by Thalia ©
gorgeous, Kara Stevens thought, her eyes focusing in on a man in a dark
gray Armani suit, crisp white shirt, and red power tie. His slightly curly
auburn hair was stylishly rumpled as though he had just run his hands through
it and his arresting green eyes were stressed. The perfectly tailored suit
accentuated his rippling muscles as he purposefully strode down the sidewalk,
briefcase in hand. There was no doubt about it; she had to meet him. As
Kara passed him, her arm brushed against him causing her purse to fall.
Like a true gentleman, he immediately stopped to help her retrieve her belongings.
"I'm so sorry, I can't believe how clumsy I am," Kara began only to be interrupted by his rich baritone voice.
"Not at all, it was clearly my fault. I'm in a hurry right now and wasn't paying attention, not that that's any excuse. Please take my business card, if I damaged anything I insist on replacing it. Sorry, but I have to leave now," having said that he was gone.
She continued walking to her office, disappointed that she hadn't had time to turn the rushed conversation into more. She supposed it didn't really matter, after all, what could she have said to interest him without sounding like a complete slut. Determined to get the impossibly sexy stranger out of her mind and get to work, Kara absentmindedly searched through her purse for her lucky pen. Her fingers came across an unfamiliar item, pulling it out she discovered a silver men's watch. Her hazel eyes sparkled with excitement, it had to belong to HIM. Rifling through the contents of her handbag, Kara found what she had been looking for, his business card. Looking at the card, she was able to put a name to the handsome face, Alexander Martinez. A thrill of pleasure and anticipation shot through her spine as she dialed the number.
"Hello, you've reached the law office of Alexander Martinez. How may I help you?" A female voice answered the phone. She was surprised, he didn't look old enough to have an independent practice, and however, his Armani suit indicated his youth hadn't hindered his success.
"I'd like to speak to Alexander Martinez."
"Just a moment," she responded. Kara heard the click on the phone line as her call was transferred.
"Alex Martinez," he answered, causing shivers to course through her body.
"Hi, my name is Kara Stevens. I'm the women who dropped her purse at your feet about a half hour ago," she explained.
"It's a pleasure to hear from you. I hope I didn't damage anything because of my inattention, Ms. Stevens."
"Of course not, besides I was the one who inconvenienced you this morning. And please call me Kara."
"Only if you call me Alex and accept that this morning was entirely my fault," he qualified his response.
"I suppose I'll concede rather than be called Ms. Stevens, it reminds me of my old maid aunt. You're very persuasive; I can see why you're a lawyer."
"Thank you, I do try."
"As much as I am enjoying our banter, I'm sure you're wondering why I called."
"I have to say, I am curious."
"I found a silver men's watch and I thought it might be yours."
"You found it? Thank God, my grandmother would have killed me if I had lost it. It's a family heirloom. I hadn't realized the clasp was loose until this morning, when I noticed it was missing."
"Well, it must have fallen off when you helped me pick up my things. I was planning on dropping it off with your secretary on my lunch hour, but I thought I should let you know that I had it," Kara replied.
"I have a better idea," he suggested. "Why don't we meet for lunch so that I can thank you in person properly?"
"That would be nice. Where would you like to meet?"
"How does Romano's at noon sound?"
"That sounds great. I have to go now, I think one of company's interns is having a crisis."
"I won't keep you then. Goodbye, I'll see you at lunch."
"See you then."
Kara hung up the phone congratulating herself on ending the conversation before she had the opportunity to make a fool of herself. And it wasn't as though she was lying; the young man in the hallway did look confused.
Perfect, Alexander Martinez thought. He knew dropping his watch into the women's purse that morning would be a smart move. She was the most breath-taking creature he had ever seen. Her awe-inspiring red-gold hair glowed in the sunlight, hazel eyed had looked up at him from beneath a thick fringe of lashes and the light sprinkling of freckles across her nose made her beautiful face that much more interesting. She had a perfect hourglass figure and legs that seemed to go on forever, despite the fact that she couldn't have been more than 5' 3". He had been watching her for about a month, just waiting for the perfect moment to introduce himself. He had been in such a hurry that morning that he had quietly slipped the watch in her purse and hoped she would call. Buzzing his secretary he instructed the woman to make a reservation for two in a corner booth at Romano's, leisurely examining her body in his mind, Alex anticipated his meeting with Kara. How the hell was he supposed to get any work done when all he could think of was crushing her body to him and ravaging her mouth? Alex imagined himself kissing her, her quiet moans begging for more of the sweet torment. Shaking the provocative image from his head, Alex realized that if he didn't make any headway in his wok he wouldn't have time to go out for lunch.
