Quickly, I fill my basket, grabbing my staple bargain box of popcorn, a few bowls and a cheap can opener before I head to the checkout line. I grimace down at my basket. My popcorn requires a microwave. Craigslist or Walmart here I come and soon, I decide. Popcorn and TV dinners are this single girl’s staples. I’m about to remove the popcorn from my basket to save my pennies for later, when my phone, or rather Liam’s phone, rings.
Steeling myself for the impact of his voice, I answer. “Liam?”
“Damn, woman, I like how you say my name.”
My cheeks heat with the gruffness of his tone that tells me that he means his words. The knowledge that I affect him reaches inside me and tightens my belly. I barely feel like I exist in this world and this rich, famous, and impossibly delicious man makes me feel as if I do. I don’t want to let him go. I don’t want to lie to him.
“I’ll be there in a couple of minutes to pick you up.”
The announcement jerks me back into the moment. “I’m at the store. I’ll drop off my stuff and meet you at the hotel bar.”
“I’ll pick you up.”
“No. No. I want to change clothes anyway.” It’s my turn in line, and I put my items on the belt. “I have to check out. I’ll see you soon.”
I hang up and cringe. Did I really just hang up on him? I expect him to call back but he doesn’t. Maybe I should call him back but the less I say before “goodbye” the better. I can’t call him back. I’m still telling myself that five minutes later when I walk out of the store with a bag that includes popcorn I cannot even pop. Another brilliant move considering my limited funds.
I’m just full of them. I am less worried about who might be following me than I am who might be waiting at my door when I arrive. Crossing the parking lot, my gaze skitters here and there, watching for the stranger. Watching for him.
I am about to cross the grass to the stoplight when a fancy black sedan pulls up beside me and stops. My heart lurches and I whirl around as the passenger window rolls down, but I cannot see the driver. Holding my breath, I lean down to discover Liam occupies the driver’s seat, and the man is power and sex in a black suit and a royal blue shirt that brightens his already too blue eyes. He reaches across the car and opens the door. “Hop in, baby.”
My stomach flutters at the endearment that he might use on all women, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Right now, he’s using it on me. Right now, his eyes are on me and even in the playfulness I sense in him, they are as intense as the man. And Liam Stone is as intense as they come.
“Is this your car?” I ask, trying to decide what to do. Certain that getting in the car with him is my ticket to being mindlessly lost in the temptation that is Liam.
“Rental.” He arches a brow at my stillness. “If you’re worried I’ll bite, I promise to tell you first.”
My eyes go wide before I can stop them and he laughs, a sexy, rough sound deep from his chest. The same chest I have touched and want to touch again. I glower at him. “I won’t.” The smart reply earns me another of his sexy laughs, and he’s successfully seduced me right here in the spot I stand.
Caving to the inevitable, I step forward and settle my bags on the floorboard of the obviously expensive car. Discreetly inhaling, I steel myself for the impact of being in a small space with him where I both long to be, but see it for what it is. A mistake. Being near this man is not going to help me say goodbye.
The instant I slide inside the car, expensive leather hugs my bare legs, and Liam’s earthy scent tickles my nostrils, teasing me senseless. It’s official. This was a mistake. A wonderful mistake. I tug the door shut, rotating toward Liam and I am pulled into his arms, one strong hand sliding into my hair. “Miss me?” he asks, and his breath is a hot tease on my lips.
My fingers curl on his jaw, the soft rasp of newly forming whiskers teasing my fingers. I remember that rasp on my skin. Everything fades but the moment and the man. No one has ever done that to me. “Did you miss me?”
“I’ll let you decide.” His mouth slants over mine, his tongue parting my lips, caressing against mine in one lush stroke. “Do I taste like I missed you?”
I am melting like chocolate in the hot sun, and he has barely touched me. But I want him to. Oh yes. I want him to. “I’m still not convinced.”
His lips curve a moment before he answers me by licking wickedly into my mouth, teasing me with two deep strokes of his tongue that leave me darn near panting. “Any doubt I missed you now?” he challenges.
My chest burns with his reply. Liam missed me. I have been missed. This is unfamiliar territory and I like it. And I am so not ready to let go of this man. “If I say yes you won’t kiss me again, right?”
“I’ll do a whole lot more than kiss you when I get you alone.” His promise is somehow both soft velvet and rough sandpaper, and the air around us shifts, thickens, the sexual tension transforming into something I cannot name, far deeper than simple lust. Far harder to walk away from. He strokes a tender hand down my hair and I lean into the touch like a cat claiming her territory when he is not mine. He will never be mine.
“Hungry?” he asks.
“Is that a trick question?”
His lips curve. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.” He brushes his lips over mine. “Me too, baby.
Me too.” He releases me and leans back in his seat and I am instantly cold where I was hot seconds before. He puts the car in drive and cuts me a steamy blue-eyed look. “Buckle up and we’ll be at your place in no time.”