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Authors: Carlie Sexton

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BOOK: Fallen for You
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***

Neil stepped off the escalator and watched Kate from afar. He had listened to her message, but decided that this required his personal touch. She could hang up on him if he called again, but she couldn’t get away from him while she was working. For some reason that he couldn’t explain, he needed to meet her. She had gotten under his skin when she refused his dinner invitation.

She was helping an elderly couple and she looked like she was enjoying herself. He was without a doubt enjoying himself as he studied her every movement. She was even more beautiful than the picture that Mac had sent him. He planned on doing everything in his power to get her to accept a date with him. Seeing her in person only heightened his interest. He could feel his blood coursing through his veins. It was more than just wanting her. He somehow felt a need for her. He was drawn to her. He could hear her laughing with her customers. He was jealous. He wanted to be the one laughing with her. This was an instance where he wasn’t going to take her “no” for an answer. He would convince her to give him a chance. After all, he was a pro. He convinced people to see his point of view for a living and made a lot of money doing it. He hadn’t met a woman yet that didn’t succumb to his good looks and charm. It was just a matter of time before he wore her down.

***

Kate had finished with the first couple and began helping another couple find a birthday gift for their niece. Neil strolled into the department with his chest out and chin high, dripping sex appeal with each step. Natalie recognized him right away since she and Kate had gawked at just about every picture of him posted on the internet. She greeted him with a smile and asked him if he needed any help. By this time, Kate was ringing up the couple’s purchase and had begun to put their merchandise in a gift box. Neil declined Natalie’s help, saying he was “just looking.”

Kate noticed him, but decided not let on that she knew who he was.
He must really think that he is clever. Well, two can play that game.
She handed the package to the couple and thanked them for shopping at Nordstrom. When they walked away, Neil suddenly needed help. As he approached her, she felt a surge of electricity run through her body, something that she hadn’t felt in eons. He was intoxicatingly handsome and standing very close. Close enough to touch. His gaze was intense and she swallowed hard, shifting her weight from one leg to the other.
Wow, he’s sexy as hell.

“Excuse me, miss. My sister is having a baby and I want to buy her some baby clothes,” he said nonchalantly. He would figure out a way to bring up the flowers as soon as he could.

So, he’s going to play it this way
. “How wonderful,” she responded with a smile. “Do you know if the baby is going to be a boy or a girl?”

“Yes, she is having a daughter. It’s her first child, so she needs everything,” he said, running his hands through his hair. Kate started by showing him the layette items and then moved to the three-months clothing. He took one of everything that she displayed in front of him. Anything that she suggested he was inclined to accept. Pretty soon, a huge pile of baby clothes, blankets, accessories, and stuffed animals covered the counter just like his sex appeal had overwhelmed her and probably every woman he had ever come into contact with. She felt like they were playing a game of chicken. Who was going to blink first? Then he commented about the ostentatious display of flowers on the counter.

“Did someone send you those lovely flowers?” he asked with a coy smile.

“Yes, they are from a very pushy man who can’t seem to take ‘no’ for an answer,” she responded, playfully tilting her head to one side.

“Well, perhaps he is very interested in getting to know you,” he offered, his eyes blazing.

“How do you know that he doesn’t already know me? Maybe these are from my boyfriend who is trying to make up with me after a fight. After he didn’t get his way,” she countered with her own intense stare.

Neil smiled. “Touché, Miss Simmons,” he said. “I think we both know who these flowers are from. You Googled me earlier today, didn’t you?”

“Guilty as charged, Mr. Statton,” she countered with confidence. “So, will this be cash, check, or charge?” If he thought that he was going to waste her time he had another thought coming. “Do you really have a pregnant sister?”

“Yes, I do,” he said. “And it will be charge.”

“Would you like me to put these in gift boxes?” she asked, maintaining her professionalism. She was enjoying their exchange, but she didn’t want him to know that. Keeping him guessing gave her the upper hand.

“That would be so helpful. Wrapping up gifts is not my forte,” he said with a sexy smile that hit her right between her thighs and made her want to gift-wrap her body around his. He
sure wasn’t lacking in charm or sex appeal. He had purchased so many items for his sister that she used the largest gift boxes she had. The only problem was that he had too many boxes for one person to carry. So, being the Customer Service All-Star that she was, she offered to help carry his bags out to his car.

“I would really appreciate that,” he said with a wink, his eyes radiating the heat that she felt deep down. It was slow in the department and Natalie had things under control. She had a great big smile when Kate told her that she was going to help him with his bags.