Kara had the oddest sensation in her lips; it was almost as though she was being kissed. She wasn't surprised since she had been daydreaming of Alex Martinez all morning. Just as her mind was about to go on another little trip about how his body dripped muscle, her best friend, Nicole Evans burst into her office. The two women had become fast friends when they had begun sharing a secretary three years earlier.
"Oh my God, sugar, guess what happened to me this morning!" Nicole enthused in her Southern drawl.
"What?" Kara asked.
"Well, you know how I'm always calling into radio stations trying to win things?" Kara nodded in agreement. "It finally aid off, I won an all inclusive, all expense paid, one week trip for two; destination sunny Cancun, Mexico!"
"Alright, Nicole! You and Dave are going to have a great time, I'm so jealous. When are you going?"
"When are we going, you mean, honey. Last night I kicked Dave to the proverbial curb. I'm now single, so I'm taking you, just a girl's week of fun. I asked The Big Man In The Corner Office and next month, we are going to be sipping pina coladas and working on our tans."
"Oh, thank you! That's only in two weeks, I'm can't wait."
"Let's go shopping for teeny bikinis at lunch," Nicole suggested.
"I can't, I have a lunch date. Want to come?"
"With who?" She asked eager for the gossip; she knew that Kara never had business lunches.
"His name is Alexander Martinez and he looks like an Aztec god."
"In that case, sugar, you go on your own. Hopefully you'll need the privacy. I haven't met this guy, have I?"
"No, I met him this morning. I purposely bumped into him and dropped my purse," I admitted.
"You wicked wicked thing, you. What happened?"
"Alex dropped his watch and I called him to return it. He invited me to lunch to thank me."
"Alex? Honey, how are you on a first name basis already and how did you have his number?"
"Well, he insisted that my running into hi was all his fault and gave me his card so that he could replace anything he might have damaged. When I phoned him to tell about the watch he asked me to call him Alex."
"You have all the luck with men." Nicole exclaimed, flipping her silky blond hair over her shoulder.
"Shut up, you have to beat men off with a stick. All American good looks, blond hair, blue eyes, and you're as wholesome as apple pie. And not a freckle in sight, I on the other hand will be one giant freckle when we get back form Cancun."
"Sugar, who cares!? We're going to Cancun for free. Senor Frogs here we come!" She giggled.
"Alright, well go so that I can get some work done!"
"I'm going, but I expect all the details when you get back."
Kara walked into Romano's at exactly 12. The maitre'd greeted her immediately.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Stevens. Mr. Martinez is waiting." He said, as he ushered her towards a hostess. The young women led her to the booth, Alex stood when he saw Kara coming. As they sat down the server gave them menus and they ordered drinks.
"Here," Kara said, handing Alex his watch. "I'd hate to forget to return it after you went to all this trouble to get it back."
"Having lunch with you is no trouble at all," he responded.
"That's very kind of you," she answered blushing slightly.
"Not at all, it's the truth. Why don't we order and get that our of the way so that we can really talk." As if on cue, the server appeared, placing their drinks on the table. He pulled out his order pad.
"Are you ready to order?" He asked her.
"Yes, I'd like a garden salad with vinaigrette dressing on the side."
"And for you, sir?"
"I'll have the 20 oz. steak, medium-well, a baked potato, corn and carrots."
"Will that be all?" The server questioned.
Alex and Kara both nodded and the server headed for the kitchen.
"Are you sure you don't want anything else? I can still call the server back." Alex asked her.
"No, thanks. I always eat a light lunch."
"That explains how you maintain that fabulous figure, I mean, you certainly look fit," he amended.
"Thank you." Kara blushed once again.
"Sorry, I don't want to come on to aggressively, but I'm very attracted to you. Hell, attracted doesn't even begin to describe it. I'm practically obsessed. Today was probably the twentieth time I've watched you walk out of the train depot to your building. I actually put my watch in your purse, so that you would call to return it." He told her, his eyes searching hers to see if he had scared her off.
"I'm flattered. I guess I had the same idea, sort of. I ran into you on purpose today, to get you to notice me." Before Alex could reply the server placed their meals in front of them.
"If we eat quickly, we may have time to go on a walk, before you have to be back."
