Unexpectedly Yours (Page 8)
I giggle. “Well, thank you.”
He casually places his hand on my back, carefully supporting me as I pick my way through the slush on the ground. My pumps may be cute, but they’re not made for icy sidewalks, and I nearly go slipping on my ass for the second time today.
Austin catches my arm before I can fall, yanking me up against him. “Easy, tiger.”
“Sorry,” I murmur, flushing. “I’m not usually this clumsy. Shoes,” I explain.
His eyes slide down my legs to the red heels. “Hot.”
He’s still holding me, crushed against his chest. I catch my breath. His body is solid and firm. I can feel the dense muscles even through our layers of winter clothing.
Matt was rangy, tall and thin. I used to joke that my hips were wider than his when I wrapped by legs around him at night, but Austin…?
Austin would pin me to the mattress without breaking a sweat.
I pull away, certain my cheeks are burning bright red. “Thanks,” I mumble again, and look around. I hope we’re close; another couple of blocks falling into Austin’s arms every time I lose my footing, and I won’t need a drink to be light-headed and dizzy.
“There it is!” I announce, spotting the big old sign. “Just ahead.”
“Marie’s Crisis…” Austin reads, looking puzzled. “What kind of name is that for a bar?”
“No idea.” I walk hurriedly to the stairs that lead below street level to the front door. “Let’s go find out.”
As soon as I push open the front door, I’m hit by heat and raucous singing. I step inside to find a small, dimly-lit room, barely twenty feet square. There’s a bar along the back wall, a piano to my right, and forty guys enthusiastically singing along to “Hey, Dolly!” by Barbara Streisand.
I love it.
Austin enters behind me and stops dead at the scene. “Sophie…?” he says, placing his hands on my waist and leaning in to murmur in my ear. His breath is hot against my cheek, but his tone is amused. “Did you bring me to a gay bar? Because trust me, honey, that ain’t my thing.”
As if to prove his point, he tugs me back, so I’m pressed flush against the front of his body.
All his body.
“No!” I yelp, spinning around. “I didn’t think… I mean, I know you’re not…” I stop, embarrassed. “I just read about it, it sounded like fun. Something different.”
“Well, you certainly got that part right.” Austin’s mouth creases in amusement as he surveys the scene. “C’mon, sugar. I’m feeling like I’ll need a drink myself.”
He takes my hand and leads me around the crowd to the bar. “Whiskey, neat,” he tells the bartender, then turns to me.
“Malibu and coke, please.”
He groans. “What are you, fifteen? Order a real drink, sweetheart.”
“I’ll have a Malibu and coke,” I tell the bartender firmly, before turning back to Austin. “I like what I like,” I tell him with a smile. “You won’t change my mind.”
“Weak-ass drinks, show tunes…” Austin shakes his head, but his eyes are full of laughter. “It’s a good thing you’re so beautiful, otherwise I’d be running for the hills right about now.”
He thinks I’m beautiful?
My heart skips, but I play it cool. “There aren’t any hills in New York,” I point out.
“The river, then.” Austin grins. “But I’m telling you this now, it’ll be a cold day in hell before you catch me singing one of these songs.”
He nods to where an elegantly-dressed man in a purple suit has taken up position behind the piano to sing, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”
I giggle, trying to imagine Austin in his place. “Come on,” I urge him. “It’s fun, right? You can’t say you’ve ever been somewhere like this before.”
“No, I can’t say I have.” Austin slides a twenty across the bar before I can even reach for my purse. “Here,” he says, nudging my drink towards me. “Do your worst.”
I lift it to my lips and take a long sip. “Mmm,” I smile sweetly. “Delicious.”
I lick a stray drop from my lips, and suddenly, Austin’s smile isn’t amused anymore. His eyes blaze into me, suddenly hot. Hungry.
My stomach turns a slow flip.
But just as quickly, he looks away, and nods to a table that’s just opened up in the corner. A couple of boys are heading over, looking barely out of drama school. “Quick, before I have to duel for it.”
“True. You look like you’d be a sore loser,” I quip, before darting through the crowd.
His laughter carries after me.
Two drinks in, and I’m feeling good. So good, in fact, that Matt is just a distant dream. A weak, conflict-avoiding, no-good excuse for a boyfriend.
Besides, who needs a guy like that when I have a prime cut of man right in front of me. Ripped, and gorgeous, with a smile to die for…
“Did you know you have dimples?” I ask Austin, gazing intently at his face. “Cute little dimples, right…here.” I reach across the table and prod my finger into the dip.
He chuckles. “I stand corrected. If you were drinking whiskey, you’d be flat on the floor by now.”
“Are you calling me a drunk?” I gasp, mock-outraged.