Andrew Beckwith has already devoted his life to one girl—and as far as he’s concerned, she’s all he needs. The rough-around-the-edges bad boy left his reckless ways behind six years ago when his daughter Bell was born. To the female population’s dismay, he’s unapologetically single. When Bell’s mother walked out on them years ago, he vowed never to let another woman close enough to hurt them again.
Amelia Van Ecken isn’t just another woman. She’s an independent, smart, and savvy businesswoman who doesn’t have time for sex, much less love. In the midst of a drawn-out, bitter divorce, all she wants is to bury herself in work. But when sharp-tongued Amelia and stubborn Andrew cross paths, sparks fly—and burn. Two things are obvious in an instant: they want each other, and they’re from different worlds. It’s the perfect formula for an off-the-charts one-night stand. After all, it’s not as if opposites ever attract.
She scoffs. “It’s Friday night. What aren’t my plans? I have drinks with friends in an hour, then a late dinner, and who knows after that.”
She gapes at me. “Cancel my plans? Why would I?”
“Come out with me. Sadie says there’s a place around here with great pizza.”
She laughs, tilting her head and exposing the smooth column of her throat. “First, I don’t eat carbs, so there’s no way you’re getting me to do anything with the promise of pizza. Second, I just told you—I don’t date.”
“And neither do I.”
“Then why are you asking me out?” she asks.
“Because despite what you may think, I am a gentleman, and it’s only good manners to buy you dinner first.”
“First?” she asks, wrinkling her nose. “What’s second?”
We stare at each other. I let her figure it out on her own. It’s rare to meet a woman like me, someone who truly has no interest in finding a partner. I’ve heard that claim from enough girls to know when they’re bullshitting me, and unless Amelia is a Grade-A con artist, she definitely isn’t looking to get serious.
When she understands, the wrinkles on her forehead ease, and she parts her lips. I answer with a knowing smile. Suggesting sex within half an hour of meeting someone might normally get me slapped, but I get the feeling Amelia appreciates a more direct approach.
“I don’t date,” I say, “but I’m still a man with eyes.”
She makes no secret of looking me up and down. “You’re not my type either,” she warns. “I like men who carry a briefcase and see a barber regularly.”
I run my hand through my black hair, which I know is too long. “How’s that working out for you?”
She narrows her eyes. “Fine. Perfect.”
“I have some tattoos too,” I say. “And ride a motorcycle. Since that’s normally how I get most girls, I suppose those are turn-offs for you.”
“They are,” she says immediately, straightening her shoulders. “I’ve never understood the appeal of a bad boy.”
“Then tonight, we’re a match made in heaven, aren’t we? It shouldn’t be hard for either of us to say goodbye afterward.”
She bats her eyelashes a few times, not because she’s flirting but because she’s thinking. Considering. Which means it’s basically a done deal. I’ve never gotten this far with a girl only to have her walk away. “Why even bother with dinner?” she asks.
I take a moment to study her, her shoulder-length, perfectly coifed blonde hair. Her defined red lips that look like a heart when pursed, which is often. Yeah, based on the fact that I’m noticing details—something I try not to do anymore—I know I’m feeling her tonight. Most guys would jump at the opportunity to skip the small talk, but that doesn’t really appeal to me. I like women, always have. Just because Shana fucked me in the head doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to spend time around them—just so long’s it’s surface stuff.
I don’t want to scare her off by suggesting I might want to have a conversation with her, so I just shrug. “Because I’m starving.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Indulge me then. I need my energy.”
“For what?” she asks.
I arch an eyebrow at her. I’ll definitely need my energy for a night with her.
Jessica Hawkins grew up between the purple mountains and under the endless sun of Palm Springs, California. She studied international business at Arizona State University and has also lived in Costa Rica and New York City. To her, the most intriguing fiction is forbidden, and that’s what you’ll find in her stories. Currently, she resides wherever her head lands, which is often the unexpected (but warm) keyboard of her trusty MacBook.
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