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Authors: Carlie Sexton

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BOOK: Fallen for You
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“Sure. Is everything okay?” Jennifer asked.

“I’m just not feeling quite right. I need to head home,” Kate said, figuring that was the simplest explanation. She left quickly and went back along the same corridor where her encounter with Mark had taken place. Mark was closing in behind her. He caught up with her in the hall.

“Are you skipping our last class?” he asked, concern etched on his dazzling face.

“Yes, I have an appointment and I don’t want to be late,” she said a little guarded. She needed to get away from him so she could wrap her mind around her stimulating thoughts.“May I walk you to your car?” he asked in a gentlemanly fashion. “I guess that would be okay,” she found herself saying.
Argh.
What was she doing? Why would she let him walk her to her car? Was she a glutton for punishment?
She had just spent the last hour thinking about this man. Part of her was secretly thrilled that he wanted to walk her to her car. But the other part was panicked. Had she become a schizophrenic all of a sudden? Her mind was a whirlwind, more like a tornado, with swirling thoughts of sexy men. She had to tell herself to play it cool. Not to seem too eager. But she was eager. Eager to be alone with him. “But then you will miss our last class,” she said hoping that he might go to class instead of walking her to her car.

“I’m not worried about that. I’m concerned about you. Plus, I can get the notes from someone else,” he retorted.

There are plenty of someone’s that would love to serve up the notes and themselves on a silver platter.
But maybe she was the one he wanted. She was the only one who didn’t throw herself at him.
Perhaps she intrigued him.

When they passed the campus coffee shop, the freshly brewed aroma drew them in. Mark asked her if she would like to get a coffee. Again, she found herself agreeing. What could coffee hurt?

They strolled into the busy shop and waited in line. “What would you like?” he asked.“I’ll have a decaf with a shot of hazelnut,” she said, glancing around for a table.

“Do you want anything else,” he asked.

“No, the coffee will be just perfect,” she said a little too comfortably. She couldn’t believe that she was letting her guard down with someone that she had viewed as a ladies man just this morning. She didn’t want to come across as too interested only to be hurt if he didn’t call her. “I’ll get a table for us.”

“Great.”

Mark ordered a regular coffee along with her decaf while she found a place for them to sit. The coffee house was busy with people talking and surfing the web. There was only one table available in the corner. He brought the coffees along with sugar and creamer to the table and sat down. He scooted his chair as close as he could to her. His arm was touching hers.
For Pete’s sake, she thought. Why did he affect her so much?
For some reason that she couldn’t explain, his closeness didn’t make her uncomfortable. Nervous and anxious, yes, but not uncomfortable. She put two sugars and creamer in her coffee. Mark apparently drank his without the added bells and whistles. They each took a sip of their coffee.

“So, Kate, tell me about yourself. I want to know everything about you,” he said with a sly smile.

“Well, there’s not that much to tell. I moved to California with my mom and brother just as I was entering high school. I have recently moved in with my best friend Charlie, I work at Nordstrom, and I am considering becoming a teacher. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell,” she said, all of her nerve endings simultaneously firing. It was a challenge to concentrate with him so close to her. “What about you?” she managed to ask.

“I’m kind of from everywhere. My dad is in the Army, so we traveled all over the world while I was growing up. He was stationed in Europe most of the time. I have only been stateside since I started college at SDSU two years ago,” he said.

It hit her like a thunderbolt.
He’s three years younger.
Did she really want to date a younger guy? Would he be mature enough for her?
He seemed suave and debonair, but maturity takes time and experience. This was a concern.

“It sounds like you’ve had a very exciting life. I can’t imagine how amazing it must have been to travel to so many interesting parts of the world. What was your favorite country?”