“I’m just fine,” she said loudly. “Take all the time that you need.”

“Thanks, Nat.” Why did she have to say that? It’s bad enough that she was succumbing to his masculine wiles. Does Nat have to encourage him? Like he needs encouragement. Kate followed Neil onto the escalator. “I’m parked on the second floor of the parking garage.”

“Great! Then you should be on your way quickly,” she said, not wanting to give anything away. She wasn’t going to blink first in this game that he had initiated. As they walked out the doors, he commented on how beautiful the moon looked. She concurred. He got out his keys and pushed the button that popped open the trunk on his BMW. It was black and sporty. Very elegant. He put the packages in the car. Then he turned and looked at her. He took her hand and said, “Please meet me for a late dinner after you get off of work.”

“I’ve already had dinner and I really should get home. I need to study.”

“I remember those days,” he said, brushing his thumb over her hand. Chills ran up and down her body, making her squeamish inside. “Tell me, when you get home from work, do you go straight to bed or do you take time to unwind?” he asked, the intensity of his eyes searing into hers. He was making his case.

“It takes me a while to decompress,” she relented, realizing that she wanted him to continue his pursuit. It was hot and she was enjoying it.

“Then meet me for coffee. That will take no time at all,” he said, oozing school-boy charm.

She felt her defenses lowering as he continued to hold her hand in his. His thumb continued to stroke the back of her hand. Touching him stirred desires that she had forgotten about. Desires that she had not felt for anyone since that day. The day that had broken her heart into a thousand pieces. Neil could see that she was contemplating his invitation. It was written all over her face.

“Please give me twenty minutes for a cup of coffee. We won’t even consider it a date,” he said persuasively.

She found herself agreeing to have coffee with him. “Okay, I’ll meet you at The Cheesecake Factory. I’ll be done here by ten.”

He pulled her body close to his and whispered in her ear, “I’ll see you then.” Feeling his body against hers not only made her weak in the knees, it made her start to tingle all over. She pulled away and walked back into the store quickly. She could feel his eyes on her as she walked away.

Chapter 5

Kate returned to the children’s department. “What happened? Are you going out with him? What did he say?” Natalie asked flustered. Apparently, it had been an eternity since she had walked Neil to his car.

“Well, we are going for coffee at The Cheesecake Factory after I get off of work,” Kate said as nonchalantly as possible.

“How did he ask you?” Natalie could barely contain herself.

“He took my hand in his and basically wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. But the really sexy part was when I agreed to meet him. He pulled me close to his body and whispered ‘I’ll see you then’ in my ear. I could barely breathe. There is something about him that I am finding difficult to resist,” she said wearily. She leaned against the counter to support her weight.

“Wow, that sounds so hot,” Natalie said turning a little red in the face. “I can see why he would be hard to refuse. He’s absolutely gorgeous.”

Kate nodded. “I’m really nervous about seeing him again. He is so handsome and worldly. I feel like he’s out of my league.”

“Are you kidding? You have nothing to worry about. You are a beautiful, intelligent, incredible woman. If anyone should be nervous, it’s him. You, my friend, are a real catch. Any man would be lucky to have you,” Natalie said, hugging Kate.

“Thanks Nat.” She always said the sweetest things. After working together for the last four years, they were very close. They had shared both happy and sorrowful times together. They knew each other’s secrets. She was Kate’s next closest friend after Charlie.

They spent the rest of the evening organizing and straightening up the department. It was a slow night.

“Well, my sales were good. Neil dropped $850 on presents for his sister’s baby. He made my day sales wise,” she said to Natalie.

But he had made her day in another way as well. He had put a chink in the armor that protected her heart. He had found a way to get in. She had agreed to see him and the time was rapidly approaching. As the store closed, butterflies began to stretch their wings in her stomach. She felt warm and flush. After she and Natalie punched out and retrieved their purses from security, Kate found mints in her purse, bent over to tussle her hair, swished powder over her face, reapplied lipstick and gloss, and lightly dusted more blush on her cheeks. Since she worked at Nordstrom, she always kept make-up in her purse so that she looked her best at all times.

Then it hit her like a thunderbolt. She wanted to look her best for him. She wanted him to find her appealing. Her attraction for him scared her. She hadn’t cared if any man found her attractive since – no, she wasn’t going to think about him right now. She was going to concentrate on the opportunity at hand, her coffee date with a delectable man.

As she and Natalie walked down the back stairwell of the store, Natalie again assured her that she was doing the right thing. Kate realized that she should call Charlie and let her know that she was going out after work.

