Page 95 of The Keeper

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I sneak a few peeks at the bar area, at one point catching the eye of the beauty standing there, a soft, cream sweater hanging off of her bare shoulder. She holds my gaze for a heartbeat before looking away, a small act that makes my heart speed up in my chest.

Once I’m finished, the server comes to take my plate, asking if I want dessert. I decline and she sets the bill down. As I sign for the meal, I catch the woman’s eye again. This time, she holds my gaze. She doesn’t blush or demure, but instead gives me a soft smile before turning back to her friend.

I’m officially intrigued as I drain the last of my whisky. She looks like the kind of woman who attracts attention and the soft smile wasn’t indifferent, but it wasn’t flirtatious or salacious at all, either. She may be ambivalent to male attention if she gets hit on a lot. Maybe she’s perfected a polite smile to combat any unwanted attention.

Frankly, it’s been so long since I’ve had to think about my game with the ladies that I feel like a bit of an oaf. I’m really rusty. Do I chance it and go say hello? Do I chalk it up as a loss and head back to my room? Somehow, I’m a thirty-eight-year-old man in a fourteen-year-old’s head all of the sudden.

As I stand, I think I’ve decided to just go back to my room and call it an early night, but every step I take, I find myself closer to this incredible beauty. And when she turns and meets my gaze once more, I decide one more drink might not hurt at all.

4: ask me anything


Oh god. That hot guy is coming this way.

Broad shoulders fill out his jacket with the suggestion of the hard muscles moving underneath. He’s tall, at least six-five with dark-hair and a slight five o’clock shadow. Wearing a suit that fits really, really well, his crisp, white shirt open at the throat. No tie. He looks smart and professional and slick. Like, if he came to my house to sell me a vacuum cleaner, I’d probably buy two.

I turn to Mia, my face clearly set to Full Panic. She says, “It’s fine. He’ll probably ask to buy you a drink. It will be good.”

“Anything in my teeth?” Before she can answer, I add, “My hair look okay?”

Mia snickers. “You’re perfect.”

“How’s my breath?” I ask, blowing in her face.

“Fine. Jesus, Dev, I’ve never seen you so twisted up about a random…oh, here he is.”

I turn to find the super-hot guy is even hotter up close. Warm, dark eyes, movie-star face. My panties melt a little.

“Hi,” he says.

My throat is suddenly totally dry. I mean, I am thirsty. I smile but I’m pretty sure I might look like I’m in pain. Somehow I squeak out a, “Hey.”

Mia adds to my misery by looking at her nonexistent watch and saying, “Oh, geesh, look at the time. I’ve got a thing to check in on. Have a good night and call me later.”

And she leaves. That wretched, wretched little beast leaves me all alone with this man, who is so gorgeous that I think I might spontaneously orgasm.

“Can I join you for a drink?” he asks, gesturing to where two seats have magically opened at the bar.

I bite my lip and nod, and it’s the darndest thing – he gives me a panty-dropping, authentic smile. It’s like a real smile, like he’s relieved, like he thought I might say no and he’s genuinely happy I said yes. I can barely find my own tongue in my mouth right now, so I find it hard to believe this guy would ever be worried about any woman saying no, but still…it makes me feel oddly special. It disarms me a bit.

He looms for a moment, leaning over the bar to catch the bartender’s attention. Very tall. Very broad. Athletic. Very vibrator-worthy.

We place our drink orders and as the bartender toddles away, he says, “So you’re here for a conference, I gather?”

I nod. “The forced small talk gave it away or what?”

“The name badges, mostly,” he says, grinning. “Though you seem to have forgotten yours.”

I look down and realize I have, indeed, forgotten my name badge. “Oops.”

Our drinks come and we each take a sip before I ask, “I take it you are not here for a conference?”

“No, a job interview,” he says.

“Oh, where are you from?”

“Edmonton, Alberta,” he says. Ah, that explains the very slight accent I hear in his voice.

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