First Night (Seductive Nights 0.5)(5)

by Lauren Blakely

A grin spread across Clay’s face and Julia admired the view. He was a fine specimen of man, with a chiseled face, and hair that could be held onto hard when you needed to. But more than that, their simple conversation was just that – nice and easy. She’d often thought being able to really connect with a guy meant having a deep discussion on the meaning of life. But hell, she had little interest in that these days, given all the crap that was chasing her down, all the things she wanted to shuck off. The past, and the debts she carried from it, were a hard heavy weight on her shoulders. Maybe tonight she could forget about them for a bit. Have a conversation that wasn’t about all that she owed. Besides, nice and easy suited her mood. If someone asked her to define the meaning of life lately, then as far as she could see was to try to be happy as best you could. Right now, she was enjoying the way it was easy to talk to Clay Nichols.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

He wasn’t pretentious. He wasn’t pushy. He had a directness about himself and what he did for a living that was refreshing.

“To entertainment,” she said, raising an empty glass in a toast.

“And to being entertained.”

“Let’s see if you can keep that up,” she said, issuing a challenge, because she craved a distraction like this. The last few months of her life had been far too tightly wound. Too much pressure. Too much trouble. Too many things she shouldn’t have to deal with, but was stuck with. Tonight, she wasn’t going to think about all the things chasing her. Tonight was for fun and for admiring the fantastic view. Sometimes, a woman just needed to to flirt off her stress.

“I’m up for it, Julia. I’m definitely up for it.”

* * *

That McKenna was right. Hell, she was more than right. Her sister was hot as sin with those curves, those br**sts, and the perfect kind of hips that he’d like to get his hands on. Her hair was lush and reddish brown. Her lips were full and ripe for kissing. As well as other things. But more than that, she was feisty, with that smart mouth firing off innuendo with every word. She could dish it out, and she could take it. After the day he’d had, after the way his days went in general, he wanted a night like this.

So they chatted on and off as she served more customers. She asked him about the deal he’d worked on today, and he told her what he could tell. He asked her about the night she’d had, and she nodded to a skinny guy slouched over the corner of the bar, and there was something so easy – so completely lacking in the bullshit and abrasiveness of office hours — about talking to her.

As she mixed up a purple concoction with sugar on the rim, she crooked a finger toward him, signaling for him to lean closer across the bar. He obliged; he wasn’t going to complain about being near to her.

“Do you want a Purple Snow Globe, Clay?”

He met her gaze straight on, her green eyes so inviting. “If it’s that a drink, no. If purple snow globe is a secret code word for something naughty, I’m game.”

“Well played,” she said, raising an eyebrow. She eyed the drink she’d just made with a proud sort of look. “It’s my signature cocktail. Some day, I’m going to win an award for this bad boy.”

He leaned back in the stool and took a slow measured drink from his beer glass, then set it down. “Will I regret not ordering then? For the chance to say I drank a Purple Snow Globe once at a bar in San Francisco?”

She flashed a sexy smile, then whispered. “It’s absolutely delish, so you might regret not tasting it. But I’m glad you didn’t order it because it’s nothing a man should ever ask for at a bar and expect a woman to want him,” she whispered near his ear, her hair brushing his cheek, making him instantly hard. But that wasn’t entirely true. He’d been borderline hard for most of the conversation. The feel of her silky strands along the with the words want him just ratcheted things up a notch or two.