Knocked Up by Brother's Best Friend(3)By: Amy Brent
Maybe my capacity for intelligent thought had been lost along with my ability to breathe because all I could do was stand there, repeating the brick wall’s words.
“Yeah, the bar. That I just walked out of.”
“The bar.” I glanced behind him to see the grimy windows of the dive he was pointing toward.
“You sure you okay, sunshine? Maybe we should sit down for a minute, just to be on the safe side.” The brick wall paused for a moment and I could practically feel the warmth of his gaze as it drank me in, “Maybe I can make it up to you. Can I buy you a drink?”
I stood there for a moment, knowing I should keep walking. Knowing that I should go home and face the music. But damned if a drink didn’t sound good. Almost as good as the brick wall.
“What the hell.” I breathed the words as I turned and walked inside. Anything to delay the inevitable. And if I was being honest with myself, I wanted to see if the chills that had raced up and down my body were real, or if I had just imagined them.
It was only four o’clock, so the place was nearly empty. A few of the regulars sat at the far end of the long, narrow room but I took a seat towards the middle, rubbing my hands over the wooden bar top as the brick wall took the stool next to me.
“Hey Stella, can I get a beer, and what about you, sunshine? What do you fancy?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” The brick wall whispered, leaning so close his warm breath tickled my ear, sounding as if he was telling me a secret, “What passes for whiskey at this place is little more than watered-down motor oil.”
“I’ll, uh, I’ll just stick with beer then.”
“Good choice,” He chuckled roughly and it set off another wave of chills, “Two beers, Stella.”
The brick wall turned back to me as the bartender slid over the glasses and I finally got my first good look at him. It made the breath that I’d fought to get back leave all over again. He was tall, towering over my own five foot two by at least a foot, maybe even more. And he had the shoulders to go with it.
His hair was brown and too long. He kept pushing it back with one hand but it would just fall back over his forehead a moment later. His eyes were so dark they almost looked black in the dim lighting of the bar, but they gleamed with a light of mischief that I knew spelled trouble. Damn if I didn’t like trouble.
It took me a moment to realize that he was staring back at me just as intently and my cheeks flushed hot but I refused to look away.
“It’s not sunshine, you know.” I forced the words out through a throat that was suddenly tight with tension. He raised one dark eyebrow in question, taking a long pull from his beer and my eyes jumped to his lips, wicked thoughts flashing through my mind, and then away again.
“My name,” I finally said, “It’s not sunshine. It’s Quinn.”
“Leo. Leo Delaney,” He held out one big, callused hand and I stared at it, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
I swallowed hard. It’s just a handshake. Nothing to be afraid of. The snide words echoed in my head, but I knew they weren’t true. Quinn Moore had been called a lot of things, I mean a whole lot of things, but a coward had never been one of them. And I wasn’t about to start now.
Slowly, I reached out my own hand, sliding my palm against his and gasped at the feel of electricity that arced from my fingers, all the way up my arm and then down again to pool low and heavy inside me. The reaction was instant and powerful, sweeping through me and there was no denying the tension that wrapped around us.
The next hour drowned in the dark, fathomless depths of Leo’s eyes, the beer left unfinished as we spoke about everything, and nothing at all. His hand never let go of mine, sweeping his thumb back and forth, driving me slowly insane and I didn’t know if I was sad or relieved when he finally let it go as he rose to his feet.
But the next instant, he was back, his voice somehow even deeper and raspier as he whispered against my ear.
“I live in the apartment above the bar. Maybe we could find somewhere a little more…private?”
It was easy to read the invitation in his words, the need in his dark gaze. That same need echoed inside me, pulsing, drawing me to my feet next to him. Over the past hour, I’d forgotten all about school, all about my failures, all about Jonah and the dreaded conversation. I’d forgotten it all and I wanted to stay lost in Leo for as long as I could.
The heavy desire sweeping through me pushed my feet forward. I grabbed my backpack, following him up the steep, rickety stairs but as we reached the top I stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. It made my fingers tingle as Leo cast me a look over his shoulder as he worked on getting the door unlocked.