Drew (Cerberus MC #15) by Marie James

Prologue


Isabella

“Here you go, Izzy.”

“Thank you,” I tell the waitress as she places the plate of food on the table in front of me.

My empty stomach is even more enthusiastic, growling at the scents wafting up from the plate.

She chuckles as she walks away, but I’m too hungry to feel an ounce of embarrassment.

I dig in, barely cutting the pancakes into manageable bites before shoveling them into my mouth.

Why I left campus before grabbing something to eat is beyond me. I’ve been traveling back and forth from college in Albuquerque to where my dad lives in Farmington, New Mexico for years, and I always manage to forget to eat. Maybe it’s why the staff at this small family-owned diner know me by name.

Pancakes are a simple thing, mere batter honestly, but covered in butter and thick, sticky syrup makes them a masterpiece. I’ll fight anyone that wants to argue. The bacon here is cut thick and crisped to perfection. I groan in appreciation, thankful for the thin crowd tonight.

“I was thinking of getting a burger, but you’re making those pancakes sound like they’re the best thing you’ve ever had in your mouth.”

Looking up, I freeze, uncaring there’s a dribble of syrup threatening to drop from my bottom lip. I’m no stranger to good-looking men, or men who approach me with some slick pickup line laced with sexual innuendo. I’m a college student, after all. Guys on campus think they’re God’s gift to women, and we should be so lucky to get a little alone time with them.

Think being the operative word when it comes to those guys at school.

There’s a good chance this man standing beside my table is actually God’s gift.

His military haircut, shaved close on the sides and just a little longer on top, combined with bright blue eyes makes him handsome. The muscles peeking out from under his shirt to showcase thick biceps have the ability to make me lose my breath, but the uniform, the gun belt, the badge displayed proudly on his chest make him devastatingly gorgeous.

I blame my dad, a man who’s fiercely loyal and honorable, for my attraction to protective men. Being safe is a huge turn-on for me, and this man looks like he has those abilities in spades.

“Are they good?” His lip lifts in the corner, and as a woman who normally hates a smirk, this man is quickly making me change my mind.

“Hi,” I squeak stupidly, my brain unable to answer his actual questions.

His smile widens, and I can tell by the knowing look that he realizes I’m already putty in his hands.

It should alarm me, should make me stop to think, but I don’t. Hell, with him looking down at me, I can’t.

Dad would be so disappointed.

Even the Devil was beautiful in God’s eyes.

Although Dad isn’t very religious, he’s told me those words as a warning more than once. Translation—stay away from handsome men, they’re the ones who will bring you the most grief.

“May I join you?”

Blinking up at him, I don’t answer, too enthralled by watching his lips move each time he talks.

“May I?” he repeats, pointing to the empty part of the booth across from me.

Somehow, I manage to nod my head, pulling a rumbling chuckle from deep inside of him.

“You’ve got—” I’m frozen as he lifts his hand to my mouth, using a single finger to wipe away the syrup clinging to my lip.

It’s like he’s lit a fire inside of me, and when he draws that sticky finger to his own mouth, licking away the syrup, I’m certain I melt into a puddle right there.

Is this even real life? Do creatures this gorgeous even exist?

When the waitress approaches, she manages to take his order for a plate of his own pancakes, even though it’s clear she’s just as enamored.

Strong, thick fingers tap the tabletop as he watches me. It feels more like an undressing than scrutiny, as if while sitting here, he’s stripping each item of clothing from my body. I feel the cool air of the diner on my overheated skin, feel the brush of his fingertips down my side, tracing each rib even though we aren’t touching.

My mind is warning me of danger while my body is itchy and eager for anything he could suggest.

“You’re quiet. Are you nervous?”

I manage to shake my head.

“So no warrants then?”

I grin back at him. “No. I never get into trouble.”

“That’s a shame. I was hoping to frisk you.”

Oh. I like the flirting.