By: Jacquie Underdown

‘I thought on a whim, I need a new car. So I went out last weekend and bought one of those new Range Rovers,’ he said.

I had heard those cars were highly overpriced and impractical. ‘That’s nice,’ I said, glancing down at my watch. ‘Look, Reese, it’s a pleasure to have met you tonight, but I really must be getting home.’

‘Yeah, it’s black, shiny. Handles real well. Not too good on the fuel, though. But who really believes in that global warming bullshit anyway? Maybe I could pick you up tomorrow and take you for a spin?’

I fidgeted, searching for the exit. After Leith, the last thing I needed was this guy, whose wife had recently left him and had taken the kids, and was in the midst of an eye-gouging divorce. ‘That’s a flattering gesture, but I’m sorry, I actually have a boyfriend and he wouldn’t approve of that.’

Reese swallowed a mouthful of his straight scotch. ‘I’m up for a challenge.’ His eyes dragged from my hips to my breasts, where they lingered for just enough time to make me shiver and want to cross my arms over my chest. ‘You look like you could use the services of a man, a real man. I bet your boyfriend isn’t much of one,’ he said, eyes still not making their way back to my face.

I rolled my eyes but resisted turning away in a huff because, damn, he made my heart sigh with sympathy for that part of him that was most obviously lonely and insecure.

‘He is man enough for me. Thank you for your attendance tonight, Reese, but I must be heading off. I’ve an early start tomorrow.’

I searched the room for an escape route, for someone to rescue me. I saw Lucas on the stage, kneeling to unplug some cords from the back of an amplifier as tall as me. Lucas lifted his head, as though sensing my gaze, and captured my eyes. I stumbled back one pace as I sucked in a ragged breath. His outward appearance was not what I remembered. I’d only ever seen him this close-up through a drunken haze and it was clear my shady memories did not do him justice.

‘I’ve an early start tomorrow as well,’ said Reese. ‘No rest for the wicked. But I feel like the night is just starting. Maybe we can have a nightcap back at my penthouse?’

I managed to drag my attention away from Lucas and catch my breath. ‘Reese, I —’

‘Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt,’ Lucas’s sexy-as-hell voice, ‘but the rest of the band and I need to get going soon, and I’ve a few questions for you, Anthea, about that matter we were discussing earlier.’

Reese folded his arms over his chest and glared at Lucas, eyes storming darker.

‘Of course. It’s rather important we talk about that thing before you leave.’ I swallowed hard. ‘Very important.’

Reese sighed, smiled weakly. ‘It was great to meet you, Anthea. I better leave you to it.’

‘I enjoyed meeting you, too.’ Not.

Then it was only Lucas and I facing one another. I was drawn to the flawlessness of his beautiful, light coffee-toned skin and his eyes. Holy shit, they were the most unusual shade of green, with striking grey flecks, and lined with the darkest eyelashes. Guys should not have lashes like that. It simply wasn’t fair. His deep brown hair was grown out and hung untidily in loose waves around his ears and neck — so rocker-bad-boy.

But most appealing was his stature: wonderfully tall, with a broad chest and strong limbs. The type of height and raw masculinity that made my tummy flip and legs shake, because you couldn’t help but feel completely safe and, concurrently, dominated by a man like that.

With Reese a decent distance away, I gathered control over my brain and mouth and managed, though my voice was weak, to say, ‘Thank you so much for that, Lucas. I now owe you twice.’

He smiled, two perfect dimples etched into his cheeks. No wonder I stopped to talk to him at the Cloud Bar. He was divine — not a euphemism; he literally looked like he was cast down from Heaven to corrupt any woman lucky enough to lay eyes on him with deliciously wicked thoughts.

‘No worries at all. I kind of overheard your conversation. Thought you might need some help. He wasn’t taking no for an answer. You weren’t telling the truth about having a boyfriend, were you?’

I shrugged a shoulder and grinned sheepishly. ‘It was a lie. Not that it did anything to stop him.’

‘So you say you owe me thanks twice? What’s the second time for?’

‘You got me out of a tight spot at work, agreeing to do this gig tonight. You may’ve even saved me my job.’

He arched a brow. ‘Is that right? Glad to be of service, even if it is inadvertently.’

‘Thank you again. You were brilliant. I received many, many compliments on your behalf.’

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