Killer Curves

By: Naima Simone



A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

The obscure trivia whispered through her mind, and she grasped on to the calming mechanism like a lifeline. She lifted her bottle and gulped from it, averting her gaze. His wasn’t the first gorgeous face she’d ever seen—hell, she’d been raised in a world where beauty was a commodity. But none of those men had almost…smoldered with raw sexuality. A sexuality that seemed to be barely leashed by golden skin and steely control. Against her brain’s sharp commands, she shot him a furtive glance. None of those aforementioned men looked like they could break a woman apart piece-by-piece with pleasure then calmly put her back together. Only to do it again…

A tall, whipcord-lean man with shoulder-length, dark brown hair approached the stranger, claiming his attention. She exhaled, as if granted a reprieve.

And like any intelligent person presented with an unexpected escape route, she ran.

Pushing down the handle on the French door, she emerged onto the covered terrace. The gentle breeze off the waterfront caressed and cooled her flushed skin. Around her, the wait staff bustled, lighting hurricane lamps suspended from wooden beams as well as on the tables to dispel the deepening shadows of the evening. Pale-colored flowers, the flicker of white fairy lights, and bolts of white, ethereal cloth added to the ambiance of romance. Fallon’s doing, Sloane surmised, striding to the railing. As a talented event planner, Fallon had an elegant but luxuriant point of view that was rapidly growing in demand. If things had worked out differently, Sloane would’ve hired Fallon for her engagement party and wedding with Phillip.

If things had worked out differently…

“Differently” meaning if Phillip hadn’t cheated and then blamed his infidelity on her “irrational refusal to lose thirty pounds.” After all, how could he be expected to fuck or wed a lazy cow who would be a direct reflection of him?

She gasped at the quick and sharp stab of pain and humiliation, pressing a fist to her chest. Even months later, her ex’s remembered derision and contempt still contained the power to wound…

“Hello.”

Holy hell. That voice. The fingers of the hand not grasping the beer bottle like a lifeline curled around the patio railing. Her lashes fluttered and lowered. One word, and yet the deep rumble of it stroked over her skin, evoking images of shadowed bedrooms, rumpled sheets, and sweaty bodies. Good God, that voice needed to be bottled and sold in sex shops worldwide. Who needed porn with that purring dark velvet in your ear?

Shit. Purring dark velvet? What. The. Hell?

She turned around, and whoa.

The railing pressed into her back as she instinctively leaned away from the overwhelming, intense male towering over her, just inches short of invading her personal space.

Not that he probably gives a damn about little things like appropriate, polite distance. The thought popped into her head, and though she couldn’t possibly know that about him, she didn’t doubt the veracity of the statement, either. She had a feeling the “inches” were for her benefit, not his.

She inhaled a shaky breath—then immediately wished she hadn’t. But too late. She couldn’t scrub the woodsy, earthy fragrance of his cologne from her nostrils. Damn. Before this moment she wouldn’t have believed a man’s scent could be foreplay.

He said hello, the part of her brain still functioning hissed. Get it together, dammit!

Right, right. Oh Jesus Christ. Wasn’t talking to oneself a precursor to Prozac and rubber-walled rooms?

Again, she forced her social smile to her lips. “Hi.”

That inner voice sighed at her inane stupidity.

A corner of his mouth lifted in a half smile, and a dent in his cheek made a brief appearance. Dimples. Really? Because beautiful eyes, a gorgeous face, and hard body weren’t enough? Butterflies took to flight in her belly. Damn butterflies. Raptors. Freaking pterodactyls.

“Ciaran.” He held out his hand, and for several long seconds she studied his big, wide palm. Something instinctive, primeval, yelled a warning not to touch him. That if she did, there would be no turning back, no do-overs. But in spite of her earlier thoughts of comparing herself to lonely, aimlessly circulating cruise ships, she wasn’t a fanciful woman but a realist. A pragmatist, a rationalist, she reminded herself as she pressed her hand to his…

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