With the sun almost set and the lights from the city shining around us, his beautiful blue eyes had turned to pale ash. They were so enflamed with heat I wouldn’t have been surprised to see smoke billow from their corners.
The look of desire is something I’m familiar with. Too many times I’ve seen one of my hunky employees glance at one of Ella’s girls with blatant sexual hunger filling their faces.
I’ve seen it boldly displayed on some of the men I’ve dated who’d thought being with a fringe celebrity was a boost to their narcissistic fantasies, to puff up their already swollen egos. Their desire was more for the situation than for me.
The need in Charlie’s eyes wasn’t like any of those other examples. No, his was pure and raw and all about…me.
A moment ago the tea had protected me against the cool evening air.
But I didn’t need it now. The warmth from Charlie’s gaze was enough to counteract any external chill. And despite the cauldron of heat coming my way, the hairs on my skin stood straight up at attention.
This man, this lovely, charming man whom I still really knew nothing about except his name and a few minor tidbits of his life, wanted me.
No hidden agenda; no nefarious reasons; no thoughts to use me to his own gain.
How I knew this to be true was baffling. But I was as sure of it as I was that the moon would rise and then give way to the sun. What I was going to do about it was the question.
I don’t remember tossing my legs over the edge of the lounge chair or placing my dish on the table between us, but I did.
Charlie sat up straight, his face an open mask of curiosity with a dose of caution mixed in.
I took a step—literal and emotional—toward him, moving into the open space between his thighs. For a hot second I was afraid it was the wine making me bold.
In the next breath I realized that for the lie it was. Alcohol had nothing to do with what I was about to do.
“Nell?” His hands lifted to settle on my hips.
I licked my lips. “Can I ask you something?”
“Can I lie down, here, next to you?”