Tuesday Teaser: No Such Thing

Prince Charming? Never met him...

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Prologue

Liquor? I don’t even know her!


They’d met in a bar. He was tall, dark, and inescapably British, from his manners down to the tailoring of his trendy but definitely bespoken oxblood leather coat. It was his smile that caught her attention, pulled her out of the mire of her thoughts and emotional convalescence. It was more than a smile; it was a grin with an aura, overtaking him and all those in his immediate vicinity.


His bright blue eyes were a stark counterpoint to his dark hair and closely-groomed beard, which verged on grey when he laughed, his nose wrinkling, his agile mouth… God, the moment she’d noticed his lips, it had been a foregone conclusion she would need a taste before the night should end, lest she die. Dimples, chiseled features that would have been severe had he lacked such a capacity for humor. His unreasonable height and deceptively slight build could have been mistaken for gangly, an error of which she, herself, had been guilty at one point earlier in the evening.


She’d been there, in a bar in Boston, in a place where no one knew her name, and she preferred it that way. In a town that used to be home, but hadn’t been for close to a decade. She was in town as a duty, but in the bar to lick her wounds in solitude as a choice. And then he’d spilled a beer on her.


Given the pity party she’d been throwing herself in the form of a string of increasingly sturdy Cosmopolitans, the dark lager drenching her favorite grey plaid skirt and knee-high boots had really been par for the course in her mind. He’d been flustered and immediately apologetic, while she’d been taken by the blush in his cheeks as he attempted unsuccessfully to blot her dry.


Far from stuffy and standoffish, her klutzy new friend was an interesting conversationalist, chatting with her and the bartender, a friend of his from their days at university. He was a new commodity, an unbidden breath of air as fresh as it was freeing. Maybe it was the liquor, maybe it was the moonlight, but this stranger until only moments previous incited in her a desire to step outside of her comfort zone. Abandon hope, and hopefully panties, all who enter here, or something to that effect. Wild, but impermanent, it might turn into a good story her girlfriends would never believe.

At least, that was the story she was going to tell herself when he left her hotel room later. It had been a happy coincidence to find out that not only were they in the same lodgings, but on the same floor. The walk back to the opulent display of ostentatious overconsumption had been peppered with his shy but solicitous smiles, and gently lilting conversation in a baritone she wanted to hear endlessly. His sense of mortification about his clumsiness fueled her self-deprecating streak, and she found herself actively courting those flashes of white in the rising darkness.


The elevator lights would have been garish at a Vegas stage show, and she said as much, eliciting a chuckle from her compatriot as they crowded into the mirrored interior of the elevator car and muscled their way to the far back corner. The crushing throng made their proximity less obvious, expected even, and they both took full advantage with his arm around her waist and her head on his shoulder.


Somehow the spilled beer on her clothes didn’t cover up the smell of lime and verbena that emanated from his skin, making her want to bury her face in his neck. She would’ve sidled closer to do just that, but the car jerked to a stop with a ding, signaling their floor. He escorted her to her door, since it was closer than his room at the end of the hall and around the corner, and his hand on her back felt more personal than perfunctory.


When she turned to thank him, the muted light of the empty hallway cast his stark features in enticing shadows from her view a foot below him. Torn between the desire to invite him in and a fundamental inclination to revert to her normal introversion, she placed her hands on his shoulders and leaned up to kiss his cheek as a fuller expression of her gratitude. His head turned toward her at the last moment and then she was lost in the fact that she finally knew how he tasted, how soft his beard was against her skin.


His kiss was as perfect as the rest of him, starting tentatively, but warming as the seconds lengthened between them, each of them moving closer until neither gave a good damn about her sodden clothes. His arms around her waist were strong and steady as they lifted her into him to overcome the height disadvantage, and she couldn’t help but squirm to get closer.


He pressed her back against the door through the strength of his kiss, freeing up a hand for her to paw for her key card, then press it into his hands to finish the deed. They fell through the door as the lock gave way, and the jarring change of geometry and gravity gave them both over to laughter as they fought their giggles to right themselves and close the door. Neither one mentioned the fit of madness that had overcome them, and no sooner had it latched than their inexorable attraction drew them inexorably together again.


Lips, tongues, touches, whispers, all mingled as they peeled each other to the skin with a mixture of desire and trepidation. This wasn’t her, she knew, this was some wild woman who’d seized control of her mind and body as soon as the ale had touched her skin, and tomorrow she would wonder how all this happened, but for now, his warm breath on her neck as he brushed his lips and teeth over her skin would keep her on the edge of bursting into flames.


His clothes gave the impression of slightness, a whip-thin frame stretched to capacity, but as soon as he had stripped to his undershirt, she was reminded that looks could be deceiving, this time in the best possible way. Strong and wiry muscles wound up his arms, his shoulders, across his chest, leading her to think the carved and chiseled look of his face was merely a preview of upcoming attractions.


Far from a passive receptacle of her attentions, the stranger’s eager fingers roamed over her, taking down her cardigan and camisole, flinging them in a high, graceful arc across the room. The zipper of her skirt proved a bit more daunting with its coating of beer, but her suitor remained steadfast. The moment her skirt hit the carpet, he picked her up and carried her to the bed without even the slightest sign of strain. He stretched out next to her, his voice a reverent whisper as he trailed his fingertips over her skin. Her name in his mouth, a holy offering as his lips began their journey at hers, destination all points south.


As far as balms for a broken heart went, this certainly wasn’t the worst idea she’d ever had, though she’d never have dreamed of acting on it until tonight. His smile, his accent, the emotional upheaval and loneliness of her recent public humiliation conspired to make her wanton, and while she’d call herself to task in the unforgiving light of the morning sun, for the moment, the cloak of darkness hid her sins. To her mind, this was just the first of many.



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