One look was all it took!
Experience the moment when Ana first met Seb that crazy night out clubbing where their instant attraction led them both to do the one thing neither imagined they would…
A Year Ago
Sebastian Rentoul all but skidded to a stop, unable to believe he’d almost missed her. In fairness the club lighting was dim so it was only thanks to a random flash of fluorescence that he’d caught the gleam of her gaze.
She was looking straight at him.
The second his gaze collided with hers a jolt of electricity thumped him—arrowing deep into his gut. Okay yeah, into his balls. Less than a heartbeat later adrenalin surged. Breath eviscerated. Now he’d seen her he couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed her before.
So yeah, he’d stopped—moving, breathing, thinking. The only thing that kept functioning was his vision.
She was fantastically, gorgeously tall. Her long hair hung over one of her narrow shoulders and she was looking at him with vibrant blue eyes. He couldn’t turn away but in another flash he glimpsed a hint of vulnerability. He should probably heed the twinge of warning only he was lost already—caught in an instant snap and crackle of sexual attraction unlike any other. Decision made. He’d seen. He wanted. And he would have.
Fortunately, she seemed to have frozen too.
Everyone else melted into shapes annoyingly in the way of a full body view. He wanted that view. Now. Legs finally worked and he walked straight over to her. She wore a white tee and even though it wasn’t tight, he could see the soft shape of her breasts. He needed to say something. Something hopefully intelligent or funny or… just something.
But his brain betrayed him. His brain was too busy humming on the view and not bothering to send his mouth anything appropriate to say.
‘Who are you?’ It was a strangled query.
Ugh. So not the best.
Not charming. Not witty or an amusing way to break the ice. But then there was no ice. Only steam.
Her blue eyes widened as if she were stunned he’d spoken to her even though they’d just spent the best part of ten seconds (minutes/hours/who-knew-how-long-it-was-just-heaven) staring at each other.
Of course he’d spoken to her. How could he not when she transfixed him? Even if it was banal rubbish. But she shouldn’t be propping up the wall in a dark corner all alone. She was no wall-flower, more like wall-siren.
He stepped closer, unable to resist. She cocked her head and let him even though she’d yet to answer. But she invited him with those eyes, right?
Maybe that last was wishful thinking. He glanced down and in the flashes of light saw her shoes. There were no high heels giving her a few extra inches which meant that glorious height was all her own. He slowly looked up and appreciated how well those long, long legs were encased in faded blue denim. His mouth dried and the sudden desire to grab her ankle, lift her leg and wrap it around his waist so he could press close was about the most inappropriate thing he’d ever felt. But if ever there was a body made to fit his, it was hers.
‘You should be dancing,’ he muttered. With him. Now.
It was extraordinary how instant and how basic the drive was. How certain. How intoxicating.
But she shook her head in a jerky movement. ‘Not something I do.’
He considered her reply, taking in the slight flush in her cheeks and the way her blue eyes glistened. ‘Not with anyone? Or not with me?’
Her lips parted, making him even more aware of their fullness. He imagined touching them with his fingertips, with his tongue, feeling their softness across his skin… This was beyond temptation, it was other worldly. And yeah, probably nuts.
He couldn’t resist reaching out and brushing her high cheekbone with the backs of his fingers. She shivered slightly and he sensed rather than saw her breath quicken.
‘You won’t dance with me?’ He murmured, feeling increasingly breathless himself. ‘Not even once?’
It wasn’t arrogance making him assume she would agree. This spark between them was too different to anything he’d felt before and too strong to be felt by him alone.
Sebastian sure as hell didn’t believe in love at first sight. He didn’t really believe in love. But he didn’t really believe in lust at first sight either. He’d see a woman, consider a risk/reward analysis and make a rational decision whether or not to pursue, or—as was frankly more often the case—allow himself to be pursued. He could always walk away from the possibility because he was always in control. But this was like being hit in the solar plexus by a battering ram. He’d been jolted out of himself and was unable to catch his breath back. His brain was basically catatonic meaning there could only be this gut response to an almost intolerably intense stimulus. There was no walking away, only walking closer.
Honestly he was probably standing too close already but she wasn’t pushing back or making any attempt to move away. In fact her soft reply was designed to make him lean closer still, wasn’t it? So he could hear the slight sultriness in her tone while the tilt of her chin was somehow both defence and invitation.
‘Not here,’ she murmured.
‘No?’ Where did she have in mind then? Seb didn’t care as long as they got there soon. But he studied her, she was back against the wall for a reason. ‘Not in public?’ he picked.
The blue of her eyes deepened and he just wanted to dive in.
For once he’d not come to the night club with the intention of picking up a woman. He was supposed to be getting “serious”. According to the staid partners at the law firm where he worked it was time he considered ‘settling down’. As if. The idea that a lawyer ought to be ‘married’ before being made a partner was last century nonsense. Especially a divorce lawyer. Sebastian Rentoul was an annihilator of marriage contracts and in the last year he’d brought in more money than any other in the firm. But it was an old, established firm and they were stuffy.
