Authors: Melanie Munton
Copyright © 2016 Melanie Munton
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Cover Design by L.J. Anderson at Mayhem Cover Creations
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This is a work of fiction and any similarities to persons, living or dead, or places, actual events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters and names are products of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
Table of Contents
is the second installment in the five-part
contemporary novella series. Each of these novellas will be standalone and do not need to be read in sequential order, though this is recommended. The characters in this series were initially introduced in the
Possession and Politics
trilogy and though it is not necessary to read the trilogy in order to follow the
stories, it is also recommended.
Read more about the rest of the rest of the
Check out the
Possession and Politics
trilogy, also by Melanie Munton, at the links below:
Hello, Smoldering Eyes.
There weren’t many men who could look at a woman like the guy leaning against the bar was currently looking at me without appearing creepy. Nailing that look didn’t require talent either. No, you had to be born with eyes like that.
And the tall slice of man-cake with the dirty blonde hair that almost reached his shoulders had definitely been blessed at birth.
Looking at you with eyes that made it feel like you were already having sex before he even touched you was a gift from God.
The club was packed wall-to-wall with twenty and thirty-somethings, all looking for a good time, just like every other night. It was probably a weird thing to say but a scene like this always reminded me of Neverland, a place where no one ever grew up. Where you could re-live your youth every single night if you wanted. You could come here any time, grab a drink and a dance partner, and make yourself believe that life could always be like this. That you could escape responsibility and just not give a shit.
And it never changed.
That was why I came here. Or to any other place like it.
Because everyone was always looking for the same thing and you knew what to expect. There were no surprises with people who just wanted to live in the moment for a night. It was a predictable scene and that was how I preferred it.
I’d already vetted the options for tonight and there were some potential winners in the pool, but nobody had caught my eye like Smoldering Eyes had. Judging by what I was seeing, I was going to guess he was California-bred, definite surfer, probably had money if his clothes were anything to go by, possible entrepreneur, and was a seasoned pro in these types of situations.
He had to be with the way he was casually standing away from the dance floor, checking out the scene before him, acting as if he couldn’t care less whether or not women approached him. Confidence like that spoke of a man with experience. I was going to add possible player to that list, which was fine by me. Since I wasn’t looking for a commitment, I didn’t care if he was a womanizer. In fact, I’d often found those types to be the most adventurous in bed, which was perfect for the one night of fun I was looking for.
And it was
My sister Felicity and I had dragged our friend Gwen out tonight because she needed a break from the drama that was currently ruling her life. And my sister and I needed a break from all the hours we were putting in with our interior design business that we owned and ran together. We had been working our asses off and some dancing and a few drinks had sounded damn good.
Felicity and Gwen had gone to the bathroom, leaving me standing alone near the dance floor while I scoped out the night’s possibilities, which was when my laser focus had honed in on Smoldering Eyes.
Eyes that were smoldering my way.
No joke, they had actually already been locked onto me by the time my gaze had scanned over to the bar and landed on him for the first time. When he realized that he’d caught my attention, the corner of his mouth had quirked up in the sexiest smirk I’d ever seen.
And my lady bits definitely took notice and perked up.
I was used to the smiles, the pick-up lines, the propositions, and sometimes, the groping. Knowing that I looked good wasn’t arrogance, just confidence. I had played sports all my life and it had done my five foot nine inch frame good, keeping my long, lean muscles firm and toned. I was in shape and I didn’t hide it.
But I could always tell which guys were intimidated by my tall, athletic figure and those who appreciated it. The more insecure types—the ones who secretly wondered if they could handle a woman like me but maintained their air of self-assuredness in public—never made it to my bed. I only wanted the men who looked at me and saw a challenge. The ones who knew I wasn’t the petite, meek type who would take it easy on them in bed. The ones who wouldn’t take it easy on me either. I wanted the type who welcomed a woman who liked to be in charge.
But also the ones who knew when it was time to leave the next morning.
Or later that same night.
It just depended on how the evening went.
But it was always my choice when to cut them loose.
made the decision and didn’t give them the option to argue. And there was no communication afterwards. No exchange of numbers, no second romp in the sack, no mention of going on any dates.
It was something I always made clear to them.
And most guys didn’t have a problem with it.
I wasn’t a slut. I just liked to have fun and I was safe about it so what was the harm? Like Rizzo said, “I’m going to get my kicks while I’m still young enough to get them.” Truer words were never spoken. And maybe she wasn’t the best person to emulate since she had a pregnancy scare, but it was her own fault for not wrapping it up.
After all, who among us hasn’t had to make that dreaded trip to the pharmacy for one of those damn tests?
Okay, well I hadn’t.
But there was a valid point to be made in there somewhere.
Back to the topic at hand, most of these men I took home were after the same thing I was. A night of pleasure, short and sweet, where we took what we needed and moved on.
Temporary and uncomplicated.
That was the name of the game.
And Smoldering Eyes looked like he wanted to play.
I flashed him a smirk of my own, making it clear that I was giving him an opening, and started to make my way across the floor over to him. I dodged a hand on my lower back from some drunk asking me to dance and a couple of unappealing offers whispered into my ear before I finally reached his side.
He hadn’t looked away from me once. Brownie points.
, he was even better looking up close.
His dark blonde hair was swept back from his face, perfectly coiffed, though I highly doubted he’d even touched a comb to get it that way. It looked like it was just naturally like that, which was good because I didn’t go for the metrosexual types, anyway. If I got the feeling that a guy spent more time in front of a mirror than me, he didn’t even get the one night.
