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Rafael Domenici, a gorgeous Brazilian post-grad student, followed her into her office. His English wasn't perfect but sure beat the heck out of her Portuguese. Susie took off her lab coat and hung it on the back of the door, uncomfortably aware of the young man's eyes following every muscle movement with the desire to touch.
It would be flattering if it wasn't so darned awkward.
"Just leave those on the desk, please, Rafael. And I'll need your literature review before I go home this afternoon." That should cure his adoration and remind him who was boss.
He didn't move. The young god just stared at her with bedroom eyes and ridiculously long lashes. Not a single line of age on that perfect face. He was twenty-two years old and had more sexuality in one little finger than most men accumulated in a lifetime.
There was a time when Susie Cooper had been comfortable flirting with gorgeous men. Not anymore. She'd once used her looks as a weapon and had been smashed into emotional spare parts for her effort. She was looking for other things now commitment, family, kids. Ignoring Rafael's puppy-dog gaze, she sat in her chair, mechanical and biological joints creaking as she leaned forward to reactivate her computer.
Finally she sent him a tight smile of dismissal but rather than quenching the smoldering passion in his gaze, he laughed and pushed away from her desk.
"Obrigado, Dr. Cooper. I see you later, maybe for a drink in the pub?"
Dream on, little boy.
At that moment her other student, Lily Heathcote, appeared in the doorway and gave Rafael a hostile look. Lily was a local girl but if she was intimidated by her cosmopolitan coworker, it didn't show. Impatiently, the petite girl tapped lacquered fingernails against the doorjamb as the Brazilian angled around her, careful not to touch. A sly smile touched Lily's painted lips even though her eyes never left Susie's.
Always eccentric, today Lily was dressed in skintight leopard-print pants and a faded Cure T-shirt that had once been the color of eggplant. But beneath the layers of heavy makeup, weird clothes and incongruous blond braids sticking out like handlebars from above her ears, Lily was a nice, intelligent girl, whom Susie liked a lot. Rafael should have been attracted to his bright young peer, but maybe he only went for older women. That thought depressed the heck out of Susie.
Thirty-six wasn't old, though it was starting to feel like it. She stared at a photograph on her desk of her friend Dela Ortiz. Dela had died of an air embolism six months ago while they'd been diving off Fraser Island in Australia. She hadn't made it to thirty-five.
"You should do what I did," Lily interrupted Susie's reverie even as she leaned back to check out Rafael's butt.
Susie didn't pretend to misunderstand. She'd love to know how a girl like Lily handled guys like Rafael Domenici.
"What did you do?" Curious, Susie picked up her coffee, took a swallow of the cold, bitter brew.
"I put my hand on his dick and told him to let me know when the patch kicked in."