Hard Rock Promise – Athena Wright

….Sipping my drink, I stood alone in the center of the room, feeling awkward and self conscious. I eyed the crowd. There were a couple guys who seemed my type. Clean cut. Jeans and t-shirts. No leather pants or eyeliner to be seen.

A couple of them eyed me back with interest. I flashed a smile at each of them, then flicked my eyes away, pretending to survey the room. I could play coy as well as the next girl.

With my eyes focused elsewhere, I caught sight of a small group lounging on a sofa. One guy was in the middle of a gaggle of woman, one perched on each knee and two on either side of him. He was hidden behind their slim, long-legged figures, but he must have been something to attract the attention of four beautiful girls at once. They ran their fingers through his hair and down his chest, caressing him possessively.

I was about to glance away and maybe try to catch the attention of one of the previous men who’d shown interest, when the girl on his right knee shifted sideways, leaving his profile clear.

He turned his head. Our eyes locked. The bright blue color was captivating even across the room. I couldn’t look away. My grip on my plastic cup went loose until it almost spilled out of my hand.

He seemed to pause, holding my gaze. My heart beat a small thrill. He tilted his head to the side, murmuring words to the other girl on his knee, eyes not leaving mine.

“But Gael!” she protested.

He caressed one bare thigh, pacifying her, and nodded his chin toward the drink table. She pouted, but stood so he could lift himself from the sofa.

He was tall, with broad shoulders and faded jeans that fit snugly around his trim waist. Messy hair fell over his smooth forehead. Tattoos covered most of his left arm, with a fair smattering on his right. I normally avoided guys with tattoos — I’d had enough of them hitting on me at work — but a flutter hit my stomach.

He strode through the crowd, deftly avoiding drunk, lurching partygoers. He moved purposefully, a determined expression on his face as he came straight at me. My loose grip turned tight, fingers clenching around the plastic cup. A familiar heat settled between my legs.

As he got closer, his expression slowly changed. The determination turned sly as he scanned me up and down, taking in my flushed cheeks and shallow breathing. A small smirk slid across his lips.

This guy had me pegged. He knew exactly the effect he was having on me. It was the exact same effect he’d had on those girls. He thought I was easy pickings.

As hot as he was, I had to fight back a laugh. I had him pegged, too. That cocky smirk, that confident stride. He was the kind of guy used to girls falling at his feet.

Maybe I did need to get laid, but I certainly wasn’t going to be falling for anything or anyone. Especially not a guy like this. He had four girls hanging off him and abandoned them without a second thought?

This guy had asshole written all over him.

When he was within a few feet of me, he opened his mouth to speak. I held up a hand to interrupt him.

“If you’re getting ready to give me a line, don’t bother. I’ve heard them all.”

He stopped, taken aback. For a moment I thought he might turn belligerent, like so many guys do when they’re turned down. Instead, the surprise on his face morphed into a sort of wicked delight as he laughed, low and deep in his chest.

“I don’t do lines,” he said. With one smooth motion he slipped an arm around my waist, fingers curling over my hip. “I was just going to say you look like you need a drink.”

That touch sent a flood of heat coursing through me. I could almost feel every swirled ridge of his fingertips through the thin fabric of my blouse. My inner muscles clenched involuntarily. I told myself it was an automatic response. I’d react that way to any hot guy. It had nothing to do with his crystal blue eyes, or the tilt of his full lips or his subtle woodsy scent, somehow rugged and delicious at the same time.

“Thanks, but I already have a drink,” I said, brandishing my cup.

“A gorgeous girl like you standing by yourself in the middle of a party?” He shook his head in mock disappointment. “That’s just not right. I think you need more liquid courage.”

He guided me to a table full of drinks, his fingers rubbing small circles in the hollow of my hip. It was all I could do to keep myself from whimpering, but I wasn’t going to let him know that.

“I can approach guys without needing a drink first. In fact, I was just about to go talk to that cute guy over there,” I said playfully. “You interrupted my plans.”

“If your goal was to seduce a guy tonight, you should have worn something a little more…” He eyed my outfit, taking in my skirt that fell just below the knee and button up blouse. That smirk graced his lips again. “…risqué.”

I raised an eyebrow. “I caught your attention, didn’t I?”

“I like the good girl schoolmarm look.” He handed me a drink. As I took it, he made sure to stroke his fingers against my inner wrist. “Makes me wonder what’s hiding underneath…”

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