“It’s difficult to pick a favorite because each place is so unique. I’d have to say France was quite sensational. I loved the food, the scenery, the people,” he said, taking a sip of coffee.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and France. Both seem like such extraordinary places. So much history to unravel,” she said, suddenly blushing. She wouldn’t mind if Mark unraveled her, even if he was younger. She had the sudden need to leave. Sitting this close to him was making her recall her fantasy from class. So, she made up an excuse. “I need to get going. My appointment is soon,” she said firmly. Mark stood up and motioned toward the door. He looked like he was still going to walk her to her car. Her heart was fluttering as she thought about whether or not he would try to kiss her once they arrived at her car. How would she handle that? She would have to do the same thing that she did with Neil last night.

“Let’s go,” he said, holding out his hand to her. They walked out together holding hands for a moment. She wasn’t sure why she was holding his hand, but she did like it. Gazing down, she couldn’t tell where her fingers began and his ended. It seemed like their hands were a perfect fit. It made her wonder what else would be a perfect fit.

They walked along in silence until they got to the parking structure. Climbing the stairs to the second floor, he said, “I sure am glad you gave me a chance today. I was beginning to think that you didn’t like me or something.”

“Well, to be honest, you seem like a ladies man to me. I didn’t want to let myself get too close. I’ve been really hurt in the past and part of me is still getting over it. But my friends have been telling me that it is time to get back out there, so I decided to throw caution to the wind,” she said, letting her vulnerability show in her soft eyes.

A smile broadened across his face. “Thanks for the chance,” he said. They reached the third level of the parking structure. Since classes were in session, no one was around. They were completely alone. “This is my car. Thanks, again, for the coffee,” she said looking up at him.

“You’re welcome,” he said, bending down to plant a kiss on her lips. She turned her head and he kissed her cheek. She found her keys in her purse, unlocked her car and got in. They said goodbye and she drove away wondering if Mark would really call her.

Chapter 7

Driving away from Mark, Kate realized that she needed to switch gears. She was going on a date with Neil. She was excited to see this intriguing man who made her feel alive again. She hoped that he would hold her hand and whisper in her ear again.
God, he’s sexy.
Spending time with him at Seaport Village was going to be fun. It was one of her favorite places to be on a sunny afternoon like today. After lunch maybe they would have time to walk along the bay and enjoy the breathtaking views of Coronado. Watching sailboats go by was one of her favorite pastimes.

She still had some time to drop by her apartment to freshen up. Climbing the stairs, she saw that Roger’s door was open. Doesn’t he ever work? He came to the door, as usual, and looked her up and down, a very inappropriate look crossing his face.

“Hey, I love your outfit. It is very becoming on you,” he said salaciously. His tone sent shivers down her spine. She was wearing pair of white pants and a purple top that zipped up the front. It was very fitted and one of her favorite items to wear. It showed off her curves. She hoped that Neil would like it. She was expecting to see him in a suit, since he was coming from work. She wasn’t expecting to be checked out by Roger in a way that made her skin crawl.

“Thanks, Roger. I really like this outfit too,” she said, hoping to end the conversation quickly. “I just came home for a quick second to do something and then I am off again.”

“Oh, do you have special plans?”

Damn, he’s nosy.
“Yes, I have a lunch date,” she said, hoping that making it clear she had a date would send a message to him.

“I thought that you said last night that you didn’t have a boyfriend,” he said in a somber tone. Was he fishing for information?

“Well, we’re just getting to know each other. I’ll see you later. I don’t want to be late.” With that, she closed her apartment door, leaving him standing there with a furrowed brow.

***

Kate pulled into the parking lot at Seaport Village with a few minutes to spare. She parked in front of the Harbor House. After checking her make-up, she reapplied lipstick. Why did she feel so nervous?
He’s just a man. He’s just a man.
Yeah, a man that made her panties sweat just like Mark did. But Neil was older, sophisticated, confident, and smoking hot. She didn’t know how long she would be able to resist sleeping with him. She had already dreamed about it.