“Hi, Charlie. It’s me. I just wanted to let you know that I am going out for a little while after work. I won’t be home too late,” she said, leaving her a voice message. Charlie was probably spending a quiet evening with Mitch, curled up in his arms.

“Nat,” she said, her nervousness increasing, “I don’t know how to be on a date. It’s been so long.”

“You’ll be fine. Just pretend that you are talking to me, Charlie, or Mitch.”

“Well, that’s easier said than done. I don’t find you, Charlie, or Mitch completely irresistible,” she said with a wry smile. “I better go. I told him I would be there by ten. I’d hate to be late.”

“Good luck, Kate. I have a good feeling about this guy,” Natalie said, giving her a hug before getting into her car.

Driving to The Cheesecake Factory seemed to take a long time even though it was located in the mall. Kate began to feel herself shake as she parked her car. She took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm herself down. She saw Neil’s car parked a few spaces away from hers. What was she going to talk about with him? The cat had snatched her tongue and ran out of the building. She was at a complete loss. She needed to get a hold of herself.
He’s just another human being. An incredibly gorgeous, sexy human being.

When Kate walked in, she saw Neil sitting in the lobby with his eyes glued to the door. She saw him relax when their eyes met. She had felt a spark for him from the moment he had walked into her department. When he pulled her body into his, that spark turned into a raging inferno. He smelled musky, sensual, all man. He had enchanted her and didn’t want to let go of her, but she had pulled away from him abruptly. He had come on a little too strong, but she wanted to see where this might lead. He wasn’t just gorgeous. He was stimulating to her as well. The restaurant was quiet and they had their pick of any table in the house.

He stood up quickly and held out his hand to her. She took it, glad to have him to hold onto. She hoped that he couldn’t feel that she was a little shaky.

“How was the rest of your evening at work?” he asked.

“It was good. It went by quickly,” she said looking into his dark eyes.

“I’m really glad that you agreed to meet me. Thanks for coming.”

“I’m glad, too,” she said, still a little guarded.

Neil nodded toward the hostess. As they followed her, he gently placed his hand in the small of Kate’s back. She felt the electricity of his touch run through her. She realized that she wanted his hands to touch a lot more than just her back. He guided her as they walked to their table. The hostess quickly seated them in a booth toward the back of the restaurant. Neil had obviously indicated where he wanted to sit for his coffee with her. They sat across from each other with awkward silence for a minute or so. At first, all he could do was gaze into her big brown eyes. She stared back at him with the same intensity. In that moment, she knew that she wanted him as much as it seemed he wanted her.

The waitress approached and asked what they would like to drink. Neil ordered a coffee and Kate asked for a decaf. She didn’t want to be awake all night. She had a feeling that thoughts of Neil would be keeping her awake anyway. As soon as the waitress left, Neil began talking.

“So, where are you from originally?” he asked, trying to break the ice.

“I was born and raised in Louisiana.”

“Oh, a Southern belle. What part?” he asked.

“I’m from Lafayette, but I was born in New Orleans.”

“I’ve been to New Orleans many times for Mardi Gras. It’s a great city. I always really enjoy myself there.”

“Most people do. It’s a very entertaining city. So, what about you? Are you from California?”

“Actually, I was born and raised in San Diego. I am a rare native born Californian,” he said with a grin. Kate found his smile irresistible. He was too handsome for his own good. He most likely had gotten every woman that he had ever wanted.

“Again, I want to apologize for not being there today,” he said, a sheepish look on his face. “We are working on an embezzlement case that involves one of our corporate clients and some important evidence was uncovered today. It could break the case wide open.”

“I understand,” she said sweetly, nodding. “Your work has to come first. Let’s just put it behind us.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” he said with relief. “So, what do you like to do for fun when you are not working or going to school?” he asked. This was a question that she dreaded. She hadn’t done anything for fun in ages. She used to go kayaking with her old boyfriend David, but she hadn’t kayaked since…

“Well, working full time and going to school keeps me very busy, but I used to enjoy kayaking,” she said, the words just spilling out of her mouth. Words she suddenly wanted to reel back in, but couldn’t. She was so not ready to answer questions.
Why didn’t life come with a rewind button like her remote?
Kayaking was a painful subject.

“Wow, kayaking sounds like a blast. When do you go? I’d love to go with you,” he said.

“Well, I haven’t gone for a long time. I work on the weekends and my friends are not available during the week to go kayaking,” she said, trying not to give him a reason to ask any more questions about it.

Before Neil could press the issue, she changed the subject. “What about you? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?” she asked.

