This man, whoever he was, was absolutely stunning.
He had a ruggedness about him. High and broad cheekbones and a well-formed mouth with a perfect cupid’s bow. A slight scruff of hair covered a jaw that looked like it was cut from marble. His golden brown hair was wavy along the top and cut shorter along the sides. She bet his hair was almost as blond as Anna’s in the daylight. Based on what she could imagine under that thermal and those dark jeans, she figured his body was just as amazing as his face.
And those eyes framed by impossibly thick lashes? They were such a beautiful mix of blue and green, reminding Julia of warm oceans and summer.
He stood there, staring at her with those eyes, his shoulders loose, but she got the wild, distinct impression that he was coiled tight, ready to strike even though everything about him appeared relaxed.
Did Anna find this fine specimen of a man at the dart boards? Julia needed to spend more time by them if this was the kind of guys who . . .
“Julia—Jules, this is . . .” Anna’s blue eyes glinted with excitement as she twisted her toward the most beautiful man Julia had ever seen in her entire life. “I’m sorry. What did you say your name was again?”
How in the world could Anna forget this man’s name? Once Julia heard it, it would be forever tattooed into her brain.
He smiled then, and every part of Julia’s body took notice, from the crown of her head, all the way down to the tips of her toes, and especially all the unused places in between. His smile was crooked, the left side rising higher than the right, and absolutely heart-stopping. “Taylor.”
Deep and smooth, there was a hint of accent. Perhaps southern? Julia didn’t know, but Taylor had it going on and on and on.
“Taylor! That’s right.” Anna was grinning like a cat that just ate a room full of canaries. “Anyway, this is the lovely and very single Julia I was telling you about.”
Did she just say what it sounded like? Very single? Was Anna drunk? Did she not see what this guy looked like? Not that Julia was a flaming garbage fire. She had what her mother always claimed were symmetrical features. Her face just lined up right, and a lot of people commented on her hair. A lot. Some even wanted to touch it, which was super weird, but whatever. It was long and thick, falling in waves beyond her breasts. Right now it was twisted up in a messy bun. She’d only had time to change after work and not do anything with it. Anyway, she knew she was decent-looking, but she was not modelesque by any means—not the kind of woman she could easily picture Taylor with. The kind of woman who was either tall or tiny, but definitely slender with curves only in the “right” places. The type of body Julia was rocking went out of style before she was even born.
“Hi.” Taylor extended a hand. “I’m very pleased to meet you.”
Her gaze dropped from his face to his hand and then up again. His lopsided grin grew as he waited while she just stood there, gawking at him like an idiot. Snapping out of the stupor, she managed to lift her hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”
His fingers closed around hers in a tight grasp. “Can I get you a drink?”
“Yes,” Anna answered for her. “You can most definitely get her a drink.”
She was going to kill Anna.
Taylor bit down on his lower lip. “What would you like?”
Mumbling out some drink she wasn’t even sure she’d ever consumed before, she realized he was still holding her hand.
He stepped in and dipped his head low so his mouth lined up with her ear. When he spoke, his breath stirred the tiny wisps of hair, sending a wave of tight shivers down her spine. “Don’t run off.”
Her breath caught. “I won’t.”
“Promise?” He squeezed her hand gently.
“Promise,” she repeated.
“Good.” He drew back, his gaze seeking and holding hers for a moment. “Be right back.”
Only then did he let go of her hand.
Absolutely stunned, she watched him pivot around and prowl off toward the bar, parting the crowds of people like some kind of god. In all the twenty-seven years of her life, she’d never seen anyone that attractive in person.
“Oh my God, I think I just had an orgasm watching that,” Anna said.
Julia’s wide eyes found her.
She clapped her hands and hopped.
“Where did you find him?” Julia asked. “Like did you order him out of catalog called What Fantasies Are Made of?”
Anna giggled. “I was getting a refill—water, might I add, and he asked if I played darts. Of course, I said yes. I had to, because I needed to see if he was actually real.”
She totally understood that. She was having a hard time believing he was real.
“Anyway, I played a game and you know what?”
“What?” Her gaze moved over her head. She spotted Taylor still at the bar.
Anna grabbed her arm again. “He asked about you, Julia.”
She nodded. “He asked ‘who was the beautiful woman I was talking to earlier’ and that was you. That was no one else. And that was why he sought me out to play darts. I was used.” She grinned. “And I’m okay with that. You know why?”
Julia could barely process any of this. “Why?”
“Because he’s interested in you and this is your last night in this town, so you will go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants. Like anything.” She leaned in, lowering her voice. “Even anal. ’Cuz I’d allow that. Oh yeah.”
“Oh my God.” Julia laughed. “You’re insane. I don’t even know him—”
“My sweet summer child,” she said, and Julia frowned. “You don’t need to know him to get down with him. That man is fine. Like he’s not even human that’s how good-looking he is, and the whole time we played darts, he was eyeing you from across the bar.”
He had been? “This . . . this can’t be real.”
“It is. Julia, I know you’ve had a dry spell—a really long dry spell—and your ex was an ass, but it’s time for you to spread your horny wings wide and fly free, baby. This man, this sexy man is—”
“Stop.” Her heart jumped in her chest as she saw Taylor walking across the floor. “He’s coming back.”
Anna clamped her mouth shut, but eyed her in the way that said she would never forgive her if she somehow messed this up. She didn’t get a chance to really think any of this through, because Taylor was stepping around Anna, handing Julia a drink that smelled fruity.
“I’m happy you’re where I left you,” he said, leaning against the table. “I was worried you were going to run off.”
“No,” she said, glancing at Anna quite helplessly.
“Yeah,” he replied, grinning.
What was she supposed to say now? Or do? Thank God, she’d changed into a cute black dress, one with an empire waist and sleeves that reached her elbow. It was an old dress, but one she always felt good in. Now, if she’d only had the foresight to wear something other than the cotton panties that had skulls on them.
Oh my God.
Why was she even thinking that?
This guy was not seeing her skull-covered panties.
Julia saw Anna back away slowly, leaving them alone. Sipping her drink, she searched for a response that didn’t make her sound half stupid. “Why would you think that?”
That was the best she could come up with.
“Honest?” His lashes lowered, briefly shielding those amazing eyes. “You look half afraid.”
Her cheeks flushed once more. “Is it that obvious?”
“So you’re afraid?” he asked, lifting the bottle of beer to his mouth.
Didn’t seem possible, but she flushed even more. “I wouldn’t say I’m afraid. Just . . . just surprised.”
“I have no idea why you’d be surprised,” he replied, then took a drink. “I noticed you the moment I came in. I’m sure I’m not the only one. You’re absolutely stunning.”
This guy was good, real good. With the way he said that, it sounded like the truth. Flattery usually didn’t work on her, but coming from him? It just might. “That’s sweet of you,” she said, and then took a long drink of whatever the hell she’d ordered.