Body Shot(9)

By: Kelly Jamieson

Hayden sipped her tomato juice cocktail, which tasted basically like a virgin Bloody Mary, and prepared for the next tequila.

“We’ll move on to one of our reposado tequilas now,” Marco said. He set a bottle onto the long bar. “A reposado tequila is aged in wood barrels—usually oak—or storage tanks for two to eleven months. It then takes on a more golden color, and the taste becomes a good balance between the agave and wood flavors. First we’ll taste Sauza Hornitos.” He and Beck poured more samples and they repeated the process.

Beck slid one across the bar to Hayden with a smile. “Here you go, gorgeous.”

She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. He was a shameless flirt.

This time people identified aromas of caramel, oak, agave, and fruit.

“Analyzing the organoleptic components of this is interesting,” she said to Carrie. She caught Beck’s raised eyebrow at her comment. “If you analyzed tequila with gas chromatography, I wonder how many odorants you could identify.”

Carrie groaned. “Hayden! Don’t overanalyze it. You always do that.”

Hayden frowned and sipped her tequila. “Isn’t that what we’re here for?”

“You need to enjoy the sensory aspects of the tequila,” Beck put in.

“Right,” Carrie agreed. “And to have fun. Remember? This is not work.”

Hayden sighed. “Fine.” She sipped again. “It’s smoother than the last one. Still warm. Smoky.”

After some discussion they tasted another reposado, then on to an añejo tequila, the first sample Don Julio. “This isn’t the most expensive tequila on our menu,” Beck noted. “Although Don Julio 1942 is one of our pricier ones. We’re just starting this tequila tasting night, and if it’s popular enough to continue, we’ll offer different tequilas each week. But this is quite a nice añejo tequila.”

“Vanilla,” Hayden noted as she took a small sniff. “And toffee. I think.”

Beck winked at her. “Very good.”

Heat slid down through her, and it wasn’t from the Don Julio. She focused on the appearance, noting that it was definitely more viscous than the last two they’d tasted. Then she tasted it. Smooth heat rolled over her tongue and down her throat. “Wow. What a difference.”

“Ugh.” Carrie shook her head. “I can’t handle this.”

Hayden grinned at her friend. “Come on. Try it again. Savor it.”

“It sounds as if you actually like it.”

“I actually do.” Hayden was as surprised as anyone. She made a couple of notes on the small notepad they’d each been given, careful to ensure she had the name of each tequila correct.

Carrie frowned at her. “Oh no. I’ve created a monster. A tequila monster.”

Hayden laughed, catching Beck’s eye as she did. The startled look on his face and the way he stared at her took her aback. Did she have something stuck in her teeth?

She swallowed a little more of her sample. “Not sure I could drink a lot of this, but I do quite like it.”

“Good girl,” Beck said approvingly, and the warm focus of his dark eyes on her and his appealing smile made her girl parts squeeze. She found herself smiling back at him.

Oh God. She must be drunk.

Chapter 3

No. Maybe a tiny bit of warmth from the tequila flowed through her veins, but she was far from drunk.

“This fine spirit hails from Jalisco, Mexico,” Marco said. “It’s distilled by master Juan Esteban Ortega, one of the most well-respected tequila distillers in the industry. Aged six to nine months in American white oak barrels, it has a smoky bouquet with notes of spice.”

Hayden took another sip and felt Beck’s eyes on her as she did so. “As you said, Hayden, there are notes of creamy vanilla, burnt orange, and a hint of toffee,” he said. “Elegant and sophisticated, but with enough bite to create some excitement.” The husky tone of his voice and the heat in his eyes definitely had excitement sizzling inside her. And his words could have been referring to something else entirely.

She rubbed her face. Oh God.

“So, which one is your favorite?” Beck placed both hands on the bar in front of her and leaned in, nodding at the empty glasses.

Hayden consulted her notes. “The Don Julio,” she said decisively.

“Excellent choice. One of my personal favorites too.” His voice went low and husky and she stared into his dark eyes. “Lush. Warm. Spicy.”

She blinked. She dropped her gaze to the glass in her hand. Slowly she tilted it, and the last golden drop slid down the side. She dipped her fingertip into it and then touched it to her tongue.