I turn my attention to the two tequila shots in front of me, and open my mouth to tell the bartender we won’t be having them after all, when a voice says, “I’d recommend you try it with orange slices and cinnamon.”
I look sideways and almost fall of my seat. It’s him. And up close, it’s obvious I gave him far too few points. His striking blue eyes and full lips, curled in a deliciously conceited smile, earn him at least a twenty on that hotness scale.
“Tequila,” he points at the two glasses. “It tastes much better with orange and cinnamon than lemon and salt.”
“Thanks for the tip.” I flash my teeth in the hope they’ll detract his attention from my plunging neckline, though I never heard of teeth trumping boobs.
“Have we met?”
“Umm… ” I’m one hundred percent sure we haven’t or I would remember, but I’m perfectly willing to pretend we have met if it means he’ll linger here a little longer.
“We have,” he says, recognition lighting up his face. “You were a mentor for the national math contest last year, weren’t you?”
Damn. Of the myriad of rules Jess recited to me concerning flirting and dating, one in particular stands out: never show my nerdy side. And there are very few things nerdier than being a mentor in a math contest. Especially since only previous winners are allowed to mentor.
In my defense, he was the one who brought it up. I make a mental note not to mention my part- time bookkeeping job. No need to add the boring tag, in addition to the nerd one.
“I’m James, by the way.”
“I know. I mean… I’ve heard of you,” I mumble, suddenly feeling very hot.
He seems completely unsurprised.
“I’m Serena McLewis.”
“So, Serena…” he pronounces my name slowly, as if the three syllables would hide some kind of secret he’s hoping to uncover. My name in his mouth gives me goose bumps all over my arms. I hope he doesn’t notice them. “Let me guess, you’re a math major?”
“Nope. Economics and computer science.”
“Perfect combination. I had the same.” He winks. “I could use someone smart like you in my company.”
Just my luck. Other girls get a free drink, or a one-night stand. I get a job offer. Pity that’s the last thing I want from him.
“Sorry, not interested,” I say, hoping I don’t sound too disappointed.
He leans forward, and his hand accidentally brushes mine. Gently, passing. But it’s enough to send a torrent of shivers down my spine. Hot ones. Cold ones. Then hot ones again, and I fear I might have had one too many tequilas.
“And why is that?”
I try hard to come up with something, anything, but his warm breath on my cheeks wipes any thought other than the fact that his lips are far closer to me than they should be. His delicious scent—ocean and musk—makes my task so much harder.
He takes pity on me and leans back, his smirk more pronounced than ever as he scans me from head to foot.
“Are you doing anything tomorrow?” he asks.