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DescriptionShe needs an escape…and he’s exactly what she had in mind.
College senior Ellen Price spends every spare minute studying to get into medical school. Until spring break yawns before her, as empty as her wallet.
With no money to hit the beach, she fills her empty to-do list with a plan: for just one week, she will become the kind of take-no-prisoners woman she secretly wishes to be, starting with the hot guy at the bar. It's a no-risk situation: at the end of break, he’ll head back to his campus, and she’ll go back to hers. No muss, no fuss.
At first, Josh Markley isn’t sure what to think when the quiet, intense beauty from his pre-med classes approaches him for a night of casual sex. Even more mystifying, she doesn’t seem to return his recognition. But if she wants to play “strangers in a bar”, he’s game.
Their passionate night is a welcome respite from life’s stress, but afterward, Josh realizes he wants more—from himself, from life, from Ellen. Except she still thinks he’s a one-off she’ll never see again. Confessing the truth now—before she figures it out on her own—could shatter the fragile beginnings of just what the doctor ordered. A forever love.
Warning: Contains mistaken identities, a sometimes-glasses-wearing hottie, deep questions about figuring out what you want from life, and a red-hot college romance.
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
Excerpt:Copyright © 2012 Jeanette Grey
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
He looked good, Ellen thought. Maybe too good? Tall and lean, with short, dark hair and high cheekbones. The kind of unintentional stubble that just barely shadowed his jaw.
She’d been watching him for half an hour now, sizing up the way his long fingers traced around the rim of his pint glass, the set of his shoulders as he leaned against the bar. He spoke to no one but the bartender, and no one spoke to him.
Normally, she would never have approached him. But it wasn’t a normal night. She tipped back the rest of her drink, then stood and took the first few unsteady steps across the room. Her shoes were new, the heels cruel, and while she hadn’t done much walking, her feet were already sore. Her skirt and top were all new, too. She was new.
After all, if she couldn’t afford a trip for spring break, she could at least afford to make her week alone interesting.
As she made her way toward him, she pushed her chest out and worked to keep her footing as she swayed her hips. She’d been to this bar a couple times before, but the whole place looked different, drained of the usual crush of hard-up students. Half the seats were empty, and the ones that were full were taken up by people who just seemed…out of place. Locals who didn’t usually bother with the student dives. People who had grown up here, home from college for spring break.
And her. And him.
He didn’t look up as she got closer, and for a second her nerves almost got the best of her. She pushed through it, though, put her hand on the bar next to him and cleared her throat. “Hey.”
His head jerked up, but on the way his gaze got stuck, focusing first on the tops of her thighs, then on the curves of her hips, the cinch of her waist. Somewhere around her breasts, his cheeks got red and his eyes wide.
She smiled. Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard.
More confident now, she spoke up again. “Hello?”
“Hi.” He snapped his gaze up to meet her eyes, and if it was possible his got even wider, the clear green of them flashing with something Ellen couldn’t quite identify.
Especially not when she was busy staring herself. Up close, he looked better than good. Those eyes…
Somehow, she found the presence of mind to extend her hand. “I’m Ellen.”
His one eyebrow quirked up, but after a second he responded, “Josh.” He took her hand in his as he half rose from his seat. His grip was firm, his skin was soft but not too soft. A thinking man’s hands.
Which, considering his age, made him a student, too? Maybe one of the ones visiting home for the break, sitting here alone at a bar to get away from his parents. God knew, back when she used to go home, that was how things tended to go for Ellen after a day or two.
She curled her hand around his, lingering, skin against skin. “Nice to meet you.” Gesturing to the seat next to him, she asked, “May I?”
“Sure. Of course.” His Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed. It looked good. Sexy.
Removing her hand from his slowly, she pulled the chair out and folded herself into it, taking care to cross her legs. Her skirt was riding up as it was, probably giving him one hell of a view. He sat down, too, and she turned to him, smiling her flirtiest smile. Sticking to her plan, she asked, “So, can I buy you a drink?”
He smirked, but in a way that was more playful than offended. “Isn’t that my line?”
Nothing was going by the typical rules tonight.
He stared at her levelly for a long moment, his eyes probing. With the set of his jaw just so, it seemed like there was a question on his tongue, something he wanted to say. But in the end, all he said was, “Sure. Ellen.”
She liked the way he said her name. Like he knew her.
Smiling, she turned toward the bar and motioned for the bartender. “Vodka and cranberry. And a…” She looked to Josh.
When the bartender returned with their drinks, she paid. Josh shook his head slightly but accepted the drink, raised it to his lips and sipped slowly. Ellen slipped the straw for hers into her mouth and took a quick pull. As she did, she kicked her leg back and forth. It was a nervous habit, her one tell.
It was a fortuitous one, too, as her foot connected with the solid warmth of his calf. Her heart hammered as a flash of pleasure at the touch rushed through her. For a second, he pressed back against her, and so she let herself stay like that, connected to him beneath the bar.
It felt like an offer. And an acceptance.
“So.” Her voice was lower than usual, her throat just a little rough. “You a student?”
He furrowed his brow, and when he answered, he did so slowly. “Yes. You?”
The truth almost bubbled out of her, but she stopped it. She wasn’t herself tonight, not the usual shy pre-med who hid behind her hair. With a flash of a smile, she substituted a half-truth in its place. “Waitress.”
There was something disbelieving to his tone, but she ignored it as she told him, honestly, “Park Diner.” Watching his expression, she took another sip of her drink. “You been there?”
“Once or twice, I think.”
“Pity. It’s a dump.”
“But I hear the wait staff is nice.”
She laughed and leaned toward him. “Depends on the day.” Pretending to sway, she reached out and caught herself, planted her hand on his thigh.
He smelled good. Felt better.
“Careful, there.” His voice was entirely too close and yet not close enough, his breath a hot rush against her ear. He steadied her with a hand on her bare arm.
She shivered as his fingertips trailed along her skin before falling away. She took her hand off his leg and sat up straight, her insides fluttering at the feel of his warmth against her spine as he draped his arm over the back of her chair. There was something possessive about it. Something claiming.
Why had she been so afraid of this before?
She turned her head to face him and found him right there, staring at her. His eyes were so green. So clear.
“So,” she said.
She didn’t back away at all as she brought her glass to her mouth, intentionally pursing her lips before wrapping them around the straw. Cold and raw, the liquor burned in just the right way. She darted her gaze from the red liquid to his eyes and down again.
“You enjoying your visit?” she asked breathily, fishing.
His one eyebrow lifted again before settling back into place. “I always do.”
There was more small talk to make. More getting-to-know-you to do. But she didn’t want to.
Really, what was the point?
She placed her hand on his thigh again, her fingers edging higher this time. “Want to enjoy it even more?”
Take What You WantBy: Jeanette Grey