Friday, November 21, 2008

Windy City Love Affair by Jane Leopold Quinn

"Ma'am?"

The rumble of the deep, rich, masculine voice with its western twang speared her heart. And lower.

"Ma'am?"

Being a Chicago girl, Lorren Samples at first tried to ignore the stranger's tall, broad-chested body crowding too closely. You had to watch out for yourself in the big city. A man touching you on the street could spell danger. Then she made the mistake of glancing up at him.

Holy frickin' cow! The man was the closest thing to beautiful male perfection that she'd ever seen. Not in the movies, not on TV, nor on stage. Certainly, she'd never seen anything like him in person. A passerby bumped her, throwing her against him. Her hands automatically reached for his forearms, his gripped her shoulders. She stood stiffly, silent and unexpectedly breathless.

Wow. Brown eyes. Rich chocolate. Warm cocoa. All those good, lickable, delicious, sensuous flavors. Burnished dark eyes surrounded by lush long lashes gazed back at her.

A horn blared. She gasped, brushing her breast against his forearm as she turned to see what the hell the problem was. The sound, the brush woke her to the city around her.

"Sorry," she muttered and stepped back to try to establish some distance between them. It was a cab that had pulled in at the curb at Union Station for a pick up. That's when she noticed the luggage at his heels. A soft, black leather satchel.

Heels? Heels on cowboy boots. Tan, stitched-toe cowboy boots. Well worn and slightly scuffed as if he lived in them. Speechless again, her gaze tracked the blue, faded jeans hugging long, long legs up to lean hips and a flat belly. Holy Christ! Her head jerked up. He had a hard on. It was pretty difficult to hide that in snug jeans. Her face flamed hot in embarrassment.

He stared back, a smug, aware expression on his handsome face.

I guess he's not embarrassed about his humongous hard on. That's when she noticed that she still held on to his solid-muscled forearms. Bare forearms. Bare, hairy forearms. Okay, stop it. You're acting like...well she didn't know what she was acting like. She'd never been in this situation before. It was like a scene from a movie. The "meet cute."

* * * *

Jess Croften covered the woman's hand with his. It wasn't like he'd planned on picking up a pretty woman, but he had watched this one all the way from the intersection, willing her to cross over and continue straight toward him. He'd squinted a bit to sharpen his focus, and the closer she got, the more he could see that she was all prime.

He didn't normally think of women in beef-related terms, but he wouldn't mind having this fine lady on a plate and eating her up. Literally and figuratively.

She'd obviously been preoccupied, her expression scowling and smoothing out in turn. Her lips were moving slightly as if she was talking to herself. He was in Chicago on business, but that didn't mean he wouldn't jump on the chance to find a woman. And he had no intention of letting this one go until he knew everything about her.

The brush of her breast electrified the hairs on his arm, heating his blood even as she pushed away from him and looked down toward his feet. His skin sizzled as her gaze roamed up his body to where he wanted it to be—on his...crotch? No secrets there as to how she affected him, were there? He smirked at her wide-eyed response to his arousal.

Whew! God, she's a pretty thing. Her apple-round cheeks were pink and soft, her lips covered in a rosy gloss that he wanted to lick and kiss right off her. She was tall. Her chin could easily rest on his shoulder, and he was six-three. Auburn hair, held loosely back in a ponytail by one of those elastic things, was fluffed up around her head, little damp ringlets plastered to her temples and neck. He couldn't see the color of her eyes because of sunglasses, but he'd get around to that.

"Ma'am?" he asked a third time. "Can you tell me which way to Michigan Avenue?"

She jerked her hand off his arm so fast it was as if his question had broken a spell.

Damn.

"Um, sure." She backed up to put space between them and took a deep breath. "Go to the corner, turn that way." She pointed right. "And go about eight or ten blocks." Then she glanced at his boots. "It's quite a way though. Maybe you should get a cab so you don't lug your stuff around."

"Aw, ma'am, it's not heavy. I've carried more than this." Back home and in the Army.

"Well, okay then. Um...see ya. Have fun." She gave him one of those little girly wiggles of her fingers before she turned away.

Son of a bitch if she wasn't walking away from him. No way, honey. Grabbing up his valise, he sprinted after her reaching her just as she turned the corner. Just as she turned to look back at him. If he would have bet on that, he'd have won.

A breeze lifted her hair, pushed a strand over her lips. She dragged it out of the gloss.

He wanted to see her eyes under the sunglasses. He wanted to find out her name. He didn't know exactly why he was so interested, but her mixture of contradictions enticed him. Tall, round-cheeked, hair just this side of frizzy and wild, but she was dressed in sophisticated clothing—tight skirt and very fitted, man-style white blouse and...fuck-me stilettos. High heeled, open sandals with cherry red toenails peeping out. Whoa, horsie. His hard on just thickened.

"Which way're you goin'?" They'd stopped again in the middle of the sidewalk with aggravated, complaining people streaming around them. He didn't care. He wasn't going to let her walk out of his life. Not that she was in his life, but...

If she'd just take those damn glasses off.