She got out of her car and made her way up the cobblestone pathway to the restaurant. The Harbor House was very elegant. The soft music playing in the background had a calming effect. Her heart was beating rapidly and her mouth was dry. She was warmly welcomed by a young pretty hostess who seemed to be expecting her. As she followed the hostess, she took in the view of the San Diego Bay. The entire front of the restaurant was floor to ceiling windows. Looking at the ocean always soothed her spirit.

Neil had already been seated at a table. As she approached him, he stood to greet her. He took her hand and then sweetly kissed her on the cheek. The touch of his lips sent a tingle down below.
How does he do that?
She found herself blushing and the hostess let out an exasperated breath.

“Enjoy your lunch,” the hostess said as she walked away. Obviously, she wasn’t the only woman that Neil had an effect on.

“It’s wonderful to see you, my beauty,” he said in a seductive voice. The words “my beauty” brought a smile to her face.

“It’s good to see you, too,” she said, feeling a little overwhelmed with his presence. He looked heavenly in his navy pinned-stripe suit and crisp white shirt. The suit brought out his eyes. She had a quick vision of taking his tie off and unbuttoning his shirt slowly. She wanted to run her hands over his chest and feel his muscular physique. Neil’s voice brought her back to the present.

“I was able to get us a table with a view. But I must say that you are giving the San Diego Bay a run for its money. You look absolutely stunning. I am especially partial to your zipper front blouse,” he said, kissing the back of her hand while raising one eyebrow. He put her hand on the table and kept his hand over hers. She felt her heart rate accelerate with his fiery touch. “Have you been here before?”

“I love coming to Seaport Village to shop. It is so quaint and I adore one of the bath shops here. But I must say that I have not eaten at this restaurant before. What’s good on the menu?”

“The macadamia halibut and the swordfish are my favorites.”

“Mm. Both sound delicious,” she said with a shy smile. She knew that Neil would be tastier than anything on the menu. She blushed at her own thoughts.

Neil picked up her hand and kissed each of her knuckles. “Not as delicious as you are,” he said, his lascivious stare drenching her core all over again.
What was she going to do with these two hot guys? She was going to need to bring spare panties with her on dates.

Kate picked up her glass of cold water and guzzled down about half of it. “Wow, is it warm in here or is it just me?” she said, feeling a slight twinge of perspiration.

“No, I think that it is you, my beauty,” he said, looking crisp and cool. She knew by his expression that he could tell that she was a bundle of nerves and he was enjoying every minute of it.

“How was class today?”

“It was good. I ended up making a new friend,” she said with a coy tone in her voice. She realized that she needed to turn the tables on him and make him sweat a little.

“That’s great. Who’s your new friend?”

“His name is Mark and he wants us to be study partners,” she said, waiting for his reaction.

“Ah, a male study partner. You know what he wants to study, right?” he asked, taking a sip of his water.

As if on cue, the waiter walked up to take their order. This was perfect. Neil could stew with this idea for a moment. “Good afternoon. Have you two dined with us before?”

“I have,” Neil said with annoyance in his voice.

“Very good, sir. Then you are acquainted with our outstanding menu. Are you ready to order or do you need a few minutes?”

Neil looked at her and she shook her head indicating that she wasn’t ready. “We need a few more minutes,” he said politely.

“No problem. Do you know what you would like to drink?”

“I’ll have an iced tea,” Kate said, looking up at the waiter.

“I’ll have the same,” Neil indicated.

“Excellent.” The waiter hurried away to get their drinks.

After the waiter was out of ear shot, Neil’s intense gaze turned toward her. “So, where were we? Oh, yes. You have someone who wants to be your study partner. What is this Mark guy like? Devastatingly handsome or unfortunately homely?” Neil’s face was stone-cold serious.

“He leans more toward the devastatingly handsome side. In fact, I’d say that he’s almost as handsome as you, Mr. Statton,” she said, looking up coquettishly through her long, dark lashes. She was enjoying seeing him fret a little.

