Sweet Chemistry will be available again soon! Rights were returned to me on September 30th, 2017, which means it will not be available for sale until I re-release it in the coming months. Thank you for your patience!
Kate was twelve again, hidden in the wind-swept tree in her back yard, watching the boys play baseball in the field behind her house. Not all of the boys. Just one. If only she hadn’t been a scrawny kid, perhaps she would have the courage to talk to him.
What was her excuse now? This was southern California, ten years later. Her heart raced as she watched him.
Mister Pretty Lips.
He sat at the other end of the bar, sipping his drink. Kate watched, trying not to be obvious and nearly choked on her water when she realized he was looking at her. He smiled, pulling his pretty lips away to reveal a perfect smile. He didn’t hold her gaze for long, tilting his eyes back to the glass in front of him after a moment.
Kate swallowed and took a deep breath. Her hands shook. His eyes met hers again and this time, she smiled. She tucked her hair behind one ear and blushed.
“Are you going to dance with me or what?” Meg asked as she bounded up.
“Yep, I’m almost done with my drink.” Kate gave Mister Pretty Lips one last smile, and then slipped onto the dance floor with her friend.
An hour passed and he was still in the same spot. Every time she looked, she found his eyes on her. Heat radiated through her.
“I’m getting a drink!” She motioned at the bar and left her friend as she turned to fight her way through the crowd.
Her shoulders fell as she walked toward the end of the bar. His seat was empty. The sleek material that covered the stool was cool to her fingertips. He left before she got a chance to talk to him. Just like last week.
She spun on her heel to return to the dance floor and collided with something. Her hands were pressed against a smooth plane of taut blue material and her foot was pinned to the ground.
“I’m so…” Kate looked up into the face of Mister Pretty Lips. He was taller than she expected. His hazel-brown eyes made her body melt. “…sorry.” Her foot started to throb, so she wiggled her toes.
He jumped away from her. “Shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to step on your foot.” His jaw tightened and he shook his head. “Can I…”
“I was just…” Their words overlapped and Kate laughed. “What were you going to say?”
“Can I buy you a drink?” His voice was smooth and deep.
Kate grinned. “I’d love one.”
He motioned to the seat next to his and flagged down the bartender. “What are you drinking?”
“Lemon Drop.” Kate smiled as she slid onto the stool.
“Lemon Drop and gin and tonic please.”
While he was turned toward the bartender, Kate memorized every plane of his face and each hair on his head. His short hair was the color of raw chocolate and nearly the same length as his perfectly groomed, stubbly beard. His lips were fuller and more luscious than she noticed before.
She realized too late he was talking to her. She couldn’t take her eyes off his mouth and had no idea what he was saying.
“Sorry, what did you say?”
He lifted her glass. “Here’s your drink.”
“James.” He held his hand out.
Warmth spread through her body when they made contact. “Kate.”
“Nice to meet you Kate.”
“I’ve seen you here the last few weekends.”
James smiled. The words stalker and creeper popped into her mind.
“My friend and I come every Saturday night. I like the DJ, he plays really good stuff.” As if on cue, Kate’s favorite song started. The pulsing beat burrowed into her chest, forcing her body to move. “I love this song, do you want to come dance with us?”
“Sure, why not?” James tossed the rest of his drink back, grimacing as he swallowed.
Kate followed suit, finished her Lemon Drop in two long swallows, and slid off her bar stool. “Follow me.” She could feel him walking behind her and grinned at Meg when they got to the dance floor.
The music blurred into a never ending loop of driving beats and pulsing electronica, moving them closer, but never quite touching until, by accident, Kate bumped into James. When she mouthed, “Sorry,” he smiled and shrugged. While they were still touching, Kate started dancing again, and this time, James danced with her. Their hands moved independently, but their legs rubbed together. They didn’t talk. They just danced.
At one point, Meg disappeared, and when she came back, she was clutching her stomach. Kate broke away from James reluctantly and put her face next to Meg’s so she could be heard over the blaring music.
“Kate? We need to go. I don’t feel so hot.”
Kate nodded to her friend and turned to James. She stood on her tippy toes, steadied herself with a hand on his shoulder, and touched her mouth to his ear. His heavy stubble rubbed against her cheek and she inhaled. Her heart skipped a beat as his masculine scent assaulted her. “I need to go. Thank you again for the drink and dancing.”
“Maybe I’ll see you around.” His lips brushed against her ear, sending a shiver of pleasure down her spine.
She gave him one last smile as she escorted her friend outside.
“I’m sorry Kate, I don’t mean to rain on your parade.” Meg gagged. “Are you okay to drive?”
“Yeah.” Her forehead creased as she rubbed Meg’s back.
Meg took a deep breath. “Who was that guy?”
“I’ll tell you all about it on the way home.”