“I play golf and tennis. Pretty boring compared to kayaking.”

But Neil seemed to want to uncover more about her, so he redirected the conversation back in her direction. He obviously wanted to be in control.

“What are you studying at SDSU?” he asked as the waitress brought their coffees.

“What can I get you to eat?” the waitress interrupted.

“We’re just having coffee,” Kate said quickly.

“Well, actually, I would love a piece of cheesecake,” Neil said. “My favorite is the red velvet.”

“Okay, one red velvet. Any cheesecake for you?” the waitress asked Kate.

“No, it’s a little too late for me to have cheesecake. The coffee is fine.” Neil had a frown on his face, apparently disappointed.

The waitress hurried off to get his order. Kate began the answer to his question. “I am studying speech communications, but I’m considering getting my teaching credential and becoming a teacher. I thought a liberal arts degree would be more versatile than an education degree. The downside is that right now the teaching profession is saturated and a lot of teachers have been laid off. But I’m just a junior, so I still have two years left.”

“You seem very mature to be what, 21?” he said.

“Actually, I’m 24. I took some time off from college the last few of years.”

“Oh, what did you do during your time off?”

“I was just working,” she said, looking down at her hands. She didn’t want to answer questions about her past. She wasn’t ready to tell a complete stranger what had happened and why she had dropped out of college. She knew from studying communication that her body language indicated that she was feeling strong emotions. Hopefully, Neil was perceptive and would realize that she didn’t want to elaborate, especially on a first date.

“So, how long have you been working at Nordstrom?” he asked, taking a sip of coffee. She was still adding her cream and sugar. Her friends teased her all the time about drinking cookies, not coffee.

“I’ve been there for four years now.”

“Do you like it?”

“I love it. I work with great women who I consider my friends. Natalie, who I was working with tonight, is one of my closest friends. We have been through thick and thin together. It has been amazing. Plus, most people who come shopping for baby clothes are really happy about the new addition to their lives. It’s a great department to work in.”

“Sounds like you are happy there. That’s good. Work is too important to dread it.”

“You’re right. So, how about you? How do you like being a lawyer?”

“I have to say that my job is continually fascinating. I get to witness the triumph and defeat of the human spirit on a regular basis. It is both exhilarating and humbling. There’s never a dull moment.”

“I bet you could write a book on all of the crazy things that people have done to each other.

“Yeah,” Neil said, chuckling. “I sure could.”

Just then, the waitress returned with his cheesecake. “Here you go, sir. Can I get you anything else?” she said, batting her eyelashes at him.
Does every woman he meets throw herself at him. Who could blame her? He was a beautiful man.

“No. That will be all. Thanks,” he said, dismissing her. She sauntered away.

“Okay, I will be highly offended if you don’t try a bite,” he said with a sparkle in his eyes. She opened her mouth indicating that he could feed her. He scooped up a piece with his fork and gently placed it in her mouth. She closed her mouth around the fork and he smoothly pulled it between her lips. He heard her moan softly, indicating that he had made a good choice and she blushed a little.

“Oh, this is so good,” she said after swallowing the cake. He took a bite for himself, but he clearly wanted to feed her more. He scooped up another bite and moved the fork in her direction. She took the next bite that he offered. Again, he slid the fork slowly between her lips. She let out another soft moan while she savored the cheesecake. He ate another piece. He then offered her more. She could be fed by him this way all night, finding this to be an extremely sensual experience. She was enjoying having him feed her. It was a great surprise. Feelings were stirring deep down within her. She could feel herself becoming aroused.
Who knew that eating cheesecake could be so sexy? What would it be like to kiss him, lose herself in him, be with him?

She needed to get a hold of herself. She barely knew this man. But, she wanted to take a chance and get to know him. She needed to take a chance. She had been without anyone special in her life for a long time. But was he special or just a guy who wanted to get her into bed?

The feeding continued until the cheesecake was gone. Their sensual interaction had taken the place of conversation. But they were communicating in another way. A way that caused a sensation between her thighs.

“That was the best cheesecake I have ever had,” she said, sighing heavily while shifting in her seat slightly.

“I agree. It was especially good feeding it to you. I’d like to have the opportunity to feed you again. How about dinner on Friday night?” he asked.

“You sure are a very persistent man, Neil Statton. I suppose that you are used to getting your way?” she asked, tilting her head to one side.

“I am, and I’ll take that as a yes. I’m a man that has grown accustomed to getting what I want when I want it. I’m tenacious like a pit bull.”

BOOK: Fallen for You
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