“Well, as I live and breathe, Sean Garrison knows who I am, and if I’m not mistaken, has stalked me down to the ladies’ room.” She pulled her hair out of its band and let it flow around her shoulders. “Should I sound an alarm?”
He chuckled, bringing chills to her entire body. She crossed her arms, trying not to clutch at her elbows and give away her anxiety. In one step, he was close enough to put his empty, still cool glass against the skin of her arm. She flushed, irritated at her reaction to him. She was conscious of his body’s heat; the subtle hint of his cologne tinged with the familiar odors of beer. When she leaned back to look into his eyes, their bright blue depths made her blink.
“Oh, um, well, I mean, thanks—you know for the earlier compliment.” She cursed herself.
His other hand traced a line down her arm. She gritted her teeth against the urge to sigh with satisfaction. Someone stomped on the floor above her head and laughter roared through the whole place, a not-so-subtle reminder that a party was going on upstairs. But at this moment, the universe had shrunk to the two of them.
“Sure,” he said, his lips once again too close for comfort. His fingers grazed her skin, the touch zinging straight to her panties. She’d not had such a reaction to a man in years. She fought the urge to shove him away and run up the steps. Mainly because what she really wanted was for him to keep doing what he was doing.
“No need to be alarmed,” he said, backing away a fraction. “Wanted to make sure I paid my respects to the new queen of beer marketing before you left.”
“I suppose this is where I’m supposed to say something that sucks up to the emperor?”
She tried to move back, farther away, before his lips came closer.
He smiled but took a few more steps back and leaned on the pool table where he’d been sitting. She mirrored him, taking a seat on an old barstool.
“Yeah, well….” He ran a hand down his face, his smile changing from slightly predatory to rueful.
The concept that he might actually be unnerved nearly made her stifle a giggle.
“You know….” He patted the spot on the pool table next to him, indicating she should join him, but she stayed put. He shrugged. “The only thing I would have done differently?”
Jen frowned, already processing her mistakes according to the acknowledged marketing expert.
“More John Q. Beer Public in the place.”
“How in the hell could I have crammed another body in here?” She winced at her defensive tone.
“These guys have a third floor. You could have had your little media circus up there, then kept the entire first floor teeming with the beer geeks raving about your funky little project.”
Bastard was right. Word of mouth was the mantra she’d operated under for five years in this business. How did she overlook it for this important day?
“Shit,” she muttered.
“Then again, what do I know?” He pushed himself up off the table and took her hand. Still too pissed at herself, at the mistake she’d made, it took her a minute to realize he was touching her. Again.
“I should—” He started, but seemed distracted all of a sudden. She fixated on his lips—sheer temptation, at once close and far away.
“You should what?” Her voice came out barely a whisper to her own ears. The deadly quiet coiled between them, the muted sounds of footsteps and music a distant background to her breathing, which sounded rushed, desperate. “Yeah, well, you know, these things take a lot of planning and I—” She shut up before babbling any more nonsense to keep him from leaving, but he closed the gap between them, exactly like she figured he would, and ran a finger down her face. His thumb passed over her lips.
“Look,” she said, regaining some sense. “I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but—” She made a small noise of surprise when his lips took hers, smothering all words, thoughts, and logic. Soft, supple yet entirely in control, he tasted delicious, the distinct tang of Cheeky Blonde a ghostly presence on their tongues. She leaned back against the wall and nearly tripped over the empty keg behind her, but he reached out to brace them, curving her into his embrace.
Before she could speak, or protest, or do anything she knew she ought to do to get out of the situation, she reached out, tugged him closer, wrapped her arms around his neck, and met his kiss halfway. He made a sound deep in his throat and ran his hands down her back to her ass, pulling her against him. The sensation of falling down a deep well of forbidden desire forced a swirl of images and possibilities through her brain.
She pulled away, breaking the contact, hoping to get her head straight. He licked his way along her jaw and down her neck. Her sleeveless, low-cut summer shirt gave no resistance when his lips landed at the top of her breasts. When he maneuvered a hand around to open her bra clasp in one swift motion before he pulled the fabric aside to suck a rock hard nipple into his mouth, she groaned, tried to disentangle herself.
“Wait, Sean.” But even as she spoke, she threaded her fingers in his thick black hair. The spun silk sensation exactly as she’d imagined it. “The bathroom, what if…?”
“Had somebody take the sign down. Don’t worry.” He leaned in to nuzzle her exposed breasts. “I put it there to begin with, anyway.”
She frowned. He’d arranged this whole scene, followed her downstairs, and had practically lain in wait for her. Now this was one for the diary. The master of the micro-brewing universe had sought her out and had his—she did gasp this time, as he kissed her with such intensity the room spun.