Except Seb couldn’t stand being told what to do. So yeah, coming to the club tonight had been a minor act of rebellion after the ‘chat’ he’d had with the senior managing partner who’d been a hair’s breadth from offering it all to him this afternoon. Because they knew it wouldn’t be long before Seb would either dictate his terms or walk and make his own way. He didn’t actually want to do that. He’d targeted this firm years ago and one day he’d be in charge. And okay, part of him understood why they’d raised it. The attention his escapades sometimes brought wasn’t always ideal. Frankly he’d been bored within five minutes of arrival tonight. Maybe he’d pushed for success and gotten it for so long, in so many areas, he was a touch jaded. So he’d been about to leave. Until he’d caught that glimpse of her and now he couldn’t stop staring into her eyes, still struggling to think.
But then some guy put his hand on her shoulder. Seb tensed in instant annoyance. Good lord, was he jealous? Since when did he ever get territorial?
‘You alright?’ The stranger angled his head so he could see up into her face. But then he very deliberately turned his head and shot Seb a challenging look.
Seb drew a calming breath and stared right back as his brain finally roared online allowing him enough alertness to assess. It only took a split second and his irritation settled. This guy wasn’t her boyfriend. Not even a wannabe. He wasn’t Seb’s sudden rival. This was an ally of hers. Which was good. He was glad she had a friend with her. But said friend could now stand down because Seb had no intention of doing anything to harm her. He only wanted to please her.
He badly wanted that.
‘I’m fine, thanks Phil.’
Seb heard the appreciative softness in her answer but knew it was a brush-off at the same time.
Still, Phil didn’t move. ‘Are you sure, Ana?’
Friend-zone Phil glanced back at Seb for a final second. The unspoken warning in his eyes was that universal kind. Seb met it calmly.
‘Okay.’ Finally Phil moved.
Seb watched her protective friend walk away towards the watchful, welcoming attention of another man.
He turned back to the tall beauty, his smile broadening. Her chin was still tilted at that ever-so-slightly defensive angle but gratifyingly her gaze was fixed on him and the heat in her eyes had risen a notch. He gently took the smallest step closer.
‘So, your name is Ana.’
He’d been impossible to miss. Ana had spotted him the moment he’d walked into the club and she’d been unable to tear her gaze away since. Then again, Ana’s eyes sought out a male taller that six foot three like laser precision guided missile systems. Sure, it might be stupidly superficial of her to be drawn to someone who matched her own height but her attention had been simply sucked and stuck—like a singular iron filing to an enormous magnet and this guy was tall enough not only to look her in the eyes, but actually look down on her. It was decidedly unsettling.
Because he didn’t just have height. He had everything. From the ruffleable hair to the ridiculously handsome face with his angular jaw, straight nose and wide slash of mouth currently curved into a wicked smile—not to mention those intense eyes, gleaming with arrogance yes, but also with warmth and an irresistible promise of humour. He also had a lean, fit frame clad in expensive clothes. The watch on his wrist was no street market knock-off but the real thing. Yeah, the man had all the assets and he knew it. Heat fired up nerve endings that had been dormant for far too long.
‘Ana?’ he repeated after Phil had stepped away with a wink that the man hadn’t seen.
‘Yes,’ she said.
Something devilish smouldered in his eyes when she replied making her feel like she’d acquiesced to all kinds of things and not merely agreed that that was her name.
‘My name’s Sebastian. Sebastian Rentoul.’
She blinked at the way he’d so deliberately spoken and an odd confidence trickled into her veins. It made her smile. ‘Am I supposed to recognise your name?’
His mouth quirked. ‘Not at all.’
She understood why Phil had come to check on her. Sebastian Rentoul was very large and very much in her space already. But honestly that was appallingly fine with her.
‘But why are you here if not to dance?’ he added dryly.
Ana didn’t dance. Ever. She was all awkward angles and limbs. And with a man this suave she’d be even more awkward. So she prevaricated. ‘For the view.’
And that was certainly true right now.
His eyes danced. ‘You like watching?’
Yeah, she’d watched him and she definitely wasn’t the only one. She’d seen a few women on the dance shimmy closer to where he’d been standing as if trying to get his attention with their moves. He’d smiled but not exactly pounced on any. He’d only been here twenty minutes before heading for the exit—walking near her spot as he did. That’s when they’d made eye contact.
That’s when he’d stopped. He’d literally just stopped and the person behind him had almost bumped into him. So then he’d stepped closer.
‘Sometimes,’ she replied.
‘So do I.’ A lazy smile. ‘Sometimes.’ He cocked his head, his gaze going even more intense. ‘You don’t have a drink, do you want one?’
‘No.’ She didn’t want him to walk away from her, not even for a moment.
