“I didn’t say that, angel. I’m just looking for a way to deal with my anger since I can’t beat the hell out of my dad for being a stubborn asshole.”
“I kind of get that. I know I told you that drinking your anger away wouldn’t work, but I’m basically trying to do the same. My mom is…an idiot.”
He barks out a laugh. It comes with an expression that’s not precisely a smile, but it’s close. And it makes him even more stunning. His eyes warm. I’m even more drawn to him.
“So I’m furious, and you’re…disappointed, I’m guessing. If drinking doesn’t work, what’s our next best option?”
“What would you normally do to purge anger?”
“Hit the gym. But I’m only in town for thirty-six hours, so I didn’t bring my gym clothes. What about you?”
“I’m only in town until Sunday morning, too.”
“No, I mean what do you do to get rid of your anger?”
“I try to meditate.” But I’m not very good at it.
He snorts. “Yeah, that’s not for me.”
“I sometimes drink chamomile tea or watch a comedy.”
Two more things I can’t picture him doing.
He shakes his head. “Yeah…no. I have to figure out how not to be incredibly pissed—at least enough to act civil—by tomorrow afternoon.”
“Can you really stay angry that long?”
“I have a slow, hot fuse. It takes a lot to set me off, but once I’m there… I just came from seeing my dad. I already know I’m going to be pissed for a while.” He sighs. “I don’t even know why I came to Vegas. He called, and I thought I could save him. I’m a dumb ass.”
“I’m in a relatively similar situation. My mom is so irresponsible and impulsive. She makes the same mistake over and over. Like now.”
“And you’re here to stop her?”
I shake my head. “It’s too late for that. I’m only here because she guilted me.”
“And you’re not angry about it?”
“I am, but I guess I just expect it at this point.”
“My dad’s idiocy is something new. I’m not a fan.” He taps his thumb on the bar. “I have to figure out how to deal quickly. But we’ve ruled out booze, workouts, tea, and TV. Any other suggestions? I’ve only got one, and I doubt you want to hear it, angel.”
The low note in his voice makes my breath catch. His suggestion is probably the same one screaming fire through my head.
“Tell me,” I murmur.
He stares at me with black eyes. The moment seems frozen. The overhead speakers pipe down the vaguely familiar strains of a rock guitar riff that’s both soft and provocative.
I swallow. My heart pounds. I feel myself blush. Would I have it with him? If he asked, that is. I’m still not one-hundred percent sure he’s interested. I’m not convinced he’s not, either. But I’m attracted to him. Very. Deeply. Utterly.
Whatever the gorgeous stranger’s name is, he’s right. I’ve had a handful of boyfriends, most thoroughly underwhelming. I put romance on the backburner to focus on my career as a food blogger these past few years. I haven’t had sex in longer than I’d like to remember. And I’ve never had a one-night stand.
I’m suddenly eager to make an exception for him.
He peers at me. “Yes…that’s a reasonable suggestion? Or yes, you’d let me have sex with you?”
I gulp down half my drink and go for broke. “Both.”
He doesn’t immediately jump to his feet and hustle me out of the bar. “Why?”
“It’s”—I shrug—“a feeling. That I should. That I’ll regret missing out on you if I don’t. But you may not have meant me at all, so—”
“I did.” He leans closer, and I can’t stop staring at his glittering dark eyes or ridiculously long lashes. For a man, he’s beautiful. “I wanted you the instant I walked into the room.”
My breath catches in my chest. “Same.”
“Are you staying in this hotel?”
I shake my head. “My mother is. I’m down the Strip.”
“I’m upstairs if you’re really game, Calla. But one thing.”
Am I going to do this, be intimate with a man whose name I don’t even know?
Yes, I really am. Me, the girl who’s never done anything impulsive? I’m going to live on the edge for once. “What?”
“I’m not a gentle man, even on a good day. And, Calla, this isn’t a good day.” He cups my chin with a touch so restrained, I shudder. “I won’t hurt you…but I won’t go easy on you.”
He’s exactly the sort of man I’ve been secretly fantasizing about—larger-than-life, take-charge, brimming with testosterone. Base. Alpha. Savage.
Since college, my friends have been insisting their lives are much better without men and marriage, attending rallies and marches, and insisting their soy-boy co-workers are so masculine it’s toxic. I’ve smiled and nodded, fully agreeing that women should receive equal pay for equal work and that women can be every bit as capable as a man. But my educated brain is in constant conflict with the primal urges of my body. I crave a man who oozes aggression to turn all his barely contained sex drive on me.