Home > Stumbling Into Love (Fluke My Life #2)

Stumbling Into Love (Fluke My Life #2)
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds

Chapter 1

STOOD UP

MAC

Looking around the crowded bar, I pull in a breath. There are lots of people here, and I can tell that most of them have come to have a drink before heading home after a long day at the office—men still wearing their suits, women in skirts and heels with their hair still perfectly styled. This isn’t the kind of place where I would normally hang out. There are no TVs playing in the corners of the room with the game on or men drinking beer while talking too loudly. It’s too sophisticated for that, with black-and-white photos in elegant frames hanging on the walls depicting Manhattan years ago, when the city was hardly more than a few blocks. Dark wood tables aren’t scratched or worn. The leather chairs aren’t peeling or falling apart at the seams; they all look new. Everything about this place screams class. Feeling a breeze come from the door, I turn to look at it and let out a disappointed breath when I see a beautiful woman walk in, followed by a good-looking man.

Picking up my cell phone off the top of the bar, I pull up my text messages and check to make sure that I haven’t gotten the time or date wrong, that I’m at the right place. Seeing that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, my hand tightens around the phone in embarrassment. The guy I was supposed to be meeting for a drink is now thirty minutes late, and he hasn’t called or replied to the text I sent more than fifteen minutes ago. So I’ve officially been stood up. I drop my cell phone into my purse, then drain the glass holding my lemon-drop martini. I feel my face pinch as the sour taste hits my tongue, then I gasp when the vodka burns down my throat.

“Would you like another?” the bartender asks. My watering eyes meet her brown ones.

I should say no and just go home, but I know my sister Libby will be disappointed if I show up not even an hour after my date was supposed to begin. I really don’t want to see the pity in her eyes when I tell her Chris didn’t show. She was way more excited than I was that I had a date tonight, especially after my self-inflicted dry spell.

“Sure.” I give the bartender my answer and a smile. Without a word, she picks up the empty glass and carries it down to the other end of the bar. As I wait for her to come back, the woman reflected in the mirror across from me catches my attention. Even knowing she’s me, I still stare in disbelief. When I told Libby I was going out on a date, she insisted on doing my makeup and hair. I didn’t fight her like I normally would have because I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted my first date in two years to go well. But I look like a stranger. My hair, normally tied back in a ponytail, is down in a mass of wavy red curls. My eye makeup, normally only mascara, is smoldering and sexy, making me look mysterious. My lips, used to only ChapStick, look full and plump, thanks to the pink stain she used.

I wonder what Edward would think if he saw me right now.

With a deep sigh, I quickly push that thought aside, annoyed with myself for even wondering about him. Edward has been my friend since we met two years ago at a baseball game. We bonded over our love for the Mets and beer. He was easy to talk to, funny and kind. Since that day, I’ve had a crush on him—and have been trying to no avail to get him to notice me as more than just a friend.

I thought my plan was working until a few weeks ago, when he introduced me to his apparently longtime girlfriend. This caused me to realize the connection I thought we had was all in my head, and that I’d wasted two years of my life waiting for him to see me as more than just a beer-drinking buddy. Which brings me to sitting alone in a bar on a Friday night, all because I wanted to prove that I’m completely over my Edward crush. Well, that and seeing how happy my sister Fawn is with her new boyfriend. I wanted to see if I could find that for myself. So, really, this is all Fawn’s fault. If she wasn’t so happy, I probably wouldn’t have said yes to the first guy who asked me out. Shaking my head, I think about the time Fawn tried to get my other best guy friend, Tex, to ask me out. Not only is he married but happily—and to my good friend Elizabeth. That was embarrassing—but nothing compares with getting stood up tonight.

“Would you like me to start a tab?” The bartender brings me out of my thoughts by dropping a napkin and my drink in front of me on the bar.

“No, thanks.” I shake my head and pass her the fifty-dollar bill I got out earlier to cover my first drink.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, thank you.” I smile, and she smiles back while smoothly taking the fifty from me. Picking up my fresh drink, I take a sip and then look toward the door when cool evening air rushes inside. Disappointment hits me when I don’t see my date—but that feeling is quickly washed away when my eyes lock on the man coming through the door, and my body tingles from head to toe.

The guy is handsome. No, not handsome. That word doesn’t do him justice. He’s gorgeous. But not model gorgeous. He’s too rough-looking for that. He looks like he’s recently spent time in the sun; his dark hair is slightly wavy and curls around his ears and neck, accentuating his strong jaw and full lips. I can’t tell the exact color of his eyes from where I’m sitting, but even from a distance they seem bright because of the dark lashes surrounding them. Pulling my eyes down from his face, I take in the expanse of his wide shoulders covered in a plaid shirt and leather jacket and a trim waist encased in a pair of jeans that mold to his thick legs. Drawing my gaze back up to his, I find him studying me with heat in his eyes. I shift in my chair, wondering what it would be like to run my fingers through his hair while he kissed me. Blinking at that forward thought, I shake my head and pull my eyes from his. I look down at my drink before picking it up and downing it in one shot. Hopping off my bar stool, I hold on to the edge of the bar because I’m wobbling in the heels that Libby insisted I borrow. Heels that almost killed me twice on the way to the bar because I can barely walk in them.

Getting the bartender’s attention, I point toward the hall that leads to the restrooms at the back of the bar to let her know I’m not taking off. She nods. Making my way through the crowd, I head down a long hallway and get into line behind two blondes who smile at me before resuming their conversation. “So did you finally try the lipstick I sent you?” one of them asks as I pull out my cell phone again to see if I have any missed calls or messages, which I don’t.

Stupid men.

“I forgot to tell you!” The other laughs. “I tested it out, and you were right! It didn’t come off even after the forty-minute blow job I gave Charles.”

Forty-minute blow job? I rub my own jaw just thinking about it.

“I told you it’s awesome stuff,” the friend replies as the door to the restroom opens and a woman comes out.

“You were right!” the other agrees. Then they both disappear behind the closed door.

Knowing Libby loves makeup, I smile while sending her a text.

I just overheard two women talking about lipstick that doesn’t come off when you’re giving head. I think you should check it out.

Not even two seconds later, my phone buzzes.

Ummm . . . thank you . . . I think?

It was actually a forty-minute blow job, I clarify.

A forty-minute blow job is way more impressive than lipstick that doesn’t come off, she replies.

I giggle, dropping my cell phone back into my bag just as the door opens and the women come out, laughing.

After finishing up in the bathroom, I start back to the front of the bar.

I stop suddenly—when I feel a hand hit my ass hard enough to sting.

“What the hell?” I start to spin around, but my heels wobble once more. Causing me to stumble right into a warm chest that smells like leather and mint.

“Are you all right?” Large hands capture my waist, and I blink up at my savior. Who also happens to be the guy I noticed earlier. One of his arms wraps around me, and he pulls me flush against his solid chest, making every inch of me come to life. “You okay?”

“What?” I ask, in shock.

He drags me up his body, then drops his face closer to mine.

“You okay?” I see his mouth move, but it takes a few seconds to register that he asked if I was okay. All I can seem to focus on is the way it feels to be pressed against him.

“I . . .” I shake my head to clear away the lust that is suddenly overwhelming me. “Yes . . . sorry. Thank you.”

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