“I didn’t wake you up, did I?”

“No.”


“It’s okay, right?” she asked, her eyes defocused, her body weaving slightly. “I haven’t had a Shanna Night in… awhile… right?”

That’s what we called the ‘one night a week’ arrangements: Shanna Nights.

“No,” I sighed.

“Good,” she giggled, then whispered in a loud voice that the guy would have heard if he were standing at the opposite end of a football field: “Cuz he’s really HOT.”

She looked over her shoulder and giggled at somebody standing outside in the hallway, just beyond my field of vision.

“Come on in an’ meet my roommate!”

Great. I was wearing a t-shirt and sweats, no bra, no makeup. Just how I wanted to look when I met some drunk douchebag.

Actually, I guess it didn’t matter what I looked like when I met a drunk douchebag, since I didn’t give a damn about what he thought.

I checked my cell phone. 11PM.

Huh – early night for her.

“I can go in the study lounge. How about an hour?” I asked.

Judging by how drunk she was, I figured she’d pass out in half that time – but I might as well err on the side of caution.

“I usually make it last longer… but that should be enough,” a deep, male voice suddenly spoke up.

The voice was the first thing that got me: sexy. Masculine. Golden brown with a tinge of smokiness around the edges.

Something inside my stomach fluttered, which was not a reaction I normally had to men’s voices.

Actually, it was not a reaction I ever had to men’s voices.

I looked up and saw the hottest guy I’ve ever seen in my life.

He was tall, about six feet. He had black hair, gorgeous and rumpled and falling just short of his eyebrows. He had a strong jaw, a slight dimple in his chin, and cheekbones to die for. Flawless olive skin and a day or two’s worth of unshaven scruffiness. He had a grey t-shirt with ‘Led Zeppelin’ on the front in faded black letters, like it had been washed a thousand times and given up the fight to stay legible. The shirt was tight over his broad chest, his powerful shoulders, and his bulging biceps. He looked like the kind of guy who had built up muscles by good genes and manual labor rather than sweating it out in a gym.

He had tattoos as well, which I don’t normally like – but they added to the bad boy image in a way that was irresistible. He wore a leather band around one wrist and a couple of rings on his fingers – rings that looked like he’d bought them from a street vendor who made her own stuff. One was pounded silver, with hammer marks all over the metal. Another was a really cool twining pattern of copper strands. Neither was on his left ring finger.

The rings made me look at his hands… and his hands made me think of a master artist carving them from a block of rare wood. They were large and masculine, and looked very… capable. Of anything and everything. Especially naughty things.

His tattered jeans were baggy enough below the knees to be cool, and tight enough over his thighs to make my mouth water. He had on clunky black work boots, scuffed and worn on the toes. A metal wallet chain hung from his battered leather belt and disappeared into his pocket.

The clothes didn’t really do it for me, other than the fact that they showed off his beautiful body to perfection. The rest of him really did it for me… especially his eyes. They were the single most arresting thing about him. Beautiful green, a few shades lighter than emeralds. I had never seen anybody with eyes that gorgeous. I wondered if he had contacts, then decided Probably not. The rest of him suggested ‘not much money,’ so I didn’t see him spending hundreds of dollars on something like colored contacts.

His eyelids stayed partly shut all the time, giving him a perpetual kind of sleepy, sexy, seductive look. Coupled with his dark, brooding eyebrows, he seemed to be thinking, Come over here and kiss me – and the slightly upturned corner of his full, sensual lips made him look amused that I hadn’t given in yet.

As we stared at each other, I felt something pass between us – like an invisible current that flowed through the air. A spark that jumped from him to me and back again. Unseen, unspoken, but definitely real. A connection.

I also felt something else I’d never experienced before with a stranger.

Desire.

Heat building in my cheeks – and elsewhere.

There were probably only about four seconds of silence… but it felt like an eternity as we stared at each other.

I felt it. I’m pretty damn sure he felt it, too.

And then he took it a step further.

“Derek Kane,” he said, stepping forward and offering me that large, masculine hand.

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