Publication date: April 17th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I own the boardroom. He owns the stage. We were never meant to be together, but when something’s forbidden, it only makes you want it more.
My jaded heart was determined never to be fooled again. There’s too much at stake, and my daughter always comes first.
And then one night, on the eve of my forty-third birthday, I walked into a bar, and locked eyes with Adrian Corvin.
He’s a musician, covered in tattoos… and way too young. He’s the opposite of everything I should want.
When he followed me outside of the bar, not even the Arizona monsoon could keep me from kissing him.
With just one taste, I was an addict.
It was only supposed to be one night.
No names, no expectations, and no truths.
And he tells beautiful lies.
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Maybe it’s the beer or the stifling heat, but his eyes seem to follow as I make my way around the room. Caught staring back, it’s as if he sees my thoughts when the corner of his lip tugs into a knowing smile. It’s impossible for him to know that I’m imagining what kind of lover he would be – selfish or generous, relentless or fleeting, but his smile says otherwise. That smile could knock a girl right out of her panties. Maybe for one night I can be someone else, and that makes the prospects endless.
Slipping between the crowd, I find myself on the street. A gust of wind travels down the long strip mall. Everything is dark, all the other stores closed for the night. Closing my eyes, I inhale deeply and smell the rain.
The city hibernates all year waiting for the rain to penetrate the hard-shelled soil, breaking it open, and once it does, everything comes to life.
A lightning bolt stretches across the sky just as the wind picks up, blowing the hair from my neck and cooling it. I start to walk down the block on the way back to my car, passing a darkened record store when I hear a voice call out behind me. “Hey.”
Without even turning around, I know it’s him, the singer with the velvet voice and the kissable lips. The wind continues to blow like a freight train down the block, picking up the edges of my shirt and blowing my hair across my face. Turning around, I see he’s standing on the sidewalk, looking every bit as delicious as he did on stage. Waiting for him to look around me, to the person whose attention he was really trying to get, but he just stares at me the same way he did in the bar, like he’s trying to unearth my secrets.
Caught in the spider’s web of his soulful eyes, I’m unable to move.
The silence is broken when the sky opens and dumps heavy sheets of rain, plastering my hair to my face and my shirt against my body in less than a minute. Moving towards me, with each step closing the distance between us, the bashful smile on his face causes my pulse to quicken, and the blood rushing in my ears becomes the only sound I can hear. When he reaches me, I can see the pulse in his neck as his hand grips my waist, guiding me into the alcove of the darkened record store, taking us out of the rain. With his hand still on my waist, the heat from it makes me shiver.
His close proximity takes the breath out of me, and I watch as the water drips from his hair onto his full lips, leaving a trail down his chin. In the dim light of the alcove with only the streetlamp to illuminate his face, I see the green flecks in his brown eyes as he searches mine. They pull me in like a magnet; intense and beautiful. My palms press against his chest slowly gathering his shirt between my fingers, all while my heart pounds in my chest because this stranger drew me in the minute I laid eyes on him in the bar. It’s as if he is a tiny piece of my past buried long ago now being unearthed.
Maybe it’s the wind, the way it wraps itself around us, pushing us together rather than pulling us apart, I feel as though this is a chance I need to take. How many times in the last eighteen years had I truly taken something just for myself? And how many more times in my lifetime will I get a chance to choose something for myself?
In the small space between us, a question lingers in the air.
Can I kiss you?
Wanting it and doing it are two different things, because once I cross that line, will I be taking a step backwards? Looking at his beautiful rain-soaked face, I know the answer.
Paula Dombrowiak grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois but currently lives in Arizona. She is the author of Blood and Bone, her first adult romance novel which combines her love of music and imperfect relationships. Paula is a lifelong music junkie, whose wardrobe consists of band T-shirts and leggings which are perpetually covered in pet hair. She is a sucker for a redeemable villain, bad boys, and the tragically flawed. Music inspires her storytelling.
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