By: Megan Hart

“So. You’re not here to drink, then?” Sam eyed me, then turned on his stool so our knees touched.

I smiled at the touch of challenge in his tone. “Not really. No.”

“So…” He paused, as if thinking. He was very good. “So what you’re saying is, let’s say a guy, oh, bought you a drink.”


“Before he knew you weren’t here to drink.”

I smiled again, holding back a laugh. “Sure. Let’s say that.”

Sam swiveled on his stool to fix me with an intense gaze. “Would he already have fucked up too bad, or would you give him a chance to make it up to you?”

I pushed the bottle he’d bought me toward him. “I guess that would depend.”

Sam’s slow grin was a heat-seeking missile sent straight between my thighs. “On what?”

“On if he was cute or not.”

Slowly he turned to show off his profile, then to the other side until he finally looked at me head-on. “How’s this?”

I looked him over. His hair, the color of expensive black licorice and spiked on the crown, feathered a bit over his ears and against the back of his neck. His jeans had rubbed to white in interesting places. He wore black, scuffed boots I hadn’t noticed before. I looked back up to his face and the quirking mouth, the nose saved from being too sharp only by the way the rest of his features came together. He had brows like dark wings, arched high over the center of his eyes and tapering to nothing at the outside corners.

“Yes.” I leaned closer. “You’re cute enough.”

Sam rapped the top of the bar with his knuckles and wahooed. The noise turned heads, but he didn’t notice. Or he pretended not to. “Damn. My mama was right. I am purty.”

He wasn’t, really. Attractive, but not pretty. Still, I couldn’t help laughing. He wasn’t what I’d been expecting, but…wasn’t that the point of meeting a stranger?

He didn’t waste any time.

“You’re very pretty,” Sam, beer finished in record time, leaned to murmur in the vicinity of my ear.

His lips tickled the sensitive skin of my neck just below my lobe. Already primed by the fantasy, my body reacted at once. My nipples pushed against the lace of my bra and outlined themselves in the silk of my shirt. My clit pulsed, and I squeezed my thighs together.

I leaned close to him, too. He smelled a little like beer, a little like soap. A whole lot like yum. I wanted to lick him. “Thanks.”

We each sat back on our stools. Smiling. I crossed my legs and watched his gaze follow the hem of my skirt as it rose to give him a glimpse of bare thigh. His eyes widened in satisfactory appreciation. His tongue slid along his bottom lip, leaving it glistening.

He looked into my eyes. “I don’t suppose you’re the type of girl to go upstairs with a guy she just met, even if he is cute as all hell?”

“Actually,” I told him, matching his low, breathy tone, “I think I might be.”

Sam paid the bill and left a tip big enough to make the bartender grin. Then he took my hand to help me down from the stool, holding me steady when my foot came down wrong as though he’d known all along I’d stumble. Even in four-inch heels I had to tilt my head way back to look into his face.

“Thank you,” I said.

“What can I say?” Sam replied. “I’m a gentleman.”

He stood head and shoulders over most of the crowd, which had grown considerably since I came in, and he led me without faltering through the maze of tables and bodies toward the door to the lobby.

Nobody could have known we’d just met. That we were strangers. I was going upstairs to a stranger’s room. Nobody could know that, but I did, and my heart thumped hard and harder the closer we got to the elevator.

The walls inside reflected us both, our faces blurred by the dim lighting and the abstract pattern of gold in the mirrors. His T-shirt had rucked up out of his jeans. I couldn’t look away from his belt buckle or the hint of bare skin just above it. When I looked up again to meet his gaze in the mirror, Sam’s smile had shifted.

I saw him put his hand on the back of my neck before I felt his touch. The mirror had created that distance, that second of delay. Like watching a movie or TV, but somehow that small disconnect made this seem all the more real.

At the door to his room Sam took his hand away from the back of my neck to dig in his pockets for the key card. He tried both front pockets and came up with nothing but a few coins. He fumbled. His nervousness charmed me even as it prompted my own. He found the key inside his wallet, tucked into a back pocket.

I liked his laugh when he pulled it out and fit it into the door. The lock blinked red, and he muttered a curse I deciphered by tone, not by word. He tried again, his hands so big they engulfed the slim plastic card. I couldn’t stop staring at his hands.

“Fuck,” Sam said clearly, and handed me the card. “I can’t get the door open.”

I reached for the card. Our hands touched. Then somehow his hand had encircled my wrist and my back pressed against the still-closed door. Sam pressed against my front. His mouth found mine already open for him. His hand discovered my leg already cocked to fit his grasp just behind my knee. He fit between my legs like the key ought to have fit in the lock, without hesitation, opening my door. His fingers slid higher beneath my skirt above the edge of my stockings and found bare skin.