Kara smiled her agreement. The two ate in record time. Alex paid for the check, though she protested and they were out the door.
"We still have ten minutes, before I have to go. When do you have to be back?" Kara asked.
"It doesn't matter, I'm the boss. Besides, I want to walk you back."
"Alright. Why don't we start walking to my office then."
"That's fine with me." Alex answered, taking her hand as they walked.
When they reached her building he insisted on seeing her all the way to her office. Inside, she asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee, trying to delay his departure.
"No, thank you, but I'll take a rain check. I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me tonight, that is if you're not busy."
"I'd love to."
"Great! I was sort of worried I'd be coming on too strong. Where would you like to go?"
"No restaurants," she clarified. "You've already bought me lunch, so it's my turn. I could make a picnic basket and we could eat at a park, if that's okay with you?"
"Sure. I know of a great park about a half hour from here. I think it's called Reid's Park."
"That's the place I had in mind. I live about five minutes from there."
"What time do you want me to come by?"
"I'll let you decide."
"How about 7:00?"
"That's fine. Here's my address. Do you need directions?" She handed him a slip of paper.
"No, I have a friend who lives a street over. I have to go now, but I'll see you then."
"This may be too much, too soon, but I have to kiss you."
He closed the distance between them and pressed his lips to hers. Alex's tongue coaxed her mouth open, deepening the kiss. Kara's sexy murmur of desire fueled his possession of her mouth. One of her hands gripped his shoulder and the other meshed itself in his hair as she met his marauding tongue. Reluctantly, Alex pulled away.
"God, you're wonderful." Alex exclaimed causing Kara's skin to pinken.
She reached out to wipe her lipstick off his lips.
"You might have problems explaining that," she whispered.
"It would be well worth it," he replied.
"Go now, before I don't let you leave. I'll see you tonight."
Kara watched him leave, a warm glow of happiness spreading through her. Nicole rushed into her office for the second time that day.
"Sugar, can we say HUNK!? Does he have a twin? Hell, I'll take a brother, a cousin, any relative that looks the least bit like that."
"I'm glad you approve," Kara laughed.
"Approve isn't the half of it. Did he ask you out again?"
"We're seeing each other tonight."
"Thank the lord, if you had let him get away I was going to worry about your sanity." Kara threw a pen at her friend in response.
"Get out of my office, slacker, I have work to do."
"Alright! But you owe me details."
Kara got home at 5:30. She started the chicken baking, showered and then changed. When the doorbell rang at 6:55, she had just finished packing everything in to the basket. She answered the door with a bright smile, only to frown when she saw who it was.
"Can I help you, Barry?" She asked coldly.
"Aren't you going to invite me in?"
"I'll invite you to leave."
"That's not very nice," he answered grasping her arm and squeezing.
"Let me go, you bastard."
"Not until you listen to me."
"Leave her alone," Alex's voice came from behind Barry.
"This is none of your business, pal, so lay off," Barry snarled.
"I'm making it my business." Alex's fist slammed into the jerk's face and sent him sprawling to the ground.
"This isn't over, Kara." Barry warned, wiping the trickle of blood form his now and sauntering off.
"Yes it is, asshole." Alex responded, pulling Barry back by the collar of his shirt. Pounding the inept excuse for a man with powerful blows, he demanded Barry apologize to Kara.
"I . . . . I'm sorry. I won't bother you again." He muttered, his voice full of pain and humiliation. The loser fled as soon as Alex let go of him.
"Are you okay, Kara?" Alex asked.
"I'm fine, thanks, just a little shaken up. Barry is just an ex-boyfriend. Can we talk about something else?"
"Sure, why don't we go on that picnic? I brought wine."
Kara smiled gratefully at the change in topic. She gathered the picnic basket and wine and let Alex know she was ready. Taking the basket form her, Alex slipped her hand in his and started for the park. They found a spot under a weeping willow tree away form the children and other noises.
"I like what you're wearing." Alex told Kara, his eyes sliding appreciatively over her body.
"It's just shorts and a tank top," she answered smiling.
"On you it's so much more. It shows off you long legs and graceful neck."
"Thanks. I have to admit I like seeing you in jeans."
"You have a cute butt." Her answer made him laugh.
Well, what do you have in the basket, I'm starving."
"Oh my God, I'm so rude. Of course you're hungry."
"Sweetheart, I was joking."
"I have baked chicken, carrots, and twice baked potatoes. I hope that's alright."
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