Samantha pulled herself up to her full height, swung her head so her blonde hair fell behind her shoulder and ignored her phone. Her sister had been the one to leave, and if she were making a play for Harrigans now, Samantha would fight it. She shrugged out of the stranger’s grip and turned to greet him, ready to know what he needed—how the bar could serve him.
Her mouth fell open when her eyes met his—brown like rich soil and completely blocking his soul. She had no insight into his desires or needs like she did every other person in the bar. It made her stagger back and balance herself with the pool cue. He reached out and caught her by the elbow too. Her phone quit ringing.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked. Bangs fell over one eyebrow in a boyish manner, but his voice resonated with deep tones.
Goose bumps flared where he touched her, and she yanked her arm away. “I’m fine,” she quipped. In a calmer tone she added, “Can I get you a drink?”
“Actually, I was wondering who was a good mechanic around here. My motorcycle slowed down on it’s own when we got near the bar and then it just died. I can’t restart it, but I see no obvious problems.” He gave a sideways smile as if he was trying to impress her and said, “I rebuilt it myself.”
The smile made her want to lead him upstairs and forget about the rest of her customers, but she had to figure out what was going on with the bar first. She’d send him on his way and go to the cellar to focus. He was just another man, nothing special—except she couldn’t read him.
She scanned the room, hoping to find a mechanic. She never knew where the bar materialized and always had to rely on Harrigans’ knowledge for any local questions. Sometimes the bar had a phone book, but she’d try the crowd first. Her eyes landed on whom she was looking for, and she frowned. The mechanic was a red headed woman tossing back a beer. She was cute and young and perfectly unacceptable to introduce this enigmatic stranger to. Samantha scanned the room some more, but knew the red head was the only mechanic there.
What did Samantha care? She needed to mend the bond with the bar and not worry about her sex life. “Go talk to her.” She nodded her head towards the mechanic and turned back to the pool game. Her opponent had just missed the nine ball and left her a great shot. She sunk it with ease, winning the game. As the group cheered and jeered, and her opponent racked the balls for another game, Samantha watched the stranger’s easy saunter over to the mechanic.
The mechanic looked him up and down and grinned as he talked. Samantha’s stomach twisted.
Shit. She didn’t have time for jealousy. She handed off her cue and strutted through the bar to the stairs in the back. She descended into the only room that never changed: the cellar. It had casks of liquids, some of which Samantha hadn’t even tried, and floor to ceiling wine racks. In the center were a large oak table and chairs.
She sat in one of the chairs and placed her palms on the table. The room pulsed, weaker than usual. “What’s wrong?” she whispered.
Sometimes they’d get a customer who needed special attention, and Harrigans would be miffed at Samantha until she tended to her, but Samantha had felt no such need in the crowd. The only odd person had been the man with the broken motorcycle, but Harrigan’s had given her no insight into him. She pressed her palms into the table, and the room pulsed again. The bar pushed love and sorrow through her veins. Her guess had been right: there was someone at the bar whose needs Samantha was ignoring.
“Who?” she whispered. “I felt nothing.”
The bar took over her vision and showed her the main room. The red headed mechanic scooted out of her booth and took the boyish stranger by the arm. Samantha’s heart pounded with envy and fear as he led the mechanic to the door. Wait, maybe they were the ones who needed special attention.
She shoved aside her own fear that he would step outside and she wouldn’t see him again to try to sense their need. The woman clearly desired the motorcyclist, but Samantha could still feel nothing from him. “I don’t get it,” she said out loud to the bar. “There’s nothing special about her, and he’s completely blocked to me.”
The couple had almost reached the door when the motorcyclist said something that made the red head laugh. She took her hand off his arm and ran her hand down his back and to his ass, squeezing it.
Inexplicable rage coursed through Samantha. She pulsed her own power through the bar and locked the door just as the motorcyclist tried to push it open. When his fingertips touched the door, Samantha finally felt a bit of his soul—broody and filled with wanderlust. Her own spirit responded by swelling with the urge to travel. She allowed the desire to expand for just one moment before she squelched it as she always did.
The bar needed her to help someone. Her destiny was not one filled with new places, at least places outside of the Harrigans.
Her energy drained out in her effort to keep the door locked. Her phone rang and echoed her sister’s ringtone all around the cellar. If she answered it, the door would unlock and the motorcyclist would be free to leave. She couldn’t figure out why the bar had shown her the couple, when they didn’t seem to be the ones who needed help.
Her phone rang again. Maybe it was her sister who needed help. Samantha asked Harrigans what to do, but the bar remained silent.
What do you think Samantha should do? Answer the phone to see if her sister needs help and allow the door to unlock? Or keep the door locked long enough to get back upstairs and put her sister off one more time?