I drop my hand.

His eyes return to my face. “Why would I think you were doing that? Are you that strategic? Or are you simply that determined?”

I square my shoulders, taking the bait. “I am determined. Make no bones about that. But I don’t need to engineer anything. My guess is that my little sister is playing wingwoman. She was scanning the fair a few minutes ago, and I bet she knew you were going to be here.”

“Ah, yes, of course. I did text your sister to give her a heads-up where I’d be.”

I shoot him a look. “C’mon, man. Your bartender friend. Remember? I bet they were behind this. My sister was talking to her last night, and Emma has a little matchmaker in her.”

Dean laughs, a sexy sound that turns me on then undoes me when he leans a little closer, lowering that deep voice. “Blaming your sister? Seems like a strange excuse when you could just admit you were dying for another opportunity to run into me.”

“Pretty sure that’s obvious, but I’m happy to spell it out if you’d like.”

He pats the back of his jeans, his grin going crooked. “Need a pen?”

“Sure. Paper too? Or do you just want me to give you my hotel key card right now?”

Dean laughs. “So, that’d be a yes for both strategic and determined.”

“Got that right. Incidentally, yes is my favorite word.”

“I’ve no doubt it is.”

Already the picture of Dean is filling in. He’s the kind of guy where I have to read between the lines. And maybe he wants me to.

Because how he says something reveals more than what he says at times. The timbre of his voice, the way he moves closer to me—they give me plenty to read. “Has anyone ever told you that you are an insane flirt for a man who’s already turned another man down?”

Dean strokes his chin, looking to the sky as if deep in thought. “No, I don’t think anyone has told me that. Is that what you’re trying to say?”

“What I’m saying is that you can’t seem to resist flirting with me.”

Dean’s quiet for a moment, meeting my gaze. “If that’s the case, it’s only because you give me so many opportunities to do so.”

“Well, trust me, I plan on giving you plenty more.”

“Is that so?” We walk to the next stall, where he gives the cocktail mixes a once-over.

“Yes, that is so. That’s what I told my sister a few minutes ago,” I admit, because I’m easy to read. I lay my cards on the table.

Dean looks far too pleased with this new detail as he heads down the row, checking out other booths along the way. “And what exactly did you tell her?”

I exaggerate shock. “Dean, are you fishing for compliments? Trying to get me to tell you every little detail that I told sweet Emma?”

Of course, I could tell him that—or the things that I didn’t tell my sister. The things that I kept to myself. Like how I am dying to get my hands on him. To feel him. I bet he’d like hearing that more than he lets on.

But now’s not the time.

He glances at me out of the corner of his eye. “Hmm. Do I want a recap with every detail? That is a quandary.”

I shake my head, amused at how he plays hard to get at times, then not at all at others. “Such a quandary indeed.”

We come to a stop near a couple of booths featuring glasses. Dean’s not looking at me, because he’s checking out shot glasses.

But I’m not letting him off the hook.

I step closer, reaching past him to pick one up.

Letting my arm brush his.

I hear the slightest catch in his breath, then he looks at me, a little more serious for a second.

I wait for him to go next.

And he does. “I guess I do want to know some of the details. Tell me the good ones. Tell me the best ones.”

My skin heats as I run my finger over the shot glass. “I told her I was going to return to your bar tonight. That I wanted to see you again. And that I was pretty damn sure you wanted to see me again too.”

Dean’s lips twitch. “You think so?”


“Your favorite word.”

“Especially in this situation.”

“And why do you think I want to see you again, Fitz?” His question doesn’t come out as a challenge. It’s an invitation. He wants me to tell him, to lay it out.

“Because I felt the chemistry, and so did you. And you know it’ll be so good for both of us. Ergo, go out with me tonight once you’ve finished your shift.”

There’s that grin again. “Go out with you, or go to your hotel? Which one is it?”

“Both, Dean. Both.” I set the shot glass down and meet his gaze. “I don’t know how to make this more clear. When I see something I want, I do absolutely everything to get it.”

Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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