Her expression showed she meant every word of it. That was when it really hit me just how beautiful she was. She had high cheekbones and wide, bright blue eyes. Her creamy porcelain skin extended all the way to the neckline of her forest green sweater. I could only imagine what was beneath that sweater. Two perfect breasts with pale pink nipples that matched the color of her lips, maybe? I could even imagine the way she’d throw back her head, that thick mane of red hair cascading down her back as she gasped while I took one of those perfect nipples in my mouth.
“—drinks like Negroni,” she said.
Oh, shit. My mind had drifted. Had she said something important? I had to jump back in and pretend I’d been listening.
“I know how to make a Negroni,” I said. “You’re not the only one who has been making drinks since before you were legal. I’ve tended this bar every day for the past eighteen years.”
Had it really been that long? I’d basically stepped out of high school and straight into this full-time job. I took care of the drinking patrons, while also making sure their food orders were put into the kitchen.
“I’ve never had a single complaint,” I said.
She tilted her head to the left slightly, eyeing me. She didn’t buy it. Okay, so maybe there had been a few complaints over the years. The guys in this town loved to bust my balls about not having every type of beer under the sun.
“So, you’re here to teach me drinks I don’t know how to make,” I said.
Emerald tossed some hair back behind her shoulder again and crossed her arms over her chest. The move pushed her breasts upward, and I had to fight not to look.
“I’m here to teach you how to be a bartender in a bar where customers don’t just accept that there’s a limited number of options,” she said. “I’m here to show you how to be the best bartender in the country.”
The guy behind the bar was hot. The kind of hot that my friends back home would giggle over.
They were in college, though, sitting in class all day and getting drunk at fraternity parties at night. I, on the other hand, was a respected mixologist who’d just become legal to drink two months ago. I’d had not a single alcoholic beverage since turning twenty-one. I was too busy making them.
“Well, get back here and show me,” Bo Phillips said.
He hadn’t officially introduced himself, but he didn’t need to. His dad had told me his name, his age—thirty-six—and his work history. Guaranteed, his dad didn’t imagine that the twenty-one-year-old he was sending here would have almost overwhelming fantasies about the thirty-six-year-old behind that bar. But that was exactly what happened when his gaze lowered to my chest earlier.
I knew that look. He was imagining me naked. Problem was, it would be hard to resist taking off my clothes for a guy who looked likethat. And I’d never taken off my clothes for anyone.
“What’s your specialty drink?” I asked.
I’d moved by then and stood facing the back bar. He had all the basics covered on those shelves, including a top shelf stocked with premium liquor. But when it came to the various liqueurs required to make specialty cocktails, he was sorely lacking.
“I don’t have one,” Bo said.
Those words spun me around to look at him. He’d given me plenty of space, staking out a spot at the far end of the bar. It was a relatively small bar, so there were only about ten feet between us.
“You don’t have a specialty drink?” I asked. “Not even some twist on a gin and tonic?”
“I have a regular who orders a skinny margarita. Does that count?”
No, that didn’t count. But I had to ask, “How do you make it?”
“I ordered some low-cal sweet and sour mix just for her.” He gestured toward the area under the counter. “She’s my sister.”
“Who’s your sister?”
“The one who orders the skinny margarita.”
He looked up at me, and as our eyes met, I felt it. Something shifted deep inside me. I’d never been attracted to an older man before today, but suddenly, I saw the appeal. Having never been with a man in that way, there was something irresistible about a guy who could teach me things. Things that the far less experienced guys my age wouldn’t know.
“We need to get you a specialty cocktail,” I said, turning back to face the shelves. Anything to cool down the heat that seemed to have taken over my body. “What’s your favorite thing to make?”