Yes, this last drink gave me just enough liquid courage to venture out into the cold. I told the bartender I was leaving, grabbed the warmest-looking winter coat from the lost and found box near the restrooms, then did a controlled stagger toward the door.
And there he was.
Standing in the middle of the doorway, staring down at me with a smirk on his face.
“Hey, beautiful,” he crooned.
“What the hell do you want?” I slurred, holding on to the door for balance as I looked him up and down. Yep. He was still just as sexy in my slightly more than tipsy state.
“There you go with that sweet-talking mouth of yours,” he teased, eyes grazing down my body. “And I see you may actually have a thing for Santa suits now.”
I looked down at my outfit under the winter coat I had just put on. I was in a thigh-high, red velvet Mrs. Santa dress with a thick black belt, and red velvet hat with a white pom-pom.
“So there’s a lot of staff absenteeism going on right now. It’s the freaking holidays. You know what it’s like.”
He nodded. “Yeah. I remember…hiring those high school kids who’d only last until the first paycheck before the holidays, and then they’d ditch the job.”
“Exactly, and it’s annoying as hell. I thought I’d have time to relax, and instead, I’m stuck filling in for those slackers.”
“Just another couple days until Christmas. Should be fine.”
“I hope so. Well, I’ve got things to do, if you’ll let me pass.”
He didn’t move from his spot. Only his lips turned up into a smile. “Are you sure I can’t convince you to stay for another drink?”
I took a brief moment to weigh the request while taking in his strong jawline, broad shoulders under a sleek black jacket, and firm muscles everywhere.
“I’m probably at my limit right now,” I explained. “I’ve got to get home.”
“That’s a shame. Hold on, you’re not driving, are you? Because I’ve had to treat more than my fair share of sloshed holiday party-goers at my regular job.”
“Of course not. I don’t even have a goddamned Ski-Doo to get myself over there. I’m walking, not that it’s any of your business.” I pressed my hands on his bulging chest to push him aside but he didn’t budge. Glaring up at him, I put on my most convincing poker face. I needed to hide the effect he already had on me as I stood there, overwhelmed by the rush of heat between my legs while his eyes seared into my brain. “Are you gonna let me by or what, slugger?”
He took a small step closer and leaned forward until his mouth was almost touching my ear. The warmth from his lips ignited my skin. My toes were curling in my boots and he hadn’t said a thing yet.
“Stop fighting this,” he demanded in a whisper.
Heat rose up into my cheeks as I struggled against the urge to grip his shirt and turn my face into what I knew was his waiting kiss. Maybe it would have been easier if I had not just knocked back more shots than I could remember. Not that I was pissed drunk, but the alcohol had definitely started to do a number on my level of coherence.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“You and me. Us. You feel something for me, and as much as you’ve tried to deny it over the years, you still do.”
I reared back a few inches and looked up into the smoking hot man’s face. “Listen carefully, Landon. There. Is. No. Us. Get that?”
The cocky bastard stared down between our bodies and grinned. “Is that why your hands are wrapped around my waist right now?”
I let my eyes trail down his shoulders. Crap. That was me hanging off him, groping his back, with my hips pressed up against his groin.
I pulled away and slid past him to get outside. “I was just trying to leave, is all,” I told him, not even believing the lie myself.