She didn’t meet guys in clubs. She hadn’t even been going to come tonight, she was only here because Phil had dragged her along because he’d wanted to see if Jack was here. Which he was. Of course she hadn’t minded Phil going to find his man the moment they’d arrived. She’d been pleased for him and there was something energising about being around so many people keen for a good time. Ana could appreciate it, even if she wasn’t in the centre of it all herself. But the two guys were now in the corner, leaning close but now keeping a check on her at the same time which made her smile inside.
She glanced back up at the tall, dark, devilish temptation stealing her capacity to think.
‘Food?’ He suggested softly, but then shook his head before she needed to.
She knew he understood—that he felt the same. They could dance. They could have a drink. But that would all be simply wasting time. And suddenly time felt too precious tonight.
‘You’re beautiful,’ he muttered.
Oddly enough even though it could be a line she actually believed he meant it.
He lifted his hand to her face again. ‘You make it hard for me to think.’
No that was the effect he had on her.
‘Then don’t think,’ she suggested huskily.
He was insanely close now and both hands lifted to frame her face. She’d actually had to tilt her chin to look into his eyes—miracle moment after miracle moment…
But that wasn’t the turn on. That was a mere side benefit. The real turn on was the way he was looking at her and the gentle firmness with which he now held her. As if she were more than precious. As if he were wary she might vanish before his eyes. So there was a reverence, almost a wisp of reticence in his light touch. As if he wanted this—her—more than was comfortable. Of course it was probably a trick of the light in the club—that flash of vulnerability she thought she’d seen had maybe been nothing.
Because now he was utterly attentive and focused and that smile was all charm. There was no doubt that Sebastian Rentoul was a player. But what was a surprise was that he clearly wanted to play with her.
Ana had barely played at all. If she were noticed it wasn’t always in a good way. But this was all good and she also knew that letting this guy win would still be a win for her. So frankly, yes, flattery was going to get him pretty much everywhere.
‘What I want to do, Ana, I need your permission for.’
Her breath stalled. Seductive wasn’t the word. And the longer he was near her the more she devolved into a creature operating solely on base instinct. Brain didn’t matter. Body wanted what it wanted. Body was apparently determined do get what it wanted because she’d leaned closer without even realising.
He traced a pattern on her face with his fingertip—it took her a moment to realise he was tracking where the flashing light fell.
She licked her lips. ‘You can—’
‘Kiss you,’ he stated, not asked.
He was so straight to the point, so clear on his intentions—his desire—that he inexorably drew her into being the same. That oddly strong confidence—so foreign to her—rippled more strongly.
‘Alright,’ she said quite calmly. ‘Do your best.’
Only then he paused. ‘Well, now I’m nervous.’
‘Oh, please.’ She rolled her eyes.
‘It’s true.’ His smile almost turned tender as he leaned closer still. ‘This is slightly terrifying.’
‘Then don’t.’ She held very still. ‘It’s your choice.’
‘Yet it doesn’t feel like there’s any choice at all,’ he argued, leaning so close now that his lips all but brushed hers as he confessed the truth. ‘I can’t resist.’
Good. Because nor could she.
The touch was featherlight and she realised they’d both frozen for a second to appreciate the softness, the heat, the moment of pure anticipation. Then his hands dropped to her waist and he pulled her home against his body. Hard. She trembled and his hands immediately slid to her back in a move both soothing and stimulating. But she was lost—drowning in his sleek muscles, the press of his hot lean strength. He deepened the kiss, his tongue seeking access and she gave it. In a melting heap, she gave it all. She heard his groan—intimate and husky and somehow their secret beneath the heavy beat of the club music. Her own moan was lost in the motion of them moving closer still, moving as one. Suddenly she was pressed against that wall she’d been hiding beside—thinking she was invisible. She truly was invisible now—because this bear of a man was before her, sheltering her from the eyes of everyone else present. Not that she gave a damn about any of them. She didn’t give a damn about anything other than getting more of his touch—of his mouth. And he gave them both. He kissed her and kissed her and kissed her and in moments—in the endless delight—her body responded. Hot, slick, ready, aching.
‘This is crazy,’ he muttered breathlessly between kisses. ‘Even for me.’
Well for her it was borderline certifiable behaviour. She never did this. They’d barely exchanged words and now they were sealed together kissing so intensely, so steamily that it was a wonder they weren’t puddles of goo on the floor.
It was wild and fast and she was so breathless she was actually giddy. ‘This is crazy,’ she agreed, lifting her mouth for more. ‘Especially for me.’
‘So we shouldn’t stop now.’
No. Not yet. Not now. This was too good. So he kissed her again.
Every secret muscle within her tightened. The soaring need was too strong to deny. It was crazy. It was stupid. But it was so. Much. Fun.
He smiled at her but it was with more than that charm and attention now. It had an intensity and truth to it that stole her reason entirely.
‘Run away with me,’ he tempted.
And Ana, who’d never had anything so wild and wonderful happen to her;
Ana, who’d certainly never felt as wanted as much as this man so obviously wanted her;
Ana had only one thing to say—
Copyright, Natalie Anderson, 2022.
No copying/sharing without written permission from the author.
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