Wedging herself sideways between two bodies, Joey leaned against the bar waiting to get one of the bartenders’ attention. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up and her womanly core tingled from the rich, deep timber of the man’s voice behind her floating over the top of her head. Oh man, she’d give up a kidney to have that voice whispering naughty things in her ear as the man it belonged to made slow, sweet love to her. Maybe not a kidney. A thousand hours of community service cleaning elderly people’s homes. A task she abhorred. That was why a cleaning service came to her home once a week.
Finally. She sighed as the middle-aged woman with Geri on her name tag grinned at her. She needed something real cold, real fast to drink to cool down her runaway thoughts.
“Pretty hair. What can I get for ya?” Geri said, the grin spreading further across her face. Her gaze bounced between Joey and the stranger with the bedroom voice.
Joey wished she was on the other side of the bar with Geri. From the way her gaze kept jerking to the man behind her, he had to be capital F fine. “Thanks. A mojito with extra ice, please.”
The bartender’s laugh was light and lyrical. “Coming right up, honey.” Before Geri walked off to make the cocktail, she leaned forward, motioning with her hand for Joey to do the same. When Joey did as instructed, Geri whispered, “Honey, he’s got a face to match that voice.”
Joey’s face flushed. Was she that obvious? She swallowed hard as she opened her overstuffed clutch to grab a twenty-dollar bill. A muffled groan escaped her lips. A tube of lip gloss popped out of the crammed clutch and fell on the floor. She should’ve known better than to stuff her phone, keys, money, business cards, and lip gloss in the petite bag.
Not giving much thought to the tight confines at the bar, Joey quickly bent over to pick up the rolling tube before someone stepped on it, causing them to lose their footing. She froze and her mouth hung wide open in disbelief. Did she just bump her derriere into the side of the man’s lean muscular leg? OMG!
Flustered, Joey shot up and swung around to apologize. She didn’t know if the dizziness in her head was from moving in a rush or coming face to face with the man she’d seen going into the venue with his date. The apology died on her lips when she realized the man was Jamal Peters, her childhood crush.
A breath of air was sucked in and held by Joey. Jamal cocked his head to the side. His dark eyes probed as they scanned her from head to toe and back up again. The hint of attraction was undeniable. Joey slowly released the held air so she wouldn’t fall out on the floor at his feet.
“Do I know you?” Jamal asked, his gaze still roaming her features, chasing that dull tingle between her legs into a full-blown aching throb. Firmly she planted her feet on the floor to keep from crossing her legs.
It was so long ago. No way would he remember her from the recreation center. A shy, eleven-year-old girl, who was crushing on the seventeen-year-old bad boy from afar.
Joey shrugged a slim shoulder. “You probably don’t remember me, but I used to hang out at the recreational center after school.”
Her belly quivered when Jamal chuckled. “If you gave me a name…”
Joey blushed. “Josephine Lawrence.”