It was hard to tell in the dark but his eyes looked hazel and the stubble on his jaw looked like it needed to be licked. He was taller than me—a huge plus since my heels made me look Amazonian—and I had to crane my neck slightly to look up at him. He was probably six five, I’d say, with broad, sturdy shoulders. My favorite. There was no hiding his sculpted pecs through that shirt, nor the fact that I couldn’t detect any soft areas in his midsection. He looked like a man who’d played a few contact sports in his day and it was a huge turn-on for me.
But there was still one test he needed to pass before I could let this go any further.
I smiled up at him and tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear. “Hi there.”
The smirk he still had on his face finally spread into a full-blown smile, affording me a view of his teeth. And thank the Lord, there were straight, white, and perfect. I had a thing about teeth. Call me shallow but bad teeth were a deal breaker for me. Even for a night, I needed a man to have a nice smile; I’d be instantly turned off otherwise. Nobody wanted to make out with the Jaws of Death, I don’t care how adamantly they claimed it didn’t matter to them.
Now, we could get the show on the road. We’d flirt, he’d buy me a drink, we’d graze each other’s arms a few times and maybe dance a little, and then he’d take me back to his place.
Same as every other time.
“Hello. What’s your name, luv?” he asked.
Sweet baby Jesus.
He was British.
The big man upstairs must have been rewarding me for something because my luck typically wasn’t this amazing.
Despite my wide range of bed partners over the years, I’d never had all three B’s before: beautiful, built, and British. Clearly, I’d misjudged the whole Californian thing but this was fifty million times better. I would have absolutely no problem listening to this guy’s voice in bed all night. Because not only was his accent the hottest thing I’d ever heard, he had the deep baritone voice to go along with it.
I extended my hand to him. “Beatrice but everyone calls me Bea.”
He took my hand in his and squeezed. His hand was huge and strong, his handshake firm. Another good sign. “As in, Bea Arthur?” he asked, the smirk back on his face and humor in his eyes.
I raised my eyebrow at him, my hand remaining wrapped around his. “Should I be weirded out or strangely intrigued that you just referenced
The Golden Girls
He let out a deep laugh, the sound making my whole body tingle. He still hadn’t let go of my hand, not that I minded. “Let’s go with strangely intrigued. Because then I’d be able to explain that my mum was the one with the
obsession. Not me.”
, that accent.
I couldn’t have
d a hotter man.
“Yet you obviously watched it enough to know who Bea Arthur is,” I pointed out.
He sighed dramatically. “Alright, I’ll own up to it. Sixty-year-old women do it for me, what can I say? Still intrigued enough to let me buy you a drink?”
My smile grew bigger. “You had me at Bea Arthur.”
He chuckled and finally let go of my hand, making me immediately miss the warmth of it in mine. He asked me what I was drinking and got the bartender’s attention, calling mine out and ordering a scotch for himself. I respected a man who liked his scotch.
Another check in the pro column.
He paid for the drinks and turned back to me after they arrived, handing me my gin and tonic and watching me with intent eyes.
“You haven’t told me your name yet,” I remarked, stirring the contents of my glass before taking a sip.
He took a drink of his own. His eyes held amusement in them, but they were assessing all at the same time. It was an intense combination. “I’m Zane but everyone calls me Zane.”
I grinned at the use of my own words. I liked a guy with a good sense of humor. “Sorry. I can’t think of any Zanes on television. Except maybe on daytime soap operas or something.”
He rolled his eyes, shaking his head at me. “You Yanks and your soap operas.”
I pointed my finger in his face and narrowed my eyes. “Don’t be callin’ me a Yankee, now. Those are fightin’ words where I come from.”
His toothy smile was back and it lit up his whole face. I thought my knees might buckle under me at the sight. For the first time in my life, I felt like one of those swooning women from a Jane Austen novel.
He put his hands up in mock surrender. “My apologies, luv. I would never want to offend a lady. And where exactly is it you’re from? I gathered by your accent it isn’t from around here.”
Even after fifteen years living in Washington, D.C., my southern accent was still prominent and my personality was as Deep South as ever. “Alabama,” I replied. “I moved up here when I was twelve and never went back.”
His eyes turned curious and his expression looked as if he were actually interested in hearing about my life. That was new. Most guys were just eager to get into my pants. Or up my dress.
“You didn’t like it down there?”
I shook my head. “No, I loved growin’ up there. But this city grew on me. My mama and daddy moved back down there when I was in college, but my sister and I decided to stay here.”
“Do you have any other siblings?” he asked.
I shook my head again. “Nope. Just one sister.” I looked around the dark room for a minute and couldn’t see her. Not surprising, though, since she was barely five feet tall. “She’s ‘round here somewhere.”
I turned back to him to find his eyes burning, those smoldering eyes coming back in full force as he stared at me. My heart pounded and I swallowed slowly, my throat suddenly feeling dry. Most guys didn’t unnerve me like he did. It wasn’t something I was used to.
“What about you?” I asked. “Any siblings?”
It was his turn to shake his head. “No. Just me and my father,” was all he said.
I got the impression that his family life may not have been up for discussion so I let it go. Not like I needed to get to know him real well for what I had planned, anyway.
“So, what brings you over to our neck of the woods, Zane?”
I stepped a little closer to him, knowing that he would have a good view of my cleavage if he looked down. But he didn’t. He kept those hazel eyes focused on my face. His lips did curl up at the corners, though, as if he knew what I was doing and wasn’t about to object to it.
“I work for a tech company based out of London but we have branches in D.C., New York, and Atlanta. We introduced a new software last year, so I came over here to make sure everything got up and running smoothly with it at our American branches.”
I nodded, impressed. I liked them smart. “And will you be stayin’ in our wonderful country much longer?”