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Destined To Meet
By Devon Vaughn Archer Kimani
Copyright © 2008 Devon Vaughn Archer
All right reserved.
Lloyd Vance made his way around the crowded club, exchanging a few words with familiar faces, and generally wondering what the hell he was doing there. He wasn't the type to hang out in bars, preferring a mellower atmosphere, even staying home and watching TV on a Friday night. But he was in a new city and just trying to fit in as best he could.
Never mind that the person he was supposed to meet had called to say he wasn't coming after all. Maybe that should have been a clue to call it a night.
But Lloyd had never taken the easy route, even when he chose to move to another state. At thirty-six, he was at a stage of his life where taking chances seemed a better bet than sticking with a career and a dismal personal life.
So here I am tonight, ready for a challenge. Nursing a 007 martini, Lloyd spotted an attractive woman seated at a table alone. Was she really by herself? That seemed hard to fathom with all the men on the prowl for anyone wearing a skirt.
The lady is flat-out gorgeous. She reminded him of a cross between Alicia Keys and Tracee Ellis Ross neither of whom he could go wrong with.
Wonder if she's up for some company? Only one way to find out .
Lloyd tasted his drink and headed in the lady's direction, unable to take his eyes off her. This could either be good or bad news, depending on which way the windblew.
Courtney Hudson decided for once to live adventurously, if not dangerously. Three years after losing her husband, Joseph, in a freak accident, she was ready to let loose and put some passion back into her life.
Or at least try to accommodate her cousin Pilar, who had talked Courtney into checking out the hot new club in town, the Train Stop. According to Pilar, the place was supposed to be the cure-all for an attractive widow looking to get back in the game with some red-hot hunk who knew how to set the sheets on fire.
But Pilar had not bothered to show up or answer her cell phone, leaving Courtney to fend for herself.
I'm going to get you for this, Pilar, unless you've got a damn good reason for not showing.
She sipped on a Colorado Bulldog and listened to the Black Eyed Peas tune while checking out the hard bodies gyrating on the dance floor. It reminded Courtney of a time when she could move to the groove as well as anyone. That was before tragedy struck and the desire seemed to all but vanish.
This was probably a mistake. Maybe I should go. At thirty-three, I should find something better to do with my time than hang out at a club all by myself.
"Where is he?" The velvety deep voice with an inflection that Courtney couldn't quite place spoke bluntly from behind, ending her reverie.
Courtney jerked her head around and gazed directly into the deep pools of gray staring back. "Excuse me ?"
"I asked where is the jerk who would leave such a gorgeous woman sitting here counting heads?"
Courtney wasn't sure if he was serious or not, but she never had a problem with someone calling her gorgeous. A quick scan told her that the man wasn't bad himself. Quite the opposite. He was a dead ringer for Will Smith, which spoke for itself.
Was the actor making a movie in Lake Barri, Colorado, and taking a break by mingling with the locals?
Courtney decided that this man was taller and more muscular than Will without losing any of his drop-dead good-looking features, including the closely cropped, sharply lined raven hair. "I'm here alone," she told him. No thanks to Pilar. He grinned slowly, holding a cocktail. "Well, that explains it, and makes two of us. I was supposed to meet up with a buddy for a few drinks, but he backed out at the last moment."
"Join the club. My cousin seems to have strangely lost her way."
She's even lovelier up close. What I wouldn't give to run my fingers through that luscious, long brown-blond hair nestled across her shoulders.
Lloyd welcomed the fortuitous turn of events. "Their loss can definitely be our gain."
Courtney couldn't help but flash her smile at him. "Oh, you think so, do you?"
"Why not? We're two fish out of water, if I'm reading you correctly." She didn't strike him as the type to come to a club by herself very often. "Maybe the stars aligned on this night, and destiny shone down on us to get together."
Courtney laughed over her drink. "You don't really believe that, do you?"
He chuckleda deep and sensual soundmaking him that much more appealing. "No, not really. But I do know that when I saw you clear across the room, I had to come over here for a better look. And I'm glad I did."
Courtney smiled. So am I, even if I'm having trouble buying that age-old, across-the-room line. Still beats pretending to be occupied. Not to mention he's easily the most handsome and sexiest man in the club. "Do you want to sit down?"
"Only if you don't want to get up and show them how it's done on the dance floor."
Though tempted, Courtney decided not to press her luck. "I'm not much of a dancer," she said as an excuse.
"Neither am I." He sat in the chair closest to hers.
"My name's Lloyd."
"Nice meeting you."
He stuck out his hand and she shook it, noting how strong his hands were. He smelled good, too. Was that Obsession he was wearing?
"You, too." Courtney had never met a Lloyd before. Or a man with such an appealing voice. Maybe he really was a fish out of water. "Something tells me you're not from around here."
Am I that obvious? He cracked a half smile. "Something would be right. I'm from Anchorage."
"As in Alaska?"
