Unravel Me

By: Tori St. Claire

Good Lord. He was no stranger to women, by any means, but it had been a long damn time since a few minutes of casual conversation had left him aching to explore curves and softness. But the tightness in his gut and the sudden strain behind his fly couldn’t be ignored.

A faint frown touched her brow, then quickly cleared. “Oh? How long are you staying?”

This time, when her gaze roamed over his body, the flicker of attraction became unmistakable. And the interest in her question was impossible to miss. In a heartbeat, he recognized a game of seduction he knew all too well, and he fell easily into the cadence. He shifted so when he brought his arm up to gesture at the bartender, his fingertips grazed her elbow.

The way she drew her lower lip between her teeth and indecision puckered her brow, however, set his system on red alert. If he barreled forward, she’d run. Instead, he backed off and gave her a casual grin. “I’ll be here through the weekend. Then it’s back to the big city.”

The bartender moseyed to their position, and Brad ordered another martini along with her wine. He turned back to his stunning companion, picked up her delicate hand, and ran his thumb over her ring finger. “So, if you’re local, why are you out solo on Valentine’s?”

A tremor ran through her palm, but she didn’t miss a beat. “Better than sitting at home, right?”

Oh, hell yeah. If she’d stayed at home, he wouldn’t be staring into the most compelling light brown eyes he’d ever seen. For a moment, the stark uniqueness of that chestnut color held him spellbound. He stared, soaking in the warmth of her hand against his, feeling his breath harden with each passing second. Her lips parted. Alongside the elegant column of her neck, her pulse beat strong and quick. Momentary nervousness, however, made her smile waiver, and she once again drew her full lower lip between her teeth. A vision of that softness beneath his mouth wound Brad’s entire body into a frustrated knot.

“Cash or plastic?”

The bartender’s voice jerked Brad out of fantasy, and he released her. With his opposite hand, he passed the man his credit card. “Keep it open.” Turning back to her, he gestured at an open bar table in the corner. “Join me?”

The hesitation that passed across her face made something foreign inside him twist uncomfortably. Surely he hadn’t read her wrong. Dear God, don’t let her refuse.

With a slight dip of her chin, she let out a breathy, “Yes.”

Chapter Two

Cassie slid into the seat, scarcely able to believe she’d accepted the handsome blond’s invitation. She couldn’t really be entertaining the idea of a one night stand with a stranger, could she? This was not the sort of thing a mature, professional, widowed woman would do. Particularly not with a huge meeting tomorrow. This kind of spontaneity could only lead to trouble.

But damned if the idea of one wicked night, no holds barred, held excitement. He was hot—no other description fit. His broad shoulders hinted at college football days and filled out an expensive suit that had to have been custom-tailored. He exuded an air of assertive confidence. Yet at the same time, the day-old stubble on his face and the impishness of his dimpled grin spoke of a devil-may-care attitude. No doubt he knew exactly what he wanted…and exactly how to get it.

Moreover, the way his hungry gaze ate her up sparked primal urges of her own. She’d been craving that kind of passion for entirely too long. What could it hurt to indulge?

It could hurt a lot of things.

As he moved to stand at her shoulder, he rested one hand casually on the back of her chair. His gaze skipped down the deep V of her neckline. Cassie ordered her conscience to hush and leaned forward a smidgeon, knowing the loose fabric would gap and give him a flash of bare skin beneath.

At thirty-one, she was tired of pretending she’d died along with Chris in that skiing accident. She had needs, and she could fulfill them with a stranger who’d leave town in a few days. A man who wouldn’t jeopardize her heart again. No commitments, no entanglements, just…fun. Three years had passed, void of fun.

“So…” Her companion cleared his throat. With effort, he pulled his gaze back to her eyes. “What do you do?” he asked.

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