He unexpectedly grabbed her chair and pulled her close to him. Her mouth fell open a little with his sudden movement. He was grinning like a wolf just before he sinks his teeth into his prey. In a low voice, he said, “I have to tell you that I am the jealous type and I always get what I want.”

“And what is it that you want?” she asked flirtatiously.

“My mind is set on you, my beauty,” he said kissing her cheek.

His words startled her and intrigued her at the same time. She didn’t know how to respond to his overture. But it made her want him more than she expected.

The waiter appeared with their beverages, releasing her from Neil’s blazing eyes. “Are you ready to order?” he asked.

Kate nodded. “I’ll have the macadamia nut halibut.” She hadn’t really perused the menu because Neil was so distracting, but he had recommended it.

“Very good, miss. And for you, sir?”

“The swordfish sounds good to me today,” he said. Somehow Neil seemed empowered by ordering a fish that had a sword. Kate couldn’t help wondering what his sword would feel like.

She decided to take control of the conversation again. “How is your day going? Are you working on any interesting cases?”

Neil smiled a knowing smile. He seemed to see through her deflection tactic. “Every day is interesting at work. We are representing a client who has been charged with embezzlement, but he is innocent. Another client that I am defending is accused of fraud. It’s never a dull moment. As a corporate attorney, I have all kinds of cases.”

“Sounds like you sometimes work with interesting characters.”

“Well, everyone deserves the right to be represented in court,” he said, running his hands through his black hair.

“So, do you win most of your cases?”

“I haven’t lost one yet.”

“To what do you attribute your winning streak?”

“Like I said last night, I’m a tenacious pit bull. I don’t surrender until I win. I always get what I want and I’m determined to win at everything I do,” he said, staring deeply into her eyes with a passionate fire that made her lips part. If his plan was to win her over, it was working. She had already begun to feel beholden to him heart, mind, body, and soul.

The waiter arrived with their food, leaving Neil’s seductive words to linger in the air.

“Can I get you anything else?” he asked graciously.

“No thanks. I think we have everything we need,” Neil said dismissively. The waiter turned away quickly, getting Neil’s hint.

“This looks scrumptious. Thanks for the recommendation,” she said before taking a bite. She was enjoying her titillating conversation with him. She was beginning to feel that he was better suited for her than Mark. He already had his career and was established. She found that to be very attractive. Plus, he was the most gorgeous man she had ever laid eyes upon.

“So, tell me counselor, you said that you win all of your cases, but have you had any embarrassing moments in the courtroom?” She always liked asking people about embarrassing moments because she had her own funny embarrassing story.

“I have been fortunate to not have had any humiliating moments in the courtroom, but I will tell you about my most humiliating moment from high school. It was my senior year and my mom gave me a monogrammed sweater for Christmas. Back then, I went by my first name Peter. I decided to go by Neil when I entered college. Anyway, my initials on the sweater were PNS. I didn’t think anything of it when I put on my sweater and wore it to school the day we came back from Christmas vacation. Also, you need to know that I went to an all-boys Catholic high school. So, I’m walking down the hall to go to my first class and I hear, ‘Hey, penis. What’s up dick. Yo, penis head. Hey cocksucker.’ I looked around to see who they were talking to. Then I realized that they were talking to me. They were making fun of my initials PNS. I headed to the bathroom to take my sweater off. I was so grateful that I had another shirt underneath.”

Kate chuckled at the thought of the sweater. “Oh, my gosh, that must have been terrible.”

“Yeah, for the rest of the year, they called me penis or variations of the word. Needless to say, I never wore that sweater again. When I told my mom, she said that the boys were just jealous. Jealous of what, I’ll never know. No guy wants initials that form the word penis.”

“Well, that is an embarrassing story, but I think I have it beat.”

“Oh, yeah. Do tell.”