"Born and raised there," he said matter-of-factly. Her gold-flecked ebony eyes widened. "Interesting " Lloyd ran long fingers across his taut jawline. "I know, the 'last-frontier' state isn't the first to come to mind for an oak-skinned man." He tasted the drink. "Not as unusual as it might seem. My old man was stationed there in the military. He married anAlaskan native, and they had me."
"How did you end up in Lake Barri?" Courtney sipped her cocktail and hoped she wasn't being too inquisitive. "It's pretty far from home."
Lloyd met her eyes. "That's an easy one. My job brought me here two months ago. I'm still getting settled in, but it's getting better all the time."
Courtney flushed under the weight of his gaze. "That's good to hear," she managed.
"I think so." He sat back. "So tell me something about you."
She sighed, always finding this the hardest part in exchanging information with a new person. "Well, I'm a widow, a children's book author and I grew up here."
Lloyd focused in on the first part of that. "You're pretty young to be a widow, aren't you?"
"I know," Courtney said thoughtfully. "But sometimes things happen that we can't do anything about."
Lloyd scratched his nose. "You're right about that. All any of us can do is live for today."
How about tonight? "I can't argue with that."
"Then you're a wiser person than most, who tend to cling to the past as though there were no other choice."
"That's not me." Courtney was through wishing her life had turned out differently, especially her husband's death. It was time to take life by the horns and charge ahead.
"Children's books, huh?" Lloyd asked, curiosity piqued. He wondered if she had any kids.
Courtney nodded. "Actually I write middle-grade fiction. I've had ten books published to date."
"I'm impressed. Never met an author before."
"Trust me, it's not as glamorous as you might think. Writing is hard work, and for most of us it's not about the money, but the joy of publishing quality material that the readers can appreciate."
"Well put." He sipped his drink and admired the woman who turned him on like crazy. "Beauty, talent and a proper perspective. Can't ask for much more than that."
Flattery just might get you everywhere. "So what job brought you from Alaska to Colorado?"
Lloyd paused. "I'm a copa detective, actually." Hope that doesn't cause the train we seem to be on to derail.
"Never met a cop before, so it looks like we're both charting new waters tonight."
He grinned, raising his glass. "I'll drink to that." She hoisted her own glass for a phantom toast. "How long have you been in law enforcement?"
"Ten years. It's had its share of good and bad times. When the opportunity arose for a higher rank I went for it, deciding the time was right for me to move on."
"Any regrets?" Courtney looked at him inquisitively while wondering if she could be so courageous as to leave her comfort zone for a place thousands of miles away.
"Nope. Certainly not right now, anyway." He gave her an "I want you" look, and Courtney felt a tingle like she hadn't in some time, as the feeling was mutual.
"In that case, I wish you well in Lake Barri."
"Thanks." Lloyd leaned forward. "Do you want to go somewhere that's not so loud and crowded?"
She lifted a brow demurely. "Where did you have in mind?"
"How about my place or yours? Whatever you prefer."
Courtney had butterflies but still refused to settle back into her conservative nature. Not tonight. Especially since it was obvious that Pilar had no intention of showing up at the last minute to possibly thwart the plans.
"Your place sounds good."
His mouth curved up into a generous smile as if he couldn't wait one moment. "Let's go."
She looked at him. "Just one more thing, can I see your badge or ID?"
Lloyd nodded understandingly. "Of course." He pulled out his police identification and allowed her to peruse it until completely satisfied that he was the real deal.
Courtney couldn't believe she was about toin all likelihoodengage in a one-night stand. She had never gone that route before. But she hadn't met a man like Lloyd who could hold her attention since Joseph died.
Since they were still one-name strangers, with no reason to look ahead, Courtney promised to be content and enjoy whatever Lloyd brought to the tableor bedwithout looking for more than he might be willing to give. Or that she wanted to offer.
As soon as they entered his house, Courtney felt Lloyd's sure hands all over her. Or was it the other way around? Whatever the case, she wasn't complaining, wanting to go the distance and experience what her body cravedand his clearly did, as well.
She cupped Lloyd's face and brought it down to hers, kissing his lips passionately, feeling his equally heated response. Courtney put her tongue in his mouth and tasted a combination of his drink and potent masculinity. She continued to explore, wanting to discover everything magical there was between his lips.
Lloyd seemed determined to match her, covering Courtney's mouth with his own, feverishly flattening, nibbling, sucking and exploring.
The kiss left Courtney breathless and when Lloyd began caressing her nipples through her thin top with his thumbs, she wanted to explode.
His erection bulged through his twill pants and pressed against her, leaving Courtney little doubt of his overpowering desire. She was just as eager to feel him inside her body.
"Do you have protection?" she murmured inside his mouth.
"Sure do," he responded huskily.
"Then let's not wait any longer!"
Excerpted from Destined To Meet by Devon Vaughn Archer Copyright © 2008 by Devon Vaughn Archer. Excerpted by permission.
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