I scooted out of the booth and snagged my watered-down drink. As I maneuvered through the crowd, it didn’t escape my notice that several admiring looks were aimed my way, which buoyed my spirits. I spied an empty table close to the front door. Keeping my back to the room meant I got first dibs on any attractive single guys who walked in.
The bouncy waitress from the back section had followed me up front. “I was hoping you hadn’t disappeared since I let you run a tab.”
“I’m not wired to drink and dash.” I removed a credit card from my wallet and handed it over. “I’ll take another margarita.”
“You’ve got it.”
When you give off the vibe that you’re waiting for someone? Men always pick that time to hit on you.
Two guys, at least five years younger than me, approached. The one with the military buzz cut spoke first. “Hey. Weren’t you in the back room earlier with a redhead?”
“Yeah. Good memory.”
“Is she coming back?”
Ah. I saw where this was headed. Two of us; two of them. “No. She had a date.”
“That’s a shame she left you alone. But her loss is our gain, huh, Tommy?”
“I’m Vance,” Buzz Cut said. “What’s your name?”
“Amelia.” It just slipped out. In college I’d given an altered name (and fake phone number) to guys I met in a bar that I had no interest in. Seemed that reflex still worked.
“Well, Amelia, do you mind if we join you?”
I gave them a regretful smile. “I’m sorry. My boyfriend is coming when he gets off work. He wouldn’t be happy seeing me making new male friends.”
“I wouldn’t like it either if you were my girl,” Vance said. “Seems it’s our night to strike out.”
“Did you see the ladies playing pool in the back room? A blonde and a brunette?”
“No. Don’t know how we missed them.” Vance grinned and saluted. “Thanks for the tip, Amelia.”
After that I was left alone. As I sipped my drink, I wished I’d remembered to grab my new phone. Then I could kill time and send hate texts to Genevieve for ditching me in my hour of need. But since I hadn’t shared the details of my monumentally craptastic day with her, she’d be mad that I’d let her leave in the first place.
Two men walked in. Neither was my type. A trio of guys showed up next and joined the people at a table somewhere behind me. Much back-slapping ensued. Then a couple, surrounded by half a dozen dudes, blocked the entryway as they argued whether to come in and have a drink or just go to another bar.
When the crowd cleared, he stood alone off to the side, his right hand on his hip as he scanned the room.
Good lord. There was no way to miss him with that massively tall body. And check out that gorgeous beard; as the light changed it seemed to range from golden blond to a creamy white. He angled his head, giving me a killer view of his strong jawline and high cheekbones. Then I caught a glimpse of his longish blond hair messily fastened at the base of his skull. Oh, hell yeah. That was some serious sexy right there—a guy confident enough to pull off a man bun.
He raised his left hand to his jaw and scratched his cheek. No wedding ring. He wasn’t acting as if he was meeting someone; he acted like he was looking for a place to sit.
How fortunate that I had a cozy table for two.
I slid out of my chair and right into his line of vision.
Immediately his focus homed in on me. Interest flared in his eyes.
Then something stronger than awareness flowed through me. An electric charge that gave me a sense of urgency. A magnetic need that pulled me. I floated to him practically in slow motion, my heart racing as I erased the distance between us. I said, “You’re finally here.” Then I stood on tiptoe, slipped my arms around his neck and pressed my mouth to his.
His warm, woodsy scent hit me like a drug. The softness of his lips and the brush of his beard against my chin had me parting my lips, letting my tongue trace the seam of his mouth.
His hands had been idle at his sides. But the instant our breath mingled and our tongues touched, he moved one hand to the back of my head and curled the other one around my hip.
The teasing thrust and retreat of our tongues seemed familiar, as if we’d been mouth-to-mouth a hundred times before. Yet this restrained passion was so damn hot I might combust on the spot. Every cell in my body screamed for more.
When I pressed my body closer to his, he released the deepest, sexiest groan before he retreated.
His eyes, an icy Nordic blue, locked to mine. He appeared to be as breathless and confused as I was. “Was that kiss part of a bachelorette party game?”
“Then why did you kiss me like that?”
“I saw you and I couldn’t resist.”
“Or maybe because you thought you knew me?”
“Why would I know you? Are you famous or something?” He definitely could be on the TV show Vikings.
His gaze turned more skeptical. “Why are you dodging the question?”
“It’s because—ah . . . I’m a little hazy on why the urge to kiss you overwhelmed me.”
“Hazy from too many shots of tequila?” he said sharply.
“No. I can’t even blame it on that since I’ve had two drinks over the past two hours.”
He gave me a slow, sexy blink and then he smiled.
Heaven help me. His dimples were deep enough his beard couldn’t mask them. His perfect teeth gleamed in a stunning smile. His lips retained that full, pouty look even with his wide grin.
He brushed his mouth across mine and whispered, “Guess it’s my lucky day.”
My lips parted to say, “Mine too,” but no sound came out.
“How about we have a drink and you can tell me the real reason you used your tongue to introduce yourself instead of a handshake.”