lump clogged her throat.
Adrienne kept her palm over Cori's hand. "You got emotionally involved. That did you in. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. Do what you have to do to feed and house your little brother, even if you have to use some man to get a job."
Cori shut her eyes, unable to respond.
A customer called out to Adrienne. "I'll be back in a few," Adrienne said with a wink. "It'll work out. You'll see." She brushed her hand over her large tits hidden by a green sweater and winked at her.
"Use what you have, Cori."
Cori sipped her drink, her hand still trembling. Adrienne would never be a Woman's Libber. Well, she couldn't do the things that Adrienne could but she still had to find a job, pronto. She needed to give her brother and herself a secure life. Instead of renting an apartment in a high crime area of Chicago, she wanted to own a house in a safe neighborhood, instead of barely surviving paycheck to paycheck. She wanted some room to breathe. Taking another sip from her glass, she thought about Joe's betrayal and wanted to fling her drink across the room. A shadow fell over her and a strange awareness assailed her, as if a predator had entered her tent during a campout. She took another drink, bracing herself for trouble.
"What's wrong?" A pleasant male voice spoke to her. "You look like a Pit Bull when he's ready to strike."
Cori set her glass down hard. It almost spilled as she looked up at the man standing over her. Shit, he was tall! Tall enough to make her feel small and weak, and she didn't like the way his aqua eyes penetrated right through her. She recognized that predatory stare and had no use for it today. Maybe never again.
"A Pit Bull bares his teeth, the way you just did, when he senses danger." He sounded good-natured and, if Joe hadn't just destroyed her world, she may have tolerated him. After all, she had to admit she found him attractive in a very disturbing way.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"I'd rather not tell you."
Yet she couldn't help appraising him. He was undeniably hot and sexy. Dark and delicious, she thought, younger than Joe, maybe late twenties or early thirties. He had well-defined bones in a strong face and a swarthy complexion. Thick, unruly deep chocolate hair curled around his ears. Alluring eyes of aqua-blue danced with animation. A classically chiseled nose and wide, sensual lips softened what may have been too-harsh features. A thin scar that began behind his ear and ended mid-cheek made him more attractive, rather than less. Boyishness and sexuality radiated from his powerful, made-for-sports-and-sex frame. She bet women spoiled him in a sickening way. Probably stripped for him. Well, not her. Not now. Not after Joe.
"You look like a Nicole. Or a Julia. Am I close?"
She turned away, feeling uneasy under his hot stare. New tears threatened to spring to her eyes so she took a sip of her drink. She so wouldn't cry.
"You look as if you could use some cheering up."
He had a low but friendly voice, quite a contrast from Joe's loud New York accent.
"I don't need cheering up from you."
He sat on the stool beside her. Apparently, its former occupant had left. Even seated, this man seemed all-encompassing and powerful. His magnetism sucked her in.
"I'm told I'm easy to talk to." He caressed her with his sensual voice. "Want to leave this noisy, smoky place and talk in my car?"
She spat her drink into her glass and laughed without mirth. "You probably don't hear this much, but I'm not interested in you. I especially don't want to sleep with you." She felt hot fingers grabbing her chin, forcing her to face him. Her skin tingled as her eyes collided with his. Startled, she couldn't move.
"I didn't say anything about sleeping with me. You did. Is that a subconscious wish?"