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His hand brushing mine excited me beyond anything I'd ever known. Large, tanned and callused, I knew he earned a living with his hands. His long, strong fingers possessed a muscled elegance, much like the rest of him. Short, neat nails belied his trade, that of a carpenter. I shivered as his hand found mine, hidden from public view between our torsos and the bar. Dalton trailed those well-tended fingernails lightly across my palm, sending me his teasing invitation.
"What do you say? Come back to my place for a while?" His clear tenor held no hint of accent, yet he'd alluded he hailed from somewhere in the South. I'd not heard the story of how he'd made his way to the West Virginian outback, although doubtless he knew my tale.
Everyone in the company knew I'd been banished here by my loving family with little hope for redemption, following some sort of serious disagreement with my father, the supposed details of which continued to fuel the rumor mill. None of my fellow barflies would guess the truth. I didn't wear it on the skin. It went much deeper, all the way to the soul.
Almost none of the assembled crowd would guess the truth, I corrected myself. Dalton suspected. Clearly he recognized the indefinable aura that marked us as different, as outsiders. I could still shake my head, decline his invitation, and tender my apologies with no hard feelings. His invitation would remain ambiguous to anyone who'd overheard it.
My body thrummed with awareness of his nearness. I did my best to avoid breathing, since every time I inhaled, the clean, crisp scent of his aftershave sank red-hot talons into my brain. And underneath the Old Spice, undeniable,alluring, dangerous and unmistakable on the gentle breeze from the ceiling fan overhead wafted a delicious, forbidden male musk.
"I was hoping to have another drink," I said, matter-of-factly, painfully, acutely aware that all walls have ears. "It was a long day and I need to unwind for a bit."
His sky blue eyes, so different from my blue-grey orbs, didn't flicker, reminding me he had some experience at this dance. He nodded. "Yeah, I heard RLK got the contract on River Crossing."
I nodded, not at all surprised word had already traveled through the local workforce to the "competition."
"We signed for the first one hundred units. Townhouses. The single families in section three are still on the table."
Dalton tapped his beer bottle to mine. "Well, then, may the best hammer win."
We lifted our bottles and swallowed. Pleased I hadn't choked, I set down my empty and motioned for the bartender. She was a cute little blonde with a high-wattage smile she turned on me as she plunked the fresh bottle onto the bar. Friday wasn't her normal shift. I smiled back and tipped her a buck under Dalton's watchful gaze.
"Do you know her?" he asked causally. I heard the unspoken question he couldn't ask.
Did I want to know her, biblically speaking?
Not ready to commit to anything beyond banal conversation, I replied, "She's a nice girl. Becky. Brenna. Bobbi. Something with a 'B.'" I flashed him my best impish smile. "You should ask her out."
He knew my game and laughed. "I've seen her boyfriend. Big mother fucker." He held his hand over his head, indicating the boyfriend must be eight feet tall, considering Dalton was an inch or so taller than me at six-foot-three or four.
"In that case, I guess it's good I can honestly say I don't even remember her name."
His triumphant gaze locked with mine. I raised my left eyebrow and played innocent. It was too late for stupid. He knew. Our greetings over and done with, we'd now move to a more private spot where we could talk without too much concern of being overheard. Sweat broke out on my back. Tonight, if offered again, I planned to accept the invitation he'd tendered every Friday for the past few weeks.
That cocky grin appeared again as he set his empty on the bar and issued his second invitation of the evening. "So, you want to grab a booth? Eat?"
"Sure. I'll extract trade secrets from you so I can undercut Quality Homes on section three."
Posted October 31, 2013
This was an engaging story with sexy characters and intriguing story. It flowed well and was a pleasurable way to spend a day reading.
It is part of the Victory series but I found no reference to these characters in any of the following books in the series. However, they are all worth reading.
Posted July 20, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted December 21, 2011
No text was provided for this review.