“It was my 21st birthday and I went out to the Elephant Bar with my boyfriend, my friends, and their boyfriends. There must have been twelve of us. Naturally, I wore my favorite outfit at the time, a white jumpsuit that zipped up the entire front. I didn’t think it would be a problem, until I had to use the restroom. It had been trashed by everyone who had been partying that night. The floor was sticky and wet. The smell of urine filled the air. It was just disgusting. I didn’t want to chance my sleeves touching the floor and getting wet. I also couldn’t sit on the toilet seat due to its condition. I was so distracted by my disgusting surroundings that I didn’t unzip my jumpsuit down all the way and when I squatted over the toilet, I heard a rip. I had broken the zipper. It was a mortifying experience. So I was basically exposed all the way down to my panties. I didn’t have a jacket with me to cover myself. I had to try to keep my jumpsuit together with my hands. When I left the bathroom, I found my boyfriend immediately and told him to take me home. For some unknown reason, his car wouldn’t start and we had to wait for a tow truck. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. Of course, I didn’t find it funny at the time. Now it makes me smile to think that life is so full of unpredictable moments,” she said, laughing and shaking her head.

“I agree, that tops my penis sweater story,” Neil said resting his head against his hand, a huge smile plastered on his face. The more she talked, the more captivated he seemed by her.

They had finished their meal and Neil took her hand, placed it on his leg, and covered it with his. Kate let out a soft moan. Feeling his hard thigh beneath her hand made her think of something else that might be hard. Another part of his body that she would like to explore with her hands. Being so close to him sent her to places that caused her cheeks to turn crimson.

The waiter returned with the dessert menu. “Did you two love birds save room for dessert?” he asked with a big grin. It was to be expected with their close proximity to each other that he would assume they were a couple.

“Did you want dessert?” Neil asked her.

“Actually, I’m really full. Do you have time for us to walk around? Maybe we could get an ice cream later.”

“Yes, I do have time and ice cream sounds perfect.”

They strolled hand in hand along the bay. The water shimmered as the sunlight hit it. A cool breeze made the palm trees sway. It was a typical sensational San Diego day.

“I just love coming here. It is such a glorious day. Thanks for suggesting Seaport Village for our date,” she said, looking up at Neil.

“My pleasure. This is the best way to do lunch,” he said, pulling her hand up to his soft lips. The touch of his lips on her hand made her want to grab his head and kiss him, but she didn’t want to come across as eager. “Are there any stores that you want to go into?”

“I was planning on visiting Sinfullicious Body Care before leaving. I’m a bath lover and they have the best bath products.”

“Well, lead the way. I’ll go with you.”

“If you need to get back to work, I’ll understand. You don’t need to go with me.”

“I want to. I want to know what pleases you, your likes and dislikes,” he said with a passionate gaze. His statement made her knees wobble. All she could do was stare up at him wantonly. She had no retort for his directness. She let out a deep sigh and uttered, “The store is just around the corner.”

They walked in silence to the store. His statement about wanting to please her had created an electricity between them. Words were rendered unnecessary. Upon entering, he understood why she liked this store. It was a veritable potpourri for the senses.

“So, how does this work? You pick the scents that you like and they mix it up for you?”

“That’s exactly how it works. I already have my favorite. They have me on file, so I just tell them my name and what products I want. They make it up in these bowls,” she said motioning to the stainless steel bowls behind the counter. She took two jars of bath salts off the shelf and a container of body scrub. She walked up to the sales girl and told her what she wanted. The sales girl pulled her name up in the computer and went to get the oils needed to mix into the products she had selected.

“So, what scents do you put together?”

“I love the combination of jasmine, blackberry, and sage. It’s very soothing.”

The girl mixing up the salts lifted up a spoonful and asked, “Would you like to smell it to see if this is to your liking?” They both inhaled the scent.

Kate let out a soft moan when she smelled the salts. “I see what you mean. The combination is intoxicating.” Neil grabbed two more containers of bath salts off of the shelf. “I’ll have the same thing she’s having,” he said, offering a salacious smile.

BOOK: Fallen for You
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